Stories

Are you using an Ipad that runs “TRUE TONE?”

What is True Tone?

True Tone is a relatively recent display feature on Ios devices that allows your iPhone or iPad’s display to adjust its color temperature based on the light of its current surroundings. Warmer light in the room leads to warmer colors on your display. 

It’s sort of great idea but not so great for folks who are processing images on the tablet and/or a computer with the anticipation that everything is going to look the same from device to device.  For months I have struggled to get images that I processed in Lightroom on the Ipad Pro, which would sync to Lightroom on my desktop or laptop via the Adobe Creative Cloud, to look the same.  Fortunately, I happened upon another photographers blog who had gone through exactly what I was going through.

The incredibly simple solution was to go into settings on the Ipad and scroll down to “Display & Brightness” settings, and under brightness shut off “True Tone.”  Now life is good and I can be looking at an image I just processed on the Ipad Pro in Lightroom Mobile CC and my 27 inch Apple Monitor hooked up to my laptop and the images are virtually identical.  And of course it works as well in the opposite direction, laptop to iPad.

By turning off “True Tone” you are effectively shutting down Auto White Balance so that there is a consistent level of color.  I know a great many photographers that shut off auto white balance in their cameras and set it to the daylight setting which provides consistent color as opposed to varying color image to image which can make editing a set of images easier.

The more I use my Ipad Pro 10.5 running the current Ios operating system, the less I am relying on my Macintosh computers.  That is not to say that the Mac or PC if that is what you use as a laptop or desktop, does not have a certain advantage.  They do!  There are software packages that simply do not and may never appear on tablets and most of them involve image processing.

But there are more than enough software packages for the mobile community of photographers to deal with any level of images they may have.  On the Ipad, I rely upon an Adobe suite of apps for processing images.  Whatever I work on is sent to the Adobe Creative Cloud and quickly synced to my Adobe Cloud on my laptops and desktop with all the changes I made to the image.  It does not mean I am an Adobe fan.  I am not.  But it works and works pretty darn good.  I still hate the Lightroom Library but a lot of folks love it.

Here is an image I quickly processed on my Ipad Pro which was on my desktop virtually immediately.

NIK PHOTOGRAPHY PLUG-INS NOW ADVANCED BY DXO SOFTWARE – HURRAY

Let’s take a walk down memory lane.

A long time ago, at least in digital software terms, a company called NIK introduced a revolutionary set of Plug-ins that would work with Adobe products such a Photoshop, Elements, and the like.  These plug-ins would open up creative opportunities to the masses allowing for specific adjustment to parts of an image as opposed to a whole image, much like advanced Photoshop users were doing with “brushes.”  While you could by individual plug-ins in the Nik group, the overall total package was about $500.00.  To own the whole package you had to be a pretty serous image processer.  The most popular were Silver Efex for black and white work (exceptional).  Color Efex (Outstanding) and Viveza (that any real photographer could not live without).  And, some of this capability was built into Nikon Capture Softwae and Nikon called it UPOINT.

But like so many other things in the digital world and the photography world, Google, who desperately wanted another program that Nik had created called Snapseed, decided to buy the NIK company.  Once in their hands they lowered the price of NIK plugins to $150.00 but you had to buy the whole suite.  Still that price was a far cry from the original NIK price.  But before long Google lowered the price to ZERO and you guessed it, it was the end of any future development and would lead to the product being discontinued.  Another Google FU.

Then a few months ago it was announced that DXO had bought the rights to the program including the patent  to and the code and recently released a new and cleaner 64bit version of the Plug ins for $69.00.  There is a trial version which I tried and then bought it.

Go Take A Look At It Here

I have been watching some newly created live webinars and all I can say is that for all the years I used it in my work I never realized that I only partook in about 40 percent of the actual features that are available.  It is my understanding that the live webinars will be available as videos in a few weeks.  In the meantime you might want to look at some educational material on YouTube.

As many of my readers know I have been messing around (really learning) lots of different softwares over the past couple of years and have written a lot about what I liked and did not like.  My current, but not perfect program is Alien Skin X3 because it has so many creative alternatives built in and yes I can control click my way right into the Nik Plugins as well.  Other programs like Lightroom, Photoshop, Elements, Capture One, all make complete use of Nik.  But the most versatile program because of how it works with smart layers is Photoshop when it comes to using Nik.  Nik can also be used as stand alone applications.

Now, it is important to know that Nik does not recognize raw files, at least not yet.  When using host software like Adobe, the image will be sent to Nik as a Tiff file and once processed through it will go back to the host as a finished Tiff file.  If you use Nik stand alone then you need to open a saved Tiff file to work on.

I can only say that if you want to enhance your images with selective edits this is a great and simplified way to go.

