New Wildlife Photographer of the Year book: Portfolio 27

 

Had an interesting and fun evening at the Natural History Museum last night at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards.

Many thanks to the NHM for the invite (I had worked on the image grading for the book). There were a series of brilliant speeches from the photographers and I felt more than ever that conservation is the single call to action that defines the competitions purpose. I hope the many thousands of people who see the images and read the stories will have a deeper and better understanding of the issues.

Im including me in this. One of the images (Page 7 – just past the forward by Lewis Blackwell) is of a seahorse holding onto a plastic Q-tip by photographer Justin Hofman. This single powerful image implicates not just some other “polluter” but rather points the finger directly at us, we are the polluters, we (I) need to change.

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BBC Blue Planet II

 

Having worked on all the stills inside the new book of the BBC’s Blue Planet II for most of the year its a great relief that the project is no longer secret!
I’m very much looking forward to seeing the new series on the BBC later this month and spotting where the still frames for the book come from in the video sequences.

My involvement in the project was to grade the images from a variety of sources: 4k, 5k, 6k+ video cameras as well as underwater stills and a variety of other cameras used used in the “making of” segments. I needed to ensure colour and tone was consistent in the sequences and to make sure the images that glow from television screens can also make the journey to the printed page.

I carefully adjusted files and converting them to CMYK using a variety of techniques that keep as much colour and dynamic range as possible.

Always nice to work on a high profile project for a major client though I like to think that I will do my best for any client who uses my services. A big thank you for my BBC contact Laura Barwick for making it easier to deliver on the project.

 

Stephen Johnson / Copyrightimage Ltd

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Mark Carwardine – analogue artwork to digital press

 

Very pleased to see Mark Carwardines new book drop through the post recently: Mark Carwardine’s guide to Whale Watching in North America, USA – Canada – Mexico.

Mark has used the artist Martin Camm to illustrate the various species in the book. These illustrations work perfectly alongside Marks Photography to give a well rounded and clear guide to the sea creatures and their behaviour.

I helped Mark by developing a set of Photoshop actions to separate the paper texture from around the scanned illustrations and thus allow the book designer to place the illustrations anywhere on the page without any random edge tones or unwanted paper texture.

The actions did most of the work but in order to get an unbroken and totaly smooth edge I needed to manually and painstakingly go around and fine tune the edges of each animal at 1600% magnification to ensure a clean result.

I cannot compare my work to the beauty of the original illustrations created by Martin Camm but I hope my efforts helped show this very analogue artwork off at its best on the printed page.

Many thanks to Mark Carwardine for entrusting me to do the work. This is the definitive guide book to the subject and I’m happy that Copyrightimage has been involved in yet another high profile and important wildlife publication.

 

 

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Out of hours emergency retouching and imaging service


Don't spoil a book, campaign or web launch with sub par but correctable images: Help is at hand...

Always happy to help out in a tight corner: Recently I was able to assist a US based customer rescue an important publication commitment in an "Out of hours" situation.

With the availability of fast internet access here in Sheringham, Norfolk  UK and working up to 11 hours before or after your local time (Check here: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/uk) I can rescue, smooth the way, improve or solve last minute image problems for your important publications, whether its for web, print or any other uses.

I will work in UK day time to ensure that your deadlines are met even when your local imaging service or retoucher is asleep.

You may be in the USA, Japan, Australia or any other Country in the world. If your local retoucher is not available and you are in a tight corner because a problem image or images have surfaced then check my local time and get in touch with me.

Email stephen@copyrightimage.co.uk at anytime with details of your problem, a download link to the high res or other image assets and I will get back to you asap with a plan and a cost. If I cannot help I will let you know, if I can help then I will work in your best interests to get your time critical campaign or publication back on track.

Copyrightimage is an "International Rescue" for image related problems, we work to the highest imaging standards in a fully colour managed and quality orientated retouching and image workflow service.

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Calculators for planning: image storage, transmission, print and repro

 

I often need to make advanced plans around quantities, sizes and transmission of images for my clients and to aid this I use some simple maths to quantify things. To aid this further I have created a set of web calculators covering all the common tasks.

Here are some common calculations I need to make when planning in advance:

  • How long will it take me to upload 2GB of images via ftp to a client? – or download 1TB?
  • How many raw or tiff files can I store on a 3TB drive or a 9TB NAS?
  • How many minutes (or hours) will it take to transfer 1620GB of raw files to a NAS from a client’s USB2 external drive?
  • To make a high quality 20″x16″ print at the Epson ideal print density of 360dpi how many pixels do I need?
  • What is the lowest megapixels a camera or file can be to still cover (for example) an A2 print at 350dpi? how about 7″x6″  at 150dpi?

