21. november 2013

Solution to Google+ messing with your photos

I want to inform about a problem that was annoying the hell out of me for a while, and that affects everyone creating entries on Blogspot, uploads photos to Picasa and/or use Google+.

Thankfully, I finally found a solution.

Problem description: 

A few weeks back, I was about to publish a new blog-entry about digital infrared photography, along with a little selection of photos.

After I had made the initial draft, I uploaded the photos to my blog and did a preview.
All the photos on blogger had the wrong color, strange color cast or had f*cked up contrast!
In addition, the photos also had pixelation-effects in gradient-tones (like a sky, which goes from dark to light), creating a ugly bloddy mess of my shots!

I literally HATE auto ANYTNING, that does some FUBAR "Best guess" alteration of the photos I've created. The shots I post, is supposed to look like they do, bloddy useless G+ invention!

Even linking my shots from my flickr page messed things up, as soon as I inserted the option to show "large" versions of the shots on the blog.
- Blogger then, probably, makes it's own cached version of some processed version of the photos.

It can be hard to pinpoint if the problem was with blogger, picasa or google+, as these services are intertwined and shared these days.
At the time, Google didn't really came up with any solutions....so I halted the blogposts for a while and decided to wait.

Google+ "optimized" hack
Original, as it was meant to appear

Google+ "optimized" hack
Original, as it was meant to appear

On the last blog-entry, the Mermaid-shoot last week, I saw that the photos got altered and messed with, just as with the infrared photos. So I googled harder, and found this thread.

During the discussion, a final solution to problems with photo-quality, uploaded to blogger, was presented.

The reason photos gets ruined when you upload them to blogger these days, is the Google+ auto-enhancing feature. This service was launched a few weeks back and is ON by default for EVERYONE.

The fix is to shut it bloddy off, and you do it the following way:

- Go to your Google+ homepage (you may not be there very often, but try to find your way there, the  "+" and a <name> link and can be seen on the top-bar on Gmail, for example).
- Click on the left menu on your G+ profile page saying "home", so that it expands.
- Select "Settings".
- Scroll down to the section on the new page, called "Photos"
- Select "Off" under "Auto Enhance"

See below
If Google+ has managed to f*ck up a lot of your photos already, you can click the "Learn more" link, to remove the "Enhancements" on whole albums, here is the help dialog on how to do that:

Snap, crackle and pop!
...and that's it for this blog-entry ^^

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blogspot blogger google+ Auto enhancing photos suck Donkey Kong's hairy nuts :)

19. november 2013

The Mermaid

In mid July, I went to Hvaler to shoot and stumbled over a genuine mermaid, resting on the rocks.

Seriously....! Look!

Model: Lene W
Canon 5d mk III
Canon 24-105 F4 L
Circular polarizer

Kidding aside; I went to Hvaler with Lene W, to have a mermaid-themed shoot, as she had a 32 pound(!) mermaid-tail in her possession. I got to know her trough our workshops at studio B-17 earlier in the summer. This shoot, was a fun-shoot we did outside of the workshops.

Hvaler is a good drive from Oslo, but time was good, as I wanted to shoot at around sunset and in the summer, the sunset is very late in the evenings. I knew the lower light-levels would help me get some moody blurring of the moving water around the model.

The weather was "ok"; Overcast, a little windy, but not particularly cold. The water was also warm enough, so I was able to wade out and shoot quite comfortably, while being up to my thighs in sea-water.

- Naturally I was pretty paranoid about my equipment, moving slowly and taking great care not to slip and fall.

Model: Lene W
Canon 5d mk III
Canon 24-105 F4 L
Circular polarizer
I found out that my speed-lights were greatly underpowered in these conditions too; I planned the shoot like I would shoot my typical land/sea-scape photos, meaning that I used a small aperture (f16) low ISO (50-100), a polarizing filter (which takes away 2 stops alone) and a remote trigger for the camera.

The speed-lights were placed on dry land, a few meters away from the model, and was meant to accentuate her mostly from the side, simulating a low, under-the-clouds horizon-sun.

Alas though, the speed-lights, even on full setting, almost didn't make any impact on the shots at all. :)

Still, it was enough to create some shaping under the very diffused light in the general scene.

- I have since bought the Vagabond mini battery pack from Paul C Buff, which will enable me to use my Alien Bees on location instead, they would have been more than enough in a situation like this.

Model: Lene W
Canon 5d mk III
Canon 24-105 F4 L
Circular polarizer

This was a challenge for me as well as the model. The greatest challenge for the model, was that she had to keep totally still for 2-6 seconds, depending on the fading light. I really wanted the blurring from the moving water in the shots, without it, I think the shots would have had much less impact and mystique.

This may have been a bit difficult for the model though, so we didn't get all that many keepers in the end, unfortunately. No wonder, sitting almost naked on a small rock while the wind did it's magic, isn't exactly a comfortable situation.  ^^

However, the shots that were good technically, were also very nice overall imo.
So all in all, we ended up with a few good shots and some that were acceptable regarding technical quality.

Great experience, I would really like to experiment more, using this concept next summer.
- Finding a model, willing to freeze her butt off, can be a challenge though :)

In other news; I am currently looking for a new apartment in Oslo, planning to have a new place before Christmas. In that respect, studio-shoots will be halted until further notice, hopefully I will find a place which allow me to shoot at home, like I do now. (but you never know!).

Crossing fingers :)

Regards ^^