Capture One Pro Winner & Photographer’s Friend Sneak Peek (Podcast 706)

Capture One Pro Winner & Photographer’s Friend Sneak Peek (Podcast 706)


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My name is Martin and I’m a workaholic. Semi-seriously, I’m quite concerned by my inability to drag myself away from the development work that I’m doing on our Photographer’s Friend iOS app. It’s ruling my life and taking up my weekends, evenings, and pretty much every other waking minute, until something becomes so urgent that I have to walk away and take care of business. The Podcast is suffering too, because I’m not able to do anything outside of this coding, but I can’t promise to fix that straight away, as I have some more to do before I can relax a little.

I was doing silent screams at my desk every day last week as the evening drew near and I still hadn’t created this episode, in which I wanted to announce the winners of the free Capture One Pro license that I have to give away. We’ll get to that first today though, and then I will give you a sneak peak at what I’m doing with Photographer’s Friend, as there is some pretty cool stuff that is now mostly working, but the release format is still up in the air as I struggle with Apple’s In-App Purchases testing environment. Anyway, without any further ado, I’d like to announce the winner of Capture One Pro.

And the Winner Is…

I have dragged my feet on announcing the winner of the free license also because I had a really hard time deciding who to give the license to, partly because there were ultimately only two people in the race, Juan and Thysje. If you’d like to read their comments about their experiences trying Capture One Pro please visit the post for Episode 702 and scroll down to the comments. Both made some great points and submitted lovely photos to back up their comments. Because I found it so difficult to chose, and because there were only two people in the race, I decided to simply flip a beautiful Moroccan coin that I have to get a winner. I’m doing this as I write, so we’re going to make Thysje the side of the coin with a star on it, and Juan can be the side with King Mohammed-V on it. Here goes…

Moroccan 500 Francs Coin
Moroccan 500 Francs Coin

And the winner is Juan Ernesto!

Congratulations Juan! I’m so please to be able to award you with this Capture One Pro license, which I have just sent to you by email, and I would like to thank the Phase One team as well for making this possible. Please report back at some point about your continued success using the product, and we can maybe do an interview about your experiences at some point as well, if you’re up for that.

Photographer’s Friend Update

OK, so I’ll try to keep this relatively short, but as I have always tried to update you on what I’m up to via this blog and podcast, let me tell you about the update to our Photographer’s Friend app that I’ve been working on pretty much every waking our for the last three months. After my big update at the start of this year, I started this current update with a tiny goal to add a feature that I thought might be useful, which is a way to permanently link the Hyperlocal Distance label to the Focus Distance dial in the Depth of Field Calculator. Until now, to update the Focus Distance dial with the current Hyperlocal Distance based on the sensor format, aperture and focal length, you had to tap the Hyperlocal Distance label, and then if you changed a setting invalidating the distance, the link was automatically broken.

Now, there is a padlock on the Hyperlocal Distance readout that can be tapped or long-pressed to engage, and after that, the Focus Distance dial automatically stays in sync with the other dials while the label is tapped and engaged, even if you have Pixel Peeper mode turned on, which uses the megapixels of your sensor to give a the most accurate Depth of Field information available in any app that I’m aware of. Now, this change didn’t take me that long, and I fixed a few other minor issues as well, back in March, after I got back from my final Japan Winter Wildlife Tour for this year.

Then, I thought, you know what, if I’m going to submit an update, I might as well sneak in a few other things that I’ve been meaning to do, and that turned out to be a three-month long rabbit-hole, and I’m actually still trying to dig myself out. I am incredibly proud of what I’ve been able to do, and because most of it is already working, I’m happy to share some details with you today as well, but there are a few things that I have still to overcome, so it’s probably going to be another week or two before I can get this released.

Anyway, the new feature that has taken the most time for any single feature, is a new extension for Apple Watch to link the Neutral Density filter Calculator to the watch, so that you can time long exposure photographs from your watch, instead of having to reach for your phone each time you want to run the timer, and also you don’t even have to keep your phone out during the exposure, while using the extension on the watch. You still have to apply filters on the iPhone, but there is a link button that comes to life when the Watch Extension is installed and active, that allows you to link the two timers, Here’s a photo of the two timers in action, linked and synchronized.

Photographer's Friend with Apple Watch Extension
Photographer’s Friend with Apple Watch Extension
ND Calculator Watch Extension Settings
ND Calculator Watch Extension Settings

Also notice the fancy new Font Awesome icons, which I’m gradually working into the app, giving it a more intuitive and smarter looking interface where possible, compared to the mostly button based interface that we’ve used so far. If you don’t have an Apple Watch, half of the icons you see in the above photo will never be displayed, and even if you do have a watch, some of them hide when it’s not connected and can also be manually hidden.

You can tap that gold link to break the link and run the timers individually, and you can also simply start a counter, which counts up on the watch, then save that counter as a new custom timer. You can also swipe a settings screen in from the right on the Apple Watch, and set a custom timer directly as well, so if you just need a quick timer, we have you covered. Here’s a screenshot from the watch Settings screen.

