My Film Project

June 05, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Old EyesOld Eyes I have started shooting film again. Why you ask? I began my photography obsession many years ago in the mid 70's is when I bought my first film SLR (Single Lens Reflex).  Of course back then there was really no choice just film.  So I shot like most teenagers do friends  and family and events.  I always had my camera near by.  I only knew enough about photography to get a good exposure and that was about it .  As I grew older joined the military and got married I started taking photo's again and got a little more serious.  In the mid 80's I was shooting color slide film and developing it at home.  I did that for a while.  Later in the late 90's and early 2000 I was shooting Black and White film developing and printing at home.  This was a big operation and labor intensive.  Especially when you make your one and only bathroom a darkroom.  When digital came out I jumped on it full bore and set my trusty Fully Manual SLR on the shelf and that's where it has stayed for 15 years.  I had been shooting manual for so long I had to learn how to shoot Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority and all of the fancy stuff that camera's were doing.  It was like I was learning all over again how to shoot a camera. I started with a point and shoot and worked my way to the biggest baddest camera Nikon had to offer and all of the lenses to go with them.  I had to learn how to process my photographs in Lightroom & Photoshop.  Slowly but surly I started to go away from the big full frame cameras and started shooting mirrorless crop sensor camera's.  And I loved the way they feel in your had like 35mm SLR's did.  And I just love my mirrorless camera and lenses. IMG_1114IMG_1114

But something was missing .  I can't put my finger on it but it was the sound that a mechanical camera makes.  The weight of the camera.  Rewinding the film.  The Analog process I was missing.  I listened to a podcast called the Digital Story by Derrick Story and he also has a blog the Analog Story.  I listened and started to get excited about film again. I wanted to crank that crank and manually focus and turn dials that clicked. I wanted to shoot film again.  I heard that shooting film will make you a better digital photographer.  It will slow you down. I don't want to go fully to film I will always be a digital photographer first but I do want to shoot some film when the occasion suits.  How to go about it now in the digital age when film is kind of scarce?

First I got my old trusty 35mm Pentax MX off of the shelf. Cleaned it up well.  I had to replace the light seals that go around the door. Those are the little felt or foam pieces that keep the light from ruining your film.  That was a chore and it took me a couple of times before I got it right but I did.  What about the light meter in the camera? Was it any good?  The only way to find out was to get a roll of film shoot it and get it professionally developed.  I went to my local Walmart and guess what ? Film was on sale! 4 rolls for 5 bucks! So I bought 2 ,8 rolls of film.  I shot a roll of film in a couple of days and took it to Walgreens to get developed.  Well things have changed in 15 years.  They have to send your film off so it takes a week to get it back . But not really because they don't give the negatives back you just get a CD with the scanned JPEGs on them. All for 15 bucks!  I  was not a happy camper over the price.  But when I got my photo's back they were all correctly exposed!  So Yay! Light meter works and is accurate!  Now I can't afford 15 bucks every time I shoot a roll of film So I had to come up with a way that I could develop them myself. I had never developed color negative film before but I had done black and white and color slides so I had all of the equipment I just had to get the chemicals and learn how.  So I did and I developed my first roll of film and it worked out great! I had color Negatives! 

                                                                                                   So now I have color negatives I need to get them scanned into my computer so _DSC0012-3_DSC0012-3 _DSC0012-Edit-2_DSC0012-Edit-2 I can get them into Lightroom and Photoshop and print.  But how I really don't have a scanner that can do a good job. I don't want to spend anymore than I have to.  So I decided to use my Mirrorless camera to scan the negatives to get them into the computer.  I used my iPad with a white background to produce the light that shines through the Negative I had a old film holder that I had from the B/W days to hold the film and I used my Sony A6300 and a adapted Nikon 60mm Macro lens that I have to focus Manually.  I have the camera Tethered to my laptop so I can look at the Negative larger to make sure its sharp. And it worked! I don't know If Ill keep using this system I would like something that autofocuses because my old eyes don't work like they used to.  But for now IMG_1118IMG_1118 this will do until I find a better way.

