Update on Lightroom: version 3.3

The Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® 3.3 update includes these enhancements:

• Additional camera support for several new camera models including the Canon PowerShot 95, Nikon D7000 and Olympus E-5
• Corrections for issues introduced in Lightroom 3.0


Autumn in the garden

Is it not strange that people--like me--want to take pictures the likes of which are everywhere? What is it in, for instance, simple autumn colours of a Japanese maple tree that attracts us, that makes us press the button and makes us want to share this with the Net community? Everyone (in the right climate zones) can see things like this, they do not need such a picture to get an autumn feeling, let alone to know that autumn has arrived.

At a photo workshop I once did, we had a discussion: is a photo an expression that the photographer wants to make, or is it a means to communicate a message to the viewer? I was the minority of one defending the communication theory. And here I go and show you a picture that is purely expressive of my feeling of beauty of autumn in a corner of my garden.

I'm all in favour of falsificationism (one counter-example may be enough to show that a theory is wrong), but I guess we need not reject the communication theory: it's different for different kinds of pictures. A press photographer in Afghanistan, in Sudan, or in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro has something to communicate in the first place. And I also guess that any photographer must keep in mind that even his/her expressive photos communicate something to the viewer--will it be the same feeling that the photographer had?

I'd welcome your reactions: is this a superfluous picture that has no communication value, or should I go on and put such pictures on the net, simply because I like them?


Visions of toxic industrial splendour - Image 7 - New Scientist

In a mixture of abhorrence and admiration I break the silence on my photo blog: How can anyone make such beautiful pictures out of utter ugliness? Polish paragliding photograher Kacper Kowalski has a series of photos showing how environmental disaster yet makes esthetic glory. Have a look at the gallery sported in the New Scientist!
Gallery - Visions of toxic industrial splendour - Image 7 - New Scientist


Goodbye blog

It's time to admit that I have nothing more to say about 'the ultimate, meaningful picture', about beauty in photography or about sinplicity (only readers of this blog since the beginning may remember that this is not a typo). Ergo: I quit this blog (for a (long) time).

For the few who still want to see my pictures--I continue with photography, of course--there are my Flickr photostream and the Fotoclub Wierden site.



Major new software for photographers: free trial of Photoshop CS5

Photoshop is releasing its CS5 version, and offers a 30-day free trial on its own website. Please let me (and the rest of the web-community!) know in a reaction what you think of it. Maybe I'll give it a try too, then ;-)


Lightroom 3 Beta 2 Import

Have not had time to do much with the new Lightroom 3 version (beta 2). However, one of the improvements is obvious from--literally--the very beginning: the import module is now working very stable, dependable and fast. Its instability was the major drawback of beta (1) to me. On the other hand, the more intuitive 'workflow-like' import interface was one of the major improvements of LR3 over LR2 for me, so it was important to me that it works well.

The beta 2 that I downloaded came in my native Dutch language, while beta 1 had been in English. I work as easily in English as in Dutch but still there was a fleeting moment of joy when I realised the change of language. Long live Onze Taal ;-)


Lightroom 3 Beta 2

Adobe released a second public beta version of Lightroom 3, and promises the following improvements:
* Improved performance throughout the application for faster importing and loading of images
* Native tethered shooting support for select Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras
* Luminance noise reduction has been added to the previous color noise reduction improvements available in the first public beta for outstanding overall high ISO quality
* Support for importing and managing video files from DSLR cameras for better overall photographic workflow control
* Improvements to the import experience in the first beta to reflect public feedback
* Improved watermarking functionality from the first beta to reflect public feedback
It's a freely downloadable beta version (will work until the official release).


Culture Fair in the Public Library (2)

Just a little memory of the Culture Fair: the girl did her best on the guitar and although her trio of two guitars and a singer was not the star of the night, they did entertain with some decent pop songs. And they gave me a nice picture in black-and-white.


Colouring truth--before Photoshop

'Kapuscinski - non-fiction' is the title of the recently-published biography of travel journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski (1932-2007). Author Artur Domoslawski calls Kapuscinski his 'mentor', but he did not turn a blind eye on his mentor's shortcomings. For he uncovered that Kapuscinski sometimes 'gave reality a bit more colour' by inventing things that had not happened.

How like the Photoshop discussion is that! There is no problem at all if a writer of fiction invents stories, invents even an whole world, just like 'art' photographers and Photoshop-buffs may do. But journalists (and that is how Kapuscinski presented himself!) to me must abide by the same rules that govern photo journalists: no fiddling with reality!

