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photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Linde Waidhofer

Unknown Patagonia

in Book Reviews , Saturday, September 29, 2012

A couple of days ago, while searching for photo books on Paragonia, I discovered the work of Linde Waidhofer, on the Western Eye Press website. Linde is, it seems, a long established landscape photographer with a particular affinity for Patagonia. She has an extremely nice eBook available on her site, Unknown Patagonia, which she is freely distributing in the hope of raising awareness on the risks to a stunningy beautiful, isolated part of Southern Chile which is at risk from the energy industry. This sadly reminds me of similar destructive forces in parts of Iceland.

The location is amazing, and the photography even more so. Linde Waidhofer has an understated style which does not impose itself on the subject matter, does not overly abstract things, but presents natural beauty with great taste and judgement.

Since the eBook is available for free, I would encourage you to download it, enjoy it, and pass it on, and hopefully the message that Linde is trying to put out will spread. And at the same time you’ll discover some classic nature photography (actually not just nature) which deserves to be widely known.

 

Now THIS is interesting!

If Hasselbad can’t do it…

in Product reviews , Sunday, September 23, 2012

Discovered via Northlight Images - Photography Stuff ...

The Zenit Horizon Panorama D-L3

Zenit panoramic

Apparently it’s a joint venture with Silvestri, whose website has a little more info.

Want. Now.

 

Iced by PhotoNinja

instant Kodachrome ?

in Photography , Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I have just uploaded a new gallery, simply called “Ice”. It contains a set of photos taken at various places and times, all featuring ice in diverse, and mainly quite abstract, forms.

Ice gallery



This set has been edited with a new RAW processor, Photo Ninja, the successor to the highly regarded Noise Ninja. I have to say I didn’t really expect to see much new in the world of RAW software at this point in time. I’m quite happy in general with Apple Aperture, although I keep an eye on Adobe Camera Raw, Capture One, and in particular Iridient RAW Developer. But none of these offer anything other than barely perceptible advantages over Aperture, if any at all. Aperture’s RAW engine is highly under-rated for some reason, perhaps simply Apple fatigue, although I suppose it depends on what camera you use. But for my Olympus & Ricoh files, I have no complaints. And the workflow is head & shoulders above anything else.

Photo ninja1

Photo Ninja’s quite minimalist user interface

So why bother with anything else ? Well, Photo Ninja is actually quite, remarkably, different. If there is one defining thing about it, it is that you need to go against habits and wise teachings, and let it do its thing. Once you set up a few preferences to steer it the right direction, its first attempt is usually pretty remarkable. Unlike other RAW processors, it has a real “look” of its own, which I suspect people will love or hate.  There is scope for plenty of fiddling, with a mix of standard and less standard controls (such as “illumination” which is a sort of contrast control that can be linked to exposure). But often I just come back to the auto settings - something I NEVER do usually. A huge amount of thought has gone into Photo Ninja’s automatic algorithms, and they should not be thought of as the usual “auto contrast” white / black point settings most rivals offer.

Photo ninja3

Photo Ninja’s tool list. Note its ancestor, Noise Ninja, is present & correct

Photo Ninja is a version 1.0 release and it does seem to do some weird things on the odd occasion. One of the images in the set it did something very weird indeed to, so I’ve used the Aperture version CORRECTION: I take it back. It was user error on my part. Nothing weird at all. Speaking of Aperture, Photo Ninja integrates with it extremely well and supports multiple round-trip editing of the original RAW file. I don’t believe anybody else has worked that one out. So you can retain Aperture’s excellent workflow and management features whilst using Photo Ninja as an alternative convertor.

Photo ninja2

Photo Ninja’s default setting on the left, Aperture 3.2’s on the right. It’s been said that Photo Ninja has a “Kodachrome” look.

You can get a free demo of Photo Ninja, so I suggest that if you’re interested, you just try it. If nothing else it will give you a new perspective on your images.  The photos in the “Ice” set are the first I’ve published in a long time that were not processed in Aperture. I’m not yet sure I’d want to use Photo Ninja exclusively, but I’m certainly going to keep it around.

