Dec 13

On my way to a portfolio site – thanks to Adobe!

Now, this is unusual. If you follow this blog, you might know I am not the biggest fan of the Adobe product policy, and had chosen Photo Mechanic over Lightroom three and a half years ago, and did not regret that decision. Though I found myself liking the Lightroom Development module (even if largely similar to Camera Raw), but not at all the Library Module.

The guys over at Camera Bits, producers of Photo Mechanic, had announced a product called Photo Mechanic Catalog, for release in 2013, but guys, it’s nearly Xmas!

For my recent trip to Svalbard a good friend lent me a Nikon D600 so I had a spare body to my D300, and without realizing it that sent me right into the Adobe update spiral. I had blogged about the tricks the Adobe product managers use to make us upgrade and spend lots of money on product features we actually do not need earlier, and my post about how to use the newest Camera Raw with old Photoshops is actually quite well visited… and now I ended in the same trap again with the images from the D600. While Photo Mechanic was doing great (because I always take RAW and JPG it could work as quickly as you can think with the JPGs), I wanted to work on many images from the trip, and there the multi-edit functions from Lightroom clearly surpass the idea to use Camera Raw for all of the required adjustments.

So I needed to upgrade – shit! The Lightroom 5 update being only ca 80€ I thought it to be actually feasible, but then by chance I stumbled – one day before it expired on Dec 8 – on the offer by Adobe for the photographer’s edition of the Creative Cloud – Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5 with a monthly fee of about 12€ (yep, thats $16.50). Ok, sigh, I did it.

Two pluses for Adobe by me:

  1. You finally can get the English version also in Germany! Which is what I always wanted, because if you try to use tutorials you find in the Internet, you do *not* want to have to translate the layer blend function names by yourself – won’t work anyway. And as a bonus, the English-only subscription is even cheaper than the I18N version!
  2. They include a free Behance pro-site. Now I had wanted to make a new portfolio site for my images (remember this is a blog) for a while now, and so I finally got around to start creating my portfolio site!

You can find my brand new Behance portfolio at http://www.behance.net/lucide.

My favorite image from the first series on Behance above – Arctic Waters.


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Sep 13

On my way to Svalbard – notes of a part-time blogger

Well, it has been awhile again since the last post – and I have, as many of us infrequent bloggers probably have, wondered again whether to continue blogging for the few readers I reach, or whether to stop as the world has been taken over by… well, not so sure by whom. Certainly not Twitter, as it does not provide the in-depth information you would expect from a blog post, and neither Google+ nor Facebook, because you actually wouldn’t find anything there via a search engine.

From my point of view, there is still no substitute for the Blogosphere – the amount of useful information and nice discussions (yes, please comment!) provided by volunteers, on their own cost, is absolutely astonishing. And my favorite search engine is always ready to provide me a very quick route to the information I am looking for.

That is probably the largest change – apart from the most prominent blogs, nobody is following tiny blogs like mine. The 70% traffic share is coming from search engines, and another 15% of website links of forums and other blogs where somebody had found useful information and posted a link to alpenglow.info. So 85% of the visitors will not come again, because the next search will lead them elsewhere…

This kind of kills the community idea, but for the reader – who effectively becomes a “user” of a blog – it certainly is the most convenient way. And in a way, it also puts less pressure on the blogger, as there is no need to provide a continuous stream of useful information keeping readers interested (I read somewhere you need a post a week in order to maintain the interest. I never figured out how to get anybody to subscribe in the first place). The search engine will bring the readers anyway.

Oh, and on a side note – I am sitting in an airport hotel in Oslo on my way to Svalbard – one of nature photographer’s all time dream destinations. Stopping blogging has nothing to do with stopping photographing :-)

Feb 13

2012 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Uff, I just made it to the exhibition of the best wildlife photos of the world of 2012 – you can see it in the National History Museum in London, or actually for me more conveniently located in the Museum Mensch und Natur right here in Munich in the Nymphenburg Palace (or online here). Every year I really make sure not to miss this exhibition of the state of the art of wildlife photography!

I love this image from Richard Peters (UK), currently ranking highest in the visitor ranking over at their web site:

Seeing all these images and at the same time thinking about future travel plans, I remembered that slightly more than 2 years ago I made a statistical analysis of where the photographers came from, and more importantly, where the winning images were taken. You can find my old post right here.

Renewing the statistics with the winning images from 2012, the picture changed slightly: If we have a quick count of the home countries of the winning photographers, and summarize to continents or rather “areas”, we still have a certainly strong European flavor in this competition (but welcome to our Russian and Asian friends!):

Area 2010 2012
Europe 51 42
North America 17 18
South Africa 8 6
Russia 0 3
SE Asia 0 2
Israel 2 1
Brazil 1 1
Australia 4 0
India 2 0

But, again, where the photographers are from is not as relevant for our discussion as where the images were actually made. So, drilling down on the area the winning photos were made in, no surprise Africa comes up first *again*, but actually North America caught up.

Area 2010 2012
Africa 12 13
North America 8 13
Antarctica 2 6
Scandinavia 8 6
Southern Europe 11 6
Eastern Europe - 4
Arctic - 3
Central Europe 8 3
SE Asia 4 3
UK 6 3
Iceland 0 2
India 5 2
Japan 0 2
Middle America 8 2
South America 7 2
Australia 3 1
Russia 0 1
Israel 2 0
Indian Ocean 2 0

Ok, never trust a statistical analysis you didn’t fake yourself – of course, looking at the area covered we probably should not subdivide Europe into 4 areas as I did – actually, European wildlife and landscapes scores first on the per continent analysis:

Continent 2010 2012
Europe 33 23
The Americas 23 17
Africa 12 13
Asia 9 7
Antarctica 2 6
Arctic - 3
Middle East 2 2
Australia 3 1
Oceanic 2 0

Even if the overall order stayed the same in the top position, there is a strong trend towards photos from the arctic regions of the planet. We could speculate if this is still attributed to the climate change message we cannot hear enough of, as we really need to change our attitude as humankind towards the planet. But my first reaction to the exhibition still was:

Too many polar bears!

I think we need to find new ways on how to convey the scope of the climate change problem to the audience. Just showing images of polar bears on melting ice doesn’t cut it anymore.

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