If interest in the Watch Extension is high, I will probably eventually create a standalone ND Calculator specifically for the watch, now that I know how to program for this somewhat restricted little device. I also want to go on and create an extension for the Depth of Field calculator, but that is a little way out yet.

Smart Rotation

Also notice how the screen has split itself into two portions and intelligently placed them side-by-side in landscape orientation of the iOS app. There is also an option to switch which side the controls drop down to, so left handed users can have the controls drop down to the left hand side of the screen, rather than the right. For the ND Calculator, you can also two-finger drag the controls section and move it from the top to the bottom and back again, and the left-right handed stuff still works as expected.

This Smart Rotation is a new feature that is going to be part of a Pro version which I’m hoping to sell as an In-App Purchase. I’ve put too much work into this update to throw it out for free. The Watch Extension was always planned to be a paid extension, because I don’t want to charge people that don’t need the watch extension, for the watch extension, although I’m still working on this for both apps, and have a few more hurdles to clear before I can say for sure what the final release will look like. The technology is in place, to split the functionality based on the owned product, but there is more tweaking to do on the IAP testing process, which is my next job after releasing this post.

Mac OS X

The other major change, and again, I’m still working on the release strategy, is that I now have a Mac OS X version of Photographer’s Friend, thanks to Apple’s new Catalyst technology, allowing iOS apps to run on the Mac. There’s additional work involved, so it won’t be completely free, but as an educational tool there is definitely a place for a Mac version, and I’ve found myself using it on the Mac as I’ve worked on this, so I’m looking forward to getting this out too.

Here is a screenshot of the Depth of Field Calculator on the Mac OS. If you’ve ever used Photographer’s Friend on an iPad, especially the iPad Pro with the large screen, you’ll have noticed that the text and numbers on the labels were really small. I figured out how to make it bigger on larger screens now though, so text is now much bigger on the iPad and Mac OS.

Photographers Friend on Mac OS X
Photographers Friend on Mac OS X

And, the Smart Resize is also available on the iPad and Mac OS for Photographer’s Friend Pro owners. This is great for a teaching environment when you might be showing your screen at say a camera club talk, and you can literally resize to say just a thin strip across the bottom of the screen, and the layout just works with you. Smart Rotation is also a great feature for use in the field, when we can finally get back out there, of course.

Note too that in these screenshots I have the new Hyperlocal Distance Lock that I mentioned earlier turned on, so the Hyperlocal Distance is automatically applied to the Focus Distance dial and all of the calculated distances are updated accordingly. If you turn off that lock and tap the blue Hyperlocal Distance label, your originally selected focus distance will be restored.

Photographers Friend on Mac OS X Smart Resized
Photographers Friend on Mac OS X Smart Resized

I’m working the Smart Rotation into as many screens as I can, so as with these screenshots, even the settings screens are looking pretty fancy when in landscape orientation, compared to the squished down portrait orientation screens that are in the currently released version. These are iPhone screenshots by the way. I’m still working on this for the Mac OS version settings screens, but hopefully it will be included in the upcoming release as soon as I can iron out these last few issues that I’m working on.

Smart Rotation Settings
Smart Rotation Settings

As I say, some of this has taken so much work that it won’t all be free, although some of these changes may be integrated into an update for the currently available app for free if you already own Photographer’s Friend, and if I can figure out how to do the rest of what I want to do via In-App Purchases. All will be clear in the next few weeks hopefully. If you don’t yet own Photographer’s Friend and want to hear more when I release the update, please subscribe to my newsletter. Also sign up if you want to know when I finally get you an Android version. I promise that this will be the next thing I work on once I get this release out.


Show Notes

Try Capture One Pro yourself here: https://www.captureone.com/en

See details of Photographer’s Friend here: https://mbp.ac/app

Music by Martin Bailey


Audio

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Why Switch from JPEG to Raw? (Podcast 427)

Why Switch from JPEG to Raw? (Podcast 427)

When you first get started in digital photography, it’s much easier to just leave your camera in JPEG shooting mode. Sooner or later though, most people decide that it’s time to switch to raw, and once we switch, we usually wish we’d switched much sooner. Today we’re going to look at a the reasons why it makes sense to switch.

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A few months ago, long time listener Steve Martin asked me a few questions about the main differences between raw and JPEG, which got me thinking that it might help some people just getting started, or even long time shooters that still haven’t yet switched, if I talk a little bit about this today.

Lossless vs. Lossy Compression

To start with, let’s consider the differences between raw and JPEG. The first, and major difference, is that raw files are not compressed the way JPEG files are. Raw files are usually compressed, but in such a way that the image does not suffer from the process. This is known as lossless compression.

JPEG files on the other hand, are lossy compression, which means that information is thrown away in the compression process. If you care about the quality of your work, that right there should be enough to get you thinking, but here is an example to show you what I mean.

