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The Reasoning Behind Using Raw Data Files To Process Digital Images

Excellent explanation of raw and jpeg files. Nik bhatt (1) who is the creator of “Raw Power” and was an essential player at Apple in regards to imaging, not once mentioned his software which is a raw processor and jpeg processor for Macintosh computers and Ios devices. I have been using this program since it hit the market place because it afford continuity between the devices I use to process my image files. The programs have both been adding important processing features and DAM capability in a relatively short period of time.

What has remained consistent however is the incredible image processing that the program is capable producing in a very precise yet simplified manner.

I love this program on my Ipad Pro 10.5 and really like the fact that it is running on the Mac and Ios platforms with exactly the same controls and capability.

I do use Capture One Fuji Pro for tethering and processing in my studio but that that does not replace what I use “Raw Power” for. It is a creative, elegant, accurate and a delight to use.

It is a very inexpensive processor but would be well worth the investment at a much higher price.

READ THE ARTICLE HERE

(1)”Nik Bhatt spent 14 years at Apple, first as a Senior Director of Engineering on the Aperture and iPhoto teams. Later he served as the CTO of the Photo Apps group, working with the Core Image and RAW teams before founding his own company, Gentlemen Coders.

His first app, RAW Power for Mac, built on his knowledge of Apple’s Photos and iCloud frameworks to provide a robust RAW editing workflow as a Photos for Mac extension and a standalone app. RAW Power for iOS brings all of the features of the Mac version and more to your iPhone and iPad.

Nik Bhatt spent 14 years at Apple, first as a Senior Director of Engineering on the Aperture and iPhoto teams. Later he served as the CTO of the Photo Apps group, working with the Core Image and RAW teams before founding his own company, Gentlemen Coders.

His first app, RAW Power for Mac, built on his knowledge of Apple’s Photos and iCloud frameworks to provide a robust RAW editing workflow as a Photos for Mac extension and a standalone app. RAW Power for iOS brings all of the features of the Mac version and more to your iPhone and iPad.”

Photography – The Journey Never Really Ends – Chapter One

I just finished writing way too many words and I have deleted every one of them.  While I reference a journey, I found that I had written hundreds of words about my journey in photography from the time I was five years old.  That is really more than anyone needs to know.

What you should gather from this blog article is that I have been involved in photography for a  long time and in that very long period which is about 70 years I have worked as a professional freelance photographer, worked for wholesale camera companies such as Nikon and Berkey Marketing (long gone), worked retail, taught photography, and did a stint as a military photographer in the United States Coast Guard.

One might think as I approach my 76th birthday that I would be pretty much done with all things about photography but that is not the case.  I am as passionate about the art of photography, and the storytelling that photography provides as I was when my dad put my first camera in my hands.  My dad was a professional photographer at one time in his life.

I have been fortunate to work with some extraordinary photographers, used some of the most wonderful photography gear and had the pleasure of passing on my knowledge and adventures to those who had a desire to learn more than they already know.

Photographers know what they know and do what they do quite well, but in reality, I have never met a photographer who knew everything.  The reason for that is simple.  As photographers, we tend to move towards a specific type of photography and that might be landscape, portraits, street, industrial, etc.  While the rules of dealing with light remain consistent,  how a photographer gets from point A to point B with lighting varies quite a bit.

For years, having worked for Nikon and being with Nikon when they first introduced their incredible flash system I came to rely on that flash system and camera metering to virtually handle all my lighting needs pretty much, automatically.  I had gone from loving ambient light for many things and manual flash for other things and found myself using more auto flash control to manipulate lighting for my images.

When I talk about a journey never really ending I feel that in time photographers can and should revisIt things they have not used or done for a long time and photographers who have stuck to a favorite way of shooting and never learned beyond that favorite way of shooting should open their minds to learning new things. Sometimes, we  do just that because certain things happen in life that might cause us to adjust how we deal with our photography.

That is what happened to me. Back injuries and age wound up taking its toll and I found myself somewhat limited in doing the more adventurous types of photography I loved and suddenly, even though I carried a camera bag with a minimal amount of gear all the time, I was not reaching for it. I was not reaching for it because the shot I wanted to take required more than I could do physically to capture it. What to do?

