Starting Some Updates on Adobe Mobile Apps

By Mark

Adobe is aggressively and continually making improvements to their suite of phone and tablet apps.  They have recognized and are responding to several trends in how people use their cameras, in fact in what their cameras are.  For a lot of people, their only camera is what their phones can do, we “real photographers”, with our heavy DSLRs are becoming rarer and rarer.  In truth, cell phone cameras are approaching the quality of many cameras. People also want to have access to their photos or artistic creations wherever they happen to be.  For those individuals, lucky enough to be creative, they want the tools to create, capture and share across multiple platforms and channels.  What is powering all of this, is the part that I actually understand, the power, speed and availability of real-time cloud computing is increasing daily, while the costs are dropping faster than Roger’s camera from a table.

Adobe has been telling everyone that the future will reside in the cloud for quite a while now. In the last two weeks, they have finally announced the end of support for the Creative Suite stand-alone versions.  For the time being, you still can purchase a non-subscription version of Lightroom, but that writing is on the wall as well.  Truthfully, like many I was skeptical at first, but the pace at which they roll out new features and fix bugs along with the increasing level of integration between all the applications and the apps through the Creative Cloud have convinced me.  There are apps now for everything from Adobe Premiere for capturing video clips for production, drawing, sketching and painting applications, and of course mobile versions of Photoshop and Lightroom.

I’m going to spend a few blogs talking about what these apps do and why you should start using them.  I have an entire page of my iPad and iPhone filled with Adobe stuff and I use them all the time.

At the center of the app world is the Adobe Creative Cloud app itself.  It is the Central hub connecting the desktop applications, the mobile apps and your assets that you want to share across all of them. 

You can save color schemes, brushes, patterns and files.  They work from Illustrator to Photoshop and are linked through your Adobe login and password.  You can create separate libraries for multiple projects and can share them with specific people.

Next week we will start in-depth with LR mobile. 

Rolex 24 Racing

By Roger (6 February 2017)

Last weekend, I was invited to Daytona Beach, for the Rolex 24 sports car race. In case you're not familiar with this event, four different classes of cars race for 24 hours, continuously, rain or shine. It's one of the most prestigious sports car races in the United States. I had an all-access pass to take my cameras all around the racetrack.

Rolex 24 logo

I've been to the Daytona Speedway, a couple of times, so I had an idea of the layout of the track. However, I had never had this kind of access in the past, nor did I have any sports car experience. The Rolex course had an extra section of track opened that included many tight corners for the cars to weave their way through. I spent the first few hours roaming the track, looking for the best spots to be during the race. I was looking for locations where I could see the cars on the corners and along the steep banks of the speedway. With a 24-hour race, I knew I'd have the time to move around the track.

Next, I went down to the garages, but the cars had already been moved out to the pits for the crowd to see them. The pits are where the cars are refueled and worked on during the race. Each team had several drivers, and they switched out as the hours went on. Before the race, the pits were swarming with onlookers, drooling over the expensive race cars.

Dream Racing's Lamborghini Huracan GT3, GT Daytona Class

Dream Racing's Lamborghini Huracan GT3, GT Daytona Class

I went back to the Porsche Club of America tent, with my hosts, and began to plan out my shot list. The PCA has a special section to watch the race, and the members bring their Porsches out for display. The tent was less than 100 yards from the track; had several monitors to watch the race; and protected the PCA members from the elements. It was a cozy place to hang out. ;-)  My hosts had come in their two machines, so I made some photos of them and a couple of the other cars in the lot.

Jim and Karla, with Charlotte, a Porsche GT3

Jim and Karla, with Charlotte, a Porsche GT3

Martini Porsche, at the PCA tent

Martini Porsche, at the PCA tent

By the time the race started, at 2:30, I thought I had everything figured out. I made a mental list of the shots I hoped to get. One photo I wanted depended on the weather, but the weather forecast looked good for me.

While the cars were on their warm-up laps, I tested out one of my initial positions for some easy photos before the cars got up to speed. The faster Prototype class cars would hit 200mph on the backstretch. Luckily, I've shot race cars before, so I had my hearing protection in. The decibel level from racing engines is not only harmful to your hearing, it is downright painful. You should always pack some kind of protection.

