The Next Step – Printing

Recently, I had the opportunity to show some of my photos together with other photographers in a small exposition. While preparing the photos to be printed, I realized that applying the focus of printing ensures a reasonable increased attention to the details while in the field, later selecting the best shot of a serie and editing the selected shot.

While in the field, looking for animals to take pictures off and moving into position for a good shot or serie of shots, having in mind to get the shot printed makes you to do that one more step into the mud and to go down the another 5 inches required for a better shot. Actually even before going into the field, the decision where to go on a particular day is influenced.

Back at the desk, selection of photos to be edited, especially the selection of photos to be deleted immediately increases in efficiency. First, I can scroll through the thumbnails and delete many series where the subject is too far away, or the background disturbingly ugly ending up with only a small portion of the photos to look through and remove the ones that are unsharp or the subject in an unpleasant position. I end up with only a few shots and I it is easier to decide if one of these shots is worthy to work on using Affinity Photo.

Nevertheless, I don’t forget that some shots may be used for Fauna & Flora Photography where I continue publishing photos of new species to complete my collections. These photos may not pass the criteria to adorn the walls of my home but are maybe better shots of a species I already have published or even represent a species I haven’t yet in my collection.

 

I Did It – New Workflow

I did it. I cancelled my Adobe Subscription. As nature photographer, why would I do such a thing and cancel my Adobe Subscription? It is not because I have any issues in using their products and my workflow using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop has been quite efficient. Providing monthly subscription fee with a yearly contract and a penalty when cancelling before makes no sense to me as customer and I consider it as bad business practice and my only power against companies with bad business practices is not paying for their products.

Photo Shooting

Geo tagging of my photos is very important. For that I usually run SnapBridge [I have a Nikon camera] while taking photos to make sure that the photos are geo tagged in spite of draining my iPhone battery which I cannot replace in the field.

Import and Selection

Done with Photo Mechanic [thank you Conradin]. The 150 USD have hurt me but it not only allows me to rename the files and store them in a logically way on import, I also can efficiently remove trash shots. I import into an external drive as my laptop has limited hard drive capacity [backed up].

Editing

From Photo Mechanic, I pull the photos which I want to edit and publish into Apple Photos App. For most of the shots, the Photo App editing features are enough. If needed, I always can edit a raw file in Affinity Photo.

Disclaimer: All equipment and software have been purchased. I don’t endorse any of the products used. I bought them because at the time when I needed them, they looked like the best options for my purpose and budget.

Featured Image: Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) taken in Tadoussac. Nikon D500, Nikkor 300mm f/4, TC 1.4, Photo Mechanic, Apple Photo Apps

Exploring Tadoussac

Post-Production – New Workflow

It is about time to add another post about my current post-production workflow. I shared my experience with using “free software” in very details but this was back in 2015 with two smaller updates in early 2016. Now in 2018, many things have changed.

Hardware

Post-production happens now on Apple hardware only. I replaced my windows powered 17″ laptop with a small 13″ MacBook Pro for two reasons. Mobility: The 17″ laptop was so heavy and so large, I couldn’t take it with me. Although, labeled as “Laptop” it’s more a fix desktop solution. Monitor Colours: The large laptop frequently changed monitor colour-settings when attaching an external monitor or using certain programs. Whenever I started to edit photos, I first had to run through the colour calibration process. Annoying.

My 13″ MacBook Pro fits weights almost nothing and fits into any size backpack or bag. Further, no application installed on my mac turns the screen to blueish or reddish and no colour calibration needed.

Software

As much as I want to get rid of using Adobe Subscription, I haven’t found a way around it. Thus, all me editing is still done using Adobe Lightroom.

Workflow

  1. Copying all files from memory cards to the external drive
  2. Importing all files from external drive into Lightroom
  3. Browsing through all newly imported photos and reject them [press X] if I don’t like them.
  4. Delete and remove from disk rejected files [command + delete]
  5. I then go through the remaining photos again and rate them with 3* [I like it] or 5* [I love it].
  6. I crop so that the main object of the photo is into the one of crosses of the thirds. Specially with animals on the move, composing the photo before taking the shot is not really an option.
  7. I then go through the different sections of Lightroom’s control in the right column with particular attention to shift the histogram if necessary and to enhance/balance the colours and to suppress noise. I almost never use additional software like photoshop or affinity photo to edit photos.
  8. Finally, I geo-target the photo using the map and export the edited photos into a temporary folder on the desktop

Organizing and editing the photos of an average output of a photo session [about 1000 shots] takes me up to three hours. Most time consuming task is the selection and rating of the photos though. At the end, I have about a handful photos ready to be published.

Publishing

The 5* rated photos are published in my Flickr account. All new species and interesting close ups of other species are published in my web site Fauna & Flora Photography.

I used to publish frequently in Fauna & Flora Facebook page and on Instagram. Nevertheless, recent events at Facebook have discouraged myself to continue using Facebook and Instagram.


Featured Image

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Close up Great Blue Heron [Ardea herodias], Rapids Park Lachine, (c) KHMuller 2018

Note: I intentionally excluded two subjects which are my current photography gear  and video recording. I will discuss these subjects in a separate post in the near future. I am expecting some significant gear upgrades in the next days which would make any thoughts about my current gear obsolete within days, My video processing workflow is such a mess not worth talking about.

Disclaimer: Products and services of all brands mentioned in this post have been purchased by myself and they are not mentioned here because I recommend them but solely because they currently are part of my workflow.

 

 

Taking Off – Exploring Nik Collection

Browsing around, I stumbled over the Nik Collection and as it is free and from Google, I downloaded  and installed the software immediately. Now, I am the third day playing around with the different filters and I am discovering a complete new world of digital photography.

Taking Off - Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

Please forgive the experimental approach to the post production of this photo.

Back to Process Photos with Lightroom

After having insisted for nearly a year to work on my “cheap” laptop with Ubuntu and various different free image processing applications like GIMP and Raw Therapee, I am back using Adobe’s Lightroom. First, I would like to explain you why I considered Ubuntu a valid approach and then why I gave up and returned to Windows, Lightroom setup. Maybe, my experience with this topic could be of interest for someone else in a similar situation.

Continue reading

Honey Bee (Apis)

Getting Closer

Honey Bee (Apis)

I have originally started with photos of flowers for the Flower Power Project a few years ago. Finally, I am getting more pleased with output, slowly but steady. Lately, I figured out that I should also include some noise reduction during image processing :).

I have stopped using 4000x2667pixel size and will go with 8×10″ or 4000x3200pixels, even if this higher format will not fit on most laptops and tablets. For publishing in my web sites like ploring.com or discoverymexico.com, I use Python to crop and resize the photos anyway so that I get optimal dimensions and file sizes for each device category.

At the moment this is my work flow to get to the final photo. Comments are welcome! :)

Shooting
RAW format
Move files into folder with date and name
Backup to external drive (automatic sync)

Processing – with Lightroom
Review photos and discard low quality
Continue with best variants only
Crop and resize to 10×8
Add tags and geo location (readable with Python?)
Export as TIFF 16pixels/component

Processing – with Photoshop
Resize to 4000×3200 pixels
Adjust basic exposure, tones
Fix unpleasant details
Save as JPEG to Media folder

Finally – Noiseware or Photoshop
Noise Reduction

I am not yet sure, if I should buy Noiseware or stay with Photoshop noise reduction. I will test for a few days.