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Old School Film Hack

Tag Archives: Macro

Lucky Little Hopper

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A friendly toad
Central Maryland (June 2017)
iPhone 6S + 29/2.2

There’s nothing quite like the chill of seeing movement down by your feet just after passing over a patch of lawn that you thought was clear of any critters.  And so it was with this little guy, who hopped over to the side of this utility cover in our yard right after our electric push-mower whooshed over the top of his hiding place.

When did this occur?  About twenty minutes before posting this image.  I checked him/her carefully to make sure he/she was okay, then let him/her wander off, while I went inside to post-process the image and cool down from the heat for a bit.

We rarely see toads or frogs in our yard anymore; this is the first large toad we’ve seen in over three years (the last one can be seen here), so we always keep an eye peeled for them while we’re doing yard work.

Switching to Affinity Photo

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Macro of a tiger lily
Central Maryland (May 2017)
Sony a6300 + Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 ZM

I’m done with Lightroom and Photoshop; Adobe doesn’t seem to use much quality control with their patches, and recent updates have rendered Lightroom almost unusable in my computing environment — even with extensive troubleshooting, including uninstalling and reinstalling their products.  Their customer support was dismissive and condescending in dealing with paying customers, and their follow-up attempts to fix the performance problem via product updates has failed.

Years ago, Photoshop was it.  There was no other choice.  That’s still the case if you use their very advanced features (fortunately my needs are far more simple).  Lightroom wasn’t necessarily the best product for managing your photo library, but Adobe kept it compelling by adding features that made it very difficult to say no to their product as the competition grew.

But now?  Now there are serious (and far less expensive!) competitors for both, and I’ve gone with Affinity Photo as my Photoshop replacement.  The image above is the very first that I’ve post-processed within Affinity, and I’m pleased with the results.

My Adobe subscription has been cancelled and all their products have been forcibly removed from my systems.  The king is dead; long live the king!


Update:  This post is generating all sorts of comments both online and offline, so I will add some additional detail:

  • Affinity Photo is a pixel editor; their non-subscription full desktop/laptop version is selling currently for $39.99; you can find the URL for Affinity Photo here.
  • Adobe Photoshop (a pixel editor) and Lightroom (an image manager) are bundled together or with additional packages as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite; their annual (billed-monthly) subscription only desktop/laptop version is currently available for $120-$240 per year, depending on the Creative Cloud package you select; the URL for Adobe products can be found here.

Affinity Photo is NOT a photo image manager with editing tools, like Adobe Lightroom is.  Affinity Photo is truly intended to be a Photoshop replacement, which is serious overkill for most casual photographers.  If your post-processing needs don’t require the horsepower of Affinity Photo, then a different package may be better suited to you.

Affinity Photo is available for the MacOS, Windows, and iOS platforms.  Details are as follows: Continue Reading →

On Parade

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Pink tiger lily
Central Maryland (June 2017)
DxO ONE + 32mm/1.8 ASPH

Here’s the latest addition to our side garden… some pink tiger lilies.  Their heavy exotic scent drifts to all corners of our yard, and their bright color makes them the center of attention.

Southern Magnolias Begin To Bloom

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Close-up of a southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) blossom
Central Maryland (June 2017)
DxO ONE + 32mm/1.8 ASPH

I’ve worked at my current employment site for over 11 years now, and it took me an entire decade to discover that they had a southern magnolia (magnolia grandiflora) tucked away in an obscure area that doesn’t get much foot traffic.  I saw this tree for the first time last year — long after it’s normal blooming season — so I’ve been eagerly waiting for the blossoms to pop again this year.  Which they did just a few days ago. Continue Reading →

Weekend Color

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Tiger lily
Central Maryland (May 2017)
Sony a6300 + Voigtländer Ultron 35/1.7 ASPH II

This image was taken yesterday morning, during a break from all the rain we’ve had lately (it began sprinkling again about 30 minutes after capturing the image above).

Cindy has finally taught me the difference between tiger lilies and day lilies, but I can’t pin down which specific tiger lily this may be — I’m guessing Hemerocallis fulva, but am not certain.  We have both this gorgeous orange version and a red version as well, as seen below. Continue Reading →

Sourgrass

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Common yellow woodsorrel (Oxalis stricta)
Central Maryland (May 2017)
Sony a6300 + Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 ZM

We awoke this past Saturday to our front yard being completely covered with these cheerful blossoms — otherwise known as common yellow woodsorrel.  To give a sense of scale, these blooms are about one-quarter the size of your little fingernail, so getting an image of one of them can be a little challenging.  Cindy also reminded me that they can be eaten in small quantities in salads and the like.

Screaming Pink

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Rhododendron blossoms
Central Maryland (May 2017)
Sony a6300 + Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 ZM

This year is screaming by so fast that I just can’t believe it’s approaching mid-May already. Continue Reading →

Blue Flags in the Morning

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Blue flag iris (Iris virginica)
Ridge, Maryland (April 2017)
Sony a6300 + Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 ZM

While getting the boat ready for the past several weeks, I’ve been watching these blue flag irises begin to emerge, just waiting for the right opportunity to take photos of them.  And here it is, in the soft early morning light, with nesting pairs of osprey crying in the background all around me, and the day slowly beginning to come to life.

Flowering Dogwoods Taking Their Bow

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Flowering dogwood (cornus florida) blooms
Central Maryland (April 2017)
Sony RX100 V + Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70/1.8-2.8

Flowering dogwoods are another of my favorite springtime trees, along with flowering cherry trees and red buds.  And maples.  And magnolias.  And…  And… And…

Aw, shoot; let’s be honest here — if it blooms and is even remotely attractive to look at, it’s in my list of favorites.

I used to think that spring was my single-most favorite time of the year, but the truth is that I like them all… I enjoy the constant, subtle changes and transitions that we go through during the course of 12 months.

But… getting back to spring, I always associate flowering dogwoods with Easter.  Why?  Because that’s when I formally noticed them for the first time. Continue Reading →

Mixed Emotions

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Blue hyacinths in the snow
Central Maryland (March 2017)
Sony a6300 + Zeiss Biogon 21/4.5 ZM

Our latest winter storm blew through late this past Monday night, and the image above — taken the day before yesterday — is what it looks like after a lot of the snow has already melted.  The dichotomy is striking, but the damage to the blooms and buds in our area from the wintry mix of ice and snow — plus the unseasonably cold temperatures — is going to go deep this year.

Below is what this same plant looked like on March 5th last year.  Oh, and don’t think we couldn’t have more wintry weather yet this season; you can see more snowy images in the posts I shared of a very late winter storm back on March 30, 2014, both here and here.

Blue hyacinth on my way into work
Central Maryland (March 2016)
Sony RX1R II + Zeiss Sonnar 35/2.0

Continue Reading →