Marc Rochkind's
Apps and Books

Click on the menu buttons at the top to see my apps, ranging from serious photo tools (Ingestamatic, ExifChanger, ProofSheet), to photo collections.

My newest blog entries are shown just below. New versions of products are always logged there.


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A quote from Jeff Schewe

From his terrific book, The Digital Negative, which I've just started reading:

I値l be the first to admit that some of the image adjustments might be viewed as, uh, aggressive, but I知 not known for subtlety. I知 not really interested in an accurate reproduction of a scene. I tend to go for an enhanced rendering. If I were a photojournalist or documentary photographer, I would need to tone down my approach, but I知 not, so I go for impact instead.

That's exactly the way I think.

Fall Photos in Rocky Mountain National Park

Really bad weather half the time, too much traffic to park the truck most of the rest of the time, but some success on a few hikes. Five keepers. Best viewed on the SmugMug gallery.


Parameterized Raw Photo Editing with Photoshop Elements 15

Whenever anyone asks me what they should use for raw editing, I always say Lightroom (LR), but the price is too high for many people. Then I don't know what to say. I've tried a few free alternatives, but none that I can recommend. (I wrote about two I don't recommend a while ago.)

I've known about Photoshop Elements (PSE), but had never tried it on raw files until now. (Rainy day in a vacation condo with terrific internet.) I planned to run a trial version, but, since I had a Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, Adobe went ahead an licensed me for PSE.

The only form of raw editing I'd recommend is what's called parameterized editing, which means that your edits are recorded in a list that's saved. They're applied to the preview you're viewing, but no pixel format is saved (e.g., PSD, TIFF, JPEG)--just the original raw and the parameters. You get a pixel format only if you want to export one, such as when you need a TIFF to send to a lab or a JPEG to upload to a web site.

For example, if you crop the image, what's saved looks something like this:

 crs:CropTop="0"
 crs:CropLeft="0"
 crs:CropBottom="0.77514"
 crs:CropRight="1"
 crs:CropAngle="0"
 crs:CropConstrainToWarp="1"
 crs:HasCrop="True"

Now, if you want to go back and change the crop, the editor shows you the crop outline and handles, and you make the change and resave. If the editor weren't parametrized, you could still recrop the pixel format (e.g., the TIFF), but only to make it smaller. Anything cropped off before the TIFF was saved is gone.

LR's Develop module is completely parameterized, with the parameters saved in the LR database. All of the same edits that LR has are available in Photoshop's Adobe Camera Raw (PS-ACR). When you save your work, the edit parameters are saved in a DNG file or in an XMP sidecar file, to be available if you open the raw again. If you go into PS proper to do more editing, you're now in the pixel-based world, and your work has to be saved in a pixel format, typically PSD.

LR has no pixel-based world, but you can transfer your work to an external editor such as Topaz Adjust or PS. Then those results are saved in a pixel format, and you see the resulting PSD or TIFF or whatever in LR.

To summarize: Editing of raws in LR and PS starts out parameterized and, if you continue into pixel-based editing, you get the unchanged original raw, the parameters (in a database or a file), and the pixel-based results from the pixel-based editing.

As far as this workflow is concerned, PSE is the same as PS: original raw, DNG or XMP sidecar to hold the parameters, and, if there was any pixel-based editing, a pixel-based file such as a PSD.

However, the version of Adobe Camera Raw that PSE runs (call it PSE-ACR) is a small subset of what PS has (PS-ACR) and LR has. All you get are the Basic, Detail, and limited Camera Calibration controls, cropping, and a few other things:

If that's enough, and it will be for many purposes, you never have to do any pixel-based editing in PSE, and you can think of it as a parameterized editor, just as LR is.

I like to run Topaz Adjust from LR and save the result as a TIFF, and PSE can do exactly that same thing. In this case, the TIFF comes from Topaz Adjust, not from pixel-based editing in PSE.

I haven't used it a lot, but PSE also as a catalog stored in a database (SQLite), just as LR does, although the catalog organizations are completely different and LR does much more with its catalog. (PS doesn't have a database catalog; Bridge just works off of the file system.)