I decided that there was no way I was not going to produce images, create “art” or tell a story and if working outside was too limiting for me then I would move inside. I set up a studio in a bedroom that was 10 x 10 x 7.5 feet, purchased some inexpensive Godox and Flashpoint studio lighting and Glow lighting modifiers, and spent literally hours watching educational studio lighting Youtube videos. I practiced daily, step by step what I was learning. I learned a lot from the instructors on the Adorama educational channel. They were Gavin Hoey and Daniel Norton.

What you hopefully gather from this first chapter is that there should virtually be nothing that stops you from doing some form of what you like and nothing that would want to make you stop learning something new every day.

Chapter two coming soon. The Studio

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not About A Particular Brand – But An Overall Reasoning About All Our Gear Choices

This is a very good video from a professional photographer that is worth listening too.  Try to put aside one’s own brand loyalties and come to understand it is not what about what you own that determines how good you are as a photographer.  It is not about switching but really about what works for the photographer as opposed to what impression your gear leaves.

 

Raw Power by Gentlemen Coders – Evolved To A Level Of Perfection

I know I write about a lot of different softwares and honestly quite a few of them are pretty darn good.  Some are not quite so good.  I can write about them because I own them or subscribe to them and I do that because I have the time to do that which a lot of other wonderful folks do not.  So while I find almost everything I use helpful in furthering the look of my raw and / or Jpeg images, every once in a while one program will stand out as exceptional.

What makes a program or app exceptional in my mind is the quality it brings to an image and how simple it works to achieve that quality.  While some programs are the perverbial kitchen sink, others are meat and potatoes and truthfully working with the down to earth meat and potatoe software and app without feeling I have to dive into all the multitude of effects and layers which usually result in less than desirable image quality or image looks.  However that does not mean I do not mean that I shall not use features of other programs once I have established a really good base image.

But for the everyday meat and potatoe processing of an image I now have one program that fits the bill.  It lets me make incredible adjustments that bring me to a finished product quickly, simply, and elegantly without spending needless hours.

That product as I am sure you can tell my the title of this blog post is Raw Power and I have watched its development for over a year now for both my Apple Macintosh and Apple IPad 10.5 and have to say that right now, today, Nik Bhatt, formerly the developer of Apple Aperture has announced the birth of version 2.0

The additions he has added to an already incredible processing engine or way beyond expectations and has now made this program one of the easiest to use, most powerful raw and other format processor at the top of the image processing game.

Just to be clear I have no business relationship with Gentlemen Coders or Nik Bhatt or for that matter even a personal relationship.  I am simply a customer of the company and have taken the time to use and watch and enjoy the development of this software.

O

Gentlemen Coders Logo

RAW Power 2.0 for iOS and Mac Now Available

Edit on Mac, continue on iOS. Same adjustments, same exceptional RAW processing.
On Mac, view multiple parts of your disk at the same time with the new tabbed file browser. Edit multiple images at the same time too!
Presets come to iOS, along with five new adjustments for both Mac and iOS. New space-saving design on iOS allows you to collapse and reorder adjustments to make the most of your screen.
On iOS, work with multiple images at once. Apply presets and adjustments, revert your edits, or make high quality JPEG previews for RAWs.
On Mac, you can also batch apply presets or adjustments. In addition, export multiple images with custom size and naming options.

New RAW Power 2.0:

  • Free update. iOS includes a new in-app purchase for some of the new adjustments.
  • Demo videos of the 2.0 features on YouTube
  • Tons of other improvements including:
    • Improved sharing on iOS to the Photos app
    • Additional Metadata on Mac including a map for images with GPS
    • Full Dark Look on macOS Mojave
Learn more on our website

 

 

Portrait exhibit casts light on women’s underrecognized military service – The Washington Post

Grounded by injuries, an Air Force combat photographer turns her lens on fellow veterans.
— Read on www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/portrait-exhibit-casts-light-on-womens-underrecognized-military-service/2018/11/18/f6d50d5e-e9e9-11e8-a939-9469f1166f9d_story.html

Celebrate women every day. Remember and admire their contributions to the world we live in and learn everything you can about too many unrecognized achievements.

She Was A Great And Perfect Example On Fighting To Live A Life

This was Calise, our beautiful Calico Cat.  She was about 21 years old and she arrived at my wife’s parents house when she was about 6 months old on Halloween.  As candy was being handed out to the neighborhood kids she was on the front steps with them but no one claimed her so she was instantly adopted by my in-laws, who have saved cats and dogs from danger for years.  Calise immediately became the Alpha cat, taking control of the other cats and dogs.

