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Welcome! I don't know about you guys, but I plan on having a good time. It's a lot of work putting together each episode, but photography has been in my life — work and play — since I was a strapping sapling simpleton. And that's saying something (especially if you try to say it through thrice).

Connect or comment, please. Each episode will have a conversation, and I'll be glad to strike one up with you, too!

- Mark

Sep 11, 2018

Quick brown foxes jump over the lazy doges. Amiright? And on that note, let's see what such an enumerated episode has in store. Might it include jackdaws or vexing? Probably.

Also, amazingly, a few discotheques provide jukeboxes, but there's more here than meets the, yeah, I got nuthin'.

Waltz, Nymph, for Quick Jigs Vex Bud

Topaz Labs, makers of image manipulation software, recently introduced a tool for enlarging your photos called A.I. Gigapixel. It's a simple-to-use application that, in my testing, always exceeded the results from Photoshop.

AI Gig screen

You can see, above, three images that were dropped onto the window for processing, plus the available controls and options. You can choose to scale by size or percentage, pick an output file format and compression settings, add text before or after the new file's name, and enable or not a graphics processing unit. (A GPU is computer hardware, meant to speed certain processing tasks, that you may or may not have in your computer).

beach

In the grain of the wood, Photoshop and A.I. Gigapixel did similarly, though the latter did better. But gander at the sand at the bottom of the frame — A.I. Gigapixel doesn't recreate the original, precisely, but it did much better than Photoshop in that area.

railroad

You can sense the superiority of A.I. Gigapixel at a glance, compared to Photoshop, with the latter producing a softer replica, especially visible in the letters throughout.

water tower

In the dim underside at the bottom of the frame, both apps performed similarly, if A.I. Gigapixel still did a bit better, but look at the jaggies in the black "T" in the Photoshop version, the general softness of the rivets, and especially at the noisy rendition in the shadows and the sky. A.I. Gigapixel actually knocked down some of the noise visible in the original, while Photoshop emphasized it.

The winner is clearly A.I. Gigapixel, at least in terms of results. In terms of speed, Photoshop enlarged an image 400% in about four seconds, while the contender from Topaz required nearly two minutes. Of course, that's a one-time hit, but it's a pretty big hit, so keep that in mind.

You can download a trial version at topazlabs.com/ai-gigapixel and if you decide to purchase, the price is $99.99. My suggestion is you give it a try if you need to enlarge your images. Never mind that it does better than Photoshop; if your enlargement requirements are met by your current process or program, save your money. But if not, you might have found your new best friend. (Take a look at the photo of my guest, below, to see how the app worked with a truly low-rez original.)

Cancalosi in two panels

This photo of John Cancalosi was originally on his web site at a mere 213 pixels wide. At first I figured to run it at its original dimensions, since enlarging small JPEGs often makes for crummy photos. But, hey! Give A.I. Gigapixel a shot at it, right? Here's the result, and it shows surprisingly good quality. Keep in mind that this is not comparing the program to Photoshop; what you see on the left is exactly how it appeared at 213 pixels.

Finally, as predicted, there was a "vex" in the subhead, but a couple of corrections there — it's gigs, they're not quick, and my name's not Bud. (I am, however, a nymph.)

Whenever the Black Fox Jumped, the Squirrel Gazed Suspiciously

Is John Cancalosi a biologist with a photographer's eye, or a photographer who works as a biologist. Frankly, I think it's a symbiotic relationship, and he spent some time talking to me about both (while eyeing the desert outside the window the entire time). He tells of his adventures in both fields, shares examples of how one interest influenced the other, and touches on feminism and global climate change. Good stuff!

John Cancalosi saguaro

Here is John Cancalosi with one of his favorite things in the world, a saguaro cactus. John explained that the native American Tohon O'odham tribe have traditionally considered saguaro cactus to be people and he, himself, has a personal affinity for the cactus.

Look for John's photos on the web by searching for his name, or shoot right on over to his web site by going to johncancalosi.com (which redirects you to nature-photography.us anyway, so you can just go there first…)

Pack My Box With Five Dozen Liquor Jugs

Repetition is a common theme in photography, one that ranges from simple repeating shapes of the same object to more sophisticated, unaligned visual connections between dissimilar objects or colors or effects. Our brains are always trying to make connections, to understand the if-this-then-that of the world, which makes repetitions eye-catching. The photo tip is, thus, more of an instruction — go forth and capture examples of visual repetition. You'll be surprised how many there are, most of which we tend not to notice due to their simple ubiquity. But that doesn't mean an image won't reveal them.

This repetition forms a pattern, broken for visual effect by the one lemon amongst the limes. Shot very wide with my iPhone 6s Plus using ProCamera software I reviewed in Episode 5.

rusty bucket

This very old mining bucket would be lifted by its ears, here visually aligned in a slight diagonal, the repetition obvious despite the farther elements being out of focus.

Panama Beach pier

Repeating posts and birds and sailboats, the whole thing split across the middle by the horizon, thus essentially repeating the sea with the sky.

Picket Post

The subtlest of the repetitions among these examples. Do you see it? Go ahead, take a guess. Did you guess the mountain on the right and the large cloud on the left? That's what I was looking at when I made this image with a Light L16 camera. Further compositional considerations include the road flowing in from the bottom left, aiming toward the mountain then veering up left, pointing to the cloud. (I'm in the midst of testing this camera, so look for a review in a future episode.)

Quoted Zebras Vaguely Whip Off Manx Jackets

"The eye loves repetition, but does not want to be bored. It likes familiarity, but needs surprises."

You'd think that belongs in the previous section, but I include this quote, from watercolorist Edith Bergstrom (edithbergstrom.com), as a textual repetition of that topic. (Get it?) I also share quotes from the artist Yayoi Kusama (yayoi-kusama.jp), Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau. Listen in to grab ahold of the wisdom they have to share.

Kusama-san

The artist Yayoi Kusama, shown here, works with repeating elements in a big way. She loves polka dots and repetition and bright colors (but I don't think this is her natural hair color).

Jackdaws Love My Big Sphinx of Rosy Quartz

What in the hell is a jackdaw, anyway? Still, at least it/they made an appearance before the end. Barely before the end because the end is nigh and this subhead ends the way the first one began. Tune in next episode for the amazing conclusion to our story of love and beer and cumulonimbus. And letters.

Everyone here at All Things Photography would love to read comments and questions, and we'd love love to see a review of the show, and a rating, on Apple's iTunes, so if you've not yet done so, do all of the above!

Shoot happy! (No, that's not really a good catchphrase either…)

— Mark