Peak Design Once Again Creates Innovative Solutions – This time for Mirrorless and Compact Digital Slr cameras

Peak Design Once Again Creates Innovative Solutions – This time for Mirrorless and Compact Digital Slr cameras

 

Why Have You Stopped Taking Pictures

Lately I have been speaking with people from all walks of life who used to love photography and making pictures but for reasons that are not really clear, just stopped doing it. 

What started the conversation was my little Cosyspeed Streetomatic Plus camera bag with a Manfrotto Pixi Evo table top tripod sticking up out of a side pocket.  When I explained my passion  for going minimalist they wanted to see what that meant.  Then they began to talk about the photography they used to do.

Men, women, young, older than young told me that at one time they owned a camera and lenses, still owned a camera, film or digital and some even had spent time in darkroom or at desk top computers with their photography.  Most said they had their phones, but really did not feel that a phone camera provided what a system camera like Olympus, Fuji, Sony, Nikon or Canon did.  The one common denominator was that at one time they loved, loved their photography.

When I questioned why they had stopped most really weren’t sure but felt perhaps that other priorities in life such as career building became a dominant factor and certain things had to be side lined in order to grow in other areas.

On a personal note and I told them that I felt that it was sad that they had stopped recording the important moments of their lives, abandoned something they loved to do instead of trying to incorporate it not only in their lives but the lives of their friends, their families.

Not only was all of that left behind but too was a chance to expand, to grow their artistic capabilities and to share those capabilities with others.

I have spent a lifetime involved in many aspects of photography having started in my dad’s darkroom right up to today. My love for photography as a hobby and a profession spans a lot of years and I consider myself fortunate that my personal love of photography was enhanced and expanded by working in world of photography which fortunately did not diminish my personal photography endeavors.

As I told the folks who I have met, if you have side lined photography, for whatever the reason and have interest in coming back at any level, I am here to help or guide you along that path.  So if I can be of any help please be sure to contact me. 

My Friend Bill – Last Year He Left The Room And Broke My Heart – But He Is In My Thoughts A Lot And I Miss Him

My Friend Bill – Last Year He Left The Room And Broke My Heart – But He Is In My Thoughts A Lot And I Miss Him – I am not totally sure why I am writing this blog now but I am sure there is some great emotional need for me to talk about him once again.

Bill, like myself had a passion for everything photography and his love for Nikon Camera gear was surpassed even by people like me who worked for Nikon for so many years.

He loved to join me on Nikon in store demonstrations and Nikon schools as he just loved to talk to others who either shot Nikon or who he wanted desperately to convert to Nikon shooters.  He was unrelenting in his passion for the brand and at times to his detriment. (I say that smiling)-

He would find no greater pleasure than sitting down with folks who he either knew or would come to know him forever and tell his tales of his life and his experiences and share is knowledge and wisdom about video and still photography  with old friends and new ones as well as those who would be friends. He considered himself Nikon representative.  And yes, that sometimes created confusion because I was the Nikon rep and after me there were a couple of other Nikon reps and to their benefit he was determined to help with his knowledge and enthusiasm.  It made him happy and after all he was more of a loyalist to Nikon than most people I had ever known.

When I say he lived and breathed Nikon it’s not even close to an exaggeration.  It is a truth beyond all truths and because he was that way I have to say that on the day his family and friends and co workers came together to celebrate his life, in a last good-bye, something was missing.

What was missing were all of the Nikon corporate people who knew Bill so extremely well and who Bill had helped in oh so many ways were sadly absent.  Not only were they absent but not one acknowledged that Bill had left the room.  Not a sigh, not a whimper, not a high-five as a thank you.  NOTHING.

That saddens me and I just felt that I had to say something.  Giving name, rank and social security number would not make a difference and after all the mindless, uncaring, self-absorbed son of bitches more than likely know who they are.

It is not that Bill and I always agreed and there were ups and downs but we were really true friends and cared for each other and in the end I only choose to remember the ups and what a dear friend and wonderful human being Bill was and is as he lives in my heart and mind.

I love you Bill.

What Happens When Your Camera Is The Same As Every Other Camera? An opinion piece!