She had medical problems like diabetes and she got insulin twice a day for years and she had debilitating arthritis in her back legs and hips but she was a trooper and a wonderful example of doing everything to live her life.  She managed to work through all of her problems with the goal of bringing happiness to all of those who were fortunate enough to engage her.  When my father in law had passed away we adopted their cats including Calise.

Just the day before she had managed to summon the strength to come out to the living room where she got into her little pink bed that had her favorite toy in it and eventually made her way back to the bedroom where she stayed.  She had a whole bedroom to herself.

We did what we could to make her last days comfortable realizing that her time was near.  She had placed herself a little bit under a bed in her room and there she stayed. Ramona covered her with a small blanket to keep her warm.  Our Jack Russel, Ginger had crawled under the bed to be with her and I laid on the floor nearby letting her know I was there.  When she passed Ginger gave out a low cry and moan and stayed with her for quite a while.

All of us, Ramona, Ginger and I will miss this superstar.  We love you Calise and now you are with Ramona’s parents and free from all your ills.

Creative Camera Tethering With The New Alien Skin X4 Software

If you have ever thought about tethering your camera to your computer and it seemed like a difficult process, especially with Adobe and other programs, then you need to look at these videos.  You may question why you would want to tether and have your images come up in your software and you may think it is only for people doing portrait shoots but that is not correct.  It makes a great tool for doing in-house product shoots, in-house artful shoots, and with Alien Skin X4 you can also shoot in several different presets at the same time so you can see what creative film look works best for your images.  It is not just for Fuji as it will work for almost all cameras.  Check it out on Alien Skins website below.

 Website.

Alien Skin X4 was recently released and has a great many features that should appeal to very creative photographers and yes even those who are not so creative.  The best thing you can do is go directly to their website if you want to learn more and even download a 30-day trial.

Is it a viable alternative to the popular subscription only Lightroom CC Classic.  Yes, it is and it is not a subscription which is really nice.  It has layers, folders, collections, tons of presets and filters with what many have said and I agree, the best film presets ever produced. Tons of them.

Take so time to learn something new by downloading their trial copy. RIGHT HERE.

 

 

RAW Files: Digital Manifestations of the Emperor’s New Clothes

A battle of sorts is raging throughout the photography communities. Jpeg Vs Raw files as a final step is what the battle is about.

Raw files, I think by now, are known for containing a lot more data than a Jpeg file and to extract that data special software such as Luminar, Aurora, On1 Photo Raw, Alien Skin, now X4, and of course Adobe Lightroom. The data can be manipulated into whatever vision you choose. Whatever you do to get the image you want will not hurt the data in anyway.

Jpeg files are baked in. The camera software takes care of everything needed to give us an image and in most cases a very acceptable image that can be used with virtually no manipulation. In reality you do not want to manipulate Jpeg too much because it will degrade the data in the image.

Fujifilm X cameras happen to produce exceptional Jpeg files and it can do that with a variety of alterable film simulations for a variety of different film looks. They are pretty darn good. What I like is the fact that I can load a Jpeg file into most softwares and save that Jpeg as a preset to preserve the look the camera gave it with a film simulation and then apply that preset to the normally flat Raw file. It works and really makes final processing a lot easier. My favorite software for doing that is Alien Skin and Luminar 2018, soon to be 2019.

In this unique explanation of what they are and how RAW files work, see how they are the equivalent of the Emperor’s New Clothes,
— Read on digital-photography-school.com/raw-files-digital-manifestations-emperors-new-clothes/

