Vero has announced a beta desktop app. Glass has a dedicated tablet app, unlike instagram. Vero has no ads and no algorithm as far as I can tell at this stage, pixelfed.social is volunteer run and an “instance” of mastadon. So all these services are in my mind superior to Instagram, while offering the familiar smart phone experience, without the “influencers” and the algorithms.
Flickr occupies the most of my online time however. It’s really a big screen experience though. [It has a mobile app and good integration between the website and the smart phone app.] Or at the least a tablet one. So if you were to include flickr I really have 6 social media accounts dedicated to photography.
In my never ending pursuit to escape the clutches of Adobe’s leasing model, I’m always on the lookout for alternative software to manage organise and process my digital files. This last few months I have been working exclusively without any Adobe products. Lightroom was my go to tool until I resurrected Aperture by Apple on an old Desktop. Now I’m using 2 apps to do all the heavy lifting.
NeoFinder is the first. It is now my digital asset tool of choice. Finding and using this software has potentially saved me from buying a new desktop computer. The software is stable, fast and flexible. If it had an ability to “ingest files” and process them as raw then I’m set. As Neofinder does not, my workflow consists of using Apple’s Image Capture.app to ingest files, Neofinder to rate, sort and organise, and Affinity Photo to process the raw files.
I recently discovered Ben Crosser.
Ben Crosser focuses on the cultural, social, and political effects of software.
He asks. What does it mean for human creativity when a computational system can paint its own artworks? How is an interface that foregrounds our friend count changing our conceptions of friendship? Who benefits when a software system can intuit how we feel? To examine questions like these, he constructs interactive experiences, machines, and systems that make the familiar unfamiliar, revealing the ways that software prescribes our behaviour and thus, how it changes who we are.
He has created a social network that works the opposite way to most. You are limited to 100 posts, there are no date and time-stamps, and no reason to connect or expand your network. As an interactive piece it is interesting, you can reply to people if you want. Replies don’t count toward your message limit.
A raft of new features were added in the recent iOs 14.3 update.
Two stand out for me.
Firstly the new Apple Raw file format. Since about 2017 or 2018 I used a 3rd party app that captured DNG files as I went. Called ProCamera. Now Apple natively supports DNG in camera.
Scroll down to formats.
Toggle Apple ProRaw on
The second is a setting about app tracking and privacy. You need to activate this setting to enable sites like Facebook to track your movements online. It is off by default. Personally I would leave it that way. More on the Mac Rumours website
Scroll and tap Tracking.
Make sure the toggle is grey. No sites or apps can track your movements.
It’s a common misconception that you can only use Google to search online. There are other options and turning off Google should be one fo the first things you do when you open a browser like Safari, Firefox or Opera. I use duckduckgo for all my searching online.
Changing this in your browsers settings is simple, and is similar for most operating systems.
With the DOJ in America bring an anti-trust suit against Google now is the time to help break Google’s monopoly over search, and claim back the internet.
Here are some screengrabs from my desktop machine in the 3 main browsers I use.
Needless to say I rarely use Chrome, in fact it took some digging to find where to make the above changes.
The most recent version of photoshop was released on the 20th of October, for both the iPad and the Desktop. Adobe’s promotional material on their blog is promotoing the Artificial Intelligence side of the new update. Adobe, rightly or wronglyis seen as the leader in the field of Digital Photography. I want to vent about them here in my own little photography diary. Adobe justifies their use of AI to ‘save time’, and boost creativity, from the blog.
With the addition of these five major new breakthroughs, you can free yourself from the mundane, non-creative tasks and focus on what matters most – your creativity.
I would argue that for me the most creativity comes when I’m walking alone in one of my favourite locations. Contemplating either a finished print or a ‘networked image’, camera in hand. Any post production is just about fitting the values of the scene. Onto my chosen medium. In a manner I see fit based on my own aesthetic. This aesthetic is of course rooted in the long tradition of straight photography. Not to mention an appreciation of materials and processes I have strived to master. Having good teachers helped me start my own journey on this path in the early 1990s.
This time poor approach to craft has been a growing trend, and one that I feel runs counter to good photography. Good in the sense that the picture is worth making and says something about meaningful, if this is the authors intention.
Change the perspective of your landscapes. Focus on the story you want to tell. Get rid of unnecessary details and create an impactful photo in one smart click
Recently I returned to Aperture to experiment and explore further, Apple’s professional digital asset management and editing tool. The differences between Luminar 4, and it are huge. To the point where I have to round trip my work to see what I can achieve. I’m still unclear as to how to proceed. I like the AI features in Luminar, but feel at the mercy of the software. The AI tools in Luminar 4 are good, but what do they really mean? I can find no comparable tools in Aperture. So I have to wonder am I doing these files the justice they deserve in Aperture?
When artificial intelligence is able to create art works and portraits where does the human operator sit? I make images because it satisfies an urge. Indescribable; yet one that lies beneath the surface. That needs scratching at least several times a year. None of which involves much input. other than my own desires and understandings of the materials and processes I’m working with. Skills learned from many hours of making mistakes and asking the right questions.
If you are like myself and many other creatives who use and rely on software to get the job done. You may well be sick of Adobe’s new licensing model? I have always been a proponent of alternatives to the mainstream and prior to 2002, there were several much better software programs out there that left Photoshop in the dirt. Fast forward now to the next century and somehow Adobe has become the Microsoft of the creative industries.
Have no fear there ARE alternatives. One such player is Skylum software’s Luminar 4. I have been paying for this software for a couple of years now and when version 4 arrived with DAM built-in I was ecstatic. Luminar 4 has several features that beat the pants off Lightroom. These features are great if you are a novice digital photographer and want to get up to speed using software to enhance your raw files. At about $90.00 AU it’s a steal for the current version. [If you click through on this link it helps me with discounts moving forward].
I won’t repeat what has been written other than to say the fact that I do not need to import images into the software to work means a lot. I expect version 5 of Luminar to knock Lightroom off its perch. Currently I use the two packages side by side, and given my approach to software generally, I should give the AI features in Luminar more of a go.
Other features that both Lightroom and Luminar have that are useful are the option to review/preview edits. Luminar’s online help looks more succinct and direct than Adobe’s I feel too.