Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mt Rainier Crossing the Nisqually Glacier

There is a new album on my website as I begin to publish some of my time in the Northwest this summer. The first gallery is of Mt Rainier and Crossing the Nisqually Glacier. We started early in the morning, even for Seattleites and arrived at the Paradise Visitor's Center about 8:30am. Paradise is named such because of the many fields of flowers visible in the July / August months and the colorful beauty that abounds. Getting to the parking lot early is the best way to have a place to park. When we finished our trek about 1:00pm, the parking lot was full.

The challenge right off the bat was finding the best trail to take to Panorama Point which sits about 7,000 feet halfway up the 14,000 foot peak. There are about four different well marked trails climbing in and around the Nisqually Galcier to get to Panorama Point. The problem we had was that they were all still under five feet of snow at the visitor's center. Apparently there was heavy snow in May that hadn't melted yet this year.

After a little time looking at the map and getting our 'snow' legs on, we pushed off. It was quickly apparent that we would be hiking up towards the center of the peak and we would eventually find ourselves on the Glacier, but it was also evident that the trail was well below our feet. The drifts of snow were anywhere from six to twelve feet when you looked down at the trunks of the evergreens lining the base of the Paradise area.

Cresting the last of the heavy forest mounds, we found ourselves staring at the glacier and watching the peak get ever closer. Because of the angle going up the side, it didn't look far in front of us and sure didn't look so high. After another hour of climbing up and not seeing any change in the top, we knew it was every bit of 14,000+ feet.

I was extremely proud of my nine year old son, Ben, who climbed the 2,000 feet with me and my brother-in-law. He plugged along and was equally as excited as I was to see this massive mound of snow and rock.

There were certainly photographic challenges. One of the first is that the sun is well up on the horizon even at 5am during this time of year. Shooting images quickly at the 8:30am to 9:30am timeframe was critical before the sun was overhead. Metering was tricky, but not impossible. I used an incident reading for just about every shot. I checked every now and then by pointing the meter in my Leica perpendicular to the ground and the sun so that I measured a dark patch of blue in the sky. The meter readings were almost always within a 1/4 f/stop of the incident reading. As you can see, I captured some detail in the glacier snow and the detail in the ice near the top was phenominal.

Lightroom helped considerably for this shoot with the ability to synch the settings. I imported these and started development before 2.0 was released, so I am anxious to play with a few of these using the new brushes and graduated filters. The most common adjustment I made was the white balance and the saturation.

It was also a challenge to be sure that the detail in the clouds above the peak came out with some detail. This was a swirling cloud that rotated the entire day around the top of the peak. Mt. Rainier has it's own weather patterns and today was cloudy and windy with little visibility. The different shapes the cloud made were very interesting and the best shots I got were in the form of a hat crowning the peak.

It was hard leaving the mountain. Everytime I turned around, it was getting smaller. Later in the week we returned for another look. It was amazing that in five days somewhere between two and three feet of snow melted. In fact, Reflection Lake no longer had any snow on the water. I think part of good photography is luck in the weather conditions, and this was one of those times.

... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Lightroom Tip#17: Speeding Up LR 2.0 Catalogs

So you have updated to Adobe Lightroom 2.0? Oh, but you don't have the money to update your computer? Here's a quick overview of the Lightroom 2.0 Catalog settings, which aren't remarkably different from Lightroom 1.4.1. However, with a few tweaks, even your older processor can run Lightroom catalogs a little faster. The really good news? These tweaks will work with Lightroom 1.4.1 as well! First, let's look at where the settings moved to.

In Lightroom 1.4.1, the Catalog Settings were under the File menu. In Lightroom 2.0, Adobe moved them to the Edit menu with the other Preferences.


After you access these settings, the first tab is the General settings tab. Notice the bottom section on Optimizing. This is where you can have Lightroom reorganize your catalog data file. It doesn't do anything special that you can see, but it does rearrange how the data is stored to make it more efficient to access. Think of it as a routine like disk defragmenting. Do it every so often to keep things running smoothly. You can even see the last date your catalog was optimized in the top section of the General tab. It depends on the size of your catalog, but the larger the catalog and the more often you make changes to data, the more often you might want to optimize your catalog.