AND IT IS FALL – AGAIN

Every year people with all sorts of cameras having waited for one of the most wonderfully colorful and crisp seasons rush out into the world to create some spectacular images. While I will more than likely do the same this year, I also wanted to take a look back at lots of images to give myself the inspiration to get my butt out there once again on the chance that there is something going to happen that I have not seen before. Today I use Fuji X camera gear but over the years I have worked with several different camera systems.  Most of the images in this gallery were taken with Fuji cameras but there are some that were shot with Nikon, Pentax and Olympus.  I have never used a camera system that I did not like.  They have all been great pieces of technology and have made my photographic endeavors very pleasurable.  Today I travel as light as possible and own a Fuji X pro 2 camera and three prime lenses. 23mm,35mm and 50m, all 2.0 lenses.  The whole system is light, compact, and weather sealed, and on any given day my total package to go out with is no more than 6 pounds total and that includes the aforementioned gear, 4 batteries, 2 extra cards, cleaning stuff, cable release.  I may throw a flash in my pocket should I need a touch more light. 🙂 and there is always a small lightweight tripod in the trunk of my car. The same goes for software.  Software today is greatly improved over what was available many years ago and while the packages offer pretty much the same basic controls there are some that provide a lot more creative control and it is not unusual for a photographer to work with several softwares to create the look they want to achieve.  For the most part I cannot tell you what was processed with what and unless I look at my Exif data I couild not tell you what camera or lens I used. Today my software includes an Adobe subscription which I may stop but maybe not.  Then there are three creative packages. One is the Skylum Luminar. Another is Alein Skin X3, and a third, but not used often is Skylum Aurora Hdr. I use Adobe subscription that includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom Classic CC, Lightroom CC Cloud based, and Lightroom Mobile CC for the Ipad Pro.  The only reason I use it is because it is the only software company that provides a complete “eco” system.  What does that mean?  It means that if I am working on my Ipad Pro and processing images, everything I do will be saved to the Adobe Creative Cloud.  Because of that I can go to my office and launch Lightroom CC or Lightroom Classic and the images will sync to those applications for further use or data collection.  Of course it also works in reverse.  Process on my computer in my office and open up my Ipad pro and launch the Lightroom Mobile app and those images will sync to my Ipad Pro.  Very convenient.  And it is possible to tell Lightroom Classic to bring down images from the Adobe cloud and have them actually store on the Ipad Pro just in case I am going to be in a place where there is zero WiFi. Whew.  It’s a lot.  You are also locked in to the Adobe library which is not my favorite data storage option.  if other software companies could provide apps and syncing capability I would probably kiss Adobe goodbye.

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.

 

 

 

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.

Working with Different Focal Lengths for Macro Photography

Interesting and informative article on choosing the right focal length for your macro photography.  In the past my favorite macro lens was the 150mm macro from Sigma, but using Fuji X eliminates Sigma.  However, Fuji does have a screaming 80mm macro. I am just sayin’  because I have a birthday coming up.

The article does not mention close up lenses like Canon superb closeup screw in lenses for your tele lenses and it does not mention extension tubes which allow for getting closer with short prime and short zoom lenses.

But all in all a very good read.

Which lens you choose to get for macro photography is quite important. In this article, you’ll see the difference that focal length makes when doing close-up work.

Source: Working with Different Focal Lengths for Macro Photography

I Suffer From A Totally Screwed Up Back Top To Bottom

Over the years, being a rep for a large camera company, I always carried a lot of gear and it was not unusual that my camera bag held 30 to 40 pounds and that was usually hanging from one of my shoulders.

I am not saying that was the only cause of my terrible and painful post surgery lumbar area because there were probably many things that contributed to that.  But all that heavy camera gear on one or the other shoulder was a major contributor.

The article I am linking you to is very educational and written by someone who knows what carrying camera gear can do to the human body, whether it is on your shoulder or on your neck.

He stresses the benefits of lighter gear as well a a preferred method of carrying which would be more around one’s waist but does not discount backpacks as well.

My choice for around the waist is pretty much known.  It is bags made by Cosyspeed.  Other methods which relieve stresses on the spine are offerings from Scott Vest and Peak Design.

Follow this link:

More about Cosyspeed

 

My three ways of carry:

 

 

SCOTT VESTS

 

 

 

 

PEAK DESIGN

 

 

 

Dear Men: Allies Call for More Men to Step Up in the Photo Industry | PDN Online

Dear Men and Women

Even if you are not a photo journalist you can still be a part of the solution when it comes to the mistreatment of women in any part of the photography industry.  No matter what the venue, or where it is, it does not matter. 

It goes far beyond just women. It speaks to racism, all prejudices, all  who have been abused, mistreated, man or woman.  Sign the petition and work towards a better world for everyone.

 

Daniel Sircar and Justin Cook argue that men in the photo industry can (and should) do more to ally themselves with women fighting for a safer, more equitable industry culture.

Source: Dear Men: Allies Call for More Men to Step Up in the Photo Industry | PDN Online

HYPER CLAIMS ARE NOTHING NEW -just don’t get sucked in

HYPER CLAIMS ARE NOTHING NEW –

HYPER CAN BE DEFINED AS –  prefix appearing in loanwords from Greek, where it meant “over,” usually implying excess or exaggeration ( hyperbole);

We have all, at some time or another been exposed to hyper claims. 

