#851. Monday Post (29 April 2019) – Am I missing something?

By Paul Perton | Monday Post

Apr 29


Two days running I’ve received pre-release announcements from software companies making post processing applications for photographers.


The first came yesterday, with On1’s blare about its upcoming 2019.5 release and this morning, I found an e-mail from Skylum, trumpeting its latest Luminar AI-based wonder.


On1’s Photo RAW has progressed from its early, under-powered, buggy releases, into a solid, if brash product, almost ready to take on Lightroom and win. This release – free to current users – brings a dual monitor ability, edit history and quite a lot more.












As far as I can see, there won’t be any change(s) to its oddly laid out user interface, nor will the irritatingly large and almost bitmapped cursors see any maturation.


That said, I can see a time in the future when a migration from Lightroom might be on my cards. At present, I still use InDesign and very, very occasionally Photoshop, all of which prohibits me from kicking Adobe’s ridiculous Creative Cloud package to the kerb. My Photoshop usage is driven by how much of its complexity and arcane methodology I can remember/look up/find/understand and use, so as alternatives to InDesign appear and my need to publish books and pamphlets scales back, so does my need for Photoshop. When they go, LR will be with them.


I remain sad about Luminar’s inability to make me a happy post processor. I love the interface and really like the tools, especially the AI fix-it-all. Sadly, so much fundamental (for me) functionality is still missing that I didn’t bother with the last upgrade and don’t plan on spending another US$60-odd to be disappointed this time.


Landmannalaugar, Iceland










So for now, I’ll stick with Adobe CC and its paper clip-like irritating reminders to update software I neither want, nor use. LR does the job well enough, despite being like a Botoxed-model from yesterday compared to today’s svelte, shiny camera fodder.


It’s a shame really.


Moving on (a bit)


Our familial relocation from Cape Town kicks into reality gear on Tuesday, when Mrs P leaves for London. I’ll be a month behind her, having wanted to enjoy the last of the Cape’s autumn, find a home for the cat (done) and generally get everything in good order before locking the house up.


One new item now high on my checklist; culling a decade old photo library.










It wasn’t supposed to be, but the 6Tb USB-C drive I bought to shuttle to London and back for music listening and day-to-day photo storage gave me a disk full error on the first (trial) run. The accompanying music library is only 700Gb, so I clearly have way too much digital dross clogging the works.


But, before that, a small hats off; I’ve used the Mac-only SuperDuper as a back-up app for years. It’s rock solid and on the very rare occasion I’ve had a problem, found author, Dave Nanian’s tech support right up there with the best of them.


In this case, my plan is to create a back-up of my music and photographic libraries, currently nestling on a 20Tb RAID drive next to my desk. I can then get the maximum use from both. Cool.


But, I’ll be away for several months at a time and will want to update the home repository when I get back to Cape Town later this year.


As usual and despite being on the other side of the Atlantic, Dave’s solution was with me in minutes and easy; “Create your backup and take it with you. When you get back to Cape Town, simply smart update the original from the travelling copy.”


Job done. Except that the disk was already full, so the oft off-put cull suddenly became a necessity.


I’m currently about a third of the way through. I’m feeling irritated and bored and already consigned around 12,000 RAWs and JPGs to the bin. On that basis, I’m hoping to have 2+Tb disk space free when I get on the Iron Chicken to London in a month’s time.


On the upside, I have discovered just how much digital technology, my picture taking and post processing has improved in these years. That’s not to say that I suddenly have thousands more keepers, but when the cull is done, there’ll be many less oversaturated images of the oddest things – stuff that make me wonder what an earth I was thinking when I shot them in the first place.


The accompanying images are some of the photographs I’ve rediscovered during this extensive re-evaluation. Some of the many I haven’t culled. No doubt I’ll discover more in the days to come.



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  • philberphoto says:

    Whew! What a set! To the point where I am (almost) ready to declare that the true measure of a photgrapher’s ability is the quality of his/her discards…:-) and your light would shine bright!
    I also think going back in time and revisiting what we shot previsouly is a surefire way to find new gems and be reconnected to older ones.
    But it is not all milk and honey. 7 years ago, I visited Patagonia with my friend Boris. Boy do i wish I had had better gear, since the colours from the pics on that trip are so not like I wished….
    My faves: Marrakech, Quebec, Botswana, Iceland, Stockholm, Seville. Congrats!!!

  • pascaljappy says:

    Are you missing something? Certainly not photographic talent. Boy, that’s a series you’ve posted there!! What a set.

