Season's Greetings

While writing this blog the temperature in the Netherlands is close to 15 degrees Celsius. It looks we are heading for an all-time high average temperature in December, no frost at all.

Japanese pagoda in snow
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Because most of us have a short-term memory, here are some pictures of January this year in my garden. As you can see there was quite a bit of snow, and it was pretty cold. Maybe the beginning of next year will bring us the same. Who knows?
The picture on the left is a Japanese pagoda. Below you see a Japanese lantern (sometimes also called light basket or light tower) surrounded by the snow-topped remains of some plants.
Snow-topped Japanese lantern
Snow-topped Japanese lantern

The last one shows that our future may go in many different directions, like the branches of a tree.
Branches covered with snow
Branches covered with snow

This is the last blog of this year: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Stock Images

Architectural photography

My enthusiasm for sharing pictures started when I submitted my pictures of Maastricht, a city along the Meuse river, to Dreamstime. They were the first two. Both still have a top ranking as far as sales is concerned.

Maastricht at night
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos
Maastricht along the river
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Whenever I visit a city I always want to take pictures of both the old and the new buildings. I enjoy the tension between them. Architectural photography has become my thing. For that reason I love to go to Barcelona (see this blog) and Valencia (see this blog) and take pictures. In Valencia they did something spectacular. In a dry river they built some manificent, artistic buildings (Hemesferic and Agora, see below).

Hemesferic and Agora, Valencia
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Also Rotterdam is famous for its new architecture. For me Rotterdam Central Station and the Food Market Hall are the winners. Buyers particularly like the train station. It has already been sold nine times.
Central Station Rotterdam
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The Dom Tower in Utrecht is popular at Werk aan de Muur.
Dom Tower Utrecht
Dom Tower Utrecht

Roombeek in Enschede is the rebuilt quarter after the fireworks explosion of May 2000. Here are my two favorite pictures.

Museum and restaurant in rebuilt Roombeek
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos
Symbol of fireworks explosion Roombeek
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Enjoy the architectural pictures of the various cities I visited and if possible visit the places yourself!
Stock Images

My Workflow: an update

In the previous blog on my workflow, I mentioned that I was not too enthusiastic about View NX2, because it sometimes freezes. So, since half a year I use Lightroom 6. Here is an update of my workflow.
Ingest  For managing the pictures I use Photomechanic 5. With its IPTC Stationary I fill in the Photographer’s field including copyright,  and I give a short description of the topic and the location. Furthermore,  I change the name of the picture into yyyymmdd_xxxx. The xxxx stand for a four digit counter. I expect not to make more than 9999 pictures per day. They are temporarily stored in the map Workspace with a submap with the date of the ingest.
Backup The next step is to make a copy of the NEF files to an external harddisk using Photomechanic 5. Sync Pro copies all of pictures (NEF and jpg) that are changed the last hour to my NAS.  Once a week a backup of this year’s NEFs from my Synology NAS to Amazon Glacier in Ireland is made. After the initial backup everything is automated. Once a month I make an incremental backup on an external harddisk that I take to my office at the university.
GPS If the location of the pictures is important I use my own GPS. Before using it I check the time of the GPS and of the camera (especially in another time zone this is important and saves a lot of time). I then use Photomechanic 5 to determine the location based on time matching between the exposure time and the times of the track. This is done in one command for a whole set of pictures.
5-star scan Depending on the number of pictures and the goal I use different strategies. For a photoshoot or a special trip abroad (a lot of pictures) I tried to identify as quickly as possible the 5-star pictures to submit to Dreamstime. For an album of myself of less important trips the storyline might me more important so I also include some pictures that did not make it to the 5-star category. Sometimes I do this before importing in Lightroom, sometimes after exporting DNG.
Importing in LR After the import in Lightroom 6 I set — in Library mode — the White Balance to the right WB, and some presets (LR or user defined) dependent on the kind of pictures. I do this for all pictures at once.
Processing in LR Then I look at the individual pictures and adjust, for example, Exposure, Contrast etc. In Lightroom 6 I can also do some more advanced processing such as: remove dust spots, brighten or darken specific parts of the picture, crop etc. It has many more tools to finetune the picture. Except for the import I am quite happy with Lightroom 6. After going through all the pictures, I export them as DNG. Lightroom 6 is a very powerful tool, so I hardly use Photoshop anymore.
Photoshop For very advanced processing, like for pictures of a photoshoot, I use Photoshop to do some magic with layers. It is a perfect tool that can do everything in often too many ways. Most of the time I search Youtube for finding the right tutorial, for example, for brightening the white of the eyes.
Producing JPG With Photomechanic 5 I produce the final JPG files. For pictures that are submitted to Dreamstime I use its FTP-facility for immediate upload.
Galleries For galeries I use jAlbum. It is a very convenient tool for making simple or very advanced galeries. Many skins are available.
Final storage Most recent pictures are on the internal harddisk of my Apple iMac (others are on an external G-drive). Within the map Pictures I make submaps like Trips, Photoshoots, Happenings, Family etc. Within those maps I make submaps with a name and a date (in that order; I like pictures on the same topic to be grouped). Knowing from experience there is no best way to store files, therefore I very much rely on the search facility of Photomechanic 5. A very fast software tool.
Stock Images

Dreamstime: 25 sales in one month

Yellow Mountain - Huangshan, China
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

On the average I sell 6 licenses per month via Dreamstime. Last month something spectaluar happened. One buyer bought 14 licenses of pictures of Peru and, probably, another one bought 8 licenses of Yellow Mountain (Huangshan) in China. In total 25 licenses were sold in November. I never sold so many before.
I celebrated this via two blogs on Dreamstime and got many positive reactions from colleague-contributors. Four of them decided to follow me. I regard that as a big compliment.
My trip to Yellow Mountain was actually the start of this photoblog in which I want to share my knowledge of photography and to show the pictures I take. Here are the pictures of Yellow Mountain. Dreamstime accepted 13  pictures.
The trip to Peru was more recent. I wrote quite a few blogs on it, starting with the preparation and ending with processing them. Here are the pictures of Peru. Of these 50 were accepted by Dreamstime.
For me the common theme between these two big sales is that they are about places you really have to put some effort in to reach them in combination with a small number of pictures available. I noticed that especially about Peru. The buyer did not buy Machu Picchu, however, he did buy pictures of Chavin de Huantar (first 8 hours by bus from Lima to Huaraz and then another 3 hours to Chavin de Huantar). The same is true for Yellow Mountain, first you have to fly to Hefei, China (via Beijing or Shanghai), flooded by 4 hours by bus, and then the final climb starts.
Enjoy the pictures and realize the effort that was required to take them  🙂
Stock Images