May 3, 2012

How To Use Camera Raw Tools to Develop Digital Photographs

If you think Photoshop is the most powerful tool in a photographer’s toolbox, think again. Whether you’re using freeware, Adobe Camera Raw, or Lightroom, Raw developing tools are the best way to turn good pictures into great ones.

Raw editors have very specific tools for making very fine tuned adjustments, as well as powerful, image transforming changes. But the program has a lot of new tools to learn, most of which don’t appear obvious and easy. Keep reading—we’ll discuss more about these powerful tools and how you can use them even if you’re not equipped with a camera that can shoot in a raw format.
Does it Matter if I Don’t Shoot in Camera Raw?

You might have seen this article—it’s been shared in lots of photography circles, including recently on Reddit where we found it in the phography subreddit. Some will tell you that there is an advantage to shooting in JPG over your camera’s RAW file format depending on the situation. While this might seem logical, we at How-To Geek don’t recommend shooting in anything but raw if your camera supports it. We won’t dwell on it today, but raw formats contain loads of information and unprocessed image data that is thrown awaywhen a JPG is created. The point of raw is to take the artistic decisions out of the hands of the camera’s computer and let the photographer make those decisions.

These camera raw processing tools are ideally for raw files, but they can also work wonders with JPG files. So if you’re not capable of shooting in anything but JPG, you can get a great image out of these raw processing programs.
How to Open Images (Including JPG) in Adobe Camera Raw

One of the most frustrating bits about the Adobe Camera Raw program is that it is buried inside of Photoshop and Adobe Bridge. You can open an image in the Camera Raw program several ways.

Open Adobe Bridge (It comes free installed with Photoshop) and simply right click on an image to tell it to open in the Camera Raw program. This is the easiest way to use Camera Raw because Bridge lets you navigate through your pictures and even force open JPGs and other files with Camera Raw.

When you open raw files with Photoshop, they are automatically opened with Camera Raw.

If you want to open JPG files in Camera Raw, find File > Open As and set your filetype to “Camera Raw” as shown above right. Then select any image file and it will open in Camera Raw.
Using Camera Raw to Edit Photographs

The most important raw developing programs have nearly identical tools. Let’s look at them and how to use them to develop your images.

This is the histogram. You should recognize it if you’ve been reading our articles on Photography. It’s pretty dang important and we talk about it a lot, mostly because it is so important. If you don’t know, it represents the tones in your image and is the key to using many of the tools in Camera Raw.

On the left you’ll find the info for the RGB values under your mouse pointer (currently null because the mouse isn’t in the image) and some of the EXIF data about how the image was taken. And all those funny icons below that information? Those are all menus you can access. If you’ve not noticed them before, you may be stunned to see just how tweaky you can get with your raw files. We can’t cover every detail, but let’s hit some of the high points.

The Basic Menu
White Balance: Adjust the white point of your image. Sliding the temperature left causes a blue shift while sliding right causes a yellower, warming shift.
Tint: Just like on your television, you can shift your photo red or green. Technically, it’s magenta and green because those colors are opposites in the world of photography.
Exposure: Raw files more or less record all data that hits the sensor while the shutter is open. Because of this, you can simulate a longer and shorter exposure time by adding or subtracting light in fractions of stops.
Recovery: Makes adjustments to the highlight areas just below the purest whites. Look for them just to the left of the right side of the histogram.
Fill Light: Adjusts the mid-tones and center bulk of the histogram.
Blacks: By default, Camera Raw adds some black to the image. This slider independently adjusts the amount of shadow areas in the image.
Brightness and Contrast: These are the basic tools in Photoshop and here they’re pretty much the same. Brightness adjusts the highlight areas but tends to brighten the entire image.
Clarity: Adds or removes detail in the black channel with sharpen filters that can tighten up the image.
Vibrance and Saturation: These two both adjust the intensity of the color in the image in subtly different ways. “Saturation” tends to make the image incredibly intense, cartoonish and oversaturated. “Vibrance” is more natural, even at high settings.

Through clever application of these tools, you can work miracles on a badly exposed camera raw file. A JPG, on the other hand, will can only be pushed so much, so don’t expect a badly exposed JPG to be brought back from the brink this way.

Tone Curve

The tone curve operates two ways. This is the “Parametric” setting, which is a little different than the usual tone curve. The four sliders for Highlights, Lights, Darks, and Shadows adjust the histogram shown here starting on the right side and working to the left (Highlights on the right, shadows on the left).

