PhotoshopNews » Widows Club The latest news about the top pixel wrangling application on the planet. Sun, 17 Jul 2011 17:19:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 See Tom Dance Thu, 25 May 2006 20:15:15 +0000 Becky Schewe
Dance Tom, dance!
Thomas Knoll the original co-author of Photoshop and primary engineer on Camera Raw and DNG has discovered a new engineer’s dance in a small Masai village deep in Tanzania: The Binary Dance. It’s so easy, even an engineer can do it…
up, down, up, down – repeat.

Find out more about Tom’s dance in Travels with Thomas – Africa
By the “Original” Photoshop Widow – Ruth Knoll

In the inauguration of her new website, Ruth writes about her trip to Africa last year with Thomas.

Africa – July 2005 wildlife tour with Andy Bigs

Ruth Knoll on safari in Africa
“With access to some of the best digital camera equipment in the world, I shoot video. Camera equipment shows up on our door step two or three times a week. Thomas’ camera collection is the state of the art equipment and yet, I’ve chosen video. Why video? I ask myself this many times during the editing process. Final Cut Pro is no easy software package to learn to use. Disk space vanishes before my very eyes. Sleep vanishes before my very eyes. And yet, I’ve not produced a finished DVD of any of our trips.”
– Ruth Knoll

Ruth’s African Experience has given inspiration to this year’s Photoshop Soup2Nutz event…where the top Photoshop talent will be descending upon Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Presenters include:
Bruce Fraser
Scott Kelby
Thomas Knoll
(yes, THE Thomas Knoll)
Marc Pawliger (Director of Photoshop engineering)
Jeff Schewe
Seth Resnick
Ben Wilmore & more…

In addition to more Photoshop sessions than you can shake a stick at, there’s also a special trip to shoot (cameras, no guns) at the Toledo Zoo.

Online registration is available.
One day pass from $150, two day pass from $275. Toledo Zoo Event $125/person.

About Ruth Knoll
As the original Photoshop Widow, Ruth has had plenty of time to develop and pursue her own interests. She has a wide variety of interests: pottery, weaving, gardening and now apparently, video, just to name a few. She and her family travel extensively; from the Antarctic to Africa to the Galapagos and Italy, their travels are wonderfully narrated by Ruth. Her energy and generosity are boundless for worthy causes including Heifer International and Growing Power. For more information about this remarkable woman, check out

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Photoshop Widows Club – Rebecca Schewe Fri, 10 Jun 2005 16:17:08 +0000 Becky Schewe Once upon a time, I fell in love with an artist who couldn’t draw, Jeff Schewe. Luckily he found out that with a camera he could accomplish what he couldn’t in other mediums. We set up a studio, worked together and lived happily . . . until one day, he met Photoshop.

Hi, my name is Becky Schewe and I am an unwitting member of the Photoshop Widows Club. I guess it’s the same old story but now that it’s personal, I have a new respect for those who wait and wonder.

I should have seen it coming years ago when it was foreshadowed, back in 1992. Jeff got an assignment to photograph a huge machine sucking up garbage. In trying to figure out how to make huge amounts of waste look like it was being sucked into this machine, he came up with the idea of using this new tool he had heard of called Photoshop.

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This is the garbage shot. Smelled just like it looks.

After making the photograph of the basic setup and getting them scanned he realized that it would require a lot more computer power than we had. He rented a Mac IIci with a whopping 64MB of ram (that’s what he tells me) and set it up in his office on a Friday afternoon. For the first 15 minutes or so that he began work, I was all excited and watched to see the magic – seeing nothing much happen, I quickly lost interest and went home (luckily we lived close, above our studio).

At dinnertime, Jeff was a no show so I brought down his food and placed it next to the keyboard. The first of many a neglected meal. A few hours later I came back to say goodnight and in the glare of the monitor I saw my future – an unresponsive Jeff clicking with rapt attention and making small dotted lines.

