There are many raw processors on the market. The major players are Capture One, DxOptics and the industry goliath being led by Adobe with Lightroom/Photoshop combination. Those photographers that use Lightroom/Photoshop understand that Lightroom has a specific weakness in the time it takes to ingest and render images. High volume sports, events and wedding photographers have long endured the lengthy times before they are able to start their post-processing editing workflow on Lightroom.
Photographers who have upgraded Lightroom over successive versions have no doubt pursued the available performance and tuning options for their systems. The introduction of Lightroom 6 has sped up the workflow to some degree but a high volume of images can still take hours to ingest and render. Let’s look at some numbers in more details. A day of shooting at the race track can quickly lead to 2000+ images that need to be copied over to your system and cranked through Lightroom. In my case this will typically take two to three hours before Lightroom has ingested and rendered the images. This is on a highly optimized PC with dual SSD’s, current Intel processor, 16 gb of memory and USB 3 disk drives.
Lucky for us, some smart folks have come up with some solutions to help speed up this kind of workflow. In this article we will look at two products; PerfectBrowse and Fast Raw Viewer. Photo Mechanic has a similar functionality but its intended market is different. It is oriented towards professional shooters and photo journalists who may be working with in-house or external staff whose function is to cull and process at high speeds with specific deadlines for publication. PerfectBrowse and Fast Raw Viewer are predominantly suitable for the serious amateur and professional photographer who looks after their own workflow.
Pefect Browse from OnOne
Both products have specific workflows to help speed up your overall imaging workflow and integration with Lightroom. These products work by being able to render a RAW image in under a ½ second. This will allow you to make your initial sorting selection and culling to go much faster. Once you have made your selections you can then start with your Lightroom workflow. Fast Raw viewer changes your workflow by letting you make selections and then copy the RAW image over to a target folder. In Lightroom you select this target folder to further ingest/render and edit your final selections. Perfect Browse works a little bit different by allowing you to make selections in the culling process and then apply filters based upon your selection criteria (Pick or Stars). The selected images can then be sent over to Lightroom to permit the final ingestion/render and edit of your final selections.
Let’s look at some hard numbers on the impact to workflow. The standard Lightroom workflow can take over 3 hours to ingest and render 2,000 images. (based upon Nikon D810 raw images approximately 32-40 mb in size) At this point you can start your selection and culling process. This part of the process can take me approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours to complete. Once my final selections have been made virtual copies are made and stored in a Lightroom collection. Eg. RacingEvent-EditSelections. Somewhere around the 4 hour mark I can start my actual Lightroom edits of my selections. This will be around 100 images from a race day.
Now let’s look at our modified workflow using Perfect Browse. The first part of the process is to copy the images from the memory cards via a USB3 card reader over to the USB3 disk drive. This will take approximately 30 minutes to perform. I then startup Perfect Browse and start my selection and culling process. This will take me 1 to 1 ½ hours to complete. At the end of this I have made 100 selections which I then send to Lightroom. Lightroom will then ingest and render the images which will take approximately 18-20 minutes. The net benefit of this workflow is that I can start my actual editing at somewhere around the 2 hour mark. The net benefit of using this workflow can easily save you hours which can make or break things if you have tight deadlines to honor. A side benefit of this workflow is that you can keep your Lightroom catalog down to a manageable size.
Now that we understand the time savings and adjustments to workflow we can now examine which product is right for you Fast Raw Viewer or Perfect Browse. Every photographer has specific genres they like to photograph and also a specific workflow that they are comfortable with. There is no one size fits all or perfect choice here. You need to pick something that best matches with your requirements. So let’s look at the pros and cons of each product in the comparison tables below:
Both products offer the photographer a faster workflow and are worthwhile if you have to deal with a high volume of images. The cost is modest or free depending upon your choice. My recommendation would be to use Perfect Browse if you have generalized requirements or you shoot sports. Fast Raw Viewer is the better choice if you shoot weddings or do critical studio work. Both products use the Open GL on your video card to speed up the image viewing process. Lightroom 6 uses the same methodology to speed up the Develop module. I would expect that the next update to Lightroom will use the same methodology to speed up this part of the workflow. In the interim this gives time for the developers of Perfect Browse and Fast Raw viewer to enhance their products further.
