macOS Mojave last to support Apple Aperture

Apple Aperture was discontinued about 4 years ago. Although there’s been no new development since, it has continued to work fine. That’ll change this year when Apple releases the next OS. Mojave (aka macOS 10.14) will be the last macOS version to support Aperture.

I wish I could say I’ve moved on and I’m in a happy place with my photography. The reality is that I’ve given most options a fair go and all of them suck compared to Aperture.

Apple has a support document explaining how to migrate your Aperture libraries to Photos or Adobe Lightroom Classic.

Photos has evolved a lot in the last few years and it’s pretty awesome. However, even if it was just as good as Aperture (it’s not), the thought of keeping both my personal photos (family, friends, work events, etc.) mixed in with my “photographer” photography makes my head hurt. I would go insane if I had to see hundreds of photos from a proper photo shoot, most of which are rejects that I don’t want to delete just yet and the few keepers are waiting editing, intermixed with my daughter’s school play. I can’t be alone in wanting, no, needing, to keep these 2 areas of my life separate.

Adobe Lightroom (Classic or not) is OK, but not great. There are so many ways in which Aperture was way superior. I do use it but I’ve always felt it’s just a stop gap until I find something better. I’ve increasingly moved to a mobile life and I do love editing photos on the iPad. Lightroom is the only app I’ve found that allows me a decent mobile workflow. If it wasn’t for the iPad I would probably ditch Lightroom altogether. Plus I still can’t get my head around that subscription model. I pay for it. It still pisses me off every month.

ON1 Photo RAW is pretty cool and it’s getting there. I also use it extensively. The DAM part isn’t there yet and it lacks any sort of mobile workflow. If it had, this would probably be my main choice.

I tried Capture One and it’s pretty good if you’re desktop only. It has a ton of great features and it’s not too far off Aperture from a DAM point of view. I tried it for a while but, like ON1, with no mobile workflow it just didn’t stick.

I still have Aperture on my Mac and jump in once in a while. I should’ve just deleted it and moved on years ago because every time I use it I feel a little bit sad. I still think Apple screwed up by abandoning Aperture.

ON1 Effects 10 FREE!

For a few years now, I've been using ON1 products for my photography. The latest version of their entire collection of apps, ON1 Photo 10, is now a key part of my workflow. The full version includes Browse, Effects, Resize, Portrait, Enhance, and Layers.

But this week, the team at ON1 decided to release a free version of ON1 Effects 10 packed with features. The free version includes a good selection of the effects of the full version.

Here's what they say:

ON1 Effects 10 FREE includes a select number of stackable effects (filters, presets, borders, and textures) from the full version of ON1 Effects 10. In all, over a hundred photo effects are included.

Two of the most popular ON1 filter categories have been added in the latest release. These are the Dynamic Contrast Filter and the HDR Look Filter. New preset categories for Color Grading, Faded and Matte Looks, and Haze Reducing are also available.

Effects 10 FREE includes the ON1 Perfect Brush technology. The edge detection in the Perfect Brush allows users to brush their effect(s) on specific areas of a photo.

The masking tools allow users to selectively mask or paint in effects on parts of photos. Add any effect to or remove it from a specific part of a photo with a simple brush stroke. The set of masking tools are easy to use and perfect for local adjustments, such as brightness, contrast, and detail.

The Filter Stack allows users to combine different effects to create and customize their own looks. Each effect can be applied to its own layer users can adjust and fine-tune.

ON1’s Perfect B&W module is also integrated into Effects 10 FREE, which lets users apply the included filters—including the popular Dynamic Contrast effect—to monochrome photos.

That last one is the killer for me and I can't believe they include it in the free version. ON1’s Perfect B&W module is incredible. If your work includes black and white photography you definitely need to check it out. Highly recommended.

You can get ON1 Effects 10 FREE from here.

Aperture... so long and thanks for all the fish.

I just got the below email from Apple regarding Aperture. Like every other Aperture user out there, I've known about this since it was announced last year. That doesn't make it any less annoying.

I'm disappointed in Apple and upset about this.

