My Foundational Experiences In Photography

How we approach photography is shaped by our experiences. This episode of my vlog shares some of my foundational experiences, how they shaped my vision and my expectations for quality, and gives some of the backstory behind what I teach.

What are some experiences that have shaped your photography?

Stuck inside? Keep Learning, Keep Photographing!

As the current Corona Virus situation unfolds, many of us are going to be spending more time at home, and more time in some sort of semi-isolation.  I don’t know about you, but being closed off from my normal day-to-day is going to have me climbing the walls soon, so I want to suggest to you that this extra time is an opportunity to keep growing in your photography. 

The good news is that we can keep photographing wherever we are, with whatever we have. Even inside our homes there are whole worlds to explore. The 20th century photographer Edward Weston https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Weston made his famous “pepper” photos during a time when he was so poor he had to ration himself to one sheet of film a day, and the peppers he used as subjects became his meals. Out of those challenging circumstances, he made enduring images, and his photograph “Pepper #30” sets records at art auctions.

Don’t let equipment be a barrier either. When I was studying photography in college, one of my classmates did an amazing series on shoes for our product photography class, using just a desk-lamp and long exposures to light paint.  The result was something that equaled the best photos produced in a NYC studio.  Cost and equipment isn’t a barrier.  Weston’s Pepper #30 was made putting a pepper into a steel funnel as a “background.”

Even if we are avoiding social settings, nature remains open. From our yard, to green spaces and parks, there is a whole world we can explore while still keeping ourselves safe. Spring is upon us and every day gives new possibilities as flowers bloom and trees leaf out. Get down on your hands and knees with a macro lens and see what’s growing and photograph it!

The learning can also continue at the processing stage. I don’t know about you, but I have a whole host of “to learns” from new software packages, to techniques, to photos I’ve been meaning to get back to. Pick one of those and take advantage of the chance to dive in as deep as you can go.  If you’ve been putting off learning Photoshop, now is a perfect time to learn!

Those are my ideas, and I’d love to hear yours! Tell me what projects you’re planning on pursuing.

macOS Catalina causing problems with some storage devices

statement from Rod Harrison, VP of Engineering at StorCentric, parent company of Drobo:

macOS Catalina has reported issues with multiple external devices from various manufacturers. We have reported this to Apple in regards to Drobo specifically and we are still awaiting an update from the company. We will share an update with all of our customers as soon as we receive this. However, as this is a broader issue across multiple external devices, we do not believe that this should prevent Drobo users from upgrading to Catalina.

This is why it’s good to let major OS updates get the bugs worked out before installing it.

More info here:

https://www.zdnet.com/article/macos-catalina-warning-dont-upgrade-if-you-rely-on-a-drobo-8d/

Hard Drive Costs November 2019

Current hard drive costs at a glance with links to purchase from Amazon. I recommend Seagate hard drives because they continue to test as some of the longest lasting drives.

Highlight for November is that 10TB external drives are a big savings over 10TB Internal drives. Also, on a cost per TB basis, 10TB drives are getting close enough to the sweet spot of pricing to make them attractive. But I generally don’t recommend buying more than a year’s capacity at a time, because 10TB drives could be $100 by next November, and will erase any “savings” from buying more than you need now. Also remember that a properly backed up “storage set” requires three drives, so buying more than you reasonably need (over provisioning) can suck up a lot of money.

Sometimes external drives are less expensive than internal drives. Advanced users may want to explore “shucking” external drives to save money as the external drives are often, but not always, SATA drives that can be used as an internal drive.

EXTERNAL

2TB $59.99 ($30 per TB)
4TB $89.99 ($22.50 per TB)
6TB $99.99 ($16.60 per TB)
8TB $139.99 ($17.50 per TB)
10TB $179.99 ($18 per TB)

INTERNAL

2TB $49.99 ($25 per TB)
4TB $89.99 ($22.50 per TB)
6TB $131.99 ($22 per TB)
8TB $149.99 ($18.75 per TB)
10TB $249.99 ($25 per TB)
12TB $312.99 ($26 per TB)
14TB $439.99 ($31.40 per TB)
16TB $476.99 ($29.80 per TB)

I’m an Amazon affiliate so I receive a small commission from each sale.

Freemium Content

I’m experimenting with adding a “Freemium” section to the members site. It will be free content, but you’ll have to be a registered user to access it.

