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Posts by PeterS
Camera Sim

Learn How Your Camera Works!


Camera Sim

Camera Sim is great website to learn how each of the settings on your dSLR will affect an image.

Viewpoint Gallery Show

Viewpoint Gallery Show

Viewpoint Gallery Show

Image featured on poster by Elio Dolente / Concept and design by Peter Steeper

The Photographic Guild of Nova Scotia is presenting a show at the Viewpoint Gallery. I’m one of the orgnaizers for the show and one of my images will be featured during the show. Everyone is welcome to come to the opening reception on June 2nd and to the artist talk on June 19th. Hope to see you there!



Colour Issues on Digital Presses (updated)


In my day job I’m a production colour analyst/colour consultant at Xerox Canada. I’m often involved in troubleshooting colour printing issues on digital presses. Colour problems can be caused by hardware issues where the digital press is not functioning correctly or by using the wrong colour settings in applications, PDF files and print drivers. When I go on site my challenge is to determine whether the problem is with the digital press or the customer’s workflow. I use the procedures on the Colour Printing page and we have been training all of our service reps in these procedures so they can quickly determine if the digital press is printing colour accurately. These procedures have been recently updated to use the GRACoL 2006 Coated printing standard and G7 Gray Balance developed by the IDEAlliance. IDEAlliance sets the printing standards for North America including the SWOP and GRACoL standards.

The new Quality Control Document uses the GRACoL 2006 Coated profile and all our new digital presses now use this profile for CMYK press simulations. GRaCoL has a wider colour gamut than SWOP and uses more of the colours that can be achieved on a digital press. The Quality Control Document can be downloaded on the Colour Printing page and full instructions are including for using it to evaluate your digital press.

Learn More About Colour Management for Digital Printing

Xerox and the IDEAlliance are offering the Digital Colour Management Certification Course. Part I of the course includes 20 modules of online training covering all aspects of colour management in digital printing. The course is hosted by Dr. Abhay Sharma of Ryerson University in Toronto. Dr. Sharma has written books on colour management and is actively involved in developing printing standards with the IDEAlliance. Part II of the course is hands on and is presented by your local Xerox Colour Consultant. Contact your Xerox sales rep for more info and pricing.

The start of the 10K race for Skate the Common Marathon.

Canada Winter Games 02-2011


The start of the 10K race for Skate the Common Marathon.

The Canada Winter Games are coming to Halifax from February 11-27, 2011. I’m one of the volunteer photographers for the event and like any of the athletes it takes preparation to capture successful images. The speed skating is open to the public and Saturday was the Skate the Common Marathon. There were 100 skaters registered for both the 5K and 10K events. I spent the morning with another photographer Joyce who is good friend mine, photographing the races. It was a great warm up for the games.
I’ll be shooting at more preliminary events and during the games. You can see more of my images in my Winter Games collection on Flickr.

Digital Photography Basics Workshop – September 18 at SMU


Every year in September I organize a workshop for the Photo Guild called Digital Photography Basics. The hot topic this year is HD Video and most new dSLR cameras will feature HD video. The last episode of “House” this spring was shot using a Canon 5D MkII dSLR. This offers new creative opportunities for photographers and new skills to learn.

We will be featuring a presentations in the morning on High Definition Video as well as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. In the afternoon we take everyone out in the field to practice the new skills they learned in the morning. I’ll be leading a group in the afternoon. We will be learning how to use the basics like aperture, shutter speed and focal length creatively. Other groups in the another will be working with video, macro photography and other skills.

Registration starts at 8:30 am, Saturday, September 18. The morning seminars are at Burke Auditorium at Saint Mary’s University. Everyone is welcome and admission is $40 for a full day of workshops.

Check the Photo Guild website for updated info as more details are announced.