Oh yeah, don't forget one of the cardinal rules: BACKUP THE CATALOG BEFORE YOU OPTIMIZE IT! You never know about the power company or some other gremlin. This is good practice anyway.

Preview Size and Quality

The second tab in the Catalog Settings is the File Handling tab. Here we determine what size and quality our 1:1 previews are rendered as. Do you have an old or slow video card? Does it take longer than it should to show the 1:1 previews? If it does, then change the size and type of the preview. The image below shows the options for the preview size in pixels. The highlighted choice is the default. You can see that you can lower the size a little. Of course the converse is also true, blazing video graphics? Enlarge the preview!

Next, take a look at your quality setting. I know, I want the highest quality too. But, if you want to speed up what you are doing, set the quality to a lower value. Again, the image below shows the default item selected.

Metadata Suggestions

One of the neat featurs in Lightroom is the ability to help you remember what you typed in the Metadata blanks. However, this feature can slow down your computer with a large database. The program has to search for ocurrences of that data field with typing similar to what you have already input. Sometimes this causes a delay in your typing and you have to wait while the computer catches up. Personally, I don't find this feature necessary for me in the Metadata fields, so I turn it off. Go to the last tab in the Catalog settings, aptly called Metadata. Uncheck the box as shown below.

Don't Forget to Restart!

As with any major setting changes, after you are finished, close down Lightroom and restart the program. This should reload all these catalog settings.

One more point, changing the 1:1 preview settings won't help you until you have new previews. When you have some time, like right before you go to sleep early one morning (all nighter, huh?), use the Library -> Previews -> Discard 1:1 Previews menu item. Then use the Render 1:1 Previews menu item in the same place. This should re-create your previews with the new settings.

Remember that these settings are for EACH catalog and not global. You will have to do this for all your catalogs to make a difference.

My Settings

I have a dual core 3.2mhz pentium with 4gb of memory for my main computer and a laptop with a dual core 2.0mhz pentium and 2gb of memory. I use the standard settings on my desktop and everything is reasonable, but on the laptop I find that rendering takes a little longer. While I am out of town shooting images, I use the smaller previews on the laptop and then when I move the catalog to my desktop, I increase the previews to a higher quality. This seems to work well for me. Leave me a comment and let me know what you find.

8/1/2008 EDIT:

Also remember that hardware is important and if you decide not to upgrade hardware, you should still remember to defragment your hard disk. For those that don't know much about this, your hard disk gets pieces of files out of order over time. Like a file cabinet that is no longer in alphabetical order, it's takes longer to find stuff. Putting the file cabinet back in order (defragmenting your hard drive) makes it quick to locate things again. Typically, a defrag program comes with your system tools on your operating system. I use Diskeeper 2008 because it does a great job of defraging my computer while it's not doing anything else.
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Multiple Computers and Adobe Lightroom 2.0

I have seen several questions about how many computers Adobe Lightroom can be installed on for use with a single license. Below is a copy of the LR 2.0 License agreement and it appears that home users can use two copies - one desktop and one laptop. You can see this here: Lightroom 2.0 License Agreement. If I find out any different, I'll post an update here.

Excerpt From Section 2 of the Lightroom 2.0 License

2.1 General Use. You may install and use one copy of the Software on up to the Permitted Number of your compatible Computers; or

2.2 Server Deployment. You may install the Permitted Number of copies of the Software on the Permitted Number of Computer file server(s) within your Internal Network for the purpose of downloading and installing the Software on up to the Permitted Number of Computers within the same Internal Network; or

2.3 Server Use. You may install the Permitted Number of copies of the Software on the Permitted Number of Computer file server(s) within your Internal Network only for use of the Software initiated by an individual through commands, data or instructions (e.g., scripts) from a Computer within the same Internal Network. The total number of users (not the concurrent number of users) permitted to use the Software on such Computer file server(s) may not exceed the Permitted Number. No other network installation or access (either directly or through commands, data or instructions) is permitted, including, but not limited to: (i) from or to a Computer not part of your Internal Network, (ii) for enabling web hosted workgroups or services available to the public, (iii) by any individual or entity to use, download, copy or otherwise benefit from the funtionality of the Software unless licensed to do so by Adobe, (iv) as a component of a system, workflow or service accessible by more than the Permitted Number of users, or (v) for operations not initiated by an individual user (e.g., high-volume automated server processing of wire feed content); and

2.4 Portable or Home Computer Use. Subject to the important restrictions set forth in Section 2.5 below, the primary user of the Computer on which the Software is installed (“Primary User”) may install a second copy of the Software for his or her exclusive use on either a portable Computer or a Computer located at his or her home, provided that the Software on the portable or home Computer is not used at the same time as the Software on the primary Computer. You may be required to contact Adobe in order to make a second copy. ... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

EYE 2: Placement of the Subject

This article is part of my series on the study of 'The Photographer's Eye' by Micheal Freeman.

