My Aperture 3 Disaster

Filed Under Computers & Tech, Photography on February 21, 2010 | 7 Comments

When Apple announced Aperture 3 I was excited. The more I read about it on their site, and the more video demos I watched, the more I fell in love. The feature-list has everything I really wanted, and more besides. For me the really big deal was a power local adjustments feature, as well as Faces and Places. They also fixed some of my quibbles with Aperture 2. On paper this app was perfect for me. In reality however, it turns out not to be ready for the main-stream yet. The design is spot-on, but the implementation feels like a poor beta. As I write this I’ve down-graded back to Aperture 2.

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Photo of the Week 77 – Ennis Friary

Filed Under Photography on August 12, 2009 | 1 Comment

This is my 67th Photo of the Week, yet it is only the second monochrome image to make it into the series. I think this is because I absolutely adore colour, and feel rather out of my depth when colour gets extracted from the equation. It took me hours to process this shot the first time, then I got some feed back from people on a few flickr groups, and then it took me another hour or so to have another go and come up with something I not just liked, but liked a lot. Most of the time I only revert to monochrome as a fall-back, but I’m going to try change that, and spend more time experimenting with monochrome precisely because I’m not comfortable with it.

Returning to this image, I reverted to monochrome here because I didn’t have a choice. I had once chance to get a short visit to the priory, so I had to make do with what ever I got – which was mostly rain! At the very end I got a few shots in good sun, but I didn’t have the opportunity to re-shoot this shot in sun because of time pressures. So, what I got was an image with a blown out sky, a flat looking stone building, and almost no colours to speak of. I was either going to bin it, or go monochrome. Determined not to waste the shot, I went for the monochrome option – deciding texture was going to be what I needed to concentrate on – in particular, I wanted to recover details in the sky, and enhance the details in the stonework of the building.

Since I’d shot in RAW I started by tone-mapping the image to recover detail in the sky, and also to enhance details in walls. Then I converted to monochrome using the monochrome mixer in Aperture, before using Aperture’s dodge & burn plug-in to correct some side effects of the tone-mapping and to pick out the spire of the church a little better. After seeking and getting some opinions from others I also used some pretty dramatic levels adjustments to really push up the contrast and really make those textures jump out.

Ennis Friary
on FlickrFull-Size

  • Camera: Nikon D40
  • Lens: Nikon DX AFS 18-55mm (D40 kit lens)
  • Exposure: 1/400 sec
  • Focal Length: 18mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/8
  • ISO: 400
  • Camera Mode: Aperture Priority
  • Processing: Generated by tonemapping a single RAW file in Photomatix Pro, then converting to monochrome in Aperture, dodging & burning in Aperture, as well as applying some other tweaks in Aperture.

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Quick Review of Maperture

Filed Under Computers & Tech, Photography on February 7, 2009 | 2 Comments

Maperture is a free geo-tagging plugin for Apple’s Aperture photo management and editing software. This plugin will not be of interest to everyone. Unless you care about inserting latitude and longitude information into the EXIF data of photographs, you will have no interest in this what-so-ever. In fact, I’d go even further, I’d posit that this initial version of Maperture is only for people who care about embedding location data into their photos, but who don’t have a GPS device. Future versions (one of which is in beta ATM) will be of more interest to more people, but right now Maperture is for those of us who need to use Google Maps to find the co-ordinates of our pictures because our cameras can’t do it for us. This software really feels like a 1.0 product though. You can see it has massive potential, but right now it’s still rather rough around the edges.

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As those of you who follow me on Twitter, or listen to the many Podcasts I appear on may well know, I recently got a copy of Apple’s pro photo editing program Aperture 2. (Thanks again Allison, it was a great Christmas present!) In case people don’t know what Aperture is, it’s a tool for sorting, organising and editing your photos – a very advanced version of iPhoto if you will. It’s really designed for people who shoot RAW and who shoot a lot, but it’s not a pixel editor like PhotoShop. The closest analogue would be Adobe’s Lightroom. Also, for context, I’m moving to Aperture from iPhoto’08, so I’ll be using iPhoto as a reference point a lot while explaining what I do and don’t like about Aperture.

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