Archive for the 'Software' Category

LEAP Motion From a Photographers Perspective – A Leap into REALITY!

by Gavin Seim:

Day One: I’m going to get brutal with the reality of how the new LEAP Motion handled REAL WORK. If you want to save time here’s my initial impression.

LEAP does NOT leap out of the box and work well – Maybe that will change in time, but this feels like pre-beta and does not make my work easier.

leapI pre-ordered early and my LEAP finally came today after what must have been more than a year. It had been so long it was almost like magic just to hold the box. WOW, I thought. I can now control my computer just by waving my hands. Minority Report, here I come.. I’ve not actually seen that movie. Is it good?

Anyways that a little voice inside said “Gavin! Though shalt not count thy leaps before they hath jumped” But I still rushed to my studio to try it out. “The waiting will pay off” I thought.

Well, LEAP worked. Sort of. It reminds me of many an encounter with voice recognition software. It looks great in the promos. Then you use it.

I could talk like a hot shot and say how amazing it is and how high tech I am. Because the idea really is cool. But the reality seems to be that LEAP is mostly useless for me right now.  The first thing I realized was how they made it look really pretty, but barely indicated what I needed to do actually use it in the real world. Perhaps that was because there was little practical use. The goofy games hold little interest for me. I want to get something done.

On my production studio desk nothing gets real estate that does not do it’s job. From my precision corded laser mouse to my Medium Wacom tablet. A device has to do something well, or it goes in a drawer.

Once I finally got calibration to work (not pretty on my Mac), I Installed Better Touch (an app that allows for custom commands). Sadly I could not even make it “practical” for the simplest of movements.

First Test: I started with a hand gesture for right and left arrow keys, thinking it might be useful for sorting images in Lightroom. Nope. Unless I held my fingers just right it did not even see the gesture. Trying to think about your hand, while also holding it in the air becomes very tiring VERY fast. It’s mentally and physically frustrating. In practice I ended up waving my hand slowly, then furiously over the device just to browse images with poor results. Not a good sign. Back to the keyboard.

Next Test: I wanted to control the mouse in hopes of using Leap’s touted precision to do things I do with my Wacom, or even basic Finder work without my mouse. Since Leap gave no indication during setup that this was even possible, it took a few minutes to realize that I needed a free app called Touchless. I installed that from Airspace (the app store for Leap) ran orientation and it started to look good. Reality soon set in.

Again I started simple, hoping to use Leap to control the mouse for simple but precise painting, burning and dodging in Photoshop. I got little functionality in Basic Mode so I switched to advanced and got a working curser where I could touch and engage the click – Sometimes. That was when it was not doing random zooming, window switching and the like. I even managed some basic painting and burning. But it was totally unreliable. Sometimes the click would engage and the tool would work, sometimes not. Sometimes it would change the window or do something else. Sound like something else? Here’s looking at you Voice Control.

I know it’s new and I will spend more time with it. But the truth is a great device usually works from the start. If they had simply given us solid reliable mouse/touch integration it would have been a GREAT start. But the reality is this is not even comparable to a mouse or a tablet in ANY practical sense. Since it lacks that, it’s little more than a gimmick with a few games and trinkets attached. So far.

After a year of waiting. Leap is essentially useless for me in any practical sense – I hope this changes, but if they could not give us BASIC functionality after all this time, I fear we’re in trouble.

I know I’m being harsh. But it’s the reality of it for today. I’m trying to be a beta tester. I paid for this. The potential seems real. But I waited, hoping they would get it right. They did not. This looks like another piece that will end up in the drawer. That said I will keep trying for awhile and see if it gets better. If I have a new revelation, I will update this article.

Pro Photo Podcast #93 – Fiasco’s, Fishing and Photography

Video_ Selling Wall Art – Photos as Fine Furniture-1

It’s road trip season. Check out Gavin’s road trip article for a huge list of resources.

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Direct Podcast FeediTunesPodcast Alley

Today’s Panel… Gavin Seim Bary HowellScott Jarvie

This week Gavin and Barry talk about the latest topics and then dig into some stories of past photography adventures.

This episode brought to you by the Seim Effects and the award winning EXposed Workshop.

PPS #93 Forum Discussion HERE.

Main Time Indexes:

  • 00:00 Introductions.
  • 01:40 Barry Speaks
  • 17:55 A bit of video discussion
  • 24:30 News and LR5 talk
  • 34:30 The Stolen Facebook Photo Fiasco
  • 52:20 It’s Story Time
  • 1:18:47 Picks and Fishing
  • 1:37:25 Scott Jarvie Joins in


EXposed Workshop win’s a hot one award.

