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 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.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Prints can be Excellent Archives as well

Norm Lindsay ChaplainI have come to accumulate a lot of very early family photographs and they are still in reasonable condition (some aren’t more on that in another post). The biggest challenge is figuring out who is who (picasa face recognition is helping but it does a fair bit of grouping parents with their children and mixing siblings etc) and getting things organized, and working out safe storage. Not such hard task but time is required. However I have begun to imagine what a horrendous task this might be for future generations that might suddenly find themselves with a few million digital photos many in camera specific RAW format, spread across a number of the by then outdated USB external drives or in a massive zipped conglomerations plucked from a social media web service just before it shut down. The solution to ensuring a future of family photo legacy is simple, just make prints of your favourite photos. Print those important family photos now!

This brings me to how to get those prints of all your social media post (the ones you really want) onto prints (or photobooks). A couple of years ago that could have been expensive but several services are gearing up to make that more affordable. Services like Big W, Harvey Norman and Ted’s camera have kiosks that will let to log into a number of popular social sites, like facebook and instagram. On-line service like shutterfly and snapfish (there are plenty of others) offer some compatibility to pull out images from your social photostreams. However often these will probably have been resized to suit fast web display and might not be able to be printed much larger than 10 by 15 cm (4 by 6”).

Whilst I do have my own ink jet printers (yes I have a few including a decent older HP photosmart with 12 ink colours but now I’m having difficulty getting the ink cartridges) I usually get prints made from an on-line service such as snapfish. The reality is they are cheaper by the time you consider the ink and paper costs (and less frustration) up to about the A4 size. Current prices of the better deals should be around 15 cents for a 10 by 15cm up to just over $5 for an A4. Many services still offer the 10” by 8” inch size as the largest mass processing option at around the $5 mark. These are the size ranges that will suit most family legacy collections anyway.

imageI notice that snapfish are heavily advertising unlimited 6 cent prints at the moment on TV and this is a great deal to start you family legacy project. If you miss this deal just keep your eye out for other similar offers, many services offer 50 to 100 prints free when you sign up. This lead me to look at printing from flickr (which I have done previously to snapfish on many occasions but the links from your photostream now go to the more expensive wall art and photo book services offered by flirkr itself. However creating prints is still there in the organizr tool under the print and create tab. You need to scroll past the wall art and photo book option and then you will find other options, including prints. In Australia the only non flickr photo services come from snapfish.

Enjoying Australia Day

20160126_on_the_beach For PhotoFriday‘s topic Tranquil

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A bit more on the dissaperance of Open Sharing


Some time ago I wrote a post on Sharing the Old Fashion Way. This involved viewing you google photos in the old Picasa Web Album format. You just needed to use the special link address

Viewing your photos like this still works. Alas the sharing option that where there previously have been greyed out and/or removed. I’m not sure what is so difficult in generating that permalink. There is a possibility of sharing the album (not the individual photos) back into google+.

imageEssentially sharing your photos outside the google-verse appears to have been shut down

Experimenting with layers

Yesterday was wet and drizzly most of the day (I’m not complaining about that we need the rain) but it discouraged going out to get my daily photograph. Just had an opportunity to capture some interesting seed pods but into a bright background. I like the seeds hanging down but decided to refine the background, with layers in OnOne 10. There are three layers the original photo, tweaked in lightroom, the texture “brocade cool” from the Onone sample textures, and an “interrupted” autoclone watercolour paint of the photo with more saturated colours. The photo is the upper layer and I’m using a luminosity mask to just show through to the brightest background areas, with some hand adjustments to keep those lights in the seed pods. The brocade layer is next and has the opacity slider back to about 20%. The autoclone watercolour is on the base, a true underpainting.

IMG_9940-Lightroom Brocade Cool IMG_9940-Autoclone_Painting

Not sure I’d rave about the result, but the approach has potential


Sounds of Summer Panoramas

the baudaville smash big panosos big pano 4sos big pano 3sos big pano 1pano-001sos big pano 2sos extra big pano

Smashing sounds of summer

I enjoyed the first of the Monash council’s Sounds of Summer concert, which featured Georgia Ray as a support to the Vaudervile Smash. I hadn’t heard them before but they were great full of energy and very funky. Lots of great photo opportunities, including a series of multi photo panoramas. The lakeside venue at the mga gallery was great but perhaps the crowd was less than expected.
IMG_9955-2  IMG_0073IMG_0002IMG_0027IMG_0026IMG_0001-2

Friday, January 22, 2016

Google :: What has happened to sharing?

imageI must admit I haven’t been following changes in google photo (once upon a time it was the useful picasa web album, then the annoying google+ photos). It is getting more streamline but I was surprised something as simple as sharing via email has disappeared. specially not even sharing via gmail (or is there some other hoop google wants me to dive through for that).
Its becoming clear to me that google photo is chasing mobile phone uploads and then sharing with those social networks that google deem ok (only Google+, facebook and twitter), No email/gmail, flickr, tumblr, pintrest, etc. etc. Which adds up, I'm not sharing through them either.

Luckily the desktop version of picasa still lets me share via email (and resized the photo etc) from my computer not the cloud.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Across the Generations

20160119_IMG_9938 across the generations

2016-01-19_18-56-23_HDR from Android phoneI’ve managed tp keep up with the daily photo regime, by not being too concerned about what I photograph. More realistic I’m just letting myself see something as a photo, rather than trying to go out for a specific shot. The back story here was I was re-oragning where I shore my cameras and just had these out on an untidy desk so I just moved them outside. Arranged them “collaborativel”.

