Photographer showcase: Sebastião Salgado

A few years ago I took a photojournalism course. Part of the curriculum required each of the students to do a presentation about a prominent photographer. I was assigned Sebastião Salgado. I knew a little about his photography then, but I'm really glad I got to study his career and achievements a little bit deeper.

Sebastião Salgado, born in Brazil in 1944, is today regarded as one of the world's best photojournalists. He began his career as an economist, obtaining a Master in Economics from Sao Paulo University in Brazil, and later completing coursework for a PhD at Paris University, France. In 1973, while working as an economist for the International Coffee Organisation in London, he decided to switch to photography and the rest, as they say, is history. He went on to travel the world to create a truly amazing body of work. Salgado worked for celebrated agencies like Magnum and Gamma, and since 1994 has his own called Amazonas Images.

His work consists mostly of photo-essays or long-term documentary projects. Looking at his books, one gets the impression that what matters is not so much a single photograph, but the story behind a series. Don't get me wrong, every single one of his photographs is amazing in its own right, but looking at a body of work is so much more powerful.

Salgado's bio in Amazonas Images lists the following as his main photographic essays.

1978: On the problems of accommodations and living conditions in the "4000 Habitations," La Courneuve, suburb of Paris. Work ordered by the Local Council in order to create a major exhibition exposing this problem.
1979: Photographic research on the varying degrees of success of how immigrants have integrated themselves in European Society. Work mainly carried out in France, Holland, Germany, Portugal and Italy.
1977/1984: Research on the living conditions of peasants and the cultural resistance of the Indians and their descendants in Latin America. Work mainly carried out from Mexico to Brazil.
1986/1992: Documentary project on the end of large-scale manual labor, working in 26 countries.
1994/1999: "Population Movements around the World." Thirty-six photographic investigations on migration, throughout the world.
2001: Series of reportages on the global polio eradication campaign done by UNICEF and WHO.

In 2013 he did the following talk at TED.

Salgado is no doubt one of the photographers I admire the most. I strongly recommend everyone to have a look at his work, you won't be disappointed. His work is truly remarkable and profoundly inspiring.

FlixelPix ebooks 50% Black Friday Offer

David Cleland from FlixelPix has 2 ebooks that I purchased a while ago and enjoyed. One is about shooting with shallow depth of field, titled Shooting Shallow and the other one (my favourite) is on Long Exposure Photography.

I've mentioned both ebooks here several times because I really like them. And every time they're on offer I like to promote them. This time, to celebrate Black Friday 2014, he's running a 50% off discount on the Photography ebook bundle that includes both.

The deal expires on Saturday 29th November 2014.

To get the 50% discount just use the code 'blackfriday' at checkout.

You can get the Photography ebook bundle here and below is a short description of each. They're worth the price and with the 50% off it's a no brainer.

Shooting Shallow

‘Shooting Shallow’ is a guide to understanding the concept of depth of field. The ebook is a 38 page guide to understanding the application of a shallow Depth of Field.

The aim of the guide is to equip photographers with the skills to maximize their ability to create bokeh rich images but at the same time ensure your subject is as sharp as possible.

Mastering the ability to control the out of focus areas, and create attractive bokeh, puts you in control of your image, and such techniques offer the opportunity for plenty of creative photography.

The book covers : the theory of depth-of-field, ‘Know your equipment : the camera & lens considerations‘ and also ‘the practical application’ of shooting with a shallow depth of field.

The Long Exposure eBook

Long exposure photography is about capturing space and silence, like visually holding your breath; it is about capturing the beauty and calmness of a scene.

The aim of this e-book is to offer an introduction to the process of capturing long exposure photographs. It documents the simple steps I employ each time I embark on a long exposure photo shoot.

The eBook covers everything from the equipment you will need right through to post- production processing in Adobe’s brilliant Lightroom. This guide has been written with the beginner to the long exposure process in mind; however, the enthusiast and professional alike may find something of relevance also.

This ebook also features six long exposure Lightroom Presets.