If you're new to these events – and I was – pick up a program, so you have descriptions of each car and race team. You want to know the car manufacturer, the drivers, and, in this case, the class of the race cars. The Rolex 24 program had a description of the course, so I could look for more photo locations.

Cadillac DPi-V.R., Prototype class. This team won the race.

Cadillac DPi-V.R., Prototype class. This team won the race.

Oreca FLM09, Prototype Challenge class

Oreca FLM09, Prototype Challenge class

 On the first laps, I found out I had underestimated the shutter speed required to freeze the cars, especially on the main track. I also noticed that zooming in too far took away the context of the photo. I backed off a little and got a better shot.

This is not what you want to see in your viewfinder!

This is not what you want to see in your viewfinder!

On the banking, with some context. All four classes of racers, in one shot.

On the banking, with some context. All four classes of racers, in one shot.

I'm thinking that I should take out that light pole, dividing the photo into two pieces, but that will have to wait for a day when I have more time.

As the day progressed, my weather wish came true. It started to drizzle. This was not a good thing for the drivers – especially those in the open cockpits of the Prototype Challenge cars. But I wanted to get some photos with water mist on the track.

Unfortunately, it was already late in the evening, and we were all pretty much worn out. We retired to my hosts' boat for some sleep, but I was back at the track before the sun rose. The rain was just ending; there was enough light; I got my shots.

Porsche 911 RSR, GT LeMans class

Porsche 911 RSR, GT LeMans class

Prototype R5D4944

It was a long 24 hours for me, but what an opportunity! I carried both cameras, with my long lenses. With that much time, I figured out all the proper settings to make the photos I wanted and which camera was best for each type of photo. (I shot almost 4,000 photos.) I picked up some tips from the other photographers. (Always bring a stool for shots over the fencing.) I made lots of new contacts for future events. After watching that many hours at the track, I could tell which car was coming by the sound of its roaring engine. The Corvettes and Mercedes had the best sounding engines. Here's hoping I get to hear them, again.

Corvette C7-R, GT LeMans class

Corvette C7-R, GT LeMans class

Mercedes AMG GT3, GT Daytona class

Mercedes AMG GT3, GT Daytona class

Making Photos of Protests

By Roger (22 January 2017)

Mark and I don't make political comments on this blog for some simple reasons: This is a blog about learning photography; and you don't care about our political views. However, if you'd like some tips about photographing a political event, you're in the right place.

I have photographed several protest events – including one in a foreign country – but it is rarely something I seek out. Since Mark and I live near Washington, D.C, we have frequent opportunities to make photos of the big events there. We haven't attended many because our photographic interests lie in other areas.

This weekend, however, my cousin and her husband wanted to take advantage of our location to come out for a visit and attend the Washington Women's March. No problem; we enjoy family visitors. Then, she asked me to come along and photograph the event. Hmmmm.....

And, hence, today's blog topic. Photographing protests can be target-rich environments for your photography. You've got many of the ingredients that make a good photograph: people; emotions; symbolism; conflicts; etc. Most of these photos are from this weekend's Washington Woman's March, I attended with my cousin, her husband, and my friend, Robyn, but the tips apply to any protest, march, or really large event you're attending.

Determine your role: To me, this an important part of the decision to attend and record the protest. Why do you want to do this? Are you trying to act as a photojournalist, a supporter, an opponent, or something in between? Your decision will impact the photos you make. Your viewers will interpret your images through their own filters, sometimes in ways you didn't intend. Be honest with yourself and clarify your intent, at least in your mind.

Prepare: I know, I know. We say this all the time, but it is important. You need to have an idea what you're getting into. You need to consider things like weather, transportation, equipment, event restrictions. Your preparations will give you the best chance of making the photos you want.

You may need to consider your own safety. Is there going to be trouble? Most of our readers are advanced amateurs, not professional photographers. From my point of view, there is no reason to put yourself in harm's way for a photo that is going onto your social media account. The troublemakers don't care why you're there; they just involve onlookers to increase their visibility. The police who are trying to put an end to trouble often don't have the time clearly distinguish between the troublemakers and onlookers. Stay out of the way of both.