Big Comfy Couch Session

Using a Cybersync to Trigger a Camera


Big Comfy Couch Session

Ashley is home from Queen’s University and Friday night she and her some of her old friends from high school and new friends from Queen’s came over for a lobster boil. Her friends learned how to eat lobster and I had chance to test out some new gear.

After supper, the kids spent the night in the photo studio having a blast creating some classic images which I’m sure they will enjoy the rest of their lives. Ashley, the laughing blond on the left, has a Cybersync remote radio trigger in her hand which she used to trigger the camera for this image. The camera was connected to my computer and one of the monitors was turned to the couch so the kids could instantly see the results. This generated a lot of laughter!

While the kids were emptying my beer fridge, I setup the leather couch in the studio with a new 14″ x 63″ strip light softbox above and just behind the couch to use as a hairlight. The softbox came from Studio 98 on Ebay. I am pleased with the quality of the softbox¬† and it did an excellent job of lighting the full length of the couch. I also ordered a 2×2″ grate to go with the softbox but it is starting to come apart. The softbox was an excellent value at $59 but I can’t recommend the $20 optional grate.

I recently bought a cable from Flash Zebra that allows me to use one of my Alien Bee Cybersyncs to remotely trigger my camera. I bought it to trigger my camera for wildlife photos in our backyard and woods. To set it up, I connected a Cybersync to the Alien Bee AB800 flash above the couch and connected another Cybersync with a AB800 and beauty dish in front on the left. At my camera, I connected another Cybersync using the cable from Flash Zebra. The cable from Flash Zebra has a mini-plug on one end to connect to the Cybersync and the standard Canon remote jack on the other end.

I clicked the remote trigger and checked the camera but I had a black frame. After checking my settings on the camera, I tried it again and verified the flashes were triggered. Although the flashes fired I still had a black image on the camera. Apparently there is a slight delay as the camera focuses so the flashes do not sync with the camera shutter. To make it sync, I would need a second trigger on the camera using a different radio channel to trigger the lights. I only have one trigger.

I solved the problem by using my Canon 430ex flash on my camera to trigger the optical slaves on the Alien Bee flashes. I set the 430ex to manual and minimum power. I had to remove the Cybersyncs from the Alien Bees as the optical slaves do not work when the Cybersyncs are connected. This worked!

The camera was tethered to my computer using a USB cable so the images could viewed immediately on the monitor. The monitor was turned towards the couch and the kids had a great time seeing their pictures. They were laughing all night!

Adobe Lightroom 3 now supports tethered shooting and I tried it with my Canon 50D. The transfer times were very slow so I switched to the Canon EOS Utility. Transfer times were faster so we used it. I don’t know if Lightroom is just slow or I was using the wrong settings. I need to investigate.

The only cable used with setup was the USB cable from the camera. I’d like to use a wireless connection to the camera but I can’t afford Canon’s $700 wireless adaptor for the 50D. Eye-Fi has a “Pro Wireless” memory card that can transmit the images through your wireless router to your computer. While the Eye-Fi Pro version supports RAW images, it only comes in a SD card format. It seems to me that a pro version should come in a compact flash version. I know you can get SD to CF converters so I may get one sometime.

The new gear worked great and the kids had a great time creating their own images in the studio.


Daylily Daze


Neal Berry Daylily

I’ll be speaking at Daylily Daze, Saturday July 3th, about creating a photo blog to show off your garden and daylilies. Daylily Daze is hosted by the Nova Scotia Daylily Society at First Baptist Church Hall 1839 Hammonds Plains Rd. Events run from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. My presentation is at 1:00 pm.


  • Selecting and preparing photos
  • Creating a free blog using Blogger
  • Creating a blog using WordPress and a hosting service
  • Getting your own domain name
  • Using widgets to enhance your blog
  • Using a calendar app
  • Communicating with groups

Links to sites mentioned in the presentation:

DND Family Days June 25, 2010


As you know I work for Xerox and every year we sponsor DND Family Days to support our troops. Last we did family portraits for 4300 people in two days and we will be doing portraits again this year although it is only a one day event. I expect it will be very busy so come early if you are planning to get your portraits done. Portraits are free to members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families.