Jane Lurie Photography – Jane’s Lens

Professional photographer based in San Francisco covering Travel, Landscapes, Street, Nature, Architecture, Portrait, Black and White, Photography Tutorials.
— Read on janeluriephotography.wordpress.com/

When given the opportunity I am going to joyfully present the incredible work of other photographers.

I have been an admirer of Jane’s work since I was taken to her web site. She is a very inspiring artist with an incredible eye who is constantly providing me and others with images that tell a story in a single blink.

Please take the time to look at her work on her site.

I hope you enjoy.

Who Are You As A Photographer?

How much time have you given to developing a particular style, a look that is all yours when it comes to your images.

Do you have a unique way of framing and capturing an image?  Do you have a digital processing formula that will be solely yours so that when someone looks at your unsigned photograph they will know it was done by you?

If you have evolved as a photographer and developed all of this uniqueness then kudos to you.  If you have not, why not?  What is holding you back?

developing a shooting style comes with time and while it may seem that your style looks like someone else’s, it is not.  It is your style.  It is the way you see, frame, meter, expose what appears on your LCD or in your viewfinder.

Developing a processing style will require experimentation over time just like it did for film photographers who had to learn the best way to process their film, what chemistry to use for the film, what chemistry to use for the print and what paper to put in the chemistry and let’s not forget how an image was burned and dodged to get to the final latent image.  But while the materials have changed for the majority of us, and the darkroom has been replaced by the software on computers and tablets and the processing trays have been done in by inkjet printers the final results will be the same.

The big difference however is in the software.  Computers, tablets and software have opened up an enormous range of creative possibilities through presents, color grading, brushes and gradients and so much more that will allow anyone the opportunity to create an individual look and or style.

So if you are looking for something that will make YOU unique and recognizable as an individual as opposed to being a clone of another photographer then it is going to be important that you choose a SOFTWARE that will give you that opportunity.  There are options out there but the two I have locked on are Alien Skin X3 and Luminar, with Alien Skin X3 being the one that tops the list.

I know I have written about other software some of which do an excellent job.  But none of them offered the diversification that Alien Skin X3 does.  Alien Skin started  as a plug-in for Adobe many years ago and was very popular among creative professionals.  What it primarily offered was over 500 film simulations and styles that in the digital age offered photographers highly accurate renditions of the different film types and grain structures that photographers had come to love over the years.  But that was then and here we are, now.

Alien Skin X3 represents the culmination over the last couple of years on the part of the company to provide a highly accurate and creative raw processor for Windows and Mac that includes its own digital assets management that utilizes the operating systems own file system, produces  xmp files that ride along in the same folders as the original images.   It still has over 500 film presets, overlays, layers, outstanding color control, and on and on and on.

With all of the presets, which are really starting points,  you can modify them, combine them, so they achieve a final look you are happy and comfortable with and guess what, that look becomes your look because you can save everything you did as a new preset which belongs only to you.

It is not a secret that I use Adobe Lightroom CC, Classic, and mobile.  It is  not because I like the way Adobe handles raw files and it is not because of the Adobe Library module that I really hate but it is because of Adobe’s creative cloud which allows me to sync images from my desktop to my IPad Pro.  Adobe simply put has the best Eco system out there.  But as far as being a main tool to process my images just is not the case.  And it is not a secret that I have used a multitude of raw processors in my search for what works best for me and my Fuji X trans images.  Alien Skin simply put provides me with the complete set of tools and creative artful extras that bring me to a style and look and especially a place that I am happy with.

I am not telling you to buy it, but you would be smart to go for their free trial to see if it can fit into a more creative workflow for you.

 

 

 

Rekindling the Romance of Black and White Photography

My Romance With Black And White

The other day I blogged about black and white photography and today I found a pretty great article on the web which goes quite a bit deeper.  It is a bit of a long read but worth the time you will invest in digesting it in total.  The previous article is here

It hits on points I did not make, especially what I would call the “romance” of doing black and white when I was a young man and the aesthetics that went along with the love of creating a wonderful and meaningful black and white final print.  Because the black and white print process was no where as complex as the color process of getting to a print I was able to do it almost anywhere.

As a matter of fact I can remember traveling in my Ehrenreich Photo (now Nikon) territory in Ohio.  I not only sold Nikon but also took care of the rest of the products lines that Ehrenreich offered.  One of those product lines was a complete darkroom solution.  I was leaving a dealer call when I noticed fire engines rushing down the road and right across the street from where I was a fire was blazing and fire persons were battling the blaze.  I whipped out my camera loaded with Tri X film and shot 36 exposures of the fire, the fire fighters and the collapsing wall of the building.  I went back to my hotel room and took the Durst enlarger, trays, chemicals, film tanks out of my trunk and set up a portable darkroom in my hotel bathroom.  (Note: see what the article I am linking you to describes), processed the film in the tank, dried it, and printed the images with the durst enlarger set up and the trays full of chemistry.  Finished the process, dried the prints and drove down to the local newspaper in the town I was in and turned the pictures over to them and they published them.

