Friday, May 22, 2015

PhotoFriday :: The Beach

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A seven photo stitched panorama testing the perspective panorama feature in Lr CC.

To understand how big this pristine beach is.
Can you see the two people at the edge of the surf?

For PhotoFriday‘s topic Beach

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Flickr’s Uploadr (Beta) …another photo vacuum cleaner?

Is this a new storage offer?

Earlier last week I might have been a bit hasty expressing disappointment at the new standalone uploadr (because I could not log in) the next day I couldn’t wait and tried again with success this time. I wasn’t aware of the 1 terabyte free storage (that’s a lot by the way) being offered. However it didn’t take me long to figure out the new desktop app was much the same as google’s autoback, its just a photo vacuum cleaner, sucking up any images on your computer is a number of default directories (including dropbox) and with no opportunity to tag or cull the collection as it disappears into the cloud, The one consolation is the pictures are loaded as private The default directories uploadr will scanso they won’t flood your photostream but they will flood your camera roll. Perhaps worst it will create new albums to match each folder it finds. It you upload your photos into directories by date (as most software does, you will have a new camera roll item for that day and a new album to duplicate it!

Unlike google’s autobackup the new uploads are more intelligently filtered (the message I saw suggested it was doing a de-duplicating search, which is good but more importantly tags where automatically added to most photos to identify the type of subject. More surprisingly these seemed to be largely correct (I quickly avoid having my whole collection swept up so I have only Ah it did say Betauploaded a few photos but I was impressed with the tagging). I can only assume that flickr is using some form of AI image recognition. You can then use this tags to filter your collection (and possibly created new specific albums. It is somewhat reminiscent of everypix. At least it didn’t also try to autoawesome my stuff.

I was intrigued by the picture tagging so I decided to give the uploadr a diverse test Ah it did say Beta.

PS I’ve turned the new beta uploadr off,  and will stick with the previous version which allows manual tagging, choosing sharing options, album and group posting and adding comments at the time of upload.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Last of Autumn Start of Winter

Photo Shop Express test on my phoneThis was taken with my new android phone during a break in the rain. It was taken using HDR Camera+ and then lightly adjusted to soften the colour a square crop and add the ragged frame using Adobe’s Photoshop Express for Android. Photoshop express was one of the early photo editor apps I used on my previous Android phone so I am roughly familiar with its basic operation. By the way the controls are nothing like other adobe photo editors, At first impressions it has more in the common format of small filter icons to pick the effect you want from a scrollable ribbon underneath the phone giving the impression of a one-click fix. However if you look a bit deeper on the icon on the bottom line there are a number of useful tools for basic edit. The key is the several filters can be used cumulatively on the one image. The first three overlapping circle control cropping tool, which bring up the filters related to colour with a horizontal slider bar to increase of decrease the effect. Next is a small icon with two overlapping l shapes which is the cropping took. Then a simplified icon of two sliders to control exposure, and many tonal and sharpening/noise options. The eye is for red eye reduction and the small frame icon is for adding a frame or fancy edge. Finally there is a band aid to remove blemishes. All in all most of the edit tools you might want to use.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Auto Awesome Blooper or Optical Illusion?

I took these photos of my footprints in the sand late yesterday afternoon. The Auto awesome HDR* photo on the left is taken looking away from the sun and the HDR* on the right is taken towards the sun. The effect is not as noticeable in the single images, but is very apparent in the google+ autoawesome HDR*(which by the way was not intended to be created and sorry about the annoying solarizing-style effect on the wet sand in the upper right of the left hand image, my interest in in the footprints which appear inverted)
Taken looking away from the sun  Taken looking away towards the sun

Do the footprints on the right hand side look inverted?