Ironically the photo I choose to post was taken with my Cannon EOS, not one of the Penatx family.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sketching from a Hammock

hammock sketchTrying to sketch (& paint) in a hammock might sound cool but it is frustratingly harder than you might expect at lots of levels. The hammock is a cocoon in the shadows and the world outside is bright and radiant. Trying to balance the watercolour (even a portable pallette) proved impossible and my arms where continually being restrained by the sides of the hammock. Well I can say I tried it, but not sucessfully. Much easier to use my phone to collect a reference photo. The “clone painting” below is several layers of mixed media from Corel Painter.

2016-01-16_14-18-50_HDR Painting in Hammock

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Wandering Webcam

My entry in Corel's Matter of Time contest The story of a wayward webcam that goes for a wander only to discover ...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Stinking Hot One Day, Almost Winter The Next

IMGP9440_on_patrol It was 44 yesterday and 16 today. So the Lifesavers have had a cold but easy day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Under the Australian Sun

Summer can be hot here in Australia, and today it is supposed to reach 41°C and trying to get a decent photo during much the day just results in a totally bleached out sky. There are basically three solutions-

  1. Only Photograph during the golden hours in summer.
  2. Take separate photo just of the sky and using blending, masking and compositing insert a sky during post processing.
  3. Use a Polarizing Filter

Without any filterThe first option is a bit restrictive, and the second can be a lot of work. I have an old circular polarizing filter it is designed to rotated when screwed onto the front of your lens. I find it pretty much indispensable for any daytime outdoor photos in summer. The polaroid sunglasses use the same principal of filtering sunlight and other strong light source which have reflected off a surface (including the earth atmosphere) and only the light with a particular direction of vibration is reflected so the light is polarized. A suitable filter can reduce this light when place at right angles to this preferred direction (its fairly technical physics) but is easily exploited. Those sunglasses have the polarised direction set to cancel out reflected light off water or surface. The circular polarizer is more flexible on a typical DSLR as you can rotate it to any angle and see the result in the viewfinder. The results are most noticeable at right angles to the sun. There is a good tutorial on using a polarizing filter by Cambridge in Colour.

Polarizing Filter oriented horizontally    Polarizing Filter oriented vertically

Because the polarizer is removing light (in specific directions) it acts a lot like a neutral density filter making the exposure longer, diffusing the harsh contrast a little and frequently enhancing the colours a little.

A circular polarizing filter is almost a necessity in an Australian summer

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Windows 10 update–Still limping along

I am slowly working through the various hickups and straight out bugs involved with upgrading to windows 10. The list is too long and boring to try and explain here but I have had to update a numbers of drivers and re-install software (strangely some only needed to be reloaded on one machine but not on another) and a lot of fruitless searching forums on the net. It felt like I needed to stand on one foot, do some incantation, wave my hands over the keyboard and paise an unknown deity. {only joking}

Most of the forum notes and recommendations are a little mis-informed and my conculsion is that so much of the “crowd sourcing” assistance is not that worthwhile, infact I am concerned those elaborate procedures could either be damaging or be malware to encourage you to unknowly open security doors. Thus I suggest that you only take notice of genuine sites (eg the manufacture’s or developer’s verifiable sites) and not following a google or bing link to an unknown author, software utilty supplier etc. However having warned you off internet advice I have a little of my own, having found a couple of good solutions to many issues that are pretty simple to fix.

imageIf your icons are still on your desktop from before the upgrade, but the programs no longer work. It may be as simple as running the program under compatibilty mode. imageTo do this right click on the shortcut icon on the desktop. Then right click and go down to the properties item at the bottom of the list of options. This brings up the shortcut dialogue so choice the compatabilty tab, and tick the run this program with compatibility mode for check box, Click on the V on the righthand side of the selection box below and select windows 7 compatability. Finally click Ok. Its very obvious in retrospect but watch a lot of issues dissapear. This worked especially well with my no longer functioning version of HP’s great HP Soltions Center (which handles many of the multi function of HP Photosmart printers). I have to admit I didn’t find this solution till after I’d uninstalled and re-installed the HP printer drivers and all-in-one-printer software updates for a third time only to find the exact same problem not being able to start the software from the computer but that I could correctly invoke some actions from the printer panel!

imageOn at least some occasions when the same software misbehaves under windows 10 it might be as simple as running the software using administrator. this can be done by right clinking on the icon and selecting the Run as Administrator option. If this does fix the problem you can set up a more permanent setting so the program is always run that way.image Once again you start with a right click on the desktop shortcut icon, find the properties option and click on it. This will bring up the shortcut dialogue. Now click on the advanced button, to bring up the advance properties dialogue, where you just need to tick the run as adminstrator check box and finally click on OK.image

The real elephant in the room for Windows 10 is the problem where the start menu doesn’t work (I have had this on my laptop) and there are often associated problem that cortana doesn’t work and the search windows is unresponsive (can’t type anything in it, if it appears at all) you can not select or run windows apps. Its a long list of associated woes, which all significantly reduces the functionality of windows 10 if you have been used to using it under windiows 7. Lookiong for web advice is frustration overload, especially unhelpful are the microsoft and microsoft oriented forums. Clearly there isn’t one fix for all variations of this problem but this link from Bristish Telecom is the most authorative explaination I have found (and worked for me). It is astounding Microsoft have not already created an upgrade to fix this problem or at least put together a simple to follow set of instructions themselves.

If your icons aren’t on your desktop already you’ll have to solve the third issue first!