Photo This & That is the blog of multi award winning photojournalist, film maker and commercial photographer Edmond Terakopian.
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Photographer & Film Maker
I'm a multi award winning photojournalist, two of the main being the British Press Awards Photographer of the Year and a World Press Photo award. I also cover a fair amount of PR and commercial photography. Over the past few years I've been interested in film making and have a few commercial creative films and a documentary in my folio of video work.
- I wish the SAS every success in their mission; may it be swift, encounter zero loss or injury to themselves and be 100% successful. - 1 hour ago
- Food for thought; Blair, is the middle east peace envoy. A man who is responsible for the turmoil in the first place, is the peace envoy. - 2 hours ago
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Wacom Intuos 5 Touch Medium TABLET (now called the Intuos Pro)
To Tablet Or Not To Tablet; Long Term Review
I’ve been a user of Wacom tablets for many years now. I have had an Intuos 2 and Intuos 3. With the introduction of a “touch” surface, I was intrigues so borrowed the new Intuos 5 Touch Medium with wireless adapter for a long term review from Wacom.
The review didn’t start off too well though. The early software drivers on the Mac weren’t very stable and regardless of wether I was in tethered mode (USB) or wireless (using a wireless USB adapter), the tablet would at some stage during the working day disappear and eventually I just gave up and went back to using the Apple Trackpad on my Mac Pro and Intuos 3, waiting for updates to the software.
During a large edit on a big project (around a year ago), I developed a serious wrist pain and decided it was time to get the Wacom Intuos 5 out again. My only issue with using my Intuos 3 all the time is that I’m now so used to the gesture control in the Mac OS that having only a pen or the Wacom mouse is often counter productive. I decided to have a look at the Intuos 5 again and thankfully there was updated software. I updated and switched off the Apple Trackpad and went to the Wacom. Glad to report that the drivers are now solid and there are no more problems.
The huge positive thing about the Intuos 5 is the fact that it is also a touch pad with gesture control too; the name is kind of a clue here. Some learning is needed to master a few new movements but the system works well; so well that I’ve stuck with it solidly since, without issue. My beloved Apple Trackpad has been tucked away in a cupboard since. There’s also fully customisable control in the way of “ExpressKeys” and added control with the Touch Ring.
Having used it with Aperture, Lightroom, Capture One, Photoshop as well as FCP X on some major projects, several of which have gone on to win awards, the combination of pen and touch not only works extremely well, but is also much kinder physically and doesn’t cause the fatigue or pain that can be associated with heavy mouse or trackpad use. For my general computing, I just use the tablet as a touch device.
One huge advantage with the pen is also the ability to be much more accurate. Using brushes or moving sliders incrementally can be done with pinpoint accuracy. On top of this, the free flowing pen is suited towards artistic expression, so things like burning in or dodging is a breeze and more akin to the expressiveness one would show in a traditional darkroom. Naturally for the artist, there is no better tool, so if you draw, paint or do graphical design and for some reason haven’t tried a Wacom, just do – you won’t regret it. One thing I can pretty much guarantee is that within weeks of use of a Wacom, you will wonder how you managed without it.
The only gripe I have is the touch surface doesn’t cover the entire tablet and is within a designated area, which is incidentally, clearly marked and roughly around 85% of the surface area. I occasionally find myself just outside the bottom of the area and it’s frustrating as it can lead to errors when using the tablet as a trackpad. One does get used to it, and there are so many positives, that for me, it’s not a deal breaker. I do hope though that Wacom can make the next model touch capable over the entire surface.
Some thoughts on which size; as I use dual monitors at my office, I have always opted for the A4 size in the past, now called the Medium. The larger surface area allows for great control and accuracy when working on small areas (like retouching dust). I think anyone who works on a single screen or works just on a laptop will probably find the Small size to be more than capable. As always though, the best thing is to find your nearest stockist and go and have a try to see what suits you best. Also, for those who have never tried a tablet before, at first it will feel slightly alien the first day; trust me, just persevere as it will revolutionise the way you interact with your computer.
Faster working, pain free use, accurate and versatile with both pen and touch. With the maturing of the software, this is a must have for anyone who spends a lot of time photo, video or audio editing. I can’t recommend this highly enough; your work will improve and your wrist will thank you. Having just sold my Intuos 3 tablet, pen and mouse, I shall be purchasing my own Intuos 5 Touch Medium soon!
