Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sharing the Old Fashion Way (from Picasa Web Albums)

The Google+ Photos screen in a chrome browser

These days all version of picaca, will take to you to google+ photos within google+, rather than to the former way picasa shared on the web, which was called Picasa Web Albums. To be fair google+ photos has a few more features, particularly editing the photos on-line. However it has lost a few of the nice ways to share your photos both privately and publically that where part of Picasa Web Albums (some are just very hard to find). Basically the big green share button is just about sharing within the google+ environment (and those in your circles within that environment).

The good news is the old Picasa Web Albums View and the new Google+ photos actually are just different front ends to the same photo storage. You Just need to know the magic link which will change you back to the Picasa Web Album view (and many of its sharing tools)

The Picasa Web Album screen in a chrome browser

This link still works (at the moment!) Picasa Web Album, sharing an album via emailThe photos are the same, editing them (such as cropping) in one version will change them in the other. There is also a slightly different way to define sharing, which can be set on an album or individually on each photo. The options being Only You, Limited, anyone with the link and Public, shown by simple little icons (a lock for private, a little globe for public and a globe with a piece of paper in front of it for limited). There is a share button which goes to google+ but you can also share via email by adding the email address above the share button. They get sent the email that you then set up on a dialogue popup (shown on the right) and can access the photo or album using the included link in that email. This is a very quick and convenient way to send a number of images via email because you only send the link, and the photos will be private to yourself and the person receiving the email. Google+ can do an email invite but it is firstly an invite to join google+ or log in with a google account before the recipient can view the photos.

Picasa Web Album, sharing an album direct linkThe other nice options to share your photos, will show up in the photo display when it is available via limited or public, you will see an extra series of share options below the share key (don’t hit it, its the one that just shares to google+). These share options include posting to blogger and twitter and including a direct HTML link or embedding some HTML code for a website or blog post. You can also reset the secret link, if you fear others have been sent the access code/link.

I don’t understand why google+ doesn’t still offer these sharing options, without the need for the receiver to join google+.

But now you know how to access these sharing options and can enjoy sharing your photos again.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Size matters, but so does speed

 SD cards come in a large variety of capacities, in general the bigger the capacity the more expensive, but there is a second consideration speed. The SD Association have a speed class system that can help you understand the performance. the symbol is a number (the number of Mega Bytes per sec) inside a C, a bit like the @ symbol (see example on right hand side). Whilst most cameras will work the original the original standard SD cards (mainly still available in 2Giga Bytes) many older cameras cannot use the newer SD HC (High capacity) which general come in between 2 GB and 32 GB capacities, These newer card can have speed from 2 MB/s up to 10 MB/s. Understanding the performance is pretty simple if your DSLR camera writes a jpeg or RAW file that is 10MB in size it will take 1 second to write (with a tiny overhead for the cameras software). If you are still using a speed class 2 card that same file will take 5 seconds. A little more in cost of the card may make a big difference, particularly in bust mode.

This was all fine for still cameras but video is even more demanding, so there is now another class the SD XC or UHS (Ultra High Speed), which an come in capacities up to 1 TB (terra byte(more commonly 32GB).  Their speed class is shown in a U, The class U 3 is equivalent to 30MB/s (as shown on the left). Some newer cameras and particularly video cameras like the GO Pro actually require these higher speed cards.

So here is a guide of what size/speed card might suit you best

Type of Photography


Speed Class

If you just shoot jpeg (or old camera)



If you mainly shoot RAW



If you shoot jpeg + RAW



If you shoot video & RAW




Thursday, January 22, 2015

Start your own Provenance, sharing into the future

Me enjoying an espresso (short black) coffeeSocial media is often prompted as a way an artist can reach a larger audience. This is really only partly true. Just putting works on line doesn’t mean others will look at them.  For a start it will probably just be a tiny thumbnail to most until they click on it, if they click on it. Further in a time where almost everyone has access to the net, via smartphone, tablet or computer and their own web presence, via a social media service. Everything quickly gets swamped by a plethora of other distractions. Many of those distractions will be striking similar because the web is full of copy cats and people who “wanna bee” celebrities.  They either are ignorant of, or just wish to remain ignorant of, intellectual property rights and ownership, they are just chasing likes, views and +1s. If your work is original, you may not want it devalued by lots of “clones” or just simply having it “stolen” and reposted without attribution. Well maybe you don’t actually need to post it, just about it.

Establishing provenance (the chain of ownership) for art works is an important historical undertaking. It helps detect and eliminated forgeries (unless the forger can also “plant” an elaborate chain of fake histories) and it is fundamental in establishing the value of the work. It is not possible for you to write the provenance but things you do, write about, sketch and/or photograph will form the foundation of this future value. Posting about your current work, including sketches and photos of you working on it and/or others in front of the work (say at an exhibition) are probably better ways to use social media to promote your art than just posting a thumbnail of it.

My Painting "The Short Black"

The Short Black was painted in 2013, as a donation to the Art Auction at Alphington Primary School

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

PhotoProject ::Photographing a Sunset as an Artist might Paint

I saw an interesting article is a recent copy of Australian Artist, it was the forth instalment of a 4 part workshop challenge series on Mastering Sunsets by Richard Roberston. He correctly identifies that a brightly coloured sky and deep shadows in the foreground is a very difficult subject to photograph correctly. and offers a simple way to expose the setting sun & sky correctly (point the camera towards the sun and half press the shutter and hold it, then move to get the composed image you want and then fully press the button releasing the shutter). Next take a second exposure for the shadows (by pointing at them and again half pressing the shutter and returning to the composition you want before pressing the shutter fully) The article them moves on to describe “how to paint better than a camera” and it focuses on “seeing” (and analysing) colour and tone However the sunset is a fleeting event and even an great artist will have to work fast to record even a small sketch, but that sketch and time spent looking for and understanding the the true difference between what a camera sees and what the human eye sees, will give the artist the ability to lift a studio painting to the next level even when they are using a photo or photos as extra reference.