PhotoProject :: Mapping the night sky

I have had a personal project for a while of trying to map the night sky, the southern half of the milky way. i have a great vanatge point at venus bay and when the night is clear and moonless I brave the cool and take a number if long exposure shoots. then my ambition is to stitch them altogether and create a map of the visiable sky (like our eye sees it rather tan through a telescope. It can be  pretty damn amazing. Night sky panorama.jpg

However I have found myself up against a numbers of technical issues. Trying to solve these will probably make interesting reading so I’ll post a little about my progress or lack of here, from time to time. The first issue is most panorama stitching software refuses to stitch stars on a black background. The exception is when I have a section of the horizon dimly lit as above which cover from due south to due east

Monday, May 11, 2015

Unifying the flickr experience

when you next log into flickr you will see this pop upIf you are a long time web based user of flickr, you may be getting a little deja vu, “the Interface is being changed again!” However looking a bit deeper flickr is seeking to bring a “beautiful seamless experience across a range of platforms” and they have focussed on seeking an “elegant design that allows you to enjoy your images and your memories from any device, anywhere in the world”. This is a pretty high aim but will it be enough to please the faithful and perhaps even bring others back to what was once the home of photography on the net. I suspect it might.

The phone and tablet apps have been much improved, I already like the android app and it has a  prominent of my camera app panel, not that I’m doing a lot of uploading from there. The addition of groups from the phone app is a big deal because groups seemed to have been forgotten for a long time on flickrm a hole community ethos withered away and probably the main reason I drifted away too.

Having first experienced the new interface on the phone I totally get the changes on the web based pages. I like the extra white space, even though its probably only there to help the “adaptive” magic as the display fits to different size and shape screens. The ability to sort by date taken versus upload order is a nice touch as is being able to view everything or just the way the public and/or your friends see the photos is also commendable. So existing users don’t panic.

I still like the old three column view, with lots of white space, so I went searching for that and it is still under the photostream view but now the first item on the more sub-menu button over on the right of the header area. The upper menu bar has been heavily simplified and some items moved down on the photostream sub-menu but I have managed to find those aspects of flickr I normally use.

So here is a challenge for exiting flickr faithful see if you can find the Magic View in the Camera Roll, its rather nice, but not yet perfect.

The wed based flickr upload doesn’t seem so different to me its real benefit is still the ability to upload and organize many photos at once, including  being able to select a specific creative common style licence under user settings.

Not a good look flickr! log in error from Uploadr

The one disappointment was when I downloaded the updated loadr app (still in beta) for my windows laptop I just got into a cycle of errors where I couldn’t log into flickr. Not a good look. So I’ll wait and check it a bit later.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

PhotoEditTools :: Straightening in Lr CC/6

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  1. Before I finish the Lr CC trial I feel it is necessary to highlight a nifty little addition to the crop tool. It is the little Auto button over on the right hand side. It does a good job straightening horizons. It also automatically adjust the crop window to just fit the rotated image.
  2. Those with previous versions of Lightroom, or those that like making their own adjustments (and of course when Auto doesn’t work) can use the convention straightening tools within the Crop tool. The simplest approach is the little level icon, you fix it to one point stretch the line to another point and click a second time. Very simple, it makes near horizontal things horizontal and near vertical things perfectly vertical (it does not however fix barrel like distortion from wide angle lenses). Alternatively you can use the slider which tilts the image according to the angle shown on the right of the slider.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

SmartPhones :: My Android Workspace

My LG lock screenI’ve only had my LG phone a short time but I already like it a lot. The nicest feature for making sure my camera is always at hand, are a couple of LG specific features, the first is called knock on, and it simply is a light double tap gesture on the phone screen to wake the phone up. Then on the lock screen you can set 4 app icons ready to go at the bottom of the screen, the camera app is on the bottom right. So to start the camera is just a third tap on this camera app, with a swipe up gesture. If you know morse codes its like tapping out IT (dot dot wait dash). Viola the camera app is up and ready to go. Compared with finding the power switch, turning on the phone unlocking it if necessary then the finding the camera app and eventually starting it. This is fast and natural.

