QUOTE OF THE WEEK

You cannot forever hide your true face in the shade; it will eventually be caught by the light! 

Mehmet Murat ildan

TO EDIT (or not to Edit)

To Edit (or not to Edit your photos)?

Interesting question.   I don’t have the eyesight to do much editing now I’m back to wearing thick glasses.   I wore contact lenses for 40 years with the last few years being bi-focal contact lenses. (don’t ask me how bi-focal contact lenses work – they just do – surprisingly).

 

I don’t like over-saturated colour or over-edited images, but as I can’t really get perfect images outdoors, or even indoors, now, most of my photos need a tiny bit of ‘tweaking’.

  1. BEFORE……..

2. ………AFTER

I don’t have the time, or the interest, in photo editing.

Most of my early images are a bit dark – probably from living in an old dark un-renovated 1960s apartment for many years.   I probably didn’t lighten my poorly exposed images enough.

  1.  BEFORE……..
Pacific Black Duck

2.  ………AFTER (and on reviewing this image this morning,  I decided it was too light, but can’t seem to edit this very old photo and darken the shadows a bit more again).

Pacific Black Duck

It’s only now that I live in a modern apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows with superb light that I can see how dark my old images are.     I used to be able to ‘fix’ my old images after I updated computers or software, but for some reason, since I got the new iMac in May this year when my old laptop crashed, I can’t seem to revert my old images back to the original to fix some over-editing errors.   (of course, all you professional, or serious amateur photographers are going to say I should have shot in ‘raw’, or ‘raw’ and ‘jpeg’, NOT just ‘jpeg’).

  1. BEFORE……
Australian Pelican

2.   ……….AFTER

Australian Pelican

(And if you can’t see the difference in the 2 Australian Pelican images you’ve got worse eyesight than me  😀  ).

I used to shoot hundreds and hundreds of images in the one afternoon back in the early years of my photography hobby – 2010 to 2015 – and I found shooting in RAW took up too much room on my memory card and secondly, I wasn’t interested in photo editing anyway.

So I just shot in jpeg as they were quicker to review.

Since I love photography (more than gardening 🙂 ), I do actually used my Apple Mac’s photo-editing software.   I don’t proclaim to be a great photographer, but if you’re new to photography and would like to improve your images a wee bit without learning Lightroom, Photoshop and all the zillion other photo editing software packages out there these days, check out your computer’s in-house software.

……..and if you DO have an Apple Mac (for example), just go to the main editing screen and press the AUTO exposure button and the AUTO definition button and you’ll find just those 2 corrections in your basic Apple photo software, might be all you need to improve your images to your satifaction. (Note: I find the AUTO ‘ sharpening’ button can make your images too sharp, but you can always move the sharpening slider manually).

If you think the AUTO button is making your image too light, you can always go to the ‘slider’ under the AUTO button and slide the exposure back a wee bit manually.

In the tree/path image below, I thought the end of the visible path looked a bit crooked so I straightened the image a tiny bit.   Just a fraction.   Just enough to please my overall vision of a balanced image.   The AUTO definition button also made the tree look to be in better focus.   (Of course, you can also use the AUTO sharpening button, but I quite like the ‘definition‘ auto button better than the ‘sharpen‘ auto button).

  1.   BEFORE…….

2.     …………AFTER

That is, apart from learning to hold the camera perfectly still  😀  (or learning how to use a tripod, monopod, fence, tree or some other object to help you reduce camera movement).

I sometimes crop off a 1/4″, (or more as in the image below), or even a couple of sides.   I sometimes touch up or erase some rubbish in the water (with a duck swimming in a pond).  I sometimes erase a leaf, or tiny cloud in the sky, if I don’t like it.

  1.   BEFORE……..

2.    …………AFTER (I really just wanted to show the beetroot starting to grow, so the rest of the image was superfluous).

Like a painter, or other artist (which I was for a while), I half-close my eyes and stand back from the 27″ screen and if anything stands out too much I might even erase anything that distracts what I want to say with my image.

Admittedly, most of the images on my Nature blog are merely to illustrate a story, not win a photo competition.

But no amount of editing will improve a really bad photo, OR where you chopped a bird’s head off (as you couldn’t see because the sun was in your eyes, below).

In the image(s) below, I was concentrating so hard on getting the duck’s eye in focus, I didn’t realise until I got home and downloaded the day’s shooting, that I’d chopped the bird’s feet off the bottom.