They may have been made by politicians, advertising agencies, corporations, blog sites, social media sites, manufacturer sites and so many more.

 Camera and Lens manufacturers say you can use their gear in inclement conditions such as rain, snow, waterfalls, dust storms, etc.they mean it.  However, the advertising hype for those of that use regular DSLR, Compact System Cameras, Mirrorless Cameras and most other cameras really goes beyond the water-resistant hype that is being taunted.  In some cases, one would be asked to believe you can jump into a swimming pool with your gear and continue to work as if you were on dry land.

No matter what they say, your gear is not waterproof.

There are fixed lens cameras that are designed to be totally waterproof and can actually be submerged, but these are not the cameras referred to in this article.

The hyper advertising has led users to actually believe that the gear they have purchased is “virtually immortal” and incapable of being damaged.  That has led some not so very bright people on the web who have nothing to do but test their gear as opposed to shooting with it to perform some pretty outrageous tests.  Some of these tests have been users putting their camera gear in their home showers and running the water at full force over the equipment and then providing pictures of the soaked cameras and lenses to hopefully prove the hyper claims or for that matter disprove the hyper claims.  In any case a stupid and ignorant thing to do.  Obviously experimenting with thousands of dollars of gear in this fashion does not speak well to their mental capabilities.

Your cameras and lenses are safe from dust, rain, snow, and the like only up to a point.  To believe otherwise will only lead to some very expensive repairs if the gear can be repaired at all.

I have been in conditions that tested the limits of my own personal gear and it was pretty disconcerting.  But because I acted quickly to clean and dry off my effected camera and lens it all worked out.  I was crossing a stream in Shenandoah National park with some fellow photographers with my Pentax K20 camera body and zoom lens.  I slipped on a rock in the water and fell into the muddy bank on the edge of the stream and the camera and lens were covered in thick mud.  I was able to use the water from the stream and a towel to clean off the camera, dry off the water I used to get rid of the mud.  It worked.  It worked because I reacted in time and was able to put water on the water resistant camera and lens and then dry it off.  I was lucky.

But for all of us it is important to remember that this gear whether it was my previous system, Pentax or my current system Fuji or your current system whatever it is, is not so resistant that it will keep out all of the nasty elements.

For this reason I implore you to read a little further understanding that your camera gear is not WATERPROOF and that the level of water resistance will vary from brand to brand and model to model.

This is why there are companies that make protective covers for your gear.  These covers come in all sizes and are designed to be used either on a tripod or handheld.  One of these companies are Len Coat

http://www.lenscoat.com/lenscoat%C2%AE-raincoat-small-p-1731.html?\=01a0e2a5e230784a4053c0157201c527

 

 

 

 

Another company is Storm Jacket.  They are one of the longest running protection companies around.

https://www.vortexmediastore.com/pages/storm-jacket-sizing-and-product-information

There is a reason these products are out there for you.  It is to give you the assurance that if you are caught in adverse elements that can damage your gear, the gear will be safe. I have used both of these products in some pretty severe conditions and they truly protect the gear better than anything else.

There are other covers on the market that look like clear plastic. They are okay in a drizzle but not a storm.  Be smart and prepare for the worst.

Your Photography – You need to keep it simple and down to earth

We are pretty close to the end of 2017 and as it is every year’s end we hope that there is no unfinished business and are already planning our goals for 2018.

I have to admit that over the years a lot of the goals I set for myself I did not quite accomplish but there was one that I made about 4 years ago that I did get done and because of that I am a happier and less stressed photographer.

That goal was to become a photography gear minimalist.  Like many people I know who are passionately involved with creating images, I owned a lot of expensive cameras and lenses as well as tonnage in accessories.  The sad part is that most of it was acquired because of a mental disorder called “gear acquisition syndrome.”  It is better known simply by the abbreviation “GAS.”

The syndrome comes about when photographers cannot help but always buy the latest and greatest cameras and lenses and of course accessories.  The ability to have self control in these purchasing matters is non-existent and ultimately each and every time once the unnecessary purchase has been made the words forming on our lips which represent justification for buying what was not needed are followed by physical actions of hiding the purchase in a car trunk until it can be brought into to abode and closeted.

There was a time when I had 4 bodies, 12 lenses, 4 wireless flash units, and accessories beyond what a smart camera store would ever keep in stock for long.  And camera bags. Oh those camera bags.  At one time I had close to 50.

