MENU 

Eight Years of Fine Daily Photos

August 12, 2015  |    0 comments  |  Video

I started photoblogging eight years ago today. That’s almost 3000 photos shared since I began on August 12, 2007. A lot has changed since then…I’ve gotten married, changed day jobs a couple of times, traveled a lot, got a dog, and countless other things. But one thing has stayed constant, and that’s that I’ve made sure to photograph my adventures and share the results every single day since I started. In celebration of this event, I’ve put together a short video that shows every single photo I’ve blogged since I started. It’s interesting to observe how much my technique and skills have changed while catching glimpses of Dallas, Las Vegas, Jamaica, Montreal, Alaska and all of the other many places I’ve had great times in since I started. Thank you for your support and I look forward to continuing to provide fine daily photos for your enjoyment for years to come.

 

 

Changes

July 5, 2015  |    0 comments  |  Site-related

As you may (or may not) have noticed, this last week we slightly reformated 75Central.Com in as far as image sizing. Before, images were 950px wide and now they’re almost twice that size at 1800px wide (or, in the case of square or photos with portrait aspect ratios, 1200px tall).

Why?

This has actually been underway for several months, as we’ve been secretly publishing images at this new resolution but using CSS to constrain the sizes as we worked to get a decent backlog of images resized and republished. Unfortunately, as we’ve published a new image every day for almost 8 years, there are over 2800 photos in our back catalog. As of now, we have almost two years of our archives resized and published at this new resolution and are continuing to delve further and further into the archives to get every photograph published on the site resized to this new standard, which is why you might encounter smaller images if you go back far enough or start clicking through on the random link.

There are a couple of reasons for this new sizing standard:

  1. Larger images stand out more in Google Image Search, on social media and while surfing the web. There is also some evidence that Google and Bing both rank larger photos higher in search results.
  2. More and more people are browsing the web on high-resolution devices, such as Apple’s Retina MacBook Pros and now the Retina 5K iMac, both of which we use here to edit our photos, as well as high-resolution mobile devices. While these, for the most part, do a good job of resizing images so that they look decent at such a resolution, nothing beats a high-resolution master file.

In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to resize our archived photos as well as publish a new photo every day as we have since 2007. Thank you for your patronage and happy shooting!

Snapseed 2.0 (for iOS) Woes

April 27, 2015  |    0 comments  |  Apps

So, after a long time, wherein I, along with most of the rest of the world (or at least those who care about these things), assumed that Snapseed was dead, Google surprised us with an updated version of Snapseed.

If you’re not familiar with Snapseed, then here’s a quick rundown…
In the summer of 2011, Nik Software, the creators of a few of my favorite Lightroom and Photoshop plugins (Silver Efex, Color Efex and Analog Efex), released Snapseed for the iPad, followed shortly by a version for the iPhone. Apple named it the iPad App of the Year in 2011 and an awesome desktop version was released as well (you could even configure it work as an external editor for Lightroom). In 2012, Nik was bought out by Google, who released a version for Android (good) but killed off the desktop version (bad). (Incidentally, they did lower the price of the Nik software suite (sans Snapseed, of course), so that was a nice outcome of Google’s takeover). The discontinued desktop version’s features were slowly integrated into the photo editing tools of Google+, while the mobile versions were left to seemingly-rot, only occasionally receiving minor updates to fix compatibility issues.

I continued to use Snapseed, wondering how long it would be until it no longer worked with newer generations of iOS devices (in fact, it initially ran super-buggy under iOS 8, but, thnakfully, Google released an update to address these issues). In the meantime, I experimented with other mobile editing apps, including the recently-released and much-praised Enlight, bracing for the day that an update to iOS finally broke Snapseed.

So, imagine my delight when, a couple of weeks ago, iOS’ app store informed me that an update for Snapseed was available. Perusing the release notes as it downloaded, I was pleased to learn that it was a complete overhaul/modernization of the app.

After it installed, I launched it and dug right in. The new transform tools are great for leveling horizons and uprighting buildings, while the stacks concept is an awesome way to go back and tweak previously-made edits.