In addition to sliders to adjust those tonal areas, the three points under the histogram, when moved, will fence in these four areas to a specific part of the histogram.

This means, if you want to adjust only the brightest highlights, you can move the rightmost slider closer to the right, and then adjust thehighlights slider below. This can allow you to take a lot of control over your image if the basic sliders aren’t giving you all the control you want.

The “Point” setting works exactly like the Curves tool in Photoshop.

We’ve talked about it at length before and it’s still a powerful tool. Use it if you’re comfortable with it.

Detail, Sharpening and Noise Reduction
Easily one of the most important tools in the program, Sharpening and Noise Reduction allow pinpoint accurate control over filters on detail (like the Unsharp Mask filter) or Noise Reduction (like the Smart Blur filter).

The benefit here is that Camera Raw seems to automatically adjust these filter selectively in various channels, similar to our Unsharp Mark technique we looked at a few weeks ago.

Sharpening is a bit like an extension of the “Clarity” slider under the “Basic” menu and it works similarly to the Unsharp Mask filter in Photshop. If you’re not familiar with it, play with it until you get a result you like—you can revert almost anything in a raw editor.

Noise reduction has two basic adjustments: it will reduce camera grain in either the Luminance channel (affecting only the black and whites, not color) or in the Color channels (affecting all colors and values).

Here’s a comparison of the sharpening tool at a high setting versus the noise reduction setting at a reasonable setting.

Hue/Saturation/Luminance and Split Toning

Hue/Saturation/Luminance allows you to very precisely adjust your colors in all the various primary channels at once. This can allow you a lot of micro control of your image if you prefer to edit it this way. It’s great if you want to do something like dull out all colors but the reds or make your only the blues in your sky a shade darker and more intense.

Split Toning (above right) can be useful, but seems mostly only for creating Instagram style effects by cooling shadows and warming highlights. Any readers that wish to contribute their uses for Split Toning, feel free to add them in the comments.

Here’s split toning in action, creating the aforementioned Instagram style color adjustment.

Lens Profiles

Lenses can distort light hitting the sensor. At least, certain types of lenses distort light differently than other types of lenses. When you shoot a modern digital camera, the type of lens you used is recorded in the EXIF data, and programs like Camera Raw can load profiles of that lens to correct the image in ways you might not have noticed before. These usually include warping or darkening parts of the image. You may find you like the image without the profile applied—this part is optional. Simply because you can “correct” an image doesn’t mean it will actually make it look better.

The “Manual” setting can allow you to distort and adjust the image with the same toolset the lens profiles use. The sliders for “chromatic aberration” can be very helpful if you’rerunning into a lot of chromatic aberrations in your images.

The left image isn’t corrected, while the right image is. The outside edges of the picture are slightly brighter and have had some light distortion removed.

Effects and Camera Calibration

Buried close to the end are Effects and Camera Calibration. Effects are limited to adding grain and vignetting the sides of the photograph. Both have great tweaks available, but are pretty limited as far as effects go.

Camera Calibration is a way to adjust the color profiles associated with your camera and sensor. If that doesn’t sound all that appealing to you, don’t worry about it. You can safely ignore it and get photos that you’re happy with.

Here’s the vignette effect that camera raw will apply for you in both white and black. Mostly useless, since Photoshop can probably do this better, but not bad, regardless.
Other Tools For Editing Raw

Your camera might have come with software for editing and developing raw files, and if so, you might want to give this proprietary software a shot. If not, one of our favorite programs is Raw Therapee, which has most, if not all, of the most important features in Adobe Camera Raw. Best of all, Raw Therapee is a free download for Windows.

Lightroom is also a fairly cheap but feature rich program that will develop your raw files exactly like Camera Raw will. Some photographers prefer it exclusively over Camera Raw, although the majority of the program is identical.That more or less wraps up the less obvious tools to edit camera raw files. Do you feel like you understand the process better? Or are you more confused than before? Tell us about it (or about your experience developing your digital images) in the comments section below, or send your questions to Your thoughts and questions might inspire one of the next HTG articles!

May 2, 2012

360 Degree Aerial Panorama | 3D Virtual Tours Around the World | Photos of the Most Interesting Places on the Earth |

AirPano is a noncommercial project focused on high resolution 3D aerial panoramas. AirPano team is the group of russian photographers and panorama enthusiasts. During the next 2-3 years we plan to shoot the aerial panoramas and create the virtual 3D tours of the most interesting places of our planet.

AirPano is a Moscow based group of panoramas enthusiasts. We are focused on hi-resolution aerial panoramas

Normally, we shoot from a helicopter but sometimes we use light jets, dirigibles, air balloons and radio-controlled helicopter models.