Now there in the computer but still a Negative so there is some processing that needs to be done.  The image must be inverted to make it a positive image. That can be done in photoshop.  The colors also need to be adjusted because Negative film is made to be projected onto film paper and the color cast are made for that.  The first couple of times I did all of this manually.  And there are Programs that will do this for you but of course they cost money and Im trying to do this on the cheap.  I did some research and found a free action that will color correct you photo's in photoshop.  It does a pretty good job better that I was doing manually.  Its good enough now that I can live with it later on I may want to upgrade to a Software that does a better job. So after I get everything into Lightroom its just like all my other photo's I can go through my regular work flow and can publish to Flickr, Facebook, Instagram or even print if I want.

It seems like a long process and it is.  But I really enjoy it.  Analog Photography is like listening to LP's on a record player maybe not as clear and it has pops and scratches but to me that's what makes it great.  Thats all for now Keep Shooting!


'Podcast' The Ones I Listen to

May 31, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

PodcastPodcast In my current "real job" I do about an hour or so commute everyday too and from work.  To occupy my time I have listened to the radio, audio books, iPod and all sorts of things to keep mind working on these two boring hours a day.  I'm kind of slow to learn new things and I have only found out and started listening to Podcast for about a year now.  I only listen to Photography related podcast and do have some favorites that I will share with you later.  Photography Podcast are a great way to learn new things , Photography news, tips and techniques, learn from more experienced seasoned photographers. So for these two hours a day I'm doing photography.  Maybe not taking photographs but getting inspired to take photo's or new gear or try a new technique.  So here are my favorites. Itunes podcastItunes podcast

1. The Digital Story Photography Podcast.  This Podcast is currently my favorite and has over 600 episodes that last about 30min each. Derrick Story a California based photographer/Author/workshop instructor covers a variety of different topics related to photography.  He also runs the Nimble Photography, and The Analog Story blogs.  He is truly a great story teller and a pleasure to listen to. He is into lightweight gear and shoots Micro 4/3's cameras.  He is the one that got me back into film photography again.

2. The Landscape Photography Podcast.  This Podcast is about Landscape photography and is hosted by Nick Page a Washington State based photographer.  A young photographer that has become pretty famous in a short time.  He also has a YouTube channel where he will take you with him on his trips around the west coast and abroad on workshops shooting landscapes.  His podcast are very informative and funny at times.  He does interviews with famous Landscape photographers.  His photo editing tips and tricks with luminosity masks have helped me a lot.

3. Tripod.  If you like Nick Page you will like this older Podcast.  This podcast was done by Nick before he got his own show and it is much like the Landscape photographer podcast.

4.  Recompose Photography Podcast.  This is hosted by Juan Pons and Andy Williams two very seasoned and famous Landscape and wildlife Photographers.  Based out of the North Eastern US they Conduct workshops all over the world.  They formally ran the Alpha Mirrorless Podcast for the TWIP (This Week in Photo) network which is also a great podcast .  They go over tips and tricks and gear.  Super Podcast.

5. Photo Taco Podcast.  Hosted by Jeff Harman a California based photographer/instructor.  This podcast covers a variety of subjects from backing up you photo's to Astro photography. Very informative. This is apart of the Master Photography Team.

So these were my top 5 Podcast shows and here is a list of good shows also that you may like. logopodcastlogopodcast

1. Master Photography Podcast.  This podcast has different topics from travel photography, Portraits, landscape , street photography and the business side of photography.

2.  Photography Tips from the Top Floor.  This is a Podcast that originates from Europe and is very good and almost made my top 5.

3.  The Candid Frame.  This Podcast centers around interviews with Famous and up comming photographers.  This podcast has been around for years and is very interesting.

4.  This Week In Photo  Another well established Podcast with over 500 episodes. 

5. Picture This! This is a podcast by Chelsea and Tony Northrup.  Both Photographers and instructors and very Big on YouTube.  They usually have a different perspective of topics and are very funny.

These are but 10 podcast to listen to.  There are a lot more but these are my current favorites.  Podcast are good to listen to while your doing house work or yard work or even editing photo's.  They are a good source of info and keeps your head in the Photography game.  So try them and keep on shooting!


