Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mens Agitat Molem

This was Sunday's sunset at the Oregon coast.

This particular shot was on the digital, with no filters or any other through-the-lens trickery. I did monkey around with the in-camera color settings (a bit) and did a little light processing with Aperture, but nothing obscene.

Wait until my film comes back and we'll see how it compares!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Apple's Aperture 3

I've started using Apple's Aperture 3 as my primary photo management tool and I've been having some rather considerable trouble making my workflow work with Aperture's unique workflow. The program itself is easy - simple, actually - to navigate around in. The controls are nice, well laid-out and don't require advanced skills to make them work. And, because Aperture's editing never touches the actual digital file itself (all of the editing is non-destructive) it has encouraged me to experiment. All of which is great. Except, not unlike iTunes, Apple has a very Apple-centric way to manage your Aperture photo database.

The first thing I had to realize is that Aperture is the equivalent of a photographic darkroom. You bring your "negatives" into the darkroom, you select the good ones, you "develop" them and then you display (or "export," in Aperture terms) the ones you want to display. Aperture is NOT the primary place you view all of your photos. Instead, it is your photographic workspace. Now that I've figured out that difference (and adapted my workflow), I'll describe how I use Aperture.

Let me warn anyone reading - up front - that what I'm doing takes a TON of disk space. In fact, I'm using two separate hard drive set ups. One for the Aperture library and the second for the "exported" final products. The first drive is a 2TB LaCie drive connected directly to the iMac. This is where I store the Aperture master library and is the primary repository for every single photograph I take in any given day/month/year - and I mean everything. The second drive is actually not a drive, but an HP Home Server, with 8TB of redundant storage. Keep in mind, that I have somewhere between 150 and 200 THOUSAND pictures, all of which are automatically duplicated on at least two different physical drives within the server.

Anyways. When I go shooting for a day, I come home and slide the CF card into the slot and Aperture opens and I "Import" everything on the card. These shots then reside in the Aperture main Library (the LaCie 2TB drive). From there, I weed out the obviously "bad" shots: duplicates, out-of-focus, wrong subject, accidental exposures...whatever. With the remaining shots, I will use Aperture's Highlight tool and the Shadow tool to perform a blunt correction tool to the remaining shots. Then, I look at everything in "Full Screen" mode and determine which shots need further work. Once that is complete, I will "Export" the finished product from the Aperture main library to the main photo library sitting over on the Home Server.

I'm still working through the quirks of the Aperture system, but this little initial piece took me about a month to bring to a conclusion, so I thought I'd share it.

UPDATE: NIX ALL THAT. I've now solved the Aperture import issues, in a MUCH friendlier way. More later....