A few days after it was released, I left for a trip to Key West and the Bahamas. As is my habit, I took a lot of photos with my iPhone for posting to Instagram or to send as postcards to family and friends via the excellent app Postagram.

After arriving back in Addison, I downloaded the several thousand photos I shot with my cameras to Lightroom, then, as my usual practice, plugged my iPhone into my Mac to download its photos to Lightroom.

As they downloaded, I noticed something strange…the photos I’d edited with Snapseed 2.0 didn’t actually have any edits applied.

WTF?

A bit of Googling led me to learn that the new version of Snapseed uses Apple’s .aae sidecar files to store edits to photos, rather than actually “burning in” the edits as in previous versions. And, much to my chagrin, there’s not a way to force a “burned in” version to be saved.

So, whose fault is this?

1. Snapseed claims that they’re being “good iOS citizens” by following Apple’s guidelines for using .aae files to store edits. However, I don’t see why they can’t also include an option for creating new .jpg files with the edits permanently recorded to the file.
2. Apple’s guidelines are to use .aae files, but I can’t find anywhere that says “do it our way and don’t create new .jpgs with edits embedded”. On top of that, even using their own new Photos.app, the .aae edits don’t carry over with imported photos (they only seem to show if you use iCloud photo storage), so their implementation of sidecar file-enabled editing seems half-assed in my opinion.
3. Adobe could always elect to download and interpret .aae files in Lightroom, though why should they?

Work-arounds

1. Use iCloud photo sync and Photos.app. (Nope…sticking to Lightroom).
2. Use an iOS app that recognizes .aae photos and allows transfer, such as emailing or iMessaging them to myself. (Nope…I just want to plug in and download to Lightroom).
3. When ready to commit changes to an image for download to Lightroom, choose “Share” in Snapseed, then select “Copy”. Tap Open, paste from Clipboard and save. This creates a “burned in” copy of the image that can then be downloaded. (Ugh…I shouldn’t have to go through hoops).

So, What Can Be Done?

Complain to Google. Post angry messages on their Snapseed product forum. Use Enlight or and other sane iOS photo editing app. Switch to Android (which doesn’t, of course, use .aae files), though if you switch platforms for one app, then that’s kind of weird.

In the meantime, I still like the results and ease-of-use of Snapseed. That said, I can’t see myself going through the process outlined in work-around 3 for every image I edit in it, so I’m just going to have to live with the fact that maybe not all of my Snapseed edits will make it into my Lightroom catalog.

The 2014 75Central Photography Year-End Recap

January 1, 2015  |    0 comments  |  Site-related

Last year, I posted a year-end recap for 2013, so I decided to continue this year with a 2014 year-end recap.

  • We made it to seven years of daily photos on 75Central.Com. In fact, the photo for January 2nd, 2015, is the 2,700th photo shared without a day missed since we started in 2007. Crazy, eh?
  • I continued my switch to the mirrorless micro four-thirds format, investing in a few new lenses and a tiny Lumix GM-1 as a back-up body/pocket camera.
  • Travel this year was a bit lighter than 2013, a result of a few day job changes on my part (the company I’d been working for for over 9 years sold out and massive layoffs followed. I floated around a bit, but luckily landed a great job working for my manager from my original job). That said, I did make it to Chicago, Minneapolis and Las Vegas this year, so not a complete loss.
  • And, like last year, here are 2014’s top 10 photos (as decided by Flickr’s mysterious “Interestingness” algorithm):


Marina City

An abstract architectural study of Chicago’s Marina City and the adjacent The Langham hotel tower

 

The Yellow Bull

Detail of a Lamborghini Aventador—named for a bull that fought valiantly at the Saragossa, Spain bullring in 1993—at the Cars in the Park event at Dallas’ Cooper Aerobics Center.The Arch Under the Cloudy Sky

The Emery Reves Arch of Peace rises into the cloudy sky at the Meyerson Symphony Center in the Dallas Arts District.Branches

Intricate tree branches rise into the overcast sky at DFW International Airport, Texas.Four Blackbirds

A mural of blackbirds frames four windows on a building in Deep Ellum, Dallas, TexasThe Lamp’s Shadow

A lamp throws a shadow onto a brick wall at Eastside Village in Downtown Plano, TexasWinter Trees

Stark, leafless trees spotted on the grounds of DFW International Airport, Texas.The Rickety Old Barn

An ancient wooden barn slowly rots at Penn Farm in Cedar Hill State Park, Texas.The Flight Helmet

An United States Air Force pilot’s flight helmet found at Addison, Texas’ Cavanaugh Flight Museum.

