Installing Excire Search plugin for Lightroom

I am currently initialising the Excire Search plugin for Lightroom.

Excire search for Lightroom 13112018.PNG

Whilst I am excited to try out this cool looking software I have to wait for the software to get acquainted with all the images in my Lightroom Catalogue.

As there are over 60,00 images this may take some time. Which is fair enough.

Excire initialisation screen 13112018.PNG

When you get Excire please remember that after the slick installation there is a process called initialisation that you have to go through, as I am now.

Rick McEvoy Photography - Photographer, blogger, writer, website creator

How to choose your next camera – 31 features that I want

A few weeks ago I wrote about my old faithful Canon 6D, and asked if I was ready to replace it, and if so what with? I spent lots of time talking about the Canon 6D in that article.

And I got to thinking about things that I would like in a new camera. My Canon 6D is a few years old now, and whilst it performs fantastically well as my working camera a lot has changed since it was released. So - how to choose your next camera? To answer this, I have listed down 31 features that I want in a new camera. This is the nice to haves and the esssentials which I have listed as the start of the process to choose my next camera. I am going to refine this list down to the essential items that I need, which will determine what my next camera should be.

A new camera is a significant purchase in many ways, so time spent identifying the features required will ensure that the correct choice of new camera is made.

By the way these are all features that will help me to take better photos, which is my number one priority.

Why am I writing this list now?

This list started off when I was writing a previous blog post about my Canon 6D, and brought together thoughts I have been having for some time. The starting point really was what would I do if I broke my Canon 6D – this is an entirely likely scenario as I am

  • Intrinsically clumsy, and

  • Take photos on live construction sites

  • Like putting my camera very close to the bit of land where the waves and land meet.

  • Take my camera with me absolutely everywhere

  • Seriously I am really clumsy

What has made me think about changing my camera?

So once that thought process had been initiated, the cogs started whirring slowly.

The 3 primary reasons/ concerns/ potential issues

1 – My dodgy old mince pies (like the rather too early Yuletide reference?)

Head torch 09092018.PNG

My eyesight is getting worse as I get older. Well we are all getting older of course but I have a bit of a head start when it comes to age – I am already 51.

It is my eyes that are the issue. I have been short sighted for donkeys’ years now. But in the last 5 years my near vision has got worse and worse.

Add short-sighted to losing your near vision and it is a royal pain in the X! Try seeing all those small lights and dials on a camera, and then switch your vision to distance – not easy.

2 – A different way of working

Yes – I am working in a different way now. My Canon 6D is still doing an excellent job with my architectural photography work, but there are other things that I am doing now, travel photography and vlogging. My Canon 6D is not fitting the bill as well for these areas of my work.

Photos of Santorini web page extract 19102018.PNG


3 – I just want something shiny and new

Shock confession. I want a new camera. There – I have said it now. I think that this has become one of those self-fulfilling prophecies. I started writing about not replacing my Canon 6D and find myself here writing this post with much too much enthusiasm!

To be fair to me my cameras tend to last me five years so I am due for something that will take me into the year 2024 – imagine what technology will be doing for us by then!!

Back to the subject in hand - here are the 31 features that I want in my next camera.

These 31 things are in no particular order, and are a list of the things that came to me when I sat down to capture the headings for this article. 31 just happens to be the number of things I came up with – there is no significance to this number!!

1 - Smaller and lighter than my Canon 6D with lenses attached.

I found myself using my iPhone more and more on holiday. I basically couldn’t be bothered getting my Canon 6D out all the time, and really enjoyed the ease of using an iPhone.

I know – its not Canons fault I’m lazy!

I used my Canon 6D for sunrise shots, where it was just me and the sunrise, no on else around and just me to think about. I used my Canon 6D on my travel tripod, the Manfrotto 190 Go.

I would really like something much smaller and lighter that I can take on trips and not be burdened with.

My 6D is not that big to be fair – it is just the collection of stuff together that bugs me. And I know there is smaller stuff out there.

Talking of tripods I also use a Platypod and a very small tripod called the Manfrotto Pixi. If I had a much smaller camera, I would have more options in terms of tripods and other supports which is rather exciting.

2 - In camera HDR

I am going to refer to my Canon 6D as my camera from now on. OK?

My camera has built-in HDR, but this is only to Jpeg files. I shoot in RAW only, so this feature is of no use to me.

Or is it?

Is there a different way of looking at this? Has the technology of cameras, sensors, image capture and image processing progressed to the point where there is no real difference between Jpeg and RAW?

Is there a camera that makes this differentiation irrelevant?

And is there a camera that makes HDR irrelevant as well?

Well it’s a thought.

Can a single image capture be enough?

Or a single image capture processed using something like Aurora HDR.

3 – GPS

GPS is a must for not only my travel photography, but also my commercial photography and the stuff I do on the way to and from shoots.

I have GPS on my Canon 6D which I always use, which I find incredibly useful.

I use the Map Module in Lightroom a lot, especially when I am writing about my photographs on my various websites, blog and also on the Improve Photography website.

View from Oia Lightroom Map 19102018.PNG

GPS is pretty much an essential tool for me.

4 - Wi-fi

I use Wi-Fi to remotely control my camera using the Canon Connect App. I have used this to activate my camera from the top of my painters’ pole in a couple of situations.

 Me using the Wi-Fi on my Canon 6D

Me using the Wi-Fi on my Canon 6D

This photo was taken in a pretty harsh environment, a gravel loading facility next to a live rail siding. I had to photograph the gravel being unloaded by the 360 machine from the train into the gravel bays.

And when these guys are unloading from a train on a live rail network they get on with it!

 No time to wait on this shoot with my Canon 6D

No time to wait on this shoot with my Canon 6D

The other example is where I want to take a photograph of a building from higher than ground level, like the photo above. Getting to first floor level, which is only circa 3m gives a completely different perspective, and also means that my camera is at first floor level, eliminating the need to correct verticals.

 Architectural photography in Hampshire using a painters’ pole

Architectural photography in Hampshire using a painters’ pole

5 - Connectivity as good as an iPhone

In the year 2018 why do cameras not have the same functionality and connectivity that we all enjoy with our phones?