Yesterday, I took a walk down to the river near my Tokyo apartment, and took one photograph, with the camera set up to record both a raw file, and a JPEG file, with the least possible compression applied. It’s essentially exactly the same photo, but saved in both formats.

First, here’s the JPEG, just to give you an idea, and then following is the raw file. You might have problems seeing the difference, but try clicking on the first image, then go back and forth with your mouse or keyboard arrow keys, and see if you can tell that the raw image is much brighter and crisper than the JPEG file.

RAW vs JPEG Example - JPEG
Raw vs JPEG Example – JPEG
RAW vs JPEG Example - RAW
Raw vs JPEG Example – Raw

Of course, a part of this, is what Lightroom is doing to the file, but you need to bear in mind that the camera has also done a number of things to the file before saving it to a JPEG, plus, Lightroom does this initial processing as soon as you import the file, so there’s literally nothing that you have to do to gain this improvement in image quality.

Still not convinced? Here’s a 100% crop of the foliage in the center of the frame. These are 1920 x 1280 pixel crops at 100 percent, so either make sure your browser window is large enough to show them at 100 percent, or after you’ve clicked the image, drag them to your desktop, so that you can open them on your own computer to take a look at.

RAW vs JPEG Example - RAW 100% Crop
Raw vs JPEG Example – Raw 100% Crop
RAW vs JPEG Example - JPEG 100% Crop
Raw vs JPEG Example – JPEG 100% Crop

What you’ll see if you open and look at this at 100%, is that the JPEG is not only less vibrant, it’s less sharp. The compression applied in the camera has made the image much softer than the same image saved as a raw file.

Now, if you do a similar test, you would probably pretty quickly find that Lightroom adds 25 clicks on the sharpness slider to all raw files on import, because raw images are not sharpened in the camera, but it doesn’t do this with JPEG. OK, so here’s a JPEG with the same sharpening that Lightroom does to the raw file applied, just for the sake of thoroughness.

RAW vs JPEG Example - JPEG Sharpened
Raw vs JPEG Example – JPEG Sharpened

You’ll see that sharpened file gets a little bit better, but still much software than the raw file. Also, note that this is isn’t really a moot point to begin with, because raw files are not sharpened in the camera, and so require some sharpening anyway. JPEGs should already be sharpened in camera. Now, I know that probably 99 percent of the listeners/readers of this Podcast already get this, but I hope even if you already shoot raw, you’re thinking right now, “Wow! I didn’t realize there was such a difference!” 🙂

JPEG Compression in Simple Terms

OK, so in simple terms, for my sake more than yours, when an image is saved and compressed as a JPEG file, during the conversion, the software responsible for the process looks for areas of the image that are similar in color and tone, and saves that entire area as a certain value, up to the point where the color or tone is different enough that it needs to start a new area. To illustrate this, take a look at this image, which is the same as the JPEG that we looked at earlier, but saves at maximum compression.

RAW vs JPEG Example - JPEG Heavy Compression
Raw vs JPEG Example – JPEG Heavy Compression

You can easily see here how the sky is now heavily banded, as the compression algorithm looked for areas of colors and tones of a much greater range than those used when applying lower compression. The details in the foliage and the rest of the image are really nastily crunched up too.

Another reason that JPEGs are inferior to raw files after the lossy compression, is because they are saved in 8 bit, as opposed to 12, 14 or 16 bit that is used for raw files. Most DSLRs at this point are saving raw images in 14 bit, which basically means that they can record much higher quality image data than an 8 bit JPEG created in-camera. You can actually get pretty good quality 8 bit JPEGs from raw files, as we’ll see in a moment, but when you save an image in JPEG right there in your camera, it basically throws out a huge amount of data at the same time as scrunching up your image, and there’s no way to get that back without the raw file.

Optimal Compression

If you shoot raw, and then export your images in JPEG format on your computer, for optimal compression with no visible digital artifacts or banding, select 92 on the Quality slider in Lightroom, or 10 or 11 if you are exporting your images from Photoshop.

Lightroom Quality Slider

From Lightroom, I exported the raw file that we looked at earlier as a full sized JPEG using both 92 and 100, the maximum Quality, and the file size differs greatly. The 100 Quality JPEG is 14.2 MB and the 92 Quality JPEG was 8.8 MB, which is almost half the size, but there is no visible drop in quality. In fact, a JPEG saved from the raw file at 92 Quality looks identical to the raw file, so there really isn’t much point in showing you a comparison, but here is another 100% crop for you to take a look at.

RAW Crop Exported at Photoshop Quality 10 JPEG
Raw Crop Exported at Photoshop Quality 10 JPEG

Actually, because I needed to crop this in Photoshop, I saved it at a Quality of 10, as opposed to 92 from Lightroom. I don’t know how these scales are supposed to relate to each other, but 11 in Photoshop on a scale of 0 to 12 gives a slightly larger file, and 10 gives a slightly smaller file, so neither directly maps to 92 in Lightroom, but I find that the slightly heavier compression of 10 in Photoshop still doesn’t show any kind of digital artifacts or banding.

