How to sync your Mac desktop via iCloud

MackBook Air desktop is synced via iCloud
MacBook Air desktop is synced via iCloud

I'm pretty sure you once had been in such a hurry in the end of a working day when someone gave you a file from USB stick or e-mailed it. You just did nothing but put it on your desktop. Okay, but how to take it back from the office computer?

You can sync your desktop contents through iCloud Documents!
Bonus: since iCloud free space is just 5Gb, you are not going to litter your desktop with huge files :)
ok, how to set it up?

Viewing photos on iPad: profiles for accurate color

iPad accurate color rendering test: butterflies | macro | landscape

Many photographers use Apple iPad to show their portfolios or photo shoots to clients. The screen of iPad has a great specs including bright back-lit, high resolution, and color display that surpasses lots of laptop dislays. But even the iPad screen has its own peculiar properties which are subject to correct to get the best color display for your photos.

You may get an iPad display profile as described here, by ordering its calibration and profiling, or by downloading the profile here:

Color profile for: iPad | iPad 2 | new iPad

Colors that could be rendered on the iPad screen (black triangle) in comparison to the AdobeRGB color space gamut; the photograph opened in Adobe Photoshop for color conversion.

Assume that you have the right color profile of your iPad. Now you want to convert colors of your image to iPad display profile in Adobe Photoshop. To do that I advise you to rely on Relative Colorimetric intent with black point compensation.
So you should select the menu item Edit > Convert to Profile... that will display the dialog window.

Menu item for color conversion in Adobe Photoshop | Convert to Profile options.

Relative colorimetric intent preserves colors from the source image intact if they can be displayed on the target device (mean iPad), and shifts the colors that are outside of the target device color space. Thanks to that all iPads have an IPS matrix of a high quality, iPad delivers a rich palette of colors. So the quality drop of the converted images should be small.
In the opposite, application of perceptual intent leads to the proportional compression of the source color space to the target one. This could potentially result in surprisingly dimmed colors.

iPad + AdobeRGB | iPad + AdobeRGB + photo
Comparison of iPad and AdobeRGB color spaces gamut; Color transformation while converting image from AdobeRGB to iPad. Blue ovals mark colors that will be adjusted because they are beyond the iPad color displaying capabilities.

For now you have converted an image to the iPad color profile. It's time to save the file to folder that serves as a source of images to sync. Then synchronize your iPad with iTunes, and it's done.

It's possible to create a simple Action for Adobe Photoshop that will perform with your images all color conversion steps automatically in batch.
There are only three color spaces available in Lightroom: sRGB, ProphotoRGB и AdobeRGB. So, if you would like to export images and convert them to iPad color profile simultaneously, you'll need the print module to select from different color profiles installed in your system and then save your photo(s).

Photos placed above the text as illustrations are adapted for viewing on the original iPad (I cannot afford upgrading my tablet after each release :). So the photos here may look inaccurately on the iPad 2 or the New iPad, and will definitely look wrong on other devices.

Below are pairs of images converted to the iPad color profile and their originals in sRGB. Color distribution of original images is plotted on graphs as well as AdobeRGB (rainbow triangle) and iPad (black triangle) color gamuts.

Field macrophotography of plants: a technique for capturing the flora in nature

This article is a full translation of my previously published post “Полевая макрофотография растений: техника для съёмки флоры на природе”, © Gregory A. Pozhvanov, 2011.

I am going to describe in this article some technical features and approaches that I consider important and use in macrophotography of plants in wild nature. The picture I got during my last photosession in Lehmalahti shows how you can photograph macro on location.

Equipment for plant macrophotography: Canon EOS 40D camera, Sigma 150 mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG HSM telephoto macro lens for Canon, Manfrotto 190 XProB tripod, Manfrotto 488RC4 ball tripod head, Manfrotto 454 focusing rails, Pentacon angle viewfinder, Canon TC80-N3 wired remote control, Matin reflector with aluminium holder. Resin boots, tweezers and a nice mood are beyond the picture frame :)

camera and lenstripod, tripod head and railsangle viewfinder and remote controlaccessories for lighting setupwork with background: tweezers and scissorsphotographing from the ground level: philosophic and technical aspects


Camera: Canon EOS 40D (out of production for at least three years). Class of the camera is not really important. The main features you should consider are mirror lock-up and live-view mode for precise manual focusing. All that exists in almost any modern digital SLR camera.

