Light is Everything!

Image Editing

Ultimate Photo Editing Computer Setup v.2

In my last post about this, I had heralded a flash based Mac Mini as the ultimate Photo Editor. Whilst I still think there is merit to that setup – and may still be – I went another direction.

Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 7.42.35 AM

Apple didn’t update the Mac Mini in the last big system update. I thought for sure they would but they didn’t. Instead, they rather secretly released a new iMac as indicated in this fstoppers article, back in September. I looked at the new specs but have been waiting for the new Mac Mini. However, my old iMac crashed a very slow and horrible death. I didn’t lose any data thanks to my gong show JBOD backup system. But I’m safe for now. I’ve been operating of a Macbook Air (painfully) for editing photos and other work related activities. So I decided that I can’t wait any longer and pulled the trigger on a new iMac.

Here’s the specs of what I got and why. I basically got the identical setup recommended in the fstoppers article. 27″ screen and I got the 3.5Ghz i7 with a 256 SSD. I got 8GB of factory RAM but have since ordered a 32GB upgrade from Amazon for less than half price of Apple’s factory installed $600 magical RAM made of unicorn horns.  And, I upgraded the GPU and got the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5. I’m not sold that Lightroom will actually make use of this. Photoshop will and Aperture 3 will. But Lightroom currently won’t. Perhaps in the future the program architecture will make more use of it. But I thought I would get it just in case. But by maxing the processor and the RAM I think I will see more gains from Lightroom.

So essentially that’s that. Fastest available everything and it should smoke! But the missing component is still the storage/backup solution. I have decided to once again pass on Drobo. I’m sure they make great products. But their proprietary beyond-RAID thing bothers me. If the enclosure ever dies, you have to get another to resurrect your data. That has never set well with me. So, I went with a 6TB LaCie 2Big Thunderbolt drive enclosure. I’m going to RAID 1 that puppy for redundancy. The best thing ever is that it’s super fast to copy data and, if a drive ever calves I can go get another from a local store and rebuild the RAID. Or, take the remaining drive and copy the data from it to some other drive in the interim. Not so with Drobo. So the LaCie seems to be a good solution for my needs. I’m going to store all my photos on it and maybe even edit from it as the connection bandwidth should be more than capable.

So that’s that. I’ll post an update on this article in the future to let you know how it all performs. Sometime next week I should be receiving the goods. More to come. 😎

RAW File Edit #21

I did a screencast of editing the froknowsphoto RAW file of the week, a really cool portrait!  The video is me showing you how I did my interpretation of the image in Aperture 3 using Nik Software’s Color eFex Pro plugin.


I like panoramic images but until yesterday, I had never made one. I did a little googlin’ and found a really sweet YouTube video that explained the whole process. In the middle of a March snow storm, I went out on my back deck and took two pictures to try the panoramic process. You can do many more but I wanted to keep it simple to start out.

pano image 1

pano image 2

Another good tip (that I didn’t follow here) is to shoot panorama images vertically instead of horizontally.  That way you have more breathing room in your shots for when you crop it later. I didn’t use a tripod as I had a very convenient deck railing to set the camera on – but had this been a serious pano, I would have certainly used the tripod.

After I had the .jpg files ready in camera, I brought them into GIMP (the free, open source version of Photoshop) and downloaded the “Pandora” script that makes this all possible. It did a really sweet job of setting it all up with about 20% overlap. I used the tree as my anchor point of both images and it lined up really well with minimal masking work. To me, the over all end product had to go black and white because it was another cursed, ugly, winter’s-never-gunna-end day.

click to embiggen

So there you go, my first ever panoramic image. Click on it to see the full sized end product (11MB file size).  It turned out not too shabby. 😉 If was to do it again, I would pick a nicer day with more sunshine. Winter is getting way too depressing. 😐