My Canon 6D is an older camera now granted but cameras in general seem to lack way behind phones.

Why can’t I take a photo and share it with a client immediately? I can with my phone.

6 - The functionality of an iPhone

Same point relay but rather than connectivity functionality.

7 - Connectivity to my iPhone (thinking about it)

improving that in a clever way could negate the need for the two points above.

8 - In camera image processing

What do I mean by this? I guess I am talking about Jpeg image capture with more processing, meaning I can use images straight from camera (with the connectivity mentioned above).

9 - Fully articulated screen

I put my camera on a painters’ pole. I also put my camera on the ground, on a Platypod or Manfrotto Pixi tripod. I hold my camera out of windows.

I hold my camera out in front of me to get over things.

For all of these situations a fully articulating screen would be a huge bonus to me – this would genuinely help me taking photos.

10 - A screen I can actually see in normal light and also in direct Greek sunshine

I am getting old. I am (rather tragically) over 50. And my eyes are not what they were.

The screens on my Canon 6D are an issue. The tiny numbers in the viewfinder are also an issue to me.

 Photographing the sunrise on Santorini

Photographing the sunrise on Santorini

I have been getting away with these shortcomings mainly by the way I take my photos. I pre-set most of my camera settings so most of the time all I am changing is the aperture and the point of focus.

When I want to deviate from that in any way the problems begin.

And I have noticed recently that all things that I do with my Canon 6D are becoming more difficult. Not just my Canon 6D of course – all things that I do that involve close focus.

And the distance stuff isn’t that great either.

Oh the woes of getting old…….

A large bright screen will help I have no doubt. Going from my iPhone 7 Plus to my Canon 6D screen is like going from my iPhone back to one of the old Nokia phones with the little screen – remember them??

11 - Touch screen with full functionality

This ties in with points raised before, putting all these bits together to get something approaching iPhone touch screen functionality.

The thought of a touch screen that is as user friendly as that on an iPhone or iPad is rather exciting to me.

12 - Ergonomics that make it a pleasure to use

My Canon 6D works for me ergonomically. I have handled some smaller cameras and am not sure how they handle ergonomically – that is a very good reason for going to an actual camera shop and actually holding an actual camera rather then reading reviews online.

The internet will never replace a shop for the experience of actually holding something and getting that tactile experience – that is one reason why it is so important that we all go to shops and buy things, or there will be no shops and nowhere that you can go to hold an actual camera.

13 - Simple logical menu system

Not a lot more to say really – I have heard that other camera manufacturers systems are not as good as Canons, which I am used to. And to be honest I change so little, maybe because there is so little to change, that this is not currently an issue.

This may be an issue if I had a camera with more variables to play with. One to think about,

14 - 4K video with high quality audio recording

I currently do 99% of videos with my iPhone. Now I do have a DJI Osmo Mobile that I need to make better use of but I would like to do more 4K video with an actual camera – my Canon 6D does not do 4K video of course.

My videos are not the best, but on the plus side check out this lovely 6 minutes of sunrise tranqulity on the wonderful Greek Island of Paxos.

15 - Excellent Vlogging/ recording capabilities

I am finding the need to produce more videos, some for my own promotional purposes, some for clients I am working for. At the moment all I am doing is holding my iPhone up in front of me and talking into it using the built-in mic. Whilst the picture quality is adequate the sound is not good enough.

16 - Smaller cheaper lenses offering similar quality

This ties in with my desire to have smaller camera gear especially for travel photography. I have found in recent trips that I have been using my iPhone more and more for day to day shooting, using my Canon 6D for sunrises and stuff like that.

Whilst the iPhone has a remarkably capable camera it just does not compare with my Canon 6D and Canon L lenses, and nor should it to be fair.

17 – High quality sensor

I love the sensor on my Canon 6D, and love the images it captures. This is a 20 MP sensor, and I will not accept a lesser performing sensor.

Another intangible here is how the sensor on another camera will perform, and what will the look be of the images?

18 - Excellent low light performance

My Canon 6D has excellent low light performance. Well I think it does. Again performance needs to be better than that I currently enjoy.

19 - Stuff like time lapse, long exposure and other good stuff etc built in

I want some toys and things that I can play with and have some fun! And I want to be able to use the latest technological developments in my photography. I know it is all about the composition but I have worked hard on that over the last year, and will continue to do so going forwards.

I just want some fun when I am taking my photos and some new things to try out.

20 - A sensor that doesn’t need cleaning

I hate removing sensor dust spots. Hate it.

So a sensor that doesn’t need cleaning will be good. Not an essential but a nice to have.

I do not know if this is even a thing – one of the problems with mirrorless cameras is that the sensor is closer to the bit where you mount the lens as there is no mirror there. On an SLR there is a mirror in-between the rear lens mount and the sensor which must provide some protection.

21 - Interchangeable lenses

Now this is an essential. I want to be able to change lenses, I want to be able to expand the range of lenses that I have in the future as and when needed.

And I want the lenses to be of a similar quality to my current Canon L series lenses.

22 - Tilt shift capability

I have a tilt-shift lens that I rarely use. The truth is I do not like it. It is manual focus, and I have managed for so long without it that I am in two minds whether to get rid of it or not.

 Canon 24mm tilit shift lens

Canon 24mm tilit shift lens


I have been planning on using my tilt-shift lens for a prolonged period of time but have never got around to this.

I think that this may be because don’t really want to – I feel like I am forcing myself (potentially) to use a piece of kit just because others say I should.

It is unlike me to do such a thing so lets just park this and say that it will never happen.

That’s tilt shift lenses done then!

23 – Ultra-wide angle lens

This might be an issue with crop factors. At the moment I have a Canon 17-40mm lens on my full frame Canon 6D. If anything I want the ability to go wider than 17mm if at all possible, but without the size and expense of the canon 11-24mm lens – an awesome lens for sure but not what I am looking for at the moment.

This could be a deal breaker for me.

24 - Bespoke programming – Custom Function that works!

I have never got on with the custom functions on my Canon 6D. I think this is my own fault, a definite display of petulance and a lack of time studying this feature.

But to be able to have pre-sets that I can switch to automatically to mix things up is very appealing to me.

