photograhy

A Japanese Photographer’s View of Life in His Family’s One-Room Home

A Japanese Photographer’s View of Life in His Family’s One-Room Home

Meoko Fujii at The New Yorker has posted an incredible collection of the photographs of the Japanese photographer Masaki Yamamoto that are part of his new photo book: Guts.

Guts documents his seven-person family’s life in a one-room apartment in Kobe, Japan. This is a gritty but fascinating glimpse of a kind of life that few of us will ever experience but it’s not so foreign that we can’t imagine it. This is amazing work and once the book is in wider circulation I hope to get it.

Koya Bound

Koya Bound

“Koya-san — home to esoteric Buddhism — is the name of a sacred basin eight hundred meters high and surrounded by eight mountains. It is roughly one hundred kilometers of trails north from the Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine in Wakayama, Japan. Though the name of the basin is often incorrectly translated as Mt. Koya in English, Mt. Koya is only one of the eight peaks, and is remote from the central cluster of temples.

We walked towards Koya-san, but we did not touch Mt. Koya.”

Koya Bound is a journal of an eight day walk on the Kumano Kodo trail in Japan by Craig Mod and Dan Rubin. The photography, the website structure and the writing are all superb. As you scroll down and back up the page the map shows your progress along the trail.

It’s also a limited edition book that’s available via a link at the bottom of the site.

[via Jon Moss]

PhotoScan

This is a brilliant marketing video and I’m going to give this application a try. I don’t always like Google’s design sense on things like this but this video caught my attention. Might even give Google Photos a try too as Apple’s Photos app is less than wonderful. I’m a Lightroom user so use it for most of my heavy lifting but for stuff like this, especially image that won’t need much retouching, this system will be great, well, at least worth a try.

Update: I’ve PhotoScanned a number of images, some of which looked like they might be tough. The app works beautifully. I’m not using Google Photos, I’m moving the scanned photos into Apple Photos and that too is working fine. This is certainly an improvement over using the iPhone camera alone to do this kind of work. I highly recommend folks give this app a try, it’s quite good.

[via The Loop]

The Year of Living Mirrorlessly

The Year of Living Mirrorlessly*

A great essay by Randall Armor up on PetaPixel.

This is one of the best pieces of writing on photography gear and being a photographer I’ve ever read. It’s right on point, well written, humorous, and informative. It seems to be pushing the Fuji X100T but in fact, it’s pushing this deeper ideas about photography and photographers.

“I see you rolling your eyes right now. Sure, Fuji probably went a little overboard cashing in on Leica fever. But why not? Camera companies stay fat and happy by understanding their customers’ psychology. Once you’ve gotten the Id, the Ego, and the Superego out of the way, photographers’ personalities can be further distilled into three subcategories: your Poseur, your Old Poop, and your Shooter.”

I’d love to think I’m a “shooter” but I may have a sprinkling of “old poop” folded in as well.

“For Shooters, having too many choices is just that– too many choices. They know that hauling around a bag full of lenses only makes it that much more likely that they will have the wrong lens on the camera every time that once in a lifetime shot presents itself.”

Amen.

*The Year of Living Dangerously is a fantastic film by Peter Weir. Well worth seeing if you haven’t seen it.

Project Apollo Archive

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The Lunar Rover on the moon on the Apollo 15 mission

NASA has put another photo archive up on Flickr: the Project Apollo Archive with images from most of the various Apollo missions including all of the moon landings. Wow, it’s a lot of fun to browse through. Not everything is incredible but there are gems buried in over a thousand images. And, the images are free to embed elsewhere if you’re a member of flickr.

[via PetaPixel]

Making a photo album for my mother

On May 26th my mother will turn 100 and while she has serious macular degeneration and can’t see well anymore, I thought the best way to acknowledge and celebrate her long life would be to scan and put together a book of images from the various eras that her life has spanned. Our family has accumulated boxes of photographs, some from Europe before my grandparents came over here and an increasing flood of them as the years went by.

I decided against using MagCloud or Blurb or other book-making services for this project although will certainly revisit them later. My mother can’t hold a book anymore so for her I made about 50 8×10 prints and put them in sleeves so she can easily hold and look at them.

Images of my mother

For the relatives and friends who will come to her party (the few who are left) I made a small book of 24 4×5″ prints using a simple and inexpensive Pioneer flexible photo album. I pulled the generic covers out and made front and back covers and put an index inside the front cover with dates and captions for the images. I made 20 albums. It was a fun project and being immersed in it is one of the reasons I’ve not been posting to this site in a while.

Photo album for my mother

I could have easily posted all of these images to Flickr (still may) and made a set and pointed people to it but, many of the people who will attend her party are old enough so that posting images online isn’t the most accessible way to share them. And, given the fact that I found most of these images in boxes that we’d saved over many (well over 100) years, the idea of having analog copies of things to preserve them seemed like a good idea. Plus, I like printing and I like making things so this was as much for me as my mother and the folks who will come to her party.

I leave for California tomorrow with a suitcase full of memories. Hopefully United won’t lose it.

Lightroom 6

Adobe has released a new version of its photo editing and cataloging software, Lightroom.

