Photo Graph

Discussions in Photography


Process Comparison

Thanks to the availability of trial version of most photo processing software I’ve been able to download several possible replacements for Adobe Lightroom.  I’ve been quite impressed with Capture One Pro 7 from Phase One. Here is a first pass at  an image I shot last night.

Spacehip Earth Monorail - Lightroom 4

Spaceship Earth Monorail – Lightroom 4


Spaceship Earth Monorail - Capture One Pro 7.

Spaceship Earth Monorail – Capture One Pro 7.


The image was taken with my Nikon D600 at 800ISO with the 24-85mm zoom.  I applied the provided profile for the lens to both images.  Lightroom lightened up the edges of the image much more than Capture One did and Capture One cut a bit of the outer edge off during that process. I used a fair but not over amount of Clarity on both versions of the image. I used a the same small gray rectangle near the bottom of the image to set a white balance for both versions.  I think the Capture One image came out slightly warmer.


One other note of interest I exported both images to a 1000 wide jpg at 85% at 100 px per inch. The Capture One file was larger.  Next time I may try stripping out the metadata to get a more accurate view of the actual size of the image.

Here is the image unprocessed.



It’s Not Just About The Money

It has been almost a week now since Adobe announced that they were going to be taking the Creative Suite and rebranding it as Creative Cloud and changing their business model to one exclusively subscription based.  Prices have been give of $50 per month to be able to download and use any of the applications of the Creative Cloud.  A $20 per month Photoshop only subscription was also advanced as an option.  The real catch to the announcement is that once you drop your subscription the program from Adobe that are downloaded to you computer will cease to work.  This is a big change from the buying a perpetual license for software where there was no further payment made to Adobe unless you wanted to purchase an upgrade to the next version.  It has also kept me up nights.

It took me several days to actually get to the bottom of why I felt betrayed, bamboozled, and basically had the rug pulled out from under me.  It is not about the price, I was  pretty much resigned willing to paying about that much every year for the continued upgrades to the one part of the Creative Suite I use, Photoshop.  And I can see some really good reasons for subscribing to the Creative Cloud if I were a business with employees who would be using the software most of their work day.  If I had graphic designer who I was paying $60k or $80k a year to produce art (using the term loosely) an investment of $600 per year for the latest software would be cheap. Less than 1% of the employee costs per year. If I no longer need the employee for some reason, lack of work, employee changes jobs, etc. I just cancel the subscription and I have no further issues.

As far as subscriptions go Photoshop for $240 a year probably is a good deal, I pay more than that to Kelby Training each year for my NAPP membership and my Kebly Training subscription.  And that is where the rub is.  I like my Kelby Training subscription, it gives me access to some wonderful training by some of the best instructors in the business including the likes of Jay Maisel and Joe McNally.  I really want to continue with those subscriptions, especially the Kelby Training one because it is about a lot more than how to move pixels in Photoshop. But I am not giving Kelby Training $279.00 a year for instructions I can only use at Kelby Training.

My issue is that while I’ve spent probably $1500 dollars for Photoshop from Version 7 (I think) through the CS series, I probably have invested twice four or six times that amount in books and instruction on Photoshop and now Lightroom.  I’ve spent $3K just on going to PhotoshopWord three times. Then there is the large number of hours of my time spent reading and practicing the instructions from the books and videos. I don’t begrudge any of those hours or any of the dollars because I loved to learn and I love to apply what I’ve learned. Problem is that now I don’t feel it would be worth my while to learn anymore about Photoshop if what I learn can’t continue to be applied  down the road if time and travel prevents me from keeping up on my payments to Adobe.

I really don’t want to write a check each month for $20.00 to Adobe (forget about the first year discount). And all I have for all that check writing is, well nothing.  On the same note I’m sure that Adobe’s Board of Directors and shareholders would like to make a profit. I’ve tried my best to come up with a solution that is fair to Adobe as well as me.  Personally I wouldn’t mind paying out a yearly upgrade subscription if I was assured that at the end I would still have a perpetual license for Photoshop that I could still use after I no longer desire upgrades.  And I would give even a bit more, say a one time upgrade fee from CS6 to CC.  So in my mind a one time fee of $200 for a perpetual upgrade to Photoshop CC plus maybe a once a year $199 subscription would be something I could accept and manage.  This gives me the next version of Photoshop plus it gives me 1 year to see if Adobe is really ready and willing to give us continuous improvements to the program. After that year I can make a decision if the subscription for updates is of further worth.




I  won a copy of onOne’s Perfect Photo Suite 7 at Photoshop World after Joe Glyda’s Live Food Shoot Session.  This is a first try at Perfect B&W, I picked the look with the most stuff going on.  I have a lot more experimenting to do with this .


