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

Color Self Portraits, February 2015

I do shoot col­or some­times! These are two dig­i­tal images made while test­ing bat­ter­ies and con­fig­u­ra­tions for off cam­era flash setups. 50mm f/1.4 on the 5dmk2

Nashville at Night, October 2014

Walk­ing around down­town Nashville in Octo­ber 2014. Warm and humid, with a nice sun­set lead­ing into a lit­tle ten­sion ear­ly in the evening. Tak­en with the Fuji X100.

Hibiscus, Ocean Springs. December 2014.

One a recent short-notice trip to the Mis­sis­sip­pi Gulf Coast I was with­out any cam­era but my cell phone (LG G2). There was one last bloom on my fam­i­ly’s back­yard hibis­cus, a bril­liant pink with orange and yel­low pollen. But the chance to explore the black and white capa­bil­i­ties of the tool du jour called so strong­ly, and I’m tak­en with the results.

Tak­en with the default Cam­era appli­ca­tion, and mod­i­fied in the Android Pho­to­shop app, but just crop­ping and lev­els. Amaz­ing what portable elec­tron­ics can do these days.

The Rejection

Mov­ing to a new town is fun. New peo­ple, new inspi­ra­tion, new places. And, if you’re lucky, new pho­tog­ra­phy oppor­tu­ni­ties. And Nashville has been quite kind with those opportunities.

But then you get the note. “Thank you for apply­ing, but your work was not select­ed…” We’ve all received that mes­sage at var­i­ous times. I’ve cer­tain­ly got­ten my share of them before, but last week was the first time I’d been hon­ored with one since mov­ing here. And it broke the hot streak, which real­ly I had no con­trol over any more than a MLB play­er’s socks have con­trol over his bat­ting aver­age. There are just so many fac­tors — the juror, the oth­er sub­mis­sions, the pre­vi­ous work the juror saw, the goal of the call, etc. It’s as if the actu­al work is just a small, small piece of the puzzle.

And so it’s easy to get a lit­tle frus­trat­ed, a lit­tle down. Why both­er cre­at­ing any­thing if it might as well sit in a draw­er? No one dreams of being Vivian Maier!

Accents 2014 #3

Accents 2014 #3

Sub­mit­ting work is a lit­tle like send­ing your child off to school. I’ve writ­ten about this before, and I still think it’s a work­able metaphor. You believe your work is unique and incred­i­ble but now your child will be part of a group where every­one believes their off­spring is spe­cial and has just so much to share with the world. And some­times your child does­n’t get picked for the lead role in the play, or even picked for any role. Which hurts, right? It stings and you feel judged both as a par­ent and you feel your child’s per­cep­tion of judgement.

But you pick them up, and you pick your­self up, and keep on with life. There are lessons in rejec­tion. We can hone our craft when we don’t make a cut. Even though there may not have been much con­trol over the selec­tion process, it is still an oppor­tu­ni­ty to revis­it and refine.

There will be future shows, and maybe even future shows where the same work is accept­ed. The time will come but only if we try again.