Why I back up my best photographs in Evernote

You can never have too many backups of your most important or precious files. In my case, my best photographs are both important and precious, so I back them up multiple times. One of them is in Evernote.

Every time I mention this, people look at me like I'm insane. You're probably thinking that right now!

Let me explain my overall photography backup programme first so I can put the backing up photographs in Evernote idea into context.

Evernote Photography Backup Notebook

Evernote Photography Backup Notebook

I organise and keep all my photographs in Aperture as managed files. This means each Aperture Library is a single special type of folder called a package that behaves like a self-contained entity. It includes everything in one place. I like the managed approach because I never have to worry about where my original photographs are.

I have 2 Aperture libraries: a Main library in an external Thunderbolt drive that has everything, and a Mobile library in my retina MacBook Pro's internal drive that has only a copy of the projects I'm actively working on. I merge the mobile one back to the main one regularly.

In the external Thunderbolt drive I keep my main Aperture library and my main Final Cut Pro library. Nothing else.

This is my overall backup strategy:

  1. Time Machine: One at home via Wi-Fi and one at work via USB. They back up both my rMBP and external Thunderbolt drive, which includes all my photographs.
  2. Backblaze: Continuously backing up both rMBP and Thunderbolt drive to the cloud.
  3. Clone: About once a week I clone my rMBP using Carbon Copy Cloner. This only backs up my Mobile library.
  4. Aperture Vaults: This is my primary photo backup. An additional external USB drive holds Vaults for both Main and Mobile libraries. Vaults are one of the great things about managed files in Aperture.

My photographs live in at least 5 places: the original drives, two Time Machine drives, the Backblaze cloud, and the external drive with the Aperture Vaults. I think I'm covered.

So where does Evernote fit in?

Aperture is non-destructive. Many photographs don't exist in their final form since Aperture doesn't touch the original files. Any adjustments you make in Aperture are just instructions that Aperture interprets. This is good because it preserves your originals intact, you can further adjust the photos later, and you don't fill up your drive with duplicate files.

However, I still like to keep an extra copy of my very best images in a final "rendered" format. Full size JPEGs are good quality even for print and will be readable for a long time by pretty much any computer.

I used to export these to MobileMe Galleries back in the day. Now I store them in Evernote.

Once I'm done with a project in Aperture, I filter out the 4 and 5 star images and export JPEGs in their original resolution. In Evernote, I create a new note for each project with the same title as in Aperture and I add all the JPEGs to it. All these photo backup notes are then stored in a dedicated stack called "Photography Backups (JPEGs)".

UPDATE: Several readers asked me to expand on how I put the photos into Evernote, so I wrote a follow up explaining it.

Backing up my best photographs in Evernote is really just in case the worst happens. I don't think I'll ever need them, but it helps me sleep better at night.

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.

Introducing a new Aperture Preset: Grain

Aperture Grain Preset

Aperture Grain Preset

The first camera I owned was an old Nikon FM 35mm with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens. It was a gift from my father when I was 13 or 14 years old. I used that camera for years. It's the reason I fell in love with photography and why I turned a room in my house into a makeshift darkroom. I loved spending countless hours in there developing my own film and printing my photographs.

My favourite film was, and still is, Ilford HP5 Plus 400. It's a black and white film with beautiful grain that tends to create sharp edge contrast. The grain has a certain "punch" to it that I like.

These days, although I still shoot film occasionally and continue to develop it myself, most of my photographic work is digital. Aperture is my main software.

Unfortunately, digital photographs don't have grain. At least not natural-looking grain. At high ISO, what you get is digital noise that in my opinion doesn't look like film grain at all. And most recent cameras are so good that noise is almost non-existent even at ISO of 3200 or higher. In contrast, the grain you get with an ISO 3200 film is too much for most cases.

Of course, there are plugins that simulate film grain. For example, onOne Software and Nik Sofware have Perfect B&W and Silver Efex Pro respectively. Both are designed to convert photographs to black and white and can add natural(ish) looking grain. They both work really well and I use them often.

However, I don't want to put every image through a plugin. It's time consuming and it creates huge TIFF files. I do this for my best photographs, but often I want a quick version done entirely within Aperture.

That's why I created the Aperture Film Grain preset.

