20 posts

Snapseed on Desktop? Hell to the Yeah! A Quick How-To.

You can get Snapseed to work on a Windows (and Mac) Desktop. Well….. Sort of.

Snapseed is a popular photo editing app from Google that’s available for both Apple and Android mobile devices. It’s quite good and has a lot of useful features as well as some of the fun filters and overlays. It can even open and edit RAW files. I dig deeper into Snapseed in my book The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Photography (it’s a good book, you should buy it ? ). A list of compatible camera RAW formats is available on the Google Snapseed site. I can confirm that it will not open RAW files from the Nikon Z6. Non-compatible camera RAW formats can be converted to DNG using the Adobe DNG Converter.

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Open Letter to Satya Nadella – Surface Phone

Mr. Nadella,

As a ‘creative’, I have long known the false beliefs perpetuated by some that “Apple is for creatives” and “Windows is for accountants” is just so much falderal. The two platforms do, essentially, the same things, just in different ways.

That said, the release of the first Windows-based Nokia smartphones a few years ago incorporating the PureView sensor technology was intriguing. So much so that when the 1020 was announced, I made plans to get one. The idea of the large sensor, and ‘lossless zoom’, combined with the ability to capture in RAW mode was very appealing to this photographer. I am not a ‘photography snob’ and as such recognise that very compelling imagery can be made with any type of camera. Continue reading

Street Photography VII

The discussion of editing has been left till now because it is, to me, of lesser importance than the rest. But it is also logically what follows what has come before it. Only after we have been out taking pictures do we begin the work of editing. It is for that reason, as well, that the next section on telling stories through a body of work comes after this one. It is only after we have culled and edited that we can begin to curate the finished photos into a coherent story, ready to show to others. Continue reading

There is No Holy Grail for Better Photography, Only Hard Work

Photography, perhaps more than any other endeavour is replete with the equivalent of ‘get rich quick’ schemes. There are any number of software companies and individual photographers hawking ‘one click fix’ solutions. From snapshot to amazing shot-type books and tutorials. Action sets that will set your heart a flutter at the ease with which a couple mouse clicks will make your photo a masterpiece. Continue reading

Workflow – What is it good for?

If you read the musings here you’ll know that I like to co-opt song titles and lyrics. So, with a nod to Edwin Starr we’re going to talk about the idea of ‘workflow’.

What is workflow? It’s a term used a lot in photography but is it a term that people generally know what it means? Continue reading

An Open Letter to Samsung

Late in 2014, an announcement was made by Google that the new ‘Android L’ mobile operating system, later dubbed Lollipop, would include a new camera API (Application Programming Interface – the building blocks of the camera software and what third-party app developers use in creating their companion apps). That new camera API would allow for the capture of true RAW images, using the Adobe DNG specification, by mobile devices. Continue reading

Fuji X-T1, My Thoughts

There are several articles and videos on the interwebs about the Fuji X-T1, Fuji’s new flagship in its wonderful X-Trans sensor line of cameras. This isn’t going to be a hardcore, pixel-peeping, measurbating, test-bench jockey review like some of the others. I will go through some of the performance aspects of the camera but I’m also going to discuss some of the user-related aspects. I’m more concerned with how the camera operates in actual shooting conditions. At 16 megapixels, the pixel pitch, or size, is the same as on the full-frame Nikon D800.
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Backing Up Lightroom

I’ve been seeing a number of articles recently dealing with settings for Adobe Lightroom and backing up of the Lightroom catalogue.  There are certainly a wide variety of opinions about how to go about these tasks.  I’m going to give you my solution for backing up the Lightroom catalogue.  It works for me, it may or may not work for you.  I’ll also provide my thoughts on some alternatives with respect to using the cloud for back up.

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Lightroom 4 Overview

As many know by now, Adobe has released the first public beta version of Lightroom 4.  For those not familiar, Lightroom is Adobe’s terrific Digital Asset Management/Image Editing application.  Each version has been stronger than the previous and LR4 is no different.  I’m going to cover a couple of the major changes in this article but won’t go into all of the new features. Continue reading

Intelligent Sharpening

There are many ways to go about sharpening digital images. Some very simple, others very complex. Some better than others. One of my personal favourites is the High Pass method which I wrote about in an earlier tutorial.

Something that seems nearly universal is the desire for ‘editable’ sharpening. That is, being able to go back and change it in the future if desired. The simple, straightforward methods like Unsharp Mask or Smart Sharpen don’t allow this. There are several ways to have adjustable sharpening; however, and we’ll talk briefly about a few of them and in more detail on one in particular. Continue reading

(Yet Another) The Power of RAW

There are countless articles available extolling the virtues of RAW capture.  Despite that, one more can’t hurt.