Fast Raw Viewer is available for $14.95 at http://www.fastrawviewer.com/
Perfect Browse 9.5 is currently free through this special link. http://www.on1.com/fstoppers/
Watsonphotography.ca creates unique images of fashion, models, travel, people and racing sports by the Toronto based photographer Peter Watson.
Have you ever entered a photo competition or a critiqued review of your images and wondered about the results. Been pondering the results ever since? So let’s start at the beginning. What is the purpose of photo contests? The purposes will generally vary from promotion of local talent, contributions towards the arts or a shameless grab on obtaining copyrighted material for less than commercial value. Yes, there are photo contests out there without scruples. So how do you sort out a good photo competition from a bad one? Below are some of the major considerations to think about before entering.
A competition with a wide range of categories and defined scoring and range of awards will attract a wide range of entries. This will allow you to determine a general form of ranking against other photographers from different locales and genres. A competition that provides feedback at the higher levels will help you improve your “game”. Look for additional categories and specialization. Some examples of this are:
Before entering in any competition a little research is the best direction. The first stop to educate yourself by reviewing your rights as a photographer at http://www.artists-bill-of-rights.com.
All competitions should be researched thoroughly. Some key points to look for are:
The first thing you need to be aware of is that all judges exhibit some form of bias when judging images. The degree of judging bias (sub-conscious or conscious) is based upon the judge’s life experiences, preferences on subject matter and specific types of cognitive bias. They may claim that they did not express bias when judging images but it is very well documented in research papers how bias is displayed in competitions. This is apparent in some sporting competitions and some organizations have taken major steps to try and address judging bias. Bias may not be intentional by the judges but it is very real. As part of your research on a photo competition here are some things to look at and consider:
The logistics of running a major photo competition can incur some major costs. Fees are an important barrier to entry for a contest, because the limit entries only to the most serious and discourage the frivolous. You should look at where the fees are being consumed by the organizers and what benefits they bring to the competitors. Look for competitions that publicize the winners in various media such as internet sites, press releases, publications out to industry creatives and gallery showings.
Good luck on your future participation in a photo competition. Your journey now doubt will be illuminating for you.
A final word:
Brother, you better watch out for the skin deep
Watsonphotography.ca creates unique images of fashion, models, travel, people and racing sports by the Toronto based photographer Peter Watson.
Today we look at some humour on the various photo shoot styles. As with any shooting technique it is always best to go with the style that gets you the best results or maybe this is the time to branch out a bit and try something else.
As you drive down the road in your car with the stereo blazing away to your favorite tunes; a thought pops into your head. What would it be like to meet a rock star? What are they really like? Do they snap their fingers to music in the car like you do? Do you play the drums or guitar as well as they do?
What actually happens when you meet that photographic rock star? That famous photographer that you revered and thought highly of when looking at gallery showings, publications and reading those in-depth interviews in a photography magazine.
Do you wobble at the knees, stammer a question, break into a cold sweat or freeze with fear. Probably none of the above. Your shyness has probably held you back as you listen to others pose a few questions. As you listen to your rock star you realize the differences are not as great as you think they are. What is it that differentiates some of the great photographers and how they construct a photo shoot? It mainly comes down to different styles. You need to find your own style. Identify where you are and expand beyond it.
As we look at photo shoot styles there three predominant types. 1. FUBAR 2. Anal Technophobe 3. Crocodile. Each method has merits or drawbacks. Let’s examine these in more detail from a tongue and cheek perspective.
Far more wide spread than you think. Some of the camouflage techniques that a FUBAR uses is to disguise themselves in modern accoutrements and technology. Yet basic photography technique may elude them. You may recognize them as MWC (Mom with Camera), DID (Dentist in Disguise) or the revered Uncle Bob at a family wedding.
