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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Brittney

Hi Brittney - Here is a link to the previous photo I told you about with several variations - Brittney.

After I posted the photos in the above link, I did one more final image:


To see the photos from July 17, please email me and I can give you the link to where they will be posted on Google Photos.

Here are some of the new photos from July 17, 2018 - a few are duplicates that were post processed slightly differently:















Misinformation

There is so much misinformation out there that you really have to do some research on whatever subject you are concerned about.  I've written about fake news (which includes lies, quotes taken out of context, faulty logic, faulty studies, picking only dates that are favorable to an argument, false comparisons, scare tactics, and on and on), especially regarding vaccines.  Sometimes someone may think they are right and just are misinformed, at other times they knowingly misinform.  Below are some examples of misinformation:

The first incident was related to investing.  Someone said he couldn't understand why Amazon stock was around $1700/share since they make no profit.  I heard that and thought that was years ago that they weren't making a profit, but was sure they were now.  So when I got home I checked.  They are definitely making a profit and a pretty substantial one - $12.58/share this year and projected to be around $20/share next year.  Still, I think the stock is a bit expensive at this price (although it has gone up more since I started this post).  The point is you have to do the research yourself if you want accurate numbers.  In this case, I believe the person was just misinformed and not up to date.

The second had to do with Cameras - someone claimed that iPhones are as good or better than digital cameras.  I disagreed, but he was adamant.  Since I don't own an iPhone, I thought maybe they had done something miraculous, although rather doubted it.  Otherwise, why wouldn't you see photographers on professional photo shoots using iPhones as it would be so much easier to carry them around plus a lot less expensive.  When I got home I checked the comparison of the iPhone X to a decent DSLR camera.  There is no comparison unless the image is greatly reduced in size - then you might miss the problems with the iPhone image.  The larger the image, the more obvious the problems and imperfections become.  Of course, with either one, you still need to understand lighting, composition, how the metering works, etc.  Again, you have to do the research to find the truth.

Another example I read today had to do with government in the U.S., politics, and how we are heading toward fascism.  It was a well-written article but in my opinion, used inaccurate comparisons to past events.  It was like comparing little pieces of this and that and ignoring anything that might show a difference between the two situations, then generalize that the outcome would be the same anyway.  Here's a very simplistic example - this person breathes air, that person breathes air, so they will both do the same thing regarding this or that policy.  The article also used the scare tactic - that the U.S. is heading toward fascism.  Had this person's article been about big pharma and vaccines, it would have been more believable as the government and big pharma are trying to force medical interventions on people without their consent - in the form of vaccines.  That is happening now, resulting in death and permanent injury of thousands of people, mostly infants and children.

Whether it's research about vaccines, supplements, nutrition, drugs, investing, etc., it must be from Independent Sources.  Even then, it helps to use some common sense and logic.  Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes:  "It astounds me how people never learn, and simply accept what is suggested to them by those writing articles, or those speaking on television, as gospel. Have we lost the ability to think critically? Have we lost the ability to question what we are told based upon actual facts? Or have we simply adopted the "Foghorn Leghorn perspective:  "Don't bother me with facts, son. I've already made up my mind.""

In the cases above they had already made up their mind.  Hopefully, you will do the research.  

Friday, July 6, 2018

100 Years Old

That would have been my Dad's age today, born July 6, 1918.  But he only made it to 74 years old thanks to lung cancer.  He had been a heavy smoker in his younger years, up to around age 55 when he quit.  Back when he started, they had told people that smoking was actually good for you, and in ads that more doctors smoked Camels.  There was the Marlboro Man and Chesterfield.  The science was settled - cigarettes did not cause cancer they said.  The cigarette companies and the media, after all, would never lie to you.  Correlation does not imply or equal causation they will tell you.  They will make up whatever stories they need to in order to profit from you no matter what it may do to you.  Cigarettes didn't only cause cancer, but also lung disease, heart disease, etc.  It was a case of bronchitis that got my father to quit smoking.

Unfortunately, people haven't learned from history.  Vaccines are the new cigarettes.  For those, the playbook has expanded.  They now don't just say that vaccines are good for you, but that you are to blame if vaccinated people get sick because you didn't vaccinate.  This is where you have to stop and think - it doesn't make sense.  If vaccines work, how can you get a vaccinated person sick?  And if they can get sick, then vaccines are not working, and if they are not working, why would you get vaccinated (especially when they may kill or injure you)?  Then they'll say it's to protect the immunocompromised who can't get vaccinated.  Well, there are around 190 other diseases for which there is no vaccine, so they are already in danger even if everyone got vaccinated.  Plus you can shed some of the diseases from the vaccine after vaccination.

