Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Last Rays of the Day

Late Afternoon Light I Late Afternoon Light II There was a fair bit of hype yesterday, under the hashtag #MELHENGE, where the sun would set perfectly aligned with the inner streets of the melborne grid, known as the hoddle grid. Whilst I didn’t get into the city I Melbourne Hengewas in Jell’s Park late in the evening and concentrating on my below my feet theme, taking photos of some of the pathways (above). Taking photos towards the sun (Contre-Jour) is not a simple task, It is easy to overexpose the image and be overwhelmed by just silhouetted shadows. So I didn’t expect great images and most where strong silhouettes but one photo on flickr by werden (on left) did capture some of the golden light reflected on both sides of the urban canyon and capture some of the curiosity with the event, with detail in the shadows! Nice job.

MyTracks might be [DEPRECATED] but still appreciated

[DEPRECATED] in the square brackets is a imageparticular google-ish word, that signifies google considers the software or devices is not longer appreciated, so google seems to have no qualms in killing them off despite a loyal band of users who love and use the applications daily. Unfortunately they have history, remember Google Reader, Wave, Google Buzz, Chrome to Phone and now Tracker.

I have tried out a quite a few GPS apps for my phone, most have great features but are real battery hogs and many need to be on-line all the time. I had found that tracker was great for capturing my path with the added benefit I could see a map if required or stats on how far I’d walk and time taken (ie how long it might take me to get back to the start). You can also annotate points along the way, a very useful feature when you are scouting for locations or have something important to tag on your photos. It can give synthesized voice reports on progress “you have walked 5 kilometres” etc. and other less than useful social network “”status”, “location” other “toy” stuff. If you donot want an interactive map and reasonable time between waypoint (eg 5 minutes) you don’t get such dramatic phone battery drain.  It exports the common GPX and KML formats, imagethat can be loaded into a number of photomanagment packages to tag photos taken during that timeframe with their most approariate geotags (aka location for the apple fan boys). In other words it was a nice little program for a wandering photographer.

After the 30th April the Tracks app will no longer be available on the Google Play Store, but I hope it will still work. However I’m back to looking for a replacement, another google disappointment to erode my trust.

part of my tracksA couple of weeks ago I was walking along the track beside Patterson river to the beach and I lost my lens cap (not an unusual occurrence) I had a good look on the beach but couldn’t see it there, Then I remembered the gps was on so I retraced my steps and in a spot I where had clamber down the rock on the river wall to take a couple of “texture” of the rock work there was my lens cap in a crack between the rocks. Without being able to view the gps I never would have been able to return to that point and even with careful looking from the track would not have been able to recognized the rocks and peer into the gap between them.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Enough with the sly-install-ware

imageI’m still a bit wary of windows 10, so I’m a still instantly concerned when anything changes. I went to use adobe digital edition, which I use with borrow box to read ebooks through my local library (normally a great servcie). Adobe told me there was a new edition and did I want to update, I pressed the install now not update later but nothing happened so I borrowed a book and downloade it, during which adobe closed and asked me to read its term and conditions, for the update and press ok. Annoting but all seemed to work then I notice the little yellow norton icon (which just seemed to be a web link so I deleted it and went back to reading my ebook).

Much later a new window proclaimed norton had scanned my system and did I want a 30day trail. I can only assume that the norton scan was assocaited with the adobed install. This time there was an extra link in the installed programs, so I also deleted that which again offered anoth 30day trial!!!! Enough. Delete.

Piggy-backing the secretive installation of software is something both companies should NEVER consider. Both have fallen greatly in my estimation. Such practices are how people become infected by malware & viruses. Now I’m not even confident that hasn’t to me.

PLEASE CEASE AND DESIST Adobe & Norton, or don’t you care about your reputations anymore?

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Under Foot

Having had some fun with the eye theme using modified photos (in that case using dreamscope filters) I got inspired to return to the Fred Williams stylistic approach. This time I want a simple subject (in the landscape) without an horizon and detail that comes form and is characteristic of the landscape itself but is perhaps somewhat abstract. Sounds easy?


The Main Dreamscope screenThe lack of a strong horizon made me think of looking down. Most people don’t take much notice of what’s under their feet, so it got me inspired  that “under foot” might be a perfect theme for the next few daily photos. The subject is then obvious also, my feet.


Hope you like such images inspired by art, but created photographically. Watch this space for more.

Moss Covered Granite Feet?

Monday, February 01, 2016

Letting myself have a more creative eye

Show me the money

I have been thinking more about what I might do creatively than about the themes of my daily photos. This week’s Friday photo is about eyes and the subject is very predictable. My eye is already in lots of photos so I was trying to think outside the oval/almond, or whatever shape my eye is. I began by using my camera on a tripod teathered to my computer via lightroom amd taking photos a regular intervals so all I had to do is get close to the camera and look deeply into its lens. This is a pretty simple way to get a self portrait, that I hadn’t tried before. Its easy ad works well. None of the photos where all that remarkable but I like a couple with me looking over my glasses, I enhance this one in the develop moduloe since I was already in lightroom. The only unusual step was I reduced clarity (so as not to make the skin to crunchy). I then loaded this image into the web version of dreamscope and played with a few likely looking filters.