It's an Aperture preset (of Effect as they're now called) that emulates the grain of Ilford HP5 Plus 400. I add it as the last step in my post-processing when I feel the photograph could use a little bit of grain.

The Aperture Film Grain preset basically adds a film grain mask using the Dodge and Burn bricks in Aperture so you can adjust the strength to best suit the particular photograph.

I'm releasing it for free. Find out more information and the download link in the Film Grain preset page.

GeoTagr review: iPhone app to geotag your photographs

geotagr-app-review.png

UPDATE (24 March 2014): A new version of GeoTagr is out with additional features and full iOS7 support. It's now better than ever. Highly recommended.

Geotagr is an iOS app that continuously records your location while you're out taking photographs and lets you geotag them afterwards.

According to Wikipedia, "geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification metadata to various media such as a geotagged photograph or video." Basically, it means your photographs include the location they were shot at as part of the metadata, which you can read later to find, sort, or just see where exactly you took them.

Photographs taken with the iPhone are geotagged as you shoot them. The iPhone uses its GPS to determine your location and assigns it to photos taken with it's Camera app automatically.

However, the photographs you take with your regular camera are unlikely to include location information. Although growing, the number of non-phone cameras with built-in GPS capabilities is still relatively small, so if you want to geotag photographs from these you need to do it separately using a different device to track your location.

This is where GeoTagr comes in.

GeoTagr uses the GPS in your iPhone or iPad to track your location and then matches it to your photos based on the time stamp.

GeoTagr allows you to geotag photos in your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Dropbox, Flickr and others straight from the app. It doesn't require a separate desktop app to do it, although you can also export a gpx file and import it into Aperture or Lightroom and do the geotagging there.

GeoTagr a universal (iPhone and iPad) app developed by Galarina and sells for US$4.99 in the App Store.

Using GeoTagr in a real situation

So that was the sales pitch, but how well does it work in a real life situation?

That's what I set out to find out. I had used GeoTagr a couple of times around the house to test it and it all worked as expected, but I didn't think it was sufficient to really understand how it works enough to write a review. Fortunately, I had an upcoming road trip to New Zealand, which seemed like the perfect way to test it, so I did just that.

I spent 2 weeks traveling around the north island and I took over 1,200 photographs, which I wanted to geotag. I took only a Panasonic GF1 and an iPhone 4 with me (GeoTagr is optimised for the larger screen of the iPhone 5/s/c, but I only had the 4 at the time).

I didn't get a data plan while in New Zealand, so I turned off both Data Roaming and Cellular Data to avoid any unexpected charges. I could only make calls and text messages. No Internet, so no maps.

There are essentially 3 steps to geotagging with GeoTagr:

  1. Record location
  2. Geotag photos
  3. Import to Aperture (or Lightroom/iPhoto/whatever)

Here's what happened on my trip:

Recording your location

Every morning, before even taking the first photo, I opened GeoTagr on my iPhone and let it track and record my location all day until I returned to the hotel at night.

geotagr-review-01.png

Upon startup, GeoTagr shows you a screen with one big red "Record" button and a note reminding you to synchronise the time on your iPhone and camera. This is a very nice and useful touch since it's easy to forget and geotagging won't work if your devices aren't syncronised.

I had my camera in Australian time and my iPhone had already changed to the local time automatically. Fortunately, GeoTagr was smart enough to notice and gave me a handy warning.

geotagr-review-02.png

Even with all these warnings I managed to screw it up on the first day. I did change the time on my camera, but foolishly set it as PM instead of AM. Dumb, but it was easy to correct within Aperture. Anyway, moving on.

Tap the "Record" button and GeoTagr will start tracking your location.

I was initially concerned about battery life, but I was pleasantly surprised that it lasted all day. The longest stretch was 18 continuous hours and I still had 12% battery left at the end. Of course, keep in mind that I had roaming and data off, and I only turned on the screen occasionally to take photograph. Under normal circumstances the battery drain is also negligible.

The lack of Internet connection wasn't an issue either. GeoTagr tracks your location constantly and you can see the track and distance, but without data it just doesn't download the maps.

geotagr-review-03.png

No worries. I don't need to see the map of where I am and I'd rather not spend unnecessary money with exhorbitant data charges. I love that GeoTagr works while overseas.