I do carry a small A7 sketchbook in my camera bagI actually think the same logic can be applied by a photographer but the photographer may be at a disadvantage if he is not familiar with looking for the chromatic value and tonality in colour, (with his eye rather than just his camera). Further few photographers carry around a sketch book (other than me) so they need to do a few observations and commit them to memory.

Tonal (an artist will squint, but you can just look through the viewfinder and set your camera slightly out of focus)

  • Look for the big areas of similar tone?
  • What are the natural positive and negative shapes? (maybe you need to find a interesting negative shape in the foreground to balance the composition)
  • Where is the lightest, brightest part?
  • Where are the shadows and how dark do they appear?

Dominant colours (again looking at the de-focused image in your viewfinder can help)

  • What are the 5 dominant colours? (don’t just say yellow or orange for a sunset, there will be more)
  • Given the colours a name? (use your own favourite/pet names, you’ll remember them better)
  • Give the a colours a shade? (its tonal strength, pale, bright, desaturated, dark )
  • Is the colour scheme Harmonious, Complimentary, Analogous? (an artist might drop a colour that conflicts with the overall scheme, you’ll have to do this in post)

If you have a camera that takes RAW image format and you have software to post process it, take you photo in this format because you may be able to tease out some of these memories. Remember an unprocessed RAW file can look very flat even compared with the equivalent jpeg. It will have to be post processed for sure!

This is a place from which I have sketched and photographed many sunsets, and over last weekend there where a couple decent ones. It is a nice place because the lacy texture of the banksia forms an interesting silhouette and strong foreground.

Out of Camera
IMGP1471 IMGP1420 IMGP1497
in Lightroom
IMGP1471 IMGP1420 IMGP1497
Tonal &
Colour Adjustment
in Lightroom
IMGP1471-2 IMGP1420-2 IMGP1497
After Shot Pro
Perfectly Clear
IMGP1471 IMGP1420 IMGP1497
Perfect Photo Suite
Magic Landscape preset
IMGP1471-Edit IMGP1420-Edit-2 IMGP1497-Edit

Whilst the difference may not be dramatic if you start with reasonable exposures. I am including these comparisons so yu can see it is possible to tweak the information in a RAW file to give you a richer image, perhaps more like you remember when you witnessed the sunset (You did commit to memory the tonality and colours you saw, didn’t you!)image

The other alternative, and it is a good one, is to take a bracketed set of exposures. The logic here is even if your camera’s lightmeter makes a wrong selection, for the best average exposure you should get at least one ok image. If you have access to HDR software then this set of different exposures can be combined to give a fuller dynamic range. If you have a google+ photo account and use autobackup, google may create an autoawsome HDR* for you when it recognizes a suitable bracket set of jpeg images. Unfortunately these can sometimes be a little lurid and over saturated.

with Lightroom
sunset 1471-001 sunset 14209 sunset 1497

16 bit HDR with Adaptive Logarithmic tone mapping and Perfect Effects Finish

As the sun sinks slowly in the west

... or so we remember?

Monday, January 19, 2015

A touch of summer

The weather is clearing, and an unexpected autoawesome HDR* from google+

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

More Mistress Troubles

I do like my lightroom and use her a lot, but she is not behaving nicely. She has always clearly been a high maintenance lady she doesn’t like working across several computers (and a network), she is very fussy about controlling everything, very finicky about external drives and she suffers occasional memory lapses. I am very careful about saving any edits, by writing an xmp (sidecar) file and writing collections as a keyword back into the metadata (also written to an xmp file). So on my studio computer she is happy and cooperative. She also plays nicely with my other new photographic mistress Perfect Photo Suite (I’m pretty sure lightroom thinks she is in charge and Perfect Photo plays along).

The disaster I discover yesterday was letting her look after my archives (which are on an external drive on a different computer). That lightroom catalogue actually references all my photos. Sure she was slow to start up there and sometimes there was a bit of a stutter waiting for a response but she had things under control. Or so I thought! I general only use that copy when I do my monthly backup and archive and then it is generally only to import the new files that have arrived in my archive (a task over which she does take her time). So time earlier last year I had used lightroom here to prepare a couple of blurb photobooks (which I have yet to get printed; not that that will happen now) they were left partly set up as collections. I hadn’t used that computer and lightroom since well beforebe good woman Christmas and when I opened her up and started looking for the books she start to slow then I got a Microsoft message that she had failed BUT she valiantly asked if I’d like to make a backup of her catalogue. Bad move! It took well over 12 hours to finished and when it had finished I had only 197,494 photos showing in the catalogue only 215 photos in two collections and I could not find any rating or corrections on any photos. I actually have more like 600,000 photos and probably had well over 100 collections. Well all the files and specifically the xmp files are still there and perfect photo’s browser happily see the metadata and the simpler editing at least. Corel’s Aftershot Pro is also happy reading the files and metadata although it can’t replicate the lightroom edits.

Trying to rebuild the lightroom catalogue, from previous backups, is really too daunting a task at the moment.  So she is banished from the archive for now, until I can find a workable solution. Perfect Photo’s browser mode is able to help out for the time being, but what will the future bring? I’m beginning to understand how those aperture users are feeling.