Monthly Archives: November 2016
Good Morning Durban!
To all those Durban folk… please don’t forget the opening night of my first exhibition.
It’s this week in three days time!
Venue: Side Bar – next to Spiga ‘d Oro, 200 Florida Rd Morningside
Time / date: 18:00 Thursday 01 Dec 2016
Dress: how you like
There is so much else going on there that evening so why not come along. Grab a fresh filter coffee (or glass of vino) and steak roll (or specialty pasta / pizza) from Spiga and zone out of the busy week.
About the Moon
I woke up early on Wednesday morning, 16 November, not wanting to miss the super moon that lots have been writing about.
I can’t say it looked any bigger but it did seem to have a brighter ring around it.
After that I admired our overgrown but homely garden, the four bats flying around feasting on flying insects, the dogs venturing out for early morning business, the birds chirping in the first light, the smell of fresh coffee coming from the kitchen; it was never going to be all about the moon…
Believe in yourself
I went to the Canon Roadshow in Durban on Saturday gone and each of the speakers spoke to at least one of my internal “feeders / triggers”.
Powerful thought provoking stuff!
Earlier today I viewed a Facebook post for a short while about someone whinging about what they believe others should not be doing (which I highly suspect they are not capable of doing themselves).
If you believe this negativity (limiting tunnel-vision nonsense) you might as well dig a hole and stay in it forever!
The upshot is that ALL of this motivated me to go and play on my 30″ monitor for a few hours to try and create some magic.
Like my good mate Jason says: “Don’t forget to remember”: – Don’t limit yourself by the whining of others, go out and get what you want; believe in yourself even if others don’t!
Canon G3X, 4 sec. F11, ISO 125 for the base image shot RAW on tripod. Composite to enhance the sky & other PP.
Hello Durban – First Thursdays
I received the official poster yesterday from First Thursdays Durban.
My first ever photo exhibition prompted by Marco of Spiga Florida Road.
Bongani Mtolo of ECR Newswatch (ECR) will be doing a live broadcast and some great tunes look to be lined up for inside Sidebar next to SPIGA Durban.
A wonderful Durban evening not to be missed!
An Update is coming – Raya Pro 2.0 plugin for Photoshop
It was in July 2015 that I did my “virgin” run at luminosity masks (LM) using the Raya Pro Panel (test version) by Jimmy Mcintyre. It was due to be released in less than 11 hours.
I had tried LM’s once before via another platform but couldn’t fathom it. However, I was able fairly easily understand Jimmy’s video and use the Raya Pro panel (LM masks feature) quite easily.
I got my varying selections as needed, the ants were marching as asked and I painted in shadows / highlights with ease – in most cases just the push of a button – no big technical stuff.
But that took a little bit of time and I was more interested in the quick “rapid blend” and “apply image” speedy blending options.
Here is what I did back then:
The first two photos (blown out highlights & dark shadows) were easily combined using the “rapid blend” method to produce the third photo.
As you can see from the final photo (the end product), the sky has been recovered and the shadows are not so intense. Easy blending at it’s best!
This panel for Photoshop, new back in 2015, from Jimmy, who asked me to try out the various features prior to 1st release, opens up with Photoshop and is my favourite constant companion. I hardly ever venture over to Nik Efex these days.
The panel includes buttons and actions to make luminosity masks, other digital blending and various other processing much more of a breeze rather than a laborious time consuming task.
There are many other useful features such as colour correction, dodge / burn, darken / lighten exposures, fake HDR, lighten shadows, Orton effect, saturate / desaturate, vignette, full size sharpening, identifying and removing sensor dust and sharpen / resize for the Web.
Almost all my photos published on Facebook from August 2015 onward have been end-processed using Raya Pro Panel (with the exception of the straight out of Lightroom exports).
The best thing of it all is that you don’t end up with really weird looking, degraded, full blown halo, disgusting “HDR” images, which all of the auto HDR engines I tried produced (maybe it was just be and, yes, I did like that crazy look a few years back – but I do cringe now when looking back now).
Jimmy recently announced, on 11 November 2016, that version 2.0 of Raya is coming soon.
I’m genuinely excited as Raya Pro has been my faithful companion now for 1.5 years and it used it on every landscape photo that I process in Photoshop – sometimes just for a vignette and sharpening, and sometimes for the full Rolls Royce.
The days of layers and masks, zooming in to 300 X and then carefully brushing the shadows to get them lighter / brushing the blown out sky to get it darker are gone! (PS – did I mention brushing again as the first attempt gave a really uneven look?).
Raya Pro even helped me with my multiple exposures on the Bangkok skyline:
At ZAR645.03 / $44.99 it’s a steal to invest in right now! Don’t worry as all upgrades are FREE so you will get version 2.0 and hopefully 3.0 (no pressure Jimmy 🙂 ).
Click here to view the Raya Panel and here to see Jimmy’s amazing work. He offers free stuff as well including tutorials.
I’ve followed him for some years now and it’s truly been a pleasure. He’s well-mannered, knowledgeable and produces easy to understand material, which is always either interesting or relevant.