 

What Happens When Your Camera Is The Same As Every Other Camera?  An opinion piece

I have used a lot of different camera brands and overall they all produced very nice images.  But the system that I finally wound up with after all my years of shooting with different cameras is the Fuji X system.  If I was to look at images from my current Fuji X camera, the X pro 2, and other camera systems all intermixed in the same folder and dumped into the same software I would have a very hard time knowing what camera produced what images in that folder.

So what does that leave me with?  It leaves me with a mirrorless camera system called “X” which is aesthetically very pleasing to look at and very comfortable to use having all kinds of dials and buttons for doing creative photographic stuff.  But it also leaves me with the feeling that the images that came from the first X cameras like the X100, X10 and X Pro 1 were much more AESTHETICALLY (film like) (smooth) (sort of pastel) pleasing which was why I bought into newer generations of the X brand.  It was not only the Jpeg files which are processed in camera but it was also the raw files.

This does not mean that the images out of the X’s today are not excellent because they are.  It means that a certain quality that Fuji seemed to have master with their first X bodies has been replaced by something that any dSLR can produce.

So that leaves me with the aesthetic look and feel of the body and the prime lenses I use.  And that will have to be enough I guess because at this stage of the game I have to admit that I am not disappointed in the image quality when it comes to resolution and dynamic range which is on a par with other cameras.  But I am disappointed with the overall look of the images from an emotional point of view.

I have to ask how and why this has happened?  I was led to believe that it was the different design of the Fuji sensor that made the difference in color and texture in the images but I guess that turns out not to be the case.

It’s not a deal breaker only because I no longer have the desire to break in a new system that for all practical purposes will give me the same image quality I am currently getting.  But I do miss that aesthetic look of the images from the first early X cameras.

Picktorial – Add a Custom Watermark

Add a Custom Watermark

 

Picktorial is just about the cleanest and easiest image processor (raw or any other format) that one can use with the Macintosh computers.  I have been using this program for quite some time now and the features and excellent image representations of your personal look are incredible.

A feature that is not usually talked about too much is the ability to add a very personalized watermark to an image.

Most people think that a watermark is solely for preventing others from copying or taking credit for your hard work and while that might be true in the world of Facebook and Google, we lose sight of the fact that a watermark is also an identifier that says this is the very fine work of a very fine photographer artist.

A watermark that is designed for that purpose can easily and creatively be made by listening to the attached tutorials.

Why don’t you give it a try.

First is a tutorial on how to create the watermark

Second is a tutorial on how to put the logo into Picktorial 3.0

TAKING PICKTORIAL RAW PROCESS PROGRAM FURTHER WITH EXTERNAL EDITORS

Picktorial, as so many of you now know is my favorite raw processor especially for my Fuji X raw files on my Macintosh computers.

Picktorial as a stand alone program has incredible power but like other programs also has the ability to use great plug in apps like those from Google Nik.

Watch this video to see just how easy it is to use in programs of your choice such as Lightroom, Photoshop, On1, and so many others.  By simply accessing the software you can make changes, save changes which automatically go right back into Picktorial as a separate and new version of your file.

 

Essential = absolutely necessary; indispensable-Cosyspeed Streetomatic plus

Essential = absolutely necessary; indispensable – Cosyspeed Essential Solutions

 

That is what most dictionaries say.  And what that means based on what each individual believes will determine what in their photographic life is essential.

For the fun of it I am including a small poll to see what you feel is essential.

I’ll get right down to specifics about what I use:

  1. If I carry 1 body, 3 primes and one 18-55 zoom, cable release, extension tubes, 4 batteries, extra memory cards (2), Custom Slr strap, Spider Light Belt Holster, Nissin i40 flash.  I use a Billingham Hadley Pro shoulder bag (cross chest).  It is quite weather proof like my cameras and lenses.
  2. If I carry 1 body, 3 primes, 3 batteries, cable release, lens cleaner, Nissin i40 flash, extra memory cards, cable release, cell phone   I use a ThinkTank Urban Approach 10 (weather resistant and rain cover)  shoulder bag (cross chest)
  3. If I carry 1 body, 3 primes, 2 batteries, 2 memory cards, small Fuji Mini Flash EF-X20, lens cleaner I use a waist pack called CosySpeed Streetomatic +.  This bag is adjustable up to 50 inches and can be warn around the waist with it resting on a hip.  It can also be used cross chest as well. It is weather resistant and comes with a rain cover.

