Bloody closed source [Apple rant]

As the few people who read this blog know, I’m generally a linux geek. Most of the time I try to compose in the camera and use darktable or rawtherapee to simply fiddle the exposure and or crop things down for publication. Film is a little different — Reatha from Filmsoup puts all the photos onto dropbox and I then download them and process them (from my parallel dropbox account, which gets really full really fast).

However, the work computer is a mac, and there I use lightroom 4. I have no issue about subscribing to things. I do have an issue with internet access, which is patchy in NZ (the number of times I have to physically connect the phone to the laptop when travelling… huge) and thus want the editing software on the computer.

I considered using Apeture, but wanted to know where my photos are on the computer. Iphoto hides everything, and I shoot raw for a reason. Glad I chose LR, because it looks like Apple is taking the competitor away.

What’s happening, I believe, is that Apple is changing everything about how they handle photos. Jim could have as easily wrote “Apple is discontinuing development on iPhoto.” Or iPhoto Stream. Oh, wait, he did.

At the WWDC conference, Apple was mostly forthcoming on what is about to happen: with the roll-out of iOS 8 and MacOS Yosemite, we’re going to get something called iCloud Photos, and the goal is that all your photos are available on all Apple devices in the same way. Edits made in one place are reflected everywhere.

The open question has been “what do you edit with”? That’s been the unclear part, though at the WWDC Apple also introduced the notion that third parties could add features to whatever that was (e.g. plug-ins).

Okay, that screen shot? It’s apparently a screen shot of the unclear part, an application Apple is currently calling Photos. Notice all that stuff down the right side? Look a lot like Aperture’s controls, does it? It certainly doesn’t look like iPhoto’s controls, which are highly limited and not direct. So I’m guessing that the editing abilities in what Apple produces next are going to be close to what we had in Aperture.

It’s the cataloging, key wording, and database aspects of Aperture that are likely to go away. But are they really going away, or are they moving somewhere else? Note one of the thing’s in quotes on The Loop: “When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS.” Hmm. Does that sound like Aperture’s abilities go away completely? Not to me. It sounds like Apple has decided that the database of images and information about them lives in iCloud. Then each device has an “editor” called Photos that interacts with that. And third parties can extend the abilities in Photos.

So I’m not panicking at all. What Jim posted is 100% consistent with the publicly available information about Apple’s next steps, and does not necessarily mean that if you’re using Aperture you’re going to be screwed soon. It very well may mean that we’re getting closer to the workflow that we all want.

Finally, it seems that every Tom (not Thom) Dick and Harry seems compelled to add that this is a wonderful turn of events for Adobe. Really? If all your photos are in iCloud Photos and you’re using Apple’s Photos software with third party plug-ins to work with it, how is that better for Adobe? Lightroom is a monolithic, standalone product that still has a slightly inconvenient relationship with Photoshop.

Well I like my monolithic, standalone products. So much that I have three of them on two OSes. But I want to know the following:

1. Where the raw file is. I generally let Shotwell handle this.
2. Where the edit files are. I want to be able to undo things. I want to have saved versions.
3. Where the published versions are. The versions I uploaded. LR and DT and RT all let you say “put them here”. That is useful.
4. Where I have put them. Ideally, the shots go onto my blog and are then shared from there. To where I want them to go. At present I load them to Flickr or Ipernity or Picasa randomly: I would prefer to be able to choose to use one or the other. Including Facebook: some of the most interesting film stuff, such as the local E6 group, is there.
5. What I share. I really don’t want you all to know all my favourite shooting sites. I want geotags off. I don’t want you to know, at times, precisely what I am carrying (particularly when I’m travelling).
6. When I share. I want to do this on bandwidth I’ve paid for, which means hotel rooms and home — and not down a 4G network and a dollar a MB, or worse.

But the trouble is that everyone is moving this way. Adobe wants to run everything over the web. Now, that may help me get a unified workflow because the device I’m using will not matter… but I stretch HTML 5 pretty far with some of my work already, and it is not that robust.

At least I have physical film backups when I go analog.

In short, I don’t trust the cloud for more than keeping my cellphone backed up. For everything else there are USB drives.

Analog waterfront.

Same film, same camera, but I managed to get onto the dock one morning and do some quick guerilla photography. Processed by Film Soup, and like the previous post, I just used Darktable to shrink the file and turn if from a .tiff to .png

The Peninsula, monochrome.

More from the most recent selection of film soup scans. Taken with the Voightlander Bessa R and a 50 mm Jupiter 8 Russian Lens. I will add that the day was freezing, and the film is Kodak TriX.

Administrivia and workflow.

The site has had a theme change: the aim of this theme is to increase the size of images. Text here is secondary: the other sites are all about that.

I use shotwell to manage photos and export them to flickr.

Workflow depends. The digital files are raw: and are processed generally in Darktable and then shrunk to 1500×1000 16 bit png files for uploading. As part of the cleanup I have gone and adjusted the size of some files so that they will now load at a reasonable speed.

If I am on a Mac, I use lightroom. In general, I’m correcting exposure and tilt and doing judicious cropping unless I am doing an experimental post. And those shots don’t get exported.

The analog stuff is not (yet) scanned by me: I get Reatha Kenny to do that. I basically download the .tiff files and use darktable to turn them into smaller files for posting.

Finally, sometimes the only camera you have is your phone. I’m finishing with some of those shots — generally these go on the other blog, but some are good enough.

Winter Solstice, Auckland.

I was in Auckland over the weekend with a medium format camera and the Ricoh GXR, tuned for Landscapes.  The very slow exposures were done with a Fuji GW690 on a tripod, but I did take some backup shots digitally during the golden hour during the winter solstice.


Ricoh GXR, Processed in  Lightroom

Winter full moon

Dusk, on the way to somewhere else. I had black and white in the Bessa and a Nikon one in the bag. I deliberately cut the iso down to 100 and stopped down aiming for about 1/30 sec. exposure given I was hand held. I’m using a 10 mm wide angle lens — and with some “digital pulling” I was able to get the moon in two of the shots.

All photos processed in rawtherapee as 16 bit pngs, but forgot to shrink before putting into workflow. My bad. Files are fairly big, but it shows what the litle sensor can do — it would not have been my first choice for the circumstances but the best camera is the one with you.

Digital Cross developing Nikon one files in lightroom 5.

Lightroon five has some interesting presents including some that imitate cross developing of slide film. I’ve taken some recent shots — mainly at sunset or dawn, when there was colour in the sky, and cross developed them, using my Nikon V1

TriX in medium format (More from Film Soup)

This worked better. All files are scanned as .tifs (and live in Dropbox) and I’ve downloaded these, and exported them as 1500×1000 16 bit pngs. That drops the file size but keeps image depth.

All taken with a Fuji GS 690 III using iso 400 TriX. I need to find some slower iso monochrome film, but TriX has some virtues: it can take a beating (I have used it traveling and going through multiple scanning machines) and it is fairly cheap.

Processing and scanning by Film Soup.