I checked in on him from time to time on Saturday and at times he would gleefully show me what he had done. Bringing food and drink became my primary function. At some point that day he had an epiphany – he could save paths or channels! – or something like that. I’ve actually never seen him happier – not driving home a new car, not opening our first studio, not getting a free mocha (well, this is close). This was a new man I was seeing. This was a Photoshop convert.

He continued to work through that Sunday – after all, the job had to be delivered Monday morning. Late that night I told him it looked done, just like the layout – like it had that morning in my opinion – but he said “Almost, just a few more tweaks” (prophetic).

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This is the finished image. Honestly, it looked the same to me at about 11:00 a.m. Sunday. As a side note, these two garbage images are the original files. This article could have been posted two weeks ago but Jeff wanted to find the original file. He could have reproduced this image from the original film in about 10 minutes but noooo. He had to have the original. Finding the file wasn’t as hard as opening it. He worked all day hooking up old computers and drives and I don’t know what all until sometime in the wee hours, he pulled it up. Way too geeky.

Monday morning I came down to the studio to find him asleep, face down on the keyboard. Only exhaustion had stopped the incessant clicking. He had to relinquish the project to the art director or he would easily have worked on that picture for another week. It wasn’t that the picture needed anything more, he did. He needed to find out how much more was possible, how much faster, how much easier it could be done. He was hooked and our lives took another unexpected turn.

That Monday wasn’t the first time Jeff fell asleep where he sat. Here he is after a sunrise shot “having breakfast” with the art director.

Needing to know all the capabilities of this new tool, Jeff helped organize a class in Camden, Maine at the then, Center for Creative Imaging. He set off for a week-long emersion Photoshop class. This is the first time that Jeff left me for Photoshop. The class was held during the day with the lab available to students throughout the night. Jeff requires little sleep but I think even he became sleep deprived while cramming all the information into his brain.

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These are the images that Jeff brought back from Camden. Hard to see from these how Photoshop was going to change our lives. While Jeff was very proud and excited, I much preferred the work he was already doing.

When he got home, his excitement had only been fanned and he asked if we could afford a computer system capable of running Photoshop at an optimal level. I don’t remember anything about the system except that it would cost almost $30,000. I said no. I am the accountant after all. He spent the next two days explaining how the industry would change, how the computer would pay for itself, how his work would evolve. We ordered the system that week. He was right: it paid for itself before it even arrived. We had to rent another computer to work on two jobs before we got our own system installed.

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Here are the images that paid for our computer with Photoshop and made the accountant in me feel much, much better. I also think they’re kind of cool.

Obsessive and a visionary.

Unfortunately, Photoshop’s need for power meant rearranging our lives a bit. Before Photoshop, we had a lovely sunlit, plant filled, client area complete with comfy sofa oriental rug. The computer didn’t have enough room on Jeff’s original desk, so the desk moved into the client area. As the computer and Photoshop didn’t like light, the blinds were always closed and the plants started to yellow so they have been relocated as well. The clients had to sit in the kitchen (well, to be honest, they always had before). Eventually, the computer room (we don’t even call it Jeff’s office, the computer rules) wasn’t efficient enough so we had custom cabinets and counters put in. I didn’t even get this kind of custom work for my kitchen.

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This first picture (left) is of our client area at the studio, a lovely place for even family to relax (that’s me and our daughter Erica). Next is the makeshift space that the computers started to create. However, you can clearly see how uncomfortable our dog, Max, is working at the second station. Finally, Photoshop paid for its own renovations for this recent computer room setup (right).

Today, as a long time alpha and beta tester of Photoshop, he spends his time on the computer trying to break Photoshop or at trade shows or with other Photoshop gurus. Even though he is brilliant and conversant on many subjects, it is hard to escape his favorite topic (Photoshop) for even an afternoon. I tried to get him interested in a completely different activity to get him back outside – he had traded sunlight for monitor light and was starting to resemble a large white mole. He chose motorcycling. Great. From sitting hours on end in the dark in front of the Mac to sitting hours on end on the road – to Photoshop events – but that’s a story for another day.

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Here you see Jeff with his BMW R1100GS AND his laptop (with Photoshop installed of course). Don’t leave home without it.

