Photographs & Paintings

Summary – Off to the mountains for a day-trip tomorrow. Forecast is rain. Hoping to see some photo-ops like those that led to today’s image – more painting-like than photo-like.

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Odd ball filters, gauze, Vaseline, almost anything

placed in front of your lens can produce

interesting results

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Sometimes almost painterly, in fact

(Used a wet windshield in this case)

Monet Made Me Do It

Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park

North entrance to Skyland looking south down the drive

Click to enlarge & see the “brush strokes”

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Technical – Nikon D300, Tokina 16-50 @50mm, 1/10 sec, f/5.6, EV=-2/3, ISO400, WB=Cloudy, center weighted metering, aperture priority, RAW capture, circular polarizer, hand-held, LiveView with manual focus

  • Taken through the windshield in a downpour (parked)
  • Hand held and braced on top of the steering wheel
  • I wanted the effect of the flowing water on the windshield visible, and the background soft and painterly – a relatively shallow DOF
  • f/5.6 at 50mm gives a DOF of only a few feet (4′ at a focus distance of 12′ which is about the distance to the tree framing the left side)
  • I used LiveView to see the image more clearly & used manual focus to get what I wanted

Composition

  • Trees trunks to frame left/right
  • Colorful leaves/branch to frame top
  • After zooming my 16-50 to 50, the final “Zoom” was moving the car forward/backward until  the tree framing was right
  • Give the eye a destination – the light area at the bend of the drive
  • Place the “destination” off-center; bulls eyes usually don’t work
  • The car was off the drive at a spot where I could move it safely – but anyone watching would surely have wondered ??

Post-process

1. Photoshop Elements/Adobe Camera RAW for RAW conversion

2. Tonal & color contrast adjustments in Color Efex Pro 4 using my custom designed recipe for basic image post processing

  Step-by-step detailed illustration in this post

3. Added a border using my saved CEP4 custom border recipe

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Combine techniques like this with camera motion and/or multiple exposures for some really painterly results

Or, if not painterly, then definitely non-photographic

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Nik Collection Troubleshooting Tips

Google’s Nik Collection, with its attractive price,

Has introduced lots of new users to Nik software

New users have a lot to learn

My tutorial series is a good place to start

However, occasionally troubles arise beyond normal usage

Troubles with getting the software to run – period

Or – to run correctly

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Here are a few tips to solve problems

Getting Nik Collection programs to run properly

Based on years as a Nik beta tester

Encountered 5 users with problems in just the past week

So I decided to update my 2011 post on this topic

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1. When all else fails – or maybe even before trying anything else – the generic “fix-it” for many problems during beta for many, many testers was

Reinstall the Program

I suspect that once you move to the top of the Google Nik support queue this is going to be the first thing that they suggest

Try it now; save yourself time in the support queue later

1a. Install Order (recent note on test site)

“If you installed the Nik Collection first and then installed LR5, the plug-ins won’t show up

You’ll need to run the installer again”

This likely applies to any Nik Collection host program, not just LR

A specific case of the Reinstall the Program theme

2. Image Quality Issues – Nik programs were “early adopters” in using a video card’s graphic processing unit (GPU)

Not all cards work!

The problems usually show up in the form of image quality problems – odd colors, square patches with different tonality than the rest of the image, etc.

The solution is to open the program’s Settings menu and

Disable the GPU

You must restart the Nik program (& its host – PS, LR, Aperture) after doing this for it to take effect

You may want to try this even if everything seems fine just to see what speed impact using (or not) the GPU has

Much more GPU detail in item #5 below

3. Odd crashes and start-up difficulties – This next tip isn’t a cure-all but may solve your particular problem

The Nik Selective Tool is known to occasionally give problems (this is a little window that pops up over your host program – PS only)

The ST issues arise usually as a result of installing a new plug-in – key word here is install and not the plug-in itself

Maybe (hopefully) since the major (only) change by Google since their acquisition of Nik nearly a year ago was to the install & update routines, this problem has gone away