“We cannot keep waiting for a foolproof opportunity to come before we force ourselves to get serious.
The time for practice is over. Practice time was while we were growing up. Practice time was while we were in school.
We are now full participants in the game of life and our opponent is human mediocrity. In the absence of intense and intelligent human activity, the weeds of failure will move in to destroy the small amount of progress that our efforts have created. We cannot afford to wait for the “two-minute warning.” We cannot afford to wait until the last few minutes to discover that our game plan isn’t working. And we cannot afford to wait until the last few ticks of the clock to become intense about life’s opportunities.
We must challenge ourselves right now with a new level of thinking, and drive ourselves toward a new level of achievement.
We must impose upon ourselves a new discipline and develop a new attitude about life that motivates us and inspires others.
We cannot keep waiting for a foolproof opportunity to come by before we force ourselves to get serious. We must identify our current opportunity and embrace it. We must breathe our talent and our vigor and our new sense of urgency into it and discover all that we can do.
We cannot allow ourselves to dwell upon the risks in every opportunity. Instead, we must seize the opportunity inherent in every risk, knowing that we must sometimes run the risk of going too far in order to discover how far we really can go.
You can do it! You can change your life, and you can start right now simply by developing a new sense of urgency. Remember, the clock is ticking. You have the ability to achieve whatever you want if you will just begin the process now.
It is easy to achieve success and happiness. And it is easy not to achieve them.
The final result of your life will be determined by whether you made too many errors in judgment, repeated every day, or whether you dedicated your life to a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.
The discipline of strengthening and broadening your philosophy.
The discipline of developing a better attitude.
The discipline of engaging in more intense and consistent activity that will lead to the achievement of greater results.
The discipline of studying your results in order to anticipate the future more objectively.
The discipline of living life more fully and investing all of your experiences in your better future.
These are the challenges to which you must apply your talent and your intensity with a sense of urgency and unshakable resolve.
May the pieces to your life puzzle come together smoothly, and may you enjoy the picture of that finished masterpiece as a result of your unwavering commitment to mastering the basics” ~ Jim Rohn
Canon 550D, ISO 100. F4.5. Various exposures times blended together. Golden oldie from March 2013. In hindsight would now go F10 upwards and raise ISO if quicker exposure needed.
“Because we want honest answers that are coming from your heart, not prepared answers” ~ Thuli Madonsela
I guess this is true for work and home. Perhaps very hard to practice as one’s mind might race to “if I say this or that will it hurt that person, or will it make someone think bad of me, will I lose some benefit I enjoy, will they stop loving me”.
Canon 6D, F18, 6 sec. ISO 50. Variable ND. Tripod. RAW
Thompson’s Bay Revisited
“You are the architect of your own fate. You are the master of your own destiny. You can do and undo things. You can break old habits through the power of your will. You can destroy wrong mental impressions and unholy desires and develop new habits. You can change your nature and develop a pure character” ~ Sri Swami Sivananda
I recently installed a new SSD (from Ireland of course 🙂 ) on my computer as my previous hard drive was about to go “All Blacks” on me 😉. This morning I hauled out some old RAW files from June 2015 and threw them into the merge into panorama machine. The end result is the accompanying photo.
Canon 6D, ISO 100, 1/20 sec, F16, manual
Processed using Raya Pro by Jimmy Mcintyre (PS – thanks again Jimmy for getting me up and running again).
Please don’t forget my upcoming photo exhibition in Durban – click here.
I’ve reviewed Spur and Butcher Block Florida Road recently, but after last night’s dining experience (third time in a year) I came to the realization that I was a bit too kind and eager in respect of Butcher Block.
Spur will always be Spur wherever you go but the likes of Butcher Block, Butcher Boys, 9th Avenue Bistro, Havana Grill, Grill Jichana and a few others place themselves in premium cost range and their food should then match. Perhaps not the food only but the EXPERIENCE.
Enter JOOP’S PLACE!
The kitchen is visible from the restaurant via a glass sliding window. I sat there for a while watching passion in motion. The motivation promoted by Robin Sharma was staring me in the face as I watched the owner come chef Joop fry about six steaks at once in separate pans on a gas stove.
That was nothing because when we got chatting (while he cooked) I found him to be friendly and accommodating (I was taking mobile phone photos, surely affecting his concentration). His business acumen shone through like a bright light as he unintentionally gave me a lecture on “Make your business special and grow it from the heart 101”.
After this I sat down for a really tender sirloin cooked exactly as I asked. My wife had the lamb shank with mash – the meat was falling off the bone.
Joop did give me some food for thought on the rump he offered when I was blabbing on about Spur’s good prices.
Joop said: I will give you a rump that comes with a sauce for X Rand. Spur will give you the same rump cheaper but you will pay them extra for a sauce, this taking the Spur price level with mine. Phew! I must look into this because if it’s true then I’m never going to have a steak at Spur again.
Address: Shop 14, Avonmore Centre, 9th Avenue, Durban, 4001
Phone: 031 312 9135
Go meet Joop and his waiters, one of whom brought us an iced water with lemon (for free) in an amazing 30 seconds!
A quality venue indeed.