In an effort to keep in touch with my husband, I learned how to ride a motorcycle (well, I always wanted to anyway). Now, I rather look forward to Photoshop events across country because we often ride to them together. Each year I ride (solo) down to Santa Fe to hook up with Jeff after he teaches his Photoshop class and we have a wonderful time riding back through the West (making frequent photo stops). Of course, the laptop and an assortment of digital cameras come with us. Packed on his bike, fortunately.

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Here I am after some Photoshop event on my BMW650CS in Glacier National Park. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you Photoshop.

It’s not all negative. Since I’m not needed as much in the studio, I have some free time. I have new friends and interests now. I’ve learned to enjoy watching movies on my own. Aside from motorcycling I’ve taken up singing, pottery and foreign languages. I read more. I’ve learned to adapt – and to look like I’m actually listening to the latest Photoshop news. After all, I don’t need to listen, I don’t use Photoshop. Why should I when I have my own “in-house” Photoshop expert?

To read additional stories, click on the Photoshop Widows Club editorial category.

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Photoshop Widows Club – The Extremist Fri, 27 May 2005 15:42:38 +0000 Ruth Knoll Years ago, Thomas took a liking to hot sauce. As we all know from my previous Widows Club stories, Thomas is obsessive, to the point of being an extremist. So, I’d have to say that Thomas took an extreme liking to hot sauce. At first he would have a bottle of TABASCO® Red Pepper Sauce on the kitchen table or ask for it at a restaurant. Then he discovered TABASCO Green Pepper Sauce. It went on everything. The new flavor was great but it just did not have the zip that TABASCO Red did.

Soon the heat and tingle of the sauce just started to fade – he was up to about a half a small (2 oz.) bottle a week at this point.

Thomas was looking for something with a real kick. He searched until he found Dave’s Insanity Sauce. Now that had a kick, but no flavor.

Friends, Anjali and Jay, originally from Gujarat, India, know what spicy food is all about. Gujarat is home to some of the hottest food on the face of the earth. Anjali and Jay both know how to use spice and how to cook with it. Never turn down an invitation to dinner at their house. Jay about turned inside out from Tom’s application of Dave’s Insanity Sauce to a taste of his dinner. Tom just wanted Jay to get the idea that it had no flavor. Thomas gave up on Dave’s.

Thomas continued his search for the best hot sauce. After experimenting with different hot sauces, he very quickly settled on TABASCO Habanero Pepper Sauce, the hottest sauce with the best heat/flavor ratio.

The new Habanero fetish quickly became a full blown addiction. Large (5 oz.) sized bottles started to disappear in a week.


TABASCO FACTOID: TABASCO pepper sauce is made from a variety of pepper called Capsicum frutescens, known for centuries in Latin America and first recorded in 1493 by Dr. Chauca, the physician on Columbus’ voyage.

Capsicum peppers contain an alkaloid called capsaicin, a spicy compound found in no other plant.


After many months of being satisfied with keeping the sauce on the table, Thomas finally gave in and started carrying it with him wherever he went. A bottle was in his pocket upon leaving the house. TABASCO went on everything no matter where he was eating.

Now that Thomas always had a bottle of TABASCO with him, bottles started appearing in the car door pocket. Never leave home without it. Bottles are even in the arm rest storage pocket of our airplane. Sometimes the bottles leek a bit and drip. This provides a bit of perfume for the car or plane.

At Panera’s in Ann Arbor, the manager took a picture of Thomas’ bottle on the table to send to Panera’s Corporate headquarters as proof that people really do want hot sauce available for soup and sandwiches.


TABASCO FACTOID: TABASCO has been produced by the McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, Louisiana, since 1868, holding the second-oldest U.S. food patent. Several new types of sauces are now produced under the name TABASCO Sauce, including green pepper, chipotle, Habanero, and garlic sauces.


With a growing addiction, Thomas found it hard to keep sauce in constant supply. Sometimes confusing it for V8, an entire bottle might disappear in a day. Super markets would be decimated of their supply when Thomas went shopping. Cash register clerks would ring up bottle after bottle in disbelief. Then when he would return a few weeks later for more, whispering started.