By the way, if you are wondering at this point how big the original JPEG from the camera was, it was exactly 8 MB, so it has roughly the same amount of compression as I use in my Lightroom or Photoshop exports. In fact, I’d say that the difference in size probably comes from the file being softer overall compared to a JPEG created in Lightroom from the raw file. The harder lines in a sharper image cause the JPEG file information to be more complex, increasing the image size.

JPEG as an Output Format

So before we move on, I’d like to impress on you that a JPEG file exported from a raw file is actually very acceptable in quality. You are still reducing it to 8 bit, but because this seems to be done much more intelligently by Lightroom or Photoshop, and probably pretty much any software that you might use to export your JPEGs, so I’m not necessarily saying that JPEGs are evil. They’re just not the best way to save your images in camera, as you shoot them.

What Else Do You Lose by Shooting JPEG?

OK, so a few other things to bear in mind is that when you shoot JPEG, you can’t easily change the White balance on the computer. If you shoot raw, you can select any of the typical presets, such as Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Tungsten etc. but if you shoot JPEG, you can only select Auto or Custom. Basically your options are to let Lightroom adjust your White Balance by averaging out the red, green and blue color information in your image, or take a guess at what the White Balance should have been.

Of course, you could shoot a grey card and use that to set the white balance, but if your images are important enough to you to do that, I can’t imagine you’d be shooting in JPEG anyway. You can’t apply Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw Lens Correction profiles or Camera Calibration profiles to JPEGs either. These can only be applied to raw files. Even if you don’t need to change any of these values, you are basically starting any editing that you might do to your image in Photoshop, Lightroom or any other imaging software, with a sub-standard photograph.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Switch!

I understand that the reason most people stick with JPEG is because working with raw files can seem a little bit daunting. After all, if you shoot JPEG, all you have to do is copy the photos to your computer, and they’re there, ready to use. If you never do more with your images than stick them on Facebook or share them with your family, you never print them large or maybe never print them at all, then you may well be fine to stick with JPEG.

If however, you know that you want to create better quality images, but you’re sticking with JPEG because you don’t know what extra steps that is going to mean for your photography, then it might not be as bad as you think. If you already use Adobe Lightroom or Bridge and Photoshop, or Apple Aperture or iPhoto, you have absolutely nothing extra to do, to switch to a raw workflow. You just change your camera to raw, and carry on as you have so far. All of these programs handle raw files without skipping a beat. There are times when new camera bodies are released, and you have to wait a little while for these programs to be updated, and that can be a pain, but unless your camera has just been released, there is nothing to worry about.

Also note that all cameras come with software that will enable you to process your raw files. The downside is that they’re usually crap, but these can at least be a stop-gap until the main image workflow applications I just mentioned catch up with the latest camera releases.

The only time that you will find you have to do extra steps if you use a digital photo workflow application like Lightroom or Aperture, is when you want to share images. Instead of just copying the file from your hard drive, you have to export them. Of course, if you are resizing and exporting for the Web, you’d have to do this anyway, so again, the workflow is no different, but for full sized images, you have to export them as a JPEG or Photoshop PSD or TIFF etc. to take them for example to get prints made. Most online print services require JPEG, so they’d need to be exported. But as we saw earlier, you’ll get better quality JPEGs if you shoot in raw, then export just for any special requirements you might have.

Of course, Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture etc. cost money. You might consider Photoshop Elements if you don’t intend to do a lot of editing, and even Elements is a pretty capable editor anyway. Personally, my preference is Adobe Lightroom, with occasional jumps into Photoshop and a number of plugins that I use regularly, but nothing that I do in my workflow would be easier if I shot JPEG.

More Memory and Hard Disk Space Required

Actually, I guess I should mention that because raw files are larger than JPEG, you might find that you need more memory for your camera, and you’ll fill your computer hard drive more quickly. This also means backups will be slower too. These are just things that most photographers feel are small prices to pay for the better quality images and freedom that shooting in raw give us.

Times When JPEG Can Be a Benefit

OK, so just for the sake of thoroughness, let’s think about a few examples of when you might find it beneficial to shoot JPEG over raw files. If for example though, you should find yourself in a situation where you only have a tiny bit of space left on your memory cards, and it’s a toss-up between shooting JPEG, or not getting any photos at all, then sure, consider shooting JPEG, but memory cards are cheap enough these days, that hopefully, you won’t find yourself in that situation.

Also, there are times when a photographer might need to very quickly view or hand-off images to people and literally there will not be time to import the images to a program like Lightroom, then export them as JPEGs. I can imagine that super-rushed sports photographers or photojournalists sometimes have to fall back on this. In a situation like this though, I’m sure, that they would have their cameras set up to shoot both raw and JPEG, so that they at least have the full quality version of their prized shots on hand, and can maybe replace the JPEGs that were sent at a later time. Also, we need to bear in mind that small newspapers are generally quite low resolution anyway, so people really wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in this case.