I’ve seen plenty of reviews that claim the camera in this LG phone is ordinary and maybe it is but the IPS screen is really amazing, strong colours and contrast (while you’re inside!) which LG describe as beautiful colour reproduction and viewing clarity. Outside the screen suffers lot from glare and you have to manually increase the screen brightness (which can be a challenge when you can’t make out the screen). I can’t figure out why they haven’t made screen brightness automatically adjustable according to ambient light. (Other than the fully bright screen setting does eat battery life!). I soon learned you can adjust the brightness (even blinded by the light) by a swipe down gesture at the top of the screen (which brings down to notification draw and then taping again bit lower, on the screen brightness slider, and swiping all the way to the right).  K in morse code (dash dot dash).

Oh back to the real issue here, how have I setup my digital photography work space. Its actually still a work in progress but here are the basics. I have set up a whole app panel to hold camera and photo related apps. My current setup is shown below.

My LG photography app panel

I have a few old favourites which came over from my HTC wildfire, the first serious photo editor I used routinely was Photoshop Express, ok it relatively basic but it does the basics well enough and recent version allows connection to a creative cloud account, if you have one. This was largely overshadows but Autodesk’s Pixlr, which quickly became my preferred on phone photo editor. It is on of those free apps that has in app purchase options (I normally don’t like them) but they are tolerable and for other autodesk modules/tools. HDR Camera+ app is the one paid app from the wildfire and was really my favourite camera there, its had limited editing functionality (specifically tone mapping options). Finally Dropbox is a wonderfully reliable facility, I just have  it working behind the scenes and synching up my photos whenever my phone connected to WiFi (ie doesn't waste my data limit on my phone) I have sister apps on all my desktop computers so recent phone photos can be accessed there (no wires or able or separate steps required.

With the new phone and upgrade to android version, I’ve reload the official flickr app. Where the old app was clunky the new version is really much nicer and does allow a seamless upload to flickr (but I have turned off the automatic upload). Flickr is quiet enough for me I’m not interested in instagram.

The real gem I discovered was Snapseed (which was incompatible with the Wildfire) and I just managed to download it the day version 2 was released. It really is a very elegant app and a great photo editor for a touchphone. I was familiar with snapseed as the photo editor for google+ photos but the phone app is in many ways nicer to use. However now for the downside. I did originally have google+ app on the wildfire but it was a resource hog so I removed it and I don’t use google+ itself as a social network place much anyway. The LG approach has been to integrate many of the google tools as standalone apps (such as GMail, Photos, Hangouts) and this initially struck me as a great approach. Whilst the LG (google) Photos app lets you access the albums on the net, but it started acting like google auto backup vacuuming up and uploading any images on your phone (so I turned that off). A real downside of this integration has been the overwhelming of the default LG gallery app with photos (not just albums) from the every increasing google+ photo mess. Haven’t figured out how to turn this off. Lightroom mobile is only on trial and I must admit I am not excited by it. 

So now my phone’s photo collection is in close connection with google+ photo, flickr and I am still trying out Carousel (the original download on the wildfire was not reliable) as a connection to the rest of the world. It is basically a gallery app for dropbox, I’m even starting to favour it over the LG gallery app, particular for sharing with other services like twitter and SMS. I also like the everpix like Flashbacks.

I have previously posted about my alternate camera apps.

getting up close and personal with a rockFinally I also have autodesk’s Sketchbook. its not really a photo tool although you can edit photos (eg circle important parts, draw arrows etc.) I bought a cheap stylus and I find I use this app a lot as a graphics notebook, quick diagram maker, and good party trick (I sketch quick cartoonish portraits of folk)

My SmartPhone workspace is humble compared with the computer power available elsewhere but it is remarkably capable of getting decent photos and images out onto the wider net, into my albums on computers and into reports. When I started this blog over a decade ago If you’d have hinted at this power in my pocket I would have been sceptical.

PhotoFriday :: In search of detail

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For PhotoFriday‘s topic Detail