Gavin Road Trip Journal

Gavin’s road trip article with a list of gadgets.

VIDEO: Selling Photos as Fine Furniture.

Canon C100

Graphene Camera Sensor.

The Stolen Facebook  Photo Fiasco.

Jarvie’s Faith in America Project.



SLR Pro Dot

Bucket Boss Jumper Cable Bag.

Epic 25ft Jumper Cables

Barry –

Stool with tool storage.

Air Display – iPad

Rapela Scatterrap.

Scott –

Jumper Power  Box
(Here’s a heavier duty version)

PPS Podcast #84 – Bangs To the MAX or Golden Beauty Flowing Everywhere.

A photo by Pro Photo Show listener Jason Eldridge of Gavin working with 4x5 during Imaging USA.

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Direct Podcast FeediTunesPodcast Alley

Today’s Panel... Gavin Seim – Gokhan CukurovaDennis ZerwasJonathan Bielaski Mark Tesky.

Gavin and the panel round off the first quarter of 2012 with the hot news and happening from the photo world and digging into discussion on how we can raise the bar and get more profitable in a crowded industry.

PPS #84 Extended Forum Discussions Here..

Main Time Indexes:

  • 00:00 Introductions.
  • 04:55 MK3 vs D800 News.
  • 23:20 Lightroom 4 and CS6.
  • 40:03 The video side of it all.
  • 47:44 EXposed and trip overview.
  • 50:44 Instagram and social stuff.
  • 1:07:30 LRound. Being the Best We Can.
  • 1:27:20 Picks and gadgets of the month.
  • 1:47:50 After show and our title inspiration ;)


LR4 is here. Overall we like it.
Creative Suite CS6.

Black Magic Design Cinema.

5DMK III is good. So is the Nikon D800. You decide. And check out the value of the D3200.

A pack of free LR develop presets for video.

Getting Beyond the Digital File – The Missing Link
Resolution and Printable size.
Learn What the Nail Does Before You Start to Hammer.

Are you still using

Pixoto is another interesting one with cash prizes.

A comparison of the Super Moon.

Continue reading ‘PPS Podcast #84 – Bangs To the MAX or Golden Beauty Flowing Everywhere.’

A Look Inside TimeScapes – DSLR Video Just Keeps Getting Better.

by Gavin Seim – I’m more a still than a video man myself. Maybe it’s because I’ve not found a way to print videos yet. Still, their value can be unrivaled and the quality that’s come about in the past few years is stunning. Not long ago ago DSLR video was a new toy. That has changed very fast.

This is a neat 25 minutes behind the scenes at Timefest 2011 and gives an inside look into Tom Lowe’s impressive TimeScapes project. And an almost equally good look at some very impressive video gear, including some brand new stuff from Kessler. To top it off, the guys hanging out are experts like Vincent Laforet, Shawn Reeder, Tom Lowe, Carson Garner, Ben Wiggins and many more.

I have to say I love the planning they put into each sequence and wish it happened a bit more in the world of stills. These guys know that if they don’t plan right, they won’t get the footage. What’s next? How about time lapses on 4×5 film drum scanned and rolled into footage. OK maybe that’s going too far. Or is it? Well just enjoy the video. Then share some thoughts about how your using DSLR video… Gav

A New HDR Video Training Workshop.

I don’t post here for every Seim Effects product I come out with, but I have something new today that I’m pretty excited about. HDR and dynamic range is something I became passionate about years ago. Since then it’s become more than a “look”. It’s become a way for me to better understand and manage light on every level. I think mastering dynamic range is an everyday essential for the serious photographer. It goes deep.

People had been asking for a recorded segment on HDR for years now. And I’ve finally got a collection finished. Enter, HDR Magic. But it’s more than Basic HDR. Over 2 hours of fully downloadable HD videos where I show you how I make HDR images and manage dynamic range on more subtle levels. This is the 2nd of my video training collections (the first is Cloning Magic). I love live workshops, but there’s something to be said for watching a workshop whenever you like.

There’s lots more info on Seim Effects if you’re interested. Of course as always, you readers can use code PPS to save 15%. Head over to the HDR page for all the details and and the first video. Hope you enjoy them… Gav

500px Review – A new photo sharing site worth a look?

The profile interface on Really nice and clean.