Our second essay will begin discussing the placement of the subject within the Frame. We will begin with a rather broad overview and then several essays on subjects with fairly plain backgrounds and different ways to divide the frame. Rather than post one large essay, these mini-essays will be cohesive and develop the whole concept of subject placement within an image.

Centering a Subject

Centering is one of the most common placements for a subject within an image. I believe centering occurs for two reasons. The first reason is a learned behavior and the second is the physical makeup of a camera.

Centering as a Behavior

First, centering is automated behavior or a 'habbit'. Most beginning photographers are looking through a camera viewfinder and tend to center the subject they are looking at. When we look at someone, we center our view on their face. When we look at a building, we center our view on the building and then begin looking up and down at the building. By our very nature, we square ourselves up in front of things that we look at. We don't stand sideways, turn our head and have a conversation with someone. This behavior needs modified in order to create an image with the subject located away from the center of the photograph.

Centering Because of Equipment

Second, equipment and technology has directed many photographers to use centering through design. This cause of centering is physical rather than behavioral and comes from two different eras of technology. The first era is the creation of glass lenses used in cameras. Early lenses were made without the mechanical precision used today and each lens was slightly different even though the maker tried to keep them exactly the same. Early lenses were made first and a camera was built around the lens. Today, lenses are made with such exacting specifications that the lens is made to fit the camera.

The result of early lenses was that the center of the lens typically had a very sharp focus while the edges of the lenses were rough and out of focus. Even today, cheaper photographic lenses have less resolution and contrast at the edges when compared to the center. While lens errors are well beyond the scope of these essays, the point is that early lenses and even less expensive lenses today force the photographer to center an image so it will remain sharp.

The second era in technology that pushes centering of images is the digital camera. Digital cameras typically focus by default in the center of the viewfinder. Some digital cameras allow for off centered focusing, but the technique is to focus in the center, recompose and shoot the image. Many beginning photographers do not recompose, they simply focus in the center and shoot.

Results of Centered Subjects

While there are arguably cases for an exact centering of a subject in an image, the vast majority of cases call for a subject out of center. If a subject is only slightly off center, the image can look like an error or extreme lack of experience.

In addition, as we will be discussing throughout the remainder of these essays, art is viewed not as a whole, but in pieces as the viewer's eyes wander the image. A subject contained in the center of an image causes the viewer's eyes to typically remain in the center, static, without movement. This is boring and dull.

However, placing a subject off center to the image as a whole allows for the subject to have space with which to move. The empty space causes questions about what the subject will or has done. The empty space causes speculation from the viewer. These questions and speculations are the cause of tension and eye movement, which is part of the essence of great art, and hence photography.

Conclusion and Exercises

The question now remains - where and how do we offset a subject within the image to best cause tension and eye movements throughout the image? This will be the topic of the next few essays.

For now, as an exercise, choose three fairly stationary subjects and shoot at least six or more images of each. For each subject, shoot one image with the subject as exactly in the center of the image as you can. Then shoot one just barely off center. Shoot the remaining four or more images with any type of offset that you care to use. Compare each of these groups of images making notes about how the centered subject strikes you compared to the offset images.

As a second exercise, go through a few of your favorite magazines. Look at the images in the advertisements as well as the articles. See if you can find any images that have centered subjects and try to determine if this was done intentionally. Record your impressions of the centered and off centered images clipping out the pages to put with your notes if possible.

Go back through the results of these exercises as we continue moving forward to see if they strike you differently.
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

The Photographer's Eye Essays and Study

The Photographer's Eye by Michael Freeman is a superb text on learning to visualize an image with a camera and create art. In my introductory post I gave you an overview of the book and told you I would be creating a group of essays on the text, each with an exercise to practice the theories presented in the book. This post will be organization of these essays and allow you to keep up with me on the study. Bookmark this article so you can visit or reference our work.

