Monday, October 31, 2016

Playing with the Frames in Instagram

My main photo screen in Instragram

Instagram is VERY simple, which may explain its appeal. Whilst I don’t mind the square format it can be restrictive AND I like to side step or find my way around such restriction. Sincethere be where creativity lies”.

I am quite used to making multi-image paintings, so it occurred to me (after I’d downloaded the windows 10 Instagram app) why now move out of a single frame!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

AI with an eye for ART

_IGP6187 original photoI have been experimenting with some of the new rendering tools that are using the deep dream approach. Whilst a lot of them are now being marketed as “one click filters that make your photos into art” (particularly the phone app versions) And I don’t care much for them. The technology still strikes me as an amazing opportunity to  bring extra creativity into the space between digital art (aka painting with a computer) and photography.

Google's Deep Dream Generator tool

The Classic Deep Dream Inception (shown above) was interesting but alittle over the top for what I was after. So I went on to prepare two more Deep Style Images firstly with Googles’s Deep Style and then with Dreamscope, using Some of Monet’s Water Reflection Paintings as training images.

Claude_Monet_Wisteria_Google_Art_ProjectGoogle Dream Style ResultsClaude_Monet_Nympheas_ Dreamscope result

I then took these two images and the original photo, using them as blended layers to superimpose a painted lake below the photographed water lilies.Waterlilies on a painted Lake

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Perfectly Clear why I am saving in .tiff

The problems on my HP Spectre (death by update) have forced me back onto my toshiba laptop as the first place I review my photos, cull the duds and perhaps do some preliminary evaluation of what might be worthwhile to further process. I had got used to using AfterShot pro, and in particularly had found the built in plug-in perfectly clear a wonderful little short cut to see what was possible by refining RAW files. To start I would have to try and reproduce what perfectly clear had done. Then I realized is I exported the perfectly clear changes to a 16 bit .tiff file I would have the perfectly clear image as a starting point and still access to the extra colour depth and dynamic range. Also on the HP Spectre I had got to using lightroom much more, particular as the platform to run other plug-ins like OnOne and Nik Software. Both of which work well with .tiff files. The option of running both Aftershot and then lightroom on the laptop was getting a tediously slow.

imageBack on the slower laptop I still like to look at potential good photos in perfect clear. A couple of weeks ago I received an offer with a Perfectly Clear newsletter to download (for free) the Prefect Exposure plug-ins tools (for lightroom and photoshop) so I jumped at the opportunity. The lightroom style plug in is still an extra step inside Lightroom but it is wonderful time saver for a lot of the manual exposure slider tweaking and it can deliver the .tiff file back into the lightroom library. Just Perfect for further lightroom, Nik or OnOne adjustments, staying with the .tiff format of course. I strenuously avoid fixed workflows (I think they are anti-creative) but I know starting with perfectly clear can avoid a lot of tedium, even if I don’t use all of the changes it recommends. I will have some knowledge of a better place to start

If you haven’t looked at the Perfectly Clear plug-ins yet they are probably going to be the best things you can add to lightroom.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

DIGITIZING ART :: Flat Bed Scanner .vs. Photography

Flat Bed (HP Photosmart) Photograph Canon EOS
rubens0003 IMG_0068
rubens0002 IMG_0065
image image

Whilst I have been scanning my smaller sketches and artworks on a conventional flat bed scanner for many years now, the copystand I re-manufactured a while back, then automated the process with a tethered camera has convinced to compare scanning on the flat bed versus photographing my art. I was a little surprised I think you get a much better scan from a photograph, interms of tonal detail. The default scan is perhaps a little over-exposed an the colour detail is not as continous (as shown by the spiky lines in the illumination histogram). The photo is not perfect but the fact that it is a RAW ,cr2 files (and 12 bit colour) make it easier to correct the exposure and colours. Also the lighter tones in the pencil sketch show a better gradation.

I can see a little further investigation is required but photographing your art may be a much better way to get the best results.

Friday, October 21, 2016

PhotoFriday still participating

My PhotoFriday Photos

I’m still posting to Photo Friday, however it is now a separate site, and not easy to link the photos back into blogger. It is really well set up and easy to use. Whilst there are still weekly challenges, they never really stop when you use the hashtags.  If you would like to start sharing your photos, with an appreciative audience it is a great place to start. There are limits to the number of photos you can post in a given period.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

New Notification, Better Accessibility & a New Look AND it still works.

