Monday, 18 February 2013

Tall Masts at Hermitage Moorings

I'd seen these beautiful boats from the opposite shore and had even tried to get a photograph with a zoom lens on my DSLR, but the results were never satisfactory. The day I went on a slow photowalk along the Thames Path riverside walk through Wapping in London, I'd forgotten all about them. So as I left St Katharine Docks and came around the corner to where I could see Hermitage Moorings, I was pleased that I had decided on this route, even if the only camera I had on me was my Canon SX220 HS compact and not my DSLR.

The SX220 is a competent-enough camera for a superzoom compact, the 'super' in this case being a 14x magnification going onto a 12MP sensor. But for this photo, I didn't need to zoom, or not very much, and 12MP is only a little smaller than my Nikon D5100's 14MP. When fully zoomed in Aperture priority mode, this compact camera can show characteristic over-sharpening noise, but in Program mode shooting wide, there's hardly any noise worth mentioning.

Thames sailing barges were used to carry cargo such as bricks, hay and grain along the river. Being flat-bottomed and with a draft of only 3 feet, they were as well suited to shallow waters as to the deeper estuary. They plied the waters, usually with a two-man crew, throughout the 19th century. Today they're more likely to be used for pleasure cruises, parties, business meetings, or as restaurants. Sitting at Hermitage Moorings, they look beautiful enough. When fully rigged, they're stunning, as the photo on Wikipedia shows.

Processing my photo in Lightroom 4.3 and Perfect Effects 4 resulted in a photo that I would be happy to call 'fine art'. And it has me hungry to create more.

Change of Licence


Today, Monday 18th of February 2013, I've started a new set on Flickr titled Fine Art. All photos currently in this set, and all photos placed in that set in the future, are ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. All of my photos prior to today have been published under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike licence and the vast majority of them remain under that licence. Most of the photos I publish in future will also be subject to the same Creative Commons licence.

Some of the photos in the Fine Arts set have previously been published under the CC Attribution Share-Alike licence and have changed from today to ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. If you wish to use, or continue to use, any of those photos, please contact me. Other photos previously published under the CC licence will also change as I move them into the Fine Arts set so please contact me if you want to use or continue to use them.

If you're thinking of using any of my photos, please check the licence carefully before doing so. And if you want to use a photo that has been published ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, feel free to email me.

The set can be viewed here.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Can you do serious photo processing on a tablet?

Moored Thames Sailing Barges

Someone on a photography forum asked if it was possible to do photo processing on an iPad. I don't know what software is available for the iPad other than Snapseed but Android has PixlrExpress, Photoshop Touch, AfterFocus, Touch Retouch, and a lot more good photo software, including Snapseed. I was sitting in a WiFi-enabled cafe browsing photography forums at the time so I thought I'd see for myself what is possible.
As well as doing serious photography with my phone I also upload 7 or 8 photos a week to Instagram, Streamzoo, and EyeEm. Since I do this for fun I'm not too fussed about whether the results are good, especially in terms of the technical image quality of the photos. So I thought it was an interesting and useful exercise to see what kind of quality I'd get attempting to edit a 'serious' photo. A great many photo editing apps on Android only save the output image at 800 pixels wide (or less) and don't let you specify the resolution or JPEG compression quality. I've done my research over the last couple of years and I now only use apps that let me save at a resolution that is the same as or near to the phone's native quality of 8MP (3264 x 2448).

I'd taken this photo a month or so back with my Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone so I copied it to my Nexus 7 tablet using a USB-OTG cable and the Nexus Media Importer app and ran it through Photoshop Touch to crop the original and to get rid of a piece of wall, a large piece of driftwood and a few other distractions. I then loaded it into Snapseed for tone and colour adjustments plus a small bit of sharpening, then into PixlrExpress to add a narrow border. The whole process took little more than 10 minutes. Uploading it to Flickr to link to from the forum took three attempts and about 20 minutes, mainly because of the poor WiFi connection.

The resulting photo is 2448 x 1836 pixels in size and 2,670,777 bytes (2.54MB) and the overall quality of the photo is, in my opinion, of printable quality.

So, can one do serious photo processing on an iPad? I still don't know but I do know you can do it on a 7" Android tablet. What do you think?

Saturday, 19 January 2013

A free all-in-one photo processing tool

Recently, OnOne Software released Perfect Effects 4 Free. It has all of the features of Perfect Effects 4 but with only 70 or so preset effects as opposed to over 400.

However, as all of the functionality of the original software is there, you don't actually need all 400+ effects as you can create your own. All you need is to know how, and you can find out at OnOne University.

Although PE4 is used mostly as a plugin to programs like Lightroom and Photoshop, it also ships as a standalone program, available when you install PE4. It can open raw files as well as JPEGs and PSDs, though with new raw file formats you might need to convert the file first. It saves the result out as a layered PSD (Photoshop) file, a TIFF, a JPEG, or a PNG.

With basic effects comprising Black and White, Blur, Borders, Color Enhancer, Duotone, Glow, Photo Filter, Sharpening, Texturizer, Tone Enhancer, and Vignette, all of which can be applied to stackable layers, creating your own presets is very easy.

Built into PE4 is Perfect Layers which gives you a layered environment like Photoshop that gives you cropping and transforming tools, a masking brush and their proprietary masking bug, as well as a retouch brush.
Oh, and did I say it's free? You can download it now here.

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About This Blog

"It's about capturing the light and making light work for you; and it's about being lazy and making light work of photography."

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