Geotagging the photographs

I didn't geotag the photos until I got back home. You basically have 2 options to geotag: use GeoTagr itself or export a gpx file and use another application, such as Aperture or Lightroom. Neither was doable during my trip.

Using GeoTagr itself, you can geotag:

  1. Photos in your iPad (transferred via the camera connection kit, which I didn't have)
  2. Photos online in Flickr, Smugmug or Google+ (which I didn't use for these photos)
  3. Photos in a folder in Dropbox (which take forever to upload with crappy hotel Wi-Fi)
  4. Photos in a shared folder on your Mac (which need the Mac and iPhone/iPad to be on the same Wi-Fi)

To geotag within Aperture, you need the gpx file on the Mac to be able to import. Unfortunately, the only ways to get it out of GeoTagr are to email it to yourself or sync it to Dropbox, both of which require an Internet connection. So geotagging had to wait until I was back.

I figured the easiest was to download all the photographs to my Mac into a shared folder and do it that way. The tracks were on the iPhone, but I wanted to use the iPad because of the bigger screen. It sounds rather complicated, but it was pretty straightforward and worked flawlesly. The only requirement is that all devices are on the same Wi-Fi.

This is what I did:

  1. I opened GeoTagr on both the iPhone and the iPad. The apps quickly saw each other and linked.
  2. From the iPad, I selected the shared folder on the Mac where my photos were.
  3. GeoTagr automatically finds photos it can geotag and goes ahead and does it. It even creates a copy of each photo as a back up just in case, since it's writing the metadata to the file itself if it's a jpeg.
geotagr-review-ipad-01.png

Importing into Aperture

Once GeoTagr finished, I imported the photos into Aperture. When finished, clicking on Places shows all images on the map.

geotagr-review-aperture.png

Awesome.

I have to admit, it's so much fun looking at photos in Places. I sat down with my family after the trip and went through the photos this way and everyone enjoyed looking at the map and remembering where we were.

One extra thing I did was email myself the full gpx file and import that into Aperture as well. I didn't use it to tag the photos, but just to show the full track. It's fun to see the whole trip. Some days, I took some photos in the morning in the town we woke up, then drove 2 hours, stopped for lunch, took some more photos, drove another hour, took more photos, etc. Having the gpx file shows me a line of everywhere I was.

While Aperture can geotag the photos off the gpx file, it's not that intuitive and in my experience it doesn't always get it right. I find it much easier to geotag with GeoTagr first and then import into Aperture.

Since the location metadata is embedded in the files, any application that can read geolocation will display it. For example, below is one of the photos from the New Zealand trip viewed in Preview. It shows latitude, longitude, altitude and even shows it on a map. Clicking on the "Locate" button opens up the exact location in Apple Maps.

geotagr-review-preview.png

If you pay attention to the date stamp in the photographs above you'll notice this trip was during the New Zealand winter of 2012. Hence the iPhone 4 screenshots. Since then I've used GeoTagr extensively.  I've become obsessed with geolocation to the point that I adjusted my Aperture workflow to ensure I have location metadata first.

My only complaint about GeoTagr is that the interface hasn't been updated to the look of iOS7. Although honestly this is a nice-to-have. The functionality is there and it already does everything I need.

If you're interested in geotagging your photographs without having to purchase additional hardware, give GeoTagr a try.

Opera House during Fire Water Festival 2009

Opera House Slideshow.gif

I've been going through my Aperture library looking for photographs to publish on my Photo a Day journal. A couple of weeks ago I found a series I shot in 2009 during the Sydney Fire Water Festival of the Sydney Opera House being illuminated by a light installation and posted one of them.

The show was amazing and I took many photographs that day. The Opera House was illuminated with abstract designs that changed constantly. It looked awesome.

I thought it would be a good idea to create an animated gif of them, so here it is.

It's the first gif I create and I'm still learning. It's a little over 2mb, so it may take a while to load. Sorry about that. I'm not sure how to make it smaller.

The process was fairly simple. I created a slideshow in Aperture with each slide playing for .10 seconds and the transition in dissolve for .01 second. I exported that as a video at 720p resolution. Then I dropped that into a beta version of Gifrocket and what you see is what I got.

