Image Processing with Snapseed

Hi folks:

This is the third of the YouTube videos we did for the Victoria Photography Meetup Group. Since the videos are out in the wild anyway, we thought maybe we should put them up here as well. There are about a googol (and a half) of apps out there related to different aspects of cell phone photography (and Mike has far too many on his phone). For serious editing we use a computer and desktop software, but for quick social media posts from the phone we use Snapseed for (almost) all image processing. It’s very powerful given it’s constraints, and one should never release images naked!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below.

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. You can find the rest of our tutorial posts here. We’re closing in on a hundred now, I think.

DAM You, Lightroom!!

Hi folks:

This is the second of the YouTube videos we did for the Victoria Photography Meetup Group. Since the videos are out in the wild anyway, we thought maybe we should put them up here as well. DAM in this case refers to Digital Asset Management. DAM is probably one of the most underutilized and most important aspects of digital photography. To me it doesn’t matter if you have 500 images or 500,000 images. The question is, how easy is it for you to find the one image you’re looking for? This video covers DAM in an older version of Lightroom, but I don’t think Adobe has changed that aspect of the software. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below.

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. You can find the rest of our tutorial posts here. We’re closing in on a hundred now, I think.
P.S. II, the sequel. We’ve threatened to do a video on DAM in Capture One as well. To come…

An Introduction to Capture One

Hi folks; Mike here:

Since the pandemic effectively shut down the world, the people at Meetup.com suggested that people hold all meetups virtually. It’s a little ironic considering the foundations of Meetup.com, but it is what it is. We care for each other. Also ironic is that for a person who doesn’t do cameras (the day Marcia and I were married there were so many cameras it looked like a paparazzi event) I’ve begun to put myself up on YouTube to share a bit of information with the members of the Victoria Photography Meetup Group. Since the videos are out in the wild anyway, we thought maybe we should put them up here as well. This is the first of the four; we’ll add the others in a somewhat timely manner. Although I still have and occasionally use Lightroom 6.14, for my Sony A7RIII files I’ve jumped completely to using Capture One 20 for my Digital asset management, raw conversion, etc.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post a comment below.

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. You can find the rest of our tutorial posts here. We’re closing in on a hundred now, I think.

Affinity Photo Panoramas: A Quick Tip

Hi Folks:

A little while back we did a post on Affinity Photo, HDR and Panoramas; this is a follow-up of sorts to that.

Marcia and I were out at Rithet’s Bog recently and among the images made that day I took six images that were made into a panorama. When one creates a panorama in Affinity Photo (or any other panorama program), the software uses control points (matching features in two or more images) to bend, stretch, twist and manipulate the individual images into something resembling one image. In the film days this was called a photo-mosaic and its completion was much more complicated. In any event, the result inevitably ends up with having some ragged edges, depending on how well one lines up the base images. An example:

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Affinity Photo, HDR and Panoramas

Hi Folks:

I’ll be the first to admit there’s a lot about colour I don’t know, so feel free to correct me if I misstep. I have a Sony A7RIII, Capture One Pro for Sony 20.1 and Affinity Photo 1.8.3.

NB: I can’t see what you’re seeing because your monitor is different. Also, these are sRGB .jpg screen captures of what I’m seeing. Still, there’s value in comparing them to each other.

Since Lightroom (Lr) 6.14 doesn’t work very well with my .arw files, I’ve been using Affinity Photo (AP) to combine my HDRs and panoramas. I’ve learned a few things. I took nine images made last October to play with. None of this is worth keeping, but it’s good to play with.