To stop the endless search for 5 oz bottles of TABASCO Habanero, Thomas ordered it by the case directly from In fact he ordered so much that TABASCO sent him a baseball cap with a letter thanking him for being such a wonderful customer.

I was informed, with great disappointment, that Habanero did not come in gallons as did TABASCO Red.

Reliable sources have confirmed that while Rose the dog is allowed to lick plates clean after a Knoll dinner, Rose has begun to sniff the plates very carefully and tends to leave Thomas’ plate relatively un-licked. However, her tolerance of hot sauce seems to be growing.

Throughout his addiction I’ve learned to sit up wind of him at meals when there is a breeze. The aroma of it permeates the area. I’m thinking of banning it from the breakfast table as other wives have banned smoking in the house.


TABASCO FACTOID: What are Scoville Units? In 1912, Wilbur L. Scoville, a pharmacist, devised the first modern technique for measuring a pepper’s bite. Peppers measured using this technique range from 0 Scoville units, for the bell pepper, to 350,000 units, for the Mexican habanero. The original TABASCO variety measures 2,500 to 5,000 units on the Scoville scale while the Habanero Pepper Sauce is 7,000-8,000units.


So where was this addiction to go? What was there to look forward to?

With clammy palms and trembling fingers, Thomas searched the web. Finally at long last, TABASCO came out with Habanero by the gallon.

The hot sauce junkie was in heaven. Enough to last for a while. Enough to smother dinner in. Enough to keep the DTs at bay.

My shopping duties took me to Gordon’s Whole Sale and Restaurant Supply Store where I found traditional red plastic squeeze bottles used for catsup and a pump for gallon sized containers of catsup, mustard and mayo.

Without a second thought I purchased these items and returned home triumphantly with the perfect gift for the habanero addict.


I’ve had no comment on them except to find them in use – pump in the gallon of TABASCO habanero and the full red squeeze bottle on the counter next to the salt. And Thomas with a content look on his face.


TABASCO FACTOID: When all four production lines at the Avery Island factory are in operation, over 600,000 2-ounce bottles of TABASCO Sauce can be made in a single day. Each 2-ounce bottle of TABASCO Sauce contains at least 720 drops. (There are 60 drops per teaspoon; 3 teaspoons per tablespoon; 2 tablespoons per fluid ounce and 2 fluid ounces per bottle).


The benefit of this addiction is that I’ve found I can cook almost anything and Tom likes it! No complaints about anything except cucumbers and coleslaw.



You are all welcome to come and see this particular addiction for yourselves.

Great Lakes Digital: Photoshop Soup2Nuts 2.0 has many meal opportunities for observation of this addiction. I know Tom’s place at the table will be well marked with the bottle of TABASCO next to the beverage glass.

My seat will not be so marked. I plan on banning hot sauce from the table. Anyone who desires to join me in the hot sauce free zone can find me on June 24 and 25 at Great Lakes Digital for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Friday and then again for breakfast and lunch on Saturday.

I hope to see many of you at GLD in the hot sauce free zone and at the wonderful sessions that are planned for the first conference on Photoshop CS2.

Oh, and by the way, as far as addictions go, this one is easy to deal with. I just worry if the EPA would classify a broken gallon of Habanero as a toxic spill.

Upon reading this to Thomas, he is smiling like a kid in a candy shop and giggling like a cat that just ate the canary.

You are all welcome to verify the truth of this story with your own observations.

Ruth Knoll
President, Photoshop Widows Club.



What Thomas is ACTUALLY smiling about is the thought that he may get the Ultimate TABASCO gift for Father’s Day. Available at the TABASCO Country Store.


TABASCO FACTOID: TABASCO brand pepper sauce is made with three simple ingredients: fully-aged red pepper, high grain all-natural vinegar, and a small amount of salt mined right on Avery Island. It’s pure pepper sauce—no additives whatsoever.