RAW+JPEG! and why you should shoot this way

May 30, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Elvis in WindowElvis in Window I only shoot in RAW because only amatures will shoot in JPEG.  Have you heard this or something simular to this?  I have and I probably have said it myself. Don't get me wrong I still think shooting RAW is the best way to shoot.  But whats wrong with a JPEG?  That's what you see when you look at your photo on the LCD screen of your camera.  And I bet that's what you see 99 % of the time on your computer and mobile device.  So why shouldn't we shoot in JPEG too?  How many times have you got home after a shoot and what you saw on the back of your camera is what you wanted in the first place and you had to spend time processing your RAW photo to get back to the JPEG rendering that was on the back of your camera?  I know I have.  We have very powerful cameras that we have paid a lot of money for.  The technology of these cameras are amazing! We have WiFi and all of these modes that we can shoot in but if your like me your shooting in RAW and spending time on the computer changing photo's to get them to look like whats on the back of your camera or changing them to B/W.  Why don't we let the camera do this for us? I listen to a lot of Podcast (a future blog) and I started hearing about shooting in RAW+JPEG. And there are some really good reasons to do so.  This weekend I shot in RAW + JPEG for the first time and I loved it!  Flag SailFlag Sail

Shooting in RAW+JPEG lets you use the power of your camera for processing your images.  First you shoot in RAW because all of the reasons that you've always heard about.  You can correct all of the mistakes better you can change the white balance on the fly you can do a lot of stuff with a RAW file that you just can't do with a JPEG. But at the end of the day how many photographs do you really do all of this heavy lifting of the shadows and really working the photograph?  The answer for me is not much.  This weekend I went out with my Photography Club and I took 300 photographs out of those 300 I really only had to work hard on one photograph to make it look the way I wanted. And I had the RAW file to do that with. When you shoot RAW what you download onto your computer isn't what you saw on the back of your camera.  So you spend time getting that RAW image to look like the JPEG that you saw.  Why not just use the JPEG?  If it looks the way you want it too out of camera? Why spend the time making the RAW look like your JPEG?  Just use the JPEG.

_MSP9038_MSP9038 I love black and white photography.  When I shot film that was what I shot most of the time.  Did you know you can set your camera up to shoot RAW + JPEG and then set your Camera Profile to shoot B/W.  You will now get the RAW file with all of the color and all of the info and a JPEG in B/W.  You will also see on the back of your camera the photo in B/W.  And I'm telling you the JPEG rendering is very good! Your Camera company have spent a lot of time and research money to make them look great!   The most work you'll have to do in post is crop. Depending on your camera you may have many modes, Portrait, Vivid , B/W, Sepia,Sunset and many more to play with. This will free you up your creativity because you know you always have that RAW file in the background if you need it.

Using WiFi and posting to social media.  Posting to social media is what I do with most of my photographs.  Camera's have been out with WiFi for quite a while but how many of us actually use them?  I must admit that I don't use often but using the JPEG file makes it easier because there is less processing that needs to be done and the file is smaller and easier to transfer via WiFi.  I did this this weekend (Memorial Day Weekend) I went to my local Veterans Cemetery and took some shots of the tombstones with the flags.  I sent the JPEG to my phone using WiFi sent it to "Snap Seed" to do a little crop and then sent to social media.  And it looked great!  I could have done with my iPhone but wouldn't have gotten the shot I wanted.

Would I do this for all types of Photography? No I wouldn't.  I wouldn't do this for Portrait photography.  Landscape? Maybe. Sports no I would shoot JPEG.  But Photography like Travel, urban, street are almost anything else I would. And I will.  To the next photo walk you do try RAW+JPEG and see what you get.  You'll be surprised. Have Fun and Keep Shooting!


My Work Flow

February 03, 2018  •  12 Comments

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 7.16.10 AMScreen Shot 2018-02-03 at 7.16.10 AM Hey everyone!  I have done a few blogs and videos on different portions of my process but haven't really gone through the whole thing. So just imagine that you've just got back from and outing of shooting and you have taken all of these great photo's.  You've looked at them on the back of your camera but you need to get then off and into your computer for processing.  I shoot in RAW format but when looking at the back of your camera your looking at JPEGs which have been compressed and have been processed by your camera so if you really like the photo thats on the back of your camera you still have some work to do to make the RAW file with no corrections to look like the back of your camera. We also want to safeguard our images, make backups for safety incase of equipment failure.  So now you have your SD card with all of your images on it this is Copy 1 of your images.  Lets get the images onto your computer.