For notational purposes, I am using EYE and a number to denote these essays. Also, in order to keep the copyrights properly noted, all references to 'The Photographer's Eye' and the terms 'Frame Shape' or 'Frame' as used here are copyrighted by Michael Freeman. The essays are my reflections on the chapter's of his book, The Photographer's Eye, and unless noted otherwise, the exercises are created solely by me to further the study of Michael Freeman's concepts.

... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

LRG Complete to Get Digital Download!

Joe at Lightroom Galleries has been hard at work the past six months putting together a unique Adobe Lightroom Web Gallery that enables users to create galleries online and sell their images with Paypal, Google Checkout and plain ole' emails.

Joe has now announced that he has figured out a method to add electronic downloadable images for sale as well. Termed 'Digital Downloads', this enhancement will mean you can not only place your prints for sale on the web, but soon you will be able to offer downloadable image files as well. Think about the possibilities!

Read the full post on Digital Delivery at Lightroom Galleries. The really neat concept here is that Joe is leveraging the work already done by a third party service to keep your digital images protected from hacking downloaders. The service he has incorporated into this Digital Download is LinkLok by Vibra Logix.

The LRG Complete web galleries are really shaping up to be not only unique, but a very high quality E-Commerce solution that is available to Adobe Lightroom users. Thanks, Joe for using your mental energies to create such a fantastic product!

Keep watching as the first official release is on the way.
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Lightroom 2 is now Released!

Lightroom 2 is now here! Thank you to all the Adobe folks who have listened to so much bantering from the Beta version. There are many new improvements that were only hinted on in the Forums, so if you've been working with the Beta 2 version, you'll still have some new surprises in store!

You can go to the purchase page at Adobe or get a 30 day trial version.

Also, be sure to lookup some of the new feature videos from the Adobe Photogshop Lightroom 2 Learning Center.

Gotta go, time to buy my copy! ... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Monday, July 28, 2008

LRG Complete 2.5.7 User's Guide Finished

The user's guide for LRG Complete 2.5.7 is finished and can be downloaded on the link in the sidebar. Joe has outdone himself again as he continues to make so many user requested changes. See the Lightroom Galleries blog for more updates and the new features Joe is adding. Keep an eye out there for the long awaited Digital Downloading option! Please consider a donation if you find this template useful as Joe has spent a large amount of time developing it, and this Web Gallery is unique for Lightroom. There is no other Web Gallery like this today!

Note that the User's Guide now has a completely rewritten QuickStart section that is up to date with the 2.5.7 release candidate. The E-Commerce QuickStarts are in process, but the reference section on the E-Commerce is extremely detailed, so read this carefully in lieu of a QuickStart for now.

Other changes were made, so give the User's Guide a quick glance if you have used it before. ... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Photo Shoot Results

The photo shoot I went on the middle of July was fantastic! I have over 400 digital images to go through and almost 200 film images (which are in the process of being developed, some slides and some black & white).

As soon as I have gotten through this (backup takes a great amount of time, but is too important to skip), I will let you know how Lightroom helped me. ... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

10,000 Thank Yous!

Today we have had 10,000 unique visitors here at the Outdoor Images Fine Art Blog. Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to visit! I hope you find useful information here for your photography. Please leave me comments as you browse to help me determine what you find the most valuable.

THANKS AGAIN!! ... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Eye 1: The Frame Shape

This article is part of my series on the study of 'The Photographer's Eye' by Micheal Freeman.

Michael Freeman starts out his book, The Photographer's Eye, by defining the shape of the image we will spend the rest of our study discussing. We call this, the Frame Shape. When we refer to the Frame, we are referring to the area of the image or the dimensional space that the image will occupy. It does not matter what the image is shown on - a camera lcd screen, a monitor, paper, film, etc. The Frame, or Frame Shape, represents the same area.

So what shape is the Frame? There are at least four common shapes. Three of these shapes are rectangular and one is square. The most common of these shapes is the 35mm format from shooting images on film. Digital cameras offer multiple format sizes, though, so whether 35mm remains to be the most common only time will tell.

