Look For The Second Picture And The Third

Over the years I have learned that the most successful photographers working will often look to see what else is there and really work the scene to see if there is another picture behind the picture. In other words, find another picture, possibly two more pictures, while you are in the same scenario with the same subject. Don’t stop just because you think you have it.

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Condensation

Condensation can be an inconvenience, but for photographers, it can be a real problem. A couple years ago I was on a cruise down the Yangtze River in China and one morning got up and stepped out on the balcony to photograph the sun rising over a bridge. My camera was quite cool after being in the air conditioned cabin all night and when I stepped out onto the balcony a heavy coating of condensation covered the camera and lens.

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Step It Up

Step-up rings are adapters that allow you to attach filters to a lens when the filter diameter and the lens diameter are different. They seem pretty simple and straightforward. A metal ring and no optics. Even so, there are so many choices that things can get quite confusing. So let’s clear a few things up.

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Flash Duration

For the typical compact camera flash, the flash duration is between 1/200 second at full power and 1/20,000 at the lowest output level. That sounds fast but when I add some diffusion to the flash - like a small softbox - I end up having to use the flash at, or very close to, full power. That just left some subjects still a little blurry.

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Cables Cables Everywhere

We all have that drawer full of old cables and connectors. I’ve thought many times about cleaning it out, but I know when I do, I’ll find something that needs a special plug that is buried in the drawer. I laugh too at my computer bag. I bought a MacBook Air because they are so lightweight yet still pack the punch. But, I also have a gadget bag full of adapters and cords that probably outweighs the computer itself.

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Turning Pro

When we are out at photography events one of the most common questions we get is something like this. "What do I need to do to turn Pro?" It's a simple enough question. But it certainly doesn't have a simple answer. After all, what's a "professional"? 

Professional, as an adjective, is simply "engagement in a specific activity as one's main occupation." As a noun, it's a "person engaged or qualified in a profession", someone "competent of skilled". 

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We expect a professional to not only make an income from their work but to do it in a manner that reflects a high level of proficiency and skill. So, what does it take to turn pro? It's far more than just making money.

Someone who is a real professional is committed to their chosen field. They study and practice to improve their skills so they can deliver to their client the best quality product and service they can provide. Professionals aren't perfect. Professionals don't know it all. But, professionals are life-long learners who surround themselves with resources that help them manage their business. 

Turning Pro - Webinar

This month we're offering a special 2-night live webinar in which we will be exploring this very topic - what it takes to become a professional photographer. There will be two 2-hour sessions on Monday, July 23 and Tuesday, July 24, at 7:00 pm Central Time.  

Learn more about this valuable webinar on our website. If you know of anyone that may be interested please do share this with them. 

Lightroom Disaster - When You Lose Your Originals

You know that feeling. You’re working in Lightroom and something just isn’t right. Suddenly it hits you - like a lightning bolt. The original files from your camera are gone. It sends a chill down your spine and gives you that horrible sinking feeling. Now what? You may have just moved the originals and can reconnect them. Or, they may be gone - even from the memory card.

Photo by fizkes/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by fizkes/iStock / Getty Images

All may not be lost. There’s a good chance that you can recover something from your images. The key is understanding how Lightroom works.

 The exclamation point in a dotted box tells you that Lightroom can not locate the original file.

The exclamation point in a dotted box tells you that Lightroom can not locate the original file.

When you “import” a file into Lightroom, you really don’t. Yes, that’s what I mean. Read that sentence again. Lightroom never really “imports” anything. It may put your originals into a folder somewhere, but they never reside inside Lightroom. Instead, what you see when you use the program is a preview image.

The image you see in Lightroom is a JPEG file that is stored inside the Lightroom catalog. Lightroom calls them previews, and they can be a very small thumbnail or have the dimensions of your original file. Regardless of size, Adobe has provided a nifty script that can be installed in Lightroom which gives you the capability of extracting the JPEG previews and creating a separate file. You can then edit this file just as you would any other image file.

Install the script

Search the Adobe help site for an article titled Extract Preview for Lost Images. In that article, you'll see instructions for how to install the script and also how to run the script. It's really straightforward, just follow the directions provided. The only stumbling block that I can see is that you need to be very careful what folder you put the script in.

 After installing the script and restarting Lightroom you should see the script icon next to the Help menu. It may look different in Windows and Mac but the function will be the same. 

After installing the script and restarting Lightroom you should see the script icon next to the Help menu. It may look different in Windows and Mac but the function will be the same. 

A word of caution, in step 3 of the instructions you’ll click a button “Show Lightroom Presets Folder…”, and this will display a folder for all Adobe products. You should see another folder called Lightroom. It is that folder in which you must copy the downloaded script.

Extracting the Image File

Running the script is pretty straightforward. It simply asks you for a file location. This is where you want the newly created files to be stored. I’d suggest a unique folder so that when you’re done, the only contents of the folder are your new files.

It’s going to create a new image file for each of the selected photos. You can extract a single image, or select multiple images.

When it's done, you’ll find a new JPG file with the name of the original file appended with the size of the image. For example, if you’re original file was IMG_1234.CR2, then the new file will be IMG_1234-[pixel width]x[pixel height].jpg.

The pixel dimensions all depend upon the size of the preview that Lightroom has in its catalog. If you’re lucky enough to have 1:1 previews, you’ll see pixel dimensions that should match what you get out of your camera.

After extracting a preview file, I imported the extracted file and compared it to the original preview in Lightroom. As you can see, the color isn't the same but because I had a 1:1 preview, the amount of detail in the file matches the original. Not perfect but I can live with this. (This is Compare View zoomed to 1:1 - showing a portion of the image above.)

The Caveats

This method of image recovery does NOT bring back the original image. There is bound to be some loss of quality, especially if Lightroom does not have a 1:1 preview of the photo available. Even so, it can be a lifesaver as long as you understand the shortcomings.

  • There is no metadata in the extracted preview. That doesn’t mean that the catalog information in Lightroom is gone. It just doesn’t point to the newly created file.
  • The extracted image file doesn’t contain an ICC profile. So, if you import it back into Lightroom, it will be tagged with the sRGB profile.

The Adobe script can be a lifesaver but it doesn't magically bring back your original file. This is one of those tools that should be a last resort. To avoid needing this solution, make sure you have a good backup system in place and keep it up to date. 

Hawaii - It's Not What You Expect

The workshop was on the island of Hawai’i, also known as The Big Island. We can’t count all the calls and notes we received from people concerned that we were heading into an erupting volcano. Kilauea has been making news lately with dramatic eruptions and flowing lava that has destroyed many homes and caused evacuations for several neighborhoods.

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Color Wheel

Artists and academics have tried to understand and describe color for centuries. About 2,400 years ago, Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle theorized that color existed in the form of rays sent down from the heavens by God. It wasn’t until the Renaissance in the 1300’s that more sophisticated models and systems were developed.

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Copyright CASE Act Update

In Congress today is a bill that has now been passed into committee. The bill is H.R.3945 and its short title is the “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2017” or the “CASE Act of 2017”. What’s refreshing about this bill is that it enjoys bipartisan support. Of seven cosponsors of the bill, three are Republican and four are Democrats. And, they hail from all parts of the country, from Rhode Island to Georgia, to Texas and California.

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Resolution Isn't So Clear Anymore

Resolution has always been a tricky subject for new photographers to grasp. After all, there is not a single resolution that we talk about. The quality of the lens optics affects the resolution of the lens. The size and design of the sensor significantly influence the resolution of your camera. Even your image data file has variables that define the image data resolution. But display screens are changing and they are chinging the way we look at display resolution. 

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