The Digital Photo Guy

Something Different (NSFW)

by on Sep.09, 2018, under Articles, Lightroom, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos, Photoshop CS2/4, Photoshop Elements

 New Take on Model “A”

This past August, I had the opportunity to work again with “A”. (I call her “A” because she hasn’t yet selected a modeling alias.) We had previously worked together in Sedona which was her first ever nude photo session. I knew she had the potential to be extraordinary because she’s intelligent, spontaneous and a hard body athlete. However, her spontaneity manifests itself through wanderlust, disappearing for months at a time, going where ever her van takes her. When I heard she was back, I immediately made arrangements to work with her again, this time at Red Bench Studio in Jerome, AZ.

Because “A” has the lean, hard body of an athlete, I didn’t want the usual soft, undulating bodyscapes I often make of full bodied models. I went with mostly full length figure studies and some close ups to emphasize her lithe build. I also tried something very different which I discovered while “futzing” around with Affinity Photo, a potential LR/PS replacement.

Here are my current efforts with “A’s” photos. As always, any and all feedback is appreciated. The first five are high key images taking advantage of the beautifully soft light in the studio. The last seven are my attempts at creativity that extends outside the box. If you’ve seen other photos like the last seven, please let me know so I can study how others have achieved the same effects.

High Key 5 High Key 3 High Key 1 High Key 2 High Key 4

Golden Nude in Repose Looking for Love Groovy Blue Girl Eye of the Storm Neural Network

I finally got fed up with Lightroom and Photoshop and decided to find alternatives. In the process, I tried Rawtherapee, a fast, responsive RAW developer that is somewhat obtuse due to it’s open source roots. Documentation and tutorials are fragmented and of varying quality. It’s an excellent product but not for the technically challenged. I also bought Affinity Photo and Luminar 2018. Both are good PS alternatives but neither includes a DAM (digital asset manager.) A DAM is crucial for photographers who download, process and archive hundreds to thousands of images per session. This is Lightroom’s raison d’être, it’s reason for existing. Both Affinity and Luminar have made promises to release a DAM in the near future but, to date, nothing has been officially announced. Both have excellent documentation and a whole library of video tutorials.

I’ll review all three products in a future blog but, for the moment, I’m developing RAW files in Rawtherapee and then importing them into LR where I rank, sort and archive them. From LR, I then go out to either Affinity Photo or Luminar 2018 for final edits. The final images are then saved as either Affinity or Luminar files and a small jpeg web version is exported for use on the web or emails. Keep in mind that changing your workflow can be a real “PITA” and should not be undertaken lightly.


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Bodyscapes Show in Jerome, AZ

by on Jun.26, 2018, under Monday Morning Tips

Bodyscapes: Lines, Curves & Angles

If you’re near Jerome, AZ this July, please stop in at the Red Bench Gallery to view my exhibit, Bodyscapes: Lines, Curves & Angles. Red Bench Gallery is located in the old Jerome High School. The most noticeable thing you’ll see is the difference between fleeting digital images versus real, printed photos. Prints are permanent and can be held in your hands while digital files might not even survive your next HDD crash or cell phone upgrade.

Here are some of the images you’ll see “in real life.”

The opening reception is Saturday, July 7 from 5PM to 8PM. Please stop by to say “Hello.”

Red Bench Gallery is at:

885 Hampshire Avenue
Building A, Studio 306
​Jerome Art Center
​Jerome, Arizona, 86331

The exhibit contains bodyscapes, figure studies and nudity. If such images offend you, please consider any of the other fine galleries and exhibits in the Jerome Art Center.

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More Photos of Emily (NSFW)

by on Mar.13, 2018, under Articles, gear, Lightroom, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing

The Camera Loves Emily

In a previous post, I promised to post more photos of Emily as I finished processing them. Here are the ones I’ve finished to date. All images were made with a Pentax K-1 with a Pentax HD D-FA 24-70/2.8 and processed in Lightroom Classic.

If you’d like to photograph Emily in a workshop with assistance and instruction, register for the Red Bench Spring Fling Photo Extravaganza Weekend Workshop in Jerome, AZ (April 27-29) where Emily and other models will be available for workshops as well as 1-on-1 photo sessions. Instructors will also be available for individual mentoring. If you’re at all interested in nude and/or bodyscape photography, you will learn more in this one session than any other workshop this year.

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Another Yongnuo Light!

by on Feb.11, 2018, under Articles, gear, Lightroom, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photoshop Elements

Honest, Yongnuo Doesn’t Pay Me!

To date, I’ve written about the Yongnuo YN-622C-TX TTL flash controller, YN685 Canon TTL flash, YN560 manual flash and YN14-EX-C ring light for Canon TTL. Now, I want to tell you about the Yongnuo YN300-III from B&H.

Yongnuo 300-III LED Variable-Color On-Camera Light Yongnuo 300-III LED Variable-Color On-Camera Light

I wanted a set of continuous lights to make it faster and easier to light art for reproduction. Based on my previous experience with Yongnuo products, I decided to try these and YN didn’t disappoint. First, the price can’t be beat – $63 for a light with accessories including 4 gels/diffusers and multiple mounting options. Next, it offers both 3200K and 5500K lights. I can have all 5500K or all 3200K or a mix of both. Third, this light can be controlled with a remote as well as an Android app. Finally, it can be powered by either 120v or LiON battery. Sadly neither the 120v power brick nor a battery are included but both are relatively inexpensive.