25 - RAW Capture

I shoot in RAW, process in RAW and output in Jpeg. But with the new technologies out there is this still a thing? Or has the in-camera elastic trickery made this a thing of the past?

26 – EVF

I have tried various EVFs in shops, and also at Gatwick Airports’ Dixons World Duty Free. The main thing that I do with my airport downtime is look at cameras and marvel at EVFs.

I love the way that you get live exposure simulation in the EVF – such an awesome thing to be able to see.

The EVF however needs to provide the same optical experience as the viewfinder on my Canon 6D though – field of view here is a consideration together with brightness and realism.

And the size of the stuff in the EVF.

27 – Computational photography

I know very little about this, but the advances in technology must be being included in image capture?

I am sure that with the power of processing things like sensor size, mega pixels, noise and stuff like that the gap between high end and lower end cameras is closing.

28 - Focussing in the dark

My Canon 6D is pretty good at this. I have written about this on my blog and also on the Improve Photography website.

And to be honest people have been surprised that I find the Canon 6Ds low light focussing capabilities.

I am sure that newer cameras will have better low light focussing capabilities than my Canon 6D so I expect to see benefit in this area with a new camera.

29 – Weather-sealing

I need a weather-sealed camera. All my photography is done outdoors. And I don’t stop for the rain.

And I work on live construction site which are wet, dusty inhospitable and noisy places. Not that noise is relevant here.

30 - And the ability to output straight from the camera.

Straight from the camera onto the internet. This is a new business need which I will expand on in the summary.

If I could take a photograph with image processing pre-sets that I knew would give me the initial level of processing that I wanted that would be a start. There is of course the question of the metadata, filename, title and description. But I guess they could be added after the event?

I need to be able to add high quality metadata to my images – this is something I am quite fastidious about.

It is the ability to be able to get processed images out of the camera and onto my websites that I am keen to have.

31 – Shiny new loveliness

I have often written that there is too much talk about gear, which I still maintain is true. But this does not mean that I do not want some shiny new techie loveliness now!

And when I get a camera I do tend to use it for a number of years.

But there is a genuine worry here

What if I jump ship to another manufacturer and don’t like it? If I were to get a Canon EOS R, which is a strong contender, I would be staying in the Canon ecosystem. I would know what I was getting, but with lots and lots of bells and whistles in addition.

But what if I went elsewhere and just did not like it – that does worry me.

I need to narrow things down

I need to provide a bullet point list of essentials – I will do this and post it next week, along with any feedback from this post and the one that I published on Improve Photography titled.

Or do I have two camera systems?

 Canon 6D

Canon 6D

I might have missed a trick here. My Canon 6D works just fine, and still captures great images. What if I got something super small for travel?

Maybe I need two shortlists – one for a replacement to my Canon 6D (and all the other related products) and one for an addition to my Canon 6D.

I think that I have just cracked this particular conundrum – to systems.

Keeping my Canon 6D for my architectural work opens up more possibilities for my other work.

Summary

There is a serious point to this. I have embarked on some new products, one of which I have recently completed.

I have written about this before on my photography blog, but it is wholly relevant here.

I am talking about my new photography website Photos of Santorini. And more significantly the websites I have planned for the future. I want to be able to work in a different way for the next websites I am producing, including having the ability to add photos direct to website pages to speed up production of these websites.

I want to publish images straight from the camera with no further processing required.

This will also allow me to produce new websites whilst out on location which will be massive for me.

If I can add the images I can add the text using my iPad to a prepared website – now that would be really cool and transform the way I work.

So there is a serious point to this.

That and the fact that my eyes are getting old and less useful!

OK I’m done now

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post, and please if you are able to point me in the right direction for my next camera please do so.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, blogger, website creator extraordinaire

My new website Photos of Santorini is now finished

It has taken a while, and longer than anticipated, but Photos of Santorini is now complete.

Sunrise with clouds below viewed from Kasimatis Suites in Santor

This website has been built entirely by me using the Wordpress platform. All the words and images are my own.

I have never done this before.

And it took me about a year and a half longer than I anticiapted to actually do something with the photos I took when I visited the wonderful Greek Island of Santorini.

I didn’t expect to be creating a brand new website, but this is what I have done!

So for now, I am going to sit back and have a break before getting on with my next website Paxos Travel Guide!

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - website creator

Slugs, and snippets done for Photos of Santorini

Sound like a a gardening theme this one! Anyway another job done on my website Photos of Santorini.

I have to say that I have found creating a Wordpress website a complete revelation - this last piece of work was an absolute doddle.

All I needed to do was go to the Snippet Preview at the bottom of the page and type in the text - the boxes went to green when there was the right amount of text, and if I put too much text then the bar went red!

This is what it looks like.

IMG_1420.PNG

 And with that I am done for now. Photos of Santorini is complete. My intention was to get this done asap and for it to not be a polished website.

So with that I am going to reminded the pages of the website, take advice on the ideal theme for this website and moe on to the next thing. 

Paxos Travel Guide

Following my experiences with this website I do not expect to complete my next website this side of Christmas, as this is following the Project 24 format strictly. 

I will get back to this next week, leaving me a bit of time to sort some other stuff. 

Rick McEvoy - Photos of Santorini

Remember when I deleted the Google Analytics App?

I was checking my Analytics too often. It was distracting me, and was basically a complete waste of my time! So I did the only thing and deleted the Google Analytics App from my phone, leaving it on my iPad only.

01ED17BE-EC4B-4F0F-AEFF-FBEB4503F4BA.JPG

 

I did the same with the Squarespace Analytics App.

2FB40A68-97FC-400C-AEDE-E2ECD8EB3259.JPG

And also YouTube studio.

9BAA040A-4FFF-40AB-A9DB-1060AA59F0FC.JPG

 Why did I do this? 

Simple - I was obsessed with checking the number of visitors to my website. I was checking much too often.

If I want to check any of these stats now I have to use my iPad. I have left these excellent Apps on my iPad. The logic is that to check my stats I have to use my iPad, which is much less available to me than my phone.

And this worked for a time. 