What I think Apple stopping development of Aperture means

A few hours ago Apple announced that it would stop development of Aperture (and iPhoto) in favour of the new Photos app they introduced at WWDC earlier this month.

This is what Apple said:

With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture,” said Apple in a statement provided to The Loop. “When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS X.

Apple also said there will be at least one final update to Aperture to make it fully compatible with Mac OS X Yosemite, so at the very least we have a little over a year before we have to find an alternative.

As you might expect, I’m a bit torn about this news. Not too long ago, I was hopeful when I wrote my thoughts and wish list for the next version of Aperture. Then, after the WWDC Keynote, I wasn’t so sure and I wrote:

After seeing what they showed developers outside of the keynote, I don't think Aperture is dead. OK, maybe the Aperture we know and love is, but what comes after could be even better. I have no idea what it is, maybe a pro version of the Photos app, maybe it is Aperture 4, maybe something else. As long as it maintains backwards compatibility and doesn't loose any of the asset management power Aperture has, I think it could be good.

Clearly the upcoming Photos app is not Aperture 4.

But I do believe it will be pretty slick. If it does maintain backwards compatibility, then it just might be the evolution of a photography application. Scratch that, it might be the evolution of a photography ecosystem where a single applcation is no longer the right approach.

According to The Verge, Photos will be backwards compatible:

The company also confirmed that when users transition to the new Photos for OS X app, all their albums, folders, keywords and captions will be preserved. Apple also noted that any edits applied to photos will be retained non-destructively, so hopefully the transition won't be too difficult.

The truth is that I have no idea what’s coming. I can only speculate. But think of the history of Aperture and why it exists in the first place. When Apple introduced it, there was nothing like it. We used to manage our photographs in folders on hard drives and maybe used Adobe Bridge to bring some sense to them other than the one dimensional hierarchy the Finder allowed. There were no albums and metadata was limited. And any adjustment we wanted to make needed a destructive trip to Photoshop or similar.

Apple realised this was a problem that needed a solution and they built one. Then Adobe quickly jumped on the train with Lightroom. Today, if you have a sizeable library, you’d be insane to manage you photographs the “old way”.

Fast forward almost 10 years. Today we have multiple devices and we’re used to them being in sync, the cloud is a thing, we take a lot of photos with our iPhones.

Frankly, it’s a mess again.

It makes sense that Apple knows this and is coming up with a solution. In doing so, some things necessarily have to be left behind.

After all, this is the company that decided floppy disks and DVD drives were obsolete before any of us wanted them to be. The one that decided Ethernet and Firewire ports were no longer needed. The one that introduced a brand new product (iPhone) knowing it would canibalise a very profitable product (iPod). The one that decided video editing needed a complete reinvention. Every time, they didn’t look back.

My guess (hope) is that this is what’s happening with digital photography.

To be honest, managing the photos I take with my iPhone has been a headache. Getting them into Aperture is a pain. Photo stream works, but it messes with keywords and I have to manually reorganise them. If I don’t do it often enough I miss some photos and who knows which ones I missed. My Aperture library is so big that it doesn’t fit in my MacBook Pro, so I’ve had to split it in two and merge then regularly. My main library is still in a separate hard drive. It’s not fun and every time I'm dealing with this I think there has to be a better way.

Maybe the new Photos approach is the solution.

So what am I planning to do?

For now, I’ll stick with Aperture until I see what the new Photos is all about. I may eventually end up moving to Lightroom if I’m wrong, but I’m not going to rush into it or make any rash decisions.

UPDATE: Joseph Linaschke at ApertureExpert.com wrote a great article with similar thoughts. He did a much better job at it than I did. Go check it out.

A lesson about photography I learned from my daughter's birth (WARNING: gory image)

NOTE: I wrote this in late 2009 after the birth of one of my daughters. It was originally published in another site I no longer update and I'm in the process of decommissioning, but I don't want to loose it, so I'm moving it here. It's a good reminder to myself and hopefully food for thought for you.

It all started a couple of months ago at the doctor's office when I asked him if I could not only be there in the operating room during the surgery, but bring in my camera and take photographs of the process. He graciously said yes and suggested that my eldest be there also (she's 19, btw) to witness the birth.