It has taken me too many years to determine what is essential for me.  Every time I think I have figured it out I wind up still going back to old habits and taking with too much gear, most of which does not get used.  That was then and this is now.  And now after 74 years of weight bearing shoulders and back containers for carrying gear I know I have it licked.

The Cosyspeed Streetomatic + (plus) is the Goldilocks solution.  I is not too  big, to small. It is just right for a comfortable day out with the bare essentials I need for taking photographs all day long.

This is what I actually get in this bag.

  • Fuji X pro 2 with a 35mm 2.0 prime lens with lens hood mounted and an L bracket attached to the bottom of the camera for tripod mounting.  Please note that in a picture below I show the Cosyspeed finger strap attached.  It comes with the Cosyspeed bag and is a very secure way to have your camera in hand.
  • Fuji 50mm 2.0 with bayonet hood
  • Fuji 23mm 2.0 with bayonet hood
  • 2 Fuji (OEM) batteries
  • 2 Extra Memory Cards
  • 1 iphone 6 +
  • 1 small flash in a case added to the belt of the waist pack
  • 1 lens cleaning cloth

There are days when I may only take the 18-55 zoom with hood extended.  But usually it is my 3 primes.  Two of my primes are attached to back to back rear lens caps that I glued together for portability and efficiency.

Picktorial – Software – Photography – Imaging – and the final steps towards a picture you imagined …

IMAGING SOFTWARE – THE FINAL FRONTIER-it has to be fast, simple, easy to use, easy to learn and produce the processing effect that in your heart and mind

I am on in years and I have  used software products from the early stone age of digital image processing that you never heard of.  That’s okay because most are long gone. The base operations and the concepts to make an image lighter, darker, have more contrast or less, saturate all the color or not, convert to gray-scale, perhaps do a bit of a crop have not really changed all that much although perhaps a bit more precise.

Software for turning our photographs into we imagined, remembered what we saw when we pressed the shutter button has evolved thanks to companies like Adobe, Corel, Phase One and others.  Along with the software has come more powerful computers to process our ever-growing file sizes and because of advances from new software companies  these powerful computers can process the math that software provides for incredible image manipulation.

I have to admit that for the longest time I remained a simple meat and potatoes kind of person and really preferred just the base adjustments necessary to get the image out of my computer and into the media world.  I never really gave a great deal of thought to burning and dodging like I did in my darkroom and film days, I was not interested in brushes, masks, gradients and the like for enhancing my images to points beyond what my camera had captured. Well at least not too interested.  I did get more involved as time went by.  I think I stayed away from the heavy lifting that my friends were doing and still had my images convey the message I wanted people to get.

Adobe has had the lion’s share of this software market for quite sometime because of Photoshop and then Lightroom and they really introduced photographers to whole new way of working with images and kudos to Adobe for doing that.  But like all giants there comes a time when they themselves don’t really do much to make software better in big ways.  They seem content to work with the same engines they developed a long time ago instead of re-coding to make the software perform with the newest and greatest digital files.  But that is okay because others have come along to show them the way.  Will they heed the requests of their customers.  Probably not.

So in the past couple of years there have been some pretty great young companies that have arisen to challenge the king and they have been able to do things that the king did not even dream about.  That is what happens when you get set in your ways.

One of those companies named Picktorial has managed to produce a product, although right now only for the Mac computer users that has changed the way I look at image enhancement and that is because they look at image enhancement unlike any other software company I have dealt with and I have dealt with way too many in my search to perfection.  No one would believe that I would ever be using “Local Adjustment” – “Retouching Tools” to adjust individual parts of my image for Tone, Sharpness, Color Saturation, Denoising, Spot Removal, Object removal, Defocusing, Smoothing for skin retouching, Individual colors enhancement and the list goes on and with all of this you can still go back to basic settings for the overall image and just work that way.