35mm Frame Size

A 35mm negative has a size ratio of 3:2. This means that for every 3 measurement units across that the negative has, there are 2 of the same measurement units going down. In actuality, a 35mm negative is 36mm x 24mm, but it is referred to as 3:2. Wikpedia has a very good article on 135mm film, more commonly called 35mm film. Note that while 35mm film was introduced in 1934 for still images, it was actually introduced in 1892 by William Dickson and Thomas Edison, according to an article on 35mm film for cinema. In any case, the 35mm format was created to balance the cost of making the film with the quality of the image obtained. This balance was struck well enough that the 35mm format has maintained it's presence for over 100 years.

However, the balance of cost vs quality of image does not necessarily provide an optimal ART format. Creating an image that has meaning and impact may not work as well with a 3:2 format as some other size. For example, many framed images, many art paintings, many magazine and book covers are all some other size ratio than 3:2. So if an image was created in 35mm, it had to be cropped for these uses.

There are images that favor a 35mm format, or a 3:2 Frame. Tall images, like images of the Redwood Forest, favor a 3:2 format because of the long, narrow subject. Buildings, tall waterfalls, long horizons and other length oriented subjects favor the 3:2 Frame.

4:3 Frame Size

It is no accident that many digital cameras now include a 4:3 aspect ratio. As Michael informs us, this ratio or Frame Size "accurately reflects the real world sizes." The 4:3 Frame is much closer to representing the types of images noted above. In fact, the large format camera uses negative sizes that are 4x5. While this isn't an exact representation of the 4:3 Frame Size, it represents an area just a little larger. Thus, cropping to a 4:3 ratio from a 4x5 negative doesn't remove much of the image. This is no accident.

The ratio of 4:3 represents a decimal of 1.3333. That of the 4x5 (which is 5 divided by 4) represents a decimal of 1.25 and 35mm formats (3:2) represents a decimal of 1.5. These decimals can be equated to percentages and represent the increase of the longer side of the image from the shorter side. Since the shorter side of the image must be used to maximize the negative used when cropping, this method of comparison is valid.

Thus, if the best presentation ratio is 4:3, or 133%, then the 4x5 negative at 125% is only 8% less whereas a 35mm negative is 150% or 17% more. The only point here is that to go to a 4:3 Frame Size, a 35mm negative will have more of the image cropped out than a 4x5 camera. Unfortunately, the cost of 4x5 photography is generally far greater than 35mm photography. That is, until the use of digital photography came about providing multiple ratios available with the same equipment.

Wide Image Format

The wide image format, normally using a 16:9 ratio, has also become a common option on digital cameras. This format is increasingly more popular for landscape and panoramic type photography where wide area coverage is desired. Without the ability to stitch multiple images together or capture an image with a wide digital sensor (CCD), the ability to create quality images of this type is limited and potentially much more difficult. Due to the limited application of this Frame Size, we will not discuss it further. However, for specific applications, this format can produce stunning results.

Square Formats

Square formats are not very common because not many images capture a subject which is square in nature. As we will learn going forward, having too much extra space around a subject may detract from the subject itself and not provide a very pleasing image. That being said, there are certainly applications for square images or a square Frame. Circular subjects, square subjects, diamond shaped subjects and subjects grouped in these shapes all lend themselves to a square format. Film and digital formats do not include square negatives, however, and to produce a square Frame, cropping will need to be performed.

Conclusion and Exercises

For an affordable film format, 35mm is the most common. When using a digital camera, frequently the 3:2, 4:3 and 16:9 formats are available giving the photographer a choice of Frame Size to use. Whatever medium a photographer chooses, there will inevitably be cropping involved. Remember to first shoot the image for the composition and crop later. It is better to crop an image than never have captured it to begin with.

For a first exercise, take a group of images shot with any format. Arrange three views of each image cropped to the following ratios: 3:2, 4:3 and square. Print these out in three separate prints or all on one piece of paper. Make notes on them about which Frame you like the best. Note the problems, if any, with the other Frame sizes in presenting the overall image. Use this group of images to create your portfolio for this study of The Photographer's Eye so that you can go back through it as a refresher from time to time. If you are using an electronic program like Adobe Lightroom, you can start a group of Collections and make this the first collection.

