21 – Linux and RAW files

I converted my aging laptop from Windows 10 to Linux Mint, and so far, the experience has been seamless…except for the fact that I lost native Adobe Lightroom. Sure, I probably could have configured WINE and executed Lightroom from there, but I don’t know how well that would have performed.

So, I installed RawTherapee. Back in the day (let’s say four years ago), RawTherapee wasn’t that great, but fast forward to today, and it’s a full raw processing solution with almost all of the capability of Lightroom, albeit, free and supported in Linux.

All of the pictures in this post were processed with RawTherapee.

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I posted the above picture already in 20 – Thanksgiving (kind of), but that was an in-camera B&W conversion. The picture above was a RawTherapee conversion, using Fuji Velvia film simulation. Not bad.

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I don’t think I used a film simulation with the flower macro – but it’s nice and sharp and very detailed, even without additional sharpening.

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The picture above was cropped; I forgot to bring a zoom lens to an amusement park and it’s not so easy to use a 50mm EFL when taking pictures from far away. Overall – not a bad crop.

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The picture of the park bench in the playground close to my house had exposure levels changed and shadow detail expanded. Again, not bad – it’s a testament to the K3 sensor, the lens, and the post-processing software.

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The above is a crop, using a slow Tamron 18-200 – probably at max aperture at the zoom. ISO bumped up to 12,000 and change. I had to apply some noise reduction.

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Another from the Tamron 18-200, at 18mm (obvious from the distortion). I probably could have applied lens correction, but whatevs. At Internet resolution, it’s quite clean.

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The picture above has the most noise, but it’s not bad. There’s still a lot of detail.

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Finally, the last two pictures of our bird have processing applied – one has the Fuji Velvia film simulation, and another has a Kodak Tri-X simulation and a square crop. I don’t know if additional noise processing was done.

Overall, RawTherapee is a suitable replacement for a Linux-native post-processing solution. I may still setup WINE and install Lightroom just to see what the difference is. If I do have a complaint with RawTherapee, I can say that it’s slow to process, though the fact that I’m starting with 24-megapixel 14-bit RAW files could have something to do with that.

I do miss the Lightroom workflow, but I’ll just need to process more pictures with RawTherapee to get more accustomed to the interfaces and the menus.

 

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20 – Thanksgiving (kind of)

Last year, I didn’t have a post during Thanksgiving, and to be honest, this post isn’t about Thanksgiving either.

We did our usual thing – celebrated with family and friends – and I’m not in the habit of bringing my camera along during outings; I’d much rather be part of the conversation rather than try to capture it, so the camera stayed at home.

We’re all getting older. Conversations are shifting from youthful freedom to esoteric realities about work and family. Rather than sitting around the table with alcoholic drinks, we had dinner and had coffee and tea afterwards.

Some pictures (none of which have anything to do with the long weekend):

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I’ve been in a gritty black-and-white kind of mood lately.

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19 – random

Some random shots from the past few weeks. We haven’t had any big weekend plans recently, so things have stayed close to home.

I did pick up the DA 35/2.4 and it’s a great walkaround lens. I had to force myself to use the Tamron 18-200 just to remind myself that I still have a superzoom lens.

The shots are a combination of SOOC JPEG (manipulated using the K3 digital postprocessing filters) and RAW DNG processed by RawTherapee on my LinuxMint laptop.

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18 – G.A.S.

The past few weeks, I have been suffering from GAS – Gear Acquisition Syndrome – which has kept my Pentax kit in a state of constant flux.

Anyway, it all started when I sold the DA* 16-50/2.8, which left me with just a single DA 50/1.8 lens. The proceeds from that sale went to purchase a DA 10-17/3.5-4.5 zoom, which went with me on a business trip to France.

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I have owned a fisheye lens in every format, and sure enough, once the honeymoon is over, the marriage doesn’t last. I mean, it did take amazing shots up close to capture a lot of context:

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But at the end of the day, a fisheye zoom isn’t really all that useful.

While I was in France, having only an uber-wide lens and a short telephoto had me yearning for a convenient ‘do-it-all’ lens, so I picked up a Tamron 18-200/3.5-6.3 superzoom lens (amazingly cheap from Adorama’s used photo department). This lens, when used properly, can yield some really good shots, especially from far away.

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Obviously, all of these taken indoors, but processed in-camera with the K3’s B&W filters. I’m really digging the look the filter provides.

Anyway, what I was really missing was a macro lens which provided 1:1 magnification. I had been using the DA 50/1.8 with the Raynox DCR-250 attached for a quasi-macro. I even tried the Raynox with the Tamron 18-200, at the long end, and that yielded some ok results.

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But a deal for a Sigma 50/2.8 macro lens showed up on KEH’s eBay outlet store, so I picked that up…and once again, I have a 1:1 macro lens at around 75mm FoV (similar to my favorite ZD 35/3.5 macro). With screw-drive focusing, the Sigma lens focuses FAST…and thanks to a focus limiter switch, even faster when using the lens for non-macro use.

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Yes, we went to the OC International Auto Show today…and unfortunately, the new Mazda MX-5 RF was behind a velvet rope and was off-limits…but I was ogling it and totally drooling uncontrollably.

Anyway, the Sigma 50/2.8 is also an awesome macro lens:

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Obligatory selfies – the bottom one taken by my daughter with the ring light (the catch light perfectly lines up with my iris).

I haven’t finished suffering from GAS yet. I have the DA 35/2.4 inbound. It should arrive sometime next week.

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17 – cars

So for Matty’s belated birthday present, I took him to the Petersen Automotive Museum – without the other members of the family who don’t have the same appreciation for cars. This worked out best for everyone since Matty and I were allowed to roam freely through the cars and Shannon and Sara don’t have to roll their eyes or wait for us.

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Anyway, we really enjoyed it. There was a strange variety of cars though – lots of older European cars mixed with Hollywood cars and very specific race cars. There was also a whole section of a strange hodgepodge of custom cars. I mean, they put Ken Block’s Gymkhana 3 Ford Fiesta in the same room as the Billy Gibbons Cadzilla…so it must have made sense to someone.

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I only had my DA 50/1.8 during this trip, so pictures are quite tight and intimate. I wish things were just a tad wider…like maybe 15 or so mm…My 16-50 was packed in a box and will be on its way to its new owner in Hyderabad, India, tomorrow morning, so I didn’t bring it.

I think having such a tight composition was good practice. I was able to focus on very specific details of the cars – otherwise, I would have just taken wide pictures of the entire car.

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The downside is that a lot of the cars were custom coachworks, so they were nice but very tailored for their previous owners. As such, they are obviously bound to be lavish and dripping of bling (or whatever was contemporary at the time).

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I think having just one lens was great discipline and forced me to compose. I have a lens inbound (SMC Pentax-F 35-70/3.5-4.5) to replace the 16-50, but to be honest, it was refreshing to have just one camera, one lens.

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For example, the picture of the rear tail lights and exhaust of the McLaren F1 conveys a lot about the car, even if it’s just a very small part of it.

Anyway, it’s always eye-opening to come from Irvine and drive around and walk around parts of Los Angeles and realize that I live in a VERY PRIVILEGED area…

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