Categories
Photography

Edna Egbert on the Ledge

Well, I bought several books recently. They’re all photography books, but I wanted to share one photo from the book I bought yesterday.

Edna Egbert on the ledge, No. 497 Dean Street. 1942.

The book is New York exposed : photographs from the Daily News, and you can read it online on archive.org or buy it in a few places if you search for it.

When I flipped through the book in Vibes & Scribes this photo was the first one I saw and immediately grabbed me. It totally looks staged, but Edna’s son, Fred, got married, joined the army, and had not written to his mother since, and she was distraught! I don’t know if she could have killed herself landing on the steps of that house, but there were sharp spikes on the railings if she had jumped far enough, so who knows? It was a cry for help.

A policeman kept her talking for 25 minutes while others rigged a net.

As officers Ed Murphy and George Munday tried to persuade her to come back into the building, she brandished a mirror and started swinging it at them. The police grabbed her arms and she proceeded to sit on the ledge.

600 people gathered to watch. The police tried to persuade her to come in the window, but she either jumped or was finally pushed to fall safely in the net.

According to census records, Mrs. Egbert was either 42 or 44-years-old, not 50 as noted in every article about this story. Her husband John Egbert was 64 and their wayward son Fred was 20. Whatever became of Mrs. Egbert and her non-writing son Fred is unknown.

The book is full of other great photos, some you’ll recognise and descriptions to explain what’s happening. Borrow it for an hour on archive.org and take a look through it.

Categories
Photography

The best way to browse Instagram

Instagram is becoming a video site (mirror) like TikTok, isn’t it? I want to see photos when I go to Instagram. I don’t want to see reel after reel from suggested accounts just because I liked something random. I only ever post photos on Instagram, so this is a shout out to anyone who follows me and doesn’t see my fabulous/amazing/gorgeous photos! You’re missing out!

Flowers in Waterloo

There are two ways to get control back.

  1. Add 50 of your friends to the Favourites list.
  2. Use the Following feed instead of the algorithm.

Both features were only added in March this year, so you might not be familiar with them, even if you’re a long-time user.

Dancing in Birmingham

The favourites list is a list of up to 50 Instagram accounts you want to see first in your feed when you open the app. You’ll still see suggested reels and other nonsense, but these 50 accounts will be given priority.

Fireworks on Spike Island

There are two ways to fill up your favourites list. Either go to the profile of the account you want to add, click on “Following” and then tap “Add to Favourites”, or open your own profile, tap the burger menu (the 3 lines at the top-right of the screen) to open settings, and tap Favourites where you will be shown a selection of your friends, and a search box to look for others.

The other way is much simpler and allows you to view your feed in a chronological order. And, don’t let Instagram know, but it appears to be advert free too! Tap on the Instagram logo on the top-left of the screen and you’ll see a menu saying Following and Favorites. The Favorites feed will obviously show your favourite accounts, but the Following feed is what I’m interested in.

The Following feed is a refreshing look at Instagram. It’s chronological, so you start from the newest photo or video uploaded by your Instagram friends. You’ll suddenly see posts from people you haven’t seen in years because the algorithm decided you weren’t interested in their photos! If you do nothing else after reading this post, try the Following feed. Let me know what you think of it.

A Window on Rome

I have a few accounts on Instagram, docinphotos and streetsofcork are my main ones. I also occasionally share old photos of Cork on the Photos of Old Cork Instagram account. Check out the photos. If you like them, follow me and say hi!

Categories
Photos

My dog is the master of this

Any time we go out Diego does his best to let us know that we can not possibly go out without him. This is why I’ve been spotted carrying him around supermarkets in a special carrier bag, or been booted out of other supermarkets for having him in that bag or in town where life would really be much less stressful if he wasn’t with us.

Being cute is very tiring
Categories
Photography

The old Nik Collection is still free

After the sunset, edited in Silver Efex Pro 2

Nik Collection 4.0 was announced recently but comments here say that if you have a previous version it always shows an update warning that can’t be turned off.

Within a couple weeks of usage, I received the on-screen notification when launching the software below telling me to update. However, clicking on that “Install Now” button neither downloads nor installs a software update but instead, takes me back to the DxO website and prompts me to purchase brand new software.

If you’re curious, the original Nik Collection that was made free by Google in 2016 still works. You can grab it on Mac and Windows from this page at archive.org.

Categories
Photography

Pick your best photos faster

James Popsys explains how he picks the best photos from his shoots. Video is pre-pandemic. It’s refreshing to hear someone mention going out to photograph and not mention social distancing.

  • “In the field” shoot a black image if you see “the one” that works.
  • In Lightroom import your photos immediately. Do not sort and choose when you get home.

He uses stars in Lightroom. In the first round he awards up to three stars:

  • Single star – photo must be interesting and sharp (in the right places)
  • Another star – does the composition work?
  • Another star – is it exposed correctly?

For the second round, he only shows photos that have two stars or more. So that should show photos that are interesting and sharp, and either composition works or exposed correctly. In this round he changes composition by cropping and/or fixes exposure. Should have a few more three star photos.

At this point he’ll do more editing, and the best photos get another star. The very best get five stars.