I hope you find this study valuable to you and keep watching for the next essay!
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Photographer's Eye by Michael Freeman

This article is part of my series on the study of 'The Photographer's Eye' by Micheal Freeman.

On my recent trip to the west coast, I read a book I found in Barnes & Noble. The title caught my eye, but the content as I flipped it made me purchase the book. The Photographer's Eye by Michael Freeman is a special photography book.

The topic of the book is how to visualize and create art through the medium of photography. The organization of the book is far better than many as each topic is on average a two-page spread. There are a few that are longer, but most are self-contained and can be read when you have time. Furthermore, the organization of the topics is sequential to learning the craft of visualization.

Before I go any further, let me tell you that I will begin writing articles here on various topics covered in Michael's book using an essay form. The point of these articles will be to analyze some of what Michael says, but then to provide an exercise that you can perform to further your ability in this area. Think of these as the supplement to the course. The Photographer's Eye will be your lectures, and I will provide the homework! I plan to post examples of some of the exercises as I also use them.

Now, a few more items about this book. Michael's organization of the topics starts with a definition of the basic framework we will deal with in the remainder of the text. That framework revolves around, well, the frame. Using a term from film photography, Michael uses the concept of the boundary of an image and it's various sizes and orientations to begin. He moves to some basic design concepts like contrasts and textures. Then he moves to elements in the image like broad brushstrokes in a watercolor painting. He finishes with some sections on composition, intent of the image and process.

I don't want to cover the entire text here but rather through the essays. Of course while it won't be necessary to buy the book, I do recommend it for anyone interested in photography be it taking the images or viewing other's images. It's amazing to begin to SEE photographically. I think great photographer's have an eye to compose images naturally and over the years I have acquired an eye for certain subjects in nature. However, after reading this text I am discovering new ways to view subjects.

I'm sure this newfound enlightenment has also been a product of visiting the Seattle Art Museum last week where they had a special impressionism exhibit. Even so, whatever the medium for art, and I have chosen film and photography, art must be furthered by new views. The same old picture of the same old subject is not art, it is practice by copying others.

Copying is good and in fact, that is how the impressionists created their genre. They copied the master's of their day, which were mainly the Renaissance 'realists'. Then as they perfected making copies of previous great works, they started introducing their own concept of light. Their paintings became brighter and a little less detailed. They were fresh and new. I was amazed at the progression of impressionism to the art form it ultimately ended up as. Photography is very similar. In my case, for nature photography, Ansel Adams is my master to copy. Over time I have to introduce my own style and capture of light. There is no doubt that a thorough study of Michael Freeman's book will enhance my ability to accomplish this.

Stay tuned. I will use the category Visualization to tag these essays and put a link on the side bar for you.
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Online Backups

Backing up image files in Adobe Lightroom continues to be a hot topic. It is the most laborious and tedious part of my Lightroom workflow, but also the most necessary. Anyone that has lost an image because of poor backups, and I am one of those, will agree.

I found an interesting web site that reviews online backup sources. Many IT sources now look to online backups and online outsourcing as a way to get commercial quality hardware at a fraction of the price. Raid servers, offsite backups, redundant hardware - all terms that come up frequently for enterprise level backup routines.

Take a look at Online Backup Reviews and see if there is a source that is right for you.

From Adobe's standpoint, it would be a nice feature to add the ability to backup a catalog and image library to an online source. For now, they may have to be done manually, but I suspect it will be added in the future as online abilities are required to stay competitive.

Who knows, we may even begin to see our working library as an online solution, available where ever we are in the world? I'm sure it will take higher bandwidth speeds as many have indicated the network speeds are not sufficient for transferring information, but then again, don't you remember when a 56k modem was fast?
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Backup, Import, Backup

There are so many details to think about when deciding how to store images, how to label image files, how to backup images and which images should be imported into a library program. This article discusses an overview for the method of getting images from a camera (or scanner) into a Adobe Lightroom while maintaining an appropriate level of backups. This article will not discuss the pros and cons of different media, but overview the need for using multiple medias as backups.

The title of this article is really the summary of the entire workflow. Backup, Import, and Backup again. The order is also important, but mostly because of a limitation of many digital camera interfaces today. This article was also developed based on some of the other detailed work done in importing images into Lightroom and to give a further framework in the Image Conversion Workflow.