I'm excited to play with animated gifs more in the future.

What do the Aperture badges mean?

There are a myriad things you can do to a photograph in Apple's Aperture. A typical workflow may include applying ratings, keywords, location, adjustments, and round-tripping your images to external editors. Then there are albums, stacks, books, light tables, and more. It's easy to loose track of what you've done to and with each photograph.

Fortunately, Aperture makes it easy for you to quickly identify the key things you need to know. It does this by overlaying small symbols in the corners of your photographs called badges.

I get asked often what these badges in Aperture mean, so I've put together the table below to point people to. It shows you the icon for the badge, a description, and the location where this badge will appear.

The badges in Aperture

BADGE DESCRIPTION LOCATION
badge adjustments This means adjustments have been made to the photograph. This badge will appear whenever you add any adjustment from the adjustments tab. It basically lets you know that you've already done something to the image. A version with two sliders is sometimes used. Lower Right
badge keywords This means the photograph has keywords assigned to it. Lower Right
external edit This means the photograph has been edited in an external editor. Whenever you select "Edit with..." and choose an application or a plug-in (ie. Photoshop, Nik, onOne, etc.) Lower Right
badge referenced This means the photograph is referenced. That is, the master file (or original) is not stored within the Aperture library, called managed, but it's somewhere else and Aperture is only referencing it. Lower Right
badge referenced offline This means the photograph is referenced, but the master image is offline. This will happen if you have the masters in an external drive and it's not attached to the computer. Lower Right
badge referenced lost This means Aperture expects the photograph to be referenced, but cannot find the master and it's lost the path to where it is. You may need to re-sync. Lower Right
badge ratings stars This is the rating you've assigned to the photograph. It goes from 1 star to 5 stars. If the photograph is unrated it won't have a badge, and if it's been rejected it'll have an 'X' instead of stars. Lower Left
badge stack This badge tells you the image is part of a stack and how many photographs are contained in the stack. Upper Left
stacks This is also for stacks, but it tells you you're looking at the second image in a stack of 3. It will appear, for example, within a smart album where not all images in the stack are visible. Imagine a smart album where the filter is 3 stars or more. If only the second image in the stack is a 3 star photograph, while the others are 1 star, you'll see this badge. Upper Left
badge low resolution This badge will appear whenever the image resolution is too low for the book or webpage you're trying to create. The badge appears in the image within the book/webpage, not in the thumbnail though. Upper Right
album-pick This badge tells you the photograph is the album's pick. It's useful when you have, for example, a stack of 3 images. One Black & White, one Full Color, one Color Monochrome. If you do 3 albums, one for B&W's, one for color shots, etc, you can "pick" the one that goes into each album from the stack. Upper Centre
book This badge tells you the number of times the photograph has been used within a book, web journal or light table. Upper Right
globe This one doesn't seem to be documented anywhere. I haven't seen it since MobileMe died. The badge is a little globe and it was used for images that came from a MobileMe gallery. For example, if you exported a gallery to MobileMe, then deleted the original image from your Library, and then synced the MobileMe gallery again, Aperture would know the master is missing from the Library and will pull down the jpeg from MobileMe with this badge. Lower Right
badge photostream This one means Aperture downloaded this image from Photo Stream, Facebook or Flickr. Lower Right
“badges This means a location has been assigned to the image. You'll see it in the Places view. Upper Centre
“badges This means the image is part of a RAW + JPEG pair (you imported them together), and this is the RAW version. Lower Right
“badges This means the image is part of a RAW + JPEG pair (you imported them together), and this is the JPEG version. Lower Right
“badges This means the photograph has an audio file attached (some cameras let you record an audio file when you take a photograph) or the file is an audio file. Lower Right
“badges This means the file is a video and not a photograph. Lower Right

Of course, you can also consult the manual, which includes a short description for most of Aperture's badges. It doesn't, however, include them all.

You can also get to the manual from within Aperture itself. Just go to Help > Aperture Help. Unfortunately, the search doesn't work very well here. Searching for "badges" doesn't point me to the right page. But searching for "badge overlays overview" does, which is the title of the page. Very annoying if you ask me.

How to read the badge overlays in Aperture

Let's look at a specific example. The thumbnail below has several badges, can you identify what it's telling you?

