Several new additions to Lightroom might make it more fun for Fuji shooters and others.

Keep the corners nice and bright and make everything as sharp as it should be and you are doing photography correctly. At least commercial photography. 

Every once in a while Adobe tosses some really cool stuff into their routine updates. There is a new "Flat Field" feature which used to be an after market plug-in but is now a part of the software and should be in yours if you have the latest version. It's a tool that perfects vignette reduction and a thing the folks at Reid Reviews calls, "Color Shift." You can read all about it in the article: https://www.reidreviews.com/examples/flatfieldnew.html Reid reviews is usually a paid site but this article was requested by Adobe and it exists outside the paid firewall. It's worth a read and it's very well written.

I was interested in two different approaches to making sharpening from raw files more effective. The first tool I want to discuss is called "Enhance Details" and it represents (I think...) the first application of  A.I. or machine learning for Lightroom. It only works with Raw files from cameras. Once you've selected a photo to use it on you go up to the menu > photo > enhance details. A window opens (see below) and lets you know that your crappy machine with the lame video card is going to be slow at doing the function and it will give you an estimated time for the process. You can scroll around the image and see (at what appears to be 200 or 300 %) what effect the enhancement will have by looking at the preview. Once you hit enhance there is a progress bar in the window and once the process is complete LR writes a separate .DNG file with the enhancements. You get to keep your original raw file intact.

It seems to work best with scenes that have lots of fine detail combined with smoother areas but so far the effect, to my eyes, is very subtle.

Try it and report back. Some of you are better at this trial and error stuff than me, and your results and comments might be more enlightening than mine. So share.

There are several more additions to LR but what I am mostly interested in today is a methodology I just read about that helps with sharpening Fuji raw files to match or exceed those produced by Iridient Developer or Capture One. And it's been under my nose the whole time. 

I've been using PhotoShop since year two and Lightroom since beta but I've been a Neanderthal when it comes to using the sharpening tools in Adobe software. In the sharpening menus I've always understood "amount" and "radius" but I rarely touch masking and I never had a real clue as to what "Detail" did for, or to, the files. But I've been reading about deconvolution of raw files and it seems that I've been overlooking a subtle but powerful tool in the "detail" slider. Setting it to 100% causes the program to do a total deconvolution of the file. It more or less cancels out the effects of the color filter grid over a color digital sensor. I've been experimenting with moving the "detail" slider all the way to 100% and then adjusting any added noise with the next menu down the line. Interestingly, the "detail" slider at 100% can also affect the saturation in a file so you might want to finesse that as well. 

I don't understand all the technical reasons why the 100% detail slider works as it does but it can just shovel a new level of detail into some of your files with very few consequences in terms of added noise. And with Fuji raw files it does a great job of enhancing sharpness and detail without introducing the artifacts that people constantly complain about in Lightroom conversions. 

Give it a shot and see if it adds to your Lightroom enjoyment. 

That's all. Bye now. 

Photo Made with Antiquated Technology. Not as far back as film but.....

Setting up for a Kentucky Derby watching party at least a decade ago.
How do I know? The exif info tells me I shot this with a Nikon D80. 
The reds and greens look nice.

What an absolutely glorious day to be in the pool. Or out running. Or in the pool.

I got up a bit later than usual today and had my daily dose of 2% fat Greek Yogurt mixed with Muesli and a cup of blackberries. Drank a tall glass of water then capped everything with a small espresso. Towel and camera in hand I headed to the Western Hill Athletic Club to hop into the outdoor pool and bang out some yardage with about 40 of my good friends. 

I probably haven't done a good job of explaining how Masters Swimming works at our club so I thought I'd give it a shot. I know you all are dead tired of hearing about cameras and photographers so I'm sure that writing about swimming is a sure bet for increasing traffic here at VSL.. 

Masters Swim workouts are coached sessions lasting anywhere from one hour to two hours. Nearly every swimmer in the pool has been swimming since they were children. A few are competitive triathletes that are in the workouts to improve their performance in the open water swim section of a triathlon. The workouts are in no way "recreational swimming" or "lap swimming." The coaches are trained and certified. It's not a particularly good venue for someone who is out of shape and wants to giving swimming a try after years on the couch.