I don’t know because information to beta testers isn’t as free-flowing as before

4. Speed – Do not allocate more than 55-60% of available memory to Photoshop (go to Performance under Preferences in PS)

5. More on Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) induced problems posted at the Google test site 7/22/13

Even though this was an answer to a Color Efex Pro question, it applies to the entire collection

a.Video Card Drivers

Mac Users: Generally the video card that comes with your Mac will be updated automatically. The exception may be when there has been an additional video card added. In that case the user may need to go to the video card manufacturer’s website to download an updated driver for their secondary GPU. If you are using Mac OS Snow Leopard (10.6) ensure to update to 10.6.6 or higher as this can affect performance. If this does not apply to you, please go to the next section below.

Windows Users: Locate the manufacturer of the GPU as well as the model number. Once this is determined, it is then recommended to go directly to the GPU manufacturer’s website (best option) or if that is not possible to go to the computer manufacturer’s website (secondary option) to obtain an updated video card driver. It is NOT recommended to use Windows Update as in general we have found that these drivers are not updated as frequently. To identify which video card you have please do the following:

  1. Click on Start >Control Panel>System & Security >System >Device Manager and then click on the plus next to Display Adapter, this should display the make and model information.
  2. Go to the manufacturer’s website (you may need to search for it via Google) such as Nvidia.com and with the model number you should be able to search for the latest driver. If you are unable to locate the driver you may need to contact the manufacturer of your computer to obtain an updated driver.
  3. Once the latest GPU driver is located,download and install the new driver.
  4. Restart the computer and try your Nik program once again.

b. Disable partial GPU processing

If after following the above steps you are still experiencing the same issue, the next step will be to either disable the GPU (if possible) or force your Nik Program to not use the GPU (safe-mode). In order to disable the GPU in your Nik Program please do the following:

  1. If you are able to open your Nik program and can see part of the interface, see if you can click on the”Settings” button in the lower left.
  2. In Settings locate the section “GPU” and expand it, in this section you will see a check box “Enable GPU Processing”, uncheck this so the GPU will be disabled, then close the settings window.
  3. Close out of your Nik program (click Cancel), quit out of any and all host applications (Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture), and then relaunch your Nik program to see if this corrects this issue.

c. Disable all GPU processing

If you are unable to disable the GPU via Settings OR if the issue is still unresolved (e.g. your Nik program crashes or the buttons are not displaying correctly), please try the following steps below after quitting out of all host applications (Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture):Mac Users:

  1. Open a finder window (or double click on the Macintosh HD on the desktop) and navigate to:
    Macintosh HD : Users : <user name> : Library :Preferences : Google : Color Efex Pro 4 (or whichever program….)

    • OSX 10.7 or later: hold the Option key and go to Go > Library to access the User Library
  2. Locate the file, ColorEfexPro4.cfg and right-click and choose “open with…” and then click “Choose” and then locate the applications, “Text Edit” to open this file.
  3. At the very beginning (before all the text) of the configuration file, paste the following code below verbatim:

    <configuration>
    <group name=”INTERN”>
    <key name=”UseSafeMode” type=”bool” value=”1″/>
    </group>
    </configuration>
  4. Now save the file, close it and relaunch your Nik Program and see if the issue has been resolved.

If the issue persists please reply with the Color Efex Pro 4 (or whichever) folder underUSERACCOUNT/Library/Preferences referenced above. This contains log and settings files that will help us understand what else may be occurring.

Windows Users:

  1. Click Start and type in the search box below: %localappdata% (exactly as shown with % symbols on each end),when the yellow folder “Local” is displayed in the search list, click on it.

  2. The local folder will open, now double-click on “Google” followed by “Color Efex Pro 4” (or whichever) and locate the file ColorEfexPro4.cfg (or whichever) and then double click to open. Windows will ask you which application to use to open this file, locate and choose “Notepad”to open.

  3. At the very beginning (before all the text) of the configuration file, paste the following code below verbatim:

    <configuration>
    <group name=”INTERN”>
    <key name=”UseSafeMode” type=”bool” value=”1″/>
    </group>
    </configuration>
  4. Now save the file, close it and relaunch your Nik program and see if the issue has been resolved.

