In this solo episode of the podcast I decided to ask listeners what they would like the topic to be this week. I gave them one hour to offer suggestions and then went through most of them.
How To Deal With Ugly Greens In Photos
First up as a suggested topic came from Breanna Miller who asked:
“I struggle a lot with editing greens in Lightroom. Is there a way about this that I’m missing? It’s typically an issue when I’m photographing a family in a park where the sun is hitting the grass at sunset so it’s an ugly shade of yellow and green. Is this a white balance issue?”
I can immediately think of three potential reasons for this challenge, though it could be none of them. Best would be to send me an example image of the problem with the green colors that you don’t like and I could offer better advice about what might be causing it and how to deal with it. Here are the three things I think could be an issue:
- White Balance. Just as Breanna suggested in her questions, this absolutely could be a challenge with white balance. There are two different color combinations that are affected by the white balance of the image. Most commonly photographers talk about the “temperature” of the photo where you have to trade-off between a blue tint to things (a “cooler” white balance) or a yellow tint (a “warmer” white balance).
However there is a second color balance that you choose with white balance. It is called tint and it is a balance between green and magenta. If your image is looking too green it could be that you need to move that tint slider for white balance adjustment to the right towards magenta.
- Camera Sensor. Camera sensors do not all handle color the same way. Rather than turning this episode into a big discussion on color science, suffice it to say that camera sensors can have a built in bias to oversaturate a color, and your camera might be doing this with green. Canon sensors are infamous for oversaturating reds to the point that I often use the HSL panel and move the saturation of red to -10 to recover some detail if there is red in the photo.
- Screen Calibration. The other thing that could be causing a challenge here is the lack of screen calibration. The screen you are using to edit your photos also has a white balance setting and if it isn’t calibrated that can make things look bad when they really aren’t.
Send me an image, preferably a raw version if you shoot raw, and I can offer better advice on what may be causing the “ugly” green and what I would do to address it.
Spinning Hard Drive Recommendation
Linda Maier asked me to cover this topic:
“What is your recommendation for 8TB hard drives? I want to get 8TB internal and two 8TB external for backup so I can keep all my photos together. I currently have a 2 TB internal (plus the smaller but faster ssd) and 2 external 4 TB. I have to keep deleting files on the 2 and the 4s are more than half full.”
Managing your photos so that you don’t keep them all around like a pack rat is a good idea, but being forced into deleting images because you are filling up hard drives is not a place you want to be. I have called this the first storage wall for photographers and I have given advice on my Photo Taco podcast in my ULTIMATE Guide to Backup For Photographers episode.
If you have been listening to the show you know that my advice is not to address this problem by buying more hard drives and splitting up your work across them. I think that quickly becomes a management nightmare where you don’t know where anything actually is. Instead, I think that when you hit that first storage wall you should go as long as you can by upgrading to larger drives. I think Linda has the right idea here to replace the smaller 2TB and 4TB drives with 8TB drives.
My recommendation is that there is not enough differentiation between the manufacturers of hard drives for that to be the way you choose. Even if your friend, neighbor, relative, or IT nerd has told you that they would never buy a Western Digital drive because they had some horrible experience.
EVERY drive will fail. They are all ticking time bombs. Anecdotal stories about someone’s bad experience with a hard drive brand is just a single data point and usually means they didn’t do a good job of backing up their data. Even if you have had a bad experience with a hard drive brand, my advice is to ignore all of that and buy the least expensive option that meets your needs.
In this case Linda wanted 2 external drives and one internal drive. For external then we need to look for 8TB USB 3.0 hard drives, and as of this episode the least expensive option that meets that need on Amazon is the Seagate Desktop 8TB External Hard Drive HDD – USB 3.0 for PC Laptop and Mac (STGY8000400) that runs you about $135. There is a WD drive that is very similar but $10 more, and there is no reason to pay the extra $10 between those two drives.
For internal, I recommend the same approach where I would look for a drive that is 7200RPM. As of this episode it looks like the best choice is the Seagate Exos 7E8 8TB Internal Hard Drive HDD – 3.5 Inch 6Gb/s 7200 RPM 256 MB Cache for Enterprise, Data Center – Frustration Free Packaging (ST8000NM0055) that runs about $190. The internal drive is more expensive because it is rated for enterprise usage, which means it has a little better build and a better warranty.
Scratched Lenses – How Can You Tell?
Andy Gatchell asked this:
“Scratched rear element. How can you tell? What do you do about it?”
Really good question. When I first started into photography I was extremely careful with my lenses. I paid a lot of hard-earned money for those lenses and I wanted them cared for like they are babies. Seriously, I babied them.
The lenses came with caps to cover the rear (the little bit of glass at the back side of the lens where it attaches to your camera) and front elements. I made sure that I put those caps on my lenses when I put them in my bags because I was so worried they would get scratched.
Over the years I have lost the caps and I haven’t worried about trying to replace them because I have also learned the glass on all lenses is really resilient. They can take quite a beating. I am guessing you are seeing that as well Andy, and that is why you are asking how you could tell if your lenses are scratched.