Apple has a history of ditching technologies for something they consider better. Remember floppy disks, CD-ROMs, Firewire ports, Adobe Flash, iTools? They even did it with their own operating system when they moved away from OS 9 into OS X. Almost every time, they’ve been right. What came after was better than what we had before.

They did it with Final Cut. But they jumped the gun and shipped the new version to early. We all complained that it was missing features and, for many, the new version just didn’t cut it. Apple realised the mistake and put the previous version up for sale again and acknowledged the problem. They said Final Cut X would get new features soon. Eventually Final Cut X matured and it’s now a great app.

At first, I hoped they wouldn’t make the same mistake with Aperture. Then they announced Photos for Mac and I thought oh no, here we go again. Then I used the beta of Photos for Mac and thought shit, there’s no way this can mature into an app that can replace Aperture.

And that’s where I’m at now. Photos for Mac is pretty and I’m sure my mom will love it. After all, iPhoto is confusing and has only gotten worse over time, so Photos for Mac will be a welcome change.

For Aperture users however, Photos for Mac is both a disappointment and a joke.

What I don’t get is how they thought this was a good idea. It’s one thing to change technologies where the impact is that we have to buy new hardware, but this is messing with peoples photographs.

In moving on from Aperture we will loose data. And that’s just not cool. Shame on Apple for leaving it’s customers in such a predicament.

Apple is wrong this time.

Affinity Photo in Beta

There's been talk of a "Photoshop killer" for ages, but nobody has managed to pull it off.

I think mostly because Photoshop is so many things to so many different people. If you're a photographer, you use and rely on certain features of the application while many others you just ignore or, more often than not, put up with because of the power of the features you do use. Same goes for graphic designers, web designers, illustrators, etc. And that's part of the "problem" with Photoshop. It's become bloated with features for everybody. Not to mention the subscription model.

Pixelmator was heading on the right direction at one point focusing primarily on photographers. Unfortunately it seems in the last couple of versions the new features have been for illustrators/designers or gimmicky Instagram-like filters. It’s an awesome piece of software, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t seem to be the ultimate photographer app (if there can be such a thing).

Acorn is also a great application. It’s just not focused on photographers either.

Affinity Photo seems to want to be that “Photoshop killer” (and I put that in quotes because just writing it makes me cringe, but you get the point). At least going by the video and what I’ve read so far, it looks promising. What’s encouraging is that Serif, the company behind it, already has a vector art and illustration software out there called Affinity Designer, so hopefully there’s no incentive to cram non-photography features into the new app.

I’m downloading the beta now and will give it a go.

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.

 

Check out David’s eBooks on his site here.

Week 27: Before and After, Photos app, and Presentations

Before & After by Esther Honig

What a fascinating experiment. Esther Hoing used Fiverr to get people from more than 25 countries to do some post processing of a photograph of her face. This is how she explains it:

In the U.S. Photoshop has become a symbol of our society's unobtainable standards for beauty. My project, Before & After, examines how these standards vary across cultures on a global level ... 
With a cost ranging from five to thirty dollars, and the hope that each designer will pull from their personal and cultural constructs of beauty to enhance my unaltered image, all I request is that they ‘make me beautiful’ ... 
Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more elusive.

Check out her project on her website. (Via a link someone sent me from Buzzfeed, go figure!)

A Closer Look at the Photos Adjustment Bar

Joseph over at ApertureExpert.com takes an in depth look at the official screenshot of Apple's Photos app from the announcement of the death of Aperture. Interesting. As I said, I have high hopes for the new Photos app.

Presentations: The new MacSparky Field Guide

I'm looking forward to this one and have already preordered. David Sparks produces really great books using iBooks Author that truly take advantage of the medium. You can find out more here and preorder from the App Store.

Perfect Photo Suite 8.5 Summer Sale Bundle

It's a bit weird calling it a Summer Sale while I'm freezing down under, but either way, the guys at onOne Software have put together a great deal on Perfect Photo Suite 8.8.