The TABASCO brand Pepper Sauce Nutrition Facts;
Serving size: 1tsp (5ml)
Servings: about 30 (per 5 oz. bottle)
Amount per Serving:
Calories 0
Total Fat 0g (0% DV)
Sodium 30mg* (1% DV)
Total Carb. 0g (0% DV)
Protein 0g
Vitamin A (4% DV)
* 2.18mg or less sodium per 1/16 of a teaspoon, an average shake-on serving.
Not a significant source of calories from fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, sugar, vitamin C, calcium and iron. Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

TABASCO®, the TABASCO® diamond logo, and the TABASCO® bottle design
are registered trademarks exclusively of McIlhenny Co., Avery Island, LA 70513.

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Photoshop Widows Club – Parte Due Sun, 01 May 2005 18:25:10 +0000 Ruth Knoll

Camera Raw, the Real History
(Or why Ruth Knoll is still the President of the Photoshop Widows Club.)

Long, long ago in a land far away, Thom Solo was on the quest to find the biggest and best photon collector from the dark corners of the galaxy: the Canon D60. He could not wait to get his hands on the raw data straight from the photonic sensors. The chase was on, would the D60 arrive before we left for our family vacation to Italy?

Little did I know at the time that THE RAW was gathering from the dark edges of the imagination.

After frantic calls to FedEx to determine the exact location of the D60, it appeared that Princess Adobe would be able to build the democracy of RAW on the west coast of Italy. With the suitcases piled at the front door and the Metro Car in the driveway waiting to take us to the airport, FedEx arrived with the D60. Trailing packing material down the driveway, the D60 had taken 50 exposures before we made it to the interstate. With the manual tucked away for emergency use only, RAW was in the early stages of conception east bound on I-94 somewhere near the Romulus exit.

Waiting in line to check in for our flight, going through security, and finding the gate was just the prelude to the kind of quality time we would have in the departure area of Northwest airlines. It was time available to continue the yet unknown development of Camera Raw. I sat watching Tom in that departure lounge intensely working with the camera, down loading pictures and muttering.

When Tom twists his lower jaw so the that upper and lower incisors come together at a right angle and he grinds them together, I know something is wrong. When he mutters under his breath it just confirms the dark side. Snippets of: “I knew the software was bad, this is worse than I thought, how could they do this to such a beautiful camera?*” came floating through the departure lounge.

This is a historical reinactment of Thomas Knoll shooting daughter Hannah’s Ear. Photo Credit for this authentic reinactment, Ruth Knoll. Note, the SpectraLight Jr. is the very same unit on which Thomas shot the color samples for most all of the 75 + cameras that Camera Raw supports.

I knew that Tom was a man obsessed, so when I saw him taking picture after picture of our daughter Hannah’s ear, I thought nothing of it. However, thirty minutes later, he was still taking pictures of her ear. I watched for a while, and still he continued. I’ve heard of obsession, but this crossed the line into something more. Exactly what, I didn’t know, but I prayed that it was not a fetish.

I could stand it no longer and inquired about the apparent obsession with Hannah’s ear. “I need a standard picture to compare to others after varying only one setting on the camera at a time so that I can figure out how the meta data is stored in the raw file.” Our daughter’s ear had just become the standard for the development of Camera Raw.

Note: this is a recreation of the shots done by Thomas of Hannah’s ear. Alas, due to the fact that Thomas was only using these shots as F Stop tests to determine the correct metadata encoding, he threw out the original relics of much historical value. However, this “Hanna’s ear shot” is an authentic recreation by Ruth Knoll.

This technique was nothing new to me and made perfect sense. I had done something like this in college to figure out a database structure so that I could write the software properly for an exam. Put standard “knowns” in the file, look for them and then use the hex editor to extract the needed information. I refined this ability to replace expiration dates in demo software for clients when sales folks forgot to deliver the non-demo version of the software on time. Piece of cake!!