From that moment on, my brain, as is likely the case with many photographers, kept going over possible scenarios and photographic opportunities. Which cameras and lenses to use? Would I need speed lights? What if I take 2 cameras? Digital? Film? and so on.

I'm pretty sure the doctor was thinking about a little point-and-shoot when he said cameras were OK and not on the bunch of gear I dragged in!

I ended up using a DSLR with a zoom lens and a speedlight with a modifyer attached which looked pretty serious in the operating room. I also gave my point-and-shoot to my daughter as a backup, so we were pretty well covered.

I won't go into the details, but I ended up putting the camera in burst mode, pre-focused, and just shot away without even looking into the viewfinder.

When I was there and it was all happening in front of me, I just had to see it with my own eyes. I wanted to be present. The camera felt like a barrier between me and what was happening. I had never felt this before. I don't know how to describe it, but it was an amazing feeling. 

Anyway, a few days later at home I downloaded all the photographs and realised that I'd ended up with over 600 shots, one of them below. I put together a time-lapse video of the birth that I've shared with family and friends. I won't put it here as it is a bit gory (even more than the photograph below).

 
 

So, why am I telling you all this?

The more I look at those photographs the more I realise they will probably be amongst the most important images I ever make. Not because they have any commercial value (they don't). Not because they're technically perfect (far from it). Not because they're works of art. But because they are a record of one of the most important moments of my life.

These are the photographs that I'll cherish when I'm old.

You see, as photographers we tend to obsess over gear and f-stops and shutter speeds. We're always after the latest lighting gizmo or that illusive tutorial that'll show us how to make great images. We spend hours in post trying to pefect our photographs. And we tend to shoot everything except what's truly important to us.

Why is it that we never seem to have time to photograph our loved ones, yet somehow find the time to go out for hours to do street photography or travel far away for a landscape or organise a shoot with a model?

Deep inside I've always known that a photograph of my daughter is more important than a print in a gallery or a book. But why then do I spend so much time working on the latter and neglect the former?

When I'm old, I know the only photographs I'll regret not taking will be the ones I didn't take of my family and friends.

And I don't plan on having any regrets.

onOne Software Perfect Effects 8 FREE!

onOne Software is giving away Perfect Effects 8 Premium Edition for free for a limited time. It's normally $100 and totally worth it. Here's what they say about it:

Through Monday, May 12th, you can get a fully licensed version of the all-new Perfect Effects 8 Premium Edition (Reg $99.95), and it's yours to keep forever! Perfect Effects is just 1 of 8 powerful apps included in Perfect Photo Suite 8 (sold separately). With hundreds of powerful, one-click, fully customizable effects, Perfect Effects 8 makes it easy to bring out the best in your photos.

I regularly use Perfect Photo Suite with Aperture and I think it's awesome. This is a great opportunity to grab a great application for free.

Thoughts on Lightroom Mobile

Adobe released a new Lightroom for iPad app called Lightroom Mobile. I haven't tried it because I don't use Lightroom (the last one I purchased was version 2). But from what I've read so far it seems Adobe missed the mark.

Let me start by saying I commend Adobe for beating Apple to it. I've wished for an Aperture for iPad for a long time and I'm still waiting. Over the years there have been third party apps like Pixelsync (now dead) and Photoscope that have tried to fill the gap. But an official Aperture for iPad from Apple has long been missing. Kudos to Adobe for getting Lightroom Mobile out there.

Having said that, I don't think Lightroom Mobile is a winner.

Here are my thoughts on it, but take them with a grain of salt. My opinion is based on what I envision an iPad version of Aperture being and on reading the feature set of Lightroom Mobile.

First, the app is free... with a catch. You need to be a Creative Cloud subscriber to really make use of all the features. This means at a minimum you'll have to pay US$10 a month (for Lightroom and Photoshop only) and up to US$600 a year for the complete plan.

This is a weird move since Adobe still sells Lightroom as a stand alone product. I guess I does make sense from Adobe's perspective as a way to get LR owners into the monthly payment plans of Creative Cloud. But from a customer's perspective is just annoying. I would be really pissed off if I was a Lightroom user.