    Are *they* missing something? Yeah. Screw tightening. Attacking Adobe with a subset of LR’s features and subpar performance and very similar prices, in a declining market … I just don’t get it. Creating a bolt on for LR or something specific and far better than LR, that I would have understood. And they could have grown from there. As is it, LR+PS cost me less than 10 euros a month, with permanent updates. Why would I consider half-finished products that cost more?

    Now, a very silly suggestion. Why not simply buy an extra disk? Aren’t those super cheap these days? As in 80 quid for 2 Tera ? My backing up is abysmal so maybe no one should listen to me. But I basically use a 2TB extrenal SSD for the photos, buy a new one when that’s full. And back that up when I think of it on a separate 4TB normal hard drive. If I was going to sell or have exhibitions, I’d probably also back up the keepers online.

    Cheers and thanks for an absolute corker.

  • Chris Stump says:

    Wow. The Landmannalaugar pic is amazing. As others have said…if these are your outtakes, well, I look forward to your one man show!

    • paulperton says:

      Not outtakes, Chris. These are just some of the many, many images I’ve been fortunate to capture over the last decade or so. The cull has forced me to re-visit many of them, most I haven’t looked at much during that time.

      The Iceland images are truly spectacular, but that’s the scenery. My part in the process was miniscule. I’m seeing Pascal and Philippe soon and will discuss the idea of a post to flight some of them on DS.

      Thanks for the kind comments.

  • Kristian Wannebo says:

    Thanks Paul,
    for a very captivating set of photos!
    First I had some favourites, but when looking again also the others grew on me.
    “Stockholm” is still one!

    ( Although living close to it makes me prejudiced – and I like the way you avoided showing the ugliness of the city center, 🙂 .)

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    What a lot of topics all at once!
    Post processing software? – well NONE of it is perfect. After a comment Pascal made a year or so back, I set out to explore some of the available programs.
    Adobe sucks for several reasons – cost – aging and outdated algorithms (in at least one area they simply CANNOT do the job) – the cumbersome process involved in moving shots between programs, where Adobe is involved – virtually abandoning the amateur market to focus on the professional market. (Drove me nuts overnight – trying to make adjustments inside a gradual filter, and it kept trying to make the same adjustments elsewhere in the image!) But it’s still good for SOME things.
    Capture One Pro – good luck to you, if you don’t have a Sony – it’ll mean hocking your wife, to keep up with upgrades. Again, very good at some things, pretty boring at others. Actually one thing it does REALLY well is controlling highlights.
    Luminar and its relatives – more into low tech, like pre-sets, which I abhor. Can do some fixes for normal post, though.
    On1 – sigh – I’ve had a hell of a time with them lately, but it’s come good. Seems I needed to reboot the MAC, so I can’t blame them – but yes I can – their contact details and “help” were pathetic – and although my decision to reboot gave me a fix, the problem I was chasing them over was at THEIR end. When I finally got it going, found I could do the things I wanted – but had to drop it because I never managed to find a way to export a usable jpg when I’d finished making the adjustments. At the end of the night, my mind went back to a conversation I had with someone years ago, when he concluded – “Interesting. Not very practical. But it IS interesting, though.”
    Topaz LOOKS “promising” – but I’ve yet to find much use for any of their stuff – possibly for lack of trying – possibility not, too.
    Affinity has some useful functions – it murders Adobe on panoramas – I like its sharpen filter – and it has a range of other functions which are actually quite a delight to use, once you get the hang of it. Affinity is also miles faster than most of the others.
    In relation to #850, I confessed to a love for DxO’s ViewPoint, especially in helping with correcting verticals. One response was “yuck – shoot from half way up the building, or stand back further and chop the foreground”. OK – yes – I know that- but it wasn’t actually what I had in mind. I rarely use a tripod, because I rarely have the means of lugging one around when I’m taking photos, so getting everything set up perfectly, in the field, isn’t common (except by accident). Even when you are “half way up the building” (eg, the building’s as short as you are), the verticals can generally do with improvement. What ViewPoint offers is:
    – assistance with verticals
    – assistance with perspectives
    – assistance with horizon lines (which also bears on verticals, but in a different and more fundamental way)
    – assistance with pincushion and barrel distortion
    – a choice in each case been auto or manual
    and various other related functions. Including some assistance with cropping (although PhotoShop offers a more powerful cropping tool).

    Backup? – everyone has their own ideas, and most people don’t seem to give it enough thought. Their choice – the point was made by one pro recently that it’s rather idiotic to spend $5 grand on a camera, $20 grand on lenses, and $5.00 on backup! And Microsoft succeeding in destroying a 500Gb (and everything on it) for me, last year (no it wasn’t photos). The time when you’ll have a disaster is when you haven’t planned how you’re going to deal with it – ask any insurance company or (if you imagine they won’t tell you the truth) any insurance broker (since they’re independent).

