Posts in Category: Classroom

Corridors of Power

It’s rare to get a chance to visit the Presidential palace with full photography gear, no holds barred type access. Though there were a few no-go places… we got to see the Corridors of Power. And I finally entered the Photography Competition. I’ll do a complete upload of my finished set shortly.

The deadline is near for this competition. I swant to take part, but it was so hard to choose from all the different photographs that I took. I should have had a much more thorough set, but I often find myself too excited, tired, too whatever to concentrate on the opportunity at hand. Probably one reason I’m not an event photographer.

After shuffling through over 200 images, I finally chose my entry. I called it: “Throw Open The Doors”. Apparently, these doors are never closed. I’m sure the meaning is symbolic: that the doors of power are always open, that the powers that be are always working… something like that!

The original image isn’t perfect by any means: ISO quality not great @ 400; there is motion blur from the slow shutter speed 1/25s. Of course, it’s an action shot, so I didn’t have the chance to reshoot this scene within a short time. The original RAW looked like the left image, I squared it a little to focus on the people coming through the door. I couldn’t bring myself to center the door, though I centered the people.

Then Exposure +.6; contrast -6. Highlights -76; Shadows +58; Whites +18; Blacks -18 to get a wider dynamic range in B&W. Then a slight boost to Clarity/Dehaze, despite TC Lin warning me about these, of +5. A touch more vibrance, too. Finally lots of sharpening & masking. Extra luminance/detail/Smoothness. Perhaps I overdid the color/detail settings, too.

I ran it through Silver FX Pro, which of course converted it to B&W. Tweaked structure, lights and darks, and a few other knobs. For this.

Revisited #9: Bitan Bridges in Hsintien, NTPC

It’s always good to revisit old edits, as a way to measure my success or failure in past efforts. The image in today’s post came from my looking through old Archives of what used to look like.

Though it was a JPG originally, I didn’t see much point in editing it. Still, feeling poorly today caused me to 2nd guess that decision. Oddly, the shot was originally made in black & white, which is a pity. I probably took it like that because of the poor lighting conditions and the ISO was way up at 3200. Surprisingly not too blurry even for handheld 1/20s.

The original was essentially unedited except for the decision to shoot in B&W. I also have a color version that had very similar settings, but the file size was 50% bigger. So I will edit that as a B&W for comparison shortly. The 2nd edit had chromatic aberration removed, a little transformation, and a profile was chosen in LR (B&W03).



Which is better? Left or right? Why?

Facebook Feedback!

So I posted this on FB yesterday with the same question. I’ve already received a ton of responses. Almost every single answer favors the left image, here are the reasons:

Additional votes came from Romi Quinn, Susan Lim and Tom Manning (thanks, guys!)

And now my own additional notes

A lot of backstory in that image: 101 is the setting for a lot of pro-/anti-china protests under the previous mayor, who for unknown reasons used to tolerate the pro-china lobby. The protest is a silent respectful one that doesn’t harrangue people in support of FalungGong.

I took it as a gesture to street photography: the man who is tidying up at the end of the day mimicked unintentionally the gesture of the girl in the poster. That’s why I did the original crop to focus on that more. But somehow the lights at Christmas add to the atmosphere.

There wasn’t time to reframe the image or change any of the settings. Take it or miss it situation!

So it seems the left one wins this debate resoundingly! If you’d like to pile into the debate, join us on Photowalkers! That leaves me to present the full edit…comments on FB!





Storage Wars: The Tardis of Terabytes

Horror of horrors! I had accumulated a large amount of data with the photos taking up an ever-increasing proportion. Even Dropbox is approaching 600GB of my 1TB. While I think it will take a while to reach the limit on DB, the approaching renewal date for DB and the lack of real space on my computer is forcing me to take action earlier! I only have about 500GB of space on my laptop, so the Dropbox installation is already way over! And I add about 10GBs a month with my photography.

Now you’re saying: cull, cull, cull! And of course, I could. But I don’t have the time or interest to cull enough images to make that much of a difference. Worse, my early images are messed up, and disorganized a little. I had intended to cull some, but ended up moving a bunch of photos including keepers into the same folder! So the only route is to make use of external drives, as recommended by Filipe and Craig (thanks, dudes!):

Filipe Rios: There will never be a large enough drive to keep fitting inside the laptop. External HDD all the way.

KJ Dickson: Since I don’t use previews in LR at the moment, I dumped the entire bunch… I might have to reenable that function?

Filipe Rios: It is much better. Dump the RAW on external drive and use previews to edit. Much faster.…See More

Craig Ferguson: What size drive do you have now?

KJ Dickson: 500GB internal, TB (full) ext. and pictures expanding too fast even for Dropbox (which I will drop this year because they don’t have a bigger plan). I also need to cull more… but I don’t really have the time to extensively cull photos… I doubt I could cull 00GB though.

Craig Ferguson: If it’s a desktop, you can get 2TB internal drives for about 500 these days.

KJ Dickson: Craig Ferguson I might get one of the small size drives… that should do for a while. I guess…

So here is my current backup strategy. Analyze, discuss, criticize. PLEASE!

Using the basic concept of 3-2-1: I have 2 copies of the catalogues saved on my PC, one on the desktop, and one on the D-drive. Images are themselves organized by year-month-event folders, all neatly in subfolders. There is one copy of them on the D-drive, because I don’t have enough space any more on the C-drive.

I use two disk drives, one small 150GB drive that’s quite old as a stop-gap back up of ONLY the photography stuff, images and catalogues; and a 4TB drive that backs up everything neatly. Finally, everything is backed upto Dropbox and Google Drive for the oldest part of my collection. I say backed up, I really mean backed up. It’s not shadowed anywhere else because I don’t have enough space elsewhere.

I’m planning to make three changes:

  1. a mirror backup of everything at work on a separate 1TB
  2. with a temporary backup of 150GB, both kept off site
  3. I finally plan to drop Dropbox (get it!) when the size gets much bigger.

I don’t want to end up paying $20pm for ANOTHER service on top of everything else I pay for, but mostly because Dropbox refuses to up its minimum size for us 1TB-ers. Pity… I love many things about Dropbox, but not their stinginess. At some point, I will have to get computers with much bigger in-built drives but I will need two of them! So… I hope Father Christmas comes twice.

That’s quite a stack of disks, but the actual storage space maxes out at just 1.5TB. Compared to that stack, my new mini 4TB is positively tiny. I could easily get 4 units inside just one of those bigger cases! It doesn’t matter what kind of disaster plan you have, it’s only as good as the first crisis. I’ve got no idea if my own preparations will be enough! But I have another PC that could easily work as a storage server. Tempting.

TEPC Critique: November 10th

Black on White

Over the City