Import into Lightroom

Getting the images onto my computer I will hook up a card reader and insert my SD card .  I use Adobe Lightroom to do almost all of my editing and all of my organizing. I have made a video that is a couple of years old and its basically how I do things now except I don't store any of my photo's on the hard drive of the computer.  I keep all of my photo's on an external drive.  I also just copy to my external I "don't copy as DNG" I still like the DNG but it takes too long to convert. Everything else is basically the same.  Lightroom stores everything in Catalogs I have one master catalog that has all my images through the years in it.  It is stored on my main IMac computer.  When I'm traveling or camping I have a mobile catalog that is stored on a SSD external drive so I can edit and cull photographs  while I'm away.  When I get back home I can transfer those photo's back to the master catalog with all my edits from my mobile computer/laptop intact.  Think of the lightroom catalog like your iTunes library.  All of your images edits are kept there like all of your music on iTunes library.  Notice I said all images "edits " are kept there your original RAW files are still on your Hard Drive whether its a internal one or a external. Here is the link to the import video that I have on Youtube.  

Importing into Lightroom

Library Module and Culling

After you have your photo's in Lightroom the Culling process starts.  This is choosing the best images (the ones you want to process).  This can be Arrows and blocksArrows and blocksArrows and blocks. Correlation of the parts. Relations. a big job!  If you say took 500 images out of those images you'll probably only have maybe 50 at the most that are worth processing. So getting down to the 50 or 20 good photo's that you want to process is Culling.  There are many ways to do this and you kind of got to figure this out for yourself but this is how I do it.  I go through 4 or 5 images at a time and pick the ones I like by rating them to a "1" rating.  I do this very quickly and here is my logic for this.  When you walk into a room full of people it doesn't take but a few seconds for you to find the prettiest/most handsome in the room.  Our minds eye picks out the person in a flash and will also find the best photo in a flash.  Now after going through the photo's I have knocked out the 500 number to about 100 real quick.  Then if I need to I'll do it again and rate a 2  to the best photo and I have knocked the images down to 25.  I can process those photo's and then I can pick all of the unrated photo's and delete them.  By doing this you will keep the number of useless photo's down and keep the speed of your computer up.  Now I don't get rid of everything if I have photo's with family or friends in them I usually keep them but the rest of the unrated are deleted.  I don't need 50 shots of the same tree that I will never use taking up space on my computer one or two will do.  Here is a video that I make a couple of years ago on the library module and my culling process.

Library Module and Culling 

Processing (Five Step Tango)

tango-party-design-poster-vector-illustration_10083-26tango-party-design-poster-vector-illustration_10083-26 My Processing  Procedure has not changed in many years.  I use a process called the five step Tango that I hijacked from a photographer/teacher Jack Davis along time ago and it works well for me. I usually take less than 5 min. on most photo's to process unless I'm doing a portrait or a composite that will take longer when I bring it into Photoshop. Some people really get into this portion of the workflow process and thats great but for me the least amount of time I spend on the computer after a shoot the better.   I have a couple of video's on processing that I will link here also.  Here is the link to the Youtube videos.

Five Step Tango

Lightroom Develop Module Part 1

Lightroom Develop Module Part 2

Exporting Photo's

fb-artfb-art Now you have your photo's processed what next?  How do you share what you have done so far?  In the film era you sent your film away or you processed it your self and had prints made.  Today you have many options.  You can share with family and friends many ways through the internet.  Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, 500px are just some of the ways you can share your images.  What about prints? What about Canvas? Putting your photo's into Calendars, cups ,stickers?  Me personally most of the photo's I take flickrflickr and process are shared through the internet with the above mentioned web sites and of course this site!  I love to see the feedback and ratings I get from these sites and friends. I also create a couple of canvas's and I do print small for my house or family and friends usually 5x7 and 8x10's.  But what about the future when Im long gone.  I think prints are one way for future generations so see my work.  I've also started making books.  We did this for a end of year project this year with my camera club and it was pretty great.  So that's one project that I will be doing yearly and maybe for large trips in the future.