OK, so that’s it for the JPEG and raw thing, but I hope you found that useful, even if you already shoot raw. Many people think that the JPEGs that come out of the camera is much better, but in most cases, it’s really poor.

New Print Giveaway!

If you recall, a few weeks ago, I announced a Fine Art Print Giveaway, and today I drew a winner! Mason Higa, will soon be the hopefully proud owner of my waterfall shot from Iceland. Thanks to all of you that entered!

I also wanted to let you know, that I’ve now set up a Fine Art Print Giveaway page on my Web site, and will be giving a print away periodically for a while. The next draw will be August 1, 2014, and you can enter at https://mbp.ac/giveaway. This time I’m giving away a 17 x 24 inch print of my Deadvlei Silhouettes image.

Deadvlei Silhouettes
Deadvlei Silhouettes

You can enter as many times as you like, and each time I draw a winner, your details will be migrated to our main newsletter mailing list. You’ll only be included once though, so you won’t receive multiple copies of our email etc. and we won’t be spamming you. I only mail this list occasionally, and it’s hopefully usually information that you’re interested in. If you decide you don’t want the newsletter any more, there’s an unsubscribe link in each email.

Good luck!


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Show Notes

Music by UniqueTracks


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Craft & Vision 2 – Another Great Free eBook!

Craft & Vision 2 – Another Great Free eBook!

Craft & Vision have just released their second totally free ebook, Craft & Vision 2! If you are already a reader, you’ll already know the value of these incredible photography resources. If you haven’t yet read anything from C&V, here’s your chance to find out what it’s all about, for FREE! The reason I’m telling you today is because, as many of you know, I’m one of the Craft & Vision authors, and I’m proud to have not one, but two articles in this ebook. There are a total of 9 articles in all though, each of which help photographers of all levels to make stronger photographs.

Other authors include Piet Van den Eynde, Nicole S. Young, Dave Delnea, Sean McCormack, and David duChemin, and the articles have been written exclusively for this eBook. Topics cover making sharper images and learning to shoot in manual mode, developing smarter, balancing flash with ambient light, learning to see light, developing style and consistency, isolating your subjects, experimenting with B&W, and coping strategies for challenging light.

Consider it a random act of kindness to the photography community we so passionately serve. Inside, there is also an exclusive promotional offer, called the C&V Starter Kit, where you can save USD $16 and get four amazing products.

Click here to get your free copy of this wonderful 45 page ebook: Craft & Vision 2!

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“Fine Art Print” Lightroom Slideshow Template

“Fine Art Print” Lightroom Slideshow Template

For many years I’ve used a black background for my Lightroom slideshow, and I still will sometimes, but recently, as I held a freshly printed photograph on Breathing Color’s Optica One fine art paper, I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I could emulate a matted fine art print in my Lightroom slideshows!?

A few minutes later I had the background colors, image stroke borders and drop shadows set up in a way that looks to me very much like the window cut out of a matte, and the photograph mounted under it. Of course, there’s no frame around the matte, but when I start this slideshow full-screen, the black border around my monitor becomes the frame of the print, which looks quite effective.

Anyway, I figured I’d share the slideshow, in case you want to give this a try. Just DOWNLOAD it, unzip it, and drop it into your Templates folder, and give it a whirl!

Notes:

* I set it up so that my logo is shown on the intro splash screen, so you might need to select a logo of your own, or uncheck the “Intro Screen” section under “Titles”.

* If you don’t know where your Slideshow Templates are stored, right click a slideshow of your own and select “Show in Finder/Explorer” and your folder will appear. Just drop this template in there and restart Lightroom.

* If you add Titles to your images under Metadata in the Library module, they will be displayed under the image in the slideshow.

* I created this with Lightroom 4, so it might not work with earlier versions.

Of course, if you don’t know me, you might be concerned that this is a virus, so by all means run a virus scan against the file before you open it. I packaged it myself though, and know that it’s clean and it sits on my Libsyn server, so no one can mess with it.

Here are a few screen shots of some of my slides, really just to provide a bit of eye-candy for the blog post, but you can click the first image, then navigate back and forth with your mouse or keyboard arrow keys, to get an idea of what the slideshow looks like.

Enjoy!

ss01_Martin_Bailey ss02_Martin_Bailey ss03_Martin_Bailey ss04_Martin_Bailey ss05_Martin_Bailey ss06_Martin_Bailey ss07_Martin_Bailey ss08_Martin_Bailey

 

 

The Great Gura Gear Giveaway! (Podcast 365)

The Great Gura Gear Giveaway! (Podcast 365)

Following episode 358 when I walked you through the Gura Gear 32L Bataflae camera backpack, today I’m really happy to tell you that with the help of Gura Gear, we are giving away three great prizes, including the Bataflae backpack of your choice, and a selection of Et Cetera cases and pouches, and other accessories.

