I admire the tenacity of wildlife photographers, especially those who shoot birds. The patience, drive, and focus required—sometimes helped with a pinch of luck—to capture great images of birds is an art form in and of itself. And, while I don’t have the desire to go out in a blind and wait with a very long lens, I appreciate those who are masters of the form. That’s why it was great to see the 2018 Audubon Photography Awards posted this week.
National Geographic has posted the results of its Travel Photographer of the Year contest, and, as usual, there are some spectacular images to be seen. The grand prize winning image, shown below, is from Japanese photographer Reiko Takahashi, and is absolutely gorgeous on a big screen.
If you’re looking for a bit of photographic inspiration today, it is well worth taking a leisurely stroll through the galleries. One thing that really jumped out at me was how many of the winning images (in both the standard and people’s choice groups) were shot with a drone. The one of the crocodiles in Costa Rica, for example, is pretty terrifying, while the shot of the flamingos taking off (taken from a helicopter, not a drone) is stunningly beautiful.
One nice touch is that National Geo, and the photographers, let you download many of the winning photos for personal use as wallpaper for desktops, tablets and phones.
ON1 is now shipping ON1 Photo RAW 2018.5, the mid-year release of its photo editor and image-management app for Windows and macOS. The update adds support for embedded camera profiles in the Develop module; an expanded Transform function; a new LUT (look-up table) filter for the Effects module; a revamped import/export manager for presets, LUTs, and border and texture files; and the addition of nested albums and presets. The update also includes support for recently released cameras and lenses.
Profiles and LUTs
Photo RAW 2018.5 adds support for the built-in profiles that come with most modern digital cameras, letting you get the same basic look that you see on your camera back. In addition, ON1 has included a number of its own camera profiles for landscape, portrait and other scene types.
Today, Adobe released updates to its Lightroom family of apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices. The majority of the updates center around Lightroom CC, but Lightroom Classic also got a little bit of love as well, and many of the options will also trickle to the browser-based version of Lightroom. Here are the main features in the release:
- The Lightroom CC mobile apps can now create presets. And, with this addition, presets (and profiles) can now be synchronized across all platforms—desktop, mobile, and web. This includes your own custom presets and any third-party presets you’ve added, anywhere in the Lightroom CC app world. (If you’re using Lightroom Classic, Julianne Kost posted a cool tip on how to synchronize presets and profiles between Classic and Lightroom CC mobile devices.)
- A Manage Preset option has been added to the entire ecosystem, letting you show or hide presets by installed category.
- The mobile apps also get the Healing Brush tool and chromatic aberration correction. The iOS version of Lightroom CC also has a Long Exposure Technology Preview (for iPhone 7 and up only).
- You can now copy and paste edit settings inside the Lightroom CC desktop app. And, as you can with Lightroom Classic, you have the option to choose which settings you wish to copy.
- Lightroom Classic’s HDR and Panorama merge features now include an option to automatically stack the images used and place the finished image at the top of the stack.
- The Mac versions of Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC also get support for the High Efficiency Image Format (HEIC), currently used by Apple with their latest iPhone and iPad cameras. This is supported on the Mac for now, but as acceptance grows, it should move to other platforms as well. [For more on HEIC, see this page.]
- Adobe also added a few new web-portfolio sharing options from within Lightroom CC, letting you control image downloads, and whether metadata and location information is viewable.
DxO Labs has released its first version of the Nik Software plug-ins since acquiring the suite last year from Google. Nik Collection 2018, provides compatibility with the current versions of Photoshop CC, Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop Elements, and includes 64-bit support for both macOS and Windows; there are no other new features. According to a company spokesman,
“It was necessary to recover and recompile source code that had not been maintained for a long time in order to make it compatible with the latest versions of Adobe products and the latest Apple OS updates. This is a first step that allows us to start afresh.”
The seven plug-ins included with the Nik Collection—Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, HDR Efex Pro, Analog Efex Pro, Viveza, Dfine, and Sharpener Pro—perform color and black and white effects, selective color editing, noise reduction and sharpening to your images. Originally created by Nik Software, the plug-ins were acquired by Google when the company purchased Nik in 2012, and were left to languish as Google’s photo priorities changed. (Google originally sold them for $150, and ultimately made them free, but as time went on, they became incompatible with newer versions of the CC apps.)
Ben Long has been producing the weekly Practicing Photographer video series on Lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning) for five years. To celebrate, LinkedIn is making the series available free to all viewers through May 28:
In The Practicing Photographer, photographer and teacher Ben Long shares a weekly serving of photographic instruction and inspiration. Each installment focuses on a photographic shooting scenario, a piece of gear, or a software technique. Each one concludes with a call to action designed to inspire you to pick up your camera (or your mouse or smartphone) to try the technique for yourself.