NB – Since beginning this long term review, the model naming has changed and the Intuos 5 range is now called the Intuos Pro. As far as differences between the unit, they are practically identical with some minor cosmetic differences and a slightly different surface coating. Also, the Pro now comes with the wireless kit as standard (although you can also use a USB connection instead).
On a related issue, as I’m often on the road with my MacBook Pro or 11” MacBook Air, either on assignment, teaching workshops or giving presentations, I decided to get a smaller tablet for mobile use. I opted for the Intuos Pen and Touch in the small size, which is working out well too. Not up to the feel of the Intuos 5, which is a professional grade piece of equipment, but it does work well on the road. One thing’s for sure though; once funds allow, I’ll almost definitely be upgrading that to the small size Intuos Pro Touch.
To see the Wacom in action, you can jump to 05:28 where you can see it being used with FCP X to edit our film “1 Sixpence 1 Play“:
Tips For The Large Format Printer User
Allow me to paint you a picture; I had allocated a day in my diary to make some prints on my superb Canon iPF6300 (although this post will be of relevance to any large format printer user). I had a few print orders and also needed to make six A1 sized prints to enter into the Taylor Wessing Portrait Award.
On the day set aside for making the prints, I switched on the printer and started collating the images on my Mac, ready to print. Well, after having not made a print for a few months, the machine sprang into action, going through it’s warming up procedures, agitating inks, moving print heads and so on. Alas I was at the end of this robotic dance, I was greeted with the error code informing the print heads need to be replaced. Now this is a costly process, but even more annoying is the fact that I don’t keep spares. I have lots of paper and ink at all times, just not spare print heads and often as also needed, the maintenance cartridge. Panic and annoyance set in as there was a deadline looming and I had other projects on the go.
Off to Google to search for the cheapest place I can source print heads and as crucially, a place that can deliver them the next day. My search concluded with a company I hadn’t used before; they were great on price, had stock and crucially promised next day delivery. The company was the iPF Store.
I decided to make a call to double check the stock and delivery situation and was put through to an extremely helpful and knowledgeable chap called Andy. The two print heads and maintenance cartridge I needed were indeed in stock and would definitely be delivered the next day. A sigh of relief! I carried on chatting about the print head issue as it felt to me that they had seized up prematurely. Andy informed me that indeed it is a problem for the low volume print maker. These printers are designed to work at the print houses and studios were they are in use daily. In my case, the inactivity had been the issue and caused the print heads to have a shorter life span. Being outside of the Canon one year warranty on them, they had to be changed.
My chat with Andy resulted in a list of other tips, so what better than to share them?!
Andy From The iPF Store, Top Five Tips
1) Always leave the printer turned on – It monitors the heads, does a very low level clean when needed to keep the nozzles wet to stop them drying out. Dry and blocked nozzles require additional power cleanses (uses more ink). In more extreme cases when the block cannot be cleaned, the heads fail completely so new ones are required.
2) Achieve the highest possible graduations by working in 16bit RGB and print using the Adobe Photoshop Plugin.
3) Have a colour calibrated workflow, calibrating your screen and make custom print profiles for papers that don’t have them for your printer. Keeps your printer in constant colour control.
4) Use the Canon Media Config Tool to add your own custom medias to the standard Canon library, and ensure the best print quality.
5) Allow a minimum of one hour for the ink to dry down before applying any finishing such as varnish or laminate.
I agree fully with the points raised, although I didn’t know of the first point, which is what landed me in this predicament!
Well, my print heads and maintenance cartridge arrived before lunchtime the next day and I managed to make all my prints (which have found new homes in London, Paris and New York) and also made the six prints for the competition. Thanks Andy :-)
iPF Store: http://www.ipfstore.co.uk
Their parent company; Pro Print Solutions: http://www.proprintsolutions.co.uk
A Tribute To Leica; Double Page Interview
It’s always nice to be featured in magazines and this week’s Amateur Photographer magazine (June 19, 2014) has a double page spread about my “Love Your Job” photograph. Fittingly, as the issue is a tribute to Leica’s 100th anniversary, the image was made on my Leica M9.