Tom spent the entire flight from Detroit to Rome huddled over the tray table with the computer and the camera. There were obstacles, the camera and computer could not be used at the same time, and when the seat in front of Tom came back, groans could be heard since the screen on the laptop was then at about a 70° angle to the keyboard. Nothing would get in the way, the true beauty of the D60 had to shine to the world. As the cabin lights dimmed after dinner, I reclined in my seat covered with a blanket and watched Tom, still muttering and grinding his teeth, across the aisle from me, bathed in the soft glow of MacLight from the computer screen.

We arrived in Pisa with enough time to look at the Leaning Tower. It was late in the day and was raining. We packed ourselves back into our small rental car with me at the wheel and started our drive to Crévole. The drive to Tuscany was “lovely”, complete with luggage, two children and Tom working on the laptop. During the drive through the Italian countryside from Pisa to Crévole the weather changed from rain to sun. Tom, however, had not changed. He was still hunched over the laptop muttering.

The beautiful farmhouse that would be our home for the next week was over-looking the long shadowed, undulating Tuscan hills in the last rays of evening sunshine; che bella. Rolling hills, olive trees, warm sunny days, cool evenings and fields bright with lightning bugs was the standard of the week.

Archeologists have determined that this is the actual farmhouse where the Knoll family stayed. The Photograph is believed to have been shot with that original Canon D60 camera by Thomas Knoll.

Early the next beautiful morning, when I was just getting back from the bakery with warm bread and cheese for breakfast, I heard Tom’s voice floating out of our upstairs bedroom window, “Ruth, come look at this.” I ran, wondering what he could see out the window that I was missing. It had nothing to do with the view from the window or the Tuscan countryside. He wanted me to tell him which picture of Hannah’s ear appeared better on the computer screen. “Oh. Is that all?” I asked. “Well, the one on the left.” “Oh” was the reply. “Coming for breakfast?” I asked. No answer. I had my breakfast, da solo, under the umbrella in the backyard overlooking the rolling golden fields of cyprus lined Tuscan vineyards.

Research has shown that this is the very scene that Ruth Knoll saw while eating her breakfast under the Tuscan sky – alone.

The rest of the week in Tuscany proceeded in much the same manner. I was out most mornings for an early solo exploration of the countryside, driving along the quaint country roads and enjoying the freshness of the day. Tom was focused on getting the most from his new camera files. The image appearance had to improve, the data were there, they just needed some coaxing to overcome their shyness in their raw format.

I would return with breakfast and while gathering up the bags from the bakery would be greeted by the now familiar refrain: “Ruth, come look at this” floating on the air out of the bedroom window. I’d reply on my way up the stairs: “The one on the left.”

Sources have indicated that this is the very bed upon which Thomas Knoll toiled to create Camera Raw. It is believed to be the bed where Ruth and Thomas slept. However, from historical records, it’s unclear whether or not Mr. Knoll actually slept.

We had joined our friends and Ann Arbor neighbors at the house in Crévole for the week and the continued trip to Rome. I’m not sure what they thought of my early morning summons to look at ear pictures, but I know that I enjoyed their company while overlooking the fields of Tuscany.

It is thought that this photograph represents the standard fare prepared for lunch. It is unclear whether the photographer ever ate any of the food or if he was simply content to use this image as an example of the D60 sensor’s response to”Mixed Light” situations.

We spent a week exploring Siena, Firenze, The Uffizi, San Gimignano and the tiny streets of Crévole. Tom, with his right eye looking through the lens of the trusty D60, had only a mono vision approach to the wonders of yore, while the rest of us enjoyed a binocular view. We were fortunate not to be obsessed with photography but rather with viewing the grandeur of the ancient.

I looked around at the Uffizi seeing Rubens originals, followed by da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and Botticelli. All the wonders I’d read about I could now see in person. It was fantastico. Photography, however, was prohibited and it took its toll on the one obsessed; torn between the ancient and modern wonders of the world.