We’ve Moved and Renovated!


Well it’s the same address but as you can see we have made some changes. The site is now on a server provided by Alan Joyce at What@Site. Alan is a friend of mine and he provides hosting services for several hundred sites. If you are looking for personal service he’s the guy.

This site was built using WordPress which I used for the old site but this is a better theme for displaying my photography. This theme is called Mystique by DigitalNature.  It has a great API for linking to my photos at

I plan to update the site more often and photos are updated often at

What colour is my click?


For print shops to win bids in a competitive market, it is important to price jobs correctly. It is also important that print jobs have predictable costs to make a profit.
Printers often receive jobs which appear to contain a mix of colour and B&W pages and the job is priced accordingly to win the bid.
Sometimes these mixed jobs generate all colour click charges and all the profit on the job is lost or creates a financial loss. I’ve had customers who have run very large mixed jobs only to find out every page was a colour click even though most of pages appeared to be black and white when they opened the job in Acrobat.
To avoid this problem you can preflight the job in Acrobat Pro to find out which pages are colour or B&W and then convert the pages that should be B&W. Versions 8 and 9 of Acrobat Pro have excellent tools for print production to check for many things that are important to a print shop.

Preflighting in Acrobat Pro

If you check under the Advanced or Print Production menu in Acrobat Pro 9 you will see Preflight. Preflight is also available in Acrobat Pro 8 and it is similar to 9.
You can download this sample file to try preflighting in Acrobat Pro. The sample PDF file has one page with colour elements and a second page which appears to be B&W. Both pages will generate colour click charges on a digital press. The sample was created using MS-Word and Excel and converted to B&W using the high quality print setting.
When you open Preflight, it loads a large variety of preflight profiles to check for various standards compliance and issues you might encounter when printing. We are going to use the Digital Printing (B/W) profile located in Digital printing and online publishing section. If you click on the edit button you can see all checks that are done by this profile. Some of the checks will generate warnings while other checks generate errors or information.
Click on analyze to preflight the PDF file.
Once it is done preflighting, a preflight report is created under the Results tab. Click on the drop down beside Document Images on CMY plates. You will see one colour image on page 1 but there are many colour images on page 2. Page 2 appears to be a B&W page when you look at it or print it!
Click on any of the colour images and then click on the show button. This will highlight the colour element in the PDF file. If you click on Show in Snap the colour element will be displayed in a small window.
There is another way to check pages for colour elements. Close the Preflight window and select Output Preview under the Print Production menu.
Output Preview show separations by default and will list all colour plates. If there are Pantone plates in the job it will list the Pantone colours as well. Deselect the check box beside Process Black. If there are no colour elements on the page, all the black items should disappear. In the sample PDF file nothing disappears! We can fix this problem.

Converting Colour Pages to B&W

You can convert the colour pages to B&W by selecting Convert Colours under the Print Production menu. In this example we need to convert page 2 but you can convert both pages to see what happens.
In the Convert Colour dialog box make sure Any Object, Any Profile, Convert to Profile is selected. Beside Conversion Profile, click on the drop down menu and scroll to the very bottom where you will see several profiles for converting to B&W. Select Gray Gamma 2.2. This is B&W on a PC. The various Dot Gain profiles also convert to B&W and they will make images lighter or darker depending on which one you choose.
At the bottom, under convert pages, you can select which pages you want to convert. Try converting all the pages so you see the colour image on page 1 change to grayscale. After you have converted the colours, use save as to create a new version of the PDF file.
Now try preflight again with the Digital Print (B/W) profiles and you will see all the colour objects are gone.


To save yourself money, time and frustration, you should always preflight any file you receive from a customer. The preflight tools in Acrobat Pro 8 and 9 make it easy to correct many printing issues.

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