The warning signs that a FUBAR is close by and conducting a photo shoot may be the steady staccato of a camera shutter, sounds of anger when chimping the camera display or outright hostility when their subjects do not pose correctly.
A FUBAR may bang off an occasional good frame which may make the pedantic masses happy and extend their dreams of a photographic livelihood. What is missing from the FUBAR technique? Keep reading about the other styles to find out.
This is a category that is unique and is more obvious than others. You may have seen it before; but you often walked past because you thought the photographer just had a passion for art. There are obvious signs in this category. This is what you need to look for:
As a general rule of thumb they do not offer constructive advice or provide commentary on their images or technique. Their feedback directed at other photographers can quite often visceral and exhibit troll like behaviour. Life is too short to deal with the verbal abuse. Move away quickly when you encounter this.
This is often what you miss when you watch other photographers. It is often portrayed as the quick shot or the re-examination of a particular look. They recognize the shot and then move in to explore this in more detail. A lot of photographers will dismiss other photographers merely because they did not see what the other photographer saw. There are some telltale signs to recognize this shooting style. Look for these obvious signs:
If you really wish to improve your shooting style the best advice is to invest time and money in formal photographic education and good quality photography workshops. You may have heard of the concept of mentoring in the business world. Give it a try. Seek out a more experienced photographer and work on a mentor/mentee relationship to improve your game.
Watsonphotography.ca creates unique images of fashion, models, travel, people and racing sports by the Toronto based photographer Peter Watson.
As you move around the photographic community and traverse the public landscape you see an astonishing amount of people using smartphones for snapshots and selfies. The proliferation of people taking snapshots is exploding. Or is it? Yes, statistically it is increasing as is all forms of digital artifacts from our modern age.
The proliferation of snapshots in the general public raises the visibility of photography. Too many in the photographic community look with disdain at smart phone photographers and causal snapshot takers. This disdain often extends to outright snobbery and elitism against snapshots. Is there justification for these viewpoints towards snapshots or is this simply an issue of illumination.
I think the main reason for the disdain and snobbery towards smart phone photographers and the causal snapshot taker is just ignorance about photographic history.
The use of cameras to take snapshots goes back to the introduction of the Kodak #1 camera in 1888. Invented and marketed by George Eastman. The Kodak # 1 was a simple box camera that came pre-loaded with a 100-exposure roll of film. After the roll was exposed, the camera was sent back to the factory in Rochester, New York. The film was processed and returned to the customer with the prints and a fresh roll of film installed in the camera.
Technical advances by the introduction of the Kodak # 1 were surpassed by George Eastman's skill in his marketing strategy. By simplifying photography and providing a
service for the consumer, he made photography accessible to the public. The marketing slogan for this camera was “You press the button, we do the rest." It is very easy to draw parallels between the marketing magic of George Eastman with that of Apple Corp. when they introduced the first iPhone to the market.
After the introduction of the Kodak # 1; photography for the masses increased exponentially. Snapshot photography became a national craze and ten years later in 1898 over 1.5 million roll-film cameras were in the hands of the public to take snapshots.
The early use of taking snapshots was meant to record important events in life. Typically this would entail snapshots of weddings, graduations, birthdays, travels and family get-togethers and to capture the introduction of changes to lifestyle with the introduction of pets, cars, and houses and the rearing of children.
Snapshots were often placed into family albums and were periodically added to. Family albums were often arranged by historical or narrative sequences that painted a vivid history of family life. Even though 100 years of passed the only difference in the curation of snapshots is in the display medium. Instead of family photo albums; snapshots are now arranged in web galleries of posted for display on social media.
The focus on snapshots has continued and evolved with each successive introduction in photographic technology over the past 125 years. The list below shows the evolution of camera technology used by the public in taking snapshots. I think George Eastman would be proud of the continuing tradition of using snapshots to capture the moments in our lives.
