I Remember Why I Dream In Black And White

Posts tagged “GPS

Riverwalks and GPS tagging…

Rower, Thames 2012 by Tim Baker

Started the riverwalks (the longstanding project where I walk along the Thames and tributaries, been doing it since 1999) and cliffwalks again for this year…this was taken during the good weather of last week walking from Hampton Court to Walton Bridge there seems to be a lot of rowers on the river – Olympics practice? Or just I’m getting closer to Henley and the traditional home of rowing in the UK? I did Walton to Chertsey yesterday – Shepperton and Chertsey are a strange place, loads of riverside holiday homes with statues, English flags and clocktowers – little England indeed!

The idea of river walks is to photograph the Thames and it’s tributaries in sections creating a photographic essay or book…I’ve done from Chertsey down to Thames Barrier so far following the Thames Path with a little bits after there (Gravesend for instance). Part of the scanning is I want to scan the photos I took of those central sections and east London – which has partly undergone great changes since because of the Olympics and development – and put them online/store them and sort them. There are many more photos¬† I took 1999-2004 than in that set! I redid the Royal Docks area recently, so in some cases I can have a ‘layer’ of then and now, amazing how in some cases little changes, like Woolwich/Thames Barrier area, and how some areas have very much changed in the last 10 years.

Rather proud of the one above, especially as it was a grab shot and this is a detail of a bigger picture which you can see at the Flickr Riverwalks highlights set¬† which contains the ‘best of’ most of the walks so far since 2004/5. The idea of making a site or book is definitely still on the cards, still thinking about that. Certainly having location data will help with those.

Oh and these are the first DSLR images I’ve posted that should be properly geotagged, using Geotag Photos Pro app and syncing the camera clock to the GPS/app clock. It works pretty well, as you should see from the newer pictures at the end of the set they should all appear on the Map over at Flickr (or the EXIF should have that info too). Geotag Photos Pro costs a little money and also I prefer to be platform/server independent, I don’t like uploading my data to someone else’s server to convert to GPX – always thinking ‘but what if the server goes down/bust?’. But I tried free apps such Osmand which is a really good Android mapping app, or GPS Logger but the quality wasn’t as good, they weren’t as accurate or in the case of GPS Logger they logged nothing at all – rather frustrating. Geotag Photos Pro was simple and just worked, and was pretty accurate, only a few jumps courtesy of the US Military (they put errors into the GPS data, it can do down to <1m on the military version, but of course they don’t want to give that ability to the ‘enemy’ so put intentional errors into the consumer version so hence those 10m jumps, frustratingly.).

If you want to see the full set (ie. all photos) in a map type format, try my Picasa set – I tend to keep Flickr for ‘best’ photos and dump all sets and social stuff onto Picasa….but it’s better mapping is also useful.

We Done This, 2012 by Tim Baker

Dog, 2012 by Tim Baker

Walton Bridge by Tim Baker


Lightroom 4 mini-review

Steve Medium Format (LR4 version) by Tim Baker

Just updated to Lightroom 4, and you can see the difference below as I redid one of my medium format images with the new ‘Process Version 2012’. Warning: on problem images it does tend to screw up your converted LR3 2010 pictures somewhat, coming out really light. It seems big changes in Contrast and the introduction of Highlights, Shadows and Whites sliders and changes with Clarity means if you have a photo using a lot of those (say a dark underexposed image, or with a lot of haze/flare) you might need to tweak it quite a lot – but my other more standard images hardly changed at all – the shot of Kirk for instance the auto-tone and the skin tones looked far more pleasing.

One good thing though is you’re given the option to view Before/After and can edit your image to match the previous Process Version, so it’s quite a quick process unless you have quite a ‘challenging’ image, in which case unless you feel there is something in the new Process Version you want, I’d leave old images be. What I found though is those old images looked rather odd in the old PV2010 in 4, they looked overexposed/light as if the brightness was turned up too high, so I’m not sure how good the claim is that your old images stay as they are…that’s the theory, but it seems a bit of a one-way upgrade so if you’ve got images you’re editing I’d recommend you finish and export them in LR3 before moving to LR4 and accept some of them will ‘shift’ and lighten.

The spotting is far faster – it tends to drag on the massive medium format scans in LR3, only slightly in LR4 as you click, then you can add another, speeding up the process no end. Also the gamut has been tweaked so highlights don’t blow so easily and it seems a softer curves at the higher end, leading to more pleasing skin in portrait shots.

Something strange when I first imported the catalog it took closing and reopening the program and some time before the previews showed (maybe they’re being ‘converted’ but there wasn’t an indicator for that, although it said it would), so if you get ‘no images found’ in Develop module try restarting the program, or opening up LR3, closing it down, then opening LR4, that seemed to do it.

I’ve also used the white balance temp/tint function on the mask brush – it’s great for when you have mixed lighting or the shift in colour due to being too close or too far away from the flash, noticed that bringing underexposed areas the colours tend to have a red bias (and too close a greenish tinge?) – this slider will help you balance the colours.

Check it out – here you can see the new PV 2012 image and to compare you can see the original JPG of the PV2010 version three posts below…it took more work to get ‘back’ to this state, but I do prefer it, the higher-range tones looks much more natural and less contrasty and highlights seem less likely to ‘blow’ – and better Clarity results although now needs to be more lightly applied :

Steve Medium Format (LR4 version) by Tim Baker

There also seemed to be far less obvious ‘noise’ (look at the black jacket, the white bits are on the image, less prominent in the LR4 version) and colour seemed less likely to go to vivid when you turned up the contrast – this was slightly annoying actually as I liked the more saturated look so I had to play with Vibrance and Saturation, but it’s good news if you have images like this which usually when you turn up the Exposure gain and contrast things used to get a little day-glo. Opposite seems to be true now, it seems to err on the other side of neutral.

And here you see the original scan – ugh indeed. That’s the magic of the tools in Lightroom and also a decent colour negative scanner (transparency might be a different story) you can get something out of a failed negative like this (what happened is I was trying to bounce light from behind, I now know I probably should have put a small flash in front, or put large reflectors closer – the balancing in this high key soft type shot, something that’s used a lot in fashion, is very hard.

Steve Medium Format unedited by Tim Baker

Not tried the other features in LR4 – import seems a LOT faster, though…but looking forward to reverse geoencoding using GPX Logger on my Android phone and using the new Map feature where you can sync a GPX file to a set of pictures so you can use any camera and don’t need an expensive device trailing a cable off your camera to tag the GPS location – yes that’s more accurate but it’s the hassle of having wires I don’t want…and this is free!