The Micro Blogging evolution begins…

The Micro Blogging evolution begins…

I backed Manton Reece’s Micro.Blog Kickstarter, and have today received my Micro Blogging beta account.

I love the concept that you own your own content, hosting it on your personal blog and your personal micro blog, and then cross-posting out to other sites and feeds. We should all own our own content, and not trust that the various social media platforms will stick around and play nice.

micro.blog definitely in its early stages, with even functions like finding other users still quite complex (although it is apparently coming soon). If you’re not reasonably tech-savvy, I’d recommend waiting until the beta is over (or at least in later stages). If you are tech savvy, join the conversation.

The Flyer and the Flower

The Flyer and the Flower

The Flyer and the Flower

The Flyer and the Flower by Des Paroz on 500px.com

Made during our recent trip to Singapore, this image shows two of the iconic sights around the Downtown Core of this beautiful city.

On the left is the Singapore Flyer, the second largest ferris wheel in the world.

On the right is the fabulous ArtScience Museum, which was built to resemble the shape of a lotus flower. While we were there we particularly enjoyed the ‘NASA: A Human Journey’ exhibition.

The ArtScience Museum is part of the beautiful Marina Bay Sands area. In many ways the ArtScience Museum visually and functionally represents Singapore itself – a unique blend of modern science and traditional culture.

This image was made in the mid-afternoon, and a circular polariser was a key part of creating it.

View this image on 500px or Flickr

Tracks in the Wet

Tracks in the Wet

Tracks in the Wet

Tracks in the Wet by Des Paroz on 500px.com

Australia’s Northern Territory has two distinct seasons – the Wet (Oct-Mar) and the Dry (Apr-Sep).

The Dry Season features constantly blue skies, no clouds, and no rain. The Wet features some spectacular clouds, storms and lots of rain.

The Wet Season is also a brilliant time to make photographs out in the desert – the rains bring colours, like the vivid reds, greens and blues in this image.

The Top End is an incredibly remote place – it is quite literally hundreds of kilometres from other major towns, and thousands of kilometres from cities of any real size.

This image tells both these stories to me – the colours of the Wet Season and the isolation shown by the lonely railway tracks.

These tracks are used by ‘The Ghan’, a weekly train service between Darwin and the southern city of Adelaide – some 3,000km (1850 miles) away.

I created this image on my Panasonic Lumix GX7, using a Lee Filters polarising filter and a 3 stop GND to balance the mid-day light. A small amount of post processing was done in Luminar.

Downtown Core by Night

Downtown Core by Night

Downtown Core by Night

Downtown Core by Night by Des Paroz on 500px.com

 

 

Singapore’s Downtown Core is the CBD of the city, built around the visually spectacular Marine Bay.

The Bay is a freshwater reservoir, ensuring generally smooth surfaces for reflections from the picturesque city at night.

As usual, blue hour is very much my favourite time to shoot, and this image was created from a single RAW file, and processed using a couple of quick steps in Luminar.

Singapore is certainly one of the most spectacular destinations for cityscape photography.

Triple Sands and Double Helix

Triple Sands and Double Helix

Triple Sands and Double Helix by Des Paroz on 500px.com

 

 

Singapore is an incredibly photogenic city, with so many interesting sites to see and capture.

One great area to spend time is around the Marina Bay area. The architecture here is spectacular, with some of the more interesting examples including the Marina Bay Sands complex (the three buildings ‘connected’ by a ‘ship’ on the roof, and the famous Double Helix pedestrian bridge, seen in this image.

Marina Bay itself is fascinating, with the entire bay having been dammed and converted into a freshwater reservoir, providing an important alternative freshwater source for the city-state.

As a key part of the Singapore ‘downtown core’ area, Marina Bay is an area worth exploring for the travelling photographer.

This image was created in the late afternoon, as I was scouting around for angles for sunset/golden hour/blue hour imagery. With the use of a polariser and ND filters, and some minor post processing in Luminar, I am very happy with the image.

A Darwin Tide

A Darwin Tide

With a full moon in early January, Darwin experienced some of the largest tidal exchanges of our time here – not as big as in early December, but up there. This provided an excellent opportunity to capture a time-lapse video.

Friday 13 January was a great time to capture a time-lapse, which I commenced shortly after the load tide of 0.57m at 12:52pm, and ran until just after the peak high of 7.86m at 7:27pm, a tidal exchange of some 7.29m! With the sun having set at 7:19pm, the end of the timelapse corresponded nicely with blue hour, a great time to shoot.

A good place to really notice the change is with the barge pictured in the lower right – it starts off resting on mud, but by the end is moving around in the water as you’d expect from a vessel tied off to a wharf and in no way touching the bottom.

The massive tidal change is one of the key features of Darwin Harbour, and a great way to tell this story is with the use of time-lapse photography.

I captured one image every 10 seconds over the period on my Panasonic Lumix GX7, using a MIOPS Smart Trigger to control the intervals. I then compiled the images on my laptop using ON1 Photo RAW to pre-process the images, then the Time-Lapse app for macOS to compile the time lapse sequence, before completing the movie in iMovie.

For this shoot I also used Willy Weather to get Darwin Tide and Sunset information. Willy Weather is an app and website I use regularly in planning photographic outings.

Cooking in Seminyak

Cooking in Seminyak

Balinese Cooking Class at The Amala

During our recent holiday in Bali, we took the Balinese Cooking Class at the Amala Seminyak resort, with head chef Wayan.

Bali 2016 432

 

We were picked up from our hotel spot on time, and then taken on the (optional) tour of the main fish market in the city, with Chef Wayan personally taking us around the stalls, identifying the different fish and explaining how to choose the freshest picks. He did much the same at the adjoining vegetable market. Chef Wayan selected a piece of fish that we would cook in our class.