The speed of many digital cameras is very slow when uploading images. Only a negative scanner seems slower. Be that as it may, Adobe Lightroom seems to magnify the slowdown when importing directly from a camera. Thus, the first step: Backup.


The first step in our workflow is to backup the images from the digital card. If you use a negative scanner, then the first step is to scan the image to a backup medium. In my case, the backup is a USB mirrored hard drive attached to my workstation.

I use a Leica DLux3 which is a remarkable pocket camera that takes RAW images. I use the SD card reader in my computer, insert the SD card and copy the images to my external hard drive. See the article I wrote on naming directories for digital negatives and slides to determine how you will organize the image files. This is the fastest method for copying images from a camera - no additional processing in between. Next, we import.

10/13/2008 EDIT: Also see the article that discusses Backing Up Rejects.


The importing function in Adobe Lightroom is a powerful tool. With a little practice and some digging, many options are available through the import dialog. If you copied your images to a backup in the first step, then the import step should use the 'copy the files to a new location' option.

If the files are RAW then you can also check the option to convert the files to DNG. Adobe's Digital Negative format continues to undergo improvements. The two primary reasons to consider using DNG formats are a) Adobe has made the format open source and it should be around for a long time to come and b) DNG formats are smaller than RAW formats because of some lossless compression routines. For TIFF files, JPEG formats and others, the DNG format doesn't offer much, but for RAW files, DNG is worth a look.

At this point you can also choose a MetaData preset or create one on the fly. Thus, we can be importing images from a soccer game shoot and automatically set the photographer's information as well as the soccer match information in the MetaData. Presets for MetaData are like bulk copies. They instantly make an array of changes to a group of files while they are importing. This saves mutliple selections and later typing.Also, keywords can also be added at the import stage. Similar to the MetaData presets, images can have basic tags created to get started.

This is not to say that further refining will not be necessary. In fact, changes should be necessary. There should be some title and description information put in the MetaData for each image. There should also be some keywords that will apply to some images and other keywords for other informations. The point is that much of the repetitive information can be input easily for all the images. This is the whole idea of an efficient workflow.


The last section almost could have been labeled Import-Backup. The importing dialog is the perfect time to make a copy of the images for our last backup. Simply setting the end of the dialog to copy the files to a CD when finished will add some time to the process, but will provide us with a moveable copy that could even be stored off site.

The copy to CD routine in Lightroom 1.4.1 seems to copy the images to a temporary directory and then burn them to a CD. However, the temporary files are not removed from the disk directory. Yet, when you export a new set of images to burn to a CD, Lightroom removes those old files first.

Exporting to CD can be done at a later time, but backups tend to get delayed if they are not completed when the images are added to the library. Then you find yourself getting busy and wanting to review the images. Who needs another backup? Well, the first backup is on a hard drive and the working copy is on another hard drive. Hard drives are prone to eventual failure, or in my case, prone to electrical failure from lighting strikes. So, to truly protect your images, using a backup that can be separated and that is not prone to descrtuction like the others.


The whole point of this article is to let us sit back and evaluate our current import strategy. Using the concepts above we have several advantages. First, we make a quick copy of our images and secure the location they are stored. Then we import them using presets to save lots of typing and reviewing. Finally, we make another backup to a CD or DVD as the import is taking place.

Next, we will delve into the details and choices available in the exporting dialog. Stay tuned!! ... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Photo Shoot - LRG Complete 2.5.6

I will be on a photo shoot for a week or so and will not be keeping posts up to date for that time. As soon as I get through, I'll let you know how it went and how I used lightroom to help.

In the meantime, keep watching Lightroom Galleries as Joe is making more improvements every day to his LRG Complete web gallery for Lightroom. I have released the User's Guide for version 2.5.6 which you can download on the sidebar here or at Lightroom Galleries.

Also, thanks for the continued comments. I appreciate everyone that is visiting and contributing. Hope your summer is going well!
... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Update: Custom Sorting in Lightroom 2.0 Beta

There is a work-around to the lack of custom sorting found in the Adobe Lightroom 2.0 Beta version. See the updated article Lightroom Tip#16 - Ordering Images in Lightroom where we give you this work-around. ... Read More!

Don't forget to visit my photography web site where we sell museum quality black and white prints framed to last up to 175 years - Outdoor Images Fine Art.