Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Film grain effect - Adobe Photoshop

I take a lot of photos, many aren't worth keeping. They'll be slightly out of focus, not well composed or just boring. I'm not a patent photographer - I grab photos on the go and hope for the best.  Usually I just delete them.  Once in awhile, I'll look at a photo and think "what a shame I didn't take time to frame that better", or more likely simply focus the camera.  A potentially good photo ruined by impatience.  Then I fire up Photoshop and run it through a few filters to see what happens. 

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Toronto on a rainy afternoon - King & Yonge

Toronto - Yonge & King - Dec 09 2014

Toronto on a late Dec afternoon. King @ Yonge street around 4pm.

The photo was pretty mundane, but running it through Pencil Sketch App for 8.1 transformed it.

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Catching a moving target

Nokia Lumina photos

I like close up photography. I don't tend to do a lot of sweeping panoramas or landscapes. Something about the up close and personal view that tweaks my imagination.  Like all smart phones, my little Nokia has a Macro feature. Great for close ups. It does a pretty good job of capturing colour and detail. It can be a bit of a pain trying to get the focus, especially if you have any vision issues. I have difficulties seeing the screen clearly on bright days. and take a lot of random shots in the hopes of getting the perfect one. Can't tell you how may times I've deleted  blurry pictures.  The macro feature is easy to find, it's the little icon that looks like a tulip. It's the same on all cameras, a universal symbol. Once you set it, you are ready to roll.

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Burst mode fails to live up to expectations

bust mode photography

I was playing around with the Burst Mode on my smart phone. Burst allows you to take numerous photos rapidly. You can keep all of them or slide through the photos and pick the best one.

It's an okay feature, but they could have done much more with it. The ability to take numerous photos in rapid succession means something has to be sacrificed for speed. Image quality suffers dramatically.

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Smart phone photography for beginners

Everywhere you look, people are snapping photos with their smart phone. They do an excellent job and are quite fun to use - quick, no fuss, and no extra equipment to lug around.  And, for the average point and shoot type of photographer, smartphones do a staggeringly good job. 

So ... what now? People have thousands of photos accumulating on their hard drive and no idea what to do with them. I've coined a phrase to describe this - hard drive hoarders. They are people who hold onto every single photo, no matter how bad, with the notion they might "need it some day". The same applies to files. I've seen computers so bogged down by thousands of irrelevant files and programs, I wonder how people get any work done. I've laid down a series of rules to help customers with their photo collection (slightly amended from my hard drive maintenance rules.

Rules for sane photo storage:

  1. Delete all blurry photos. Seriously, why are you keeping that out of focus photo of your friend's head turning away from the camera? Get rid of it.

  2. If you've taken 10 photos of one subject, pick the best ones and keep them. Delete all the rest. You won't look at all of them in the future. Trust me. Get rid of the duplicates. It will take too much time in the future to wade through 10 - 20 photos of the lake you visited 2 years ago. Pick the best, get rid of the rest.

  3. Don't be afraid to edit out the details you don't want. Have a potentially great photo, but some but head stuck their head into the frame just as you snapped the photos? Fire up your photo editor and crop them out. Win 8.1 has an excellent cropping tool, as does Android and IPhone. If you want to upgrade, download Adobe's free and amazing app Adobe Photoshop Express. It's a stripped down video editor that will allow you to do some impressive photo magic.  This blog will focus on the tools that come with Win 8.1, but for those that don't have 8.1, Adobe is well worth getting.

  4.  Put them in titled and dated folders. Seems obvious, but I can't tell you how many times I see customers who have all their photos dumped into one big directory. It's a nightmare looking for one photo when there are 2 or 3 thousand in one directory. Dates and locations on the folder titles is essential.

  5. BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP.  Another obvious piece of advice, but this is the biggest tech support call I get when I'm
    dealing with smartphones.  Shit happens and photos get deleted. If your phone crashes or is stolen, well, bye bye photos. You can't replace them. Download them to your computer or to cloud storage. I also recommend customers store their photos on an external drive. Get a couple of USB drives and drag and drop the photos to it. Update it with your new photos.

If you haven't done the above, take time and start the project now.


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- Dorothea Lange

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