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Friday, 25 March 2016


Mike, I am currently reading John Rohrbach's, "Color, American Photography Transformed" and a book I think you would enjoy. From a review: "Rohrbach’s scholarship has done: help us to think more deeply about how color does (and doesn’t) alter the meaning of images." (https://collectordaily.com/color-american-photography-transformed-ed-john-rohrbach/). This is NOT a book of only history or process, but what Color MEANS to making images. I just found this video, which you might enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Npfp4gFmS7E.

My favorite note-taking, idea-saving, and short-form writing tool is Evernote. It's folders and tagging combined with a good search engine (it will search through PDFs that you save and will automagically OCR any JPGs that have text in them!) makes it easy to save something and find it later.

My favorite longer form writing tool is Scrivener. It takes some learning (it incorporates both an outlining and index card metaphor), but it's ability to help me organize my thoughts, re-organize them, and then re-organize one last time is unparalleled.

How can I take better crappy pictures without better gear?

[Taking the crappy ones is easy. Anyone can do that. The reason for better gear is having the proper "quality of file" for when you get a great one. --Mike]

One solution to the problem of orphaned photography-related software is what happened with LightZone. This photo-editing program was "adopted" by a group of dedicated fans and transformed into an open source project, after its original creators gave up on it five years ago. So it has been kept alive and is even updated periodically (Lightzoneproject.org). I rely on it myself, since AFAIK there is nothing else quite like it.

If only Nikon would buy Nik (or had bought Nik), and then perhaps give us Capture NX3. I might then consider buying a newer Nikon camera than those with RAW files that can be edited directly with Capture NX2... not that I need* anything better than the current collection.

(*need and want, are not the same!)

The elegance of the Motorola 68000 architecture was breathtaking. Had it come out 6 months sooner, we would not have had to live with the ugly monstrosity that is the Intel x86 for the past 35 years (and for as far as the eyes can see).

It would be interesting to know how the success rates of kickstarter photo books compares to more traditional ways of getting a book published. How many books are submitted to publishers that never make it.

Being one of those few people in the world who does not own any device that uses iOS no color for me. The book is not available for Windows or Kindle devices.

Oh well, I have no lack of good photo books to read thanks to your regular recommendations.

According to this Nik is probably dead for desktop users: http://www.pcworld.com/article/3048347/software/googles-high-end-nik-collection-photo-software-is-now-free-and-probably-dead.html

The writing was on the wall when Google bought it, supposedly to get at least one person on the planet to use G+.

What gets under my skin is the fine-tuned cynicism with which Google killed these very fine products. If they simply said they were discontinuing them, there'd be some indignation and impotent fist waving from the photographic community, blog posts would be written about how these large and evil corporations devour and spit out smaller innovative ventures, and anyone remotely interested would be hating on Google - at least until the next distraction came along.
But by the simple act of giving it away for free instead, they garner nothing but high-fives and 'thx for the heads-up - just installed!!' and 'awesome!' on every photographic forum online. Call them out, and you're just spoiling the party - because who doesn't love FREE?
When it's finally officially abandoned in 6 month's time, then the majority of users will be thinking it was free anyway, so what's the fuss. Those of us who paid hundreds of dollars and who use some parts of the collection as an integral part of our workflow will just have to hope it keeps working in the future, without any maintenance updates.
And while smartphones continue to eat the large camera corporations from underneath, the reason Google bought the company that owned Nik was to get hold of Snapseed - the mobile image-editing technology.

I thought Canon and Nikon ended new product development some time ago.

I wholesaler efex stays viable for a while. I'm yet to find it's equal in ease of use and quality but I'm open to suggestions.

" Maybe orphaned software is the 21st century version of a discontinued but much loved and needed film or paper" ... come up to Rochester and I can guide you to Velox street. At least it's something.

Oh, man, how I miss WriteNow. It was fast, clean and somehow had everything that I needed in its minimal footprint. Another bit of software that I miss is Ready, Set, Go. It was page layout software that, while more capable and complicated than WriteNow, was easy to understand and use. I would switch back to the pair of them in a heartbeat. I may as well show my age, I miss VisiCalc, too. Really, I do. The common thread is simplicity.

I agree with you Mike - WriteNow was the best word processor. Lean, functional, no extra overhead, no automated processes fighting you...

Is photography really ephemeral now?
I had been a longtime user of Aperture. It was hard to accept that the glorified Apple could seemingly abandon it without conscience. Now I use Lightroom. Nik is also a product that I use. Adobe seem to be far more commercially obsessed with the idea of moving us all to subscriptions, which, over time, will extract far more money from us. If they push Lightroom this way, it will mean another move. Other than using film, which I occasionally do, how can we secure our photo base?

Ah WriteNow. An absolute classic and totally agree with you Mike. It was the best! https://systemfolder.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/mac-classics-writenow/

Kickstarter and self-pub services have totally changed the photobook landscape. The monograph from Aperture or whatever is no longer the only endpoint and to plenty of people it's not even an interesting one.

Social network, develop a following, kickstart your book, print on blurb. Buy books done the same way by like minded people, and send it goes. There's a whole ecosystem out there and lots of the usual suspects don't even seem to know it's happening.

This isn't a bad time for photobooks, is the best time ever, in a lot of ways.

Google has also abandoned it's Picasa desktop software and ended Picasa Web Album online, and says it has moved users photos to Google Photos online.

I have about 75,000 images organized by software that's no longer supported, and is no longer available for download in case the old copy gets corrupted.

My mistake, entrusting my pictures to what is basically a Search Engine/Money Sucking corporation rather than a photography company. Like Nikon. And it's Capture 4 and Capture NX software...

It used to be one thing to lose a favorite film stock or a paper like Agfa Portriga. But at least the scoundrels couldn't walk into your home and deface or randomly shuffle all your prints or smash your bookshelves. In the digital age, we are at the mercy of our corporate overlords.

My personal experience of Nik software is that their tech support is very prompt and customer-led.
Late last year I had a problem with significant banding on Nik SilverFXPro files with specific settings. Within 12 hours I got a reply saying they were developing an update to address the problem. 3 days later the tech support guy phoned and patiently took me through a complicated update procedure resulting in a patch that worked. Three weeks later the public update came out which resolved the problem for everyone else as well.
Similar but different issue this year which was handled equally well.
Has this level of support dropped dramatically in recent weeks or is my experience an exception?

@Robert, I think you should welcome Adobe's move to a subscription model. It's the best way to ensure that the product stays in production for as long as you want it. It aligns their interests with yours, which is best for everybody.

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