Vaccines kill more people than the diseases are they supposed to prevent.  You won't hear that on the news - in fact, you will never hear anything in the news about vaccine safety or long-term studies (there are none of those).  Nor will you hear that there have been over 60,000 deaths (perhaps much higher) in VAERS (where less than 1 in 10 actually gets reported according to CDC, maybe as little as 1 in 100 - I've multiplied by just a factor of 10), E.R. visits - over 2 million, Hospitalized - over 600,000, Life-Threatening - over 110,000, and Disabled - over 82,000.  These numbers are for the years 2000 - 2015! And they may be ten times higher than these numbers!  Why?  They call many vaccine deaths SIDS, SUIDS, cause unknown, or don't bother reporting to VAERS.  After all, if your doctor admitted to you that vaccines can cause more deaths than the diseases, who would get vaccinated?

Do vaccines cause autism?  They say no, that the science is settled (just like with cigarettes and cancer).  And just like them, people believe this - will they never learn?  They don't check the facts and instead they attack those who do check.  As vaccines have increased in number, so has autism (from 1 in 10,000 to now greater than 1 in 50) - their answer is correlation does not equal causation.  If it was only a handful of people, one might be inclined to believe that.  When that number is in the tens or hundreds of thousands, with no other cause known, it's time to consider that they do, at the very least.  There may be other contributing factors, but when within a few hours or days of getting a vaccination, you child suddenly becomes brain damaged or autistic....

In many ways, vaccines are worse than cigarettes.  They can kill in a matter of hours or days or permanently injure innocent infants who had no say in the matter - they may never get to celebrate even their first birthday.  And cigarettes weren't mandatory.  No one knows the long-term effects.

I know that not many people make it to 100 years old, but if my father had not smoked, had eaten a healthy organic diet and taken immune supporting supplements, who knows - maybe I would have been celebrating his 100th birthday with him today.  I'm sure I would have celebrated a lot more than 74 with him.

The moral of this story - don't believe the media, the fake news, the drug companies, most doctors, and the government regarding vaccines.  Do your own research from INDEPENDENT sources and use some common sense and logic.  Check disease statistics from the late 1800s until vaccines came out.  Vote out of office all those who would make vaccines mandatory - that is a threat to all of our freedom.  Any forced medical procedure that can kill or permanently injure people is a human rights violation and doesn't belong in a free society.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Digital Photography Editing Software Part II

After writing my last post I tested two more editing programs - Paintshop Pro 2018 and Photoshop Elements 2018.  I also have earlier versions of both - Paintshop Pro X5 and Photoshop Elements 5.0.  I also forgot I had another program called FastStone Image Viewer which is free.  Plus there are the programs that probably came with your camera, although it seems those are pretty basic and pretty limited in what they can do.

Photoshop Elements 2018 is a huge program with lots of great stuff for beginners who aren't in a hurry to get things done.  And the same with PSP 2018 (which isn't quite that big).  They both took around 5-15 minutes on my computer to load.  I found Photoshop Elements 2018 to be the better of the two as far as the variety of editing that you can do, but after all my trials, I still found Lightroom and Photoshop to be the best (and on my computer, the fastest).  Two drawbacks with Photoshop - it can be pretty complex to learn and is only available as the CC (Creative Cloud) for which you pay a monthly fee which includes Lightroom CC and a few others.

I'm not going to go over all of the features of the programs (too many) - just recommend them in order of my preference.  The best thing is for you to download and try the trial versions which are the full versions but only are good for 30 days.

First on my list of recommendations is Lightroom, which you can still get with a perpetual license, although it is a bit tricky to find out where to get that as Adobe wants to sell the CC version by subscription (not a bad price at $9.99/month for Lightroom and Photoshop - if you are making money from photography - don't forget to add that cost in to your cost of doing business).  My next choice would be to own Photoshop CS6, but you can no longer buy it from Adobe and not sure it works with Windows 10 (hopefully someone will come out with a similar program without a subscription).  My next choices would be the other two - Elements and PSP respectively.  ON1 Photo Raw 2018.1 may become the answer if they fix a few issues as it now is (some bugs and slow speed).

As mentioned previously, LightZone is free so no trial version is needed and it can do probably all you will need to do.  It doesn't have some of the extras that the others have but is pretty easy to figure out.

There are other specialized software programs.  Ones specifically for portraits, some for changing backgrounds in photos, others for HDR (High Dynamic Range, meaning extreme contrast), etc.  For portraits, I'm using PortraitPro 17 (lets you change lighting, add make-up, change facial expressions and backgrounds, and more).  For backgrounds, I've shot photos of walls, clouds, sunsets, etc. for the purpose of adding them to other photos, like this one of the clouds.


Here are several variations of a photo I shot a few days ago - the original with no editing, and then editing to change the backgrounds and one to totally change the makeup.  First, I imported them into Lightroom to do some minor adjustments and to see which ones I either liked or didn't like as much.  It turned out I liked the expression better on the one with the eyes closed, so moved the eyes from the first one to that one in Photoshop which can be seen in the third photo below.




