Tag Archives: software

Beware of the Mac

Ladybower Reservoir, The Peak District. Fuji X-T3, Fuji 16-80 lens. ISO160, 7.5 seconds at f/11.0.

First, an apology that I didn’t post a Friday image last week. I ended up at my daughters in France. I thought I would be able to post the image from there, but technical problems got in the way of what should have been a simple task. I won’t go into the details because I want to share a different technical issue that a lot of photographers will face.

I shared the above image on my Instagram feed just before I left for France. In all honesty, the processing was a little rushed so I thought I would reprocess it again (hopefully better) for this post. That’s when I discovered my latest technical issue; my graphics tablet won’t work with my Mac, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

A couple of days back I received a message that my Mac needed to apply updates. I didn’t think anything more about it and applied them. This turned out to a major update to the operating system of my main Mac.

The new OS is Catalina and was a huge 8Gb update. It made lots of changes including how my hard drive was partitioned. It’s also a pure 64bit OS which means any software with a 32bit element won’t work. This was frustrating enough but then I found I couldn’t run some software that was 64bit. Instead I now get a message saying that the software supplier needs to work with Apple to make software compliant and you can’t run it. I don’t know what “compliant” means but I’ve lost the ability to use some important software as well as hardware, including my graphics tablet. I find this completely unacceptable.

So, if you have a Mac and you see the message to upgrade, be careful. As I understand it from reading the many complaints on the internet, there isn’t an easy way to reverse the upgrade. If you’re running anything but the latest software and hardware drivers, you will probably find things are immediately obsolete.

On a lighter note…

Friday Image No.233

I captured this week’s image on my way to shoot the sunrise on Higger Tor in the Peak District. As I passed Ladybower and the trout fishery, I couldn’t resist pulling over. It was still around 20 minutes before sunrise and there was a lovely blue, pink colour to the light. I could also see the very tops of the cloud starting to catch some light and turn pink.

Because the scene is so light with the mist and water reflecting the sky the dynamic range was low, and I didn’t need to use any filters. I did, however, use a tripod and cable release as the shutter speed was 7.5” at ISO160 using f11.0. The lens I used was the new Fuji 16-80mm. Whilst I haven’t used this very much at present, I don’t think I’m that impressed, especially given the price point. Once I’ve used it a little more and made some comparison shots, I will share my thoughts.

I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.

Friday Image No.214

Graveyard of the Trains, Bolivia. Five image stitch from an Olympus EM5.

Most of the photos I shoot are of landscapes; it’s the subject I feel most in touch with. But then from time to time I come across something and feel I must photograph it. That was the case with this image. The location was the “Train Graveyard” in Bolivia. It’s filled with old rusting steam trains from the past and is simply amazing – even if you don’t like trains.

What I also find quite amazing is how photo editing software has developed over recent years. When I shot this image four years back, I don’t think the panoramic stitching feature was available in Lightroom. That’s probably why the five images that make up this shot have sat on my hard drive for so long.

I captured the five images that make up this shot with an Olympus EM5 and Olympus 12-40mm lens. The camera was in the vertical position and the image taken handheld. Lightroom was able to stitch them very quickly and has made a good job. Except that is for removing the perspective distortion. To remove that I used DxO Viewpoint 3.0. I’m really starting to love this software and will be experimenting further with it in the future.

I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.

New Video – Using the Nik Collection in Photoshop

Craster, Northumberland

Last week I posted a new video on Youtube, Pro Tips for Using the Nik Collection in Photoshop. This is part of my Bitesize Nik Tutorials series where I’m posting a new Nik Tutorial each week. I want these tutorials to form a body of knowledge for all Nik users. I’m also publishing supporting articles on my Lenscraft website as some people would rather read the information.

I have a few more articles planned and a couple of suggestions for others that I will include. If anyone wants to add to my list, please post a comment below. I’m always on the lookout for ideas, especially when they help people.

Once I’ve finished building the Nik resources, I’m probably going to start on another piece of software. I’m still undecided what, but I’m currently considering Affinity Photo. Again, let me know what you think in the comments.

Friday Image No. 183

Blea Tarn, The Lake District, Cumbria.
Blea Tarn, The Lake District, Cumbria. Fuji X-T2, 16-55 lens, ISO200, f/11.0, i/105″. Kase 2 stop ND grad (hard).

Before I went to Italy for a couple of weeks, I started experimenting with Luminar 2018 from Skylum. Now I’m back I have been looking at the software more and I’m even more impressed with the results I’m getting. Looking back to the earlier versions of Luminar this wasn’t the case, but they have improved the software significantly.