In conclusion: PSE-ACR is a reasonable raw editor for a beginner. It doesn't do nearly as much as PS-ACR or LR, but it does have a good pixel-based editor (way short of PS, of course), which can probably do whatever you need to do that PSE-ACR can't do by itself.

PSE is only about $73 from Amazon, so it's a good first step until you know that you're serious enough to move to LR. Then for $10 a month you get LR, full-blown PS, andall updates.

(Adobe products are available only for MacOS and Windows, not Linux. I'm pretty sure they will never be available for Linux.)

UPDATE: I just tried Affinity Photo, which is only $50, and looks really good. It can edit raws, but won't save the parameters. Once you click the Develop button, the raw edits are baked into a pixel rendering, and you use a PS-like interface to go the rest of the way, if there's more you want to do. If you re-open the raw, none of your raw edits are preserved--you start from scratch. Affinity Photo might still be a good choice for someone on a budget.

Photos of Chicago

From a recent trip. Click the photo to see the gallery.

900 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL, USA

Ingestamatic and ImageVerifier no longer for sale

Too many issues with MacOS Sierra, and some weird problems with Windows that I'm unable to reproduce, so can't fix. (I withdrew ImageIngester from sale a few months ago.)

I'll continue to support these products to the extent I can until the end of the year, but support will end on 31-December-2017.

Sorry.

Showing my photography at art festivals

I'm going to be showing my photographs at art festivals starting this Spring. You know, the ones with those 10x10 white tents? Here's a photo of my booth (set up in my garage--no shows yet):

My show booth

You can see the 24 photographs I'll be showing at MarcRochkind.com.

All of my 2017 shows will be in Colorado, in Boulder, Loveland, Erie, Denver, and maybe a few other places. If you'd like to be on my show mailing list to hear about upcoming shows, you can subscribe by clicking here. (Subscribers to my existing mailing lists won't automatically be added to my show list.)

The very latest on RAW vs. JPEG from Thom Hogan

Here's the discussion brought completely up-to-date, by Thom Hogan. Spoiler: "The answer is still raw if you池e trying to get the most out of your images that you can."

dslrbodies.com/accessories/software-for-nikon-dslrs/software-articles/raw-or-jpeg.html

Ingestamatic and ImageIngester on MacOS Sierra

OnMacOS Sierra(10.12), in the Choose Input or Image Source dialog, you must click the Other button (at the bottom), instead of the card icon or card name.

Windows just got the only MacOS feature I missed

When I switched to Windows as my main machine last January, I found that, except for one thing, it workedmore-or-less the same as MacOS. Many details were different, of course, but both systems had the same functionality (almost). Some apps, such as Lightroom, Photoshop, and a few others, were identical.

The feature I missed was being able to open up a UNIX shell. I used that a lot, especially when running scripts.

Well, I just discovered that Windows now has a Subsystem for Linux, which runs a genuine Ubuntu shell. It's the real thing, a joint project between Microsoft and Canonical. Linux itself isn't there, but the kernel API is. (As I understand it--I only spent 2 minutes looking into the technicalities.)

This is somewhat more convenient than what MacOS has, because its shell has BSD commands, whereas the Linux (GNU, really) commands are more widely known.

Now, as far as I'm concerned, there is no non-superficial difference between Windows and MacOS as OSes. There is still a difference between what apps are available. For example, there's no Coda for Windows. In fact, there's no ProofSheet or ExifChanger, two of my own apps. There are also, of course, lots of Windows apps that aren't on MacOS. But all of my important apps (notably Lightroom and Photoshop) are on both.

And Windows hardware is substantially cheaper, no matter what Apple and Mac fanboys say.

Your situation is, of course, different.

My new books page

Amazon Listomania has gone away and my author page at Amazon is incomplete, so here's my new books page where all the books I'll admit to writing are listed.

