I know I said I would, I just didn’t get around to it, what with picking up a shirt in town and shopping and cooking and watching a bit of the Euro 2020 football.
I was slow to get up this morning (the kids are on holiday, so we’re all good), and it felt like I’d been hit by a train when I did drag myself out of bed. I might have overdosed somewhat on anti-histamines last night. We got absolutely chowed by mosquitoes over the weekend. Numbers like I haven’t seen since Mozambique 17 years ago. They were everywhere. I was trying to get a shot of the moon and Venus in conjunction, but gave up when I splatted about 50 of the little bastards off my legs in about a minute. “How awful”, you might think, “but you do live in Africa”. Well, yeah, but it’s MIDWINTER in Africa next week. There should not be mosquitoes out and about in Cape Agulhas a week before the shortest day. There shouldn’t be that many mosquitoes out and about in Cape Agulhas full stop.
I’m still knocking back Allergex as if there is no tomorrow, which, you know, if I knock back enough…
Anyway, tomorrow’s weather looks a bit crappy and there’s limited football on (although I am playing a match myself), so I’ll probably choose to tuck myself in front of a warm Lightroom, choose the best images from the weekend, and make them even better.
My camera doesn’t work the same as Ian Sharples’ camera. My camera produces reasonable, lifelike images, not like the spectacular stuff that “comes straight out of the camera” Chez Sharples.
Stuff like this:
Well, it must be a very special camera. Or a very broken camera. Because sunrises over Ramsey don’t look like this. They often look very nice and very pretty, but they don’t look apocalyptic. I know this because I have friends whose homes overlook Ramsey Bay and who take photos of the sunrises because they look nice and pretty (the sunrises, not necessarily the friends) (shall we park this one right here and move on with the rest of this post?) (yes, we shall).
Their photos don’t look like these ones.
And so we can deduce that the images above are the result of one of three situations:
1. A massive nuclear explosion over England, which lies to the east of the Isle of Man. 2. A massive saturation explosion performed on Ian Sharples’ computer, or 3. A completely unique camera which our protagonist possesses which produces blindingly oversaturated images like these.
The continued existence of England tells us that it’s not number 1. All sense, logic and reason tells us that it’s number 2. But Ian tells us that it’s number 3. So why – apart from the fact that all sense, logic and reason tells us that it’s number 2 – wouldn’t we believe him?
Well, it’s just that he also occasionally takes photos of other things which aren’t blindingly oversaturated. Admittedly, not sunrises, but why would his camera not blindingly oversaturate everything, not just the Ramsey Bay sunrise images he posts for likes on Facebook?
It’s just weird.
My camera doesn’t work the same as Ian Sharples’ camera. My camera produces reasonable, lifelike images. If I want to make images of sunrises or whatever else that look like Ian Sharples’ sunrise images, I have to use software and drag several (or more) of sliders all the way to the right*.
This takes time, so I have created and saved a preset called Half Sharples:
You’ll see that I have a couple of other presets there too: Astro fix, which helps me with images like this one; Project Orange Bright Light fix which assists with photographs taken in and around orchards in the midday Mpumalanga sunshine, and Full Sharples, which I’ve never dared use.
I’m not sure my computer could take it.
There’s simply a limit to the processing power of my laptop. Just as there is a limit to the cerise pixel quotient on my fancy screen. And then there are my eyes. I only have two and they’ve got to last me all my life. Basically, the expense of replacing your motherboard, GPU and monitor, and the medical costs of mending your retinae is simply not worth the risk. Even if you do want a few more likes on social media.
Instead of doing the jobs I should have been doing yesterday, I had a play around with one of the images I took on Monday at Muizenberg. I quite like how it came out, although I’m now quite a way behind with the jobs I should have been doing.
My only real issue (other than those jobs) is that it looks like the sky was added later. The sky wasn’t added later: that was the sky that was there when I took the shot. But – for me, at least – it would have been better (with hindsight) if there wasn’t that unfortunate natural gap between the rooftops and the drama.
But maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh on myself. I think I’ve turned an OK shot into quite a nice image. And I’ve learned quite a lot while I was doing it.
Before we begin, let me say that I’m a big fan of Peter McKinnon. He’s just over to the right in the blogroll. I like his photography, I like his vlogs, I like his attitude, I like his down to earth personality.
(there’s a but coming up, isn’t there?)
BUT… (told you so.)
His latest pack of presets for Adobe Lightroom is priced a little steeply, I feel.
$30 is R436 today. And that’s a lot of money. But it’s not just a lot of money because Cyril broke the economy again. It’s a lot of money because $30 is a lot of money to begin with.
With all those lovely qualities I mentioned above, it’s no surprise that PMcK has quickly reached 2.5million subscribers on YouTube (and 1.2 million on Instagram). But is that really enough to be charging thirty bucks for a 38.7kB file? And that FALL 2018 tag opens it up nicely for four packs a year.
Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate his undoubted talent. I understand that he’s probably put a lot of work into fine-tuning them to make them exactly as he wants them to look. But is there really any justification for that exorbitant price? I just feel that some settings for your photo editing software are massively personal and unlikely to be for everyone.
Full disclosure: I bought his last lot of presets, but only because they were on offer – down from $10 to $5. I likely wouldn’t have considered $10, let alone $30. I’ve probably only used a couple of them.
So, this feels a bit like like someone cashing in on his fame. And while I appreciate that there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just a bit sad the first time someone you thought wouldn’t be into that sort of thing, does that sort of thing.
I know the answer – don’t buy them – and I won’t buy them.
It just seems like commercialism hit hard and he’s testing the waters to see what he can get away with. Maybe I’m way out of touch, but it feels like he might have pushed too far.
My brother sent me a photo, which I think came from the Sheffield Star newspaper, possibly more specifically from their correspondent here. It’s from last weekend’s Championship match at Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane, in which Sheffield United played Nottingham Forest. The weather wasn’t great. The match finished 0-0.
But the photo needed some playing with in Lightroom, in my humble opinion. (See here for details of why I appropriate other people’s photography).
When I saw it, it reminded me of a dramatic painting, so obviously I made it into a dramatic painting.
The blizzard conditions are obviously what makes this photo so eye-catching, but it’s the juxtaposition of that chaos with the stability of the horizontal touchline in the foreground that I really like. It’s almost cinematic.
I’m not an artist, but if I was, I think I’d like to paint something this good.
In the meantime, I’ll just have to content myself by attempting to make artwork out of other people’s photos.