During nearest 2 years the Airpano team is going to shoot the aero-panoramas and create the virtual tours of the most significant and interesting cities and corners of our planet. We already have created more than 250 panoramas which show more than 60 places of our world. You are welcome to see them on our website. AirPano is a world leader in number of exhibited places, quantity of aerial panoramas as well as in art and technical quality of the creative works.Every week we present a new virtual tour on our website.

At present time we have shot about 70 places (most panoramas have already been represented on our site and some material is still waiting for the processing):

Sydney, Australia
Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt
Himalaya, National Park Sagarmatha
Las Vegas, USA
Hong Kong
Nazca Lines, Peru
Palpa pictures, Peru
Machu Picchu, Cusco, Peru
Rapa Nui National Park, Easter Island
Santiago, Chile
The Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad, Russia
New Jerusalem Monastery in Moscow Region, Russia
Iquazu Waterfall, Brazil
Los Angeles, USA
Zermatt and the Alps, Switzerland
Cape Town, SAR
Moscow, MEH (Moscow Encircling Highway) and environs
Cape of Good Hope, SAR
Monument Valley, USA
The Swiss Alps, St. Moritz
Miami, Florida, USA
Lake Manapouri, Fiordland National Park, South Island, New Zealand
San Francisco, USA
Saint Petersburg, Russia, Virtual tour
Manhattan, New York, USA
Chicago, USA
Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland
Dubai, UAE
Mauritius Island, Pacific Ocean
Maldivian Islands, North Atoll
Kuala-Lumpur, Malaysia
Iceland, South-Western, Southern and South-Eastern sides
Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA
Bangkok, Thailand
Horseshoe bend of Colorado River, Arizona, USA
Moscow, Russia, Virtual Tour
Little Colorado River Gorge, Arizona, USA
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Paria River Canyon, Arizona, USA
Moeraki, New Zealand
Victoria Waterfall, Zambia - Zimbabwe
Marble Canyon and Navajo Bridge, Grand Canyon National park, Arizona, USA
Dominican Republic, Haiti Island, Caribbean Sea
Goosenecks of San Juan River State Park, Utah, USA
Bukhara, Uzbekistan, Kalyan Minaret
Amsterdam, Holland
Powell Lake, Utah-Arizona, USA
Moscow, Panorama Shot at a height of 1000 meters
Moscow , 1 Gig Pixel Panorama
Val Gardena, Dolomite Alps, Italy
Denver, Colorado, USA
Angel Waterfall, Venezuela
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
Twelve Apostles National Park, Australia
Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
Novodevichy Convent, Moscow
Odessa, Crimea, Ukraine
Moscow-City Business Center
Seattle, USA
Toronto, Canada
Grimsvotn Volcano, Iceland
Stockholm, Sweden
Angkor, Cambodia
Bagan, Myanmar
Kiev,Its Cathedrals and Monasteries, Ukraine
Ai-Petri, Crimea, Ukraine
Moscow: Kremlin, MSU, Ukraine hotel, Zhivopisny Bridge, Moscow-City, Southern Port, MEH (total about 20 places)
Novodevichy Convent, Moscow
Greenland, Eastern Seaboard
Neuschwanstein Castle
Taj Mahal, India
Agra, India
Jaipur, India
Varanasi, India
Delhi, India

The following panoramas are going to be shot this year:
The Great Wall of China
Zhangjiajie, China
Huangshan, China
Petra, Jordan
Jerusalem, Israel
Vienna, Austria
Svalbard, Norway
The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Barcelona, Spain
Stonehenge, England
Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Pisa, Italy
Venice, Italy
The Parthenon, Greece
Meteora, Greece
Santorini, Greece
Mikonos, Greece
South Georgia Archipelago
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Tikal, Guatemala

Learn How to do a Simple Stem Cutting - YouTube

Published on May 1, 2012 by HomeGrownVideos1
One type of plant propagation is stem cutting. This video demonstrates how to properly do a stem cutting and how to perform three different rooting techniques. This is a beginning gardener project.

Related Links:

Apr 30, 2012

Conversations with Great Minds - Dr. James Loewen - Lies My Teacher Told Me P2 - YouTube

Published on Apr 30, 2012 by TheBigPictureRT

Dr. James Loewen, Sociologist/Historian/Author of 6 books including "Lies My Teacher Told Me" and "Lies Across America." The average American History textbook weighs 4.5 pounds - is 888 pages long - and contains page after page of misinformation that is tainting the education of American children every day. So how can teachers give children a comprehensive and accurate history of America?