In nearly every Masters Swim organization I know of the swimmers are sorted by speed into different lanes. At our pool the slowest swimmers are in lane one and each lane gets progressively faster. We tend to sort by a swimmer's 100 yard repeat time. This is not how fast one can go for one 100 yard freestyle swim but the interval in which one can swim, recover and repeat anywhere from 8 to 10 100s in a row. On a good day I might swim a 1:10 minute hundred freestyle from a push off (not a dive). But there's no way I could repeat even two or three in a row on a 1:10 minute overall interval. Instead, I need to be in a lane in which the swimmers are able to do repeated 100s on about 1:30 or 1:35 (a minute and thirty five seconds).  While it would require exertion and a bit of mental discipline to keep my stroke from falling apart I could make the interval on a fair number of 100s on 1:35 and, if I elect to be in a lane in which the swimmers are swimming on a 1:45 interval per 100 yards I'm pretty sure I could keep repeating the set for hours. 

So, lane one swimmers might select to swim a set of 10- 100s on a two minute interval. Lane two might be on a 1:50 interval. Lane three on a 1:40 interval. Lane four on a 1:30 interval. Lane five on a 1:20 interval. Lane six on a 1:10 interval and, if we have a couple of our Oympians show up for workout they might lead lane seven in 1:00 minute intervals.  It's all subject to who shows up. Some days the workouts skew toward a more competitive composition of people and they might move the intervals to a faster pace in more lanes. Other days we might have more slower swimmers and we might spread them in the other direction. The point is that everyone finds a lane in which they can, with exertion, keep up with each other for all the sets we'll undertake in an hour or hour and a half. 

Within a lane there will always be people who are marginally faster or slower and we'll work out the order by consensus. Fastest first, slowest last. But everyone should be able to make the interval for that lane. Also, everyone in every lane should be proficient at swimming all four strokes. 

The coach starts the workout by putting up a warm-up set on a white board. If someone needs clarification they can ask for it. Otherwise you jump in and get going. Today's warmup set was a 400 yard freestyle swim followed by a 100 yard kick, followed by a 400 yard pull set (hand paddles for greater resistance and a pull buoy to keep the legs from kicking), followed by a 100 yard medley (all four strokes).  Once each lane finishes they consult the whiteboard to see what the next set is. If the set is complicated the coach may take a minute or two to explain his/her intention. 

Our first set today went something like this: 6 X 150 yards freestyle on 2:15 followed by 6 x 25 yard hard sprints on :30. Then right into 8 x100 years freestyle pull on 1:30 followed by 6 x 25 yard hard sprints. Then directly into 10 X 75s, the first 25 yards being a stroke other than freestyle with the remaining 50 years of each 75 being freestyle, followed by 6 X 25's hard sprints. Then directly into a set of 50 yard sprints on a 1:00 interval until your lane runs out the clock and workout is over. We did the math at the end of our one hour and fifteen minutes this morning and figured we'd gone about 3,500 hard yards. A bit more than two miles. 

Some mornings the coaches will add in more kicking drills and some mornings they peg as "long distance" days so the sets have a much different composition, day to day. Keeps it from getting too routine. The coaches are on deck all the time to encourage us, to call out times during sprints and to watch our stroke techniques and make helpful suggestions, on an individual basis. 

Our club hosts three coached workouts a day on weekdays and two per day on the weekends. That will shift a bit in the Summer as we make time slots available for the kids programs. The hardest workouts tend to be the earliest ones and they also tend to be the most crowded; often with four or five people per lane. Sometimes even six or seven.  More in the popular interval time slot lanes. 

Interpersonal problems are not tolerated and are sorted out either very quickly or very permanently. We also have a hard and fast rule to not discuss politics in the pool enclosure. Ever.  The program is open to anyone who meets the minimum speed and endurance qualifications and the masters program costs about $100 per month. Many of the athletes in our program competed in college and are still regulars at USMS swim meets in Texas and around the country. Our program is popular with some of the former Olympians who've located in Austin and several of our coaches are gold medalists. The most well known being Ian Crocker. The draw is the tenure of the program and the fact that ours is the cleanest, freshest and best maintained, year round, outdoor pool in the city.

At the end of workout everyone heads off to work or whatever they do during the day. I grab coffee and head into the office. Work is just the stuff that happens between swims....

Ben (my son) is still a distance runner and tries to get as many long runs in as he can during the week. I've tried to get him back in the pool but he's not interested. I consider his reticence to swim to be one of my most embarrassing failures as a parent...

If you don't want to swim hard and fast you should head to Barton Springs Pool or Deep Eddy Pool and enjoy the scenery. There's some thing for everyone. 

Start them young. We always need more swimmers. 

Oh. I almost forgot: Camera, lens, printer, PhotoShop, Equivalence!!!
That about sums it up.