Storage

I still have my original RAW photo's on my SD card I also have another copy of on my external drive that I have been using for all of my edits.  In the digital age at least two copies of your work is needed to be safe that you don't loose what you have done.  So now I have to place the SD card back into my camera to use again so I will need to format the card which will erase all of my RAW data and I will only have one copy of my images.  I have done many backup strategies in the past and the one discussed in my last blog post Backup Strategies (check out that blog for more detail)  is the one that I use now.  Backing up to a cloud base storage.  That backs up my Main Computer and external drives but what about my laptops and mobile devices.  I also back those up to external drives every couple of weeks or so using time machine or PCs backup program.  Im real big into backups after I had my macbook pro have some problems with a video card and I had to have the motherboard replaced I had just done a backup of my laptop so when I got it back from Mac I just ran a restore and it was back to where I left it and I didn't loose anything.   By having  one copy of my files at home and one on the cloud if anything happens like fire hard drive crash or computer stolen I still have a backup on the cloud.

I hope this helps in some way and doesn't confuse anyone.  This is my workflow process and it works for me and for what I do in photography.  I am not a professional photographer just an photography enthusiast / hobbyist  that loves to share.  Keep Shooting!

 

 


My Mobile Computing

January 14, 2018  •  3 Comments

_MSP6749_MSP6749 Hey Everyone! Hope everyone is dealing with the cold weather better than I am.  As I get older the cold effects me more than it used to.  Anyway this blog is about my mobile computing solution.  I have two main computers both are Mac.  My iMac which has a 27inch Retna screen which is awesome and I have a 15 in Macbook Pro that is awesome!  Its an older one but I have upgraded the ram and the hard drive and its quick and works great. To replace it would be very expensive with a new model, so to have it broken or stolen and it would break my heart. And its pretty large and heavy compared to newer models.   So I wanted to get me a mobile computing device that ticked three boxes. Box 1 it had to be inexpensive so if it broke or got lost not a big deal.  Box 2 it had to be small and lightweight.  And Box 3 it had to be able to run Lightroom so I could backup files to an external hard drive.  So I went on a search for the machine that would tick those three boxes and let me tell you that was hard but I finally made a _MSP6753_MSP6753 decision and went with a machine that will work.

The machine I went with was the Lenovo Miix 320.  It is a 2 in 1 laptop/tablet with 4 gb ram and 128 SSD hard drive.  The operating system is Windows 10 64bit with a 10.1 display at 1920x1200 resolution. It has a detachable keyboard and can be used as a tablet. I got this machine refurbished off of Ebay and it looks like brand new.  I was a little nervous ordering it off of Ebay but everything worked out ok.  This little machine has ticked all of the boxes mentioned above.

Box 1 had to be inexpensive.  My goal was to try to keep the price under 300 dollars.  Which is almost impossible in itself thats why I went with refurbished.  That actually kept the price down and brought in all kinds of computers that were available.  I wanted a laptop that had a real operating system not a Crome Book that are selling for the price range that I want.  This machine came in at 199.00 !  Tick!

Box 2 Small and Lightweight.  This little 10 inch screen machine only weights 2.2 lbs . It does have a small screen but the resolution is great and sharp.  They keyboard is crunched together a bit, but it has full sized keys and doesn't take long to get used to.  Its small enough to go into a small backpack or small shoulder bag. Tick!

Box 3 Has to be able to run Lightroom and make backups to an external drive. This is probably the most important box of all.  The minimum ram requirement for Lightroom to run is 4 gb of ram which this machine does have, just does. Thats one of the reason I wanted a SSD to increase the speed.  It does run Lightroom.  I won't be processing a lot of photo's on it , but its nice to know I can without any problems. The machine comes with 2 USB 2 ports and one USB C port so transferring files via USB works fine. Tick!

_MSP6755_MSP6755 So this machine handled all of my Criteria for my mobile machine.  Would I love to have a 13 inch Macbook Air ? You bet , but they just cost way too much and if money wasn't a factor thats the way I would go.  But it isn't.  Im really surprised how well this little computer works. Browsing the internet and all other regular computer functions this little computer works great.  It runs Lightroom well enough to process photos , cull and backup with no problem although it is a little slow but not that bad. I think that this little machine will work well for what I need when I go camping or on a photo outing with out worry of theft or breakage.  Im not really promoting any brand or operating system because Im a die hard Mac guy  but for this purpose I hope this little machine will be the ticket!  Only time will tell.  Keep Shooting!