With one more week to go of February I can look back on a bit of a “mad month”. Awards season is over and it saw me shooting at the The Critics Circle Awards, the BAFTA’s, the Oscars and this week I am in Berlin for 10 days covering Berlinale – The Berlin International Film Festival.
I need to write about the awards and especially The Oscars but today I felt compelled to write a small entry after visiting The Wall so this entry is slightly unusual, having no technical point in addition to having photos shot on the iPhone in addition to those shot on Fuji.
This morning, between photocalls, I had a couple of hours spare and as it is not even 15 minutes walk away, I headed over to The Wall. Although I have visited Berlin a number of times over the years on business, I have never managed to make time to visit. To say I found the experience moving is an understatement and I plan to go back later in the week when I have more time.
Although I was not directly affected, I remember the “night” the wall came down very clearly. At the time I was a “photography enthusiast” living in Crawley in my first house. Next door lived a single guy who was (shock horror) a press photographer. I must admit, I was probably a nightmare neighbour always asking questions about assignments and kit. I can’t remember his name for the life of me and I sometimes wonder what happened to him and wether we have met since without realising.
With expectations that thew wall was to come down that day, he was flown to Berlin that day to document the night the wall fell. We chatted a few days later, with him showing me images shot on an ultra-wide “I really got in their faces” he said.
I remember feeling jealous and how I wanted his job….. I got there in the end ….
Reminders of the wall are dotted about the city, this segment within 5 minutes walk of the festival hub in PotsdamerPlaz..
Visiting the wall not only reminded me of that conversation though, it brought back memories of the divided time which I grew up, of east and west. Despite my best intentions always to keep politics and beliefs from my work and this blog, I could not help but worry that maybe as I head into later life and I watch my son forge his future that we are headed back into divided times.
The last two posts on mobile workflow have raised a few questions from readers on how I deal with metadata. I thought I had dealt with it in previous posts (admittedly a long while back) but re-reading them it seems I had not covered everything.
Therefore this is just a quick overview. I am actually looking at running a course or two on this mobile workflow in the UK this year in conjunction with theBPPA. If you are interested, please let me know and I will send out booking information if and when…
A quick apology for the image I have used in this post – it was all I had on the iPad at the point I outlined this post.
From our last post we are at a point where there is a collection of images in ShutterSnitch either with or without metadata in the title field.
The first issue is, where do we start with our data? Can we start with Photomechanic? The answer to this is yes we can. I export the XMP from PM into Dropbox and then on the iPAD, export the file into ShutterSnitch.
The i Icon on the top toolbar switches ShutterSnitch to the Metadata Editor.
As shown in the above images there are a number of options along the lower screen. The left-most tool is the Preset Editor
The choices are just to select a preset or use the Edit button to edit the presets available (the usual iOS left swipe to delete) or click to edit. Hold down to duplicate an existing preset.
The blue circle tick to the right indicates wether the field is applied in the preset, so if using the title field from Lightroom this would be unticked next to the Title/Object Name. Notice the %%titleObject%% – this is a variable, much the same as the Photomechanic variables although they are named differently.
If using Photomechanic , the variables will need replacing. There are far fewer in ShutterSnitch. They may be accessed from the tool hi-lighted above. Below is a typical preset driven by the Title/Object Name field with the date automatically added also.
Note: It does not seem possible to add variables into the keywords at the moment.
If driving the Title / Object Name from Lightroom, the above preset could be applied to all images when selected and a quick check as you flick through will reveal all of the fields set.
Once the preset is created, other tools are available in the editor. Quick select strings (which are field sensitive, so create them in the Title field if that is where you plan to insert them) may be created and selected.
This enables a list to be built, maybe copying and pasting from a website before the event
The final options are Shortcodes.
Press and hold to edit the available lists. Creating new Sets and editing are fairly straightforward.
In use Shortcodes are slightly less usable than in Photomechanic as after entering the code (however many letters you use), the Icon (tee-shirt) needs a quick click for the software to expand the code to it’s full length. Shortcodes do, however save on spelling errors and incorrectly titled subjects.
