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Personal Computing Photography

Luminar Neo HDR

Skylum developers remain at work in Ukraine. Women and children have evacuated while military age males remain in the country to be called up to fight if needed. Skylum collaboration tools are hosted internationally allowing a measure of safety from acts of Ivan. Remember Ivan? He’s back. And worse than ever.

Boy do I miss Khrushchev! When he invaded a neighbor, he just seized the joint. Putin, medieval siege warfare. He is leaving rubble, mostly destroying the economic value of the contested territory.

Anyway, Luminar Neo is now Version 1.2. Version 1.2 adds bug fixes but also integrates most of the RAW HDR development capabilities of Aurora HDR, another Skylum product.

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Personal Computing Photography

Apple Photos Gripe

We begin and end most days by taking a photo of the dramatic Dismal Dominion skyline as viewed from Dismal Manor. The Staff finds clouds fascinating and is pleased to have an editing tool that does them some justice. While editing such an image, Staff foolishly put the iPhone 11 on to charge by connecting it to the iMac’s Thunderbolt Dock. Photos abandoned the edit to import something from the phone. But, normally, there is nothing to be imported. Said Apple ID has “Use iCloud Photo Library” enabled. And we pay for extra storage like good Apple dumplings. So, what happened and what was the lineup.

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Personal Computing Photography

Mylio Photos

Featured image courtesy of Mylio.

Mylio Photos is a new device independent and operating system independent image asset management tool for MacOS and Windows 10 or later. Mylio’s architecture and design is based on the premise that tech comes and tech goes but that your images are unique and irreplaceable. Mylio offers well-conceived image management by date, geo-tag, people-tag, categories, and keyword tags, etc. Mylio works because file formats are standardized and long-lived. As a result, images can be edited and rendered multiple times over their lifetime if they can be kept safe and located. Mylio’s design allows you to work with its internal editor or an editor of your choice.

Mylio is offered as a service for $100 per year software subscription. Your images stay “within the lifelines”, that is, on your local machines. Mylio is a non-destructive editor. That is, Mylio keeps your images using standard file formats for image encoding and image editing specification encoding. Mylio preserves the unedited original and reconstructs and presents the edited version upon request. Edited thumbnails are available for browsing. And all of your portable iOS and Android devices can participate. Read on to learn more.

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Photography

Skylum Luminar Neo is Here

Photo: by the author and edited in the new Skylum Luminar Neo

Skylum is a group of Ukrainian photographers and programmers with a 20+ year history of developing photo editing tools designed to reduce the amount of fiddling needed to develop and render fine art photos. Luminar makes the process so quick that phone snapshots can be made presentable in a minute or two. With a bit of care, Luminar Neo can make sophisticated edits as demonstrated by the candid portrait edits toward the end of this post. Luminar can be used from within Photos or a Photos image may be added to the Luminar catalog to retain the edit history.

Skylum Folk are at Risk in Kyiv

Skylum was proudly founded in Ukraine, and our core development center is based in Kyiv. At this harrowing time, unfortunately we cannot guarantee the on-time delivery of updates to Luminar Neo. We strive for excellence in everything we do, and we will make sure to further develop and improve Neo and to keep you updated on any news.

https://skylum.com/blog/act-now-save-ukraine-defend-democracy-24

A number of the leading small software shops are located in Ukraine and are directly affected by Putin’s war. These engineers remain in our thoughts.

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Personal Computing Photography

Skylum Luminar Product Family

In this post I’ll describe photography at Dismal Manor, our equipment, and the production workflow here. We use Skylum products in that workflow, currently Luminar AI but expect to migrate to Luminar Neo in 2022.

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Greyhounds Personal Computing Photography Twittering

Mister Fancy Pants

Image taken by the author and manipulated in Apple iOS Clips.app. Photos of the Bovver Boys courtesy of their social media minions.

Rocky has made great strides in his house manners. We continue to work on treat taking, table manors are largely down when I’m at the island counter, and he is getting the hang of moving about the house. He’s caught on that Missy won’t be bullied to change beds.

He’ still a shouty git. He still wants brekkie at 0400 but waits to mug me after a loo visit. He still wants his tea around 1530 but can be distracted into waiting until 1630 or so. He’s still working on meeting trades and has yet to catch on to the notion that trades are not Blighters of Zombies. Maybe Zombie Squad HQ has a training for that.

So why is he Mister Fancy Pants?

Rocky with big muscles flushed (pink)
Mister Fancy Pants

His ticking makes him look like he is wearing yoga pants! This is an iOS 13 Apple Clips manipulated image that exaggerates his markings and coat texture. In boring reality his bum looks like this.

Rocky showing off his yoga pants while watching Squizzer TV

So that it?

