NSW – Reworking Old Photographs

Candy – Art Nude: Nikon D200

Its not something I do often, but with software advances, it can sometimes be interesting to take old photographs; the original raw images, and re-edit them in the latest software.

Adobe Camera RAW

Lightroom has come a long way since I last edited this black and white set of Candy, that I took at Worksop Studio back in 2007.

Most of these were processed in an early Adobe Camera RAW. Fourteen years is a long time in software development and the improvements were considerable. It was also interesting to see how I have developed as a photographer. I feel my work now is of a considerable higher standard.

Village Walks

With the COVID-19 lockdown version 3 here in the UK, the only photography I have been doing is when taking the hound for a walk.

My little Leica M10 is a great walk around camera, small and light.

According to the governments new schedule we are coming out of lock down and will be able to shoot again in the studio from the middle of April, so I have started to book some models. These are shoots that I cancelled from the end of year shoots.

Perspective Control – In Camera

Being able to correct perspective is not not new. Its been a feature in programs like Adobe’s Lightroom for a while, which I have blogged about before.

Leica are not always thought of as being the most high tech of camera companies. People forget that they invented 35mm photography, autofocus and the first full frame mirrorless professional mirrorless camera the SL (I know Sony users are going to argue that one).

The latest firmware update brought about perspective control in camera, when in live view can preview what its doing. If you shoot jpeg then its baked into the file, but RAW shooters will find the correction added into the DNG data fields that you can choose to use or not in Lightroom.

Unfortunately the original Leica M10 does not support this feature as its missing a key piece of hardware the horizontal level sensor, but if you have a M10P or the new Monochrom its available now as a firmware update.

For people like me there is always post production in Lightroom so no hardship.

Leica M new firmware – FIRMWARE (2.20.48.38) LEICA M10

While reading up on the new L mount 28mm lens from Leica, and its quite a lens, I saw that Leica had released a new update for my camera the M10.

Leica M8 sample – Boudoir

As I have frequently mentioned smaller companies like Leica and Fuji are very good at supporting their old cameras. Remember to keep checking for updates.

https://uk.leica-camera.com/Service-Support/Support/Downloads?category=93710&subcategory=139034&type=108942&language=all

Keeping Reptiles

Timmy the Greyhound

I have kept, cats, dogs, birds, fish, hamsters and snakes.

Currently we have a Ted the Greyhound, two birds, and two snakes; Oz the Corn snake and Bertie the baby boa.

Of all of these reptiles are both the easiest and the hardest. The advantage of the types of reptiles I keep is that they do not need to feed, often for weeks at a time, a big bowl of water can last several days.

Some reptiles are more difficult than others, please do you research, some of my vivariums are over two hundred cm by ninety cm. Not everyone can afford the space for these sizes of vivarium, and if your keeping lizards or some large pythons you will need to dedicate a large room.

The key to keeping them is to do your research. You need to give them the room they need. You need to know the temperature they need to be kept at and whether you need to change that temperature during the day and night and by season.

Often you need to provide a high ambient temperature, a hot spot and a cold area.

Next humidity. This can be a challenge, pick your vivarium carefully, glass, plastic and wood are your options. You also need to consider your substrate. Does it need to increase humidity or decrease it. Will it cause issue with feeding, does your reptile like to borrow?

Lighting, some want heat but not light, others need a UVB source, but also want to be able to hide from the light sometimes.

Bertie the Boa, less then one year old

Lastly making the reptile feel safe; hides in the cold area and hot area is a minimum. Too much glass can make your pet feel exposed, does it need a dark area to hide in.

As I said, research is key. Choose the right pet and know your subject to give them a good life, and you can give each other years of pleasure.

Having a mini project – Lamp Posts

Leica M10, 50mm Sumilux-M

While I shoot professionally, mainly corporate and events plus model portfolios and the odd wedding I also try to have a walk around Lincoln at least a couple of times a week.

Its a very photogenic little city.

I often have a number of projects on the go, my main ones are drinks and doors at the moment, plus people on the on the phone, but I also have a lamp post and signs project. Simple little projects like this give you a focus when you are lacking in direction.

Its an easy thing to do and can lead to some interesting future ideas and keeps your interest when you need some inspiration.