You can now buy prints

You can now buy prints from my SmugMug gallery, at a very reasonable cost. For example, the regular price for an 8x10 is only $12.99.

And, until Oct. 10, 2016, you can use the coupon codeBasepath50 for a 50% discount of the pre-shipping cost on any order.

What the heck do you do with a photo of Half Dome?

Taking a pretty picture of Half Dome from Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park is incredibly easy. You put on a telephoto lens (90 mm equivalent, say), aim the camera, and shoot. I goosed it up a bit in Lightroom and used the new de-haze control:

mjr_2016-09-06__9060066

Not a thousand words here, but justone: Boooooooooring.

But, if you take it into Topaz Adjust and choose Spicify, you get this:

mjr_2016-09-06__9060066-edit

I was in California for a week, and got seven photos worth showing you, all processed by Lightroom and Topaz Detail or Adjust. To see them, click here.

Two Lightroom non-alternatives

From time-to-time I take a look at Lightroom alternatives. Not because I'm thinking of switching, but just to stay informed. ($10/month for Lightroom + Photoshop is an incredible bargain.)

First, I tried Lightzone. Didn't get far, because the screen font was too small to read on my monitor, with no way to make it any bigger other than to change the resolution of the monitor, which is out of the question. So, can't say too much about Lightzone. Maybe whoever works on the Windows port can get a better monitor for Christmas.

Next up, DigiKam. Lots of features, but it won't work for me because (1) the raw editing is incredibly clunky, and isn't parameterized like Lightroom (no going back to tweak an adjustment), and (2) no way to export JPEGs to a folder, something I do all the time when I create magazines and books, prepare a slideshow, upload to Photo.net, and lots of other things. I couldn't believe the app couldn't do this, so I spent a couple of hours working on it, but I'm convinced. Maybe they think that since they're changing actual image files, they can stand for themselves when you need a JPEG externally. That's hopelessly wrong.

In the course of investigating digiKam, I came upon several very positive online reviews and user comments, and found most of them pretty sad. A combination of group-think, denial, ignorance, and boosterism. They don't know what they don't know. One guy made a comment that he didn't use Lightroom, but his brother did, and, from what he could tell, the two apps were pretty much the same. Another reviewer was bothered by digiKam's white screen, figured out how to make it gray, and then showed screen shots of digiKam and Lightroom side-by-side and figuratively patted himself on the back.

digiKam comes from the Linux world, although there are ports to Mac OS X and Windows, and the Linux people usually grade on the curve. If the Linux, MySQL, and Apache developers had that attitude,they would have gotten nowhere.

If a Lightroom competitor comes forth, it will most likely come from Affinity, whose Photo and Designer apps probably are giving Adobe sleepless nights. But, like Adobe, their apps don't run on Linux.

Visiting Manzanar

In 1943 Ansel Adams photographed Manzanar, the War Relocation Center where Japanese-Americans were interred. I have published two versions of the book he wrote, Born Free and Equal, and a collection of all of his Manzanar photographs. You can find those books (and the others I've written) here.

Last Saturday I visited Manzanar, which is now a National Historic Site. There's not much left other than building foundations and roadways, the restored Pleasure Park (but with no water), the cemetery, and the auditorium (now the visitor's center, with an excellent museum), which was built after Adams's visit.

But what you realize when you visit that you can't get from the photosis that the place is huge, it's hot (even in September), and it's windy. I was uncomfortable walking around for an hour or so while I took photos. Living there must have beenhellish. In Adams's photos the people look comfortable enough, but his visit was in Winter, as you can see from the snow on the mountains.

Here are four photos I took along with corresponding Ansel Adams photos from 1943.

2002695960

mjr_2016-09-10__9100103

2002695967

mjr_2016-09-10__9100118

2002695985

mjr_2016-09-10__9100140

2002695986

mjr_2016-09-11__9110148

ZipVerifier now for Windows

My ZipVerifier app, which verifies ZIP files, is now available for Windows. It's purpose and how it fits into a cloud-based archiving system are explained here.


Click here to see the whole blog of archived news.

 

 

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