In case you hadn’t notice there have been a few updates on flickr. Updates being a bit of a dirty word at the moment given my disappointments with Windows 10 (still not really fixed on my new machine) and updates that have hamstrung OnOne and Aftershot Pro (it would be nice if their support would even read emails before sending canned replies). It would be even nicer if they fixed the problems. Anyway its nice to find something updated and working, not sure I really want notifications or a new look but at least it works

It began a couple of week back with a  short blog post, in which flickr introduced a number of significant improvements to accessibility to “provide a product that can be enjoyed by our community regardless of their physical abilities”. Whilst I don’t yet need a screen reader or similiar features. I take this as a great sign that flickr care about their community of user. Good move Flickr.

I’m not really thrilled by the little bell icon (which shows notifications, of photos that are liked and comments or discussions you are involved it), I turned off notification on the android app because they quickly become intrusive and annoying, at least these ones don’t beep at you. So thanks flickr, but no thanks.

Its the new look for the main flickr view that I’m surprised that the wall paper matrix of photos has been dropped to a copy-cat version of google+ or is it instagram? I had just got used to the distictive different look of flickr of well. So that’s a yawn on the new look flickr.

UPDATE: Seems I was a bit early with my post on the flickr Updates. They are now official and discussed in the flickr blog. I am willing to see if the more personal association and previews are infact better on the main flickr display. The joy of having something upgraded and working fine still lingers,

Monday, October 17, 2016

Is Instagram becoming the place to POSE?

I am still keen to find the prefect POSSE Place. Somewhere I can Post Own Site and Syndicate Everywhere. Well with the recent release of an Instagram app for Windows tablets (is pretty much exactly the same as the android app, very simple and apple-esque). The difference for me is I can easily get my DSLR images uploaded. Importantly if I want I can then on post to Flickr & Tumblr, and maybe Twitter (I’m still not a Facebook person or are every likely to be)
The problem with this place to post is it is not really under my control (Own Site) and it is difficult to just point to the images independent of the Instagram's doorways back to the photo. Such as for a blog post like this, I seem only to be able to use the Instagram supplied embed code. However between my tablet and my phone I can see Instagram growing as a way to get photos quickly & easily onto the social side of the web.
A photo posted by norm hanson (@apimageo) on
So Instragram is good for a POSE (Publish Once & Syndicate Everywhere)
It is already a foregone conclusion that Instagram is also a good place for show-offs

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What I am looking for from HDR

Its a very overcast day after yesterday’s strong wind but with that calm before a storm feel. Not an exciting time to take a few photographs (yet). What I did notice was a new yellow rose had a few buds about to flower but had been very dried by the winds so I gave them a light spray of water and took a couple of bracketed photos of the new buds.

_IGP5315 EV=-1_IGP5316 EV=0_IGP5317 EV=+1
The close up simple composition gives me a great opportunity to compare three of the HDR programs I have used recently, and specifically to discuss what I like to use the HDR Technique to do. I have written a fair bit about HDR. However few people realize how often I use it. I think that is because I am just trying to create an image as I remember the scene, rather that what the camera recorded. The images above are all a bit dark, but that usually doesn't matter within the HDR process. If I was to process just one image I would choose the one on the right and lighten it a little and increase the contrast. Since I have a RAW file that would be simple.


However here are alternative ways to process these photos


Importing 3 Photos to ProcessThis was my go to program for a long while because it was easy to use, free and could process RAW files (which I reasoned gave the HDR process more dynamic range to work with). Importantly for someone that usually hand holds while taking the bracketed set, it has a decent alignment correction. The ghosting (removing ghost from people or things that moved between exposures) work for small movement but my experience was it could misbehave so I only used it when I saw obvious ghosting without it. I also found that it would often need the EV setting of the images updates (ie they would often just all read EV=0). In the table beside each file used.

Main Screen Once HDR File is created  Tone mapping screen
The HDR image (which can be saved) is very dark like my original photos but when I select Tone Mapping I generally select adaptive logarithmic method and accept the default settings and save it was a .tiff file. Preferring to then finish the result in either Lightroom or OnOne.