I’m blogging this because I’ve had this video open in my browser tabs for months, meaning to try out this technique but I learn a process like this better if it’s written down. Hope it helps somebody!

Categories
Photography

Howto sync recent photos in Lightroom Classic

Lightroom Classic comes with 20GB of space on Adobe’s cloud service (Lightroom CC/Web/app) but did you know that you can sync photos to the cloud and then edit them on your phone without using that space?

The original photos are not synced, but a smaller cut down smart preview is which in most cases will be indistinguishable from the original.

If you create a collection all the photos in that collection can be synced with the cloud. They’ll appear as an album of the same name in the Lightroom app on your phone or iPad. They also won’t take up any of that valuable 20GB of space.

Unfortunately Adobe won’t allow you to sync smart collections, and I presume that is intentional for whatever reason. However, with the help of the Any Source plugin you can configure it to sync smart collections with the cloud. This very handy plugin syncs the smart collection with a dumb collection that can then be synchronised.

I use it to synchronise the following smart collections:

  • Published photos.
  • Unpublished photos.
  • Photos on my TODO list.
  • Recent Photos from the last 3 months.

The plugin has a free trial but is PWYW and well worth paying for!

Syncing my recent photos with the cloud is simple.

  • Create a smart collection.
  • Call it “Recent Photos”.
  • Add one rule: “Capture Date” “is in the last” 3 “months”.
  • Save.

That will create your new smart collection. Now follow the instructions to synchronise smart collections on the Any Source homepage. It might take a few minutes for the album to appear in mobile Lightroom but it will eventually.

Categories
Photography

HOWTO: Square Instagram images with white borders

I noticed that a lot of Instagram users, such as Alan Schaller to name but one, were posting images with thick white borders to make their images into the square images that Instagram favours. I like the striking look these images have in the Instagram gallery.

I wondered for some time about the best way of adding this border and from brief searches there are apps that will add the border but my workflow involves Lightroom so I wanted to integrate the border making into my export process.

I work on a Mac, and already have ImageMagick installed so I knew a little shell scripting would probably go a long way.

A couple of searches later, and I found this page describing how to use ImageMagick to create a floating image within a square canvas without changing the aspect ratio of the image.

Instagram resizes to 1080px wide so by using the following code I could make a rectangular image into a square:

convert -background white -gravity center input.jpg \
     -resize 1080x1080 -extent 1080x1080 result.jpg

Here’s an example from my street photo today. See it on Instagram here.

Once I could do that, the rest was simple. I have a Lightroom export for Instagram images that resizes them and places them in a folder where they are synced automatically with my phone using Syncthing.

Export actions have a “post processing” section where Lightroom can call an external script. I created the following script, made it executable with chmod a+x add_instagram_border.sh and added to Lightroom using “Open in Other Application”.

#!/bin/sh

# Square and add white borders to images.
# https://odd.blog/

for i in "$@"
do
    /usr/local/bin/convert -background white -gravity \
        center "$i" -resize 1080x1080 -extent 1080x1080 \
        /tmp/out.jpg
    mv /tmp/out.jpg "$i"
    open "~/Sync/Instagram"
done

The script goes through the exported images from Lightroom, adding borders to them, and then at the end opens the folder in Finder for review.

Hopefully this will be useful to someone else. If you add borders to your images, how do you do it?

Categories
Photography

No need for camera straps on the ISS

The astronauts living on the International Space Station are in a microgravity environment, so no chance a camera will fall to floor. Just leave it next to you until you need it again!

‘Course you might need velcro to keep the camera stuck to a surface for the same reason. Gravity won’t keep it down but air currents in the station will blow it around.


From the NASA live stream of the Dragon 2 capsule that has just docked with the ISS.


Selfies are easy too. 🙂
Categories
Photography

Lightroom: spot heal bug after DNG conversion

I discovered a bug in Lightroom!

If you apply the spot heal tool to an area in a RAW file (in this case, a Sony ARW one) and convert it to lossy DNG the spot heal will become a pink square. It’s easily fixed by applying the spot heal again but of course this shouldn’t happen.

While on the subject of Lightroom bugs, a long time ago I also noticed that the Transform tool acted differently on the compressed DNG version of a photo compared to the RAW (CR2) version. Hopefully that’s been fixed because that was a couple of years ago and I’m sure someone else has noticed by now ..

Categories
Photography

Sony a7iii: AEL in Manual Mode

One of the Facebook groups I’m part of is Sony a7iii/a7riii setup Tips. It’s a relatively quiet group but it’s chock full of great tips for Sony’s latest cameras.
One of those tips was posted yesterday and Daniel Ockeloen, the group administrator, made a video of it which I have embedded above.

In manual mode, the AEL button can be used to maintain the exposure while you change settings. With AEL activated changing the shutter speed will change the aperture and vice versa. In effect it’s the same as going back to Aperture or Shutter Priority modes but it does allow more flexibility since AEL can be deactivated and you get full manual control again, with the same exposure.

Do other cameras do this? My Canon 6D doesn’t. Apparently Pentax cameras have a hyper-manual mode which operates in much the same way, but others have been saying for a long time that manual mode is manual mode and you don’t need auto exposure.