1. Kodak # 1
2. Kodak Brownie
3. Folding camera
4. 35 mm rangefinder
5. Kodak 126 film and cameras
6. Kodak 110 cameras
8. Point and shoot film cameras
9. Digital point and shoot
10. Smart phone
A future Part two article will discuss workflow techniques for smartphones. Stay tuned.
Images courtesy of Watsonphotography.ca and Cistrone Photography. Images captures on Apple and Blackberry smart phones.
The last winters have been harsh with rapidly changing weather patterns. This is just a foreshadowing of severe patterns we will experience as a result of global warming. Winter can curtail our recreational and pursuing our hobbies. A lot of people; photographers included; tend to hibernate indoors or pursue activities that do not require embracing the elements.
That is a real shame as the photographic beauty of winter landscapes is quite stunning. Look beyond the snowbanks, skidding cars and the people who curse the winter. Snow and ice can form and be transformed into unique sculptures. Ice can crack and create unique patterns or rearrange itself into stunning jigsaw patterns.
Photography in the winter requires a little bit more preparation; but it is well worth it. You need to cover off the basics first. A warm coat, boots and gloves are a must. Then there are some little extras to make your outing more enjoyable. Wool socks, scarf and hand warmers all come to mind. Your camera needs a little bit of care as well. Typically your battery life will be shortened so keep an extra battery in your shirt pocket to keep it warm. If you are brave enough to shoot in very harsh conditions then a camera/lens cover may also be necessary. The last thing to help extend your time outside is a thermos filled with some nice hot cocoa or soup. For some inspiration on creating your own winterscapes have a look at the Winterscapes Gallery.
Winter Escape to Jamaica
The 2015 winter has been harsh for many in in the northern US and Canada. For the the first time in my life I caved in to join the rest of the sun seekers in the Caribbean to escape our dreary winter. Exiting from the airport a lush tropical paradise awaited. Or so we thought. Jamaica is a country of stark contrast.
Abject poverty overwhelms; yet the happiness of the people is all encompassing. This is in stark contrast to the wealthy gated communities disguised as resorts. Many sun worshippers never leave the confines of the resort and see the real Jamaica. This portrays a negative image of the North American traveler. Jamaica has a lot to offer from cultural values, photographic scenery and a population that thrives on happiness. We can learn a lot from their positive outlook on life.
To get to Jamaica is simple. Open your internet browser and select a travel vacation site. Pull out your credit card and click OK. First step is done. Now get on the plane and embrace happiness. To get you started on the happiness buzz have a look at the Jamaica Gallery.
Are you stuck in a winter rut. Well now is the time to start your planning for your 2015 activities. I took a stab at some events that I would like to attend in 2015. I probably will not be able to attend all of them but I am sure going to give it the old college try.
Maybe this is the time you should be planning out some activities for 2015. My motto is nothing ventured then nothing gained.
After a nice winter vacation I came back to see the box office numbers from the movie 50 Shades of Grey which was adapted from the series of books. The domestic release of the movie was an impressive $130 million in 10 days with more than $280 million in foreign markets. Complete details of the release are at The HD Room.
Before the release there was an unusual amount of commentary, protests and analysis before anybody saw the movie. No doubt a lot of the commentary and analysis was intended to further his/her own political and social ideologies. Do I have a particular viewpoint about the movie. Not really, since I haven't seen the movie. The only thing that I can say is that sexuality is very complex and views towards certain sexual activities will vary by country and culture.
The creation of images can convey different meanings and messages. The viewer on the other hand can interpret the images in many different ways and often not what the photographer originally intended to convey to the audience. In the 50 Shades Revisited gallery you will see images that convey beauty and sexuality. Could some of them be considered to be kinky or alternative? Maybe, but this depends upon your viewpoint.
We must always remember that when Hollywood makes a movie it quite often is made to appeal to the lowest common denominator. The summer blockbuster movies are a perfect example of this. Not much plot and weak acting with some action sequences usually generate big box office numbers. What does this say about the movie 50 Shades of Grey. I guess a lot of people need some kink and spice in their lives.