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Free: Water Drop Photography Tutorial

I’m working on Interactive PDF eBook Tutorials

Still in the preparation phase (learning InDesign)

Consider this post a status report

(including an example of where I’m headed)

I think that after two more weeks (& two more examples)

Everything will be set to go by the end of April

After that, 4 more weeks to complete the eBook,

since the content already exists

4-15-2013 11-29-07 AM

A Water Drop Image

In-camera; no post-processing trickery

Click on the image to download

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Today’s sample eBook is nearly identical, content-wise to this one

A Recipe for Making Water Drop Images

That I made in two versions (both free) last year

An iPad iBook available at the Apple store (search Knepley)

A PDF (identical layout to the iPad version)

Apart from Nik tutorials, the Water Drop post has been

This blog’s most popular post with over 10K views

So why do it again?

Apart from an InDesign learning exercise & comparison?

The iPad layout and format is too limiting IMO

Everyone can read PDF, not so iBook

I’m designing specifically for use on a monitor

iPad users can read the PDF

Try it; layout & screen fit are pretty good

I might mention that I also discarded the notion of doing videos

although the book may have some short ones, < 2 minutes

Others may learn well from videos, but not me

Too hard to skip around (among other things)

Enough chit-chat:

Download the latest and greatest Water Drop Images

(same as clicking the above image)

If you have time, compare it with the earlier one

I’m really desperate for feedback & suggestions

Along those lines, my deepest thanks to Juergen Kiefner

For his offer to provide suggestions

(& he’s a professional typographer, to boot)

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Free: Color Efex Pro Bleach Bypass Filter eBook

I’m working on Interactive PDF eBook Tutorials

At square-one right now

Doing a self-learning InDesign crash course

I’ll try to kill two birds with one stone over the next few weeks

I’ll keep plowing through the mysteries of InDesign and

Post short PDF books in the daily blog post based on what I learned that day – until I start the “real” book

4-9-2013 5-55-19 PM

Bleach Bypass Before/After Example

Click for full screen

Large amount of detail; can you see the Colorado River?

Hint – in deepest dark canyon at right a little below the center

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Since the goal tutorial book will be based on

These tutorials in my blog

I’m using old blog posts for my InDesign lesson assignments

Starting with CEP4 filter tutorials that can be found here

To both learn InDesign and

To learn how to transfer existing material to InDesign

The first filter | eBook test is based on the

Bleach Bypass filter (found here in the past posts)

Click the image below to download the 7-page eBook

4-9-2013 5-18-28 PMIf you compare the blog version with the  eBook

They’re basically the same except for the layout

I haven’t gotten to fancy-stuff & interaction in InDesign yet

One lesson learned – use higher resolution screen captures

If you have additional lessons for me in the form of

Suggestions or comments on these eBook samples

Please pass them on; I’d really appreciate it

Use the Comment section below (or send an email)

Thanks in advance. I may have been a decent engineer, but a graphics and layout person – I’m not 😉 – and need all the help I can get.

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Software Auto-updates: In favor or not?

Google automatically updates its software

The user is given no choice in the matter

Chrome is the most well-known case

It applies to all other Google products like Picasa, too

Which brings us to the newly packaged & released

Nik Collection by Google

D800E_130328_142814__DSC7110 nx dl cep sep

Ancient Facade

Nik Silver Efex Pro; sepia toned with selective color

Historic District – Charleston, SC

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Many users (most?) of the new Nik Collection aren’t aware

That Google will be automatically updating this software

Without the user’s explicit permission or knowledge

You won’t find a setting that asks “Download automatically?”

It just happens

Google programs “call home” periodically to check for updates

In the case of the Nik Collection, if there’s an update

It will download automatically

BUT – not while the host program (PS, LR, etc.) is running

[UPDATE: read the Comments below for more info]

It may be one thing for freebies like Chrome or Picasa

But $149 programs that pro’s rely on for a living??

This is Google’s first foray into non-free software of this type

They’re applying a one-size-fits-all policy

Should they treat free and pay programs the same?

