Wednesday, October 31, 2012

DXO Optics Pro 8

Friday, November 2, 2012

DXO Optics Pro 8
(Image Processing and Sorting Software)

The Company that Makes Optics Pro 8

Their Desktop Icon
(please press on the above address to be redirected to their site)

     Most of the readers here take photos with their digital cameras. You then probably upload them to your computer, add a folder name,and then leave them on your computer. You'll do this for a year, and then 1 day, you'll need to go and look for a photo from a year ago. Naturally, you have trouble finding it. I know, because that's exactly what I do.

    When I taught pro photography, I would purchase software through educational prices, and would try and keep up with new software. One type of software is able to take all of your photos and sort them. It does this just like the computer with titles and subtitles. However the  big differences are that you can label and rank your photos as to popularity, and you can also process them. Examples of this class of software are Lightroom, and Aperture, and Optics Pro.

    I have copies of Lightroom and Aperture, and they sit on my computer doing nothing! I'm too lazy to place all of my photos into either of these programs, and then name them for purposes of easy finding.So I keep adding new photos every day, and still don't do anything! 

   Coming back to the the subject of these programs, they are multi-tasking, or in other words, they can do several things.

     1. They collect all of your photos in 1 place
     2. You can add titles and ratings to them (best to worst)
    3.  You can improve the quality of the image in them like the basics of Photoshop

     I was up early this morning, and decided to check my e-mail. I found a message from DXO informing me that there was a new version of Optics Pro 8, and that I could download a 31 day trial.
What's good about adding your name to mailing lists from companies is that you get informed about new updates and versions. I had written about Optics Pro on my other blog. Sadly, I'm not getting very many visitors, so I don't write many new posts there.

    The reason that I'm writing a post about Optics Pro 8 here is that I wanted to show you what such a program is all about. It might even help you to organize all of your photos (Just like I might do 1 day!). I'm not going to bother comparing this program to other programs. It's up to you to decide what's best for you, in terms of ease of use, cost, speed, or any other criteria that you use to determine buying software.  What I didi find right away is that the program is fast! Normally some of the other programs have a slight delay when you press any instruction. With this program it moves fast!

 A Typical Window Capture in the Oeening Mode

The left side looks like your typical file system on your Mac or PC
 A Window Showing a Corrected Photo

The program allows you to do many corrections that you would normally do with your camera software or Photoshop or Corel.

 A Window Showing a "before" and "After" correction of an Image

The image on the left is the camera image, and that on the right is the "corrected" image.

 AWindow with an Arrow Pointing to the Workspace mode of this Program 

In the workspace mode, you can do you "corrections". What any of these program do is to always create a new file, rather than replace or update he photo. In this way, you always have the "original"

 The "Workspace" Window

The window capture certainly looks "daunting" or frightening when you first come upon it.
However, if you've worked in Photoshop or your specify camera software, it's not so menacing. Also, you can play around with each tool or function to figure out what it does. After, you can always through out the "new image" into the garbage can. Remember, that you always have the original!

 A Specialized Menu

This menu allows you to experiment with images like people used to when the B & W or colour darkroom was around. There are all kinds of menus that you can use to alter or improve your photos. By the way, DXO has many software programs to do all kinds of experimentation of your photos!

 The arrow is pointing to the magnification command.

 The arrow is pointing to the colour accentuation menu

II never could understand what the differences were between vibrancy and saturation were.
I didn't want to bother with finding what the terms meant.

However, I played around in Optics Pro 8, and finally understood the differences. You can see the results below. I adjusted each specific function (vibrancy and saturation) to show you their effects.

 The Vibrancy command moved to  -100. 

 The Vibrancy command moved to +100

The Saturation command moved to -100

The Saturation command moved to +100

Setting the B & W Menu

This is one of the menus to go back "retro" to the pre-colour film era.

An example of a "sepia" image.

IIn the B & W (Black & White) lab, you'd place a B & W print in a special toner that would change the B ^& W image to a warm-toned image. You could also change the image to a cold-toned (Blue).

The Ranking Menu

This function allows you to assess the quality of your images from 0-5 stars. I probably wouldn't use this function, but I'm sure many people who take lots of people photos do. When you take lots of photos, or work on the computer a lot, you can "speed rate". "Speed Rate" is my term similar to "speed reading". You look at a whole bunch of photos and can immediately find the one that you're looking for or the best one in the batch.

I haven't found the menu which allows you to add names to the photos. With a name that is added to  let's say 100 photos, you can then find the 100 photos immediately from the thousand that you mayhave. Also, just like in a library or on your computer, there is a hierarchal order to labelling or naming your files. I'll show you what I mean below.

Inanimate Objects (Not People) >> 
Objects (Not Living) >>
 Toys>>Trucks >>
Cast Iron >>

Once you add these titles or labels, you can then do a search for "Arcade >>Cast Iron>>Trucks". Even though you may have taken Arcade toy photos over 10 years, you will be able to view every one of those Arcade Cast Iron Trucks. Of course, every time you add photos toy your computer, you
have to describe. label, or title them in order to be up to date.  