I haven’t used caps on my lenses for many years. Sure, there are some tiny little scratches on the lenses, but I have yet to see that negatively impact my images in any way. Sure, I am taking a little more risk without putting caps on my lenses, but that is a trade-off I am more than willing to make so that I can change my lenses more quickly and give me that few seconds more to get the shot.
Is the Create Photography Retreat For 2020 Canceled?
Richard Cheong asked:
“Is your Oct retreat in SC cancelled?”
If you haven’t ever heard of it, the Master Photography Podcast is affiliated with an annual conference called the Create Photography Retreat. It is a hands-on conference where hundreds of photographers get together for 3 days just to learn and grow together. It is held in a different location every year so that we can have different landscape photography options. It is a phenomenal experience I love.
As of this episode the latest information I have on the Retreat is that it will be held in South Carolina in October 2020 as had been planned well before COVID-19 struck. Some changes have to be made so that far fewer people could attend the conference, but the plan as of now is that it will be held.
Unfortunately, I am not going to be part of the Retreat in 2020. My personal circumstances with my family mean it won’t work for me to participate, which saddens me immensely. I really do love getting together with listeners of the show and other photographers who all just want to learn and grow together. It is one of the things I most look forward to every year.
Select Subject In Photoshop Greatly Improved
Nelson Charette suggested this as a topic:
“The Select subject feature seems to work better in Photoshop, and Lightroom does seem faster after the update. Since the pandemic, are people starting to get out and shoot again? Thats all for now thanks”
I totally agree with you Nelson that the most current version of Photoshop has an updated select subject feature that produces significantly better results than it did in previous versions. I have recently taken on a new photo project where I needed to cut models from a background to do a composite and when I used the “Remove Background” button on the image I was amazed at the job it did.
It wasn’t a perfect masking for the layer that got created, I still had to do a little touch-up, but it was really close. Really exciting to see Adobe working so hard on making their products smarter and helping us out with some of the more difficult tasks we have to work on.
All that said, I still haven’t given the most recent versions of Photoshop or Lightroom my Photo Taco Seal of Approval. There are still too many who have had problems with the software for me to say it is clear for general use by photographers who absolutely rely on bug-free versions of the software for their business.
Moving Lightroom Classic Catalog From One Drive To Another
Aaron Carr wanted me to cover this:
“Moving lightroom cc photo catalog onto a SSD from the HD on a mac”
I happen to have a pretty good resource on this topic over at my Photo Taco Podcast site called How To Move A Lightroom Catalog To an SSD. You should check that out and let me know if you have any questions.
Most Fun With Photography
Finally, Josh Peterson suggested I cover this:
“What’s the most fun you’ve had doing photography related stuff?”
Such a great question from Josh and something I spent a lot of time on in the episode. This is a tough question for me to answer because I enjoy nearly everything I have ever done with photography. I do photography as a hobby. It is my escape, and we all know we can use those escapes right now.
I love to get outdoors and hike and shoot landscapes. I love working with families and seniors to create memories that will last a lifetime for them. I love stretching my skills with something like macro photography that is really challenging but so much fun. I love astro photography. I tend to just have fun any time I can spend making pictures.
Right now, with my current stage of life, I probably don’t get to spend enough time on photography to have days or shoots where I don’t have a lot of fun. I have a demanding day job as an IT professional. I have two teenage kids at home who are super involved and it is so important to me that I support them. I am really active in my church. All of this means I don’t have a lot of time to spend on photography and it makes me just love it whenever I do have that opportunity.
It is probably a better question for me then of what is something in photography I have tried and DID NOT enjoy. One of those does come to mind. It is a genre of photography I was not very good at and I didn’t really enjoy doing – newborn photography.
Hats off to all you newborn photographers out there because I can’t do that. You end up shooting in tiny little spaces and to keep the infant comfortable you really have to crank up the heat. I hate the heat. Even though I love to get outdoors and be active, I really don’t like it much during the summers here in Utah where the temperature gets over 100 degrees. Sure, it is a dry heat, but anything over 85 is uncomfortable to me.
The other thing I haven’t liked as much are those shoots where I come away with nothing. I am far enough down the path towards mastering the art of photography it doesn’t happen as much these days, but those shoots where I come home and can’t find a single image that I am happy with can get really frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, they still happen to me today, just less frequently, and when they come they are a little discouraging.
Best thing to deal with that is to get right back on that horse as fast as I can and turn that failed shoot into a learning experience. Look at it like I learned something not to do and trying to make sure I don’t repeat the mistakes I made.
Yep, I pretty much love nearly everything I do with photography. Everything except newborns. Photography is my retirement plan. Someday when I can retire from my day job I look forward to the time I can spend doing photography. More for me than anything else. Not trying to make a full-time income with photography, I really like it as a passionate hobby. Just a time where I can do whatever photography I want and have fun with it more often that I do today.