The sunset view looking towards Weymouth and Portland from the beach by Durdle Door – in black and white

Yes I know - a sunset landscape picture in black and white. And before you say, I know, there is no picture. Read on down and I will explain.

So why a black and white picture of a sunset?

Why not?

I love my black and white pictures, especially my landscape images. I am gathering a nice collection of work which will go onto the webpage I recently created called, not so creatively, black and a white landscape photography in Dorset.

Well at least you know what the page is all about before you get there! And I won’t lie to you, this gives me quite a few good keywords!

So what did I do to produce this black and white picture of Dorset?

5 things in the free software from Google, Nik Silver Efex Pro

Preset

  • Fine Art Process

Filter

  • Red

Vignette

  • Lens Falloff 1

Brightness

  • -17%
  • Dynamic Brightness +37%

And that’s it. If I wasn't writing about the processing of the black and white image whilst actually doing the processing (yes I really do write about the editing of my images while I am editing them) this would take less than a minute. You don’t have to spend an age on every image to get great results trust me.

So where is the image? Who knows?

I do have a bit of an issue with Lightroom at the moment which I need to touch on though. I create black and white images using Nik Silver Efex Pro. To do this I select this option in Lightroom, which creates a Tif file which is sent to Nik. When I save the image it Nik the general idea is that the new black and white image is saved as a Tif file back in Lightroom, next to the original file. But with this image something else happened. The black and white version is not there. The colour version is, but not the black and white one. I know its there as there are to Tif files, but they are both in colour.

And this has happened before.

All I can do is shut everything down and wait for the image to appear. Frustrating but it normally works itself out. Pop back to my blog later to see if the black and white picture has reappeared!

Rick McEvoy Photography

Tuesday 28th March 2017

Dorset Photographer

Lightroom Quick Tip - one way to get Lightroom working quicker

It's a Monday morning. Early on a Monday morning. I am sat at my desk trying to get on with my work. Only Lightroom doesn't appear to be want to join me.

Great.

What to do?

I shut it down using the Task Manager, as it is not responding, literally not responding.

I need to do something else. Lightroom Mobile is staring at me on my iPad and iPhone, but I need my iPad for writing this post. Well writing about what I am meant to be working on in Lightroom that is, so as much as this will work I want actual Lightroom on my actual PC.

I will not be defeated! 

Plan B in these circumstances is to fire up the Adobe Creative Cloud App, which I do. I launch Lightroom from there and it fires up straight away.  It's actually really quick!

If you are finding Lightroom won't load or is painfully slow try this and it might help you out. 

This is one thing Adobe really need to fix - the speed issues with Lightroom.  And the unpredictability. Thankfully this morning it hasn't impacted me too much..... (but if it does I will let you know).

Right, time to get back to the image I am meant to be working on and writing about. 

Rick McEvoy Photography 

Lightroom Quick Tip

Monday 27th March 2017

​Should you get an iPhone 7? I have and this is my initial review of my new iPhone 7 Plus.

I have a new phone. An iPhone 7 Plus. With 256GB of memory.

Yes. A phone with 256 GB of memory. My laptop has a large hard drive, 1TB. My new phone has a hard drive a quarter of the size capacity in it.

Incredible.

So what am I looking forward to on my new iPhone 7 Plus?

Taking RAW pictures using the camera in Lightroom Mobile. That is the starter for 10. And the main event?

Taking genuine HDR images using the camera in Lightroom Mobile. This is a brand new feature in Lightroom Mobile, which uses the same technology used in actual Lightroom to make HDR images by merging three files. Except that the software takes three images and merges them automatically. And then applies auto toning to the completed Dng file.

I use the HDR Merge feature in Lightroom on my PC all the time, and on most merged images I apply the auto-tone as it provides a great starting point.

Which will leave me with a problem – if my phone can generate the single HDR image when will my actual camera be able to? I will want that feature - will Canon include this in the new Canon 6D?

Combine that with the two lenses and taking pictures is going to be a big part of what I am looking forward to doing on my new iPhone. And video I guess which I need to get into.