All of these can be answered using the calculators below, here is a list of what they do:

 

Time and transmission:
Internet calculator – Calculate upload and download times for large files and collections of images.
Network calculator – Calculate transfer times for large collections of files across a local wired or wireless network

Capacity and file size:
How many images?
 – Calculate how many images/ files can fit on a hard disk, NAS or optical device
Camera file size and space calculator – Calculate files sizes and storage requirements of a particular camera
Card Full? – Calculate image capacities for your camera writing to different sized SD or CF cards

Dimensions for print and repro:
Print size calculator 1 – Calculate file size requirements when someone asks for a physical size for print or repro, this calculator allows you to specify units of meters, feet, inches, cm, mm.
Print size calculator 2 – Calculate native print and repro sizes from your images pixel dimensions.

Misc:
Getting View: Print Size to work properly in Photoshop
 – Calculate the right dpi for your monitor using this easy and practical method

I hope you will book mark these individual calculators to help plan your workflow. If you have any ideas for other calculators let me know and I will see what I can do.

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How many images?

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Getting View: Print Size to work properly in Photoshop

 

I love using “Print Size” in the Photoshop “View” menu as it allows me to see how big the image will print in the physical (real) world.

The chances are that if you try this with an image in your Photoshop the result will be incorrect (for instance a 10″ image may be nearer 7″ on screen). The reason for this is that by default Photoshop assumes you are using an early Apple monitor that has a resolution of 72dpi. In actual fact most modern monitors display many more dots per inch (pixels per inch) hence making the print preview too small. To make an accurate sized print preview you need to enter the actual dpi for your particular monitor.

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Welcome generosity

B0003753 Crystals of a DNA repair protein bound to DNA
Credit: Bernard O’Hara & Renos Savva. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
http://wellcomeimages.org
Growing crystals of a DNA repair protein bound to
DNA. This particular repair protein is the E. coli
mismatch U:G DNA glycosylase. The crystals are
produced for x-ray crystallographic studies to
determine the structure of the protein-DNA
complex.
Published: –
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Welcome images – the photolibrary arm of the Welcome Trust has decided to make its image collection freely available to all under the Creative Commons image license.

High res images are available for download under either a free use for any purpose or  free use for non-commercial purposes only. You can read more about this on their website here: https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/page/News.html

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Client Story: Natural History Museum new book

Very pleased to have worked on the new book from the Natural History Museum titled “Unforgettable Behaviour

The book shows some of the most interesting animal behaviour from past “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” overall and category winners and adds descriptive text that adds context and depth to the story of each image.

Im a big fan of having a better understanding of the world and happy that this book is not just visually strong but also contains a depth of knowledge in the subject matter.

t was my job to translate the RGB images supplied from multiple sources into a cohesive and consistent set of CMYK separations that could be printed safe in the knowledge that shadow, midtone and highlight details are preserved and best represent the image on paper.

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Update: Preparing the workshop


Very much looking forward to presenting my half day Imaging Workflow Workshops at Chester Zoo in September this year. I’m going through material for the presentation and I’m determined to fill the session with as much information and insight as possible.

As well as my session there is a half day session each with Sue Flood (photography) and Cindy Miller Hopkins who will guide you well on metadata amongst other things. The final half day sees us all together to review and help answer any outstanding questions. It will be a very worthwhile 2 days, we will pour out our knowledge with no compromise or commercial break.

Lightroom is too slow? don’t get me wrong, I do love Lightroom, I use it to ingest shoots, search for images, manage collections, bulk print and make the occasional web gallery, it really excels in lots of important areas. Where it falls down on is speed for editing and retouching, I will be showing work arounds and methods for faster and more accurate workflow using Bridge and Photoshop but in the meantime, here is a message I posted for Adobe:

Adobe:

 Lightroom is getting a little long in the tooth, the mobile apps are a fun and sometimes a useful addition but we really need the main desktop program to be better.

Editing and retouching – even with pre built smart previews is achingly slow.

I have monitored processor, memory and disk usage during these tasks and found nothing on my fast i7 PC is stressed, the headroom in speed and bandwidth is simply unused – there must be something  fundamentally askew with the code to be causing this latency.

Please use a tiny fraction of your newly expanded profits to employ someone who can write tight and fast code to get the job done, it would be appreciated.

Many thanks

Stephen Johnson
Copyrightimage Ltd

Update: July 11th
Adobe have released a statement acknowledging problems and have promised a fix. Nice to see Adobe responding to its wider community, I hope a better product will be the result.

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WannaCry Ransomware

I don’t know of any clients still running Windows XP but there may be some who don’t automatically apply Windows updates when they become available.

If you employ IT support for your site then get in touch with your IT team and check that they have your system supported against wannacry.

If you do not have external IT support, manage things yourself and have not applied security patches recently then I suggest you reconsider and run automatic update and accept any new security patches, if you are not sure how you can learn how to do this here:

Windows 7 users:
http://www.wikihow.com/Run-Windows-Update-in-Windows-7

Windows 10 users:
http://www.thewindowsclub.com/windows-update-security-settings-windows-10

Mac users can take the opportunity to feel a little smug but do be aware that its unlikely that the NSA is just looking for Windows exploits, the next NSA leak may be a Mac vulnerability:
https://www.nsa.gov/news-features/news-stories/2015/discovering-solving-sharing-it-solutions.shtml

 

 

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Software – tools (and nothing else)

Stephen’s Zenith E film camera from a time before imaging software

Its so easy to get lost in the various processes in photography and imaging. Both equipment and software can demand attention, its best however to not let this distract from the most important thing…

I thought I would set out my ideas about some of the software tools I use and perhaps explain why I I will never be an ambassador for or owe allegiance to a particular software company.

