Editing Photographs with Darktable on Linux

Every once in a while, I’m left with just a lap­top run­ning lin­ux (Red Hat Enter­prise v7 specif­i­cal­ly) and I need to do a quick bit of edit­ing on a pho­to­graph. His­tor­i­cal­ly the only fea­si­ble option has been to fire up GIMP and puz­zle through the dialogs to try and get some­thing usable. While I am a big fan of open source soft­ware, and espe­cial­ly long-estab­lished pro­grams like GIMP, it is just too dif­fi­cult for me to use. I like the Pho­to­shop toolkeys and lay­out. I know there are peo­ple who [a] have no trou­ble with GIMP [b] have installed skins and what­not for eas­i­er use [c] both a and b. I’m not one of them. I want my image work­flow to “just work” and GIMP just doesn’t.

But Dark­table does! For some­one like me who is used to Ligh­room, dark­table pro­vides a sim­i­lar inter­face and work­flow as usu­al. Very help­ful when some sim­ple edits and cor­rec­tions need to be done. How do you go from the start­ing image on the left to the fin­ished on the right?

Click Read More and let’s dig in to the process of tak­ing a RAW image from cap­ture to fin­ished output.

Con­tin­ue read­ing

Photo Exploration: The Bird (or Movement IV)

Aeri­al­ists are incred­i­ble. Flat out, hands down — some of the most enter­tain­ing per­form­ers com­bined with incred­i­ble phys­i­cal abil­i­ties. Twist­ing, pulling, turn­ing, falling — it’s amaz­ing. See­ing an aer­i­al per­for­mance is great. Always, always, always go if you have the chance. The pho­to below is from the 2014 Sideshow Fringe Fes­ti­val. This ses­sion was with the FALL dance com­pa­ny and Aer­i­al Fab­ri­ca­tors.

The Bird (Movement IV, SSF 2014)

The Bird (Move­ment IV, SSF 2014)

It’s been a long time since the last pho­to explo­ration post. The fall and win­ter were a pro­duc­tive time, just not for updat­ing this part of the web­site. So let’s dig in one a pho­to tak­en around the time of the last pho­to explo­ration!

Long expo­sures a great. They are easy to do, fun to share, and usu­al­ly pro­vide some very inter­est­ing results. Almost every pho­tog­ra­ph­er I know has gone through a water­fall peri­od, which usu­al­ly involves con­sid­er­a­tions for ND fil­ters, low-as-pos­si­ble-ISO, stop­ping down the lens and look­ing for the shadi­est spot pos­si­ble to get a good image of creamy water over still rocks. For that mat­ter, I still do those shots when the oppor­tu­ni­ty arises!

How­ev­er, when work­ing in a black box the­ater with high con­trast spot lights, it’s much eas­i­er to do long expo­sures than any­thing else. The ques­tion is, just HOW long should that expo­sure be? 1 sec­ond? 5? 1/2″? It’s tri­al and error at the start, and with per­for­mances you might not get a sec­ond chance. Pro tip: auto-brack­et­ing helps tremen­dous­ly in this sit­u­a­tion. But once you get the set­tings dialed in for the scene, some fan­tas­tic work can be captured.

I remem­ber the piece being incred­i­ble. Bursts of motion over­laid on still and gen­tle cross­ings of the stage. When the per­form­ers were climb­ing, it seemed like they could have stayed aloft for­ev­er. When one came down, it was like a bird emerg­ing from the egg and imme­di­ate­ly tak­ing flight. Enthralling, to say the least!

Cheekwood, February 2015.

This week I upgrad­ed my phone to a Sam­sung Note 4 (from an LG G2). While the G2 had many great fea­tures (I loved the back but­tons leav­ing clean sides), I just could­n’t keep sig­nal — espe­cial­ly GPS — when my wife’s Galaxy S5 would have full sta­tus of all net­work fea­tures as it were. It was more than a lit­tle frus­trat­ing to be dri­ving along and all of a sud­den my phone thinks I was two states away. How­ev­er, the cam­era on the G2 was far and away my favorite of any phone I’d had (var­i­ous Apple, Palm and HTC options).

I want­ed to take the cam­era on the Note 4 out for a test dri­ve and with a break of warm sun between the chill and the rain we went to Cheek­wood to enjoy the weath­er. All these images were tak­en and processed with the phone’s default cam­era and the android Adobe Pho­to­shop Express app.

I’m pleased with the abil­i­ty of the sen­sor to quick­ly focus from extreme­ly close to infin­i­ty, and rea­son­able abil­i­ty to resolve detail. I would rate the ISO 50 on the phone equiv­a­lent to ISO 1600 on a DSLR, which isn’t ter­ri­ble giv­en what incred­i­bly poor results there were only 5 years ago from phone cam­eras. Over­all, very pleased with the switch!