But, disappointingly, I found a way round this. Web based Google Analytics. Yes I managed to get this page on my iPhone, and all I need to do is refresh the page and there are the stats I want. 

I have removed that page now to stop this. I do not need to check analaytics as often as I do. I know that. 

To further compound the problem I now have three websites, this one which you are on now, and my new websites.

Photos of Santorini

is now pretty much complete

and

Paxos Travel Guide

which I am back working on.

All the more reason to check my analytics? Yes, but I will endeavour to not do.

Rick McEvoy Photography - photographer, photoblogger, writer, website creator

 

 

Santorini images gallery – how is mine coming along?

Why did I come up with this title for this blog post?

Google of course. Santorini images gallery is a much better search term, and my website is after all just that so I thought why not? Let’s try to use the power of Google here to help me get this blog posts about my website Photos of Santorini ranked.

OK now that is out of the way where am I up to with my new website Photos of Santorini?

This is finally done. I have completed my new website. This is not surprisingly about my photos of Santorini, along with lots of photography advice. I have tried something different and niche.

When I say completed, I mean nearly completed.

  • Almost.

  • I am getting there.

  • And there is a fully populated website live on the internet. But there is still more to do.

What have I done since last week?

I have completed the editing of my photos of Santorini

My Big Greek Photo Gallery

I have completed editing the 99 images which you will find on my Big Greek Photo Gallery.

That took longer than I had realised it would – I had to pick up on editing images from over a year ago and make sure that they all looked like they were from a cohesive set of images.

But that is done, and I am leaving this for now. I have questioned some of my image choices but have to just leave the selection I have – I can always come back to these images in the New Year. Actually, that would be a nice thing to do – add another 10 – 20 images which will give a bit of a refresh. I have scheduled this in for February 2019.

Image metadata

This was a biggy. I had to rename all the file names and add a description and keywords. And this is on an individual basis to 99 images.

This had to be done so the images become searchable items in Google.

This was a complete pain to do but very important.

I carried this out in Lightroom, meaning that every time I do something with any of these images that base metadata will be with that file.

Whilst this might have been a pain, writing bespoke text for each image gave me an added bonus I had not thought of – there are 3245 words on the image gallery page, all text relevant to each image and therefore valuable in search engine terms.

Time very well spent.

Index in Google

I have indexed all the pages in Google, using the Yoast SEO plugin on my WordPress website.

This tells Google that the pages are all there, in case Google hadn’t noticed, which Google had…

Long post

I had a very long post, 7000 words. This was going to be like an anchor post – a long weighty meaty post that would smash the opposition on the internet. 7000 words however was too long, so I have split this down into two parts

Santorini photography tips – what I have learned – Part 1

Santorini photography tips – what I have learned – Part 2

Makes sense to me!

What is to be done?

Titles and descriptions

I need to add titles and descriptions to every page so it all looks shiny, interesting and appealing on a Google search. To be honest I am not sure what to put in these fields, having done some of the pages already I have had a bit of a rethink.

I am going to have a think about this – once I get this clear in my head it will be a case of adding the text to a spreadsheet and then pasting into the fields in WordPress – an important job but not one that will take long to do.

Snippets

I need snippets. And I don’t know how to do them. So, I will look into this and report back. This really is a never-ending learning journey!

For those of you who don’t know me I am a photographer and construction project manager – I am NOT a web developer!

Links

I need to make sure that I have appropriate links on each and every page to other pages to make the thing work together. Internal links to relevant pages is something Google likes too, which is good.

Affiliate Links

I need to add the affiliate links with commercial partners that I have, and Amazon Associate links for the gear that I use.

Resolve my page URL

I want the search bar to read

https://photosofsantorini.com

At the moment it reads

https://www.photosofsantorini.com

I thought I had sorted this with Google, but this is still not displaying as I would like it to.

Check all the keywords are on my App

I have an App called SEO Edge. Here is a screenshot of it.

What I want to do is make sure that the keyword for each blog post is on this App, so I can see if that page is working.

This is part of my checking my Analytics too often issue I know, but it is important to know that all the pages are working, and also I need to know if some of the pages need changing so they are working to their maximum.

I will not know this for another 4 months though, but it is good to monitor this on a weekly basis.

Check keywords are all included in text

Yep – dull but important. I spent a lot of time researching keywords, and want to make sure that they are subtly applied within the text of each page for maximum SEO benefits. But in a natural way that works with the text.

This is why I wrote the text without the keywords in mind, to make the text natural and sound like it is coming out of my mouth.

Proof read

The final job. Read every page. Every line of every page.

I am sort of looking forward to this, and at the same time dreading it. Having lived and breathed this website for too long now I want to be able to leave it to grow, so a final read is the last main job.

There are over 45,000 words on this website, which is quite remarkable. I had no idea it would end up being such a large task, but I am so happy that it is nearly complete.

Website backup

Another important thing – I have over 45,000 words on this website, and don’t want to lose them. This is a job for Bluehost to help me with, which I will do this week using their excellent online help.

Videos onto YouTube

I have managed to get all the photos and videos from my iPhone over to my PC. I have used quite a lot of the images and videos in blog posts but want to check the rest and see if there is some stuff that needs to be put onto YouTube – no point these things sitting on my hard drive if they can be working for me somewhere online.

Theme

I am new to WordPress and websites and have gone with a free theme called Pixagraphy. I need to look into this, and now that I have all the content on my website is the time to do this, and see if I can quickly (and at no expense) find a theme that will make my website look more appealing and more professional.

Swap over the images

I nearly forgot this – I need to update the images now that I have added all the metadata – the images uploaded before I did this work obviously won’t have this info on them.

Quickly

Yes quickly. This is meant to be a quick website, done without overanalysing everything and with no intention of aiming for perfection.

It turns out that this took much longer than I expected it to, and my next website will take longer than I had planned, but once this is done that is it – job done.

And this is the template for future websites.

So, all of this in done in a bit of a hurry as I just want to get this out online as quickly as possible and see how it performs.

  • Publicise my website

  • Once it is done, I will promote my website on the following

  • My own website – more posts like this one

  • Google

  • Instagram

  • Pinterest

  • LinkedIn

  • Twitter

And anywhere else I can think of

Wait

Yes, the last job is to wait and see what happens. Will this be the beginning of a life of passive income from travel photography websites?