Version 6 adds a few capabilities, fixes bugs, but most importantly it uses the GPU chips in modern computers more than previous versions which increases its speed dramatically in processor-intensive tasks. Check out the chart in this review: Lightroom 6 arrives with performance improvements and new tools.

Personally, I’m no fan of Adobe. While I think Lightroom is the best tool available there are UI and UX design issues that have persisted in it since it was born and as you will see below, Adobe just does not get user experience at all and treats users like thieves.

I was hoping that Apple’s new Photos application that has replaced both iPhoto and Aperture might be good enough for me to leave the Adobe ship once and for all, but after using Photos for a week I can say for sure that while it will no doubt improve in future versions, and I’ve moved my entire iPhoto library into it and thrown out iPhoto, Photos is not a replacement for Lightroom or Aperture for serious work with images.

Lightroom remains the best image editing and organizing tool out there for my photographic process and I upgraded to Lightroom 6 yesterday.

How to buy and/or upgrade

Adobe would like you to subscribe to their “Creative Cloud” which, for $9.99 a month gives you access to Lightroom and Photoshop and apps that run on mobile devices and a small amount of cloud space to store images to sync to multiple devices. I was concerned that this was the only way they were selling Lightroom and as a long time user I’m only interested in having the software running on my computer, not my iPad or iPhone.

If you’re not logged into the Adobe site and you scroll to the bottom of this page you’ll see 5 rectangles, the one in the bottom right says: Lightroom 6: For desktop only. Mobile capabilities not included, Buy Now. It pisses me off that Adobe buries the stand-alone application and they really want us all to subscribe so they’re pushing one over the other. I was logged into the Adobe site when I first went looking for this and it was not to be found. If you don’t see it, make sure you’re logged out (you can log back in later in the process).

Once you hit “Buy Now” and are looking at your cart, you’ll see Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 in your basket. Now comes the incredibly unintuitive part.

I was concerned that there was no upgrade path for users of earlier versions of Lightroom but in fact, there is but Adobe in all of it’s infinite wisdom (not) chose to bury it, again trying to force you to pay full price again. Ugh.

Click the “Edit” button on the right and you’ll notice that things will change on the left.

Where is says: “I want to buy: Full” note that “Full” is now a pulldown menu. Pull it down and choose “Upgrade.”

The next line is: “I own:” and a pulldown menu for the version of Lightroom you own. I own Lightroom 5.X so I chose it.

Lastly the click the orange “Save Changes” button at the bottom. The price will change from the full $149 price to the $79 upgrade price.

The orange button is now “Checkout” and once you click there you can pay for the upgrade and a screen or two later, download the Mac or Win version.

The rest is Adobe’s convoluted serial number entering process which, if you use their products you’ll be painfully familiar with.

Note: A big thank you to my good friend Edward for help with this. I had no clue it was possible to upgrade until he showed me the steps above.

Is it worth it?

In a word, yes. After opening my 8000 image library up (a mixture of Canon 5D RAWs, Ricoh GR RAWs and Sony RX100 RAWs) and moving through it I can say that on my mid-2014 Retina MacBook Pro (2.8 GHz Core i7, 16 GB memory, Intel Iris Pro 1536, 1TB SSD this upgrade of Lightroom is significantly faster at almost everything.

At some point this summer I plan to buy a Retina iMac for image editing and book creation and I was concerned that the rumors of Lightroom being slow on the huge, high resolution screen would be an issue. I’m pretty sure Adobe took care of that with this version which makes better use of the GPU to render images much faster.

All of my presets, both in the Develop module and the Print module are there and the application just feels snappier which is very nice considering I’m using it on a very fast computer.

For me and the kind of work I do this upgrade is worth it. $79 every two years might seem like a lot of money in this time where we buy apps from the Mac app store for $5 and they upgrade automatically for free, but in fact, Lightroom is a different animal and while I wish Adobe would put it in the app store with automatic .X upgrades, I don’t resent paying this kind of money for it as it’s a serious, industrial-strength application that does what it does well.

If you’re a desktop computer Lightroom user this upgrade is well worth doing.

Lens Diffraction In Photography

This is one of the best explanations of diffraction in photography I’ve ever heard. Steve is clear, shows great examples and I must say, he cleared up a lot of “diffraction” in my brain about diffraction in my camera.

No matter what you know about photography, what kind of camera(s) you have, or what kinds of photographs you take, you’ll find this useful. It does not just apply to DSLRs with interchangeable lenses. It applies to any camera with a lens that allows you to control aperture. So, my Ricoh GR, Sony RX100 III, and Fuji X100T all can be stopped down too much and so, create diffraction in the resulting images. As Steve says, this isn’t always a bad thing but it’s good to have a basic understanding of it so you can balance depth of field with this optical artifact.

I shoot a lot at f/11 when I have enough light and given what I just learned, I’m going to open up a bit to f/8 and see what happens. For me, lack of sharpness is usually due to me moving rather than diffraction from too small an aperture but opening up a bit will give me a bit more latitude to lower my ISO and still get decent exposures.

Now to go through his other, no-doubt excellent videos: Backcountry Gallery YouTube Channel.

[via PetaPixel]