To see the complete series of images go to the 50 Shades Re-Visited gallery.
In 2015 there has been record breaking winter temperatures and snowfall. There are a select few who relish the wintertime to race their snowmobiles. Everyone from the junior class for kids to the pro racers who defy gravity. An hours drive from my home was one of the regional snocross races. The shooting conditions were challenging with icy temperatures and fresh snow dropping later on in the day. Snocross racing is similar to motocross racing where you have a tight race course with turns, jumps and straightaways.
What is exciting is that the races feature all classes of races. You can see the little tykes race their Yamaha and Arctic Cat sleds. Then things get exciting when you see the more advanced and pro class racers with their high performance high horsepower sleds. The days of the old Ski-Doo with a small engine are gone. Top sleds like the Polaris racing sled are not for the faint of heart. Serious horsepower and capabilities.
If you are missing some racing action action in the winter you can go and get your fix by attending a local snowmobile race. Dress warmly and take an extra battery for your camera. Snocross racing photo gallery.
Winter has come with a vengeance this year. Many states and provinces have been hit with harsh winter storms. A lot of people head down south to warmer climates to escape the cold wintery blast. For the rest of us mere mortals we stick it out.
Winter is great time to look back at images and rethink some of the original editing. This week I went back and looked at some images of Crystal Baker. A model with that girl next door look with a personality to match.
This time I used a variety of editing tools to present different styles. I tend to concentrate on Lightroom, Silver Efex Pro and Topaz. If you have some spare time this wunter season why not go back and revisit some images and see what you can do. It is amazing what time and a different perspective can do to interpret your images a different way.
To see more take a peek at Looking Back gallery. More to come in the weeks ahead!
As you look at body of work of top rated photographers you will notice a high degree of specialization. In other words they have found their niche in photography. You may wonder how they have made that journey in their photographic career.
In most cases it has come down to two different approaches. The first concept is to embrace experimentation with whatever your subject matter is and then seeing if organic growth develops from this. The second concept is to develop an idea and then build a body of work on that concept. This concept is not unique and their are many web sites to help motivate you on that path. These sites revolve around the 365 day project or the 52 week challenge which features different challenge topics.
What I am suggesting is to take this a step further and pick one subject. It should be vastly different from your area principle areas of photography. For example if you are a bird photographer pick a subject like glass bottles or fruit. The goal is concentrate on that photography subject for a month to many years. The object is to develop a body of work concentrated on that principle topic. As you develop this body of work it will help you refine your technique further and find your niche.
One of the side benefits of this approach is that your individual images that make up you body of work may be suitable for photography competitions or your entire body of work is best suited for a gallery showing or magazine publication.
One project that I work on the side is photographing doorways. In my travels I have encountered many unique styles. Everything from the monolithic type doors of the Nasa Vehicle Assembly Building to doors built in the 18th century. Gallery on Doors
My project on doors is an ever evolving body of work that I will continue with. At some point I will consider it finished and embark on another topic. To help get you started on your own photography side projects here are some links to get you started:
As we get older our ability to overcome life’s' challenges becomes stronger. This is achieved through overcoming previous failures and building upon our knowledge in life and education. Common phrases like "Build a strong foundation and your home will last." and "Failure is not an option" are certainly words to live by. But how do you get to a point in your photography that you can get yourself to the next level.
Too many amateur photographers only take pictures of a subject that they are specifically interested in and they discount all other subjects. Quite often they don't diversify into other areas of photography due a fear of failure. This fear may have developed early on in their photographic journey through negative feedback on their images or by analysis paralysis critique of their own images.
As your portfolio develops and you increase your outreach in the photographic community you will encounter photographers that have strong talents on one specific niche. Did they get to this point by simply picking up a camera and concentrating on shooting fashion, macro, birds or racing cars? No, they learned to experiment in different areas of photography until they found a niche that they excelled in.
Overcoming your fear of failure will lead to greater learning as a photography and can help you diversify into other areas of photography. You may find that exploring different areas of photography you may find your strongest photographic strength.