See update to review below original article…

by Gavin Seim. So I’m pretty jaded to photo sharing sites. They all seem about the same. But has caught my eye. I just setup a profile and here’s what it looks like…

500px is a photo sharing/portfolio/social network site all rolled into one. It’s not exactly the same as other photo sites, but it’s compelling. One, because it’s clean. The opposite of Flickr and many others. But the main feature to me was the rating system. People can like and  dislike images and that controls how they rank on the site. Finally, a site that based recognition on how good your image is, rather than how many groups you add it to. Could there be problems with a rating system? Maybe, but it seems they’ve designed it pretty well, with vote effect varying by age of the image, how many previous votes etc. At least they have one.

Not that other similar sites are bad, but as a Flickr user I’ve become tired. It’s filled with clutter, never really improves, and the interaction is way down. FB is great for reaching out to the masses and having a presence, but in truth it’s pretty lousy for presenting art. 500px is a little like a portfolio and a ongoing photo competition all in one. The challenge is ON.

Now my main space is my own website, but social sites like this can be a great way to interact and gain new eyeballs. 500px even allows users to sell images, and make a nice website. Both are things I’d rather do on my site for now, but these are cool tools for someone looking to make a clean simple space on the web.

500px definitely looks interesting. I plan to take a break from Flickr for awhile and see what I think. There’s a free and a paid membership and even the free version seems fairly feature rich. Not that it’s perfect. 500px lacks a lot of the exploring features, maps and beyond that we may be used to on other sites. But bear in mind it’s a newer project. Hopefully they can keep the features rolling out and not mess it up while doing so.

So go join for free and post a few of your best. And you’re welcome to follow me too…

UPDATE, 07/18. A deeper look.

Here’s an update on 500px, including the negatives I’ve discovered, as I’ve hung out on the site over the past week.

First, it’s the rating system that makes 500px look good. Just like any other photo site, there’s lots of poor quality photos being posted. You simply don’t see them because they don’t rank. Fair enough. It keeps to quality stuff on top which is a good things. The site is pretty much a ongoing photo contest where the prize, if you win, is a pat of the back from your peers. This can be very satisfying. Though it’s easy to get overly consumed with your latest scores and spend the day refreshing your page in anxious desire.

However! To filter up high to the top you need a LOT of likes. In principal the system is great, but there seems to be a ripple effect. It seems that someone who gets a high ranked photo or two (particularly early adopters) have gotten a lot of attention and a lot of followers. At that point they will tend to get more likes by simple nature of the fact that anything they post gets so many eyeballs right out of the gate. For the rest of users, it looks like most images will get a few views and then sit. Even if they’re really great.

Next is the comments. They feel good, but there’s very little critique. I get the sense that many comments are made in hopes of making a new connections. Not a terrible thing, and it happens everywhere. But it means comments are usually simple praise rather than thought out feedback. The other issue is the fear of negative comments. There’s a “dislike” button on images. This could be a good thing, but I’m not sure it’s needed and I think people may be refraining from constructive criticism, in fear that the receivers of such comments could dislike their own images in retaliation because they didn’t like what was said. It may be silly, but it will happen.

Also the site is filled with nudes. They tend to rank high (no surprise). Now I’m not saying they should not allow such content. Only that some users are uncomfortable with it. While those users can check a box to hide these images, they still show as image tiles that say NUDE CONTENT in glaring letters. Most the people that for whatever reason don’t want to see nudes, want them totally gone. 500px should be allowed simply be able to turn it completely off in their settings and not see anything related to it.

Lastly, the sad part is that no matter how much attention an image gets, it loses score. This seems like a real dower. The 1-100 Scores fade in time using an algorithm and that allows fresh images sift up (not sure how far down a score will go). In a way this algorithm makes sense. Problem is it’s frustrating to lose your rank for any reason and I think this will be a negative for everyone. You can have the top image on the site scored at 96, but soon it will drop and ranked with images that are just so so as if it never happened. This could be easily corrected by having each image marked with a banner of highest score achieved, sort of trophy that represented how well it did. But alas I see so such feature.

So that’s some thoughts after a bit of use. Not all bad, but not all good. I’ve tried tweeting a few suggestions to the folks at 500PX, but sadly they seem to ignore them. We’ll see going forward had they fare. 500px is cool, but I get the sense that the glow is going to fade quickly if they don’t find a way to keep people excited once they realize that their image is not likely to ever reach the top unless they have a large following.

We’ll see what happens. Don’t get me wrong, I still like 500px. But they have a short window. If they don’t listen to users and keep improving, they won’t get attention for long. Your thoughts are welcome on the comments… Gav