November 5, 2017

Maple Gold



Canon 7D
ISO 640
Edit Photoshop CC + Exposure7

September 12, 2017

Forest Procession


Canon 50D@ ISO160
24-105L@ 45mm & Aperture 4.0

March 22, 2017

Backup

One of the challenges to modern photogs, is where to put all the media. Image quality increases every year and there is a reciprocating increase in the size of your data. For the casual shooter the computer's on board drive is sufficient. Even SSD are becoming prevalent in sizes greater than 500GB. However if you are a serious photog you know that extra space is a valuable resource.

If you shoot RAW or video it is even tougher to have enough. And then backup? What? Waste a drive on copies? Yes. But it gets worse. I am here to say that backup AND redundancy are a requirement to any photographer who is ever going to be paid. There are backup solutions online. And those are great for home use. But you need on site redundancy and onsite backup. Like so:

Photog takes picture ----> Picture goes to production PC ----> Picture is reviewed/ edited(depending on your workflow) ----> Picture is placed on external NAS box with at least RAID1 but better RAID5 for redundancy(You can skip this step if you store your pics on a workstation w/RAID) ---->The NAS is then backed up to an external drive(My external drive is another RAID1 NAS, but that is probably overkill). ---->The picture is then deleted off the camera.

This seems a bit complicated to the uninitiated, but it is important to protect your media, your customers, and your job. Learn how to do this or pay someone to do this. Don't try to cheap out with an "Online solution" you'll just gum up your internet bandwidth constantly and for the larger media collections it could take weeks to get it all online. And if you shoot aggressively(You should) you will always be waiting for the upload. There are other reasons why I'd recommend shying away from online or cloud back-ups(privacy etc) but that is not the point. Get backup ASAP. Like now.





January 13, 2017

The importance of being caffeinated.

It is a continual wonder to me how poor photographers succeed. They take bad shots. They lack creativity. They Photoshop the life out of their pics. And yet, somehow, they succeed. Clients return. Their business grows.

It is not the photography succeeding here. It is the business. The Photog sells not their photos but themselves.

Because photography (as I have explained to many clients) is not art or media. It is a service. As a service based industry, the capture, while integral, is not the end. It is cog, a piece in the larger workflow and mechanism of finalizing that said media and delivering it to the customers satisfaction.

That workflow has always been my greatest challenge. The creativity and skills that I have are the "easy" part. Pushing that gift past the "I got a good one" into "I got paid" is a tough road. But
it is(Or can be) also a skill, and creative in its own right. Once nourished and honed, will be the greatest asset in your photographic toolkit.

December 14, 2016

The way things are heading

The cloud.
Monthly subscriptions for software.
Remote backups.

No privacy.
No independence.
No freedom.

The centralization of the internet pushes our lives, our pictures, our stories, into the megalith of a handful of organizations.

But in spite of this, some choose to go the "inconvenient" route.

Backing up to a local server.

Purchasing the full software.

And saying no to the the cloud in general.

Because the cloud is just someone else's computer.

October 25, 2016

Caterpillar on Dill

From the archives:


Canon Rebel XTi
Canon 50mm Macro
Photoshop CC
Alienskin plugin

October 22, 2016

Work Flow

Sometimes the best and brightest programs get in the way of work flow. Especially with sub-par computers. No matter how great Aperture or Lightroom or Bridge were, they simply didn't run well on my first(low powered) Mac. And lets face it we've all been there. Or will be.

I instead relied on programs that weren't as full featured like Picasa and DIM. Not the best but my computer could run them and I could  get my pictures moving. Because that's the point. Get the pics from the camera to the computer to organized folders to the editing software to print or publishing.

I liked Photoshop(And still do.) but before that I used GIMP or GIMPshop, because the price was right. Sure it wasn't as smooth. Or powerful. But I'd rather have something than nothing. And when you shoot 500+ a day you can get buried fast.

Speaking of large quantities of data. Storage. Backups. Ugh. With today's cheap drives its an easier thing to do. But I made(And still have) stacks of DVD's several feet high. Honestly I'm not enthralled with the basic external hard drive for a backup either. I have a NAS that is setup with RAID 1 which is when drives are mirrored, so if one fails then the other takes over. I'll give a review on its setup at some point. But always backup. Redundancy is your friend. If the media made the cut, and found its way into your archive than you should back it up.

So Take the picture.(Use a Canon Camera with L series lens for best results). Pull picture from camera(I use Lightroom and store according to date -Names can get very hard to go through). Begin rating. (I used to save everything., now I'm more picky and handy with the delete key). Do light editing on keepers. Fire up Photoshop for any final editing. FTP, Email, or DVD the resulting images to client or print. And initialize backups.