    • Kristian Wannebo says:

      Thanks, Jean Pierre,
      for this concise overview!

      I’ve thought for a while that Affinity Photo might be a useful companion to DXO Photolab. Especilly as it claims to support my old Fuji XF1 files, as I found out DXO doesn’t, – and I’ll have panoramas for possible future use.
      ( But perhaps I should try the freeware also first, Raw therapy and Darktable.)

      I bought also ViewPoint at the DXO Black Friday 50% campaign. Photo Editor (dev.mcgyver) for Android is good at keystoning, but a review of ViewPoint by Keith Cooper (Northlight Images) convinced me of it’s great flexibility.

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        Freeware is often fun to play with, Kristian. Some of it is quite interesting, too.

        The problem Adobe suffers from is a bit like Microsoft – an old-fashioned skeleton, with a zillion upgrades and modifications grafted onto it – a bit like an upside down pyramid. Coupled – in the case of BOTH of them – with an arrogant belief in their own superiority.

        Having said that, I still use LR and PS for some adjustments – but getting shots into and out of LR is a complete pain, on a bad day, so I end up using it less than I’d choose it, if it was more user friendly on import and export.

        Since you mainly print B&W, you could print from PS – and it’s probably the best, for cropping and resizing images – and one of the best for noise reduction, if you ever need to do that. Not so good for printing colour — ESPECIALLY skin tones — had awful probs with it, for that, and gave up – mostly use Mirage Print, now, instead, and have NO problems with that.

        There’s a whole raft of “johnny-come-latelies” out there, with much more modern systems underlying their products. Consequently they can do things better, faster, cheaper – IF they get it right.

        After Pascal’s suggestion of doing a bit of a study on them, I broke off and did, for a while. I remember one occasion when I selected a “perfect shot” to experiment with the sharpen tool, for instance. I ran it in several different programs, and the results were startlingly different, when I compared them and examined the comparisons. One created horrible edges. Another took reasonably smooth pixellation and made it all chunky and harsh. Can’t remember who won, but it was a real eye opener. Just looking at one program, you might get a delusional belief about how “good” it is – till you see someone else’s, doing the same thing better.

        Free trials are handy – but don’t download and start them, till you know you have several weeks ahead of you in which you really WILL test them out. Otherwise the trial/test becomes pointless.

        • Kristian Wannebo says:

          > “The problem … skeleton…”
          Ah, and I think Windows also had quite a few hidden in the closet before it abandoned MS-DOS compatibility.
          It really started with that queer structure of MS-DOS with free memory in the middle plus later “extension” and “expansion” memory (or whatever they called it).

          ( I never believed in the early Windows and I didn’t feel like going the Mac way and then RISC-OS appeared – that was a lovely system, with better windows than Windows had then! And you could extend it with your own modules. Their “word” program Impression was great, and fast (partly written in assembler). But nowadays it’s harder to avoid W & Mac.)
          – – –

          Jean Pierre, you must have several bones to pick with Adobe when you come so far as to make that comparison!
          And you are probably not alone as I’ve read several reports of switching away from Adobe ($10-20 a month shouldn’t be a problem for a pro).

          Anyway, I’ve never considered the Adobe alternatives, and certainly not now as I don’t like cloud storage – I’m just beginning to fill up my first pair of 128Gb USB sticks (metal, of the kind that can hang on a keyring), I don’t press the shutter release much more often than in my film days.
          – – –

          Thanks for reminding me of Mirage. (Some mention Qimage.) I don’t have printer now, but I might get one again with b/w as a priority.

          Sharpening, many seem to like Nik. I recently tried using the Nik output sharpener to sharpen with the same amount as Photolab’s “bicubic sharpen” downsampling does. Nik gave just very slightly more halo effects, but hardly visible (and I’d rather sharpen somewhat less than that).

          > “… several weeks…”
          Yeah, I imagine that.
          That’s why I haven’t started yet … and the XF1 JPGs are mostly good enough.
          ( I also need more experience before feeling ready to judge output quality.)

  • Pascal Ravach says:

    As everyone said… great set… I specially love “Marrakech”…

    Software is such a source of frustration that I prefer not to think of it… I don’t have enough money to flight my MacBook Pro through the window 🙂

    For backups, I just carry Seagate USB3 4TB portable HDDs… cheap, light, fast.. and rugged; I have six or seven 3TB and 4TB, and none ever let me down in many years.
    I travel 5-1/2 months per year, so portability is key; I just use Apple backup once a week during the night.

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