Know the local laws before you photograph protests

Know the local laws before you photograph protests

In a much less dire reason to consider your position for the protest, think about your ability to move when needed. It is tempting to be inside the mass to photograph the participants and get their emotion. However, large crowds hamper your movement and can make it difficult to move around. When thousands of people begin to move, you can be forced to move with them. It's not easy to get away from the crush without a major struggle or injury. You may want to position yourself around the periphery to catch the protesters during the march and get a larger variety of photos than you can get by standing inside the crowd.

Staying along the edge of a march, in Krakow, Poland

Staying along the edge of a march, in Krakow, Poland

I believe in getting there early, so you can scope out the area. Look for good positions to make your images. Take interesting photos of the preparation, surrounding areas, and gathering crowds.

Behind the stage, at the Washington Woman's March

Behind the stage, at the Washington Woman's March

We left at 5 a.m., this weekend, so we could rely on the Metro. In hindsight, 6 a.m. would have been fine, too. But the metro began to slow down after that. As the day progressed, some Metro stations were shut down because crowds were larger than initial estimates. If we hadn't left early, we never would have made it. I'd always rather be there early, than miss out entirely.

Setting up the main stage

Setting up the main stage

Plan to keep your equipment to a minimum. This is not the time you bring out all your lenses. A backpack is going to slow you down; constantly bother other participants. and cause you more trouble than it's worth. This is the time for [trumpets blare] the stylish photo vest. You can keep your equipment safe, without all the protrusions that will aggrevate your fellow participants who are crammed in there with you. Your back and neck will thank you the next day. I really only used two lenses throughout the day, but my primary lens was the 24-120mm. When you're in a dense pack of people, you don't want to struggle to change lenses. You'll, of course, want extra batteries and memory cards, and they fit neatly in the pockets of your photo vest. (I'm determined to bring back its popularity.)

No room for a tripod here; don't bring it.

No room for a tripod here; don't bring it.

While we're talking fashion, this is a good time to cover other important items. Comfortable shoes are important to keep you in the game. We stood for hours during this weekend's march. You want to wear gear appropriate for the weather. The last thing you want to do in the middle of a long day is lug around a heavy, unneeded overcoat or shiver in the cold because you dressed too lightly. Your comfort will impact your results, so plan accordingly.

What to shoot: The short answer is everything. You won't have any trouble finding things for your camera to capture. Things can move quickly, so this is one of those times you can fill up memory cards. Expect to spend some serious culling time in post processing. As always, I recommend you shoot in RAW, so you have the maximum amount of leeway available to you in your post work.

The participants are my favorite topics. They came out to the event because they are passionate for the cause. If there is confrontation, show it. People will react differently, and their reactions can change throughout the event. Your photos should capture that emotion.

Holding her sign high

Holding her sign high

Listening intently

Listening intently

Enjoying a shared experience

Enjoying a shared experience

A mother and daughter, marching together

A mother and daughter, marching together

Try to show the size of the the crowds. This can be difficult in especially large events, when you can't get enough elevation, but showing concentrated groups can give the feel of the crowd. Here you can see every spot is filled, and some are on the walls, trying to get a better view.

The crowd went for blocks

The crowd went for blocks

Don't forget to take photos of the signs and buttons everyone is wearing. The people are more important to me, but the signs demonstrate their issues and help identify the event you're recording. Some of them are quite humorous, but keep in mind your audience. I tend to steer clear of the really crude ones.

When you can, try to use a meaningful background or symbol, in addition to the sign, to add more meaning to your photos.

The Capitol as a background

The Capitol as a background

marine
Out along the route

Out along the route

Signs from Occupy Boston

Signs from Occupy Boston

This is not a subject I photograph often. There are so many things I'd rather photograph. However, if you're interested in this type of photography, there are many opportunities. You don't have to work hard to seek them out. You don't have to move to a large city, and small protests and marches can provide the same type of subject matter.

For the woman's march, my purpose was to take photos of interest and illustrate the blog. I'm not a photojournalist, who can't make any changes to photos. The organizers had many issues and groups that mattered to them. I'm neither a open supporter or opponent of any of the groups. Again, this is not a political website, so I wouldn't mention them anyway. The day was interesting and provided hundreds of photos. I got to spend a day with a friend and my cousin, who traveled across the country, and participate in an event that was a top news item around the world. How do you top that?

Thanks for the blog, Tiara.

Thanks for the blog, Tiara.