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An Unusual Lightroom Problem… And Solution

Hi Folks:

Last fall we were at Hatley Gardens at Royal Roads University and (among other works) I made some bracketed images for building HDR panoramas. Unfortunately, due to a technical error (the nut behind the camera) I violated one of the basic tenets of making panoramas: always use manual exposure. As such, for one of my panorama images (made from two bracketed sets of exposures), the right group of images came out visibly lighter than the left. Compare the large Douglas fir in both images:

In current versions of Lightroom one can make HDR panoramas in one step, but in my older version I have to do this in two steps. No matter. The challenge was that when I joined the two HDR composites together, it was easy to see where the join between them is:

What to do? Fortunately, Lightroom has a built-in solution, although it’s not well known. In the Library module one selects the group of images involved (two in this case) and moves to the Develop module. Under Settings, about ½ way down the menu, click on Match Total Exposures. We did a blog post on this back several years ago (Match Total Exposures in Lightroom) if you want to know more. Basically the tool works only with the Exposure slider, and – using the most selected image as a baseline – adjusts the exposure of the other selected image(s) to match. In this case it turned down the exposure on the image on the right by ¾ stop:

Comparing the above two images you can see that they’re much more in line with each other. This time when I combined the two into a panorama the results were much more even:

Finally, after setting the white balance and pushing the image around a bit we come to the final output:

Japanese Garden, Royal Roads University

Okay, that’s it for now. Go out and make some photographs!

Hugs,
M&M

2020 Photo Calendars

Hi Folks:

This is the tenth year now that we’ve made our MS Word photo calendar templates available, and as with the past several years, we’ve also created a series of templates and calendar images you can use with Lightroom or other graphics software. As we’ve done before we’ve also added a full-page calendar option, below. 

I created a template in MS Word that allows people who don’t have Photoshop, Lightroom or the equivalent to make their own photo calendars, so we’ll cover that first; the Lightroom stuff is below that. I used MS Word 2016 to make the template and saved it as a .docx file. Basically it’s a series of tables, one for each month, that look something like this:

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Levelling My Tripod

Hi There:

Since I bought the Sony α7R III one thing I’ve found is that I’ve had to focus more on my technique as a photographer as the images clearly demonstrate flaws like OOF elements, motion blur, etc. That means I’ve been doing more serious work with a tripod. The Sony has a built-in level in the EVF/LCD and that’s handy, but I can compose much faster if I can level the tripod first. My 35-year-old Cullman 2904 tripod came with a cold shoe, but I never had much use for it until now:

Cullman 2904 tripodUntil recently I’ve been roughly levelling the tripod base by eye but I bought a three-axis hot shoe bubble level that sits in the shoe perfectly:

hot shoe level on my tripodWith that I can very quickly level the base by adjusting the legs. It’s especially handy for making panoramas. I’ve seen some tripods that have a bubble level built in to the base but this works well for me. 🙂 If your tripod doesn’t have a mount, you might be able to add one by purchasing a cold shoe (like this one, for example: cold shoe mount) and adhering it with some epoxy putty. Make sure everything is level before the glue cures!

Hugs,
M&M

P. S. My bubble level is secured on three sides; I use an elastic band wrapped around the center column and over the level to hold it in place.

4:1 – Re-imagining the Frame

Hi Folks:

As photographers, one of the most important challenges for us is to continue to change how we see and to stretch our creativity. One of the ways to do that is to pick specific parameters and then to make a body of work that fits within those parameters. It might be to shoot only one subject, to shoot only in grayscale (B&W), to make an image every day… In the film days, most people’s relationships to photography revolved around a few aspect ratios: 2×3 (4×6), 4×5 (8×10), 5×7, etc. With some older cameras we also had 1:1 square prints, usually from 120, 127 or 620 film. With digital photography we’re not so limited, although some of the same rules apply when we get to printing. Movies (and now video) have always embraced wider frames, although there was no one standard aspect ratio. We have movies made in 1.78:1 (16×9) out to 2.4:1 (22×9) and beyond. Outside the movie theatre, for the average person 16:10/ 16:9 showed up in their lives with the first widescreen computer monitors and digital TVs. Continue Reading →

Seeing Red(s)

Hi Folks:

Every three years, in July, Northwest Deuce Days comes rolling into Victoria. While it means different things to different people, to the public at large it mostly means a car show with a lot (this year over 1300 vehicles registered) of classic cars. Many of them are Ford 1932 Deuce Coupes, but there is literally a cavalcade of lovingly restored and/or modified vehicles here. Everything culminates with a car show that takes over much of downtown Victoria. If you like classic cars, this is vehicle heaven.

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