Sorry, had to get that story out of my system. I do love black and white.

 

Stuck in a rut? Bored with your photography? How about considering a romance with black and white photography? If you’re old-school this will take you back, if you’re new to b/w why not give it a try?!

Source: Rekindling the Romance of Black and White Photography

 

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Black and White? Color? You do not know until you try?

 

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We all have different preferences when it comes to our photography and that means we are making decisions on what we want an image to convey to a person who is viewing the image.  Black and White vs. color really is not a major issue.

I happen to like black and white images.  I feel that the tones are more distinctive and the ability to isolate the subject from the rest of the image is something black and white lends itself to as well as the drama and emotion in certain types of photography.

 

Color on the other hand can vividness of the subject in the scene and make use of warm and cool lighting in ways that black and white cannot do.

 

What this means is that you as the photographer are the only one who can determine the look you are going for and we are fortunate to be in the digital age of photography which makes our decision-making a heck of lot easier.  It is easier because our cameras, whether they are point and shoot, Dslr, mirrorless, or phone cameras can all shoot in black and white and color and better yet because they can do that you can actually visualize what a black and white image will look like in your viewfinder or on your lcd screen.

Cameras today can shoot a Jpeg file in a variety of color schemes or in black and white.  Remember that a Jpeg is an image that is finalized in camera.  But if you set your camera to shoot a Jpeg and a RAW file, then your Jpeg can be in black and white and your RAW WILL ALWAYS BE IN DEFAULT CAMERA COLOR.

 

You also have the option in certain software to create what is known as virtual copies of your raw files which in turn allow you to try different looks with each virtual copy.  In this way you can choose the look that best suits the message your want to convey about the scene.

 

Because I like black and white as a first choice I do have my digital Fuji X cameras set to a black and white mode plus RAW.  This way I can see what the black and white will look like and still have the raw file to work in color or black and white on my Ipad Pro or computer.

 

In the end the choice of whether to use color or black and white for an image is subjective. Try looking at your photos in both black and white and color to get a feel for what works and what does not work. No matter which option you go with, make sure you know why you chose it. The color or lack of color in an image should contribute to its impact.

 

 

All of the images in the little slide show were processed from a RAW file in a variety of software products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before You Whip Out Your Camera – “Take a moment to smell the roses” – This is a good read from Digital Photography School –

 

Before You Whip Out Your Camera – “Take a moment to smell the roses” – This is a good read from Digital Photography School –

 

II have long been an advocate of checking out where you are going to shoot pictures.  Getting the lay of the land and the interaction of the local population no matter where you are can lead to better images.

Now of course when it comes to certain types of photography such as sports and street a lot is also dependent upon spontaneity but just knowing where you can be do get the great shot is important in these fast-moving moments.

 

You can read the article here

Apple Ipad Pro, Now being adopted by many photographers as part of an overall workflow – An article by Marius Masalar (1)

Really good read.  Click on the link below.  👇

Apple Ipad Pro, Now being adopted by many photographers as part of an overall workflow

I found the above linked article pretty interesting and very much on target when it comes to where we are today with more options to work on our images than we ever had before.

Devices like the Ipad Pro as well as the Microsoft Surface have truly opened our world in regards to being able to process images on the fly, anywhere at any time we choose.  I am never far from my cameras or my Ipad Pro.  I feel like a part of my world that kept me chained to a desktop or subjected me to lugging a heavy portable computer is no longer a necessary part of my post processing life.

It was never unusual for me to travel out from my base of operation with a heavy and bulky bag of cameras and a bag full of computer stuff and now I carry a Fuji X pro 2 and 3 prime lenses and an Ipad Pro 10.5, and a USB 3.0 SD card reader dongle. And of course the incredible Apple pencil. 🙂

 

 

(1) Marius Masalar

 

Bad Backs, Bad Necks, Bad Shoulders Are Not A Joke And Are More Than Likely The Fault Of Every One Of Us

I recently wrote a blog about my bad back coupled with the aging process, all of which can make what used to be very enjoyable days out in the world taking pictures a painful and creatively limiting experience in my world today.

Below is a link to that article if you need to revisit it or perhaps read it for the first time.

BAD BACK ARTICLE

Back injuries and the ever lasting pain that they can cause are extremely prevalent in a particular group of people.  They are called photographers.

