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Steve Foss

PS Elements 7 vs CS4 (Adobe Lightroom discussion added)

32 posts in this topic

Well, I've got the latest Mac OS now in my newer computer and can upgrade from Photoshop CS2 to CS4, but I still don't have enough RAM and a fast enough processor to really run CS4 right.

My assumption is that Elements 7 will run faster than the huge and bloated CS4. Fact is, I doubt I use even 2 percent of CS2's capabilities, and am wondering if I can get away with Elements.

Some questions. Does Adobe Bridge come along with Elements 7, and does anyone know how sophisticated the photo stitching/photomerge feature is with Elements 7? Is the full gamut of layering available? Is there a preview screen for jpeg as well as RAW, as there is in CS3 and CS4?

I doubt there are many here who have used both Elements 7 and CS4, so I reckon the pool of advisers may be small, but it's worth a try, I thought.

Edit: It appears PS Elements 7 is available only for PC. If that's correct, I guess I'm comparing Elements 6 with CS4.

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Actually, I see they've developed a version of GIMP free photo processing software for Mac. I'm downloading that as we speak and will fool around with it. If it's even as good as the latest Elements or CS3 that'll be good. Free beats Adobe prices every time. gringrin

And if, like CS versions from CS3 on, if it allows a person to open jpegs in a RAW preview screen, likely I'll be essentially done shooting RAW. Here's hoping.

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Steve,

Can't help you as you said with Elements, but I have been using CS4 for 7 months or so. I must say I am glad I switched from CS2 to CS4. I certainly like some of the new features they included with the newer version. I wish I could say as well if CS4 ran better than CS2 but I upgraded my computer at that same time I loaded CS4. My sense is that it is more efficient in its use of computer resources.

I am fairly certain the Elements 6 supports working in layers but I think you loose the fine control of curves and I don't believe they have shadows/highlights.

Have you thought about Lightroom 2? I know many folks who won't open photoshop anymore. I downloaded the 30 day trial and really tried to work with it but I found CS4 worked much better for my work flow habits.

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I have Elements 3 on my laptop and it does support working in layers. It also has the shadows/highlights feature, which I really appreciate. I downloaded a curves plugin for it.

Also, I downloaded 2 different versions of Gimp, and promptly unistalled them. Neither one had the shadows/highlights feature, at least not that I could find. Also, when adding a layer, I couldn't find anywhere to change it from normal to luminosity.

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Thanks, guys.

I've worked with GIMP just a bit after downloading, and the interface of course if quite strange coming from CS2. It also appears there's no preview screen for jpeg images, and for me that's a deal breaker when it comes to learning a whole new program. I know Elements is a bit different than CS versions because I've worked with Elements 7 a bit on a PC laptop, but it would certainly be a lot easier to use Elements 6 than convert all my thought processes to GIMP.

I'll keep looking around. I've been looking for a used copy of CS3 (upgrade version) for Mac, since it's really the preview screen for jpeg that I want the most, but even on evilbay I haven't found one yet.

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Steve, Elements,Lightroom,etc. can ALL be downloaded FREE from Adobe for a 30 day test drive. At the end of the 30 days you can buy a Product code from them and keep running. I tried out Lightroom for 30 days but found it to be too much. Elements will run decent on 2 Gigs of Ram-I'm running 8 Gigs and it's pretty snappy! grin

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Thanks, MM, for the heads-up.

PSE 6 is not available in trial form any longer (7 is for Windows only). But I did download the trial version of Lightroom 2. Man, that is one powerful platform. I really like what it can do. Wish it didn't cost so much, but may have to dish out anyway. It runs faster than my CS2, and has an exposure slider for jpeg images like the CS2 RAW preview screen, which is key. I also very much like the luminance slider, which I believe wasn't implemented in CS until CS3. It's not available on my CS2 as far as I've been able to see, at any rate. It also appears the Lightroom noise reduction is better than either CS2 or the latest Noise Ninja plug-in. Red-eye reduction is also nice. Even when you get the flash off the same plane as the sensor, you get a bit of it sometimes.