Aperture badges

Aperture badges

You can learn multiple things just from looking at the badges in the image above:

  1. I've rated it 4 Stars.
  2. I've edited in an external editor (Nik Plugin).
  3. I've made further adjustments in Aperture.
  4. I've assigned keywords.
  5. It's part of a stack of 4 images.
  6. It's the album pick (for a book).
  7. I've used it once in the book.
  8. I've applied the grey label.

Aperture's badges are a great way to know what you've done to a photograph. I find them immensely helpful as part of my workflow and a huge time saver.

Introducing A Photo a Day Journal

My Aperture library contains a lot of photographs that have never seen the light of day. During December I went through them and figured I should share them.

So, for 2014, I'll be posting a new photograph every day.

However, I don't want to include them as part of the main blog for a couple of reasons. First, it may be too much for some of you that subscribe via RSS and weren't expecting it. Second, I want to publish the photographs as large as possible, which I can't here because of the sidebar. As a result, I created a brand new section with its own feed you can subscribe to.

Check it out at A Photo a Day.

There are already 8 photos posted. It is, after all, the 8th of January today. So far so good.

The photographs will be about everything with no particular topic. They're just photographs I've taken over the years that I like. Some will, of course, be around the subjects I normally shoot. But you'll find many undexpected images. For example, today's photograph is this one:

As I mentioned, if you're a subscriber to the current RSS feed for Disturbances in the Wash, you won't get the photos in your feed. But if you'd like to get them as well as the regular content, you can subscribe to the Photo a Day feed as well. More info in the follow section.

The photographs will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License unless otherwise noted on the specific image, which means you're welcome to download and use them as long as it's not for commercial purposes and you provide attribution with a link back to this site.

I hope you enjoy them.

How many megapixels do I need for a specific print size?

I get asked how many megapixels do I need for a specific print size quite often. It's a common question and it seems to be a source of confusion and frustration for many people.

The truth is that most modern cameras have enough megapixels to cover the print sizes most people would want, so my admittedly cheeky answer is if you have to ask, don't worry about it.

But this question seems to keep coming up. In the last few weeks I've heard:

  • How big a print can I make with my camera?
  • If I want to make an X size print, how many megapixels do I need?
  • Can I make A3 prints with my camera? (A3 is roughly equivalent to tabloid)

So, the short (and more polite) answer is if you bought your camera in the last few years, don't worry. You have enough megapixels for an A3 photograph, and probably even higher.

The long answer is, of course, it depends.

It's important to understand that the quality of a print is not based purely on how many megapixels your camera sensor has. Many factors influence the quality of a final print, such as:

  • Exposure
  • Focus
  • Lens quality
  • Digital Noise (from high ISO)
  • Sensor dust
  • Sensor size (or more accurately, pixel size) Post-processing (I use Apple Aperture for most of my work)
  • Ink and paper choice

As an example, I have printed photographs from my very old 6 megapixel Nikon D70s at 16" x 16" that look amazing. And this is a 10 year old camera! But I have also printed photographs from the same camera at 5" x 7" that look pretty average.

Megapixels definitely are not the be all, end all of print quality.

Another point to consider is viewing distance. You can expect the viewer to hold a 5x7 print and look at it up close, but you wouldn't expect them to do the same with a 40 inch one. Bigger prints are usually framed and hanging from a wall, where the viewing distance is a meter or more. Resolution is not as critical in this case. Think of a billboard up in the roof of a building. If you got close enough to it, say 30 cms (the size of a standard school ruler), you'll see the photograph is highly pixelated and blurry, but from farther away (the appropriate viewing distance), it looks fine. Consider the viewing distance when deciding on the print size and how many megapixels you might need.

So how many megapixels do I need then?

OK, if you want details, here we go. All things being equal, the table below will give you an idea of the maximum print sizes you can make from a given camera's megapixels.

File sizes are based on a 12 bits/pixel RAW file. Hi-Res Print are based on 300dpi, which is roughly the standard for "photo quality" prints. Normal Print sizes will give you a good print if you start with a good file to begin with.