…..and another one of ‘missing feet’

Since I’ve been photographing the Fairy-wrens on my balcony, with my elbows on my desk to steady the heavy long 150-500mm lens, I just aim to catch the little b$%#! within the frame.   Forget composition.   Forget light.  Mostly, I just have to pick the camera up and catch the wren before it flies away.   Even changing the camera setting to continuous shooting doesn’t help catch those fast little wrens.

I have deleted dozens/hundreds of shots like the one below.  Sometimes, the photo is completely empty of bird-life because I had the shutter speed too slow, or I was too slow in holding the camera still.

Don’t aim for perfection.   Aim for an image you like.   You don’t always have to have your subject in sharp focus either.   Sometimes soft focus is kind of nice too.

If after lots of practice, practice & more practice, reading tutorials or books and studying the work of great Photographers, you still can’t take a photo you like, move on.

You can probably play football or bake a cake better than take a photo.

We all have something we’re good at.

I wish I’d taken up photography as a hobby 45 years ago, but then, I guess I wouldn’t have had the spare time or patience I have today.

I’m a great lover of uplifting (or inspirational) quotes and I read these ones by Steve Jobs  & Anna Quindlen recently……

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma,
which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions
drown out your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
Everything else is secondary.

~ Steve Jobs ~

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing,
is giving up on being perfect
and beginning the work of becoming yourself.

~ Anna Quindlen ~

 

I still like Black & White photography the best…… 😀

This shot may not have the sharpest focus, but I love the balance of black, white and grey. I love the light feathers against the dark background AND the dark feathers against the light background.  I like the DOF (Depth of Focus).

 

PRACTICE, PRACTICE & MORE PRACTICE

Now that the new apartment construction (over the road) blocks my view of the sunset, I’ve started focusing more on my view to the right of my apartment balcony.

I just catch a small strip of trees between the building at the top of my road/hill and my own apartment building facade.

Wednesday night I made 3 images of the scene.   Not so much colour – more…… storm clouds.

…….and last night, we moved from the beautiful Spring weather the week before, back to Winter again for the weekend (according to the weather forecast).

So that was the focus of my photography shooting practice yesterday.   I had to stay home anyway as my plant and bags of potting soil were being delivered from the previous day’s outing to the Plant Nursery.

I practice shooting every single day.

You can never get too much practice – whether you’re an amateur photographer like me, or a professional photographer.   If you can’t get outdoors for a nature walk, photograph whatever you can see from your window.

If the weather is terrible, photograph the terrible weather.

Or photograph something indoors – anything, everything – it’s all good practice.

Bunch of lilies in a vase (indoors)

I find shooting photos of anything and everything and uploading them to a large 27″ screen means I can see what compositions ‘work’ and what doesn’t.

16th November 2017

……and last night, I played around with the lounge window reflections at sunset.

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So you see, there is ‘never nothing going on’ (as Dan Millman said in his book/film Way of the Peaceful Warrior).

There are ‘No ordinary Moments’.

There’s always something happening.

**************

At the moment the seedlings are sitting on a large plastic saucer on my lounge room floor, as, after putting them outdoors yesterday to catch the rain, the young plants were blown wildly about by the wind gusts and intermittent rain showers got a bit too heavy, so I bought them indoors for a few days.

Looks like next Tuesday the rain will have dropped off the radar and I have a mild day for Spring planting.

I’m going to try 3 different Tomato varieties this year.

The plant nursery didn’t have any Sweet Basil to plant around my Tomatoes, so I’ll go back to the store in a couple of weeks when the weather has warmed up again and Sweet Basil supplies are in stock.

Besides, I couldn’t decide what size pots to buy for my pot-bound Blueberry (outdoors) and Peace Lily (indoors).

Next visit I might take my camera again.  One of my shots of the plant nursery uploaded to Google Maps has gained a new personal record of 7101 views.  Unfortunately, that shot and a couple of others were lost in the new iMac computer photo library upload failure.

Sigh!

SUNRISE

In my previous apartment on the north-east side of Melbourne, I had an extraordinary view over the rooftops to the south (from my 3rd floor level).

 Long-time followers will remember some of those beautiful sunrise (and sunset) images, but I thought I might repost some of the sunrise images for the many new followers who have kindly ticked that FOLLOW box in recent months.

For some strange reason, I nearly always woke up at dawn back in those days, 2015/16, and was able to quickly get out of bed, go out on to my apartment balcony and take photos of the sunrise.  I often wondered if it was the Birds that woke me at this time of day, especially the Spotted Turtle-Doves which became so tame and frequented my bird seed bowl and bird bath on my balcony.

I was looking for some heron photos in my archives yesterday and I came across these images made in early 2016 and I was reminded of that special time in my life.