Second, developing (to use Lightroom's parlance) is limited to the adjustments in the Basics panel only. You can adjust things like exposure, contrast, and vibrance but you don't get advanced tools like localised adjustments, lens correction, vignettes and surprisingly, curves. How the hell did curves not make it? There are hundreds of apps out there that do curves on iOS, so it's not like the device isn't powerful enough.

This, of course, means you can't use presets in Lightroom for Mobile. I'm not sure what happens with photographs that have presets applied in the desktop. If you sync them to the iPad do you only push the unedited version? Not sure how that works.

Finally, it looks like editing metadata is also limited. You can assign picks and rejects, but no star ratings for example. I've read different thoughts on this one, so I'm not sure how limited it is. But if anything, full metadata editing is one of the key things I'd like to see in a mobile version of my photo management software.

As I said, if I was a Lightroom user I'd be disappointed at the features and angry at the pricing model.

Here's hoping Apple releases Aperture for iPad soon with the right features and price.

Apple Aperture 4 Wish List (2014)

 Aperture 4 Wish List

Like pretty much everybody else that uses Apple's Aperture, I've been waiting and hoping for the release of Aperture 4 for way too long.

Unlike most of the Internet though, I don't think Apple has abandoned it. In fact, I feel pretty confident we'll see Aperture 4 (or X or Pro X or whatever) sometime in the next few months. Of course, this is just speculation on my part. I have zero inside knowledge. However, there are a few things that hint at Aperture still being alive: Apple features Aperture in their website and advertising, they have been hiring people for the Aperture team, and of course there are the book leaks.

Most importantly though, I think Aperture 4 is around the corner because I believe a few pieces needed to fall into place before they could release a new version. Some are done and some are not here yet, but close:

  1. iCloud and Photo Streams - These are key for the next version of Aperture and I don't think they're finished. They need to add back some of the features of MobileMe Gallery and figure out how to support video. They also need to sort out how keywords are treated in Photo Streams.
  2. Unified iPhoto & Aperture Library - This not only provides a seamless upgrade path for iPhoto users, but makes it much easier to build new features and integration across the OS off a common base.
  3. New Mac Pro - A key Mac to promote and use Aperture.
  4. Retina iMac and Displays - Or at least 4k. It looks like this is coming soon.
  5. Powerful iPad and iPhone - I believe Aperture 4 will come with a companion iOS version and the previous gen iOS devices weren't powerful enough. iOS 7 being 64 bit might have something to do with this as well.

Again, I don't know, but I sure hope I'm right.

On the other hand, if I think about it, I don't really need and Aperture 4. Yes, there are a lot of things I'd like to see improved and a few features I'd like added, but non of them are a deal breaker.

Aperture does most of what I need and it does it well. It's still a pleasure to use and I like the fact that I haven't had to relearn new things or pay for upgrades.

The photographer in me is perfectly content with Aperture, but the geek in me wants a shiny new version. Now.

My Aperture 4 Wish List

Over the years I've kept a list of things I'd like to see in Aperture 4. Some are features, some are improvements, some are changes in the way things currently work.

In no particular order, here's my wish list for Aperture 4:

  • Fix Keywords: The way keywords work in Aperture is seriously infuriating. It's a long topic for another post, but if you use Aperture you know what I mean. (BTW, here's how to batch remove a keyword).
  • Pixelmator Compatibility: Aperture cannot read Pixelmator files (pxm) so there's no way to roundtrip a photograph.
  • Ability to assign multiple external editors with different settings.
  • Ability to assign export format for each plugin independently: onOne is happy with PSD files, but with the Nik plugins, some can't work with PSD so you need to use TIFFs. The problem is that Aperture will send files to plugins in whatever filetype you've chosen for the external editor, so you need to go back and forth.
  • Non-destructive plugins: Something like Smart Filters in Photoshop would be great.
  • Project and Image level restore from Vaults: At the moment it's an all or nothing backup.
  • Grouping and naming of adjustments bricks: I'd like to be able to give names to the bricks. Once you have 3 curves you need to open each and look at them to remember what exactly they're doing.
  • Ability to save masks and copy across different bricks: Scott Davenport has a script for that, it's called Aperture Adjustment Brush Mask Lift & Stamp AppleScript. That's awesome, but this should just be built in.
  • Ability to save groups of adjustments as brushes: Imagine you did multiple adjustments to the sky in a photograph and brushed them all in. Wouldn't it be great to save that as a brush so you could just paint in once to another photograph and apply all adjustments at once?
  • Save custom crop sizes: It's incredible that you can't to this. Every single time I have to type in the dimensions for a custom size that I use regularly.
  • Brush flow and pressure sensitivity with Wacom tablets
  • Output sharpening: Sometimes you need a little more sharpening than you can get out of Edge Sharpen.
  • Lens corrections: Adobe really cracked this one and I'd be happy with a similar implementation. Just make it automatic depending on the camera/lens. GoPro lens correction would be awesome. At least add manual perspective correction.
  • Noise reduction: Again, Adobe cracked it. Just copy them.
  • Sync settings across computers with iCloud: It's really annoying when a keyboard shortcut doesn't work because it's a custom one you created on one Mac and not in the other one.
  • Integration with other services: Forget about Flickr (the new version is horrible), give me 500px. And Squarespace somehow.
  • Stitching for panoramas: If the iPhone can do it, why can't Aperture?
  • HDR: I don't want to have to use an external plugin for this.
  • Graduated filters: Another one that Lightroom does great.
  • Film grain emulation: For those of us that like grain so we don't have to rely on plugins or hack it (like my Grain Preset).
  • Adjustment History
  • Ability to add borders on export
  • Watermarks that don't require Photoshop or using a bunch of applications.
  • Larger previews for effects (presets): If you have a big screen, there's no reason to have such a tiny preview.
  • Blending Modes
  • Content Aware Fill: I've never really had the need for this, but it could be useful.
  • Nik's u-point technology or something similar: Most of the time this would work better and faster than brushing. It's genius.
  • Camera Profiles
  • Aperture for iPad: Ideally, I'd like to move entire projects to the iPad to work on while away from my main computer and have them sync seamlessly back to the main library. At the very least, I'd like to be able to do editing on the road (ratings, keywords, flags, labels, albums, etc.) and creating and adding to Photo Streams.

That's my wish list for Aperture 4. I'm not sure these warrant a new version though. Many seem to me like incremental improvements and Apple has added new features in point updates. Still, this is what I hope for the new version.

Did I miss anything?

How to batch remove keywords in Aperture 3

As much as I love Aperture, I'll be the first to admit that the way keywords are implemented is confusing and often infuriating.

Once you get the hang of it you can make them work well, but it's not at all intuitive. I'm not sure what they were thinking when they designed keywords but it has caused me a lot of grief over the years.

One of these grievances is removing a keyword from multiple photographs. It took me a while to figure this one out. It's certainly not obvious, but there's a very simple way of doing it using the Keyword Controls in the Control Bar.

Here's a quick 25 second video showing it in action:

If you're not familiar with the Control Bar, you can bring it up by selecting Window > Show Control Bar or pressing 'D' on the keyboard. 

The Control Bar has 2 views:

  Control Bar with Navigation & Ratings buttons

Control Bar with Navigation & Ratings buttons

  Control Bar with Keyword Controls

Control Bar with Keyword Controls

To toggle between the two, press Shift-D

With Keyword Controls you can apply keywords by pressing the buttons or searching for existing keywords via the Add Keyword text box. You can also create your own custom button sets for quick access to your most used keywords for each type of photography or subject/topic. And of course, you can also remove keywords.

To remove an individual keyword from multiple photographs at the same time, do the following:

  1. Select all the photographs you want to remove the keyword from.
  2. In the Control Bar, type the keyword you want to remove into the Add Keyword field.
  3. Press Shift-Return.

If there's already a button for that particular keyword in the set, you can just Shift-click on it to remove it from all photographs.