I certainly hope so, but genuinely have no idea if this will be the case or not. Time will tell.

6 – 8 months’ time that is. Which was part of the urgency – I wanted to get this done and published to start the clock ticking, which I have now done minor tweaks apart.

Summary

Blimey. There is so much to do! But I am nearly there, which is all rather exciting. I have really enjoyed creating something all of my own and publishing it on the internet.

All I can do now (after sorting the bits I mentioned in this post) is wait and see what happens.

Oh, sorry there is one more thing that I can do.

Get on with the next website - Paxos travel guide.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, photoblogger, writer, website creator

Why are some excellent Lightroom tools not replicated in Photoshop?

I am sat here editing my photos of Santorini. Nearly done which is good. I have been going into Photoshop to remove primarily sensor dust spots, but also stuff creeping into the edge of a shot, and also stuff I want removing.

Take this photo of Fira for example - there are all sorts of bits that need consigning to the shadows as they don’t add to the image - they just distract.

This is the final image.

Fira sunset snippet after 01112018.PNG

I do this work in Photoshop and then save the image back into Lightroom.

I then have to go back to the Spot Removal Tool in Lightroom to check to see if there are any bits left that I have not done - there is an excellent feature called Visualise Spos bottom left after you select the (much improved) Spot Removal Tool.

Fira sunset Visualise close up 01112018.PNG

This is the spots that required removal after the work I have done in Photoshop - quite surprising!

Fira sunset snippet Lightroom visualise after 01112018.PNG

The small circle are spots that I have removed.

The question is this - why is the excellent Visualise Spots feature not available in Photoshop?

And while I am on the subject why cannot I not use the Page Down key to navigate through an image like I can in Lightroom?

There are some execllent features in Lightroom thaht would make Photoshop so much easier to use.

Rick McEvoy Photography - Photos of Santorini

Is the Canon 6d Mk 1 still a good camera? It’s a yes from me

Canon 6D 21052018.PNG

The Canon 6D was released in 2012. I bought mine in 2014. When it was released it was a great camera. When I bought my Canon 6D it was a great camera.
So at the back end of 2018 is the Canon 6D still a good camera? Yes of course it is. In fact no it is not still a good camera – it is still a great camera. My Canon 6D took great photos in 2013, and took great photos last week.

What about progress and technological advances?

Despite all the technological advances that can be found in shiny new cameras the Canon 6D is still a great camera. And just because other cameras have advanced significantly since 2012 this does not automatically make the Canon 6D over the hill, past it’s sell by date, irrelevant or obsolete.

And to broaden this out further

In my opinion this applies to many cameras released in the last, well I don’t know, 15 years?

What did I have before the Canon 6D?

My first full frame camera was a Canon 5D Mk 1. This camera was first released in 2005 would you believe! And I still have this camera, which I am very fond of.

This is an image that I took with my Canon 5D which can be found in my current architectural photography portfolio.

 Chideock Manor Library - architectural photography in Dorset

Chideock Manor Library - architectural photography in Dorset

Ok – before I justify my statement about the Canon 6D still being a great camera in 2018 I need to say something else.

Photography is not about gear. Photography is about recording the light. Composition and creativity.

All this technical stuff is really irrelevant.

No one cares which camera you or I have used to capture an image. No one cares about the camera settings, if it was taken in RAW or JPEG?

No one apart from other photographers that is.

All people care about is the photo itself. That is all. Let us not forget that.

OK – so back to the gear….

I know. I complain too much about gear talk. But here I am not talking about new gear. I am talking about gear that I already have, and have learned to use inside out.

And when I say talk I do mean write of course – it is just that I type as I would talk, as things come into/ out of my head.

Lets start at the beginning. What do I like so much about my Canon 6D?

Firstly, it just works.

Day in, day out. And having used it for so long I know how it works inside out. I can operate my camera in the dark with no problems. I can change lenses in the dark. Once I have found them that is!

Ok – so now for some specific features, in no particular order.

Back button focus

I know that this is by no means a unique feature on the Canon 6D, but I still love this feature, and the way the Canon 6D does it.

Why do I use back button focus?

Simple. I compose my image, and then decide where I want to focus. Then I choose an appropriate aperture. And then I press the shutter button, which meters for the scene and starts the self-timer.

I have separated focus from exposure and image capture. I take the vast majority of my photos on a tripod.

This just works for me.

The sensor and the image quality

These to me are one and the same. I love the images that my Canon 6D produces. I love the look and feel that the RAW files give.

I like the details that the sensor captures.

I like the tones.

I like the range of shadows and highlights, lights and darks. And with the way I take the photos I like the way I can take bracketed sets and put the bits together in Lightroom.

Focussing

Note the Canon 6D has 11 focus points. The Canon EOS R has 5655 focus points. You might want to read that again.

  • The CANON EOS R HAS 5655 FOCUS POINTS.

  • THE CANON 6D HAS 11 FOCUS POINTS

I have found 11 focus points just fine. To be honest I tend to only need to use one at a time. So what would I do with the other 5654 focus points on the Canon EOS R? I’m not quite sure (but I am looking forward to finding out!).

The way I take my photos I focus on one part of the composition, typically around 1/3rd into the scene.

And another thing about the focussing on the Canon 6D – it can focus in ridiculously low light. I don’t know how it compares to other more technologically advanced cameras, but it does focus down to ridiculously levels of light, or darkness

Do I need to be able to focus in near darkness?

Yes.

I take a lot of photos pre-sunrise and post-sunset but rarely have a problem with focussing.

I compose with Live View and focus without Live view – this woks just fine for me.

How it feels in my hands – Ergonomics

The Canon 6D fits in my hands and the controls are all in very familiar and to me logical positions. I have never wished that things weren’t where they are. Not that the camera is perfect, it is just that we have grown close to each other over the years!

It’s a bit like having a favourite pair of shoes, they mould to you over time and end up being irreplaceable.

I know – I am getting worryingly sentimental here. Having said that we have been through a lot together.