Getting a set of self portrait in lightroom with my tethered cannonPlaying with different filters in DreamscopeMaking a composite image with OnOne Layers

Once I had the original photo and a set of “arty” renderings built from it. I then loaded the seleceted photo and a few of the better filtered imaged into OnOne Layers. the filtered on top of the photo. It was then just a case of loading a mask, inverting it and then painting out around eyes. so the eyes are phoyograpohic while the rest of the portrait becomes an artwork. Finally adding a border, lots of fun and not hard to do.

See the PhotoFriday contribution below.

PhotoFriday :: Creative Vision

IMG_0311 copy
For PhotoFriday‘s topic Eyes

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Different Media Renderings & Creativity continued…

I’ve had some fun with clone painting via corel painter. Just to show that difference media have their own benifits and can bring different athestic aspects to the same subject matter.

Lightrpoom Photo given an impasto acrylic lookAftershot Photo give an Impressionist Rendering

Finding creativity by using different tools

I’ve never been a big fan of set work flows and always using presets, I think that approach stifles creativity. However I constantly use a range of different software. So how do I manage to get a consistent style. Well in actual fact I don’t bother, I choose what seems to suit the image, each tools has it strengths and limitations. It was grey and close to dusk so he was flapping his wings to dry them, the movement combined with a telephoto shot low f-stop and low light, my set of photos thus have soft-ish focus and digital noise due to higher ISO. C'est la vie.
Capture of Picasa's (Tonal) Tuning ScreenFirst cab off the rank was Picasa, which I normal just use to upload my photos and allows me to quickly review and cull the photoset and perhaps rank the top photos. I tend not to use it to enhance my images, unless i really want something to post on the web or email straight away. It’s jpeg rendering is fine but google’s, “I feel luck approach” often makes the RAW files look dull and perhaps overexposed. I like more tonal range. Here I am editing the JPEG version and using the tuning tab but just clicking on the magic wand to let Picasa set the tonal sliders. I’ve also used the straighten and cropping tools.
Capture of Affect Effects Main ScreenI have been using Aftershot Pro as my preferred first look at RAW files on my laptop and have a fairly standard approach of clicking on the perfectly clear filter, then tweaking the details slider and for this photo a little extra raw noise correction. In this case I have toned down the vegetation a little via the Colour Equalizer Plug-in to help highlight the darter. I’ve also used a desaturate vignette along with cropping & straightening.
Capture of an On One Effects ScreenThe RAW photo I am processing with OnOne Photo 10 Suite doesn’t have the detail in the darter, which limits its success somewhat. However I used by very favourite Dynamic Contrast filter to manipulate the tones, opting to enhance the small scale contrast rather that larger scale (which help subdue the trees & reeds in the background) while backing off vibrance and lift the darter. I also used my very favourite vignette the Big Softy.
Capture of a Lightroom Develop Screen
I ended up breaking my own rule here, using a SDR+ preset I made myself some time ago to stretch the dynamic range in a single RAW photo. To which I tweaked clarity (local tonal contrast) to the right and dropped down the vibrancy a little, Similar crop and straighten to the other photo and finished with a subtle post crop vignette.

The photos are different, not unlike using different media (oils vs acrylic) and have subtly different appeal. Despite the approach to post processing being largely similar. I think the exercise of doing this help become familiar with the tools and what can be achieve. It is a more creative approach than following a rigorous workflow within a single software package. Vive la difference.

More Windows 10 photo mis-adventures

imageI was starting to think that staying with windows10 on my laptop would be ok yet another windows 10 funny showed up. If I clicked on an image file, rather than display that file I just an error message like the one on the right. What the?

Back to the forums, damn so much bad advice. Microsoft you have to do something about this confusion, Of course I gave up and started to look at file association, and low and behold the photos are now associated with somethiong I can’t find. TWINUI back to the forums and I did discover it means Tablet Windows UI, Ok My laptop is not a tablet? The forums posts are mainly about viewing PDFs so I figured this is about changing the default file association.


Fullscreen capture 1292016 112828 PMChanging file association is pretty simple once you know that is the issue. I decided picasa photo viewer might be a safer option than relying on either of microsoft’s Picture Veiwer or Windows Photo Viewer any more. I could have confidently used Paint.net or even Corel photo paint. Just use whatever you have confidence in.

Finally a word of warning about the TWINUI program, where ever and what ever it is, seems to be associated with a lot of extension, many not images format I am familiar with, so it is best to leave those and only change them when you are sure which is the right program to use,

This is another FAIL microsoft

Friday, January 29, 2016

More on Legacy Achiving of Family Photos

By Coincidence I have come across a couple of podcats on The FIX that also deal with the ideas of given maximum chance to preparing a legacy of family photos that will be useful to future genrations. If they are not also keen photographers, what will they need. Hint it isn’t in a massive Lightroom catalogue, or a mounatin of CDs, or even an external USB drive packed with RAW files.


HINT think jpeg files &/or 10 by 15cm (4”” by 6”) prints are a better start.