Archive › April, 2004

Friday, April 30, 2004

I walked into our classroom and sat down for our last morning of instruction, mentally reviewing all the information that I had been taught, trying to make sure it was properly filed away for future use. Like every other morning, I started my laptop and settled into the routine of opening the programs and files I would need throughout the day, including the now familiar Adobe Photoshop CS, a program that had been shrouded in mystery prior to this week’s instruction.

It was then that I was caught off guard. Instead of starting a teaching session, instructions for a final project were handed out. With a mixture of anticipation and apprehension, I read through them and got started.

At times the room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop, the silence being occasionally broken by quiet discussion as one student coached another through a step they had already taken. It was fun to see the final image take shape as I used many of the techniques that I had practiced individually to combine three different images into a final product. Knowing that there was no way I could have even attempted such a challenge the week before made the project both exciting and rewarding!

Later that afternoon, our group toured The Color Place, a digital imaging lab and printing plant, where we learned about many of the services that they offer digital photographers and designers. We saw a variety scanning and printing methods and even picked up prints of images that we had color corrected the day before.

Pixel This was an incredible course that gave me tools and techniques that I will definitely use in the future. It provided the foundation for a lifelong journey in digital imaging. I am excited to see where it will take me and how God will use it in the future!

—Pixel This Student Megan McGregor

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Thursday, April 29, 2004

If you hear the words ‘curves’, ‘layers’, ‘masks’, or ‘cloning’ what comes to mind? Well my thoughts before this week certainly didn’t have anything to do with Adobe Photoshop. We have been taught about these important tools all week, but it wasn’t until today that everything started to come together and really make sense to me. (My brain has been stretched so much!)

This morning we learned about the different kinds and brands of printers, ink and paper. (What not all printers, ink and paper are created equal?!!) After discussing this we learned about the importance of calibrating our computer monitors. The goal is to have what the printer prints match what we see on our computer screens. Not something I would have thought much about nor realized the importance of before taking this course.

In the afternoon we learned about cutting out images from one picture and putting them on different backgrounds–pretty cool stuff! We also learned different ways to save files, and were assigned several pictures to fix using all of the tools we had learned so far.

Our day was rounded out by the lively discussions at meal times and by being able to put into practice the things we are learning. Seeing our progress from the beginning of the week ’til now is very encouraging.

–Pixel This Student Amy Bell

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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Today I learned what may be one of the most important lessons of my life. It started at devotion time as one of our instructors, Will Thornton, shared about how we often overlook or don’t even notice the wonders of God in and around our lives.

As a photographer, we have to see the world from a different perspective-with a photographer’s eye. Things that we think are “normal” in our everyday lives lose their value. With a photographer’s eye, everything is new, wonderful, and grandiose. It’s as if you were a newborn child who is going out to explore the world!

As we see the world from this perspective, we have been taught to capture it through the help of the camera and our newest tool, Photoshop! After many hours of learning and practicing, we have been able to enhance, manipulate, and re-touch images so as to illustrate this new wonder at the work of God with the greatest possible impact.

I am grateful to God for this course and for teaching me to view the world from a different perspective, a photographer’s eye.

–Pixel This Student Bryan LaFaurie

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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Tuesday morning dawned bright and clear upon the nine eager digital-editors-in-training. We arrived downstairs ready to greet the day and open to learning something new about God’s Word and the wonderful world of digital imaging.

Rowan Gillson opened our Wisdom Search by having us read Proverbs 27. After some discussion, verse five (“Open rebuke is better than secret love”) seemed to come to new life as we began to see how it applies in our lives and our relationship with God. It quickly became clear that if we truly love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, then our love for Him cannot be secret.

After a delicious breakfast (and an invigorating brainstorming session about the endless possibilities of combining international IPS classes and missions trips), we had a quick lesson on using different programs to manage our images. Then we visited Old City Park in downtown Dallas to practice what we have learned about our digital cameras and getting the best pictures with them. The buildings and grounds of Old City Park make it a wonderful haven for photographers. The only problem is that there are so many pictures you could take and so little time in which to take them.

During our time at Old City Park we were to experiment with the ISO speed (lower is better), take pictures with correct and incorrect white balance settings, take a picture of an open door or window, take portraits of two different people, and last but not least-have fun! All of our objectives were accomplished.

We got an added bonus by being able to watch a real, live bank robbery! (Well, maybe it wasn’t real, or even remotely realistic, but it was live!) Two brave souls from our class were actually inside the bank as the events unfolded, and they managed to survive the experience. The reenactors at Old City Park were very accommodating, posing for pictures and making sure we all had a delightful experience.

In our afternoon classes, we began hands-on practice in touching up scanned photos, learned how to scan film, and discovered the best photo finish for optimal quality when scanning photos. (Matte finish is bad, very bad.)

We also learned the differences between flat bed and film scanners, and the best ways to use them. Did you know, for example, that flat bed scanners are really just big, digital cameras? They can even scan our instructor’s face! (Kids, don’t try this at home.)

After an exciting and challenging day, we were more than glad to retire to our rooms for the night, dreaming of the adventure that tomorrow would hold.

–Pixel This Student Jonelle Fields

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Monday, April 26, 2004

It is a challenge to try to consolidate what we learned today and report on just the highlights. I began Pixel This with a list of 22 questions about capturing and correcting digital images. After just the first day, I’ve learned the answers to 9 of them!


We toggled between sessions taught by Rowan Gillson and Peter Pallock, ranging from the fact that computers are made up of zeros and ones to the realization that a 3 megapixel camera uses 12 million microlenses. (That’s a lot of microlenses…)

Many other topics were explored including:

  • Factors to consider in selecting a digital camera.
  • Differences between vector and raster images.
  • Preserving image quality during resizing.
  • Tools necessary for effective digital editing.
  • Similarities and distinctions between film and digital photography.
  • Review of the basic principles of photography: composition, exposure, lighting, etc.
  • What you can and cannot fix in Photoshop.
  • Color correction techniques.
  • File management recommendations.

My favorite quote of the day came from Rowan, “LAB is perfect; it is like heaven for digital pictures.” (LAB is a constant to which input and output devices (e.g., printers, monitors, and scanners) are compared in order to maintain consistent color.)

I came to Pixel This to learn skills that would make me a better servant of the Lord as I take photographs and edit images for use in Christian ministry. What I learned today definitely helps me in that endeavor. I really am delighted to be here and can’t wait to find out what we are going to learn tomorrow!

A word to the wise, don’t let Peter catch you using the brightness/contrast tool in Photoshop. I’m not exactly sure what would happen if you did, but I have a feeling it is not a pretty picture!

–Pixel This Student Mary Kay Del Mul

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