The integrated barn doors are very effective and the whole unit looks and feels well made. It’s not a pro grade light but, for projects around a home studio, it’s an outstanding value. Another cool features is the ability to control the lights in either 10% or 1% increments. So, if the light is set to 100% (full power) and you want 10%, it’s 9 clicks of the remote instead of 80. Conversely, if you decide you want 19%, 9 clicks of the 1% button gets you there. Last, if you use multiple lights, the controller can be set to different channels so they aren’t all adjusted each time you adjust one.

I haven’t done any stringent testing but they’re certainly well within the limits of my needs as measured with my Sekonic LiteMaster Pro L-478D-U Light Meter.  I can usually get within 1/10 stop with just a few adjustments. White Balance also appears very close when checked in Lightroom. If you need/want continuous lights, this is the best value.

A Pet Peeve (rant)

I’ve been noticing more and more “wanna be Rambos” in the news. These are people, usually men, who wear unauthorized military regalia and medals and spin fantastic yarns about secret missions behind enemy lines or some such baloney. There’s a whole network of real special operators whose personal mission is to uncover these fakes and expose them for what they are – cowards, liars & thieves, stealing the honor and valor of real heroes.

If you meet someone claiming to be a Vietnam-era Navy SEAL who partook of secret missions they can’t talk about but happily blabber on, you can bet your paycheck that they’re full of it. One of the biggest tells is if they claim their service records were lost in the 1973 National Archives fire. Given that only about 2-3 dozen Navy and Marine Corps records (out of approximately 18 million Army and Air Force records,) were lost in that fire, the chances of them being affected are between zero and nil.

There are many sites dedicated to unmasking these phonies. A quick Google search can help you find them. However, be aware that, unless they’re using their baloney for financial gain (fraud,) it’s not illegal to wear undeserved medals and tell lies. Just know that they’re cowards, liars and thieves.

In Vietnam, 80% of the personnel were support. I was an elite Remington Raider in a REMF unit. If you know what that means, you’re a real vet. If you don’t know, buy me a beer sometime and I’ll regale you with hair-raising stories about my 364 days “in-country.”

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Your Own Personal Cloud

by on Jan.25, 2018, under Articles, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos, Workshops

Tonido Server – A Free, Private Personal Cloud

By now, anyone who can fog a mirror has heard about the “cloud.” Every company wants you to use their “cloud” so they can mine your data and lock you into their services. Before getting ahead of ourselves, let’s first define “cloud” for the Rip Van Winkles and Sleeping Beauties who slept through the past few years. “Cloud” is nothing more than remote access to your files. Many websites allow visitors to download/upload files, images, PDFs and other digital assets. A personal cloud allows you to do the same for files on your personal PC/Mac/Linux box.

You may ask, “What’s the purpose?” Let’s say you’re away from home and need a file on your home PC. Who’s going to find that file and e-mail it to you? Also, today’s dSLR RAW files range from 20MB to 60MB, a bit hefty to email. Enter the “cloud.” Files stored in a “cloud” can be accessed by anyone with the appropriate URL, user name and password. If you need a file while on the road, you can access it. If needed, you can download a file to your laptop, make edits and upload to a shared folder for others to retrieve. This can be invaluable for clubs and volunteer organizations where files need to be shared.

The New Tonido Logo

Tonido Server, the FREE solution. There are many ready made solutions but they all charge to use their software. I don’t begrudge anyone making money but I like doing it myself. However, free is awfully hard to pass up. I assumed it was some neutered demo product that would be more hassle than it was worth but I was wrong. After installing Tonido on my big, clunky home PC, I could immediately access folders I had designated as SHARED from my sleek, lightweight HP Spectre X360 travel laptop.

Using Tonido, I can access and retrieve image files for my blog posts. On the road, I log into Tonido, find the files I want to include in a post and download it to my travel laptop. I make necessary edits, save photos as JPEG and then import into the post. I don’t have to carry around a 2TB external hard drive (EHD,) taking the chance it may be damaged by all jostling and flaky power sources.

Why Not Use a Free Cloud Provider?

As we all know, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Regardless of claims, I suspect all cloud service providers mine your data to gleen information for resale. I’m not saying these companies view your photos or read your manuscripts but they know enough about you to qualify as stalkers. Add to that most “cloud” services charge for storage space big enough to be useful. My active image files take up about 1TB (1,000,000,000,000 bytes.) Dropbox charges $16.58 per month ($198.96/year) for 1TB, the same as Google Drive and Apple iCloud. Microsoft OneDrive is the least expensive at $69.99 per year which includes Office 365 Personal but it’s limited to 1 PC and 1 tablet. Between us, my wife and I use 8 devices, oops! Adobe is more opaque charging $19.99/month for Adobe CC plus 1TB of storage. Since Adobe charges $9.99 for for their Photography Plan, that 1TB costs $10/month. In reality, Adobe CC is more about selling their photo editing products than providing storage.

If you need help setting up your Tonido Server, leave a comment here and I’ll try to help.

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