Before I go on and tell you how you can win one of the three prizes, I’m going to follow up on the review, in which I said that I’d let you know how the Bataflae handled in the field after I’d taken it on my 2013 Winter Wonderland Tours…

The 32L Bataflae is just two liters bigger than the Kiboko, which I had used since it’s release, but this 2 liters makes a nice difference in how the cameras, especially tall pro bodies, fit into the bag. The front flaps seem to close more easily too. I was also very happy with the waterproofing of the bag. It isn’t supposed to be waterproof, just drizzle-proof, and I mentioned before that I usually don’t bother to use the cover provided when it’s just drizzling, and I continued that trend at the Snow Monkeys.

NOTE: This bag is no longer produced. The closest new version is the Tamrac G Elite G32 Pro: http://www.tamrac.com/collections/gura-gear/products/g-elite-32l

It actually rained most of our second day there, and the bag got very wet on the outside, but none of the rain got inside, which was great. Of course snow, which isn’t really wet until it melts, is no problem at all. Here’s a shot of the 32L Bataflae on a snowy beach in Utoro, while we were photographing seascapes.

Gura Gear 32L Bataflae Camera Backpack

Snow is easy though, you just brush it off, and you’re fine. I do use the rain-cover in the pocket at the bottom right of the front flaps when it gets really wet, and it’s big enough to go over a good sized tripod too, but I didn’t need it in Hokkaido, where it was mostly snow.

I found the improved straps slightly better than the Kiboko too, although I never found the Kiboko uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time, but the Bataflae just feels more comfortable.

Here actually is another photo, this time of me photographing the Kussharo Lake from Bihoro pass, shot by David duChemin. I’m looking pretty chunky, even for me, with my down pants and layer after layer of clothes, but it was about minus twenty at the time, so I was pleased to be wrapped up.

A Day at the Office - Photo by David duChemin

So, really, apart from the incremental improvements that I talked about in episode 358, the Bataflae performed as expected, which was of course absolutely perfectly. These bags are light, give great access to tons of gear, including the improved full open front flap as well as the butterfly style opening, that was one of the main improvement of the Bataflae range. Let’s see now what Gura Gear are going to be kind enough to give away to three lucky winners.

1st Prize – a Bataflae of Your Choice!

The first prize winner is going to get no less than a Gura Gear Bataflae camera backpack of your choice. These are available in 32L, 26L and 18L and in Black, Grey and Tan, and really are the best way to carry your camera gear, especially if you are going to be traveling on a plane, where weight and size is at a premium. Even though I originally bought my Kiboko with air travel in mind, I basically stopped using all of my other bags at that point. It’s so comfortable, and light that it seems a waist to use any other bag.

32LStowedHarness_FULL
32L_Grey 32L_Tan

2nd Prize – Assorted Et Cetera Cases and Pouches + Stainless Steel Water Bottle

The second prize is going to be an assortment of Et Cetera Cases and Pouches, like the ones I showed in the video. I’ll link that video to the blog post by the way, for your reference. These are incredibly useful, and have really made both traveling and keeping things organized at home so much easier. There seems to be a size for everything, and it made using my GoPro’s and all their accessories really easy. I also use them now for keeping my battery charges, leads and sensor cleaning gear, as well as other tools all organized on the road. When I got home from almost a month on the road, I found it easier to just leave my stuff in these cases and pouches, as they’re already organized. The second prize winner will also get one of the cool Stainless Steel Water Bottles that we looked at in the video too.

3L_PouchFull
Case_Group etcetera1Lpouchfull

3rd Prize – Assorted Et Cetera Cases and Pouches

And, the third prize is another, maybe slightly smaller assortment of Et Cetera Cases and Pouches, without the Stainless Steel Water Bottle.

Twitter Giveaway!

Here’s what you have to do to be in with a chance of winning. Yep, we’re doing one of those Twitter Giveaways, so if you don’t have a Twitter account, you’re going to need one. Then, you have to follow the next three steps…

  1. Follow me, @martinbailey (if you don’t already). www.twitter.com/martinbailey

  2. Follow @GuraGear (if you don’t already) www.twitter.com/guragear.

  3. Tweet the following sentence as is.

I just entered to win great PRIZES from @GuraGear and @MartinBailey. Details here https://mbp.ac/365 #WinGuraGear

We will be picking the winners during the week of April 8, and will be in touch with the three lucky winners during that week. I’ll also announce the winner on Twitter once they have been picked. The selection process will be totally random of course, so everyone that is following me and GuraGear, and tweets that sentence will be in with an equal chance of walking away with some incredible Gura Gear!

[UPDATE: We have our winners! Congratulations to 1st prize winner @timlove | Tim Love, 2nd prize winner @coffeewithchris | Chris Szulwach and 3rd prize winner @baljkasphoto | Luka Baljkas!