Here's what's included in the bundle:

  • Perfect Photo Suite 8.5: Their amazing photo editor with 8 apps in one. ($129.95)
  • Creative Live Workshop Collection: Over 5 hours of online training workshops on Photoshop and Lightroom. ($116)
  • Endless Summer Preset Pack: 32 summer-stylized presets, including 8 for Perfect Effects, 8 for Lightroom, 8 for Adobe Camera Raw, and 8 for Apple Aperture. ($40)
  • Light & Process eBook by Nicole S. Young: A 205-page ebook with 10 step-by-step photography and post-processing tutorials on Suite 8. ($10)

All this for only $99.95 until June 26.

It's a great offer. I've used the Perfect Photo Suite extensively for years and I love it. You can download a trial and check it out before purchasing. It's worth it and a great companion to Aperture.

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.

Week 13: Nikon Df, OmniFocus 2, and Flo Fox

Photographer Mick Rock on the Nikon Df

When the Nikon Df was first announced I was really excited. Then I saw the photographs and my excitement quickly turned into disappointment. The camera looked like they had just bolted on analog-looking knobs and dials on top of a modern body. At least in the pictures, it looks hideous. The specs are a weird choice as well, but the price is what really killed it for me. It's just plain ridiculous.

I had completely ignored the Df since then, but today, Rob Boyer wrote an article in which he shares his impressions after having held one. It seems it's not as bad as it looks in pictures, but that's about it. 

Rob also shared the Nikon sponsored video below where Mick Rock, an acclaimed rock music photographer, shares his thoughts on the Df.

I like the video and his philosophy about photography. I found particularly funny that they bleeped when he said bastard, in the following quote:

I know when I've got the shot. Do I know the exact frame? Sometimes I'm moving too fast to be that sure. But I know what it smells like when you've nailed the bastard.

I love that quote. I ended up spending some time going through his work. Good stuff.

OmniFocus 2 for Mac is back

OmniFocus 2 has been redesigned, a new beta is available for download (if you registered way back when), and it's scheduled to ship in June. This is great news. You can read about it at the Omni site. I just downloaded it and will be playing with it over the weekend. First impression is that it looks much better than the previous beta, but still too... plain. I have to use it to get a real feel for it, but it does look a bit boring.

Flo Fox by Riley Hooper

Two videos in the same weekly roundup? Yep. I can't not share this one. Truly inspirational. What a woman. If I ever complain again about something petty please somebody whack me in the head. Just watch it now.

Learn more about Flo Fox at her website. Then read this article on NYMag. Then go out and create something.

Week 11: All about photography

This week has been hectic. I wanted to post the weekly roundup on Friday as I regularly do, but just didn't get to it. But, better late than never, so here it is. This time it's all about photography

Beauty Recovery Room by Ji Yeo

I came across the work of Ji Yeo through an article in Wired. I was particularly attracted to her series titled Beauty Recovery Room, which is the topic of the article.

This is how she explains it in her statement:

Beauty Recovery Room series uses the wounded faces and bodies of women who have recently undergone plastic surgery to show the physical cost of adhering to social pressure in Korea. Plastic surgery has become an integral part of Korea’s current culture, often regarded as a integral step in the in self improvement process. Going under the knife, enduring bruises, scars, and being under general anesthetic several times are no longer considered risky or extravagant. They have all had multiple procedures and have plans for future augmentation. The photos were taken directly after their operation while they were resting and waiting to be healed.

Fascinating work. It is NSFW and some might find the images unsettling, so be mindful of that before you go check them out.

/Body/Parts/ by Ino Zeljak

Another interesting project with a clever idea. /Body/Parts/ shows, as its name suggests, only parts of people's bodies on a table. I think I just made it sound gruesome. It's not. It's actually beautiful work and I clearly can't explain it intelligently, so just click on the link and enjoy.

Five things for every creative person by Chase Jarvis

Back in 2012 I read this post by Chase Jarvis titled Your New Hit List: 5 Things That Every Creative Person Should Get (and Give) and I saved it in OmniFocus with a reminder to read it every 6 months (I have a few of those). It popped up this week and I thought I'd share it here.