Photographers are known for carrying big and heavy gear, and in the past few years more and more have moved to smaller and lighter mirrorless cameras but even with that there is still a tendency for photographers to carry more gear than is actually needed. I attribute this to these great photographers having an inert fear that they will miss the shot of a lifetime if they do not pack everything they own. They won’t but they just have to learn that.

Sadly that does not negate the fact that even with smaller and lighter gear photographers still tend to carry more than they will ever need and worse, they carry the gear the wrong way. Over one shoulder can lead to all kinds of back and shoulder problems. Wearing a backpack at the wrong position on your back will lead to shoulder and lumbar issues.  Sling bags are okay alternatives and they fall between the backpack and shoulder bag. But over loading a properly designed sling bag can be as bad as a shoulder bag or back pack. Ultimately the goal, beyond getting a great image, is to be able to avoid injury and be comfortable enough to spend a whole day out without stressing your body and fighting your carry method.

Not enough attention is paid to the part of the body that can carry weight properly distributed that does not impact the neck, spine or shoulders and that is a bag that can fit around the waist and sit on a hip.  This kind of bag means that a photographer who wants to be able to go out for day and not have his or her creativity dumbed down by back and or shoulder pain must make the decisions that will make that happen.  Those decisions involve selecting the best means of carrying gear and learning to get along with less gear.

In reality most photographers of all levels who go out for a day of shooting whether enthusiast or professional and carry tonnage of gear only wind up shooting with a camera and two zoom lenses.  In most cases while the zooms are practical, one mid range zoom can be replaced by a couple of 2.0 prime lenses.  I have worked with a great many overloaded pros and I have run photography workshops where students carried 25 to 40 pounds of gear and most of that gear never saw the light of day.

Where is all of this going.  There is a bag that fits comfortably around the waist and is designed to sit on the hip of the shooter.  So while the waist belt does the job of holding the package, the actually package is flared out and made to sit right on the hip so that the weight is comfortably distributed. It is my go to bag and it is the only camera bag I can use because my neck, spine, and rotator cup is a mess, painful and takes great days and makes them crappy days. But this bag gets me out of the house and on the road for hours of pleasurable photography.

You have read my articles on this before, or at least I am going to assume you have so one more time, just for you and your body parts.

The outstanding design of the Camslinger line of bags requires just a few things. One is your promise to yourself to choose one or two small lenses and one body with the understanding that this gear can capture almost everything you want. The second thing is your decision to get the Camslinger bag. My favorite is the outdoor version because it is weather proof, and the most versatile. Why is number two so important? Firstly, if you are young and somehow have avoided body damage that gives you chronic pain, then this is the time to have the right bag so that does not happen. But if you have worn out different body parts in your shoulders, spine and neck and find yourself limited and uncomfortable like shooting like you used to then the camslinger line is going to get you back out there. Do yourself a favor and order one of these bags. You won’t be sorry. I can wear this bag for hours on end and not even know it is around my waist. Considering how much pain I am usually in, that is a miracle in itself. What’s in it? Fuji X pro 2 body with a 35mmn 2.0 lens mounted. 23mm 2.0 and 50mm 2.0 lenses. 2 batteries, 3 moist lens cleaner packs, cable release, and 2 extension tubes. A complete kit for a days worth of shooting. It weighs 4.6 pounds.  I have a close lady friend who is using the Cosyspeed Outdoor bag with a non mirror less Canon system with a Rebel and a 24mm to 120mm zoom lens, and accessories and weighs in at 6.5 pounds.

One of the hardest things I ever did was to become a minimalist. I had to get over the need to take everything I owned in cameras and lenses with me on any given shoot, and that really took a while to do. But once I did force myself to do that I found that my photography started becoming more creative again. It became a case of less is more. I keep a small tripod and a bag of small accessories like filters in the trunk of my car just in case. I wear a a ScottVest which handles my keys and wallet and an IPad Pro and cables. That particular vest is designed to deal with electronics on the go.

Just to be clear, I have no business relationship with Cosyspeed, the company that manufactures the Camslinger Waist packs. I just happen to love their exceptionally well made and functional products that have allowed me to once again enjoy my photography.

THE CAMSLINGER OUTDOOR STORY………

And just as a side note, one other minimalist product is the Platypod Ultra which gives me a great camera stabilization platform for those times when I want to either get into a picture or otherwise steady the camera and lens when slow shutter speeds are called for.

I add the Playpod accessory kit and a ball head with a 12 pound capacity in a small belt bag and you would be amazed at how versatile the little set up is.  You cannot always replace a nice travel tripod, but I’ll be damned if I won’t try, and I have found enough situations where it was easy to replace a full tripod with the Platypod.  They also make a pro version which is designed to hold up to about a 70-200 2.8 zoom lens and a body like a Nikon D810.