The Chain and Shadow

A rusting chain hanging from a pipe casts a shadow inside the abandoned Long Machine Tool Company building in Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Las Vegas Geotracks

December 25, 2014  |    0 comments  |  GPS Logs

We just got back from our annual trip to Las Vegas and I thought I’d share a few geotracks from my photowalks.

1. This first one is from Spring Mountain Ranch State Park on the outskirts of the Las Vegas Valley near Red Rock Canyon.

Google_Earth 2

2. The next two are from my early-morning photo-gathering wanderings from our home base of Paris Las Vegas, one meandering north along the Strip and the other South.

Tour_Guide_and_Google_Earth

Google_Earth

 

In Which I Buy and Test More Gear…

August 23, 2014  |    0 comments  |  Cameras GPS Logs

As you may or may not know, I’ve been getting into the Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless camera format for the last year or so. It started right after I lugged around a giant gripped dSLR, a 24-105mm lens and a 100-400mm lens all over the Alaskan Panhandle. Upon returning to 75Central HQ in Dallas, I swore I’d never do that again. Impressed by mirrorless cameras, especially the work (and influence) of Giulio Sciorio over at Small Camera, Big Picture, I picked up a Lumix G6 and a couple of lenses. The G6 appealed to me in that it felt like a dSLR, but tiny…it fit my hands and my shooting style. Since then, I’ve taken it to such places as San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Chicago. Below are some of the great shots I’ve gotten with this little camera.

 

So, as you can see, it’s a pretty capable camera and system. Lately, however, I’d been wanting a decent wide prime lens and so had been perusing the forums at mu-43.com and came across the well-regarded Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 “pancake” lens. Impressed with the sample images that users had posted to the forum, I found a used one in “Ex+” condition at KEH.com, the well-regarded purveyors of used photo gear. Having never bought from them before, I took a chance and bought it. I got it yesterday, so I needed to thoroughly test it out, which is where the second outlay of money comes in this story.

I’ve been wanting a second camera body for a while…another micro four-thirds camera to carry around so I wouldn’t have to switch lenses as often as well as something that my lovely wife, Laura, could take with her on occasion as she travels. Having read several excellent reviews, I decided I wanted to take a good look at the tiny Panasonic GM1.

Z-panasonic-gm1_inHand

Unfortunately, the only camera store in the entire Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that’s worth going to is the excellent Arlington Camera. The unfortunate part of that statement comes from the fact that I live in Addison, on the north side of Dallas, so the drive to the camera store is roughly 40 minutes. (This actually might be a good thing, as it prevents me from casually dropping in to spend money). So, I decided I’d drive out to Arlington this morning, see if they had a GM1 I could look at, then go to the University of Texas at Arlington campus to walk around a bit to test out the new lens I bought.

So I got to Arlington Camera, held this incredibly-small interchangeable lens camera in my hand and immediately laid down my credit card to make it mine (seriously, that photo above doesn’t do it justice in illustrating its smallness). Much to my chagrin, however, was that the battery was nearly dead, so I wouldn’t be able to test it out properly until I got home, leaving the Lumix G6 to do the testing of the new lens.

As for that lens testing, it went extremely well and I’m very pleased with my purchase from KEH (and would do it again if they’d get a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 II in). I’ll be slowly posting a few photos from the test photowalk over on the photoblog.

Bonus: The GPS track from today’s quick test walk:

Tour_Guide_and_Google_Earth

 

 

FOLLOW

© 1993-2021 Matt Harvey/75Central Photography - All Rights Reserved • Contact license@75central.com for image licensing and other queries.