MP RESOLUTION FILE SIZE HI-RES PRINT NORMAL PRINT
2 1600x1200 ~ 2MB 5" x 4" (13cm x 10cm) 10" x 8" (27cm x 20cm)
3 2048x1536 ~ 3MB 7" x 5" (17cm x 13cm) 13" x 10" (35cm x 26cm)
5 2560x1920 ~ 6MB 8" x 6" (21cm x 16 cm) 17" x 13" (43cm x 32cm)
6 2816x2112 ~ 8MB 9" x 7" (24cm x 18cm) 19" x 14" (48cm x 36cm)
8 3264x2468 ~ 12MB 11" x 8" (28cm x 21 cm) 21" x 16" (55cm x 42 cm)
12 4000x3000 ~ 18MB 13" x 10" (34cm x 25cm) 26" x 20" (68cm x 50cm)
24 6048x4032 ~36MB 20" x 13" (51cm x 34cm) 40" x 27" (100cm x 68cm)

In summary, if you have 5 megapixels (photos from your iPhone 4 for example) you can print 8X10 with pretty decent quality (assuming a well exposed and sharp file).

If you have 10 megapixels you can print an A3 size photograph at photo quality. Most modern cameras have at least 10 megapixels.

See? Unless you're planning to make huge prints, don't worry about how many megapixels you need!

Roberta Burksaite from Lithuania for People of the Globe

Roberta Burksaite from Lithuania for  People of the Globe

Roberta Burksaite from Lithuania for People of the Globe

Recently I had the chance to photograph Roberta Burksaite for the People of the Globe project. She's originally from Lithuania and is currently living in Sydney.

I've always found it fascinating that I can find people from all around the world in this city. The cultural diversity is both astounding and refreshing at the same time. Every time I meet someone from a country I've never been to I get the urge to read about it and learn a bit more.

Lithuania, from the little I know about it, sounds like a captivating place. Just a quick Google images search for lithuania scenery, for example, reveals a beautiful and charming country. And if Roberta is anyting to go by, the Lithuanian people must be equally charming.

She was a pleasure to shoot with and it's pretty much impossible to take a bad photo of her.

Fix for Apple Aperture 3 green tint error

A while ago I merged multiple different Aperture libraries into a single big one (more on why in another post). It took a long time as some libraries had close to 10,000 photographs, but I now finally have all my photos in one library, which is what I wanted.

The process was relatively easy. However, one big problem I had was that a bunch of my photographs had a green tint over them. It was like a green layer on top of the image, which made it impossible to work with. Some looked like they'd been crossed-processed or something to that effect. Really annoying.

Apple Aperture Green Tint Problem

I tried to fix it by repairing the library, then rebuilding it, then deleting the Aperture preferences file. Nothing seemed to work. So I went to Google to see if others had experienced the green tint problem and if someone had a solution.

The green tint problem seems to be fairly common and it's been discussed quite a bit. There are several threads in the Apple forums. Unfortunately, none of the suggested fixes solved the problem for me.

In my investigation, some images that had the green tint in the thumbnails looked ok in full screen, and some the other way around. The fact that they looked ok sometimes suggested it could be the preview (the jpeg Aperture creates to display the image), so I gave rebuilding all previews a go. And that solved the problem! All my photographs are back to normal.

Here's what I did step by step:

1. Select Photos in the Library section.

That shows you all the photos in your library irrespective of which projects they're on. It's just every singe photo you have.

aperture-green-tint-problem-02.jpg

2. Click on any photo in the viewer and Select All.

This will of course select all your photographs. Now, anything you do from the menu will affect them all.

3. Go to Photos and select Generate Previews.

To see it you need to hold the Option key and the menu item will turn from Update Previews to Generate Previews.

aperture-green-tint-fix.png

4. Wait.

And wait some more. And then keep on waiting. Aperture is generating new previews for all your photographs. To see the progress click on "Processing…" at the bottom or go to Window > Show Activity to open up the Activity window. Depending on the size of your library this step could take a long time, so be warned!

That's it.

I guess you could just select the ones that have the green tint and generate previews for those only, but I found it more time consuming to go through my entire library trying to select the problem ones. I just let it do its thing while I cought up with Breaking Bad, so no problem. Hope that helps those with the same issue.

People of the Globe - Aperture Book Test

Apple Aperture Book

A very cool feature of Apple's Aperture is it's ability to create and order books right from within the application. You can easily design beautiful books and get them delivered to your home in multiple sizes in both hardcover and softcover.

