Lightroom CC Crash

Seems the delightful people at Adobe have done it again.lightroom6-635x403

Chat boards across the Internet are flaming Adobe’s Lightroom CC as it cheerfully crashes a few seconds after loading.

To say folks are frustrated would be a gross understatement. They’re pissed! And I don’t blame them.

I tried all the suggested fixes this morning but the one that worked for me was to deinstall Lightroom CC and restart my computer. Then I reinstalled Lightroom and went into the preference file and check off the Preferences – Performance – Use Graphics Processor box and so far – fingers crossed – Lightroom seems to have stabilized again.

Who Is Nancy Falconi and Why Do People Pay For Her Photos?

Nancy Falconi shot a photo of her kids that collectively made her around $20,000! She shot an olive branch while in Europe that netted her $10,000.2848650_300x300

Her photography is simple, unaffected and one might say even amateurish to a point. It’s certainly not technical or overly manipulated.

Of course that’s me saying that. The editors of Parent’s Magazine and Yoga Journal and many others found her work perfect for their publications.

Nancy Falconi was the guest speaker at the Oakville Camera Club last night and I found her photographic journey fascinating.

As many of you know I was a photojournalist and a newspaper and magazine editor and writer. I’ve taught photography to thousands of students now and I was a photo editor as well.

I’ve helped new photographers create their portfolios (Keep it to 20 shots or less on the same subject. Your portfolio only gets you an interview or a tentative trial assignment. Don’t work for nothing but it doesn’t hurt to accept a photo credit or two in a local magazine or community newspaper to get you started. Not everyone agrees with this suggestion.)

Nancy Falconi’s work would never had been published in any of my publications!

Do not misunderstand me: There’s nothing wrong with Falconi’s work. In fact, there’s much that’s very right about it. But it’s the direction of Falconi’s journey into photography that’s instructional here.

A mainly self-taught photographer like myself, Falconi transitioned from the dreary 220px-Sally_Manncorporate world by shooting the things she loved around her home. Like the amazing Sally Mann, the great American photographer (who was called in 2001 by Time Magazine America’s Best Photographer) Falconi shot her children and the things around her home.

As she told the camera club, a carefully crafted portfolio of made-up model photos sent to art directors and followed up by mass email campaigns netted her nothing but her shots of the kids caught the eye of a New York City portfolio consultant and the rest is history.

So why would Falcon’s work would never have been published by me? It’s because I was buying images that suited my publications. We didn’t use images of kids but it was the images of her children that (again much like Sally Mann) opened the doors to being published elsewhere.

One of the lessons here is not to quit. Don’t let other’s opinions suppress your own. Keep shooting. It’s not the equipment. It’s the vision. It’s the heart. It’s the photographer.

This was instructional:

A question about what to shoot that came from an audience member prompted Falconi to ask the audience member what was she passionate about? The answer, eventually, was portraits. And Falconi’s suggestion to start shooting portraits (I’m paraphrasing here.) was rebuffed by the comment that the shooter didn’t know if there was market for her images.

This is the old what came first argument: the chicken or the egg dilemma!

Falcon’s point is shoot what you love and the art directors will follow :) or something like that.

I was thinking if I was that young woman and I really, really wanted to be a professional photographer I’d drag my camera to the club meetings which are held in a massive windowless, black-draped, dim presentation hall perfect for shooting portraits of 100-plus club members.

I’d bring a stool and with one light aimed into a softbox and I’d plead for volunteers to pose before my lens at every opportunity. I’d keep this up until either the club banned me from attending or I learned how to shoot amazing portraits of ordinary people.

All in all, it was a very instructional night at the Oakville Camera Club.

Zombie Walk Is Dead

Peter West Photo-1-31-LSad news today with the announcement that the 2015 Zombie Walk in Toronto has been cancelled.2010 To. Zombie Walk (1 of 1)-5

Killed off by rising costs, lack of sponsorship and little support from the dead, the organizers have decided they just can’t keep digging the same old dirt.

_DSC4622bThis was one of the great photography events of the year in Toronto. Coming every October, the Toronto Zombie Walk could see well over 10,000 zombies taking a stroll around city streets.

It’s a great shame to see it fade into ashes but to all things there is a season – dust to dust and ashes to ashes.2010 To. Zombie Walk (1 of 1)-3

I’m going to miss it.Peter West Photo-1-181-L

Photos from previous years are available at Peter West Photography and my Flickr site.

All the photos are available for free download for any non-commercial purpose.

May our spirits meet again. RIP Toronto Zombie Walk.

The Olympus OM-D-E-M5-II

Oh wow. The OM-D-E-M5-II by Olympus is an amazing camera :)

It’s a little tiny in my hands so I’ve ordered the accessory battery pac and grip but having said that it’s an amazingly accomplished camera especially with the equally amazing 12-40mm F/2.8 professional-level lens.E-M5MarkII_BLK_right_top_M1240_BLK

If you’re considering buying a the M5-Mark II you might not want to watch some of the online videos from new buyers.