In the example in the video, I applied "black and white" to all the images in a project. I had scanned a lot of negatives and imported them all into one project. I thought they were all scans from black & white film, so I applied the keyword to all. After looking at the project in detail during my rating process I realised some were in colour.

Of course, I didn't want to remove the keyword from each photograph one at a time. I needed to batch remove the keyword. So I opened the Control Bar, selected the colour photographs, typed in "black and white" into the Add Keyword field, and hit Shift-Return.

Poof. The keyword was removed from all photographs in one go.

Michelle Majuru from Zimbabwe for People of the Globe

 Michelle Majuru from Zimbabwe for People of the Globe

Michelle Majuru from Zimbabwe for People of the Globe

Michelle is originally from Zimbabwe, but has been living in Sydney, Australia for several years. I had the chance to make these portraits of her for People of the Globe back in September of 2012 and I'm very happy with the results.

We met in an area called The Rocks in the centre of Sydney to do these photographs. It was around 7:30pm when we started and already dark, so all photos were done with a flash to get some light.

Every time I photograph someone for this project I realise how little I know about other cultures and countries. I love travelling and have been to quite a few places, but I've never been to Africa. It's high on my list and hopefully I'll make it there sometime soon.

Zimbabwe is one of those places that I knew almost nothing about. Since we did this series I've read up a lot about it and, like every other place, it has a fascinating history and beautiful scenery. Just do a Google search for images of Zimbabwe and you'll be amazed.

That's one of the best parts of doing a photography project like People of the Globe. I get to know people from all over and learn about their culture and the history of their countries.

How to back up your photographs in Evernote

A couple of weeks ago I described my photography backup plan and explained why I use Evernote to back up my best photographs.

Evernote_logo.png

Turns out the article was more popular than I expected and a few people have asked me to expand on exactly how I store photographs in Evernote. I can understand the question. There are a few ways to do it and each behaves a bit differently, so I'll expand on the details today.

If you haven't read the previous article, I suggest you go read it for context first. I explain why I back up photographs in Evernote as one part of my overall photography backups. The gist of it is that it is not my only back up. It's not even my main back up. I use Evernote as an extra safety net for only full resolution JPEGs of my best photographs.

OK, now that you've read the why of it, here's the how.

Export high resolution JPEGs

I use Apple's Aperture, but no matter what application you use, just export full res JPEGs to a folder on your computer.

In Aperture, it's as simple as following these steps:

  1. In the Project, create a Smart Album that filters photographs to 4 Stars and above. I call the album "Backup EN".
  2. In the new album, select all photographs.
  3. Go to File > Export > Versions (or cmd-shift-E). It's important to choose Versions and not Originals. Versions will export the photographs with any adjustments and metadata you've added baked in. Originals will export the original file which doesn't include any changes you've made in Aperture. Remember Aperture is non-destructive, so your originals are always intact.
  4. In the Export window, choose "JPEG - Original Size". This will export with the default image quality of 10. You could increase it to 12, but I find 10 is good enough. You can also export as TIFF if you want. It'll give you better quality with larger file sizes. But since these are final images and won't be manipulated anymore, JPEG is good.

Of course, the originals stay in Aperture and are backed up separately (see previous article).

Store the JPEGs in Evernote

There are several ways of getting your photographs into Evernote and this is where it can get confusing. The three methods described below give you a different result, but they all get your images into Evernote, which is what you want. All examples are using a Mac, since that's what I use. I don't know if it's the same on a PC.

Option 1: Drag or add the Folder into Evernote

If you select the folder you just exported your photographs into and add it to Evernote by either dragging it or using the Add to Evernote service, you'll end up with a new note with a compressed zip file inside that includes all the photos.

evernote-backup-photographs-b.png

The problem with this is that you can't preview the photographs in the note without unzipping the file. Quick Look doesn't show you the contents either. Also, the note will be created in the default notebook.