Another bonus of arising at that time and living in that location was that the hot-air balloons originated in a field not far from my apartment block.  Not sure exactly where that field was, I just know I got to see the balloons as they drifted across my side of Melbourne’s inner suburbs close up and perhaps they could even see me in my PJs at that time of morning (pointing a camera in their direction).

 

**************

I’ve deliberately stayed off blogging and uploading images in an attempt to reduce my online time until my current internet plan ends on 30th August (when I’ll update to a larger internet package and can use the internet more liberally, including blogging).  I have been reading some of the blogs I follow though.

Yesterday, I never did find the heron images I wanted to re-share, so I switched over to the Apple Mojave software forums and WordPress forums in my ongoing hunt for the elusive answers to some computer issues I continue to experience with the new iMac desktop.

I’ve also kept some records trying to find patterns of each problem.

  1.  I still have to log on to WordPress every morning, despite ticking the box – remember my Password or logon details.
  2. I still have to type in my website details and name on sites where I never had to do this before.  Wordpress seems to continually think I’m a new user and logged out,  OR that blogger’s website seems to think that.
  3. I’ve finally found a more interesting fact.  I cannot press the LIKE button on the front page of every WordPress blogger I follow who is using a name with…..  .com, .net, .photo etc ……….only those @wordpress.com.  If you are a wordpress blogger who has the same problem, you may not have noticed that every .com site you can’t register a LIKE.

The only way I can press the LIKE button on those .com sites is to press it on my gmail inbox first and then open the bloggers website via the link, to read it. (note: I can’t use the WordPress Reader as I get dizzy scrolling through.  I use my gmail inbox for email notifications of new blog posts).

See my gmail inbox new post notification in my gmail inbox.

 

This is the area where I have to press the LIKE button first (centre of screen below).  This gmail inbox page is the only place I can get the LIKE button to register (located in the centre of the photo below) for those using .com site names.

 

Then I open up the blogger’s new post in the actual website below…

 

……After reading it, I usually then go to the bottom of that new post to doublecheck my LIKE has registered.  My ‘eye’ gravatar is second from the left below, so I know it’s registered.

 

Another interesting observation is that in those bloggers with dozens or hundreds of ‘LIKES’, my gravatar seems to randomly appear halfway through,  or towards the right of the line (of LIKES), even though I’ve only just pressed it seconds before via my Gmail inbox.  Normally when you press the LIKE button on the new blog post front page (of a blog site) it appears first in the line (of LIKE gravatars).

Not a problem.  Just an observation.

I have another problem with my Photo library screen freezing and the only way I can fix it is to log off the computer and then back on again.  I have to do this many times in the one day.  My Photo library screen keeps going blank (white) too.  It seems to ‘time-out‘ or something after only about 20 minutes.  When I switch over to the Safari to use the web, there are no blank screens or frozen screens, only the Photo Library screen does that.

It’s very hard to register a bug or problem and ask for help on a forum when it happens intermittently.  I noticed many other users have intermittent problems too.

Anyway, I spent some time reading the latest forum, or question and answer,  on Apple’s latest software Mojave version 10.14.5.

There are still so many ‘bugs’ and problems some users are having with this software release.  All I can say is that I hope they fix them in the next software update 1o.14.6. (supposed to be released in September ?).

I couldn’t find my issues listed in the forums though.

It seems some users, at random, experience ‘bugs’ with the latest software release and some users do not.  There didn’t seem to be any ‘rhyme or reason’.

Another observation was that when I was in hospital last Thursday and most of Friday, my Data Usage continued to show during that time, despite me not being at home with the computer on.

Is this my auto back-up disc working in the background as it automatically does a back up every hour on the current day?

NOTE: I connected my old Mac Pro laptop yesterday and once again tried to transfer some of the missing heron images to my new iMac and it continues to give me a message saying these images are incompatible and can’t exported.  Yet, other images either side of those heron images, taken at the same time, of the same day, did get perfectly exported and appear on my new iMac.  (I used the ‘heron’ images merely as an example.  There are still hundreds of images I can’t export, despite the 9381 I did successfully transfer a few weeks ago).

This new computer is still a mystery to me.

I don’t think it’s a ‘dud’.  I think I’m one of those users who merely has problems.

I used to have an extraordinary amounts of computer problems in my working life and my immediate Boss and the whole I.T. department, (who supported the staff), could never figure out why some processes or screens worked for them and not for me, even when they stood behind me and watched my fingers and processing routine.

I am definitely not a computer ‘nerd’.