I would highly recommend that you take advantage of downloading trial software. You aren't under any obligation to purchase it, but you'll have a lot of fun learning new software program. And it might just save you lots of time! Now if I could only take my own advise!

Thanks for dropping by, and I hope that those in the USA werenlt affected too severly by the storm.

Have a great part of the day wherever you may be.


The Earth-Moving Toys

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Earth-Moving Toys

(Please press on the address above to be redirected to their site)

    The other day, I was very fortunate to come across a past auction on icollector that has a fine collection of earth-moving toys. Naturally that brought back long-forgotten memories of road-building in Vermont, or for that matter whenever I had driven south in the USA.  Vermont's Interstate 87 was built in the late 1950's, when we used to go to St.Albans, Vermont for the summer.
The big "treat" for us kids was to go to Burlington - their "big" city. 

    Before I-87, the road from St. Albans to Burlington was a 2-laner. Development of the marvelous Interstate highway system expanded meteorically after WWII. The world was at peace, and now world economies could be developed to return the world to normalcy and sanity. There was a huge growth of the population in the US at the time,and a move to the suburbs. With the expansion of the population to the "burbs", and development of the economy, the road system had to be developed - fast!

   We would travel to Burlington periodically, and the "best" time was the last week of summer. At that time, the "twins", Brenda and Michael, 3 years younger, and Jay, just a baby the at 1 year old (1958), would travel to Burlington to get our fall school clothes. On the way, we would see caravans of those large haulers and graders, and of course the huge trucks and pavers all working to build the road.  As a 13-14 year old, I was still fascinated by huge machines, especially those construction  machines.

By the early 1960's times had changed. We no longer went to the "country" for our vacations, and we all grew up.  The roads were now complete,having been transformed into super highways. 

     Most of the toys at the start are Doepke, while the latter ones are "newer" from the 60's such as the Tonkas. The orange steel-wheeled paver is a Hubley. These toys were built to last, and work hard in the backyard or sandbox at the local park.

     The  Doepke company started in 1946 in Oakley, Ohio.It was started by Charles W.Doepke and his brother Fredrick. As the company grew, it moved to Rossmoyne, Ohio. The Doepkes wanted realistic toys, and were able to get a license to produce real-looking toys based on "real" toys like the Euclid Earth Mover owned at the time by GM.

     My personal toys that I have bought and sold were the Doepke sand movers. I wrote about them a long time ago ( 18 months). The 2 toys below have chains and/or a belt that move with turns of a handle. They are  fantastic toys to play with although at the time that I bought them, I felt I was too old to go play in the sandbox!

     If you do a search for Barber-Greene, you can find the "real" sand-moving machines on the Net. The toys look realistically like their real-life cousins!

Wow, it's November 1 already!

Thanks for dropping by,
and have a great morning, afternoon, or evening
wherever you are, and take care from that storm in the US!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fine Hubley Toys from a Fine Auctioneer

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Very Windy

Fine Hubley Toys from Dan Morphy Auctions
(A Fine Auctioneer) 
(Please click on the above address to be redirected to the Dan Morphy website)
(Please click on the above address to be redirected to the Dan Morphy website)

e     I don't know Mr. Dan Morphy or the company. However, my personal feelings are that he and the company are a fine company. I've mentioned my confidence in purchasing from an auctioneer. Auctioneers need to have a certain degree of trust by the public. As well, they attract sellers who have complete collections of toys that I have not seen with that much frequency (and sometimes never) on E-Bay. Of course, there is a premium to be paid for this, and that the auctioneer's premium that ranges from 15-18%, depending upon the auctioneer.

      I have the Permission from icollector to present their images to you on my blog. That also applies to images from the auction companies and galleries on their site. Yesterday's post was about old toy catalogues, and today is a presentation of some rarer Hubley toys. 

    I had in mind to create huge databases of every toy sold by Hubley, Arcade, and a few other toy companies. However, right now,I have to work with the people who have granted me permission to use their photos. I'm still working to get the permissions of other people, but that takes time, and convincing on my part. Also, I'm writing a lot of posts to catch up from my summer rest, so honing in on Hubley or Arcade toys is on the "backburner" for now. Moreover, I've taken an interest in mechanical tin wind-up toys, mechanical banks, and door stoppers, so the list gets longer and longer!

     Today's presentation are very nice Hubley toys. I've seen the "occasional" one on E-Bay, and of course on the Net, but never so many in 1 single auction. This past action from Dan Morphy Auctioneers had Hubley and Arcade cast iron toys,wind-up tin toys, and of course, those mechanical cast iron banks. But for today, the Hubleys will do.

     I've bought and sold only 2  similar items from the above Hubley toys. One was Hubley small motor boat (mine was green and a more common model about 3 3/4" long). The second one was the # 5 yellow cast iron racer. The sides of that particular car are removable to expose the black engine inside. I also sold an Arcade version of the toy above - the yellow and blue stake truck.

    It's nice to be able to access and download for my posts these nice old toys, and that's my post for today.

I hope everyone in the USA is coping with Hurricane Sandy.
This time, the American emergency agencies and servicea are preparing much more for this storm, and hopefully there will be minimal or no loss of life.

Thanks for visiting,
and have a safe and nice day,wherever you may be.