Wi-Fi

WiFi 2 09102018.PNG

I use the Wi-Fi to take photos in unusual locations and from unusual viewpoints. This is an essential part of my work.

OK the Canon Connect App is hardly cutting edge, but most of the time it works fine and allows me to do what I need to do.

I have not used the Wi-Fi to view photos remotely – the way I work I only want to look at photos on my big calibrated monitor in my office. This is changing though, and I find that more and more I would benefit from instant access to viewing photos on my iPad Pro.

This is something that I need to look into with my Canon 6D and Canon Connect App – that and transferring Jpeg files for instant publication and sharing.

GPS

Another invaluable feature. I do a lot of travel photography – much more than I ever did, and also have other websites about specific travel photography locations.

I need GPS, and the Canon 6D has it. I use the Map module in Lightroom a lot, which enables me to erm, tell where I took photos from.

 Santorini photo locations from the Lightroom Map Module

Santorini photo locations from the Lightroom Map Module

I also have been known to stop and take photos when travelling – anytime I see something I like I stop and take a photo, and the GPS tells me where I took the shot.

So an invaluable feature that I would not be without.

And I use it on my various websites and for writing articles about my photography work.

It’s not all sweetness and light - there are things that are not perfect! What do I not like about the Canon 6D?

The viewfinder and my dodgy old mince pies

I am 51 years old. I am struggling with the viewfinder I’m not going to lie to you. I have a dominant eye. And a lazy one on the other side of my head. And I am short sighted. And my near vision is much worse than it was.

I never know which eye to use when composing through the viewfinder.

The future of viewfinders – the EVF

I have recently been trying out EVFs on the cameras in display in shops and at airports.

An EVF is an electronic viewfinder by the way.

That is how I spend my time waiting for flights – trying out EVFs and wishing I had one! And then realising even in holiday mode the airport is not the place to buy a camera. I nearly cracked once and would have made an expensive mistake but thankfully I saw sense.

Now when I find one that is actually working I find these to be a bit of a revelation. I tried an Olympus EVF the other day that was absolutely remarkable.

This might be the thing that takes me down the road to mirrorless cameras – my age, my short sightedness and the blurry distance vision I can get from time to time.

Yep getting old has its drawbacks, my eyes being a pretty big one.

Getting back to the point - pleaese forgive my digressions!

I struggle to focus close then distance. My contact lenses correct for my short sight, which I have had since he age of about 13, and now also give me assistance with close vision.

These contact lenses need light to work properly, so at times using the Canon 6D is a struggle. Sometimes I cant read the LCD panel on the top, even with the (faint) light turned on.

So it might be ageing that forces me to buy a new camera - I really hadn’t thought about that until writing this!

GPS woes

The GPS. If I do not manually turn off the GPS when I turn off the camera it is still running and drains the battery. Completely infuriating and there is apparently no fix for this. I actually asked Canon people at the Photography Show.

I hope that the Canon 6D Mk 2 and other newer models have had this problem sorted as it drives me up the wall. And for no reason that I can think of.

The LCD screen

The LCD screen is quite frankly rubbish. Rubbish when compared to my iPhone 7 Plus screen that is. Having said that I can’t see my iPhone screen in full Greek sunlight anyway!

But no the screen is much too small. To get round this I have had to buy a Loupe Viewer – this is what it looks like.

IMG_9188.jpg

I had to stick a small plastic window on the LCD screen, onto which I can attach the viewer quickly whenever needed.

I use the LCD screen to compose images all the time, which would be very difficult, even impossible in some lighting situations with just the small LCD screen on the Canon 6D.

And add the problems with my ageing eyes and you will see that the screen is a serious issue to me.

So much so now that I have written about it that I might have to consider replacing my Canon 6D to get over my ageing eyes!

Custom Functions

I don’t get them sorry Canon. It seems such a convoluted way to customise my camera that I have never really used it. Sure I have set it up but find it so un-user friendly. Maybe I should give some more time to this feature and see if I get can get my head around it properly.

I did try it but when I saved the settings I was no longer shooting in AV Mode, which confused me so I gave up.

HDR Merge

There is in-camera HDR merge feature on the Canon 6D, but rather bafflingly this only works with JPEG files?

Why can’t any camera, and not only the Canon 6D just do the HDR thing automatically in-camera? With RAW files that is. It is only a case of taking three exposures and merging them together. Why do I have to do this in Lightroom?

And why doesn’t the in-camera HDR work on RAW images?

If the Canon 6D did in-camera HDR with RAW files I would only ever need the RAW HDR file which would save me so much time.

What is the working life of a Canon 6D?

Shutter actuations are the key thing here. The shutter after all is the major moving part and rather critical to the workings of the camera.

The Canon 6D shutter has a shutter rating of 100,000 actuations. How many shutter actuations have I made with my Canon 6D?

No idea.

I could get some software that will give me a number but it is unlikely to be accurate.

No I will go with the number of images in my Lightroom Catalogue. Of course that will not include images that have been deleted, but I don’t think that this will be significant knowing the way I work and how few images I delete once they are in Lightroom.

This will give me a good enough idea.

22,422 is the number from Lightroom. Not too bad and not a concern. Not as much as the state of my eyesight that is!

Lets not forget 100,000 is a number to provide an indication of the working life. To me this number is only of use when I am comparing one camera to another – the number gives me an idea of the relative robustness of two cameras.

A much more relevant factor is how many times I have dropped my camera, how many times I have got it wet.

Basically how badly have I treated it?

  • Dropping it

  • Well there was the big drop in the National Trust office at Corfe Castle – this resulted in an expensive repair.

  • And lots of small drops. Mostly onto rocks at sunrise.

  • Water damage

  • Splashes by the sea.

  • Letting the camera roll down in rock into a shallow puddle.

  • Being rained on.

  • A quick spray of Mythos (the Greek beer for those who don’t know!)

  • General wear and tear

My camera has been with me every day everywhere I go. Every day I put it in the boot of my car, and every night I take it out again. It has been crammed into tight spaces on planes, buses, trains and boats of various types.

The working life of my Canon 6D is from now until is stops working!

Enough waffle – what about some photos taken with my Canon 6D?

