From The Digital Trekker, the Drobo Nightmare
Anyone who takes any time to make pictures wants to keep them. That bit of serendipity that plays in every shoot makes those photos unique and the thought of loosing a shoot or worse, a whole collection makes my heart sink.
The video above should be a warning, Matt got lucky, the drives themselves still worked but everyone needs to remember, RAID is meant to keep your system up in the event of a drive failure. RAID does not protect your data from typical computer issues like viruses, accidental deletion, overwriting or corruption. It also does not protect against disasters like fire, flood or theft.
Matt mentioned CrashPlan and because of his geographical location, it may be out of the question for him but here in the states, I started using crashplan a week ago to backup my photos to both a local large USB drive and their cloud storage. The local USB drive is used for quick recovery, in case of computer issues while the cloud would be used for disasters. I looked at other plans and for the amount of data I needed to store, nobody else could compete. I am not going to write a sales post for CrashPlan, if they sound interesting, go take a look. It is up to you how you protect your photos but please do something to get multiple copies in multiple locations.
linuxservices.co.uk saved my bacon this week with an upgrade from Ubuntu 11.04 to 11.10 that went sideways.
My symptoms were exactly as described: Everything seemed fine until I rebooted, then it said “Waiting for network” with dots, then just a black screen. Their explanation and directions were clear and easy to follow, walked through it, rebooted and I’m back in business. Check it out here.
P.S. I’ll have to work on a graphic for that.
The folks over at PhotoshopCAFE have made one of the best explanations of Curves I have seen. I though I knew everything about curves and I still learned a thing or two. It’s worth a look. Lightroom and Elements also have Curves adjustments and the principles talked about in the video also apply.
The assignment this week was to make a menu for dinner with someone who is no longer living that you are interested in sitting down and having a meal together. Certainly people quickly came to mind like De Vinci, Franklin, Tesla, Edison or Einstein. Boy wouldn’t it be fun to have Tesla and Edison at the same table, but I digress. After careful consideration the list, it seemed all wrong. Right off the bat, I don’t know Italian, so De Vinci is out. For Franklin, Tesla and Edison, I felt like I would be explaining current science to them more than them imparting wisdom on me. While Einstein might be amazed at the progress, he is still way over my head. So this whole list is out. So then I thought to myself, maybe I would enjoy a campfire dinner with Ansel Adams the night before he shot El Capitan from Taft Point in 1936? Every thing fell into place in my mind. This is our menu.
Assets include: Pictures I took of a 1954 Yosemite AAA map and of the Yosemite valley floor. Texture from the book Retro Style Graphics of the side of a leather suitcase and leather book cover and an image of Ansel from Wikipedia.
This is one of the few times I have finished any HDR in Photoshop CS5 because I typically use Photomatrix Pro 4 and before that PaintShopPro X2. When I say finished, it is not for lack of trying, it just takes a lot of fussing with controls to get things right and one wrong move and you could take a while to get back to it. Maybe it is the lack of good presets, I mean really, “Photorealistic” seems anything but on everything I have tried it on. The thing is, they don’t seem to even get you all that close. It sort of reminds me of American automobiles with diesel engines back in the 80s, they modded some gas motors to run on diesel, they sucked and broke and then everyone went back to gas because diesels sucked, meanwhile, the rest of the word got better diesels that didn’t suck. Is Adobe trying to diesel HDR or are they just trying to add the check box to the feature list? Who knows and really, who am I to criticize anyway. I’ll leave that to the pros (btw, follow the link for a Photoshop HDR preset you can use and Scott Kelby saying “I use this preset to create the 5-image HDR image above. I show this same image on my Google+ page earlier in the week, but I had processed that version with Photomatix Pro 4 instead”).
So for the sake of this project I took a set I made at in Yosemite this last weekend and processed them in Photoshop CS5.1 HDR Pro and Photomatrix Pro 4.1. My goal was to realistic with some extra saturation to make it pop. I have posted JPGs of the three shots, they are one stop apart and looking at them now, one more a step darker would have helped bring out more detail in the granite and clouds but we process the images we have, not the images we wish we had, right Mr. Rumsfeld?
While the two images are similar, they are not the same, the biggest difference though is processing time. The Photoshop HDR Pro image took at least 30 minutes for this particular set. This does not count all the sets I examined and the many many failures while looking for a candidate that I could work with and finding the settings that did what I wanted them to do. While researching settings and adjustments, I also found this handy article on post processing HDR.
Meanwhile, Photomatrix defaults, while not perfect, get you into a ballpark that can be easily manipulated to dial things in. This image below took about five minutes.
By the way, if you want to practice HDR and don’t have images to play with, Photomatrix has a few sets you can use on their download page.
As a notice of disclosure, the Cow in Pasture image that is in the current header of this site was put through the Photoshop CS5.1 HDR pro processor. The “Reduce ghost” feature did exactly what the Adobe product videos show it doing for the foreground grass. It was then further enhanced in Photoshop.
So last week I posted some graffiti work and the more I looked at it, the more I thought it was missing something. The problem was it was just too clean. Since this weeks assignment dealt with blend modes I thought I would throw some more of that into this shot. There were already blend modes in play to get the wood slats to show through the graffiti. First I took an image of some rock that I shot last weekend at Big Basin. I mainly wanted it for the grain. I placed it on a layer with a copy of the same mask I used for a lot of the other shots.
Then I set the blend mode to difference, set the fill to 70% and added a saturation adjustment layer so I could fine tune the color to match the background a little bit better. To give the composition even more attitude, I wanted to add some overhead lighting and darken the sky, I mean really, who does graffiti in the day time. To do this I added three layers. The lowest was an exposure layer for the direct light set to multiply at 100% fill. The middle was another exposure layer to darken things that would fall outside of the direct light and the sky set to multiply at 100% fill. The third added a sodium vapor type feel with a little yellow tint, this was just a fill layer with some brush work at the top and an inverted mask from the direct light layer set to multiply at 41% fill.