Photographs are taken with Canon EF-S 60 mm f/2.8 Macro USM (1,2) and Sigma 150 mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG HSM (3) macro lenses. When photographing plants, you can freely select what kind of macro lens to use. But when photographing insects, it's better to have a telephoto lens with longer working distance to leave the subject in peace.
Photos: autumn crocus flower, Crocus autumnale (ISO 100, f/5, 1.3", 60 mm); tulip flower (ISO 100, f/11, 2", 60 mm); butterfly with transparent wings, fam. Heliconidae (ISO 500, f/5.6, 1/30", 150 mm).

Macro lens: Sigma 150 mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG HSM. It is one of the best lenses for macrophotography considering its price. I have not found any disadvantages of it yet.
Being a telephoto lens, Sigma 150 mm allows the photographer to create a beautifully blurred background and has its working distance long enough not to frighten insects. The lens has dedicated tripod mounting foot that is very useful in shoot – it allows you to easily change from landscape to portrait format without loosing contact with the subject. The frame stays in the center, what is not the case when the camera itself is attached to tripod.
Though I think that for some subjects a shorter-focus lens like Canon EF-S 60 mm f/2.8 Macro USM could be more suitable. This lens is also very good, especially for those who just start their steps in macro. Its angle of view is wider than one of Sigma 150 mm and resembles an attentive look of a human eye. That's why photographs taken with EF-S 60 mm appear as natural as if the viewer kneeled down to look intently at intimate macroobjects. Sigma 150 mm gives a picture with pronounced telephoto perspective.
Continue reading...

How to optimize Lightroom performance

Have you ever thought about speeding up your Adobe Photoshop Lightroom experience? Well, it is the great application for pro photography workflow, but sometimes it's not yet as quick as you would like to. So how can you optimize it?
To install an SSD into your system is a great option, but pricey. We'll speed up the app for free.

You may google this topic and found several advices on a) tricking with Camera RAW cache size, and b) disabling .XMP file option. Personally I dislike disabling .XMP's. That's why: if a Lightroom catalog file fails you'll stay with fresh unprocessed RAWs and all your work with developing files will be lost. (Of course you can manually export develop settings, but should you remember?)

Hence I offer another method. Idea is simple: turn off some of abundant Lightroom modules, or plug-ins, and application will start and work faster.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom architecture provides several functional modules in separate files stored in application folder. You decide what modules to disable:

AdobeHelpClient.lrmodule - help and support for Lightroom. Rarely needed. This file is present only in Mac OS X version.
Develop.lrmodule - one of the main modules. You should not disable it.
Import.lrmodule - this is used to enrich your catalog with new photos. Do not disable.
MultipleMonitor.lrmodule - this module is responsive to Multiple Monitor mode. If you are not that happy one who work on dual monitor system, feel free to disable.
Print.lrmodule - printing support. As for me, I almost never print photographs with my computer, only in Pro Lab.
Slideshow.lrmodule - this is used to make slideshows. If you aren't running slides time to time, disable this. * Note this module is somehow important for multiple monitor configuration.
Web.lrmodule - this is used to generate web galleries. You may disable this if your workflow consists of only sorting and developing photos.
Windows version also includes Gallery.lrmodule. That's not lots of fun to disable it.

I'm disabling AdobeHelpClient, Print and Slideshow.

Well, how to disable? Here's how:

Mac OS X

1. Quit Lightroom in case you are using it.
2. Open Finder, navigate to Applications folder and find "Adobe Photoshop Lightroom" there. Right click it and select "Show Package Contents":

3. A new Finder window opens, go to /Contents/PlugIns/ and select some unneeded module files. Move them somewhere not far, i.e. right to application Contents folder:

4. You're done! Launch Lightroom, notice the speed increase and see what's changed.

Windows XP/Vista/7

1. Quit Lightroom in case you are using it.
2. Open Explorer, navigate to C:Program FilesAdobeAdobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.6.
3. Select .lrmodule files you wish to get disabled:

4. Cut them (Ctrl-X) and paste, say, to parent folder.
5. You're done! Launch Lightroom, notice the speed increase and see what's changed.

You have now less modules in top-right of the Lightroom application. It also runs faster due to less memory usage.