Monday, 7 April 2014

Technical stuff

When it comes to computers I work on a 'need to know' basis. Which means I know how to switch them on and off and use the software I use. How they work or what the bits in the box are I neither know nor care. I am aware when they are full up though. Mine was pretty much full a year ago but by deleting all the absolutely rubbish photos I'd got stored on it I managed to keep it going. In one respect this was good in that it made me more discerning about my pictures. As the end approached it also made me more discerning about what I took photographs of - almost to the point of shooting like in the days of film!

Gratuitous picture to break page up.
Eventually the inevitable occurred and last week I had to either get a new PC or have a bigger hard drive installed. Either way I was going to have to save my Lightroom catalogue (among other things) and reinstall it on the new drive. Having opted for the cheaper alternative I now have my original machine running as it used to, albeit a little faster, but with loads of room for more rubbish photos! Getting Lightroom back and working proved surprisingly painless. With that done I thought that an upgrade to the latest version was in order. This was not done without trepidation when I bought the upgrade. The installation went smoothly and once more I had everything back as it should be and looking familiar. Naturally enough I was prompted to install another upgrade to deal with cameras released since Lightroom 5 had been launched - including my small 'fishing' camera meaning I no longer have to convert the raw files to DNGs before Lightroom will ingest them. This also was simple to do.

What I have found is that the upgrade was well worth it. Some sliders have disappeared, but more have replaced them. I have been most impressed by the defringing controls. Previously I struggled to remove fringing from shots taken with my little camera. It involved a lot of messing about, but one click pretty much deals with anything. If it doesn't shoving one slider across finishes the job. It's like magic!

There are other features I doubt I'll ever use, and some changes I still have to get my head round to use as intuitively as before but that'll come. None of this makes my pictures any better, they just look better processed...

Yesterday was wet, with the rain promised to clear in the afternoon. Which it did, providing that fleeting period when the skies are leaden in one direction and the sun bright in the other. Depending on wind strength this can last a while or be over in a few minutes. Having had white balance difficulties with the smaller camera earlier in the week I'd shifted the setting from auto to sunny. It didn't seem to make much difference and everything looked a bit blue. It took me a while to twig that this was a white balance issue for some reason, but once I did and I made a slight adjustment the grey skies lost the vivid dark blue and looked much more like they had in reality. D'oh.

The beach can usually be relied on for a lost ball or two. With the total number of balls photographed now over 250 I'm open to more experimentation. Using a small camera that can focus close gives opportunities DSLRs don't. After playing safe for a couple of shots I got in much tighter and cropped the ball in the foreground. It's a bit soft, but as a picture it's different to all the other ball pictures I've made.

I tried some other ideas on a bit of a ball I found later, but it didn't work out. It did give me something to try another time though. After four years of taking pictures of balls it's nice to know I haven't exhausted all the posibilities yet.

There is no great depth or meaning to these ball pictures (although I could invent some arty-farty BS I suppose!!), they're a way of keeping the creative juices flowing. Of making me think. Of finding ways to work with limited resources. A sort of visual and technical work out to try and keep in tune.

While I was wandering around ideas for the parking theme began to crystallise at last. Nothing to show yet. Although I think I now have an idea where to go with it. Maybe.

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