To really overcome your fear of failure there are two main approaches. The first opinion is to face your fear head on and the second option is to embrace failure. Both options will teach you valuable skills on your photographic journey.
Which type of photographer are you? Embracing your fear or learning from failure?
The best way to move forward on your photographic journey is to equip your selves with the skills to overcome your fears. Focus on the psychology of fear and improving your photographic skills as a first step. To help you on your journey here are some web resources to get you going.
Resources to help you on your photographic journey.
New Years marks the end of a year and the birth of a new year. To celebrate the birth of a new year we have a picture of a young pup. Bold and full of energy to mark a new year. This young pup was photographed lying in the back of a truck waiting for his owner to come out of a local outfitter in Yellowstone. The puppy was overjoyed when his owner returned. Dogs give you love and joy and ask for nothing in return.
Each year I look back at what I have shot through the year and evaluate the images. Some I like and some I wish I hadn't taken. This year I am pretty happy with my final selections for the year. As I reflect on the images I feel happy and confident for the new year. You can view my final selections for the year in the Gallery.
Now for some wild predictions for 2015.
1. Chance of Canon releasing a high megapixel DSLR is 30%.
2. Chance of Nikon releasing a pro-level DX body in 2015 is 10%.
3. This will be the year we see a pro level mirrorless body.
This will probably be the year I don't make any gear acquisitions. 2015 is the time to take my current camera to its full capabilities and see what I can deliver. This will be coupled to investments in photographic education. My goal is to deliver high quality images across a broad spectrum of the photographic spectrum. We will see where I am in 6 months time. This is when most people have given up on their New Years resolutions. Best of luck to you on your resolutions for 2015.
Watsonphotography.ca creates unique images of fashion, models, people,travel, nature and racing sports by the Toronto photographer Peter Watson.
The American mid-west is fascinating with its iconic scenery and cliche characters. It is an area that draws me back again and again. The cast of characters included everything from cowboys to the rich and eccentric in Jackson Hole. Whether your subject is landscapes, wildlife or people it is a photo rich area that keeps a photographer engaged.
This time around it was a visit to another part of the American West. The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone park. If you are looking for an area of the US where you can capture the iconic images that America was built upon then you should definitely consider a trip here. The wildlife is plentiful, scenery is intense and and good all around hospitality.
The best time of year to go is the shoulder season between fall and winter. As winter sets in early in this part of the continent the optimum time for a trip is the middle to late September. The summer crowds have diminished and most services are still available in the parks. A bonus is reduced rates on hotels and less crowded restaurants.
Thinking of a trip to the US mid-west? Here are some informational links to get you started on your journey:
Wyoming Inn 4 out of 5. Highly recommended by TripAdvisor and myself.
Explorer Cabins 5 out of 5. Highly recommended
The only negative on the trip was a chef that should be fired for inadequate food preparation skills in a small town restaurant in Wyoming. Can't win them all, but a good memory was the cowboy barbecue at Custer State Park which was a lot of fun.
Images by WatsonPhotography.ca and Cistrone Photography
Watsonphotography.ca creates unique images of fashion, models, people, travel, nature and racing sports by the Toronto photographer Peter Watson.
The mainstream media has a tendency to only provide coverage of popular sports, hobbies and pastimes. There is more to life than mainstream interests. Television has created a world of spectators instead of participants. You know who they are; the armchair quarterback, the sofa hog or PC jockey. Typically full of criticism and self-loathing of any activity that is outside the norm or not televised on TV. Thankfully there are people that are outside the norm and do participate in their own hobbies and interests. Some would call the people that attend FanExpo or Comicon as freaks and weirdos. Look at this from a different angle. They are actively participating in something that they love. This is a far cry from the bench warming activities of the armchair quarterback. In the Gallery you will see people that have a zest for life. We could all learn something from their passion.
Watsonphotography.ca creates unique images of fashion, models, people, travel, nature and racing sports by the Toronto based photographer Peter Watson.
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