Today I own 1 camera body, 3 prime lenses, 2 wireless flashes, a small amount of accessories and 5 bags. When I go out for the day I have the majority of my gear in a Cosyspeeded Outdoor Camslinger waist pack which fits of course around my waist.  It can also be worn as a small sling bag as well.  It holds my Fuji X pro 2 with a lens mounted along with 2 other small primes, 2 extra memory cards, 3 extra batteries, cables release and some cleaning stuff.  If I think I am going to need flash, which is not often I attach a small bag with a small flash to the bag.  That is it.

I have written blogs, shared my feelings, attempted to influence others to go minimal with mirrorless cameras and small lenses but in my heart I know that many of my readers are still backpacking with a full load weighing in at about 20 pounds or worse and even though they have not mastered the gear they own, are going to stand in line to purchase the next great thing.  It is hard to change.  And people won’t change because they have the fear that if they do not have everything they own with them they will miss the shot of a lifetime.  If they do not make that purchase they know that the person standing next to them probably did make that purchase and their images are going to be better than your images.  Of course that is a bunch of BS.😉

Therefore, if you are reading this blog and you are going to make some resolutions then here are a few to think about:

  • 1-Master the gear you have now
  • 2-Determine what kind of pictures you like to create and adjust your camera gear to be ready to take those kinds of images.  As an example, I have a friend who own a zoom with long focal lengths, a 600mm 4.0 both for shooting wildlife and he has not shot wildlife in about 6 years.  Not only should he not pack these lenses with his go to gear, but probably should sell or trade them.
  • 3-Lighten your loads so that you will enjoy a day of shooting a lot more.  Carrying excess gear which translates to too much weight can make for a miserable day out.
  • 4-Leave the backpack or large camera bag in the car and head out with a small bag with a minimal amount of gear.
  • 5-Come to an understanding that your modern camera bodies are capable of making near perfect images in JPEG format, and easily processed images in raw format.  That all translates to you not parking your butt  in front of a computer screen and spending hours that will more than likely cause you to over process and make ugly the really good images that came out of the camera.  If you want to do weird stuff then use your cell phone camera combined with some way out apps to really make ugly state of the art.

Finally I am sure you already have software that you love.  After more than a year of testing about a dozen software packages either having subscription options, or buying to own packages ranging from $20.00 to about $250.00.  Most are okay and if you do not have a software package you like, or if you have not mastered a software package then there is a lot to consider.  They are all pretty darn good.  If you want to check in with me at IPADPRO.ELLIOT@GMAIL.COM perhaps I can answer questions about what software I think will do great things with your great images.

 

 

 

It’s All About Tones: Black and White Landscapes | Nature Visions Photo Expo

The one thing but not the only thing I learned about attending Northern Virginia Nature Vision show is that it is smart to sign up for lectures EARLY.  Early means today, not tomorrow.

This particular lecture is being given by my old partner in photography education, Brian Zwit and I can tell you one thing for sure.  It will be the best $30.00 you will put towards learning the ins and outs of black and white image processing.

Sign up today for Brian’s lecture It’s All About Tones: Black and White Landscapes | Nature Visions Photo Expo

And sign up for the one and only major photo show in Northern Va. – Nature Visions

 

Regardless of genre, black and white photography is about the basic building blocks of any photograph: tones, lines, textures, shapes, and forms. Join Brian to learn how you can advance your black and white landscape photography.

Source: It’s All About Tones: Black and White Landscapes | Nature Visions Photo Expo

(45) Photography Composition :: Simplification and Negative Space – YouTube

Sometimes we create our own styles, but more often than not we start off by looking at other great photographers and teachers have done, apply their teaching to our vast warehouse of learning and hopefully have our own style or styles evolve from all of this.

One of my favorite ways of shooting for as long as I can remember was using negative space and using simplification to make a photograph with more impact by having less in it.

This excellent video talk directly to that I thought I would share it through my blog.

I hope you find this useful in your creative endeavors.

The site that this came from is here  where there are short articles and superb examples covering composition.

 

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.

Rangefinder – How to Beat That Dreaded Creative Rut in Your Photography

Let’s face it.  From time to time we have all been knocked in the head by a total block when it came to getting out and about to create images.

Unfortunately, creator’s block knows no bounds. Photographer Ben Sasso offers some advice on what to do when it inevitably comes to you.

Source: Rangefinder – How to Beat That Dreaded Creative Rut in Your Photography

Are you dedicated to your art? Are you learning everyday? Are you capturing a world that only your eyes can perceive?