No, he did something stupid so Missy give him the nickname for a Twitter post. Her social media assistant has forgotten the specific incident.

Apple iOS Clips App is a lot of fun

Clips App can process new camera images or video clips to apply various transformations to them. I’ve done a couple of things where I’ve grabbed a promising photo off of Twitter, filtered it, and posted it back as a comment on the original post. I modded an image of @NormTheCairn. Later that day both #BovverBoys were posting photos for me to render for them. I like the “Comic” filter.

Before

The Bovver Boys posted this image on the occasion of friends day. I suspect it is a paste up but it is one of their better efforts at getting both of them into the same image. So I saved it to my iPad and had a go at it.

Bovver Boys before Comic Rendering

After

This image is the result of cropping and applying the color version of the Comic transformation. There are monochrome, pen and ink, and various color transformation filters. I keep coming back to the color Comic filter.

Bovver Boys Norm The Cairn and Rupert after comic render and crop

This may be a good technique to try for #ZZST storyboard collages. The ZZST artists make these up using Zombie cartoons as a base layer and clipped images of the brave Zombie Squad war fighters participating in that Saturday’s event.

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Photography

The Moocher’s new camera

After several years of life with the Sony Alpha 65, the moocher felt it was time for a new lens. So off to Imaging Resource to see what was happening in the digital imaging world. As I was shopping for the Alpha 65, Sony had just introduced its NEX line of cameras. The Alpha series featured a semi-transparent fixed mirror with an electronic finder. The NEX series eliminated the mirror and penta-prism. The main sensor was also the finder sensor.After reading several reviews, I concluded that the mirror-less camera had grown up and was a good choice for me. Many working pros are coming to the same conclusion, especially those shooting travel and street photography where compactness is an asset.

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Photography Uncategorized

Is there a real camera in your future?

Recently, a friend asked her social media peeps for camera recommendations for a first camera that is not a point and shoot. Her expected uses are garden macrophotography, the occasional photo of the moon, and urban/country trekking photography, including wildlife photography (BellaBob?). And of course, photographing her photogenic dogs when a phone camera just won’t do.

Since I was last in the marketplace, the players have changed somewhat. Several have introduced innovative product lines and new product types. Several manufacturers now make mirrorless advanced cameras. Some are styled to mimic the rangefinder cameras of old and others to mimic single lens reflex cameras. All have an eye to camera view finder. Two things distinguish an enthusiast camera from a point and shoot, the view finder, and the shutter lag.

Rather than try to survey the market, this article will inform you of important camera design considerations and the way in which they influence a purchasing decision. After reading this article, considering how you might use an advanced camera, and consideration of personal characteristics such as hand size, vision, and fiscal health, you can venture forth into the market place. I suggest that you handle each camera and take some snapshots with it on a memory card that you bring along. This will give you a feeling for the view finder, menus, and control layout that you won’t get from reading Amazon reviews. And keep your friendly shop keeper in business by buying local rather than ordering.

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Personal Computing Photography

Adobe CC Lightroom with iTHings

Intro

Those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter know that I take a lot of snapshots with my iPhone or iPad and that some of them actually look good. The tools I use with my phone are Apple Photos for quick hacks and Adobe Lightroom CC for more thoughtful work. One problem with this arrangement was that I had to manually manage two photo archives, one in Photos and one in Lightroom. Recently, I learned how to get my Lightroom environment to behave like an Apple Photos environment. That’s what this article is about.

References

This article is summarizes information from two references that I used to get my environment initialized. Reference 1 gives much more detailed descriptions of the process than this CLiff’s Note does.

  1. https://tidbits.com/article/15640, Photos Everywhere with Lightroom CC and Apple Photos, retrieved 10/25/2016.
  2. https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/how-to/lightroom-mobile.html, How to get started with Lightroom Mobile, retrieved 10/25/2016.
  3. https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/how-to/edit-organize-photos-mobile-to-desktop.html, How to Edit and Organize Photos Mobile to Desktop, retrieved 10/25/2016.

What you need

In writing this article, I have the following kit. Other phones and cameras capable of running Lightroom Mobile work equally well.

  • An Adobe Creative Cloud photography subscription for $10/month
  • An Apple iPhone 6+
  • An Apple iPad Pro 13 inch
  • Adobe Lightroom mobile on both.

It is also a good idea to install Camera Raw, especially if you have a real camera (one you look through to compose images). And now for iPhone and iPad which make Apple raw format available.

The next two sections describe some configuration preliminaries in Lightroom and Lightroom Mobile. The secret sauce is to subscribe to Creative Cloud and log the devices in. Then create a CC collection for each device that will automatically receive new photos taken by the device’s camera. This happens in the camera itself and is independent of the GUI used to operate the camera. Photos taken with either the Apple Camera UI and the Lightroom Mobile camera UI will be queued and saved to Creative Cloud.