Here are five photos taken over the 5 years I have had my Canon 6D

2014

Twin Sails Bridge by Rick McEvoy Construction Photographer in Po

2015

Sandbanks Hotel by Rick McEvoy Architectural Photographer in San

2016

IMG_9088-HDR-Edit.jpg

2017

Gravel being unloaded at a live rail facility

2018

Pictures of Gussage House, Gussage All Saints, Dorset

What lenses do I use with my Canon 6D

I just have four lenses these days.

  • Canon 24-105mm F4 L

  • Canon 17-40mm F4L

  • Canon 70-200mm F4 L IS

  • Canon 24mm Tilt shift lens

These are all I need to be honest. I use the 24-105 for travel photography, and the 17-40 for most of my architectural work.

What would my ideal focal lengths be?

12-300mm is the range that I would like to cover, ideally with 2 or 3 small lenses.

What would it take for me to change to another camera?

I would like something smaller and lighter.

That would mean the Canon EOS R and one of the new, smaller lenses. Yes I find that quite exciting.

I am on the press waiting list for a body and lens to review on the Improve Photography website.

Will getting my hands on a Canon EOS R change my views on newer gear?

I don’t know. There is the stubborn grumpy old get taking pride and satisfaction from using an old camera to take photos. But there is also the bloke who has shiny new thing syndrome.

I think once I get my hands on the new Canon EOS R I will want one.

Would I change to another camera manufacturer?

Yes. And no. I have used Canon cameras for years and years now. The only other manufacturer I have used is Fujifilm – my first “proper” camera was a Fujifilm (film) SLR.

I don’t want to go to a new manufacturer, but would necessarily not rule it out. I have an open mind on other camera systems. I like the look of Olympus and Fujifilm’s current offerings – this is based on a pretty superficial look at them in camera shops and some stuff I have heard – nothing too scientific or exacting.

Would I go back to film?

No. Why ever would I do that? Why do people do that?

Do I not want something shiny and new?

Yes of course I do, and after all that talk about how much I hate gear and the time spent talking about gear I would love to have a new camera.

I love new tech gear. I am very excited to get a new iPhone when my contract allows (January 2019).

And every time I use my Apple Airpods they make me smile.

But I must not forget this

I still enjoy using my Canon 6D, even after all these years.

But yes I do browse new kit at airports and in camera shops and do have those background gear lust feelings.

So what about all the gear talk?

It just feels that there is too much talk about gear and not enough talk about photography.

Photography hasn’t really changed – photography is after all making photos.

Lets not forget that – photography gear is just that – gear. Tools of the trade. The equipment we use to capture what we see in front of us.

If I get a new camera will I take better photos?

No.

I will have additional features that will give me better opportunities to capture better image but no, fundamentally no.

My Canon 6D won’t last forever though?

No it won’t. What would I do now if I broke or it just expired?

What would I replace my Canon 6D with if I had to replace it right now?

There are things that I would need to have in a camera to convince me to change from my good old Canon 6D.

What about the Canon 6D Mk 2?

The Mk 2 version has some very cool features. It is a general evolution of the 6D Mk 1 into a generally more advanced camera.

As well as all that the 6D Mk 1 has there are also some cool new features.

  • An articulated screen. And a touchscreen at that!

  • More resolution (but not too much) – 26 Megapixels

  • A (slightly) better sensor that the 6D Mk 1

  • Built-in time-lapse

But to be honest these things did not excite me enough to make me upgrade. My 6D Mk 1 is still working just fine thanks.

But the Canon 6D Mk 2 is a great camera. And there would be no problem with all my lenses and other bits of kit. And there is the familiarity of sticking with Canon.

I am digressing now

This is drifting into 20 features I want in a new camera. I might as well make that next weeks post! I just need a snappy Google friendly title and I am good to go.

Tell you what – head back to my photography blog next week where you can read the next post in my series, which will be called something like

20 features I need in a new camera to replace my Canon 6D (by the time I had completed this post I was quickly up to 25 things!)

Summary

Blimey. I can go on sometimes. Still it is good to get these things out of my head and out into the wonderful world of the World Wide Web.

You may have noticed that on more than one occasion I have used the terms “it works for me”. Well that pretty well sums it up.

The Canon 6D works for me.

I hope that you have found the new format of my photography blog, with less frequent but much longer and more in-depth posts useful and more interesting.

Next week I will expand on the things I want in a new camera should I need to get something to replace my Canon 6D.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, photo blogger, writer

Best photography blogs of 2018 – well mines not too bad??

I have changed from daily blog posts to weekly blog posts. Last week I concluded that the best time to post was on Mondays at 4pm BST. That is that sorted.

Photos of Santorini in action.JPG

The next important question therefore is this – what should I write about in my photography blog? Photography stuff. Is my photography blog the best photography blog out there? I wish. But it’s not too bad, even if I do say so myself!

In my photography blog I will be writing about not only architectural photography but also general photography stuff, my images and photography business matters.

So what I hear you say??

This is a significant change for me.

This change is to enable me to produce higher quality, more useful, relevant and meaningful blog posts on a weekly basis.

And that does not necessarily mean that I will not produce blog posts at other times – now that I have a structure, plan and intent for my blog I feel freer to produce other stuff as and when I want which is nice, without the pressure of forcing myself to produce daily content just for the sake of it.

What is the purpose of my blog?

To be completely honest the purpose of my blog is to get more people to visit my website.

That is the bottom line.

Weekly blog posts are new weekly content which Google loves. And the higher the quality of the content the better.

And the more relevant the content is to my website the better too, which is another reason why I have narrowed down my target markets – the focus has benefitted me in various ways.

And to do this I am going to share information that others find useful. If people find my posts useful then more people will visit my blog and I will rank higher in Google for the things that I wrote about.

And if I rank higher in Google more people will find my blog.

And if more people find my blog more people will become aware of me and hopefully enquire about my photography services, photography knowledge, or just look at my photos!

And you never know people might want to actually buy my work.

That is my understanding of how this should work – there you go – if I am right I have virtually handed you and everyone else the keys to the internet!

In all seriousness that is the general principle – give people helpful information and Google will thank you for it as that is Googles’ number 1 role.