Oh yes and the phone is waterproof which is good

Apart from that I don’t know. Or really care at the moment. These things are enough to make me happy.

I know – I am easily pleased. Or as I prefer to say, I don’t ask for much!

But I will take the time to make the best use of the new features. This will be my starting point. The Apple website

One word on moving from one phone to another. It took an evening, but was all done and in the morning I had everything on my new phone. Sure there was lots of password inputting for various apps, but that is pretty good.

One thing that I did forget about was that after you take the Sim card out of a phone these days you still have a functioning device, especially in the range of Wi-Fi.

And also Bluetooth devices. I got in my car, thought I would play something on my phone through my car stereo as I do most days . I pressed play on the touchscreen on my car and picked up on what I was playing the day before. At the same point exactly.

Now that impressed me a lot. I hadn’t even paired my phone!

It was only when I got to my destination I realised that the car had found my old phone in my bag in the boot of the car and was playing a podcast from that quite happily!

Oh yes before I finish I must say that the services from Carphone Warehouse was excellent, and I was more than happy with the price for the phone with this ridiculous amount of memory.

All in all a happy experience going from the iPhone 6 Plus to the iPhone 7 Plus.

I will write more about my new phone over the coming months I have no doubt, and am looking forward to posting some HDR photography taken on my iPhone!

But for now to answer the question - should I get an iPhone 7 - if you only take photographs then yes. 

Rick McEvoy Photography

Saturday 25th March 2017

The new home button on the iPhone 7 Plus - something different

Apple have changed the home button on the iPhone 7 Plus.

It is weird. It sorts of clicks when you press it but doesn't seem to move. You get a physical confirmation when you press the button.

I can't work it out, and for a few minutes I wanted to take my new phone back to the Carphone Warehouse

Just a few minutes, and then I got used to it. 

Then I forgot I didnt like it completely. Quite the reverse. No it is brilliant.

I know it's just a button on a phone but all the same a very pleasing improvement from the iPhone 6! 

Sometimes new things take some getting used to, and I can be so impatient sometimes. 

As someone once said about the wheel - that will never catch on...... 

Rick McEvoy Photography 

Monday morning wisdom

Monday 27th March 2017

My favourite keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop explained.

Yesterday I posted my favourite keyboard shortcuts in Adobe Photoshop. I thought it would be a good idea to explain what they were, so here goes.

J - Spot healing brush. This is one of my favourite tools in Photoshop. The only thing I use more is the clone stamp tool. You can also use this shortcut to get to the patch repair tool, equally awesome and one that I am using more and more. You just have to change the brush using the mouse. And don't think that this tool is for spot removal only - it does much much more than that.

S - Clone stamp tool. Yes this is what I use for everything that the spot healing brush can't do. You select an area to sample from and paint over the area requiring attention. An incredibly useful and powerful tool.

[ - Decrease brush size. With any tool or brush, pressing this bracket key reduces the size of the brush. I use this all the time in conjunction with the clone stamp tool and spot healing brush.

] - Increase brush size. I don't need to elaborate on this any more....

Control 1 - Zoom the image to 100%. I use this before checking an image for dust spots, defects etc.

Home - go to the top left corner of an image. I use this in conjunction with the zooming above - this starts me off in the top left hand corner.

Control 0 - go to the full view of the image. Normally once I have finished some kind of detail work to see how good my work was.

Page Down - to scroll down the image one screen at a time. Whilst going through my editing/ cleaning/ tidying/ polishing of an image.

Space bar - press the space bar key and hold it down. The mouse pointer becomes a grabber so you can navigate around the image

Control S - saves an image back into my Lightroom Catalogue as a Tif file right next to the original RAW file.

Control Z - to undo the last thing I did

Shift Alt Z - to go back more than one step

I hope that you find these keyboard shortcuts helpful. I use Photoshop to clean up images after processing in Lightroom. These keyboard shortcuts allow me to do this quickly and efficiently and save me loads of time.

Rick McEvoy Photography

Sunday 19th March 2017