Thanks also to everyone that Tweeted and took part, and to Gura Gear for making this possible!]

In case you missed it, here’s the video that I released as episode 358, in which I walk you through the 32L Bataflae camera bag backpack.

House Keeping

I have one major house keeping announcement before we finish. On Saturday March 24, I switched the Podcast server to Libsyn, a service that has been providing file server services to Podcasters since 2004, the year before I started this Podcast. The change was spurred by a change in the iTunes specifications, and my old server was not up to the task. The problem is that with the change, you’ll notice duplicate entries in iTunes, that will need to be deleted, or ignored. If you go ahead and delete all the dupes, they will stay away, but if you later right click the feed and select “show all available episodes” they’ll come back.

If you want to avoid that, and you don’t have many downloaded episodes that you want to protect, just delete the feed, and add it again, then re-download the episodes that you want to keep in your archive. Also, because the move has caused a lot of re-downloads, the downloads are incredibly slow at the moment. Speed is picking up, but there have been times over the last couple of days when the downloads have been just crawling, so your patience is very much appreciated.

Also note that I made a change to the Podcast feed that will hopefully protect us from having to do this again, even if I change providers again, so this should be the last time you have to delete any duplicate episodes. Finally, because we have 20GB of archives that I continue to make available to you, the migration cost me a pretty penny, so if you’ve ever felt like making a donation to help with the upkeep and maintenance of this Podcast, now would be a great time to do it. Thanks too of course to those of you that already kindly donated or make regular monthly payments. There are links to donate in the way that suits you in the right sidebar on the blog. ==>


Show Notes

Gura Gear Web site: https://mbp.ac/gg

Music by UniqueTracks


Audio

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Download this Podcast in MP3 format (Audio Only).

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Pixels 2 Pigment Update – Okinawa Aug 4-5 (Podcast 348)

Pixels 2 Pigment Update – Okinawa Aug 4-5 (Podcast 348)

Today I’m going to provide an update on the Pixels 2 Pigment workshops that we kicked off on August 4 in Okinawa, the sourthern-most island of Japan. Then next week, because I haven’t done a travelogue style Podcast where I talk about my images and my techniques and artistic decisions, I figured it would be nice to do that and walk you through some of the images that I shot while down on the beautiful island of Okinawa.

Firstly, let’s take a look at our first Pixels 2 Pigment Okinawa workshop, and I’d like to start by thanking Chris Willson for hosting the Okinawa workshop weekend, and I’d also like to thanks Chris for the workshop name too! I had started planning this workshop when Chris contacted me about going to Okinawa, and just dropped the name out in conversation. Over the following 24 hours I couldn’t get the name out of my head, and asked Chris if he minded me using it. He graciously agreed, so huge thanks are in order there as well.

I’d also like to thank the participants that joined us for the two full days. It was a small group but they were all talented photographers, and it was a pleasure to view some of their images and help them optimize their workflows and make some prints of their beautiful work. [Of course, the workshop is open to photographers of all levels, and everyone takes away useful information and a highly efficient, optimized digital workflow.]

Day One

Now, I’m not going to report on everything we cover in the workshop, as that would take two days, but to give you an outline we start literally from techniques used to create quality pixels, which is the start of the process. I explain about exposure and shooting techniques, and capturing the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport, and why this is important. We then move on to the digital workflow, transferring our images to the computer, with Lightroom tips interwoven, then we create a camera profile with the X-Rite software to apply to our images in Lightroom or Adobe Camera RAW.

One major theme throughout the workshop is improving efficiency and optimizing the digital workflow, so tips on how to do that are interspersed throughout, and we move through some Lightroom tips and techniques to calibrating to the display, and how to optimize your system for frustration free image editing through to printing.

Once we have the camera and monitor calibrated, it’s time to move on and create a printer profile. I use various X-Rite calibration tools starting with the i1 Display Pro, ColorMunki Photo and the new top of the range i1 Photo Pro 2. I explain how to print the profile targets and the group gets involved actually scanning the profile target sheets using the ColorMunki and the i1 Pro 2 devices.

Scanning Printer Profile Targets © Chris Willson

Scanning Printer Profile Targets © Chris Willson

Once we have our printer profiles, we’re ready to print! Each participant bought 3 to 5 of their favorite images and as a group we voted and decided which ones of these to soft-proof and print. Breathing Color have kindly provided us with Lyve Canvas and Laminate, and some stretcher bars to create a gallery wrap of three of the groups prints. As the group was relatively small, we chose prints from everyone, and printed three of them for gallery wraps, and two as fine art prints with borders.

We timed the print creation to be completed at the end of day one, so that they’d be able to dry overnight, but before we broke for the day, I explained the various things to consider when choosing a fine art paper, including what to consider when you will hang or display your prints.

