Plotagraph Pro

I have not uploaded an animated photo from Plotagraph Pro in a while, so I thought I share one with you. And since my favorite recent photo is this on of the Eiffel tower, I chosen this one.

And to show that this animation was not that easy, I’m including a screenshot of Plotagraph Pro, to show you how many points it took to animate this.

If you want to know more about how to create animated photos like this, check out my tutorial on how to do it here.

The beacon of light over Paris – Plotagraph

And here is the result. It is not completely perfect, as some areas don’t behave exactly as I would like them to, but it’s close :)

I’m sorry that the video is a bit big, but my current blog style stretches it to full width. I will have to tweak it a bit.

(if you are on a mobile or use an older web browser, you may only see a static image)

Download a copy of Nik plug-ins now!

As I predicted, Google updated the Nik plugins page with an update stating that they do not plan to support the Nik plug-ins more or work on any updates. I’m not happy about this, but I was sure this would happen the day Google bought Nik software.

So why I say you should download a copy of the plug-ins right now? The reason is, that this follows exactly the steps Google did with Picasa. Bought it, stop development, announce the stop, remove the software completely. If you go now to the Picasa web site, you will not find a download link anymore. It is still available from download sites, but I would avoid those. So I presume, it will be the same for Nik plug-ins and sooner or later, they will disappear completely. One should always have a backup.

Not that you will be able to use them in-definitively, as again, sooner or later a Photoshop update will break their compatibility, but for now, they still work.

Right now, you can still download them all for free here.

The Shadow in Normandy

This is one of the photos where I’m not sure about composition. I’m torn between don’t liking the centered horizon and liking the contrast between the two parts of the photo. I spend quite a while trying to re-crop it differently, but I did not find a version that I would like more than the original one.

This is a two shot vertorama, taken at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Normandy, France. Edited in Lightroom and Photoshop.

This will be a bit of an update post, so here goes :)

Photo walk in Vienna

It turned out that I’m at home this weekend, so I will be joining Trey Ratcliffs photo walk in Vienna tomorrow. So if any of you who are reading this are there, feel free to say hi :)

For more info on the photo walk, please check here.

Upgrade to my work PC

With all the big photos, bigger raws and a big quantity of photos I need to edit, it was the time to update my main work PC. The 4 years old HP ENVY that sat until recently on my desk was great for long time, but just can’t keep up anymore (the 16gb ram and the GTX 660 are just not enough).

So after a bit of looking around, I decided to go with the Dell XPS 8910. I used to build PCs for myself in the past, but after ending my university study, I stopped. Over the years, I just found out, that I don’t upgrade the PC once I buy them, and I end up replacing them every 4-5 years anyway. I just set them up how I wanted them at the start, and thats it.

What are the specs of the one I got? It’s a i7 (6700, as they did not offer a 7700 processor, but the differences I seen in tests are negligible), 16 gb ram that I immediately expanded to 32gb (and will change soon to 64gb), a GeForce GTX 1080 with 8GB of memory, a 512 gb ssd system drive and a 2tb normal HDD (that will be also replaced by a ssd soon).

My goal, is to have no HDDs in the PC at all, and move all the data storage outside into a NAS. Like this they are accessible anytime from anywhere I am.

Also probably don’t really need the 1080 graphic card. I just dont play many games on my PC anymore. I have a Xbox One and also a PS4, and since both can be suspended anytime I play a game, they are much better for short sessions than having to load up a game on PC every-time I have a bit of time. Still, it may be useful to accelerate some functions in Photoshop.

This PC even has a Blu-ray drive, which I will probably never use, and a USB-C port, for which I see the same fate. I seen so many people claiming that USB-C is the future, and for me its just the last variation on a dying idea. I think, wireless and cloud are the future, not a port. The connection speeds go up every year, and the prices go down. Like this, having a cable to connect anything will just become obsolete.

I have been using this PC for few days now, and yes, things are faster. But I’m sad to say, Lightroom is still slow. It’s much faster than it was before, but it still far away from what it once was. It stutters too often for the work to be enjoyable. Btw. it does not stutter when loading files, it happens when editing. When I for instance choose to crop, or add a gradient overlay, the whole program stops for few seconds, before proceeding. And the PC is doing nothing in that time, so many free resources. Will probably start looking for a replacement once I have more time.