All DSLR cameras are able to capture in a RAW format.  Many advanced compact digital cameras can as well.  More basic point & shoot style compacts only allow for creating images in JPEG format. Continue reading

Seeing in Black & White Pt IV

We’ve talked about how various colours convert to different shades of grey in earlier instalments of this article series. We’ve also talked about the importance of certain colours in greyscale and about the different components that make up colour – and thus grey – in the third part of the series.

In this part of the series, we’re going to take a look at something more subtle but nonetheless relevant.  That’s white balance.  Can the choice of white balance affect a conversion from colour to black & white?  It definitely can.  This is something that film shooters have known for years, that the colour of the light in the scene would have an impact on the effect of colour contrast filters used on the lens and rendered on the film.  Intuitively it makes sense. Continue reading

Seeing in Black & White Pt III

In the first part of this series, I wrote about training the eye to ‘see’ in greyscale tones by converting colour into shades of grey. In this part of the series, we’ll break that down a little further.

In that first part of the series, we looked at how colours can translate into the same or similar shades of grey.  We also talked about the use of colour contrast filters with black & white film to block or pass certain wavelengths (colours) of light to expose the film differently and create tonal contrast.  We also looked at how this can be mimiced in the digital darkroom with the available tools. Continue reading

Seeing in Black & White

With all due respect to the great songwriter Paul Simon, everything doesn’t look worse in black and white.

So what do I mean by ‘seeing in black and white’? Well, black and white photography is different from colour photography. Some might say, ‘Well, duh!’ But it is. It requires a different way of seeing and viewing. I’ve heard some people say they just can’t get black and white down. Everything just looks muddled. Why is that? It’s because in the technicolour world we live in colour provides visual interest and contrast. In black & white, or rather shades of grey, there is no direct colour to provide that contrast. In most cases, the contrast has to be created. This requires time to learn and requires a different way of seeing. Continue reading

The Power of Lightroom, Redux

This is a follow up to my original Power of Lightroom article from just about a year ago.  Lightroom has been improved with each new version and while the black and white capability and the Adjustment Brush capability have been in place before v3, I thought I’d take the opportunity to toss in a new article on Lightroom for black and white.  Probably 80% of what I do with editing photos, I do now with Lightroom.  There are still some things I use Photoshop for and I’d never give up Photoshop but Lightroom is a wonderful piece of software. Continue reading

My Christmas Wishlist for Adobe

It’s that time of year. The time of snow and presents under the tree. A lump of coal for some of the more naughty. Christmas is the time for wishes. When we were kids, it seemed that magic happened on Christmas day and most of our wishes came true. The big ones at least. Now that we’re adults the wishes are different and more difficult to fulfill. But we wish nonetheless.

So here, in this little piece of the blogoshphere is my Christmas Wishlist for Adobe. I’m only going to cover the two products I use – Photoshop and Lightroom. But if you use others in the Adobe product family, toss your wishes into the comments.  Yes, there’s a lot of HDR stuff in here but, hey, I do HDR and the rest of Photoshop is pretty damn good after 20 years. Continue reading

Colour Management 101 – Tutorial

This is a write up I initially did for a photography forum I participate in. Several members on the forum found it useful so I thought I’d add it here.
This is purely an introduction to basic colour management. It’s not intended to be an in depth treatise on the subject. This is also not intended to be a highly technical discussion of the subject because sometimes I think we get too caught up in the technical minutiae and lose sight of practicality. This is based on what I’ve learned through experience and from others over time.

If there are any mistakes in what follows, I’m certainly happy to hear about them and you can use the Contact link at the bottom of the page to send me a message.
What is Colour Management (or Color if you prefer)

In very simple terms, colour management is a process undertaken in a digital imaging workflow to ensure colour consistency from start to finish; that is, from camera/scanner (input) through editing through output (print, web or other). Continue reading

Creating Timelapse Videos – Tutorial

I’m likely to slowly migrate most of what’s on my main website to the WordPress format and figured I’d start with this tutorial rather than putting it over there.

I’ve been doing a fair bit of timelapse shooting of late and have had some questions about the process so thought I’d put together a short tutorial. This isn’t going to go into extensive depth on video editing as that’s really beyond the scope of what I’m wanting to outline here.

Timelapse is the opposite of high speed photography. In high speed photography, you capture images at a very fast frame rate and when played back at a normal frame rate, the action appears slowed down. In timelapse, you’re effectively lapsing time or skipping time. You capture at a slower frame rate and when played back at a normal rate, action appears sped up. If you’ve seen, for example, a video of the progression of a flower bud coming into bloom, that’s timelapse. Continue reading