I like it so much I may pull the trigger at some point, but since I've got 30 days and there seem to be sealed new-in-box versions all day every day on evilbay going for $200 or a bit under, I'll wait a bit and see. If I do so, it'll be as a Photoshop replacement, not a supplement, and I want to experiment and explore Lightroom a good bit more before I make that decision.

I've got a big wedding on Saturday (three weddings total before the 30-day trial period is up), and it'll be interesting and educational running the images through Lightroom instead of my current regimen using the Canon image browser and CS2.

My assumption if I buy Lightroom 2 is that an update to version 2.3 will be available as a free download from Adobe, just as it's been with Photoshop.

Dan, Ken, MM or anyone else: Have you used Lightroom 2 extensively, and how did you find it as a Photoshop replacement? Two things I don't find in Lightroom yet that I use a lot in PS are the lasso and the magic wand tools.

I also have a line on a used CS3 for Mac upgrade for $75 (it was installed but not registered with Adobe, and has been deactivated by the seller), so I may simply go that route. Decisions! gringrin

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Steve,check out the ACR 5.3 update for Elements 6/7. Hopefully this will work with your Mac.

The ACR Raw converter in my Elements 7 will open jpegs-and any others-with the Raw adjustment preview screen and the exposure slider and all other Raw adj tools can be used on jpegs there.

In Elements,you just go to "Open as" and select "Camera Raw" from the drop down box,then find a jpeg,click open,and it will open the jpeg in the Raw adjustments screen where you can use the exposure slider-it is amazingly effective,even on jpegs. You might try the same process in Lightroom and see if it works the same.

Hope this helps!

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MM, looks like I've closed the deal on the CS3 upgrade, which should be here next week and should have all I need.

I'm still so enthralled by Lightroom, however, particularly for processing large numbers of images from a single shoot (like weddings/sports) that don't require heavy individual PP, that I may go ahead and spring for that, too, after the 30-day deal is up.

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Steve,

As I indicated earlier I downloaded the Lightroom 30 day trial a few months back. I tried to give it a good work over but I have such a routine with CS4 that I found it difficult to really explore all the ins and outs. I do know that the vast majority of photographers that I know using it barely touch photoshop except for detailed effects.

A lot of event photographers with high volume absolutely love Lightroom. A couple of portrait and wedding shooters I know also swear by it. As you know I do very high volumes but I've developed such a nice workflow with CS4 using actions that for me it just works well and I just didn't find any advantages for my use. I am the odd one out though.

Good luck and please let me know how it works out for you. So many folks that have switched are very pleased. I would be interested in your thoughts on what you like or don't like after working with it for a few weddings.

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Lightroom 2 is an incredible tool for someone who shoots weddings and/or just a lot of photos. Probably the single greatest feature is the fact that it is totally non-destructive to the original photo. In PS or most programs, if you make any changes, you save the changes and now you have 2 files. If you shoot a wedding with 15gb of photos, after all the processing you might have double that to store. Lightroom will keep track of all the changes you make and does not change the original, nor requires you to save anything. Only when you want to export it to another program, HSOforum, disc, etc will you convert it to TIFF, JPEG or whatever.

The brush tool in LR2 is worth the price of it alone. You can literally paint the part of the photo that you want to change. You can change the exposure, saturation, clarity, color, etc of whatever you brush.

LR2 has the curves tool and the HSL TAT adjustments that PSE doesn't. LR2 will export directly into PS or PSE for editing. I've been using it with PSE 7.

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PSE6 has curves. You access it under enhance > adjust color > adjust color curves.

I've been using PSE6 since it was released and find it takes care of all my needs

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I used Lightroom to do a lot of adjustments before exporting the four Arethusa images to CS2 just now. The jury is still out, but I expect to come back from Saturday's wedding with 1,000 plus jpeg images, and that will be the real test.

I could be perfectly happy with Lightroom to do the sorting/processing of high-volume wedding and sports-type shoots and CS3 for all the rest. I'll be interested to see how well Lightroom performs at batching files. One of my workflows is to convert all the wedding jpegs I select as keepers into 300ppi images. I've been using Canon's DPP software to do that, but I like Lightroom's interface REALLY well.