Setting up Lightroom Creative Cloud

I have a monthly subscription to Photoshop Creative Cloud. This subscription allows me to use Photoshop and Photoshop Lightroom, and Creative Cloud. Creative Cloud is Adobe’s network storage environment that allows devices to share a library of image assets across hardware platforms. The basic subscription includes enough storage to get started. As your collection grows, you can add more storage.

Once you have purchased your subscription, follow Adobe’s instructions for installing Photoshop Lightroom. Go to the preferences menu and enable Lightroom Mobile.

Setting up Lightroom Mobile

Install Lightroom Mobile on your phone or table using the platform preferred source: for Apple iThings, the App Store and for Android things, the Google Play store. Android people, remember that it is a dangerous world out there, Play Store only.

Once through the initial screens you will enable creative cloud.

  1. Tap the LR logo to bring up the dialog
  2. Set Sync only over WiFi as you desire (recommended)
  3. Set Auto Add Photos to on
  4. Set Auto Add Videos to on
  5. Set Collect Usage Data as you desire

Once these settings have been made, create an auto add collection for the device.

  1. Open the organize view
  2. Tap + to open the Create Collection dialog
  3. Create and name a collection.
  4. Once the collection is present, tap the collection’s … icon to open its settings form
  5. Enable auto add

Work Flow

My two collections are  iPhone photos and iPad photos. Both collections appear in Lightroom Mobile on my iPhone and my iPad and in desktop Lightroom CC. Lightroom CC groups them under Collection From Lr Mobile.

  1. Take photos with the Apple camera
  2. Open Lr Mobile and let it sit. It will import new photos from the camera roll and push them to your CC account.
  3. Open Lr and let it sit. After a bit, it will sync with your CC account.
  4. Edit your new work in the normal Lightroom CC way.
  5. After a bit, your edited images will appear on your devices.

Creative Cloud App

Adobe Creative Cloud also includes a manager program that provides the following services.

  • Checks for and alerts you to updates
  • Shows which programs your subscription allows you to use
  • Lets you monitor your storage usage
  • Lets you maintain your CC credentials.

Adobe has designed CC app to launch at log in and periodically do its checks. It has a status bar widget that lets you wake it from standby to install updates or download additional products from your entitlement when you find a need for them or to try additional Creative Cloud products. The trial collection gives you access to all of the video and still image tools, prepress tools, and web tools.

The Catch

The $10/month plan entitles you to 2 GB of online storage. Reference 1 explains how the 2 GB is used as follows

Adobe’s Creative Cloud includes just 2 GB of storage with the Photography plan for $9.99 per month, but there’s a twist: that 2 GB is dedicated to storing files in Creative Cloud that are shared with other CC applications. Photos you sync via Lightroom mobile do not count against your CC storage allotment, because they’re stored as much smaller DNG files and therefore don’t take up as much space; I’m guessing the amount is negligible to Adobe. However, keep in mind that you need to pay for a Creative Cloud subscription simply to use Lightroom mobile in the first place.

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Photography

A kind word for Sony

Last weekend, I attempted to apply a firmware update to my Sony Alpha SLT-65V interchangeable lens camera. I’m not sure why. I saw that there was an update available and thought I’d apply it. In the past I’d had greyhound legs splinch when filming with the Sony so I used the iPhone 6+ to take most of my hound video. My hope was that I could do more every day snapshots and greyhound video with the updated firmware.

One evening, I decided to photo some clouds. A thunderhead to the south was looking menacing as it drove by. I grabbled the Sony, put it in manual, and cranked the exposure down by fiddling with the shutter speed and ISO. This brought out some texture in the clouds. I took the captures in to spool them off. For some reason, I checked Google to see if there were firmware updates outstanding.

There were so I had a go and the go went wrong. The little red activity light came on and stayed on. Bad joss. The firmware updater instructions told me I was now proud owner of a brick.  I took the battery out of the camera and put it on to charge while looking for salvation. A little poking around had tales about older cameras reacting badly to the 64-bit Mac firmware updater. At this point, I believed the camera was destined to remain a paper weight.

But, mid-week, I came back to the Sony USA support portal, hopped on chat, and explained my tale of self-inflicted woe. Sony said not to worry, there was a fair chance they could help me revive the camera. Apparently the camera’s firmware loader is active when the red light was on. Although, there were no instructions for a second go in my camera’s state, the firmware updater was designed to be able to take it from the top if the load was interrupted. The process involved a slightly different sequence of starting the camera, connecting to the firmware updater, letting the two hook up, and retrying the update. This time, the firmware loader ran correctly and my brick turned into a camera.

Thanks Sony.