Photo of the Month – January

Leica M10
Leica Summilux-M 1:1.4/50 Asph 50mm f/1.4
50mm, 1/90 Sec at f/16,  ISO1600
Post Processed in Adobe Lightroom Classic V10

With us back in lockdown due to COVID-19 my studio shoots are all cancelled again. This was a quick snap of one of our house plants.

COVID-19 Lockdown Round 3

So last month I started to book photography shoots for January, only a few as things were not looking good on the COVID-19 infection rate.

As expected after Christmas Day we had a full lock down. I had not anything booked for the first week of January but was hoping to start working after that. Instead I spent last week canceling shoots again.

I’ll be doing some initial planning for February and I do support the lock down but I feel sorry for the small businesses and self employed, for them this is very hard.

You have a computer in your office and want decent Music?

Modern sound equipment in the last ten years has come a long way.

My first job was working for a music shop, working in the workshop weekdays building speaker, crossover circuits, repairing amps and mixers. We also did special affects, so I learn’t to repair lighting controllers. On Saturdays I would work in the shop selling audio.

I went to all the big shows in London, and was privileged to be able to listen to high end audio from vinyl and cd on systems costing hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Now it does not cost a lot to get quality a quality music sound, but with people using low quality MP3’s, bluetooth headphones many have not heard how good music can sound.

Now let me state, most of my casual listening is done through a set of wireless Apple Earbuds from streamed lossy format music on my phone. In fact let me state now, it is not worth listening to lossless format music using Bluetooth, but you can get high end audio at a budget price, and also not all lossy format music is the same; you can get quality lossy format MP3’s; that combined with a good CODEC over Bluetooth can give quality sound when combined with good noise cancelling headphones, but todays chat is not about mobile audio, its about audio in your home office.

An old laptop or desktop computer as your music source with some ripped CD’s lossless format, or a high quality streaming service, a £100 DAC and £100 wired headphones can go along way. Do try and go wired where you can for better quality.

So how do I get quality music in my office. Well I have seem some users with high end vinyl record decks and thousand pound desktop speakers, but whose office generally gives good acoustics?

In my office I keep things simple. In summary its a music library of losses ripped cd’s in my iTunes (now Apple Music Library), streaming from online music services and some quality budget active speakers on the desk.

First the source part of the system.

I have Roon software on my MacPro pulling all my music together and acting as a Roon end point. From the MacPro I have a high quality audio USB cable feeding into a DAC stage of the preamp on my desk. I used to go straight into my speakers from the line out feed on the Mac, but the digital to analogue converter in computers are decidedly average. Even adding a £65 DAC such as a AudioQuest DragonFly Black can add a great improvement to the sound of your system.

My preamp is a Schiit Asgard 3. This has the optional USB multi-bit DAC. Purists who complain that the multi-bit military spec DAC cannot touch a high end audio Delta-Sigma DAC, really need to give multiunit DACs a listen, on paper its certainly not as good, but its sounds nice and would certainly rival may £500 DACs available.

Asgard 3 with optional built in multi-bit USB DAC

Amplification and Speakers.

Its not a good idea going to high end on the speaker front for your home office. Over eighty percent of how it sounds is down to the room. You have some big floor standing speakers in a large empty room with a wooden floor? You can greatly improve the sound quality with a £50 rug from Ikea! Also the amp and speaks are a very important pair, if your going separate speakers and amp then remember to audition them together.

Speakers are either active or passive, all that means is that active speakers have the amp built in them. People used to look down on active speakers; they used to be the cheap low-end of the market, but this is now not so true.

The Asgard 3 has RCA phono output and single ended headphone jack. the RCA feeds the built in amp inside my Ruark Audio MR1 Mk1 speakers, these also accept bluetooth should I wish.

This system gives me great music in my office and with the headphone socket in a quality preamp I can also get even better sound out with a pair of quality open backed headphones.

This is a nice system and comes in under a £1K but would rival many above that. Its also easily upgradable. Adding a higher end DAC such as a Schiit BIFROST 2, or even going up to a Chord Electronics Hugo with some headphones gives sound that would be hard to beat, on the speaker front you could upgrade to KEF LS50 speakers or add a power amp and some nice Wharfedale’s but you need to remember that the room has a big impact on the sound of your speakers and going to high end may not be worthwhile in your office. Keeping it simple like I have and when you want higher end listening go to headphones, or if your lucky like us and have a room you can dedicate to music then build you dream system there.