Torn Between Two Loves

If you go to my Ello page, you will see something peculiar.

There are a ton of Black & White images with lots of views.

They are the photos with the most views. No color photo has more views than any other B&W photo.

In other words, they are pretty popular. At least there.

There is a sort of different level of popularity on my B&W instagram page, but I’d just started with that recently and I have not given it the proper care it deserves. (I’ll need to suck up to the Instagram Algorithm Gods in order to get more followers).

And the thing is, I love Black and White photography.

My father had a large collection of Life Magazines and I remember expending a lot of time browsing those pages. Maybe that’s the reason why I love photography so much!

Is definitely the reason why I love black and white photography…

I grew up wit the classics. My first photography book was all in black and white (I think my father still has it).

I also love Street Photography, and there is consensus that good street photography is black and white photography. At least is my consensus. :-)

But color is such a bitch!

It hits you when and where you least expect it. It saturates those photo receptor cells and fells the viewer with pure and unadulterated joy!

I am conflicted…

On a recent walk, I took this picture:

Barren in Color

Nothing mayor. A quick iPhone shot on an afternoon walk during the first minutes of the sunset, overlooking the Brooklawn Country Club, in Fairfield.

I edited the photo using Luminar 3 with Libraries and I was happy with how it came out. I like the color gradation on the sky, the color contrast between the golf course, the leaves in the front and the sky; and last but not least the barren trees silhouettes that kind of join all the colors by traversing up and down.

But then I decided to add another layer to the file and try my hand at this:

Barren in B&W

I like to do this when the images have texture (like the branches in this case) and as part of an on-going project that has to do the winter trees.

The image tickles memories of the death trees in Namibia with feelings of solitude and desolation. Definitely something I like lately. So I posted the photo to Instagram.

I didn’t post the color photo.

Now, I am torn between two loves… Can’t say one is better than the other. The feel is different. That’s the reason why photography is so subjective. We each have a different way of seeing things.

Black and White or Color? Should I flip a coin? What are your thoughts?

Luminar 3 with Libraries

Skylum just released (December 18th 2018) the new version of Luminar, called Luminar 3 with Libraries.

The Brooklyn Diner

I downloaded the installation files and immediately told it where my photos where on my external hard drive.

I can tell you that when I started working with it I was giddy…

I don’t think I have ever been so happy to work with my pictures. I was able to organize almost 10 years worth of photos in about four hours. Something that I have been putting off month after month with Adobe Lightroom; Luminar allowed me to finish it quickly and easily.

But that is not why I was giddy.

I was happy because Adobe has finally gotten some competition and because I am seeing the possibilities of this application. I sincerely hope that Skylum continues their efforts to beat Adobe Lightroom to a pulp.

Capto_Capture 2018-12-20_11-05-51_AM.jpg

I don’t want you to think that I hate Adobe. I don’t. I just think their practices trying to force everybody into their cloud model is wrong.

They basically say: “Hey, we are the only game in town with regards to photo editing so now you have to pay us US$120 a year and more for hosting your photos in the cloud”.

And believe me, all they want is for you to buy their VERY EXPENSIVE CLOUD STORAGE.

Skylum has Cloud storage in their Roadmap. Not sure what that’s going to be, but in any case I just think for now, this suits my needs.

It’s also a beautiful program, to look at it and to work on it.

There are some quirky things (I will say more than a few) but that is to be expected from a version 1.0 (or 3.0) of a software.

Skylum intentions are to do a fast and furious update plan for the end of the year and the next quarter. All those updates, according to the company, are going to be free to current users of the application.

I still have about 10 more years of photos to organize, but yesterday I did a whole year in about one hour as I become more accustomed to the way the application works.

I think Luminar 3 with Libraries is a first rate contender for the crown of Digital Assets Manager (DAM) in my computer.

I can’t wait to see what Skylum has in store.

Oh Affinity, I couldn't have Done Without You!!

So my father is writing a book about our family name…

Salomé

I know that is book that he has been planning for a long time (His capacity of planning is truly admirable) and I know that as preparation for it, he interviewed all his aunts and other family to get the gist of the genealogy tree.

One of the things he is including, are old pictures of relatives. Some of them people that I probably never had the pleasure or I was too little to even remember.

One such people, is my great grandmother, on my father side, Salomé.

So he had this picture of her that was in pretty bad shape. Looks like it when to war with some humidity and it lost the battle!

He was here visiting and he said that he was going to send it to me to see if I could do something with it. I didn't think he was going to send me the actual physical picture but he did. It took almost a month to get here (via snail mail, of course) and it got here the day of the big storm.

The manila envelope was wet and I though: “Oh, great, just what I needed, a family heirloom ruined by rain!”. Thankfully, it was ok. The envelope took most of the brunt of the rain (like the photo needed more humidity).

I immediately scanned the photo using my Epson Workforce Printer (My Canon scanner is nowhere to be found since the move) and decided to open the photo in Affinity Photo.

First thing I did was turned it into Black and White to remove the red color from the humidity stains and decided to save a Work in Progress (WIP) version and work on it later.

At night and before I went downstairs, I decided to copy the WIP to the cloud, to see if I could do some work on my iPad. Affinity Photo has, to everybody’s pleasure, a iPad version that is fully complete.

As I laid down in my bed, I was able to work on the photo with a level of detail that I had never achieved using photoshop. The combination of Affinity Photo, the iPad, the Apple Pencil and some Ghost of Paraguay music, made the restoration a breeze and a joy!!

I was able to complete 95% of the work last night, something that took me days on Photoshop on a previous restoration. Oh Boy! I am totally hooked on the Affinity Products.

What you see here is not the finished photo (I reserve the right to only share that with my father, for his book) but what I had completed on the iPad last night. The before and after can tell you that I could not have done it without the help of Affinity Photo.

What an incredible fast workflow!! I can see myself working more like this.

Affinity allows you to connect to any cloud storage (in this case I used iCloud, but I have worked on Affinity Designer using other solutions like Tresorit) contrary to Photoshop that tries to force you to only use their stupid cloud solution as part of the Creative Cloud Subscription.

If you are not using the Affinity Products, give yourself a few days, download the trials and believe me when I say these will change your life. They have Affinity Photo (Photoshop like Editor), Affinity Designer (Illustrator like Vector based Editor) and now you can even download the Beta version of Affinity Publisher (InDesign like Layout Program).

There is a learning curve involved, but nothing you can get over easily using Affinity Vimeo channel with plenty of tutorials.

I can’t wait to play more with this wonderful suit of applications. Thank you Affinity by Serif!!

The inviting entrance to Area 52

Playing around with the new version of Skylum's Luminar 2018 and some foggy pictures...

The Inviting entrance to Areas 52

One of those mornings when I wake up at 4:30 AM with insomnia and decided there was nothing else to do but get out of bed up and go to the office to get some shit done.

Luckily, I happened to look at the weather report while I was brushing my teeth which called for some foggy weather.

I packed my computer and decide to take the Fuji X100F for a spin in low light/foggy weather.

As I was driving away from the house this was the scene at our local library's entrance.

I kind of reminded me of a story I read a long time ago where aliens invaded the earth and they were shaped like street lamps.

The new version of Luminar 2018 (Jupiter) is blazing fast! Every day I find new and interesting ways to use this program and every day I move a little bit farther away from Lightroom. Mind you, I still love me some LR, but the speed and versatility of Luminar are enough to convince any diehard LR alumni.

There are so many choices and possibilities with this application that creativity becomes fun once again, and I think that is what LR is lacking.