I now see myself working more with Luminar, On1 and Alien Skin in the future (as well as some Topaz tools). This is especially true now the future of Nik is uncertain once more, with DxO Labs in financial difficulties.

Anyway, I wanted to return to some images from the end of last year to see how they could be improved with Luminar. The one at the top of this post is an example of one that I initially passed over. After a little work in Luminar it seems to have an appeal and has retained a natural look.

I just love learning and working with new software.

Have a great weekend.

 

(This page contains some affiliate links. If you buy any of the software following these links, I earn a small commission but it doesn't cost you anything extra. This helps me continue publishing free photography resources.)

Cutting out the Noise

I have just received word that Topaz are launching a new version of their DeNoise software tomorrow. As an existing user I receive a free upgrade and wish more software companies would follow this model. If you don’t own the software its priced at $79.99 but if you use the discount coupon code “NOISEFREE” when checking out the price is reduced to $49.99 until the 20/03.

You can use this link to reach the product page of the Topaz Web Site.

I have been playing around a little with a Beta version and I’m quite impressed. Take a look at the following comparison – be sure to click the image to see the enlargement. This is a section of an image viewed at 100% magnification and was shot with a Sony RX10 at ISO640. The top image is unfiltered whilst the lower one has been processed using DeNoise.

ISO640 image showing noise
ISO640 image showing noise

ISO640 after DeNoise has been applied. Yes it's also sharper as there is a deblur option.
ISO640 after DeNoise has been applied. Yes it’s also sharper as there is a deblur option. Notice how the colours appear more neutral also.

I’m going to investigate this further once the full version is out tomorrow.

False Colour Conversion in Infrared Photography

False colour infrared using Infrared converted Panasonic GX1
False colour infrared using Infrared converted Panasonic GX1

Before I get into the details of this post I need to point out that I’m not a fan of the false colour effect in infrared. That said I do quite like the look of the image above. I realise this is a personal choice and you may or may not like the effect. Despite not liking this effect (other than the odd image) I continue to use the technique as I find it often helps in the conversions to black and white. The increased colour seems to make it easier to separate objects in black and white .

The starting point for the conversion is an infrared image that has been correctly white balanced. You can see the starting point below.

Correct white balance
Correct white balance

As I have mentioned previously in this blog, getting the white balance correct in Lightroom and Adobe Camera RAW can be problematic. Here is an example of the image as seen in Lightroom despite using the correct custom white balance.

How Lightroom sees the custom white balance
How Lightroom sees the custom white balance

I have now found out how to correct this and will post something separately on the subject.

Once you have your image white balanced, take it into Photoshop. Here we will do something called a channel swap between the red and blue channels using the Channel Mixer. You can see a screenshot of the channel mixer below.

Channel Mixer in Photoshop
Channel Mixer in Photoshop

In case you are wondering there isn’t a cannel mixer in Lightroom or Elements.

First select the Red channel in the channel mixer. You will notice the red slider is at 100% and the other two sliders are at 0%. Change these sliders so that the blue channel is at 100% and the others are at 0%.

Now repeat this process selecting the blue channel. This time set the blue slider to 0% and the red slider to 100%. The channel swap is now complete and you will see an effect similar to that above.

You can also swap any two channels and are not restricted to the red and blue. The red and blue channels tend to produce the best results though.

Now as I mentioned at the start of this post, I use this technique to support conversion to black and white. With that in mind, here is the final image back and white image. Let me know which image you prefer.

Final infrared conversion
Final infrared conversion

In Memory of Velvia

Wastwater in the Lake District. Captured on a Sony R1. Processed with Alien Skin Exposure 6.
Wastwater in the Lake District. Captured on a Sony R1. Processed with Alien Skin Exposure 6.

Do you remember Velvia slide film? I used to shoot this stuff all the time. It was horribly contrasty and a pig to scan. It was however the best colour slide film for Landscapes (possibly) and pre digital, all the pro’s in the UK would rave about it.

So why am I telling you all this given digital’s “better”? I just happened to be playing around with this old image shot an a Sony R1, trying different settings in Alien Skin Exposure 6. I was actually looking at the Infrared film simulations but then thought I would check some of the colour slide settings. As soon as I hit the Velvia preset I was transported back in time.

I have to be honest though. The version you see here was toned down a little as I don’t think all you digital users are ready for full on exposure (pun intended) to Velvia. If you haven’t looked at Alien Skin Exposure it’s worth trying the free download.

http://www.alienskin.com/exposure/

It’s a great piece of software and no I’m not making any money out of sharing this.