Travel Thoughts

Travel has always made me reflective and last weekend was no different. I think of behaviors that need to change and to try something different.

  1. What needs to be changed?
  2. When will I say no to that unhealthy habit?
  3. What can I start today?
  4. What can I stop today?
  5. What needs more reflection?

It’s always amazing to me how travel puts your life into perspective. Do more of this.

108 Exposures

Finally received my Lomography 35 and 110mm film and I am ready to test these out. I have never shot 800 speed and I am looking forward to the colors and contrasts.

Anti-Boring

One of my goals this year is to create images that leave viewers guessing. Or, if nothing else, makes them think. I still haven’t had a chance to work on it but I will. For me, the aesthetic leans towards not just black and white, but heavily contrasted black and white highlights.There is always something to shoot, even the mundane, so why not spice up the mundane?

This can include different lighting and understanding how light/shadows work with your subject.

Abstract

Daily Life

Mundane Made Interesting

Keep Going

I think I need to keep being creative, not to prove anything, but because it makes me happy to do it… I think trying to be creative, keeping busy, has a lot to do with keeping you alive.

Willie Nelson

It is difficult to ponder, but I’ve been thinking of a time in the future where I no longer own a smartphone. Even more difficult to think about, is no longer sharing my life on the World Wide Web. Granted, both of those scenarios are much further down the road, but they have been on my mind. The spark for those thoughts comes from having a presence on multiple platforms, thousands of followers, and then realizing that it matters not. There was a time when I did care to interact and share ideas with my network of friends, some were IRL, most were social media. It has presented me with numerous opportunities to meet physically, to share ideas and share some commonality out there.

A lot of us have worked out that social media is no longer relevant, but where do we go to have our voice heard, if that is still something we want? The feelings go toward, “If I don’t have an online outlet to plug into, do I even exist?” If so, what’s the point of writing if no one is around to read it?

Social media is dying, and this is a good thing. Social media has been dead to me for quite a while, and not soon enough. I’ve been around long enough to see countless changes, some good and mostly horrible. People look at me with amazement when I tell them, no, you cannot follow me on Facebook because I am not there. “I like your photos, what is your Insta?” “I don’t have an Instagram account, but here is my website” and they are all of a sudden disinterested. Am I left behind?

Before the social media platforms we only had SMS texts, e-mail and our self-hosted websites. All was well and good. But stop to think, if social media was so great, why do these trios of basic communication still exist? Because we have control over what we choose to send/receive. We have control over our websites. I vowed a long time ago not to use tracking tools, or advertising. Who did I think I was anyway?

Good website owners write for themselves. However, being human, we do like some return on our efforts. Websites and blogs exist to be read. I write for myself to remember, to learn and to grow. Sometimes people join me and I am grateful. If I were to shutter this website tomorrow, would anyone notice? I would, and after twenty+ years of self-publishing I’ll keep doing this, probably for another twenty years.

Not for you, but for me. Thanks for reading and sticking with me.

Photography Workflow Using the iPad Pro M1

I had first published this guide in early 2019 in an effort to simplify my post-process photography workflow using the 2018 iPad. After decades of desktop and laptop processing, I wondered if the iPad was a solution for me.

Previous year articles from 2021 and 2019

Can the iPad replace the laptop for my photography post-process?

So much has changed since then that I have continued the series and decided to write a new post about it. The evolution in gear, software, and process has been a fun process to look back on and wonder how we managed to get anything done at all. But where there is a will, there are many ways. I will cover what my photography workflow looks like, but ultimately, everyone needs to choose what’s right for them. Workflows are personal and modified as needed. This topic seems to be a crowd favorite because each year these posts receive a lot of traffic and attention (thank you!)

A few months after that last post, I upgraded to the 12.9” Apple iPad M1 (5th Gen) and fine-tuned my workflow. Now, I also upgraded the laptop to the 2021 MacBook Pro M1, and it is no slouch. However, the photo workflow is different, limiting and feels almost antiquated. For now, the MacBook is a tool for me to curate my digital photo archives using Adobe Lightroom Classic, and that’s it. Here are some of the ways an iPad is more beneficial to me:

Multi-input workflow

Photography is a hands-on experience, and it is a joy to continue this on the iPad. Much like using your hands to develop your film negatives, so too are your fingers, the keyboard, and the Apple Pencil for finer control. Using a mouse to manipulate images is too impersonal for me now.

Storage

Thanks to the iPad and cloud services, there is an easier, more secure way to store images you’ve taken. This allows me to focus more on what I want to do (photography), rather than moving files around. I have 2 TB of iCloud storage waiting to receive my image uploads from either my camera or the iPhone. There is another 20 GB of storage in the Adobe cloud. Current images I am shooting are uploaded, stored and easily accessible on any of my devices.

My data transfer and storage needs to be effortless, to the point I don’t have to think about it. I mentioned the MacBook and my archives previously- that’s the only time I want to think about storage. I do organize images on the hard drive and then migrate them into the Archives stored on the 10 TB external hard drive.

Performance

The iPad has been granted a full-time job from me. It is the most powerful, fastest, and more interactive device I own. The ability to handle images in RAW format while asking for more work to do is remarkable to me. Battery life is spectacular, although it has a massive screen. Speaking of that massive screen, nothing makes me happier than reviewing my photos on such a beautiful screen. Much like the analog contact sheets, I can sort through quickly and determine which are the keepers and which get tossed into the digital bin. That M1 chip really knows how to process faster and distribute power evenly.

Mobile

Sure, the 12.9” iPad is large, and the magic keyboard that it magnetically attaches to adds weight. But it is still smaller and lighter than lugging a laptop with all the dongles, charger and cables around. Something else I am enjoying is the 5G connectivity. The ability to travel, make images, load them up into the cloud instantly is nothing short of brilliant. Want to check the forecast for the next day’s shooting? Care to watch that video tutorial of local street photographers while you travel? Start post-processing your images and have them secured until you get back home? Publish your work while on the go? It is all possible with that iPad.

Hardware & Software

Below is what I minimally use to produce a maximum photography workflow.

  1. Apple 12.9” iPad Pro (5th gen) – My mobile photo lab.
  2. Apple Pencil – Precision editing tool
  3. CharJen Mini stick- A USB-C adapter with SD card port, charging port
  4. Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro – All in one keyboard & cover
  5. Apple Photos – Store, review, edit.
  6. Adobe Lightroom – for photo post-processing, organization
  7. iCloud – for backup and syncing across devices using Photos app
  8. Adobe Creative Cloud – for backup and syncing across devices in Lightroom

Extra Tools In The Darkroom

Capture tools include Sony A7III, iPhone, iPad Pro and a collection of analog film cameras. Post-processing labs include Adobe Lightroom, Pixelmator Pro, VSCO and Hipstamatic. Portfolio and galleries that host the final images can be viewed at PhotoDenbow.com and ChrisDenbow.com

Conclusion

The iPad is a great workspace for editing your photos. It is my personal, mobile photo lab. I can process my images in bed or on a plane, or even in between photo shoots when I am out and about. This makes the iPad the perfect tool for my photography.

Conserve & Protect

“Over the coming century, the most vital human resource in need of conservation and protection is likely to be our own consciousness and mental space.

Tim Wu

The Apple Polishing Cloth

It’s a cloth. With an Apple logo on it. It cleans Apple devices. I paid $20 for it. Although I must say, it IS better than your average microfiber polishing cloth. Announced in October of last year, it finally became available.