Afterwards we returned to the Amala, to an open air under-cover kitchen by the pool that had been carefully prepared with a stunning array of fresh spices and other ingredients. Our selected fish was taken away for cleaning and cutting. After a welcome drink, we were then guided through the preparation and cooking of ingredients, starting with the ‘Base Gede’ (spicy chilli paste), and continuing with Lawar Salad (green bean and chicken), Tum Ikan (main course steamed fish in banana leaf) and ‘Dadar Gulung’ (coconut pancake dessert).

Once we finished cooking we were seated at a beautifully laid-out table overlooking a pool in the Amala’s courtyard, and our personal waiter served wine along with the delicious food that we had prepared under Chef Wayan’s attentive guidance.

At the end we received a certificate, the recipes of the dishes prepared, and were able to keep our aprons. Of course, the real reward was the wonderful experience we enjoyed.

This half day experience was a superb opportunity to be guided through the preparation of what was a 5 star, 3 course meal by a master chef in a spectacular location.

We would go back to Seminyak just to do another cooking class with Wayan.

Playing around with Plotagraph Pro.

Playing around with Plotagraph Pro.

Plotagraph Pro is a new tool that adds movement to still images.

I love the art and process of still photography, but can’t deny that movement draws the eye and the ability to add movement to an image presents an exciting opportunity to add a new dimension to the still photographer’s toolkit.

I first heard about Plotagraph Pro from a tweet or newsletter by Trey Ratcliff (can’t remember which), and have seen a small number of other photographers posting images they have enhanced with the tool.

Plotagraph Pro is a web based tool that works on all modern web browsers1, thus making it a tool that works on both macOS and Windows. On the flip side, this means that you can only use the tool when online, something that the travelling photographer can’t always achieve.

So far I’ve played around with a couple of my images, and I am quite happy with the potential.

The above image (The Surface from Below) was a single RAW image created on my Nikon D200 during a trip to Papua New Guinea. It is thus not a new image. It took a bit of playing around to get just the surface water to move, but once I worked out how to achieve this, I think the result is quite good.

This image was created last year near the spectacular Mont Saint-Michel in France. This took a bit of work to get just the clouds to move, and while I like this image, I want to get a bit more smoothness in the cloud movement.

Plotagraph Pro is currently in beta, and I am certainly impressed with the quality of the output. I will look forward to seeing some fine tuning of the user interface to get to the end result.

Personally I am very interested to see how Plotagraph develops, and how it spurns a new generation of photo editing applications. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll stick with this tool in this incarnation – it is very expensive2 for a tool that effectively performs one trick, especially when it is a trick that you might use on a small percentage of your images.

Trey Ratcliff has posted a good tutorial about using Plotagraph on his YouTube channel.

As an aside this is the first post I’ve made using Ulysses posting directly to my WordPress site. I’ve used Byword in the past, but there is a lot to love about Ulysses.

  1. I have found that Plotagraph Pro works much better in Chrome than in Safari.
  2. US$299 as a special offer for the beta program. For us in Australia this means software that costs over $400.
Istanbul Street Car

Istanbul Street Car

Istanbul Street Car

Istanbul Street Car

I had a wonderful opportunity to travel around the world last year, and one of the interesting cities we visited was Istanbul.

Unfortunately Istanbul has been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently – terrorism and attempted coups.

There were many aspects of Istanbul I found to be spectacular, not the least of which was the main street with the tramline running straight down the middle.

It was a great city for street photography.

Trey’s Peak And Lightroom Mobile goes RAW

Trey’s Peak And Lightroom Mobile goes RAW

There have been a couple of pretty interesting photography related things happening in the last week.

Trey’s Peak

Earlier this week photographer Trey Ratcliff and photography accessory designer Peak Designs launched a kickstarter campaign for four new photography bag designs – two backpacks, a ‘tote’ bag and a sling bag.

Their goal was to achieve $500,000 to get the Kickstarter campaign off the ground, and the campaign is set to run for 60 days.

This is Peak Design’s sixth Kickstarter (and their second with Trey Ratcliff), and they smashed the records with over $1 million in committed backers in under 24 hours.

Peak Designs have developed a range of wonderful photo accessories, and have basically funded product development through Kickstarters. I believe they have never taken external investors. They are a massive example of how crowd funding can provide a different funding model.

But the lesson is that it’s not easy or automatic. Peak Designs have set about building quality products for photographers, and have gained customer loyalty by delivering a great customer experience through those products. Along the way they have gained the attention and partnership of key photographic mavens like Trey who bring their audience together with Peak’s.

An overnight sensation, five plus years in the making.

Lightroom Mobile (iOS) gets RAW

I am pretty excited about this. The iPad Pro is my tool of choice for on the go computing (and has been for years, but making it work with my photo workflow has been a big gap.

That’s changing with Adobe announcing that Version 2.4 of Lightroom Mobile supports RAW, along with other enhancements such as local adjustment tools.

Location independent photographer Elia Locardi was part of the beta testing of Lightroom Mobile version 2.4.

When I was asked to test out the new Adobe Lightroom Mobile for iOS–to see how it would hold up to my on-the-road raw processing workflow–I decided there was only one logical thing to be done to ensure success. Take the project to Greece!

Elia’s experience seems to back up the idea that this is the start of something interesting in the iOS RAW photo workflow space.

While Adobe Lightroom Mobile doesn’t contain all of the editing features of Lightroom Desktop yet, all of the most important editing features are present.

Be sure to take a look at Elia’s post where he discusses those important editing features . Also, take a look at the Lightroom Mobile for iOS video he produced on location in Greece.

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