All that is left after adding the metadata is to send using FTP or other Actions which are well covered towards the end of this post.
There are many more options are settings but hopefully this will get you moving. As always, please ask any questions in the comments to that others can also learn.
Last week I wrote about importing photos into Lightroom directly from the camera/card. This week I will continue with the next stage of my workflow. Yes I have written so much about iPAD workflows, this is because unlike my Mac workflow, my iPAD workflow is continually evolving as the software and platform develops.
The result of last week’s post was a named album of images for a project. All with just the basic copyright metadata and no other information.
My iPAD Pro is fitted with the keyboard cover and I also use the pencil with it. These 2 additions make important improvements to the workflow.
The first step is to pause the syncing (in fact I do this before the import as it is safer if the images are on the iPad only). Next enable a filter – to show only unflagged photos.
Click on the first picture and switch to edit mode. If the image is to be rejected hit the X key (just as in the desktop version). Due to the filter, the image will be hidden and the next image displayed.
If the image is a keeper, adjust as required, switch to the metadata view (the i icon) and type the basic subject in the title. (this will be picked up later – if many are the same, use cmd-c to copy the text to be pasted into the next image). Switch back to edit and press p to select (tap in the image area). The image is flagged and the next image is displayed (due to the filter).
Repeat until no images remain.
What happens next depends on your requirements. Maybe switch the filter to rejected, select them all and delete before un-pausing the sync to upload the images to the cloud and desktop.
To transmit the images to the newspapers or agencies, switch the filter to display flagged images only. These are the keepers.
Note: As an aside, the fastest way I have found to select all the displayed images is to hold down on a single image until it is selected, then click the box in the upper left corner. It changes from a minus sign to a tick. The share button can now be clicked to export the images.
Each export option contains it’s own settings which are far more detailed than in previous releases. Use the More Options to expand the settings. As each has it’s own settings it is now possible (for example) to configure the Save to Camera Roll to save a smaller image with a watermark suitable for social media whilst the Share To… option exports an image suitable to newspapers
Another big step forward is the share to now enables a direct export to a shuttersnitch collection.
I will not go into detail into shuttersnitch again asI have covered it so many times in detail. However I will show that the Title we added in Lightroom Mobile has indeed transferred and if used carefully, the metadata presets can build a full caption.. I will go into the shuttersnitch metadata editor in the next post.
At last! Its been a long while coming but finally we can import images directly from a camera/card into Lightroom Mobile on an iPad!
Apple’s iOS13 update opened up the Files application, allowing users to access data on external devices such as USB sticks, Hard Drives and of course Cameras/Cards. It took Adobe a little while to catch up but during December, Lightroom Mobile 5.1 was released which added the ability to browse locations in files.
Much of the information I have seen online says that it is possible to access the card directly from the import button after inserting it however I have not found that to be the best way to work. My workflow is to import the images directly into an Album for the project.
Selecting from the Album Options … I Add Photos and select From Files. This enables the location to be selected, normally the Untitled USB device, browsing down to a lower folder. Once all the images to be added have been selected, click Open.
Lightroom then looks as though nothing is happening but take a look at the cloud icon where the sync progress is displayed…
It takes a while to prepare the import and then, one by one, they start appearing!
It’s a very simple process, one that is not the most obvious way of importing the images but it makes a huge difference to the iPad workflow, now mimicking more closely typical laptop workflows.
It means less reliance of the iOS native photos app and less housekeeping required on the iPad. In fact with the other updates in the latest Lightroom Mobile (major changes to the Export function , which I will detail in the next post), the photos app may be bypassed completely. Stay tuned!
Finally I have upgraded one of my X-T2’s to an X-T3!
The delay was down to a number of factors: Firstly I run my business in a cycle, needing to ensure each investment improves the business and pays for itself over its lifetime and my X-T2’s have been doing the job more than adequately.