 

Some good, some bad, and some really ugly

no, but just incredibly ugly!

in General Rants , Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Yep, it’s PHOTOKINA WEEK, and since this is some kind of a photography site, I’d better waffle about gear and stuff and all the AWE-SOME things lining up to grab our credit cards.

The good

Well, I hope so anyway. Lasersoft’s Silverfast 8 HDR Studio finally slipped out of Beta a few days ago, presumably in order to get promoted at Photokina, although Lasersoft seem to be being pretty quiet about it. The link to the new version is of course broken, bless ‘em, as it still points to v6.6, but the demo link works and the demo can be serialised. So far I haven’t had time to explore it, but when I do I’ll write a review.

The bad

Not exactly Photokina, but anyway it’s certainly bad news. No, not Fuji killing off movie film, but the acquisition by the disgusting Google of NiK software, which will almost certainly result in the disappearance of excellent products such as DFine and Silver Efx, and the mutating of Snapseed into me-too Instagram to let talentless narcissists like this one (sorry, I know he’s popular, but emperor, clothes etc) upload thousands of photos a day, have them auto-processed and handed over to Google’s scary advertising engine. Well anyway Patrick LaRoque puts it far better than I can.

And the Ugly…

It’s no contest really, is it ? Unbelievable. Aghast doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Hasselblad Lunar wooden grip 550x388

Swedish design meets Italian engineering. Or is the other way around ? I’m sure half of Saudi Arabia is already sending the slaves out to queue up for it. Poor old Victor must be doing about 180rpm.

 

So many photographs…

...so little time

in General Rants , Tuesday, September 04, 2012

I don’t really understand how people do it. People who post one - or more - masterpieces a day on Flickr, on their blogs, on their websites. Photos they took the day before, with a camera they bought last week, and will have discarded next month. The pressure to “keep up” gets so overwhelming that sometimes I want to give up on this whole interaction stuff, or give up on photography altogether. I could just stop taking new photographs now, and spend my remaining years reprocessing, fine tuning, giving some of my archive the attention it might deserve.

I’ve got so many different projects, all unfinished, all seemingly endless. For example, I decided to revisit a large folder of slides from my Antarctic years which I’d discarded as no good. Most them are indeed hopeless, but some, in fact quite a lot, have a degree of documentary or personal interest, and a few are potentially hidden gems. I’m maybe half way through the initial “raw” scans. Since my expectations are not that high anyway, and I’m not looking for anything larger than an A4 print, I decided to scan them to 64bit linear (the other 16 bits are the IR channel) on my Canoscan 9000F, rather than my slower film scanner, but even then it takes ages. And then I have to reprocess to “normal” 48 bit in Silverfast HDR, then finally touch up in Photoshop. Probably quite a lot, considering their state.  And then there are the several hundred which I considered “ok” in the past, many of which have never been scanned, or at least not properly. And that’s project 1.

Ant archive 0001

A sample from Project 1: looking over Rothera base, on Adelaide Island”

Then there’s a huge backlog of digital images, many taken this year in Italy and France, especially of the lavender fields in the Var, and of flamingoes in the Camargue, which I’ve hardly touched upon, or which need reworking from scratch due to my reversal out that disaster of a piece of software called “Mountain Lion”. And still from this year, their’s a whole bunch of shots from Iceland in February which remain in limbo. 

I have 38513 photos in my Aperture catalog, going back to December 2003. Many, many of these deserve further attention. And before 2003 ? Well I’ve got two shelves full of slide binders, and a very full MediaPro catalog.

And then… my ongoing obsession with the XPan is all very well, but the workflow of getting an image of film into my archive is heavy going, and there again there are backlogs.  And stuff from the last decade screaming to be rescanned, for example a whole batch from New Zealand over 10 years ago.

And finally, what for ? Almost nobody sees this stuff. I’ve no real idea how may visits this website gets. It’s not zero, but it’s not very high either. Sometimes I get a few comments on Flickr, but for me 10 is a lot. Possibly I don’t do enough networking. Possibly my photos are not interesting, or don’t reach the level now needed to rise above the noise.

And yet every day bloggers like Kirk Tuck or Ming Theing are showing what they did in the last 5 minutes with their new camera, while at the same time regularly delving into their archives, AND writing several feature length blog posts a day.

I mean, what are they ON ?