Technical analysis of this photograph indicates it was probably shot in Siena, which was founded by the Etruscans and became a Roman colony known as Saena Julia. Siena is built across a range of small hills, a unique position which gives it a pleasant atmosphere of being a collection of smaller towns. Since the thirteenth century it has been divided into three terzi, arranged around the splendid Campo. These terzi are in turn subdivided into contrade, seventeen in all, which play a hugely important role in the life of the city. It is presumed that Mr. Knoll took this photograph to test the resolving capability of the raw file and to determine the optimal demosaicing algorithms to achieve the prefect raw processed image. On the other hand, perhaps he just thought it was a nice picture.

We said arriverderci to Tuscany and traveled on to Rome. Rome, founded by the twins Romulus and Remus, seat of an empire, origins of poetry, mathematics and literature, wonders of construction lasting the millennia and still working. Rome, the city of fountains, and now, Raw software refinement. Finally, Raw was ready for use.

Based upon the position and angle of the shot, it appears than Mr. Knoll was wading in the fountain. An examination of police records from the dates in question reveal however that the carabiniere did not arrest Mr. Knoll.

My first experience driving in Rome jolted Tom and his computer to the realities of modern Roman traffic patterns. Carefully placing the computer in its padded case, he pulled out his trusty hand held GPS to assist in the navigation to our hotel. The instructions came fast: turn right at the next corner, then left and three blocks, then right. I tried to keep up, but the road built for three lanes of traffic was 5 cars abreast with swarms of mopeds engulfing cars as they crept forward in rush hour traffic. At the instruction to move right, I found myself pointed into the side of an articulated bus, with the letters ATAC painted on the side appearing all too close to the wind shield of the car. Finally, with my hands white from strangling the steering wheel, we arrived in one piece, fortunatamente, at our hotel.

It is believed that this photograph depicts the Colosseum, the gathering place of ancient Rome made famous by the Riddley Scott movie “Gladiator” starring Russell Crowe in his Oscar winning portrayal of Maximus. It is unknown whether Mr. Knoll ever saw the movie.

Rome is where RAW cut it’s teeth on Trajan’s column, the Roman Forum, the Capitoline Hill and the Coloseum. The images of Rome started to appear on the screen for discernment. I was more interested in the images themselves rather than choosing the one on the right or left. Evenings were spent reviewing the photon capture of the day: I, from the perspective of the ancient wonder, Tom from the wonder of the capture. After some calling back to modernity, I did see a difference between the one on the right and the one on the left.

This photograph appears to be yet another iteration of the Ear of Hannah. Speculation is that Knoll was trying to use variations of the ear to determine the proper white balance of the D60 camera. Later tests indicate Mr. Knoll gave up shooting the ear in favor of a GretagMacbeth ColorChecker which presumably was more useful for determining the spectral response of the sensor.

The true beauty of the D60 was shining through along with our family vacation pictures. Refinement of the Raw software went on into the night. Again, I reclined in bed watching Tom bathed in MacLight muttering at the screen.

Looking back on it now, it seems fitting to me that the ancient origins of Camera Raw, three years ago is ancient in computer terms, developed amidst the ancient history of Italy.

It is presumed that Mr. Knoll had finally lost his fixation on Hannah’s ear at this point of the expedition.

I am also struck by oddity of the parody “RAW WARS”. You see, it really ought to be a parody on Shrek, since earwax seems more apropos than midi-chlorians.

*Refinements in language have been used for political correctness.

Stay tuned for more tales from the Photoshop Widow’s Club.

As a result of the outpouring of reaction to the original Photoshop Widows Club story, a new web site has been created:, where the original story and others will be stored.

Also note that both Ruth Knoll – Photoshop Widows Club President and Thomas Knoll – Chief Photoshop Widowmaker, will be at the Great Lakes Digital Conference: Photoshop Soup2Nuts 2.0

Joining Ruth & Thomas will be:

Scott Kelby
Maggie Taylor
Jerry Uelsmann
Bruce Fraser
Dan Burkholder
Michael Grecco
Richard Newman
Jeff Schewe

You can register for the event online.

Proceeds from this event will benefit educational scholarships at:
Washtenaw Community College and Summers-Knoll School.

All photographs © by Thomas Knoll, except the “Historical Reinactment ” and “Hannah’s Ear” shots © by Ruth Knoll.

