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    • In this Cake panel we're taking the discussion we started in TWiP episode 521 from video over to text. Your panelists are Chris MacAskill, Aaron Nace, Photojoseph and Frederick Van Johnson! Watch the episode here.

    • Education is an ongoing process. You're never, ever done. And if you're doing it right… IMHO, the more you learn, the more you realize how little you actully know. While we can't dedicate every waking moment of our lives to getting educated, making time to do so (be it daily, weekly, or monthly) is critically important.

      Further if you're ever bored in what you're doing, digging into education is a great way to find inspiration. Specifically in the world of photogrpahy, no one has done everything. So, find a video, article, tutorial, workshop, whatever on a topic you're not familiar with. Explore that and see where inspiration strikes!

    • I agree with Joseph, and to me that's what makes photography such a unique hobby/profession. It's continually changing, and is also a unique combination of tech, art and psychology. And because of those factors, you can never know "everything". There's always a new technique, camera or software to experiment with. And like PhotoJoseph eluded to, if you get bored with a chosen genre, you can always hop to a different one to see if that's a better fit.

      Education, especially in photography is a life-long pursuit - and that's what keeps it fresh and exciting!

    • Great broadcast last night, Frederick, thanks for having me. The show forced me to think more about online learning specifically for photography. I never really considered that, for writing, I like to read books about it; for dance, I want to be in a studio with an instructor who can grab my shoulders and move them to correct my posture; but for photography I want to get online and have someone show me how to mask off hair in a video.

      Sometimes when I pay for a class that I take online, I come away believing that in my life, no matter how much I went out to shoot, and no matter how much time I spent experimenting with Photoshop on my own, I would never have learned the things I learned in the class. Nor would I be able to remember them without the ability to scroll back and ask "how did they do that again? I have Photoshop open on my machine and I'm not remembering how they did that."

    • Chris, one thing I wanted to ask last night but didn't get a chance to was how will A.I. and computational photography advancements affect the requirement to know the basics (f-stops, shutter speeds, ISO, rule of thirds, etc). Will those technologies radically change how we learn to "get good"? What happens when our cameras are better photographers than we are? Can that happen?

    • Oh my God what a question. I'm actually astonished at some of the things cameras can do that I didn't see coming. For example, when people say the best camera is the one you have with you, I would often think, "NO! It's the Nikon I left in my hotel room that would have let me take this portrait with a dreamy out-of focus background. But nooooooo, I didn't want to lug it around and risk getting it stolen so instead I have to take a crappy iPhone photo with a distracting sharp background."

      And then a friend who works with the iPhone team told me that he thinks they will be able to design a portrait mode with dreamy backgrounds. Wait, what? Thing is, I'm a physicist. I know for sensor sizes and apertures and there is no way. And yet, my iPhone X produces some pretty decent portraits. You could call that some very clever computational programming, not really AI, but whatever it is, it sure is helping us take better photos.

      I like to shoot video with kids running everywhere, jumping on couches and playing tag. And of course I'd like it to be shallow depth of field. Can't. Not even the best Hollywood follow focus specialists can. But my Sony figured out how by identifying faces and keeping them in focus and IT'S AMAZING!!

      Gratuitous Portrait Mode iPhone shot untouched by Photoshop:

    • Exactly Chris! And that power is inside something that's intended to be a multi-purpose communications device. What if Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic, Fuji, etc packed that kind of power into a "proper" single-purpose camera — with proper optics and a large sensor? I think we were all born too soon. LOL

    • Chris MacAskill

      👆The interesting thing about that shot is the new tattoo on her forearm is pretty much in focus and so is her face, and all the way back to the phone she's holding. I expected that to look a little bit fakey because a wide-aperture lens on a DSLR probably wouldn't look that way and still achieve so blurry a background. I can imagine a lot of people preferring this version, however, because they can see details in her tattoos.

      Is that an example of AI / computational photography taking better photos than us mere mortals?

    • You asked during the show about shooting the SF skyline and I replied that I had several problems that I didn't know how to solve. One is the color of the building and bridge lights is around 2800K (super warm) and the color of the other parts of the photo like the bay water is around 10,000K because they were illuminated by the remains of sunlight bouncing off the sky. What white balance can you use so the lights don't look too orange and the sky and water look like the blue your eyes thought they saw?

      This frame was taken by photographer Sa Ma, who posted it on Facebook and it got some likes, but not a ton. I asked him if I could try Luminosity Masking on it, the stuff that Tony Kuyper and Sean Bagshaw do. They sell tools and classes about it.

    • I'm no Sean Bagshaw but I bought his tutorials and it seemed to me I got a better shot from trying what I learned from his online course. As I was learning from it I kept thinking "there is no possible way I could have learned this stuff on my own."

    • 👆I left that exposure pretty dark because I was going to print this in a lightbox (on film lit from behind). I was able to print it 90 inches wide because Sa Ma did such a great job of a sharp capture. Here he is inspecting the final product with me in our darkened entryway (iPhone snap with colors all distorted and reflections in the plastic cover).