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Quote:
The jury is still out, but I expect to come back from Saturday's wedding with 1,000 plus jpeg images, and that will be the real test.

Are you shooting these weddings in jpeg only? if so, I hope you get the white balance right when flashing these people. Its far easier to fix WB in RAW than trying to tweak a jpeg. I'm just sayin' wink

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Buzz, it's no harder to tweak white balance on jpegs than in RAW when using Lightroom 2. It's the exact same series of steps. I've already done it a bunch of times. Nor will it be any different with CS3, because starting with "3" you can open a jpeg by using the "open as" option and get the preview screen, where white balance is just as easily changed regardless of format.

As an aside, there's also a Lightroom feature that lets you click on something white within the image and let Lightroom automatically alter the image for exact white balance, and then you can batch the command so it alters the WB for all similar images. Pretty cool.

Anyway, when I shoot a wedding it's generally jpeg only, and I make sure to get the white balance right in-camera. No sense adding to my workflow. smilesmile

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Amen to that Steve. Batch processing the W/B is pretty quick and easy,getting it right in camera makes it even easier.

The more time behind the camera,recognizing light,shooting manual mode,and knowing your tools,has a great side effect-cutting PP time in half!

Except for the images that I know I'll be sending to I-Stock for review,I hardly ever shoot Raw anymore. The one I-stock image that has generated the most money for me is a shot of a Cat with my Canon G-10 Point and shoot! So much for the expensive glass! crazycrazy

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Interesting. I always thought that one of the advantages RAW had over jpeg was tweaking the WB. I assumed the deeper bit depth and wider gamut of colors had something to do with it and that in jpeg you'd lose something.

Oh well, atleast you have it figured out. smileI assume shooting in jpeg for weddings you would need to pay critical attention to exposure and white balance is required to achieve the best quality photograph. (naturally)

I just returned from a nephews wedding in Georgia and was looking over my images and was amazed by how many of the indoor images had a color cast to them. It seems like indoor flash photo's pick up some of the colors off the walls and the other types of light in the room can also mess with the WB.

I actually use a different more powerful software to fix this problem, but wonder if using a gray card would have helped.

I have friends that do wedding photography for a living and will only shoot RAW. (Dan knows one of them well) and it always makes me curious how people are in different camps is all.

Dan, any feedback? Your pretty wise to all of this stuff. wink

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Mike, here's a windy sort of explanation on how I'm looking at things today.

My thoughts about RAW vs jpeg have changed over the last four years. Four or five years ago, I saw differences (minor ones) between large prints (20x30) made with RAW and jpeg captures. Because of that, and also because at the time the RAW preview screen in PS could not be used with jpeg, I shot almost purely RAW.

Last winter I ran the same test with the same images and the jpeg images were so close to the same quality as RAW that I believe I was imagining what I thought were differences. That told me that printing/software technology had improved with jpeg over the last five years. I haven't read that anywhere from so-called "experts," just what I've found to be true in my own work. I know RAW has those advantages of bit depth and all, which sounds fine on paper but hasn't been borne out in my most recent printing tests. OK, I'll definitely acknowledge that if I was interpolating an 8 Mp image up to 40x60 or some whopper like that, RAW might produce a better result. But I've seen prints that large made with 8-10 Mp jpeg captures in galleries, and they are wonderful.

So there's that.

And now with Lightroom and CS3/4 making it easy to change all those sweet RAW preview screen settings with jpegs, I see little reason to shoot RAW much anymore, even for my nature/product/commercial work (although I will shoot RAW if the client specifies that). With CS3 on the way and Lightroom 2 on my computer, my cameras are all now set to large jpeg mode.

Might I change perspectives again down the road? Sure. It's all a work in progress, but I've been shooting weddings in jpeg mode for over two years, and clients making big prints from those files have been very happy.

And you are right about flash and non-flash indoor photography picking up color casts off walls. I shoot in one church quite often that brings out the yellows, and I compensate for the indoor work with white balance before I shoot. When shooting flash in that church the WB is a bit different than shooting ambient in that church.