Secondly, having used and loved the X-H1 I was hanging out for news on an update to that form factor using X-T3 technology. Unfortunately the X-H2 seems unlikely at the moment according to the rumours and the opportunity arose for a “cost effective” upgrade.
This led to my Christmas wander around the west end being the first chance I had to get aquatinted with the X-T3.
Moving from the 2 to the 3 is painless, I configured the buttons and menus on the new camera within 30 minutes and the only real issues were getting used to stiffer front and rear dials plus a new way of transferring images wirelessly.
This later model is definitely more responsive than the model it replaces.
As I was walking around Covent Garden on a dark, wet evening I was using higher ISO’s, aiming to show the Christmasy atmosphere. Despite the file size being bigger there feel much cleaner than from the “2”.
It has been widely documented that the focusing is much better – I totally agree and the face recognition is way quicker working in lower light. The image below was shot through a bus window as we passed, I’m not sure the X-T2 would have focused quick enough.
The lower ISO’s are also very useful when working wide open with the faster lenses like the 56mm/F1.2.
Overall despite using the X-T3 without a battery grip (which I always to on my X-T2’s), I was very impressed by its responsiveness and the clean images. This does still leave me in a quandary though, especially with a lack of indicators coming out of Fuji on the future of the more robust professional X-H body. Fuji are brilliantly open with their lens roadmap which really helps business planning, it’s just a shame the openness is not being carried through on the camera bodies (although I do understand this as it is more competitive).
So the question remains… Do I upgrade my remanning 2 X-T2s’ or do I continue to wait?
All I would like to hilight this talk that is open to BPPA members and non-members.
First up is Alan. Alan Crowhurst is an award-winning horseracing photographer contracted to Getty Images. His life has always involved racing, his grand father was a racecourse bookmaker. In this interview Alan talks about growing up in Brighton, taking up photography, his passion for his profession, what it takes to get an award-winning ‘Crowhurst’ shot and his hopes for the future.
Following Alan, John Downing’s son Bryn Downing will present “Behind the Lens” , a 30 minute film on his father John Downing.
After the film a slideshow of John’s images alongwith the stories to go with them told by Hazel Thompson . Hazel has known John for 20 years, working with him on his “Legacy” book.
If you are unaware of John’s work – do a quick google and you will realise his impact on photojournalism as well as being a foundering member of theBPPA …
I am just back from 3 weeks of party political events, photographing the autumn conferences of our largest political parties; starting with the Liberal Democrats in Bournemouth, moving on to Labour in Brighton before finishing up with the Conservatives in Manchester.
It’s a gradual build up of importance culminating in the Prime Ministers speech – arguably the most important event of the 3 weeks (especially this year with BREXIT and the stories circulating about our Prime Minister Boris Johnson).
I headed up to Manchester having the 200mm/F2 Fujion lens on hire again, along with the 1.4TC (giving the equivalent of 300mm/F2 and 420mm/F2.8 on my Fuji X-T2 bodies). Added to that I took my normal supply of 3 x X-T2, the 14mm/F2.8, 27mm/F2.8 pancake, 90mm/F2 and the 50-140/F2.8 (just in case but the plan was not to use it).
On the morning of the PM’s speech, we arrive early for a briefing that informs us of the plan for the speech; entrance, exit, timings, security arrangements (where we can stand, where not) etc.
With the stories circulating about the PM it was clear that “the picture” of the day would be Boris and Carrie (his girlfriend) leaving at the end of the speech. However the briefing made it clear that getting this image clearly would be very difficult and as the pool photographer would get it perfectly, it was not worth worrying about.
So I formulated a plan..
I would start at the rear at the top of the stadium seating to photograph the PM as he enters, I would then bit by bit move around the rear of the hall, over the stadium seating at the other end before working round to the rear quarter, photographing Boris “conducting” his troops before working my way back to the original position for his exit.
Arriving in the hall before a good while before the speech I was pleased that as I suspected, most of the photographers covering the event had opted for the central positions to shoot the “traditional” speaker image. I was happy to be sitting up at the back near the entrance alone, hoping the others had missed a trick and that my plan was not totally unworkable.
