Travels with Luminar

I’ve had a little more time to work with Luminar and in general I’m liking it.

But there are some changes from Lightroom that take getting used to.

  • If you use Apples Photos as your Digital Asset Manager (DAM) then your Luminar processing history is not retained by either app. This may be rectified when Luminar’s bespoke DAM arrives.
  • This lack of history makes it hard to remember how particular images were processed and therefore it’s can be hard to recreate styles, unless you made a preset of the style.
  • There is a vast array of variables when processing in professional mode eg workspaces, filters, presets and LUTS. This makes a powerful processing tool, but it is slightly overwhelming in the early days. Hopefully this will be refined as the software matures.
  • The gradient filter appears slightly more subtle than Lightroom’s. Although I may be applying it incorrectly.
  • Because Luminar uses layers, sometimes I’ve had difficulty combining these rather than a new layer cancelling or masking an earlier one. Again this can probably be dealt with by understanding blend modes.

 

Having said all that, I’m generally happy with the results.

 

Photo workshops

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve enjoyed running a small photo workshop in association with a local school. Today we climbed above the town for some great views across Perthshire.

I’ve been really impressed, and a little envious, of the natural talent of the participants. And I learned quite a bit myself; not least that technical knowledge of cameras cannot compare with great composition.

Here’s one of my efforts, it was quickly snapped while showing the effect of grads and polarisers.

2. Ilford XP2 Super in Ilfosol 3

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Here is one resulting image from the processing of XP2 in Black & White chemistry.

It’s clearly very high constrast, which I quite like, and that may be due to the developing time of 21 minutes (this came from the Massive Dev app). I’m pretty happy with the results. There is very little grain, which is ok with me, and the negative seems sharp (I’ve cropped and added a little sharpening (+10) and clarity (+5) in lightroom).

The negatives have a mild magenta cast, but that has made little difference in B&W.

Nowadays, the benefit of C41 high street processing is long gone. There is nowhere in my town that could process and return the same day. I think they all have to send images off for developing. The only place I’ve found 1 hour or same day processing is Snappy Snaps, Byres Road in Glasgow and that’s too far for regular processing.

So, apart from an incredibly long processing time, I’d say that it’s worth processing XP2 at home in Black & White chemistry.

1. Ilford XP2 Super in Ilfosol 3

Before I knew the difference between film types I saw what looked like a good deal in a high street store.

I bought a handful of Ilford XP2 which appeared to be at a discounted rate. I’ve since discovered two facts which have made me regret the purchase.

1. Even at the discounted price, these films cost considerably more than they would have from an online specialist.

2. More importantly, XP2 is a C41 type film, meaning it can be processed with colour films. But it’s generally better to get C41 processed professionally, unless you’re feeling confident.

I had two XP2 film’s professionally processed. One turned out great but the other had a milky sheen across many images. I was told that these were under-exposed. But I read that this phenomenon possibly relates to insufficient fixing.

So I was left with the remaining film, which had quickly expired (hence the discount). I tried to swap it but to no avail. I then went to my local camera shop and asked if they collected expired film. They didn’t. But they did have an expert on hand who suggested processing the XP2 in Black & White chemicals.

I’d heard this suggestion before, but had been reluctant to try it. Ilford recommend not doing it and comments online report mixed results. However, given that my other option was to ditch the redundant film, I decided to try the Black & White approach.

I used the ‘Massive Dev’ app recipe for XP2 in Ilfosol 3. And so far so good. The image above shows that some sort of images have appeared. But I’ve still to scan the negatives. Once that’s done, I’ll provide an update.

Urban Playground

As we wandered through the city, we came across these guys doing parkour (or free running).

It amused me that they had found an alternative use for the security barriers that could block the route up to Edinburgh Castle and Royal Mile.

I took some shots and got chatting with them. They were happy to be photographed and we talked about the simple beauty of their sport; basically requiring only a pair of trainers and some concrete obstacles.

That’s one of the things I love about photography. Although street photography is often solitary, sometimes it affords the opportunity to speak with fellow citizens.

Comfortable shoes and concrete are essential to street photography too, and I appreciate the shared simplicity of exploring the metropolis, albeit at a slower pace than parkour.

GDPR & the end of street photography?

I’m compiling a list of useful information regarding street photography and GDPR. As yet things seem unclear. See the foot of this post.

Now that I’ve got your attention, perhaps this post would be better entitled ‘ The future of street photography’.

The image above is actually a portrait of a friend. I’ve blurred it to conceal his identity. But such images may be the future of street photography.

Recent changes in European data protection law (known as GDPR) appear to consider our faces a form of personal data. It’s not clear whether all images taken in public will require a model release, or whether current exemptions or allowances will persist.

However, apparently, the Maltese authorities are recommending that images without a release form have faces blurred to conceal personal information.

The web is full of comments from different perspectives and as yet it is unclear what GDPR may mean for street photography and documentary or travel photography for that matter.

Only time will tell whether the end is near for this most beautiful and significant genre of photography.

——

Here are some links I’ve found interesting for more discussion on this topic.

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1554/determining-what-is-personal-data.pdf

pages 14-16 of this document discuss how identical pictures can be considered both personal data and not personal data depending on context. This comes from the ICO, I think concerning earlier data protection law.

http://rps.org/special-interest-groups/contemporary/blogs/2018/february/gdpr-and-street-photography

https://ivorphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/03/01/gdpr/

https://www.fuji-x-forum.com/topic/6212-legal-eu-street-photography-under-the-gdpr/

http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/forums/threads/gdpr-impact-on-photography-street-photography-travel-photography-etc.136525/

https://petapixel.com/2018/05/30/how-bad-is-gdpr-for-photographers/

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4286328#forum-post-61188715

https://freelancerclub.net/resources/blog/post/impact-of-gdpr-on-street-photography

Auto focus

So, it turns out that shooting analogue doesn’t cure GAS at all.

After a few weeks of using the Trip 35, which I really love, I’ve managed to get hold of a film camera with auto-focus. This lovely Rollei compact belongs to my brother. I don’t think he’s used it much in the last 20 years, and he kindly gave it to me.

This is the first 35mm camera I’ve had with autofocus and I notice a big difference. Far fewer shots are not sharp and shots seems much sharper than using zone focussing with the Trip 35.

In fact this camera seems to achieve focus very quickly, probably faster than my MFT cameras. Here’s an example of a snatched shot while crossing the street.