No Hablo Photoshop

I have mentioned in earlier posts that I would like to learn Spanish. Every so often I set myself up with the iPod to listen to a lesson, but I typically find that I just don’t have the concentration to really enjoy it. My mind is going in so many new directions already, learning a language seems to be one goal too many. Last night I went through the process again, and started listening to ways to explain my level Spanish speaking ability. It wasn’t inspiring me, and I found myself thinking “I can’t learn Spanish now; I need to learn Photoshop”.

That seemed like an odd combination of ideas, but when I thought about it, learning a new computer application, particularly Photoshop, is very similar to learning a language. One of the things Photography Shop owners tell me “professional photographers” do is use Photoshop CS6. As a consequence I decided to download the free month trial and see how I go. I have been watching the video tutorials and doing some practice and I am blown away by what it can do, but also how much there is to learn.

Photography is a means of communication, and being able to manipulate a photograph to say exactly what I want to say is becoming increasingly important. I have a few fantastic photos that have problems that are beyond the capacity if iPhoto to rectify adequately. One common issue is the need to lighten the shadows without blowing out the sky. The other is the need to disappear annoying little people and objects who I didn’t see when I took the shot.

Like mastering a new language, learning Photoshop is a great test of frustration tolerance and persistence. I watched the video on Dodge and Burn and thought I had those annoying dark shadows all worked out, until I realised I was doing permanent changes to the background (ie changing the base image), rather than removing the shadows in a separate process that could be reversed. So there I am clicking about, trying to work out how to dodge those shadows without doing a destructive edit  on the image. (Thats special photography talk). It was like standing in the Paris metro trying to dredge up enough vocabulary to ask the way to the Eiffel Tower. “I thought I knew this, why can’t I do it.” Using a program for real, to do a particular task, is much harder that it looks, just like speaking a new language for real is very different to an in-class exercise. So at the moment is No Hablo Photoshop (I don’t speak Photoshop). But I hope to learn.

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Reasons to learn Photoshop: People and garbage bags.

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