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Worldwide Photo Walk 2016

September 25, 2016  |  Other

On Saturday, October 1, 2016, I’ll be hosting a photo walk as part of Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk at Tyler State Park, Texas. Here are the details:

  • I encourage you to sign up for the walk at http://worldwidephotowalk.com/walk/tyler-state-park/. This will ensure you’re eligible to win one of the prizes being offered this year. Also, by signing up, we increase our walker count and ensure that we will be invited to host again next year.
  • We’ll meet at the historic bath house on the lake at the park at 4:30PM. You can find a map of the park at http://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/pwdpubs/media/park_maps/pwd_mp_p4508_039d.pdf
  • We will walk north along the shore line then up into the woods to slowly loop back around southward back towards the bath house to arrive before sunset. The backlit views of the sun setting over the trees on the far side of the lake is quite nice and photogenic.
  • We’re not gear snobs, so feel free to bring anything that can take a photo.
  • The entrance fee to the park is $6 per person.
  • If you need to contact me the day of the walk, you can email me at matt@75central.com or text me at 972-342-8078.
  • Since we’ll be walking in the woods, you should wear comfortable shoes/hiking boots and bug spray.
  • If you have any questions, please email me at matt@75central.com.

World Wide Photowalk 2016

September 4, 2016  |  General Interest

Adobe Spark (3)

I suddenly just realized that I hadn’t actually blogged about anything in a very, very long time. So, to celebrate my return, I’m announcing that I’ll be hosting the Tyler, Texas, walk during Scott Kelby’s annual World Wide Photowalk. We had a great time walking in Downtown Tyler last year and are hoping to continue the fun this year at Tyler State Park. To join us, you can find the details and sign up by going to the site for the walk here. If you’ve never been to Tyler State Park, click here to see some of my photos from previous visits.

Hope to see you there!


Twelve Months – Twelve Photos

December 31, 2015  |  Flickr Photos

For my year-end wrap up this year I’ve done something a bit different.

Below are the “Most Interesting” photos from each month as determined by Flickr’s Interestingness algorithm. While a bit-flawed in that I may have not yet published the truly-most-interesting photo for a given month, it’s nonetheless interesting to see how Flickr’s algorithm ranked my photos.

January

Caught in the Fence

February

Iron Rail

March

march

April

Sunrise at Sea

May

may

June

The Path Through the Cascades

July

july

August

Two Faces

September

september

October

Neon Tyler

November

november

December

The Liftboat at Sunrise


2015 Worldwide Photo Walk

October 4, 2015  |  GPS Logs

I was honored to host the Tyler, Texas walk of the 8th Annual Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk. We had a pretty good turn out and a lot of that success should be credited to my new friends at the East Texas Photography Meetup Group. If you didn’t join a local walk as part of the event this year, I encourage you to sign up next year. And, as always, I encourage you to find a local photography group to join and get out to make new friends and shoot photos!

As I do on occasion, here’s the GPS log for the walk:

wwpwgeo


Eight Years of Fine Daily Photos

August 12, 2015  |  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  |  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  |  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.




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