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The Photoshop Widows Club Fri, 01 Apr 2005 20:17:40 +0000 Ruth Knoll I do many things, and I learn quickly, but writing has never been a strong suit of mine. I hope you will bear with me while my learning curve grows. Telling tall tales is my strong suit–especially when the tale is true. Given who I am, I know many true tall tales.

Early on when Photoshop was the hot news in its new shrink-wrapped box sitting on the shelf in the computer software store, I’d ask clerks to recommend a “graphics software package”. The answer was always Photoshop.

The Photoshop 1 box.

Being from Ann Arbor, I’d then ask the unsuspecting sales techie: “What was the story behind the development of Photoshop?” I’d get stories you wouldn’t believe. Then I’d ask: “Now do you want to know the real story?”

The answer was always an eager, “Yes!”

I would answer that it was developed and written in my living room by my graduate student husband with our cat sitting on his chest. Uniformly, the look of “you’ve got to be kidding” would cover their faces. You see how a wonderfully unbelievable tall tale can also be the absolute truth.

Thomas and the “Consultants”.

I suppose I should introduce myself. I’m Ruth Summers Knoll, wife of Thomas Knoll, original author of Photoshop 1.0 and I believe, 2.0–although I think that Mark Hamburg might have had a line or two in that version.

Memory. . .well, everyone knows it’s corruptible.

Yes, Photoshop 1.0 was developed in our third-foor, walk-up, graduate student, two bedroom, two bath, apartment. . .complete with storage cabinet in the second bath tub, computers and crafts in the second bedroom. . .plastic over the windows to keep out the cold, and a baby travel crib sandwiched between the bed and the wall in our bedroom.

Needless to say, Photoshop has since changed our lives, however, I do many of the same things moms do all over the world.
I gave birth to two children:

Hannah &                                 Andrew

Have a dog:


Built a modest home:

Worked closely with a school:

Summers-Knoll School

Put together charitable fund raising events:

Photoshop Soup 2 Nuts 2.0

And made the occasional public appearance:

You see, just normal everyday average stuff most wives and moms do all the time.

But, I also consider myself the original Photoshop Widow.

You’ve heard of hunting widows, golf widows, football widows and the like. Photoshop started a whole new category for us–the Photoshop Widow. Photoshop started more than just a new way of manipulating photons. Photoshop is another obsession for the obsessive husband. With infinite ways to use it, infinite ways to improve it and infinite ways to talk about it, and since everyone the world over knows about it, there is no foreseeable end of the ways to obsess about it. So what does that leave for the Photoshop Widow? There was no support group in the beginning. Most folks had not even heard of this new piece of software. Try explaining manipulating pictures on a computer. Keep in mind that was back when 5.5″ floppies were common and the 3.5″ hard floppy was the cutting edge of mountable storage.

I was a real conversation stopper.

Photoshop Widows need something to do to vent all our bottled-up energy. I suppose I could have joined a book club. To tell the truth, I never even thought of that. I did try to form a mom-and-tots group at church, but all the moms were busy doing other things and could not grasp the concept of Barneyscan-it’s this software my husband is writing.

Isn’t Barneyscan a:
purple-friendship-singing-dancing-over-hyped-sappy-sweet dinosaur?

What does that have to do with software?

Well, at that time I did not know much more about Barneyscan. With no devices to take a digital picture, no devices to print a digital picture and no real market for it, my husband’s obsession had the appearance of merely being a passing fad. An amusing side track to the serious stuff.

He was really working on his PhD. . .
and graduation was just around the corner, right??

Well….. 15 years later, 10 major releases and uncountable minor releases, he’s still obsessing about Photoshop. The industry has finally caught up with him. There are many ways of capturing a digital picture and many ways of getting the digital picture onto something tangible. With all the new cameras and printers, there are even more ways to obsess about Photoshop. Now he obsesses over Camera Raw.

However, now I at least have a quickly growing support group. . .
The Photoshop Widows Club

Stay tuned for more stories from Ruth. . .
and some of the others in the Photoshop Widows Club.

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