Back to Windows phone

So I have even more changes, I also change the phone I use right now. I switched from the S7 Edge, back to a windows mobile phone, the Lumia 950XL. You may wonder why I left the S7 and why I went back to a windows phone, so here is why.

The S7 edge is a great phone. Android on the other side, is not. And it became almost unusable after the Nougat update. The phone became very slow, things that were instant would take seconds now, the camera would not react sometime and worse of all, the power button would open the turn off screen instead of locking the phone (randomly that is, sometimes it would not do nothing). I went through this before with a Nexus tablet. Each update would just break something, with no real benefit. And of course you have to update, as sooner or later it’s required.

Before, I had a Lumia 1520. That was my favorite phone I ever had. To bad that after 2 years the headphone jack broke, and during the warranty repair, they replaced it with a Lumia 930. Still a great phone, but without an SD card slot and with a smaller screen, it was not what I wanted.

So now I’m back with the 950XL. It’s faster, with better camera, and was much cheaper :). It’s sad that windows mobile is not that popular anymore, as it still is the best looking UI on phone (in my opinion) and it provides the most consistent experience. If you wonder about the lacking apps, when I migrated, I found one, that was not available. It was Amazon Drive, and I can get what I need even through browser, so no big deal.

Windows phone is probably not for everyone, but for me its fine. I like to set up the phone how I like it in the first few weeks, and then I very rarely install anything afterwards. I don’t play games on my phone, I don’t install every new app, I’t mostly for work stuff anyway. Let’s hope it works better over time than Android :)

And since I did not mention the iPhone. The last time I tried one was the Iphone 6, and I somehow managed to use it for a month. And I can only say, I hated it :)

Sparkling Eiffel tower in the evening

And so this post is not just about updates, here is one evening shot of the Eiffel tower, right as it was sparking. If you don’t know, in the evening the tower sparkles every full hour, and it does so for about 5 minutes.

This is a blend of two exposures, edited in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Sparkling Eiffel tower in the evening

Destination Switzerland

And it’s time to leave for another work trip again. This time I will be somewhere between Switzerland, Germany and maybe even France. So while I will be running around taking photos, there will be no updates here. But I will be back in a week or so. Can’t really tell yet :)

Night lights in the city

It’s funny to look at my older night photos. I tended to brighten all the dark areas so much, that it did not even look like a night photo. For some reason I was afraid to leave a black area in a photo. It probably because of the tendency of exposing everything for HDR. After some time I understood that photos can have dark and bright areas and it even helps them, to look better. Not everything has to be perfectly exposed all the time.

This photo is a blend of 4 exposures, one for the base, two to darken the strong lights on the bridge, one to brighten the overall photo a bit.

Night lights in the city

Surface Laptop

As you may know, I am quite a big fan of Surface products and own a Surface Pro 4. And today Microsoft announced a new laptop in the Surface line. It looks pretty nice, but actually the only thing I would like, is a Surface Pro in that beautiful blue color :). Still, it’s worth a look (official site here), as it show the way a lot of PC will go in the future.

Now if they would just start selling the Surface Dial and Surface Ergonomic keyboard in Europe, so I can finally get them.

The beacon of light over Paris

I did not want to share another Eiffel tower photo with you again, but I just had to share this one right away. As probably everyone, I always try to search for a different view of familiar subjects and this is something I have not seen before (maybe somebody did it before, I have not seen every photo of the Eiffel tower ever done :)). I planed to do this shot for a while, but I had to go back to Paris first.

In the end I had only one try, so I’m not completely happy with the composition here. I will have to redo the shot, with a bit wider composition to get more of the surroundings. Still, I think it makes for an interesting photo :)

This photo is put together from 14 exposures. I used three for the base of the photo and then additional 11 for the lights (I captured 40 in total). I took the base ones at a low ISO, to get a nice noise free base to work with. Then I bumped the ISO up until I got a fast enough exposure. I used the interferometer to take a shot every two seconds, for about two-three times the light went around the tower. In the end I blended them together as I would blend together star trails.

The beacon of light over Paris, Eiffel tower
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