Here at Copyrightimage I use a variety of licensed software from many sources.

I view a piece of imaging software as a tool to aid in the development and production of images. I appreciate the efforts of the software developers at Adobe, Phase One, Photo Mechanic and others to make the best tools possible. However its important to remember that software evolves and companies change and disappear, in the end the only lasting things are the images you produce.

For this reason I favour software that supports open standards in file types, metadata and colour management. I’m much less keen on propriety parametric software that locks in any changes to the images that would be lost if they were to be discontinued. For example (and despite being one of the richest companies in the world) Apple left their Aperture users high and dry in 2014.

The main lesson from the demise of Kodak is that no company, no matter how big is immune from the changing landscape, especially when the rate of change increases.

In these days of declining returns from Stock Photo Agencies and other photographic income streams I find that the most effective way to speed up and reduce the cost of my services comes from combining the best elements of each piece of software into a custom workflow. Listed below are the current major pieces of software I use in each category of imaging workflow. This software and workflow will change as the market does but the one thing that will remain central to my focus: The Images themselves.

click to enlarge:

 

 

 

 

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Client Advisory – Photoshop CC 2017 update

cs2017

Adobe have released the 2017 versions of Bridge and Photoshop. Looks to be a mixture of interface changes, performance enhancements and extended functionality.

Initial impressions are good and I will be giving it test drives over the next few days.

With important customer jobs in progress I have of course kept my current versions of Bridge and Photoshop installed so I can run both. This is also important as only some of my third party filters have been transferred across with the install.

If you would like to test the new version as well then consider doing the same and run the install so that it doesn’t write over your current setup, to do this click on Advanced Options in the update dialogue and untick Remove old Versions (Keep Import previous settings and preferences ticked)

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Copyrightimage helps out with Planet Earth II for the BBC

pe2Very much looking forward to seeing Planet Earth II with Sir David Attenborough starting next Sunday on BBC1 in the UK. The first episode is titled Islands.

My involvement in the project was to retouch and colour grade the stills and 4k+ video grabs for The Book that accompanies the series. Thanks goes to the Editor Kate Fox and the Project Editor Roz Kidman Cox for asking me to do the work.

Television shows images in RGB and has a high brightness and contrast range, paper in comparison has a very low colour and tone range that starts off with a creamy white for the highlights and then makes up the rest of the colour and tone by darkening the paper with Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black process inks.

The challenge is to retain all important highlight and shadow detail but keep a good dynamic contrast and colour in the mid tones and overall, this does mean quite an involved grading process using multiple layers and adjustments to get this right. (I discussed this split grading in my recent workshop).

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Client Story:MINT Images, Liesel Böckl

unnamed

Liesel has been working on a series of projects over the Summer in Japan and I was pleased to be asked to retouch from the raw files via her agency MINT Images. Each project is a sensitive and authentic visual short story of the workplaces she visited and together they tell a larger story of Kodawari. Liesels website is currently being redone but you can follow her projects here on facebook


cid:4AB1E50C-462C-4E80-A427-E2A001DACC3F
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Stills from Video, workshop summary notes

repro
Many thanks to those who attended my workshop this afternoon.


It was a bit of a whirlwind through the world of colour management and the process of grading images to sit well on the page or screen but I hope you found something of interest that you can incorporate into your workflow.

For your benefit (and those that could not make it) I have made some summary notes for you.

These don’t include the copyrighted material I was kindly allowed to use in the talk

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any queries or would like to work with me to improve your workflow or project.

You can download the notes here; http://www.copyrightimage.com/Stills_from_Video.pdf

 

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The Rosetta Stone of cross media: Video, Stills and repro sizes in megapixels

300dpi
Very much looking forward to my talk at Wildscreen tomorrow on the subject of making repro quality stills from video grabs: http://sched.co/8IY9

Im please to say that for one day only I have obtained special permission to show stills work from the recently announced BBC Planet Earth II book.

Im aware that my session may be oversubscribed (cue cut scene with me alone in the room), if this is the case then not to worry, I will be making some notes available after the session on this website for you to read. These will be a distillation of some aspects of the talk and wont include the retouching examples so please do come if you would like to learn more.

In the meantime here is a taster of one of the less visual parts: http://www.copyrightimage.com/ImagingRosettaStone.pdf

Stephen

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Client Story: Laura Barwick, BBC

cover-jpg-rendition-460-707Congratulations are in order for Laura Barwicks latest book  “Animal Babies” which accompanies the BBC wildlife production of the same name.

https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/laura-barwick/1079267/

Laura is always a pleasure to deal with and I was pleased to help out here by making sure the Video Frame Grabs (34 out of the 120 images) looked as good as possible and integrated fully with the stills photography in the book

You can buy animal babies at all good book shops
Affiliate link:

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