I have a couple of books by Kapuscinski and loved to read them, but mostly because I thought I could learn something about the problems of Africa, about the horrors of Russia. It was a good read and I admired his ability to give style to reality. But now it appears I basically was reading fiction (more style than reality) and I feel betrayed. IFFFFF Domoslawski wrote truth--whose writing can we trust more?

(Domoslawski's book is not yet available on Amazon; does it exist at all, then?)


Happy birthday, Photoshop! Real life wins!

It was 20 years today, Photoshop taught the band to play...

Photoshop really was first marketed in February 1990. The Sgt.'s Pepper in those days were brothers Thomas and John Knoll. Thomas remained among the Photoshop developers until the current version, CS4. John moved into graphic effects in the movie industry, says Wikipedia.

Whatever advantages Potoshop has given us, even Lars van den Brink, a photographer who likes to play with Photoshop to tell his stories ("Sometimes, it's like I summarise an hour in a single picture"), and who was interviewed for the NRC's Cultural supplement last Friday, admits in the end: "Real life is so surprising; you cannot beat that with Photoshop."

That's a quote I like!

Culture Fair in the Public Library

Just a link, twittered in real-time by co-clubmember René, from yesterday's Culture Fair:
Fotoclub wierden presentatie in wierden on Twitpic

Hopefully, we got a handful of people interested in our camera club. I'd spent more than enough time on designing a flyer, printing some pictures, getting the laptop + large screen ready to show club members' photos to passers-by, etc. And then the three of us spent a whole evening on being there.

The laptop's screenshow was quite effective, by the way: a lot of people stopped to watch it. TV-like screens apparently are irresistible and as marketeers know, getting people to pay attention and (literally) stop is the beginning! Then you can start talking with them.

Some of the musicians playing at the fair were really good, as well. Special recommendation: check out guitar player Casper van Vulpen on Youtube. Enjoy!


Photos, photoshop and reality

'Between all the plastic surgery and Photoshop, who knows what celebrities really look like anymore?' Something I just stumbled upon here.
Just for fun ;-)


HDR built-in: New Sony camera A550

Rumours had been around in the internet for more than half a year already, so I am a bit late to discover that the recently released Sony α550 camera has a trick inbuilt to make HDR pictures. HDR = High Dynamic Range and means that you can get pictures that show detail in the dark parts as well as in the light parts. Without HDR you'd get details in the dark parts but a pure white spot of clouds, or the other way around: well-deatiled clouds but completely black shadows. The α550 takes two pictures successively and combines them automatically to an HDR picture! That is almost the ideal I was waiting for, as I admitted some time ago: an HDR-sensor. Anyone interested in my "old" α700? ;-)


Fieldfare found

The fieldfares returned later in the same day, and that time my camera was ready. Admittedly, I still had to crop the picture enormously, because the birds mainly stayed in the back of the garden and I "only" have a 300 mm (450 mm equivalent, if you count the crop factor).


Winter keeps going strong

Originally uploaded by DFW-Photo
This year's winter seems to last eternally. At least it's more of a winter than we have had for a decade, and of course just when you get winterguest birds in your garden, you don't have your camera ready (4 fieldfares, in Dutch 'kramsvogels'). So you'll have to make do with an 'Image du soleil levant', the painting that sparkled off impressionism in the end of the 19th century, but then in a 21st century fashion. Keep warm!


How a Classic was Made: Moon over Hernandez

'Moon over Hernandez' is one of Ansel Adams's iconic landscape photos, and in this videoblog by Marc Silber of the Digital Photography School, Ansel's son Michael tells a little about how the picture was made. It was a shot 'at the spur of the moment', a single negative at intuitive exposure settings (he couldn't find the exposure meter!) because before Ansel could make a second one, the light in the foreground had faded. In our digital age, we could have made a dozen photos, bracketed for exposure...

But the real point was how different a straight print from the negative was from the final black-and-white print: all kinds of darkroom magic was used, for instance to make the sky darker (Adams's later prints were even more dramatic than his first published ones) and mask some clouds at the top. The video showed a whole 'storyboard' that Ansel used for a graphic depiction of all that he wanted to do when enlarging the picture--much like the different steps you would have in Lightroom, or like the different layers you would use in Photoshop.

The main lesson for us, black-and-white landscape photographers: interpret your pictures afterwards when processing it at the computer, to get the result you want. There is not a single-best conversion from the red, blue and green pixels that make up your sensor data into the black-and-white you are going to print, and 'highlighting' certain areas of your picture through software adaptations is allowed--maybe we can make our own classic!