Waiting, I shot a few images of party members around me and the general atmosphere. Then the moment arrived, the PM walked in alone down a dark part of the hall below me to greet members down the bottom of my seating area.
My plan with the blog post now was to show two totally out of focus images showing that we all make mistakes totally contrary to how we are supposed to portray ourselves online. However going back through the images I have found one that was in fact useable, one that I missed in the heat of the moment editing on the day…
Starting with establishing shots on the 200, 90 and 14….
Then adding the TC on the 200 (giving an equivalence of 420/F2.8) before moving down the back and shooting through spaces between the seating. A quick nod with one of the PM’s security detail to confirm all was ok with the location (next to him) , staying there for 5 minutes or so before moving on to the next location …
Having been briefed that the speech would be 40-45 minutes I allowed myself approximately 5 minutes in each location before moving on, getting the the far point on time for the “conducting” shot, before returning via the same method to my original position.
Once back, I was joined by one other photographer in this position for the exit but as there were about 8 positions reserved for us there was plenty of room. Planning for a “melee” image as the PM leaves, I removed the TC….
In all, photographing the speech and editing took about 6 and a half hours; from entering the hall at 8am for the briefing , planning, re-entering the hall at 10:30am through to leaving it at about 12:45 and then finishing my edit with all images with the agency by about 2:30pm. All for a set of photographs that I knew were unlikely to make the front page the next day because, as I said, the story was Boris and Carrie.
Not every paper went with the pooled “couple” image.. but most did…
I am doing a little talk at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke this weekend (18th August). If you are free why not pop down and say hello. There will be cream tea’s, a good selection of photos (not all mine) and (hopefully) an interesting talk (plus the BPPA’s assignments exhibition) .
Luna and I had been talking about getting together for a photoshot for a couple of years now. We met working together at Frightfest where she is one of the presenters of Frightfest TV.
When discussing the shoot we decided we needed a prop or two. She suggested she could use a Mustang GT for the day and so I outline planned an outdoor shoot. I say outline planned as with this kind of arrangement I only like to put together rough ideas as when heading outdoors weather is a a major consideration (especially in the height of summer in the UK). I also like to spend some time with the model, chatting and gauging their mood on the day before firming up my shots.
There are a number of ways to shoot a darker, gothic feel type style on a bright sunny day, my preference being for high shutter speeds with high power flash units. I worked with a couple of AD200’s combined with the X-T2’s on High Speed Sync.
The first set of images we shot right in the centre of worthing, near home, with my “assistant” holding a Godox AD200 with a beauty dish, just to get a feel of the light and how the shoot would go.
Now I had a feel, we packed a couple of the flash units, a couple of lightstands, modifiers and lenses and headed out of town (to the mighty burble of the 5.0L engine).
On the day, the light was really variable and most of the time I was having to use the Godox at full power (some of the shots had a second light) whilst waiting for the clouds to help with the light also.
I wanted the images to have a “film” quality to them and so back in the office I edited the RAW images in Lightroom using either the Classic Chromeor Astia simulations before moving them in to Photoshop for retouching. These two simulations gave me a choice of base tones (especially skin tones, where Astia is my favourite).
The final look was applied using the NIK collection (now owned by DXO) running inside Photoshop. I learned a thing or two here as well; It had always frustrated me how adding a NIK layer to a PS image was a “one hit” action. If I decided I did not like the look after I had applied it (or subsequent edits), with my old workflow it was a case of deleting the layer and restarting. However a quick goggle on a train this week revealed the “magic” recipe. Convert the source layer to a smart object first and then the NIK filters are applied as Smart Filters meaning they can be edited with a right-click..
As you can see above, I used a combination of Colour Efex Pro to get the contrast and colours where I wanted them before adding a subtle film look and grain with Analog Efex Pro.
The style may not be to everyones taste but we had a loot of fun shooting these and they definitely work with Luna’s style.