Macro fun

Canada’s silver dollar used to carry the “Voyageur” design on the obverse side. This year, a special 150 year anniversary edition, with the same design in the centre:

The original looked like this:

Those are simple iPhone shots. But proper shots of coins are taken with a macro (or as Nikon calls it, a Micro)  lens, i.e. a close up lens.

And once I do that, I see something amusing. Look at the native person in the front of the canoe.

In the original, he is traveling nude:

In the re-issued coin, he is wearing a loincloth!

I can just imagine the meetings that must have happened on this subject at the Royal Mint of Canada. Though I do wonder about the political correctness aspect: why is nudity so bad?

In any case: it is only the macro lens, in my case the 100mm f/2.8, that allowed us to see this design change. Who knew?

 

 

 

Adobye?

“Corporations are evil”, is what we hear around us often enough. I have often thought that this was at best an exaggeration, but now I am not so sure: Adobe is doing a good job of appearing to be as evil as possible.

I am talking about Adobe Lightroom, the application that I, my students, and most professional photographers use to run their business. Lightroom rocks. Or rather, it used to rock.

There are now three versions:

  1. The almost-impossible-to-find standalone version. This version is now at 6.13 and, even though it is already missing features, will not be updated anymore. So if you run this, do upgrade, but expect nothing new, now or ever.
  2. Lightroom CC. This is a dumbed-down version for web- and portable-based use. It is missing many essential features: it is basically a toy for people who are unable to learn file management and similar sophisticated features. CC means Creative Cloud: meaning you get to pay Adobe US$10 (which will go up, no doubt) each and every month for the rest of your life (yeah, do the math). Worse, it will need regular permission from Adobe to run. Who on earth would allow their business to be held hostage by some US mega-corporation in this way? Your payment does not reach them, or the login server malfunctions, or Adobe goes broke (you can always hope), or your Internet connection is down when it is most needed – and wham, you are not given permission by Adobe to see your own work.
  3. Lightroom Classic CC. This is basically the existing Lightroom, but with upgrades, and alas, also with the same huge “CC” drawbacks.

Both versions 2 and 3 do everything they can to drive you to the web and to mobile devices. From my perspective, this is dumb, dumb, dumb. Mobile devices are limited, and the last thing a pro needs is “limited”. Why would I handcuff myself? I’ll edit on my Mac, thanks.

And web-based: right. I have 8 TB of photos. which would take about 8 months to upload, with my Internet connection pinned at full capacity for all of those eight months. Not gonna happen. Also, with the top version of the app you get 1 TB of capacity, not 8.

My strategy is simple.

  1. Continue to use 6.13 for as long as I can.
  2. Wait desperately for a competitor (and many companies are working on it)
  3. Change from a Pro-Lightroom evangelist into an Anti-Adobe evangelist.

The Adobe support person who just confirmed all this to me said “if I were you I would feel the same way”. Who knows, if enough of us refuse to move to CC, Adobe may yet reverse their decision. But I am not holding my breath.

 

Equipment

Equipment matters in flash photography. It’s not everything, but sometimes you just need it. And I mean the stuff around the flash and camera. Like light stands, brackets, and so on.

A scene like this:

Turns into this…:

…if you use a flash on a light stand, like this:

The work behind the shot

Not a lot of gear, but you cannot do without this, my usual minimum kit;

  1. Camera
  2. 2x Pocketwizard
  3. Hotshoe cable (from flashzebra.com or from Pocketwizard)
  4. Light Stand
  5. Bracket for mounting flash and umbrella
  6. Umbrella

That’s all. Small, folds up to nothing, so it’s easy to carry.

But I have a lot more… things I occasionally use. I collected these over the years; you can simply pick up an item every now and the, or you can get it all at once.

On that subject, a recent student in Guelph is selling this-an extensive kit. If you’re near Guelph, you may wish to take advantage.