Changing WB that often can be a pain, but I've got half a dozen churches I've shot in more than once, and so I've got pre-sets already figured out for all the situations I know I'll run into. And at least 90 percent of the time, one or the other of the in-camera WB presets is just right.

If something goofy and unexpected comes along and I get the WB just a bit off, it simply doesn't matter because I can adjust to the correct WB with one jpeg image and batch the rest of the similar jpegs and let the computer do the work.

So anyway, that's where I'm coming from at this point. I'll be eager to see Dan's perspective, as he's more sophisticated with the detailed technicalities of these things than I am. smilesmile

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Its always fun discussing these things, we all can learn from each others experiences. I have a few more thoughts on this, but will wait to see if Dan chimes in.

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Its always fun discussing these things, we all can learn from each others experiences.

For sure. And if Dan makes a compelling argument for RAW over jpeg before tomorrow at 11 a.m., I may just shoot the wedding in RAW. Heck, I'm carrying over 40 Gb of CF cards, and memory is cheap! smilesmile

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Whoa boy! I thought I was done getting involved in these types of discussions but considering how friendly and conversational this one is I will just throw out my thoughts as well. Anyone who has been around here awhile knows that I am one of those die hard JPEG shooters. I fully understand the differences and advantages of RAW and JPEG but FOR MY STYLE of shooting JPEG fits my work flow to a tee! At an average of 75,000 - 100,000 images a year RAW just doesn't work all that well for my approach.

A couple of things that I am sure we all are in agreement on.

If you want the absolute maximum quality out of a file, RAW is the way to go. Mike you are correct on wider gamut, higher bit, slightly wider latitude. But I agree with Steve in that day to day shooting comparing a printed file side by side from RAW and one shot JPEG...well I just haven't found a ton of difference between the two. There is but I think you need to pixel-peep to really see the difference.

To be completely honest with you I think you could make a case of which color space you shoot your JPEG's in could have a greater influence in color depth and latitude and bring you even closer to RAW. That has been my biggest change in the last year or so for me, shooting in Adobe RGB over sRBG. Comparing an Adobe RGB and RAW I find very little difference with printed results especially in the shadow areas and highlights.

I have moved into shooting considerably more portrait work than in the past, follow the money so to speak! I shoot a large amount of team and individual work as well. Try shooting 250 kids inside of a sodium vapor lighted pool and see what kind of color balance nightmare you come up with! My current thinking has me shooting both RAW and JPEG when confronted with a difficult lighting scenario. For a long time I always shot RAW and JPEG for all this type of work. What I also found was the 98% of the time I NEVER opened the RAW file.

The critical component of shooting JPEG is to get it as correct as you can out of the camera!!! I am not telling Steve or Mike anything new with any of this but I’m just saying. If you can nail your shots correct in camera and that means, WB correct, exposure, etc. I see no advantage for me to shoot RAW. Newer software that gives you the ability to treat your JPEG much like a RAW file makes this even easier for me to deal with. Keeping camera settings as close to neutral in contrast, color, saturation, etc. and allowing your computer and software to enhance the shot with greater control than the camera can have, makes the gap narrower between RAW and JPEG IMHO.

All that being said if I was like Steve and shooting a wedding, I would be shooting both RAW and JPEG but working with the JPEG’s. If I ran into a tough color correction or exposure mistake I would to what I could with the JPEG but open the RAW to see if I could do even better. That is how I approach my portrait and lighting work, to me a wedding would call for the same approach. I kind of think I would still be in the 95% or higher category of just using the JPEG. Steve is an experienced shooter who is more than aware of all of the above things necessary to get a correctly exposed, color balanced file. Given that scenario and his level of experience I have no doubt that JPEG will work for virtually any shot. But on the other hand memory is cheap, I still fall back on why not shoot both and have the best of both worlds and give yourself a bit of latitude to make one small mistake! Lord knows I need that! I am doing a senior shoot this weekend in northern Wisconsin and I have no doubt that I will be shooting both RAW and JPEG. It will be outdoors with artificial lighting thrown in. I also have no doubt that I will not even touch the RAW files, but if I need to they will be there.