Next, I went to PortraitPro 17 to make the lighting better - it was a bright sunny day outside and this was an unplanned shot, so had no reflectors or anything - just her, me, and the camera.


Next, I dropped out the fence background and experimented with several different ones.







For this final experiment below, I also used PortraitPro 17 to add some makeup to highlight her eyes and give a little more color to her face.  Of course, when you start with a beautiful face it makes it so much easier to get a great result.  I only shot two close-up images of her.



I've been experimenting with another photo editing software called Smart Photo Editor for changing backgrounds and more.  I had gotten it mainly for swapping out the skies in some of my photos.

Don't forget that the first step is to get the correct lighting, focus, backgrounds, exposure, etc., in your camera.  The more you get correct in camera, the less you'll need to do in all of these editing programs.




Monday, March 26, 2018

Bye Bye Winter

I just saw a post by Tamara Lackey (photographer) that reminded me of some of the hardships photographers will endure in order to get the shot.  It reminded me of the time I was getting the following shots in Ithaca, NY, in about 10-degree weather.  In order to shoot the photos, I had to take my gloves off to operate the camera - a Nikon FTn with a 50mm f1.4 lens.  The photos faded and color shifted over time, but with editing software, was able to almost get them back to their original colors.  The first three photos are the result of the spray from a nearby waterfall.  As Rod Stewart said, "Every Picture Tells a Story." 





The above photo was of a small waterfall that was just about completely frozen, much like me and my fingers!

If you look closely at the walls in this photo, you can see the icicles from water that oozed out of the cracks.  My fingers felt like those icicles.  But I'm glad I shot these.


This bottom photo reminds me of the book by Kurt Vonnegut - "Cat's Cradle" and Ice-9.  It looks like an ice cloud covering the sun - now that is cold.  Aren't you happy to say bye bye to Winter?  

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Digital Photography Editing Software

It was a rainy day in Los Angeles yesterday (March 10) so I decided to check out a bunch of different RAW photo editing software to see if there was anything that might be a good alternative to Lightroom and Photoshop.  I don't do a lot of photography so don't want to sign up for Lightroom and Photoshop CC subscription.  I prefer to buy software just once, and perhaps every several years, pay for an upgrade if the upgrade is significantly better.  And of course, I try to shoot photos that at most need minimal editing.  Unless I want something a little artsier.

Besides editing ability, I was looking at organizing ability and speed.  One program that advertised itself as loading images faster (and it did do that) unfortunately did everything else slower.  Another claimed that it exported its result around four times faster than Lightroom, and it did that, but again, everything else in doing actual editing was extremely slow.  I went through about 5 programs, some free, some not.  The paid ones offer trial periods for their software.  After testing each program I decided to stay with Lightroom and Photoshop for now.  What I had hoped to find was one program that had the benefits of both Photoshop and Lightroom in one package - some looked like they attempted that, but they were in the too early stages of development with too many problems.  Too bad the best parts of each program couldn't be made into one.

Some of the ones I tried were Affinity, ON1 Photo RAW 2018.1, Raw Therapee, LightZone, and one other one called chasys_draw_ies_4_52_01 - couldn't do anything with that last one.  In the past, I also tried GIMP (free), but haven't checked it lately.  I'll probably check it this week as we're supposed to get lots more rainy days.

There is a Nik Collection plug-in from DxO that is free to download - it used to cost $500 and does some pretty neat stuff, and the new price of $0.00 is certainly right.  I've just downloaded and am installing the newest version.

One free program that I found had some good features and is called LightZone.  I sometimes use ON1 Effects 10.5, which is free.  It has some nice presets (pre-made adjustments built into the program) plus the ability to edit those presets and create new ones.  I also use PortraitPro 17 for portraits when needed - it can do things like change backgrounds, change lighting, add make-up, and make skin look much better with a whole lot of presets and adjustments.

Most of the paid programs come with free trial periods, usually from 10 - 30 days depending on the program.  A good idea to try them first - a few programs crashed and one caused my computer to crash, too.  Knowing what I know now if I was new to editing software, I would pick Lightroom an Photoshop as my first choice if price didn't matter.  For a lower price to entry, my next choices would be Photoshop Elements or Paint Shop Pro (I started with these years ago).  However, if you do a limited amount of photography, Lightroom is probably all you will need, along with the free programs mentioned.  I may do a future post on just PortraitPro 17.

Below are some examples of editing - each series is from either the same original image or a very similar one - the variations that can be achieved are pretty much limitless:

That's me with minimal editing.


These two are of the same photo, with lots of experimental editing and a lot sharper - part of the reason was to see how sharp this lens (Nikon 28-300) is capable of shooting.

From a different photo.

The following two series should give you an idea of what you can do with editing software.  Some edits are pretty subtle, some not so much.

 I think this top photo is the original without editing