Are you dedicated to your art?  Are you learning everyday? Are you capturing a world that only your eyes can perceive?

Then you will want to watch these videos about life on the streets with dedicated photographers who face the challenges of recording that life everyday.

 

 

 

5 Amazing Filters in Luminar (that don’t exist in Lightroom) — Nomadic Pursuits – a blog by Jim Nix

Terrific Software…Very powerful, complete, and a true replacement for Adobe Lightroom.  IMO

 

Have you heard about Luminar, but haven’t jumped in yet? Are you Luminar-curious? What are you waiting for?!  Luminar offers SO much, including these 5 amazing filters that you cannot get in Lightroom.  Check it out!

Source: 5 Amazing Filters in Luminar (that don’t exist in Lightroom) — Nomadic Pursuits – a blog by Jim Nix

Northern Virginia First Real Frost For 2013

First Frost
First FrostIt was cold, damp, slippery and for me worth the effort.  Anytime is a good time to “freeze” time” with a click of a shutter.

The images were taken with a Fujfilm X camera, 60mm micro and 35mm 1.4 Fujifilm Optics

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re – post Image Processing Software – Is there a perfect solution? Is it just about the software?

There are so many different image processors in the market place today.  Some are  terrible in regards to the final results. Others are middle of the road and some are exceptional.   Processors like Silky Pix have interfaces designed for a species not from this planet, while others do a reasonably great job in getting us through the post processing elements of our final images.

There again, what each of us consider a great image is highly subjective because we all see things in a different way.  If we depend upon “Judges” to apply the exact rules of the realm and if left up to them, rules that must be followed.  That can get pretty boring and even stifle really terrific creative photographers.  Remember rules are made to be broken sometimes and judges are not immune to having their own preconceived likes and dislikes.

Depend upon yourself to make the determination  what looks good and what does not in your own personal photography.  You know as well as I do that the severist critics are ourselves when it comes to our own work.

So what software will bring us close to the way  we thought our own personal images should look?  I have seven raw processors sitting on my desk top.   because there is a need to know about them for the sake of our students. My favorite ones are going to be the ones that are not only easier to use but also produce the closest results to what I saw when I photographed.

I have Lightroom v5.0, Phaseone Captureone v.7.12, Irident Raw Developer (latest) mac only, Apple Aperture (latest version)mac only, Photoshop v5.0, Silkypix (latest version).

What cameras do I shoot with?  I shoot a Fuji x pro 1, Fuji X-e1, Fuji X100, and A Fuji X10.  On their own they are very capable of incredible resolution and exceptional color reproduction.  But as good as their color reproduction is concerned the software I use will alter that when the image the software’s own parameters.  What I personally shoot with will be a determining factor what software works for me.

The most universal software in my opinion is Adobe Lightroom 5.0. It is designed for photographers, is simple and covers a lot of cameras.  It accepts my Jpeg and Raw files and provides the best set of tools and plug-ins available to process an image in very creative ways.

But for the highest quality, most accurate software for my particular cameras, I is  Phaseone Capture one v7.12. It produces the best out of camera rendering for My FUJI FILES. Next in line is Irident Raw Developer  At the point of entry into the software, the interpretation of the image is handled in virtually a perfect way.  But as good as Capture One and Irident are I always end my post process by transferring my almost final file to Adobe Lightroom for just a bit of plug-in tweaking.  My plug-ins are made by NIK SOFTWARE, OWNED BY GOOGLESo what does it take for Fuji files to get processed?  Capture one and Lightroom with Nik Plugins.  How long does it take?  About 3.5 minutes a file.

Recently I posted a sunflower Gallery of images I made before our Sunflower field trip.   My purpose was to check out the fields and find what would hopefully be the best vantage points for image creation for our students.

A person whose judgement I value highly, George Fennell from X-Rite,  a very astute  person, casually pointed out to me that from one image to the next the color of the sunflowers was varied.  That did not make the images bad images, but from a technical stand point the colors were not perfectly balanced in post processing.  The beautiful yellows were varied and granted they were shot in different light, but could have been more accurate to the trained eye.  George is the more than local rep for the Mac Group, he is an expert in the photographic industry.

In a near future article that George is writing on color calibration we are all going to learn a great deal about the right tools and what they do.

My original gallery is still up and running but the gallery with this blog images done with Capture one and Lightroom