Here is the bottom line in all this. If you presented a client with two identical photos one shot in RAW the other in JPEG. Could the average person who is not into photography or even with some photographic knowledge be able to tell you which was which? I know in 99% of the folks I deal with they could not. So JPEG is still my format of choice…but I don’t mind shooting both for those times I may not be as perfect as I try to be.

Mike just to point out what you already found out, flash will take on the color of whatever surface it bounces off of. Again with RAW you have a bit more flexibility to correct that but I almost always use a CWB when mixing any ambient and artificial lighting…indoors or out.

Well I hope I maintained some neutrality in my long winded dissertation. I don’t claim to have all the answers with this stuff but I do have a long history of what works for me and my situation. That may be completely different to someone else and their style.

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Let me add just one other thought. I often hear people say don't worry about it I can correct in PP because I shoot RAW. Don't kid yourself! Getting it as close to correct in camera as you can, whether you shoot RAW or JPEG will always give you better results. We have all seen a photographers work that you just went WOW! How can I get those results. Get it right in the camera and you will have more room to work your magic in PP. IMHO if more folks strived to do just that there wouldn't be as much debate on the better format.

Digital photography has created the lazy photographer! Fix it latter, take a bunch of shots and one will turn out. There is nothing wrong with that if that is all you are looking for from your photos. But to get to the next level, I still think you have to pay attention to all the things you had to when shooting film in order to get good results. Cameras with each generation are getting better and making it easier but nothing can make up for attention to detail in all aspects of taking a photo. smile

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Quote:
Let me add just one other thought. I often hear people say don't worry about it I can correct in PP because I shoot RAW. Don't kid yourself! Getting it as close to correct in camera as you can, whether you shoot RAW or JPEG will always give you better results. We have all seen a photographers work that you just went WOW! How can I get those results. Get it right in the camera and you will have more room to work your magic in PP. IMHO if more folks strived to do just that there wouldn't be as much debate on the better format
Isn't that the truth! I pretty much knew what you were going to say and respect both of you guys alot... which you also know. I think the key is the statement you made about the fact that Steve knows his way around the camera and is conscious of where his settings need to be. I don't believe everybody doing weddings is quite as capable these days.

I have more thoughts... but have to take the kiddies tubing RIGHT now as they are tugging on my arm.

P

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Isn't that the truth! I pretty much knew what you were going to say and respect both of you guys alot... which you also know. I think the key is the statement you made about the fact that Steve knows his way around the camera and is conscious of where his settings need to be. I don't believe everybody doing weddings is quite as capable these days.

P

Mike you know your way around the camera and you have an established work flow so I know I was not telling you anything new or that you didn't know. I agree with you 100% when you say some wedding shooters aren't as capable these days. They wouldn't know their white balance from an f-stop. That is why there will always be work for photographer's like Steve who know how to control the camera and not the camera controlling them! I look forward to your thoughts as well Mike.

Have fun tubing, what a great evening for that. Break out that camera and get a few shots of them having a ball!

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Very good stuff, Dan and Mike, with hopefully more to come from Mike once the kids have been dried off and put to bed. gringrin

BTW, I've been shooting in Adobe RGB pretty much from the beginning for non-newspaper work, and my print comparisons of jpeg vs RAW were made with the Adobe RGB color space. Dan, I agree with your statement of Adobe RGB vs sRGB completely. When shooting jpeg, I use either the "neutral" or "faithful" picture style settings, so the camera is not saturating, sharpening or adding contrast for me.

I haven't shot RAW+jpeg for the last few years. So far, since switching completely to jpeg for weddings, in more than 15 weddings since switching I have not faced a PP situation that required RAW to get the best out of the image. That being said, it could happen. And if it could happen, sooner or later that probably means it will happen, no matter how knowledgeable a person is regarding his/her gear and photographic principles. Now that I have so much memory I hardly know what to do with it (compared with the 4 Gb I had starting out lo those five years ago), I'll probably go ahead with the RAW+jpeg for weddings/portraits. Only real issue I see there (aside from memory, which we've already dismissed), is that the buffer will fill faster. Not a big issue for a wedding, which really is about timing one's photographs rather than triggering off mammoth bursts.