Easy money. Just don't ask me about video. Because your workflow just got slower :)


August 8, 2016

From the Archives

Looking back at pics from a few years ago:



Canon 5D3
Canon 100-400L
Post:
Adobe Photoshop CC 
Alienskin Exposure X

August 2, 2016

The most popular camera.

With Apple selling their one billionth iPhone, it is easy to see the impact this "camera" has had on the industry. It doesn't seem to fit with the icons of photography like the Polaroid or the Kodak Brownie. Its been less than ten years. I have polaroids from the 80's that still rock. I have a brownie that still clicks. I have a 50's(?)Afga that takes remarkable images... My iPhone 5 is next to unusable. It's only 3 years old. So iconic? possibly. But very dependant on a massive infrastructure to stay alive. and then it's also needing repair or replacement at 3 years.

One billion is amazing. But it begs the question: Are they just keeping up with the disposal rate? If you sell a great device that wears out in a few years, and it is basically a certainty that people will upgrade, you are guaranteed that you will have a large number. Consumables. Like McDonald's. (They sold a billion burgers in their first decade, and are around 300 Billion now). Yes? I'd like a iPhone 6s, with the a side of fries and a mcflurry.

But it doesn't matter.

The photograph matters. What you use is almost irrelevant.








July 29, 2016

Compression

Why do we call a longer lens 80mm+ portrait lenses? If, as shown in this GIF it "adds ten lbs"
Focal length gif

credit: danvojtech.cz/


A longer portrait type lens may fill out a face but through compressing it also regulates the size of extremities. Watch the ears. Watch the nose. Its a trade off. It may seem beneficial to lose ten lbs but it will cost you your ears and turn your nose into a beak!


June 30, 2016

Utility Cameras

The world of the utility camera is a humble one. It never finds it place as a main camera. It is a afterthought. Security/surveillance cameras. Go-pros. Live-streaming cams.

The have purpose and a use but never a prime spot. I have been working with a lot of pro cameras lately. All of the surveillance type. Honestly, while they are marvels of engineering, its hard to get excited about them. None of the thrill of unboxing a new SLR from Adorama. Or the slide and click of a new lens.

But they have a reason. And if they do their job properly, then we can get back to doing what we love. So I will impart words of wisdom, and possible setup a blog about a full install. But for now just know that, similar to the SLR world, specs should be taken with a grain of salt. Just because Canikon SLR has a bajillion pixels doesn't mean its the right camera(Are we still talking pixel count? That was so 2004!). A well built an properly integrated system wont give you the headache of poorly thought out gear with twice the resolution. and 8k video. and a espresso maker.

Hmm. Coffee...!


Phothog

March 14, 2016

Decadence

With today's date recording the tenth year of this blog, I'd like to review where we've been.

Starting out in 2006 I was adamantly against film. Now my primary camera is film(Although I still miss my 5D3).

We've traveled to 9 countries over four continents. Traveled across 48 of the contiguous US states.

Gone through 8 (Main)cameras. Dozens of lenses.

From Hasselblads and HP photosmarts to Elans and iPhones, Its been a fun and blessed decade.

The God has blessed me and my family greatly.

There are adventures ahead!

SL


March 10, 2016

Breaking the rules

The rules -are more like guidelines. In photography anyway.



The object of this shot, an African Wasp, breaks a cardinal rule by being centered... But its still a cool shot.


February 15, 2016

There and back again.






The proverbial "Kodak moment" is capturing a moment, a time, a place. Having the right gear and settings are crucial to the perfect snap.

And being there.

Today we're talking about getting there. Because all too often we sit at home waiting for the shot to come to us.

Transportation. The best and first phothog choice is obviously a STAP. But failing that we look at the next best terrestrial vehicle. The Toyota Land Cruiser.

Don't be put off by the current American wussified crossover grandma models. The heavy duty version is still alive and well in the more rugged areas of the world. It would be sad for its confused and weakling American cousin except it's too busy hauling people and gear across some of the most treacherous and difficult terrain on earth. And hey! That's where we as phothogs want to go!

2012, Africa. Land Cruisers abound. Because they can take the punishment the roads, or lack threof, have to offer. I snapped some of my favorite shots after having been transported by one of these beasts. I referenced this here.

2016, USA. My faithful Nissan Pathfinder got its fuel lines cut and fuel drained. On the subsequent start the fuel pump burned up. And while I am still looking to get it repaired, I saw an ad for a diesel Land Cruiser on craigslist. In Canada.



Papers. Insurance. Royal Canadian Mounties, Import duties, and our first real adventure with our daughter, finally got the Land Cruiser home.

To be continued... As all great adventures do!

SL