If you’d like access to the Freemium section, send an email to rich (at) richseiling .com and I’ll send you an invite to create your free account.

The first Freemium is in depth article explaining how to make sure your photos are protected from hard drive failures. Once you are registered, you can read it here:

https://members.craftingphotographs.com/simple-storage-and-backup-plan.html

i1Studio Update Alert

I’ve been having issues with the latest i1Studio software version 1.5 and 1.5.1. It doesn’t let me successfully “save session” which means I loose my work if I close the app or start a new profile , and that interferes with allowing extended drydown time. Till I hear from X-rite, my solution was to roll back to the 1.1.1 version which is working properly and I know produces good profiles.

Finding the right version can be a little complicated because x-rite spreads their content across several URLs, but these links should work for you.

https://xritephoto.com/i1Studio

https://www.xrite.com/service-support/product-support/calibration-solutions/i1studio

As a side note, this is why typically turn off “auto update” on my software and I don’t install updated unless I have the time to troubleshoot and validate that the software has not changed the behavior of my printing or viewing environment. I’ve been bit too many times by updates messing things up while on deadline projects. This was one of those times, said, what the heck, I’ll update” thinking it would be no big deal, but it turned into a multi-day setback.

New Name – Make Better Prints is now Crafting Photographs

As this blog and my ideas for it have grown, I realized that it’s about more than just making prints. Photography is an encompassing process, that starts the moment we click the shutter. Making better prints requires working backward through the process to the moment you click the shutter, and working forward from the shutter click to the final output. Everything that happens between those to moments decides how good your final photograph will be. 

A large part of making better prints is making better exposures and learning to process precisely. So if I want to help you make better prints, I need to talk about the whole process. 

I’m realizing that “printing” is one of those loaded words that can have multiple meanings. To some it means literally just hitting command P and the settings you use on the printer. But to me, printing is this encompassing process that starts even before I take my camera out and click the shutter. So I want to ditch that loaded word to avoid confusion. 

The irony is, I went back and forth in naming this blog between “Make Better Prints” and “Crafting Photographs” as I’ve blogged before under the Crafting Photographs name. I went with Make Better Prints in the hopes it would let me stand out in a very crowded blog and youtube community by emphasizing a skill I’m well known for. But in the process, I believe I limited the audience despite the fact the content is applicable to any photographer. 

Crafting Photographs has always been a good expression of my approach to photography. In setting out to make work that captured the beauty I saw in the work of other photographers I admire, I learned that photographs are carefully crafted through hard work, study of the craft, understanding of the materials, and application of them through inspiration to achieve photographs that evoked uncommon levels of awe and wonder.  The goal of this blog has always been to help share that knowledge and appreciation, and that’s better reflected in the new name. It’s about more than just making better prints, it’s about learning how to use your tools and materials to express yourself as clearly as possible to tell your stories. 

With that bit of housekeeping done, the only thing left to do is start putting up new posts. I hope you continue to enjoy the blog as much, and more than before. 

Rich

Pattern Noise in new Fujifilm GFX100

Clean, smooth tones are one of the hallmarks of an extraordinary print. Particularly in landscape photos, smooth tones in skies are essential. Pattern noise in a digital sensor can destroy those smooth tones, and there is no post processing trick to remove it. So I’m really discouraged to see Lloyd Chambers’ report that the new Fujifilm GFX100 is having problems with this due to the inclusion of Phase Detect Auto Focus pixels on the sensor. Check it out at:

Fujifilm GFX100: those PDAF Pixels Make Me Wish I Could have a GFX100 Without Them

I hope Fuji can find a fix for this because it could be a amazing camera for landscape photography with new 4×5 quality.

It seems to be limited to the new 100MP camera. I have a couple clients using the 50MP Fuji and haven’t seen or heard of in in those cameras. The 50MP cameras are excellent, and make beautifully detailed prints.

Sony A7RIV – Megapixel Size Chart

How much print resolution will you gain using the new Sony A7RIV? This chart will give you an idea. Print height and width are listed across the top, and the columns show the ppi file possible from a specific megapixel sensor.

A quick look shows us The 61MP sensor of the Sony A7RIV lets you make a 20×30 with 316.8 ppi of data, a 51 ppi increase over a 42MP sensor at 265.8 ppi, or about a 19% increase. Both will make exceptional 20×30 prints, but the 61MP sensor will resolve more fine detail.