Do an internet search to see –

This is a concern and problem for many users

There are ways to get around the issue

but not for the faint of heart

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Please take this poll

What’s your opinion? In favor or not?

I have an ear at Google (who may not have a voice), but let’s see

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Photography Trips

How about to Mars?

4-8-2013 7-32-05 AM

The Curiosity Rover on Mars

Click the image and visit the interactive panorama site

View a 360 degree panorama

Pan up and view the sun as seen on Mars

Pan down & zoom to see rover & Mars’ surface details

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Nik Silver Efex Pro Presets – Gone but not Lost

How to find old web pages

(pages with broken links)

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Google’s purchase of Nik Software

Has had at least one unfortunate side-effect

Links to old Nik Software support pages are broken

I recently had a request for a Silver Efex Pro preset of mine

That Nik offered on their SEP preset download page

Except now that page no longer exists

(to normal mortals 😉 )

There’s a long thread at DPReview –

Readers complaining that Nik presets are gone

See my “funny story” at the end of the post

This post illustrates a way to solve that problem

And can be used for many other broken links as well

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Left to right –

True IR (made with IR converted camera)

The actual color scene

“Faux IR” – made with my Silver Efex Pro (lost) preset

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How to find a web page that is no longer active

Illustrated using the specific item I was asked about

Follow along on your computer if you want….

1. Imagine that you’re reading and click on an embedded link

Here is the exact spot in the SEP tutorial Film Type section

 If you’re following along it’s at the end of the tutorial

4-5-2013 8-03-27 AM

2. And – after you click, you see…

4-5-2013 8-11-03 AM

3. After you curse, there’s an option that you may not have known

a. Right click on the embedded link and copy the link address

4-5-2013 8-20-16 AM

b. Go to Web.Archive.org and paste the copied address as shown here

You might take a moment to read the

Site’s “About….” section, left column

4-5-2013 8-27-55 AM

c. Click on Take Me Back to see the following

This is our “Time Machine”

In this case a black bar in 2013 is highlighted

In turn, Jan 17 2013 is highlighted

4-5-2013 8-31-10 AM

d. Click on a highlighted date to see

This listing of access times (just 1 here)

4-5-2013 8-43-12 AM

e. Click on an access time and

You are taken back in time

To what that web address looked like then

This is January 2013

The presets then were for SEP2

4-5-2013 8-51-18 AM

f. My reader asked about SEP1 presets, not SEP2

No problem – get back into the Time Machine and

Choose an earlier date – like 2008

4-5-2013 9-04-46 AM

Click on any blue highlighted date to see

4-5-2013 9-09-38 AM

Click on an available time to see

What this Nik preset page looked like on 7/24/08

This is from the SEP1 era

Compare it with the earlier SEP2 version

4-5-2013 9-11-47 AM

Scroll down this page a bit and you’ll see

Moi

Which is what my correspondent was looking for

BEFORE encountering the lost link

4-5-2013 9-17-20 AM

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Have fun with this useful (but largely unknown) tool

It’s invaluable to me in writing my

Interactive Nik Collection book

Since the book is based on the existing tutorials

Google’s shutting down of pages did me no favors

Without WebArchive.org a lot of valuable info

Would be GONE FOREVER!

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Funny side story –

I’m banned from DPReview for inviting readers of a thread about broken Nik preset links to read this post – deemed self promoting. The moderators were equally offended that there is a discount code on my site (for which I get NOTHING!) – deemed commercial. The “banning summary” read self-promoting & commercial. Geez!!!!!!!!  Boo, DPReview. See if I ever, ever write anything intended to be useful and helpful there again. And, by the way, did you ever notice that pro’s with true commercial site – I’ll list Thom Hogan as one – have posted 1000’s of times with a link to their site in their signature box with nary a problem. Is it that their poop doesn’t stink???

If you’re here from DPReview

Be sure to thank your moderators for banning me and

Removing my thread reply about this post you just read

And tell your fellow “lost preset” friends about it

Because I’ll never post there again. 😉

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