As a long-time Olympus digital camera owner I’m pretty happy with the camera system including the menus. Some other shooters find the menu system a huge frustration. It’s not. It could be improved but once you get used to how Olympus does things this is a pretty nice camera and a pretty nice system.

Now having said that it took me half an hour to get the wireless transfer system working between the camera and my IPhone and I’m not sure yet that I’ve got it working perfectly.

The funny thing is I’ve always bought my cameras by how they felt in my hands. My SONY DSCoriginal first “real” camera was a Pentax Spotmatic with screw-in lenses and the old workhorse was used almost daily and didn’t owe me a dime by the time I sold it. It was a delight to use.

All the Nikons I’ve bought over the years have always felt right and I can’t recommend them enough and, like I said, if I was shooting professionally and needed a couple of robust full-frame cameras I’d buy Nikons in a heartbeat.

But the Nikon days are gone and there’s a new camera in town. I’ll be spending the next few days with the camera in one hand and the manual in the other.

End Of The Nikon Era

I’ve been shooting with Nikons since the mid-70s when I owned a Nilkkormat.

I’ve owned Nikon F2s, FMs, FEs and most recently a D-90 and D-300 but as of last night, I’ve left the Nikon camp maybe forever!

Why you might ask?289068037_0f29592114

I’m not using the Nikons much anymore. For professional work, they are ideal but I don’t shoot much professionally anymore. A lot of what I shoot is either just for myself on vacation or for my various clubs and hobby groups.

So I don’t need the raw fire power of the Nikons anymore and, if there was a need to shoot pro-level work I’d buy a Nikon full-frame and a couple of lenses right away.

Some years ago after humping the Nikons and lenses through Brazil, when we got home I immediately went out an bought an Olympus EPL-2 with the kit lens and I was blown away with the image quality coming out of such a small (light!) camera.olympus-PEN-E-PL5-16

I chanced upon a sale of EPL-1 bodies for around $200 so I grabbed one.

Then I started to load up on lenses with the cheap but excellent 40 to 150 (80mm-300 mm – 35mm equivalent); the more expensive but equally excellent 9 to 18 suppressed zoom (18-36 mm); 17mm 2.8 (34mm); 12mm f/2 (24mm); and 45mm f/1.8 (90mm).

Finally I grabbed an EPL-5 which had as least the same image quality as my Nikon D-300 at a huge reduction in weight.

Images coming out of the Olympus cameras are insanely good in RAW or JPG formats.

So with a very large bundle of cash in hand thanks to the sale of the Nikons, I’m off this morning to look at the new Olympus OM-D 5 Mark II with the battery grip and maybe another lens.

Ontario Landscape Photography

Another great night at the Oakville Camera Club with over 100 people in attendance for Andrew McLachlan’s excellent slide show on shooting Ontario Landscapes.katherine-cove_3257

Andrew is a wonderful landscape photographer (That’s one of his shots on right.) who has travelled across Ontario to capture the wild beauty of this province.

And while a trip into the far north of the province is definitely an adventure, Andrew showed us there’s lots to shoot right here in our own backyard.

Andrew uses lots of filters and special effects and his images really pop.

His blog site has got lots of good information for anyone interested in shooting landscapes and he says he’s organizing some photo workshops so you might want to email him for details.

ontario-landscape-cover1Andrew was also selling an E-book “A Photographer’s Guide To The Ontario Landscape” which I bought a copy and can recommend for anyone wanting information about where and how to shoot landscapes in Ontario.

Again another great evening of photography at the Oakville Camera Club.

Soften Flash Shots

Cover your pop-up flash with a tissue for softer looking portraits.

This was one of the 101 Tips I offered at Toronto’s PodCamp 2015 in my photography workshop.PB180162

If you’re shooting with a point-and-shoot camera or most DSLRs (the big cameras) on automatic, the camera’s flash unit will popup and fire if there’s not enough light to produce a property exposed image.

The problem with this automatic pop-up flash mode is often the camera gets the exposure wrong and the pop-up flash just overexposes the photo (which is often a portrait thus washing out the face producing a pretty ugly image).

One of the easiest ways to modify your pop-up flash is to drape a layer of translucent tissue paper over the flash head. Add extra layers as necessary to reduce the amount of light hitting your subject. (BTW the photo above was taken at Jennifer Rozenbaum’s Boudoir Workshop which is returning to Toronto April 25. Check the Henry’s website for details. Highly recommended.)

If you’re in a room with a ceiling at normal high above you and if the ceiling is painted white or a light cream colour you can hold a blank piece of paper at an angle in front of the flash forcing the light to bounce up to the ceiling where it will bounce back down again gently illuminating your subject.

Experiment with modifying the light from your popup flash for much softer and lovelier images.