PS.  I tried using the onOne Suite  on an iMac 27in. with only 4 gigs of memory it was really sluggish.  The program really wants more memory as Lightroom is running at the same time so I have the same 24mb file running on each application. 16 gig makes the program really work well.


The Print and The Process

I finished reading The Print and The Process by David duChemin a few weeks ago and am now just getting around to having time to do a quick review. The book is an interesting look at several personal and client projects by the author.


More to come.


Early Morning.

The other morning the moon was still up and there was mist on the pond behind the house.  I used an ev -1 to get detail in the moon. Once again the amount of detail in the Nikon D600 sensor is amazing.

Sunrise Moonset

Shot with the Nikkor 24-85mm 1:35-4.5 G lens at 72mm.


Full Moon (March 2013)


The sensor in the D600 is so much better than that in the D200.  I’ve taken a number of full moon pictures with the 70-300mm 1:3.5-4.5 zoom (at 300mm) with the D200 which is an equivalent of a 450mm lens and nothing is close to the detail I’m getting with the D600.

The moon shot was exposed in manual mode with ISO 400 at F/11 for 1/125 sec. Massaged in Lightroom 4.  Click on the image to see it bigger.




I haven’t been too keen on black and white photography for a while but never say never.  This image was OK as a color photo but converting it to black and white really worked.  There is something about the lighting on his forehead and face that pops.  I used a Lightroom 4 preset from David duChemin from a new book that I am now reading.  More on the book and the author after I get finished with the book. I posted this image on 500px and was pleased that it made the Popular page.


Food Photography From Snapshots To Great Shots

I’ve just finished Food Photography From Snapshots to Great Shots by Nicole S Young. This is one of a number of books in the Peachpit Press Snapshots to Great Shots Series. These books are good for anyone with a minimum knowledge of photography wanting to expand their photography skills.
Food Photography starts out with a quick couse in camea and lens basics and explains the basics of exposure; iso, aperture, shutter speed, and white balance. Ms Young explains the equipment you need to start taking food photographs. The book is very thorough in it’s approach. Each chapter builds on the new information presented. There are many illustrations explaining each step of the process of shooting food. There is plenty of examples of how the shot was taken and how the lighting was set up. The explaination of lens and especially lens compression are worth the price of admission.

The book is well written and easy to follow. There is plenty of detail on each subject although I wish she had included the actual lens setting on the images shot with zoom lens. That and there is a lot of images of good looking food. You will get hungry reading this book. “Food Photography From Snapshots to Great Shots” is good place to get a solid foundation in learning about this special form of photography.


Clouds as Subject

I’ve been shooting clouds since I first switched to digital. I finally realized that I’ve been pretty much putting the cloud subject in the middle of the image. Now you don’t always get a chance to move the subject to a more balanced place.  This image takes a bit of a different direction with the cloud filling the lower third of the image.

Makes for an rather nice image.  You don’t always get a chance to isolate the image like this.


Portfolio Presentation

I’ve been thinking about how to best present a portfolio of your images. Once upon a time you would make prints of your best work put it in some sort of binder and present it to potential clients with the hope of someone purchasing your time or images. Today I think we have a multitude of options on putting together a portfolio presentation.

The iPad seems to me to be one of the best ways to show off you images.  The device size and resolution give your images a chance to shine.  Of course your not going to be leaving your iPad with a potential client so your images may only be held in the clients mind for so long.

Putting your images in a PDF file or some other document that you can email is one possibility another might be to make a movie of your images.  I’ve done a little experiment with loading a number of images into iMovie to make a movie you can host on your website, host on another website or even email to a client. This seems to be an interesting way to present your portfolio.  I’ve whipped up a quick “Epcot” portfolio as a test case to see what I can determine the best way to show images in movie format.

Epcot Portfolio from Jim Roberts on Vimeo.


After playing with the settings in iMovie I’ve come to a couple of thoughts on the way to present your images.

  • I would turn off any Ken Burns effects.  While they are super hip and such you’re presenting your images as a whole. You don’t need your viewer to miss the overall balance of the image. You went to all that trouble to get the rule of thirds right so you need to show a full image.
  • Make sure the images stay on screen long enough.  While the viewer can pause the movie at any point you still want the viewer to have time to view the image.
  • Make sure the images don’t stay on screen too long. Viewers get bored easily.
  • I would not suggest a narrative other than maybe at the beginning and end of the movie. If you have to say “this is a picture of a dog” you probably aren’t doing stuff right.
  • Movies are landscape mode.  Images you shot in portrait mode are going to take up less of the screen with white/black space on either side and be smaller.
  • I’m not sure at this point if adding music to the movie is a good or not.

These are just a few ideas about presenting your work as a movie. Of course the hard part is alway which images to include. Like everything else experiment with the format and make it your own.