The Joy Of Mirrorless Cameras
One of the joys of mirrorless cameras is the ability to mount practically every lens made by every manufacturer, using the appropriate adapter. The Leica M rangefinder, being the mother of all mirrorless cameras (going back to 1954), made the perfect camera to try out my old, vintage Nikkor 8mm f8 fisheye lens. Especially as the camera has a full frame sensor so can display the circular fisheye perfectly. With the Leica M (Type 240)’s Live View, the camera was ideal.
My favourite lens adapters are made by Novoflex (available in the UK from Speed Graphic). With a lot of research and help from the wise folks at the Leica Users Forum, we deduced that the Nikkor would fit (it has a very deep rear element. When used on an SLR, the mirror has to be locked up before the lens is mounted).
***DISCLAIMER – you need to realise that mounting any non standard lens to your camera has it’s own risks. Do your research carefully as you will have to take full responsibility if anything goes wrong! I am not liable for any mistakes, accidents or damage and do not encourage you to try this!***
These are early days and I’m going to explore using this circular fisheye, but I wanted to share the journey so far. The only proper picture I’ve made so far is the washing machine drum, but there will be more to come, so keep an eye on my Flickr page!
More Nikkor 8mm Fisheye on Leica pictures HERE.
Aperture Will Cease To Be Developed
Sadly, Apple announced on June 27th, 2014 that it was no longer going to develop Aperture. It is indeed a sad announcement and one that was upsetting in many ways. Aperture has been my platform of choice for over seven years, for all my image processing, organising and archiving. Even my video and audio work go through Aperture. The news even resulted in a sleepless night; I must have woken up five times and every time I awoke, I was thinking about how my workflow is going to cope with the loss of my favourite software.
The announcement from Apple:
“With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture,” Apple said. “When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS X.”
The Future For Aperture Users
The good news is that there’s no need to panic and take immediate action. When Yosemite, the next version of Apple’s OS X is released this coming autumn, I’ve been told that Aperture will be updated to work with it. Also, as the raw updates are OS based, all new raw updates will work within Aperture. What this means is that after launch, Aperture will carry on functioning fully for a 12-18 month period. So no need to panic and take drastic action. The new Photos App is set to release early 2015.
Apple and Adobe are working together to come up with a way to help Aperture users who wish to move over to Lightroom, the logical choice, to migrate their libraries of images over. However, the biggest problem and one which seems insolvable (at least for now) is that Aperture adjustments won’t translate into Lightroom adjustments. Hopefully all metadata, library structure, versions of files and naturally all the raws will come across ok.
Another upgrade path for those Aperture users who aren’t professional or advanced enthusiasts, is Apple’s own forthcoming Photos App. Certainly the first version of the App seems to be very much consumer. However as Apple updated and upgraded FCP X, maybe Apple will do the same with Photos and it will on later releases have Aperture’s functionality? This is pure speculation and hope on my part.
Personally, my course of action is going to be waiting to see what and how the migration tool(s) will work. I have an Aperture archive of well over half a million images, spanning decades of work, so any decision I make cannot be done lightly and without research. Apart from migrating my libraries of work, I also have to update all of my onsite and offsite backups to work with whatever my new system will be. It’s highly likely to be Lightroom, but it does all depend on how things pan out. It’s worth keeping hold of your Aperture libraries for now, just to see how the Photos App develops; who knows, perhaps future versions will be of professional spec?
I’ll also be writing to Apple to explain why I think dropping Aperture is a bad idea and hope they may reconsider; I would urge others to do so too. You can feedback via this LINK.
Lastly, please share this article to help Aperture users from realising there’s no need to panic and there is time to plan a perfect strategy for each user’s needs.
Best Documentary Finalist
We’re absolutely delighted to share that our short documentary film on pinball is a finalist in the Rode Reel 2014 competition. Our team of Magda Rakita and Neil Patience (TAP TV) would like to thank Rode Microphones and Philip Bloom who was the judge for the category.
We’d like to congratulate all the winners; some exceptional work. You can view the entries HERE.
The film, 1 Sixpence 1 Play, was shot on a pair of Olympus OM-D E-M1 cameras and Olympus lenses. We also used a GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition for a few shots from on the play field. All audio was recorded onto a Roland R26 using various Rode microphones. The films (including the behind the scenes) were edited using FCP X on a Mac Pro, using Eizo monitors and Event Opal audio monitors for the sound edit. For a more detailed post on this, including the behind the scenes video, please see HERE.