Day Two

On the morning of day two, the first job was to protect our canvas prints with Breathing Color’s Lyve Laminate. I’d also created a print of one of my images so I demonstrated the Lamination process to the group and again, they took turns laminating their own prints, which went really smoothly with my lamination techniques, which took me two weeks of trial and error to perfect. The group had this down in five minutes.

Laminating Breathing Color Lyve Canvas Prints © Chris Willson

Laminating Breathing Color Lyve Canvas Prints © Chris Willson

While the canvas prints were drying we continuing working on tips and techniques with Lightroom and then Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2 and Color Efex Pro 4. Some of the group has not yet used these plugins and were really impressed with how easy it is to make incredibly high quality and well toned black and white images, as well as the stylized color images with Color Efex Pro 4.

We then worked through exporting images from Lightroom including efficient ways to export large numbers of files for various purposes and Lightroom’s Slideshows, Books and Web modules.

Of course, no digital workflow is complete without a powerful and fail-safe backup regime, so we cover that, as well as archival storage for the prints that you’ll make, and we touch of creating Portfolios from both the image selection process to physical portfolio considerations.

By this point, the canvases were dry and ready to trim and stretch onto the gallery wrap stretcher bars. In this image (below) you can see Shawn Miller who I interviewed in Episode 347 of this Podcast last week, trimming a canvas print of his beautiful Clown Fish photograph.

Shawn Miller Trimming his Clown Fish Print

Shawn Miller Trimming his Clown Fish Print

As each participant creating a gallery wrap trimmed their prints, we moved straight on to the stretching process, and they finished their gallery wraps. Here (below) we see Shawn again with his gallery wrap. Note that because I had to take the cutting mat down to Okinawa, we were limited in the size of the gallery wraps that we could create, but once you know how to do this, you can basically create a gallery wrap as long as you can print them. This size is what you can do with a printer capable of printing up to 13×19″ prints.

Shawn Miller with Gallery Wrap

Shawn Miller with Gallery Wrap

And here is another shot of the group with their prints, and I have the print of my own photograph that I created, which was presented to David Edenfield as I drew his name from the hat as the winner for this gallery wrap.

Okinawa Group with Prints and Gallery Wraps

Okinawa Group with Prints and Gallery Wraps

Giveaways

In addition to giving away a gallery wrap of one of my photos, we also drew names from the hat to give one person a copy of their choice of Nik Software’s plugins worth $100, which Michael Taylor won, and David Orr won an X-Rite ColorChecker passport. These three items will be given away at each workshop, and then when I’ve finished the workshops in each continent, I’d draw another name from the hat to see who will be the lucky winner that will receive Nik Software’s Complete Collection Ultimate Edition worth $500! I’d like to also thank Nik Software for this, as well as Breathing Color and X-Rite, for their support. This workshop would not have been possible without you guys!

Pixels 2 Pigment Registration

This first weekend in Okinawa was just the first of a series of workshops that I’ve planned world wide. We’re in Tokyo on August 25-26 and then I fly to sunny California for the first US workshop in Los Angeles on September 1-2, then up to Vancouver in Canada on September 8-9, back down to San Francisco on September 15-16 and across to New York for September 22-23, before going up to Canada again for a weekend in Toronto on September 29-30. Then I fly over to London for the weekend of October 6-7, and to Sydney Australia on October 20-21 and Melbourne on October 27-28. Phew!

It’s going to be a hectic few months, but I am totally stoked to be able to bring this workshop to you personally on your own turf. This Podcast turns seven years old in a couple of weeks time, and we have so many listeners around the world that I have never been able to meet in person, and this is one way that I figured we could make that happen, without you having to come all the way to Japan, so I do hope we get a chance to meet over the next couple of months.

If you’d like to sign up, visit the Pixels 2 Pigment Web site, and click on the links for each location in the middle of the page, then you’ll need to click the Paypal button and pay your workshop fees to commit to joining us.

Note though that for the three US venues, I’ve teamed up with Calumet Photo, and so the registration for these workshops is being handled by Calumet. Spaces are relatively limited, so don’t hang around if you’d like to join us for the Pixels 2 Pigment weekend in your area. I do hope you can make it though. It’s going to be so great meeting some of you listeners in person after all of these years.

Pixels 2 Pigment

Next Week

As I said, next week I’m going to get back to a travelogue style Podcast for the first time in a while, and walk you through some of the shot that I came back from Okinawa with, as I stayed for an extra week after the workshop and had a great time down their shooting with friends like Pete and Haruna Leong, David and Naoko Orr, Shawn Miller and Michael Taylor. Even the total strangers down on Okinawa are so kind and such warm people, it’s a beautiful place, and I can’t wait to get back down there at some point.


Show Notes

Pixels 2 Pigment Web site: http://www.pixels2pigment.com/

Music by UniqueTracks


Audio

Subscribe in iTunes for Enhanced Podcasts delivered automatically to your computer.

Download this Podcast in MP3 format (Audio Only).

Download this Podcast in Enhanced Podcast M4A format. This requires Apple iTunes or Quicktime to view/listen.