The series includes more 450 videos, with most of them well under 10 minutes in length. (You’ll need a full day—and then some—if you want to watch them all.) There is a list of topics on the Practicing Photographer home page.
For a number of years (2008 through 2013), I was the editor and publisher of Photoshop Elements Techniques, a magazine for Elements users (also known as PET). Sadly, the publication—and associated website—shut down in 2016, and I’ve been working on a way to make the back issues of the magazine (and videos) available online. I’m happy to announce that all the back issues (and associated example files) are now available as PDFs here on the CDP website, along with a searchable index.
Links to the various pages are listed below:
- Photoshop Elements Techniques Back Issues
- Photoshop Elements Techniques Index
- Photoshop Elements Techniques Magazine Downloads
- Photoshop Elements Techniques FAQ
The back issues page includes all 85 issues arranged in reverse chronological order, with the issue’s list of articles underneath it. You can easily download that issue and extras from the links underneath the cover. If you want to search for specific articles, the index page can be helpful (and you can save the index as a PDF).
If you wish to download all or most of the issues, please see the Magazine Downloads page, where you can get the issues in larger chunks, saving some wear and tear on our server.
For questions related to PET, see the FAQ page. Please remember that the articles and issues are copyrighted to CDP Press and the respective authors; please don’t post or redistribute these issues without talking to us first.
At this time, we have no plans to do anything more with PET, other than make some of the more popular videos available, but we wanted to make the tutorials available free of charge. If you would like to stay on top of any PET-specific changes, you can sign up for our low-volume, no-stress email list by clicking on this link, and making sure you click on the PET Subscribers check box.
Once we have the videos up, we’ll post an announcement on the primary PET Back Issues page.
Following up on the recent Lightroom announcements, Adobe’s Josh Haftel has posted a step-by-step video for making your own creative profiles for use with Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic, and Adobe Camera Raw. It is well worth watching, if you’re a bit technically inclined; even if you don’t think you’re going to make your own, it’s a fascinating look at what these profiles do.
And, if you’re a Lightroom user, the Lightroom team’s YouTube channel is an excellent source of videos on Lightroom topics. We’re big fans of Benjamin Warde’s Lightroom Coffee Break videos (playlist), which are short—most are 60 seconds or less—little tips for getting the most out of Lightroom. Warde is great at shedding light into a few of Lightroom’s hidden corners, like the recent one below, which shows how to selectively use Lightroom’s Auto setting in the Develop module.
This week, The New Yorker has an absolutely delightful photo essay, “Where the Amish Go on Vacation,” with photos by Dina Litovsky (and text by Alice Gregory) that capture a “place of brief leisure for people who consider work to be sacred”:
“Each winter, for close to a century now, hundreds of Amish and Mennonite families have travelled from their homes in icy quarters of the U.S. and Canada to Pinecraft, a small, sunny neighborhood in Sarasota, Florida. Arriving on chartered buses specializing in the transportation of ‘Plain people’ from areas such as Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Holmes County, Ohio, they rent modest bungalows and stay for weeks, or sometimes months, at a time. It’s vacation. For many, it’s the one time of the year that they spend with people from communities other than their own.”
Litovsky doesn’t gawk at or exploit her subjects; instead, she tells this story with respect and care, capturing her subjects as they are in this world. (My favorite photos are the shots of the volleyball game at night, but the entire piece is wonderful.)
The photographer, originally from the Ukraine, is now a resident of the U.S., and has a great eye for people in their environment. Her work has been in National Geographic, New York Magazine, The New York Times, and more. Her website is well worth perusing, especially if you are interested in telling stories through photography.
Adobe released simultaneous updates this week for Lightroom CC (desktop and mobile) and Lightroom Classic, with a number of new features and enhancements. The biggest feature is an expanded set of profiles for rendering raw files with camera-specific styles and artistic effects.
At their simplest, profiles are the initial transformation of tone and color characteristics to a raw image (before editing), and Adobe historically has applied a default profile (Adobe Standard) to every raw image processed in Lightroom. If people knew about profiles—which was rare—it was most often to apply a camera-specific profile to a photo inside Lightroom. These additional profiles would correspond to the image settings you would find in your camera; my Sony A7RII, for example, has built-in profiles, with names like Deep, Clear, Portrait, Landscape, and I could apply those profiles either in-camera or in Lightroom Classic. Adobe would add those profiles to Lightroom as part of regular Camera Raw updates, and those profiles were tied to the camera used to take the photo.
Profiles have been around for some time, buried at the bottom of the Lightroom Develop panel, in the Camera Calibration pane. Read more »