Dr. James Loewen doing great work... Monte

Related Links:

Pure Rain Nozzle

Published by PureRainProduct

Featured Image
oxygenating watering wand

Have you ever wondered why your plants look so healthy after it rains?

Leafy plants use oxygen to absorb vital nutrients from the soil around their roots. Raindrops gather oxygen as they fall through the air, and the highly oxygenated water helps the plants extract nutrients more efficiently. That’s why plants look so healthy and robust after a good rain. Pure Rain™ products add millions of microscopic nanobubbles — each just a fraction of the width of a human hair — to ordinary tap water. The extra oxygen delivered by the nano-bubbles helps your plants absorb nutrients faster than ever, making them healthier, stronger, and more disease-resistant. By simply attaching them to your garden hose and watering regularly, Pure Rain™ products can increase leafy plant growth by up to 30%. They can even decrease your water usage because of the high levels of oxygen added.Think about how your plants would feel if they had regular, invigorating showers that gave the same benefits as all-natural rain water. They’d love you for it.Best of all, Pure Rain™ does all this without any chemicals — just the way nature intended.

Proven technology
Oxygen nanobubbles have a long and successful track record in industrial and agricultural uses, and Pure Rain™ is finally making that technology convenient and affordable for everyday gardeners, all without the use of harmful chemicals.

Send oxygen right to the roots

Pure Rain™ is an innovative and environmentally safe solution that brings your oxygen-deprived plants and flowers to life using oxygen nanobubbles to make your plants, flowers, and gardens grow fuller and faster.

Stronger, healthier plants
The oxygen nanobubbles Pure Rain™ adds to ordinary hose water enable plants to absorb more nutrients from the soil around their roots, helping them resist disease and grow faster than ever.

Chemical-free growth
There are many chemical products that stimulate growth in your plants, but you might not be aware of their other long-term effects. Wouldn’t you rather see remarkable growth from everyday water?

Better results using less water
Millions of microscopic oxygen nanobubbles are added to the molecules in ordinary hose water, potentially reducing overall water usage by up to 30%.

The real value of rainwater
Using a rain barrel? While they offer some benefits, they also lose possibly the most valuable attribute of natural rain: the oxygen collected as it falls. Your plants deserve all the oxygen they can get.

Related Links:

Apr 29, 2012

Running Your Engine on Wood-Gas with Wayne Keith!

Published on Apr 26, 2012 by ecojaunt
Wayne Keith runs his trucks on wood-gas, a pyrolytic process! He takes us through this system step by step. Wayne Keith not only holds the land speed record for wood-gas, but has driven over 250,000 miles on wood! He has also been featured in Mother Earth News multiple times.

Wayne Keith does an excellent job of explaining how it all works... worth a watch... Monte

Sepp Holzer – The Permaculture Pope

Published on Apr 5, 2012 by SuperGnuh
Sepp Holzer's "krameterfarm" in Salzburg - Austria on "servus TV" part 1 A documentary about permaculture.

no copyright infringement intended - i translated it for educational purpose only.


Published on Apr 6, 2012 by SuperGnuh
Sepp Holzer's "krameterfarm" in Salzburg - Austria on "servus TV" part 2 - A documentary about permaculture.

Sepp Holzer – The Permaculture Pope ... Brilliant man ... !!! Monte

The Extraordinary Genius of Albert Einstein

Uploaded by laroucheyouth on Aug 23, 2010
The core of the video is a workshop pedagogical on the Theory of Special Relativity as part of the educational process conducted by our youth leadership, not for the sake of understanding the theory itself, but using Einstein's particular discovery as a case study to demonstrate and walk people through real human thinking, as being something above sense perceptions or opinions. We end with reflecting on the principle of relativity in terms of social relations and individual identities or thought processes, asking the question --how was Einstein able to make his breakthrough?

New Permaculture Books 2012 - YouTube

Published on Apr 28, 2012 by permascience

Two new permaculture book releases for 2012 :
  • People and Permaculture - caring for ourselves, each other, and the planet by Looby Macnamara.
  • Permaculture Design - a step-by-step guide by Aranya.
In this short video, both authors are talking to Maddy Harland the co-founder of the books' publisher Permanent Publications.

Both Looby Macnamara and Aranya are well respected permaculture designers and teachers in Britain, and they operate many permaculture courses throughout the year. Please visit the designed visions website to find out more :

These books and more are available to purchase at :