Anyway, this is a very cool discussion. Glad to be a part of it. It helped me remember some things I knew but forgot about, and gave me a bit of a fresh perspective on some things I'd already thought about a lot. smilesmile

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Earn-a-Buck, currently in effect in Frederick, Warren, and Clarke Counties (the cluster of infected deer is located in Frederick County), is designed to reduce the overall deer population by focusing more hunting pressure on the female segment of the population. Banning feeding or baiting of deer in areas with CWD CWD prions can be found in saliva (Mathiason et al. 2009), and feed or bait piles are excellent modalities to transfer saliva between deer. Feed and bite piles also artificially congregate deer, thereby facilitating transmission through urine and feces. Prevent the introduction of CWD prions into new areas: VDGIF prohibits the movement of deer carcasses out of the CWD Containment Area until after they have been processed according to guidelines described in Transporting Carcasses Within and Out of the Containment Area. VDGIF prohibits the transport of carcasses from states/provinces listed as CWD Carcass Restriction Zones into Virginia unless they have already been processed according to these guidelines. VDGIF prohibits the possession and use of attractants made from real deer urine or other natural body fluids from deer while afield. CWD prions may be found in the urine of infected deer even if the deer is not showing symptoms (John et al. 2013). There is no live animal test for CWD that is approved by the USDA, therefore deer farms producing and bottling urine cannot guarantee that they are collecting urine from healthy animals. There is no economically viable way to test urine for CWD after collection. Doing nothing to manage CWD is not a satisfactory option, as shown by a number of studies that have examined hunters’ attitudes toward current and potential strategies for managing CWD (Vaske 2010). Among hunters in most states and studies, (a) testing harvested animals for CWD and using hunters to reduce herds in CWD areas were acceptable strategies, (b) agencies taking no action and allowing CWD to take its natural course were considered unacceptable, and (c) using agency staff to reduce herds in CWD areas was controversial. Hunters also generally supported efforts to minimize spread of CWD and eliminate the disease from animal herds (Vaske 2010). A VDGIF survey conducted following the discovery of CWD in Frederick County in 2009 concluded that respondents supported five of seven potential strategies to control CWD in affected areas, including mandatory disease testing of hunter-killed deer, deer feeding prohibitions, deer carcass movement restrictions, restrictions on deer rehabilitation, and reduction of deer populations using hunters (VDGIF 2010, unpublished data). Respondents did not support the use of sharpshooting to reduce localized deer populations (42% opposed, 36% supported, 22% were neutral), but the strongest opposition was recorded for the option that described a complete lack of effort or attempt to manage CWD (79 % opposed, 8% supported).   (the references are at the link and appear to all be from various scientific type journals)
    • The recount effort underway in Wisconsin is turning out to have some disappointing results for former Green Party nominee Jill Stein and former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. By the end of the fifth day, and after more than 1 million votes were recounted, Trump grew his lead by just over two dozen votes.     Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, Clinton has only gained five votes after the state’s two largest counties completed their recount.     
    • It turns out that there haven't been many studies of long term impact of cwd, that I could find.    Here is a write up about one of them, from Wyoming.    http://www.wyofile.com/study-chronic-wasting-disease-kills-19-deer-annually/ and this one... http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161127 Chronic Wasting Disease Drives Population Decline of White-Tailed Deer David R. Edmunds , Matthew J. Kauffman, Brant A. Schumaker, Frederick G. Lindzey, Walter E. Cook, Terry J. Kreeger, Ronald G. Grogan, Todd E. Cornish      
    • I use a thin super-line/braid. That said,  a friend of mine swears by mono in really clear water and I've sat with him and seen a lot of wary fish that still get close enough to ruin their day. Not sure if it matters or not... I just like the assurance of braid.
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