Option 2: Drag or add the photographs into Evernote

If instead of importing the folder you select the photographs themselves and then drag or add to Evernote, you'll get a new note for each photograph with the filename as the title.

evernote-backup-photographs-d.png

With this method you can see the photographs, but I think it's a bit messy and it'll be a pain to find them all later unless you tag or re-title them. You can always merge them into a single note once in Evernote, but it's an extra step. And the notes will all be in the default notebook as well.

Option 3: Create a new Note, then attach the photographs

If you create a new note in Evernote first, you can create it in the appropriate notebook and stack, and give it the title you want. In my case I use the exact same as the Project name in Aperture. Then either drag the images in or click the Attach button and attach them that way.

evernote-backup-photographs-c.png

This will create a note with all the images in it. You can now see them all and they're all tidy in the same place. One note per project. I use this method.

Conclusion

The method you choose will depend on how you use Evernote and what a "note" means to you. There's no right answer.

Personally, I like to map a note in Evernote to a project in Aperture and I want to be able to browse through my Evernote library and see the photographs in each note. You could probably save some space by compressing the photographs, but I don't think it's worth it.

If you want to learn or get better at Evernote, I suggest you get Brett Kelly's ebook, Evernote Essentials. It will save you a ton of time and give you great ideas to get the most out of Evernote. I believe it's a good investment. You can find my review of the ebook here.

See geolocation of a photograph with Apple Preview

I'm obsessed with embedding location metadata in my photographs, or what's commonly called geotagging. In fact, it's the next step in my photography workflow right after importing my photos into Aperture.

Having this information is both fun and useful.

Looking at your photographs after a trip in Aperture's Places is a great way of reliving your adventures. You can also add maps, weather and other info to Web Journals with iPhone for iOS based on the location information. And if you ever forget where you took a particular photograph, the answer is just a click away.

I tend to add location information in 2 ways:

  1. Manually in Aperture's Places when I do an entire shoot in a single location.
  2. Automatically using GeoTagr on the iPhone when I'll be at multiple locations or when travelling.

Of course, Aperture and iPhoto aren't the only applications that can read location information.

Did you know you can see location information in Apple Preview?

This is one of those things that surprises most people when I show them.

Just open a photograph in Preview and display the Inspector (Tools>Show Inspector or cmd-I). In the Inspector window, click on the "More Info" button (the one with an info icon) and then click on GPS.

If the photograph is geotagged, you'll see altitude, latitude, longitude and a few other things, plus a map with the location highlighted.

The photograph below is of my first long exposure image taken a few days ago and today's photo of the day.

preview-location-gps-01.jpg

Clicking on the Locate button opens Apple Maps with the exact location.

preview-location-gps-02.jpg

How cool is that?

In the example above, Apple Maps says "Unknown Location" because I took the photograph in the rocky part of Gordon Bay and Apple doesn't have a landmark associated with it. But if you get closer you will see the exact place I was standing when I took that photograph.

This feature is also useful to see which photos do have location information embedded in the metadata. There are times when you don't want location info there and Preview makes it easy to check. For example, you might not want to post online photos taken at your house!

20% off FlixelPix photography ebooks until 15 February

I've always loved books about photography and I have a special fascination for ebooks written and published by the photographers themselves.

Two ebooks I've bought and really enjoyed are The Long Exposure and Shooting Shallow by David Cleland from FlixelPix.

Shooting Shallow is "is a guide to understanding the concept of depth of field". It covers the theory behing depth-of-field, camera and lens consideration, and practical application to getting sharp images with beautiful bokeh.

The Long Exposure is a introduction to the process of creating long exposure photography. David is a master at this (check out his work) and in this ebook he explains the steps he takes to acheive his results. The ebook covers everything from the equipment required to post-processing. It focuses on Lightroom, but the principals can be applied to any software. This book made me buy a 10 stop neutral density filter and get into long exposure photography.

The ebooks are only $6 each and $10 if you buy them as a bundle.

However, to celebrate Valentines Day you can get a further 20% off the bundle if you buy it before 15th February and use the code "valentines" at checkout.

Get the FlixelPix Bundle including Shooting Shallow and The Long Exposure for only $8 for the next few days.

Both ebooks are beautifully made with great information. I recommend them both to anyone interested in the topics covered.