Over the years, I've designed and ordered many and have always been very pleased with the results. However, I've always done medium and big books and had never ordered the small size. It just seemed way too small at only 8.9 x 6.7cm.

apple-aperture-book-test-02.jpg

I'd always been intrigued though, so a few weeks ago I pulled the trigger and ordered a small Aperture book with photographs from the People of the Globe project.

It arrived a few days ago. My first impression was *wow, that is small*, but having flipped through it and shown it around to friends, I really like it. The quality is good. The paper is relatively thick and the photos look good. They're all black and white and they came out fairly neutral. It's not perfect, but it's good for a small pass around book.

I love that I can take it with me everywhere and show it around. When I meet people interested in being part of the project, it's nice to show them what it's all about. I've found it always gets them more excited to participate when they can hold the photographs in their hands.

apple-aperture-book-test-cover.jpg

Aperture and Fujifilm x100s RAW files - Follow up on pink rendering issue

A few weeks ago I wrote about how Aperture was rendering pinks from the raw Fujifilm x100s files in a weird way. I mentioned it looked overly saturated. I asked Rob Boyer about it and he wrote an article explaining how to fix it. I've been testing Rob's suggestion and while it does help, I still can't get it to look natural.

Apple Aperture and Fujifilm x100s pink rendering problem

In the image above you can see four versions of the same image (click to see at 100%):

  1. Upper-left is the RAW file as interpreted by Aperture
  2. Upper-right is the RAW file with the Colour adjustment as suggested by Rob.
  3. Lower-left is the RAW file with Rob's suggestion, plus additional adjustments (lowered black point, increased exposure, reduced vibrancy, increased saturation, and s-curve).
  4. Lower-right is the JPEG as rendered by the Fujifilm x100s.

As you can see, the JPEG and all RAW versions are very different. I prefer the JPEG as it's closer to reality and the pink doesn't look as psychedelic. As much as I try, I just can't get a better result in Aperture from the RAW file. The colours in the piñata shift drastically with any change, but even just looking at the pink without worrying about the others, I found it impossible to get it close to the JPEG.

The photograph was shot with an aperture of 2.8 with the focus point on my daughter's eye. The background and foreground are out of focus, and the piñata is quite soft. This makes it harder because there's no clear separation between the pinks.

Here are a few close ups of the photographs (again, click for 100%). They're in the same order as above:

RAW as interpreted by Aperture

Aperture and x100s pink problem: OOC raw

RAW with Rob's fix

Aperture and x100s pink problem: raw with hue

RAW with a bunch of adjustments

Aperture and x100s pink problem: raw with multiple adjustments

JPEG from Fujifilm x100s with no adjustments

Aperture and x100s pink problem: ooc jpeg

Notice the difference in the other colours, especially the red bit at the right. That last one, the out of camera jpeg, is the closest to the real thing. I'll continue to experiment.

Apple Aperture in "Better Together" in the App Store

Aperture for iPad and iPhone image

For some reason, seeing this really annoyed me. Just because Aperture has access to Photo Streams doesn't make it an app "to connect Mac, iPhone & iPad" as the Better Together section in Apple's App Store suggests.

It is under the iCloud category, so I guess technically it's correct. But there's nothing connected between Mac and iOS as far as Aperture is concerned other than publishing and downloading Photo Streams.

Putting Aperture in the same group as Byword, iA Writer, Day One, MindNode Pro, and even Apple's own iWork apps (Keynote, Pages, Numbers) is misleading in my opinion. All of these have a Mac app and an iPhone or iPad app (most have both) that are truly connected. The data is in iCloud accessible to all apps, no matter the device. This is certainly not the case with Aperture. Before version 3.3, there was a cool indie iPad app called Pixelsync that allowed you to sync Aperture projects with your iPad and update the metadata there. Although not perfect or full featured, it did its job well. Back then I did consider Aperture and Pixelsync "Better Together". Unfortunately the changes in Aperture 3.3 broke the app and made it difficult to access the library.

Today, there is no iOS app that works "Better Together" with Aperture. So, the above image annoyed the hell out of me.

I just want Aperture for iPhone and iPad.