AfterShot HDR

Selecting files to mergeWhen the HDR was added to aftershot in version 2 I became an immediate convert. It is also handles alignment (mostly ok). It also handled RAW files (unfortunately version 3 of aftershot Pro does not pass raw files nicely into the HDR merge program, so I must maintain a Version 2 copy just to do HDR) and it is vary easy to set up you just select the files you wish to use and then right click and select to Edit With AfterShot HDR\Exposure Merge

Selecting files to merge Alignment Screen
The ghosting has to be fixed by masking away the ghosts you don’t want (on specific images) which can be a little tedious but can be much better controlled than the automatic methods. Again the aligned image looks very dark. However when you process the three images into one the image generally looks much better exposed (its not magic the dynamic range is being stretched to fit the image)

HDR File Created Screen & options Final Screen giving additional edit options

I have the presets turned off and generally only make some minor tonal adjustments. My preference is to add a little contrast and deepen the midtones and/or shadows. In AfterShot there is an extra step where there are as a number of basic edits to finish the image but again I prefer to save the resulting photo as a .tiff file and then do my finish in Lightroom or OnOne.

Nik Efex HDR Pro

Exporting files to Efex HDRWhilst I’ve had Nik software since google offered it for free download. I was a little slow to try out the HDR merge features. I have been working through the various screen via the rather big collection of presets. To my taste a lot of these are just hideous, those strong halos around constraty edges and super crunchy detail and lurid colours are off putting. Still I like enhanced colours and a little extra contrast so I can see a few presets that are getting me close to the nature feel I am looking for. These include default, balanced, Soft Colour and soft Landscape presets. Nik Efex HDR needs to be run from Lightroom and it has to be started a little differently to other plug-ins. Instead of the normal Edit In option, you have to export the photos to Efxex HDR  Pro via a specific option in the export menu (shown on the right). Lightroom does take a little time to prepare these exports.

HDR Merge Screen HDR file view and preset options

I am still experimenting with how to do minimal tonal adjustments, but already have discovered that I need to slow down the drama (mostly) and often experiment with structure which is a bit like lightroom clarity and OnOne’s dynamic contrast. Again I prefer to save the .tIff image at this stage and do the tonal finish in lightroom. Perhaps with a little more practices I’ll gain more confidence. For the moment Nik’s Efex HDR pro remains an interesting diversion rather than a go to tool.

In the end I choose the Aftershot Pro .tiff image as having the closest to my feelings looking at the water droplets on the new buds. I finished this in OnOne 10 using the perfect eraser to get rid of the hole in the petal and a small curl of another bud below left, crop in a bit and add my favourite big softy vignette to bring the rose forward from the background a little more. #290 The refreshed new buds

All of these steps take considerably longer than just processing a single image but I tend to think the extra time spent is worthwhile and creates a stronger and more real image.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Recovery has made it worse

imageI still running into a lot of roadblocks trying to fix my new computer after the last windows upgrade. My first though was a roll back to the previous version. Damn that is not allowed!!! 10 days is a might short time!

20161013_085919Next I tried going back to my recovery media (which I created on an SD card), so that was a challenge and it seemed to hang a couple of times during the update but I patiently let it work through its issues. It seemed to work ok for a day or so. However now I have to go through two or three cycles of that sad face and blue screen of near death before I can log in.


Now my PIN doesn’t work at all, my password fails often and I frequently end up at the screen that telling windows didn’t load correctly. As if I didn’t know that!


Now the computer has decided to go back to ignoring me and just showing the spinners. Seems to be always when I’m doing something important (or even blogging). OK another recover it has to be!

windows update

Have you tried the Microsoft Support link?


Needless to say I’m not happy

Friday, October 14, 2016

PhotoProject :: Seeing By Chance II

Still looking at the issues of seeing a photograph BEFORE you take it, Again I’m working through a Freeman Patterson’s exercises.

Have Somebody --- anybody but yourself --- choose three seemingly unrelated objects for you to photograph together … Don’t expect masterpieces, expect a struggle. Minimum requirement 20 photos

My wife choose for me some orchids flowering at the moment, a piece of blowup exercise equipment called a peanut (her’s is bright green) and a small metal sculpture of a cockatoo. Her logic was the colour combinations might be interesting. Other than that I can not see anything that might even remotely connect these thre things I need to photograph. I added for myself the burden of trying to photograph with three different cameras (My android phone, My Canon & My Pentax.)

Orchid in BloomThe Green PeanutMetal Cockatoo
Android Phone HDRPentaxCanon
PentaxAndroid Phone HDRPentax
Pentax with Oil Paint FilterPentax MovingPentax Moving
Android Phone HDRPentaxAndroid Phone with clip on macro lens
CanonAndroid phone_HDRPentax
Pentax HDRPentax

To be honest this was a lot harder than I imagined