So the adage “you can teach an old dog new tricks” and you can lead a horse to water but not make it drink” most certainly do not apply in this case and the reason for this is because the bright lights at Picktorial have made it way too easy to learn “new tricks” and “drink the water” because they are providing the smoothest, slickest most precise for overall and local adjustments I have ever seen in a piece of software.

 For this image I did a 90 percent crop, sharpening brush, tone brush, color brush, contrast brush, and tone brush again that completely blacked out an entire green background.  The edge recognition of the brushes and gradients and eraser in nothing short of incredible.
 This image was simple.  I had shot it as a high key and processed it in Picktorial using overall adjustments, and then added a texture and frame. I colorized the texture to match the flower and the frame was a vignette type frame.
 In this image I did overall adjustments for tone (exposure-contrast-clarity) cropped a tiny bit and then painted out the bricks and background areas by using a brush, selecting zero color saturation for the brush to get a black and white effect.
 I can only say that if an old photographer dinosaur like me can pick up on these tools so quickly then anyone, all thumbs anyone, no knowledge anyone can do so as well.
Because of the simplicity of the interface, the smoothness of all of the controls and the people behind this product are so incredible a whole world of possibilities has opened up for me and will for anyone who tries, buys Pictorial.  It is simple, easy, fast, and very very modern and now.
And if I did not mention it above, there are also tons of built-in presets and you can even add your own.  And you can also add your own frames and textures as well and there are tons of free ones on the world-wide web.
Note:  All Image shot with Fuji X pro 2
Addendum: 1

I do not have a financial or personal relationship with Pictorial or the founders of Pictorial.  I have paid for my software, I use the software and love the software.  I am not obligated in any way, shape or form to the company and they are not obligated to me.  If I found that the their product was not one that performs then I would not be writing about it or posting other bloggers opinions.

Addendum 2  L e a r n     M o r e  w i t h   t h e s e    v i d e o s

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSIFoDHRG9K5AcbT32Vv_TQ

 

 

 

PICKTORIAL SOFTWARE FOR PROCESSING RAW and ALL IMAGES ON A MAC

The software, Picktorial is one that I have been working with for several months and have tested it against Adobe Lightroom, Phase One Capture One, On1 Photo Raw, and MacPhun Luminar.

It has proven to be the best of the best. First, it is simple to use. Second, it has more workable powerful tools than any of the others in just the right combination to make your images scream of the screen or paper. Third, the companies ability to respond virtually instantaneously to suggestions is unheard of in the software industry in my own personal experience.

PICKTORIAL SOFTWARE FOR PROCESSING RAW and ALL IMAGES ON A MAC IS ONE OF THE POST POWERFUL RAW PROCESSORS TO DATE BUT IT IS ALSO JUST EXTREMELY SIMPLE TO LEARN AND USE.

If  you are a Fuji X shooter then you will finally realize just how great your images can look.  No more Adobe Lightroom artifacts and no more excuses about getting to the perfect post processed image.

I shot all of these images using the Fuji X Pro 2 and 50mm 2.0 Fuji Lens. I processed the images below with Picktorial 3.0 xxx

The software, Picktorial is one that I have been working with for several months and have tested it against Adobe Lightroom, Phase One Capture One, On1 Photo Raw, and MacPhun Luminar.

It has proven to be the best of the best.  First, it is simple to use. Second, it has more workable powerful tools than any of the others in just the right combination to make your images scream of the screen or paper.  Third, the company’s ability to respond virtually instantaneously to suggestions is unheard of in the software industry in my own personal experience.

It is in my opinion the software that Fuji X users have been looking for that resolves the sharpening issue of leaves in trees and similar subjects that other software simply smears.

You have in hand universal adjustments for everything but even more important is a set of brushes and gradients for locally adjusting pretty much everything and anywhere in an image.

It has to be the best software I have used in years.

You can get a trial version that will undoubtedly lead to you purchasing this Mac Only program.

Picktorial 3.0

I do not have a financial or personal relationship with Pictorial or the founders of Pictorial.  I have paid for my software, I use the software and love the software.  I am not obligated in any way, shape or form to the company and they are not obligated to me.  If I found that the their product was not one that performs then I would not be writing about it or posting other bloggers opinions.