Why does Google exist?

Google exists to give you the best answer to the search query you enter in that box on Google.

If my blog content can contribute to this then great.

All I need to do now is to consistently produce content that people find interesting and helpful and worthy of sharing. If I can do that Google will know. Google knows what is going on on the internet.

Which I’m sure you are aware of.

How did I come up with these four areas of content for my photography blog?

Simple – I want subjects that are relevant to my target audience. I want subjects that are relevant to my photography business.

And most importantly for me I want to write about things that I have a genuine interest in. I am a strong believer that we all do a better job of something if it is something that we enjoy and have an interest in.

After all I am building a business based around what was once just a hobby. It doesn’t feel like work sometimes which is great, even though I work very hard developing the various strands of my photography business.

So I enjoy the subjects I am wrting about. And I enjoy writing. This is not quite a labour of love but it is much less of a chore than it would be if these weren’t things that I enjoyed.

What is my target audience?

My target audience is quite varied, but has been narrowed down from everyone everywhere. That is who I was writing to up until a couple of weeks ago when I stopped and thought about what I was doing.

This is my target audience now

  • Architects, developers and product manufacturers wanting photos of their buildings, developments and products.

  • People interested in the general subject of photography, taking photos, processing in Lightroom.

  • Buyers of my photos.

  • Manufacturers and suppliers of photography equipment.

Whilst this section of my target audience is very important to me, I will not be writing to or for them. That will take my writing from being natural and about the subject in hand and drive it down a business marketing route that I don’t want to go down.

I am not writing so Canon UK contact me and ask me to review their latest and greatest. I am writing about subjects, and if that is my Canon 6D then so be it, but the subject is my Canon 6D and not hey Canon look at me!!!

This is an important consideration.

Sure there will be lot of references to products, and Amazon affiliate links, but the content will be genuine content.

There are plenty of people out there who do this kind of stuff, but I am going down a different path of my own choosing.

Advertising and marketing companies related to all of the above.

I have split my target audience down to the following four headings, which has helped me define the titles and content of each of my weekly blog posts.

Architectural and commercial photography

My core business is photographing buildings, and mainly for architects, developers, property owners and manufacturers of construction products. That being the case I want to make sure that I am writing about how I can help these good folks to get the photos they want. This is by a combination of words and case studies of commercial photographic work that I have already done.

General photography

This is a tricky area, the global photography one. I am a writer on Improve Photography, and want to continue sharing my general photography knowledge and experiences on my own website.

I will write about image capture, processing, gear, tips and techniques, photography news, anything really of a general interest to the photography community.

The tricky thing is that this is a pretty competitive area, so I will have to be clever in how I produce this content.

My images

This is the place to showcase my photography work.

At the time of writing I have only one portfolio on my website, which consists of 20 architectural photography images.

I am going to add two more portfolios, one for travel photography, and one for landscape photography.

And I might bring back my product page. The problem is how do I sell images if no-one can see them? And I just got rid of a load of pages having taken very good advice.

My photos are unique, and my USP (unique selling point). No-one else has the photos that I have taken. My images, my vision and my style are me – they are what I an trying to sell to clients.

And they are the products that I have to work with, to trade and to sell.

Clients look at my images and know what they are going to get which is very important.

In posting my images I will be writing lots about the images

  • How I got the shots

  • Behind the scenes photos and videos

  • What I was thinking

  • The technical side of the image capture

  • Processing in Lightroom and Photoshop

  • What I did with the images

That sort of thing

I want people to buy my photos

Photography business matters.

This is an area which I find interesting, and I have experiences which I can share which will help people.

As well as my photography business I am also developing some new websites which fit into the travel industry, and also travel photography. I am combining my loves of travel, photography and writing to produce bespoke niche websties.

And I have learnt a lot along the way.

And there are business and cmemrcial opportunuites that I have not yet explored that I want to look into which I can research and write about on my photography blog.

Or should I say photography business blog – hang on – is that a thing?

Four subjects = 1 subject per week – how convenient

Yes I deliberately came up with four areas, as I wanted four different but ultimately related things per month to write about.

What do I do on a five-week month?

I will worry about that when it happens.

How much will I write about in each post?

Well that is anther question – I think that the posts will vary in length from 1500 – 4000words. These are relatively long posts but I have learned from more than one authoritative source that the most popular blog posts have a length of circa 1900 to 2000 words. So 1500 words will be my minimum.

Another reason why these structured posts will be weekly – they take time after all!

I am not going to think about this too much – the length of the post will be determined by what I want to write, rather than writing to a predetermined number of words.

This is me writing about a subject, not writing 2000 words to gain traffic.

And I will write about new things that I need to know but do not know

This is a new thing to me that I have just started doing on the Improve Photography website. I have picked a topic (we writers have an article title hit list) and then learnt about it enough that I can write about it.

And I have to say I quite enjoyed it, and it has opened up a world of new subjects for me to write about.

Basically, if I don’t know anything about a subject then that is fair game for a blog post. And believe me there is lots that I do not know.

My personality

My blog is my personality in words. I write as I speak. My blog is an online mechanism where people can get to know me by reading about me, and reading about my photography.

This is the thing that will run through every blog post, long or short, serious or not so serious – my personality and sense of humour.

If you don’t like the way I write there is a chance that you will not like me in person. Conversely if you love the way I write when you meet me you will feel like you already know me.

And trust me I am a nice chap honest.

And a quick word on my other websites.

When I say websites they are pretty much wbsites with blog posts.

I am currently working on a new website called Photos of Santorini. And once that is done I need to get on with my other website, Paxos Travel Guide. These need time and once done they are standalone completed pieces of work – and this is the time when I will review not only the content of my blog but also the frequency and timing.

I expect that will be in the New Year – Photos of Santorini will complete October 2018, Paxos Travel Guide by the end of December 2018.

Conclusion

I will be producing a weekly post on my photography blog. I will produce other posts as and when, but these will be the main posts.

I will write in-depth posts about each of these four subjects providing a useful resource and information to clients and general readers, as well as showcasing the best of my photography work.

I will also be writing as though I am speaking, so when you read what I write it is like speaking to me.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photographer, photoblogger, writer