Monday, November 28, 2022

Time Is Running Out...

Price is never going to be this low again*  Get Luminar Neo with all the 2022 extensions, and bonus goodies NOW!

*in my opinion, of course.

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Friday, November 25, 2022

Help Our Bookstore! Here's Way Number 2

Here's another way to help us with our $3000 auto repair.... You know Readers Cove sells used books. But what if you're looking for new books for yourselves, or for holiday gifts. Use the book seller that supports small, independent business like ours, and skip Bezos's elephant in the room.

Use Margaret explains below:

"Shopping for a new book? Choose Readers' Cove Used Books & Gallery as your local bookstore when ordering. supports independent businesses!"

Help Our Bookstore! Here's Way Number 1:

 Margaret says:

"Our audiobook fans can support us by shopping with this link: I highly recommend 2 that I recently listened to: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kemmerer and Horse by Geraldine Brooks."

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

So Many Tools, Dan, Do I Have To Use Them All?

Of course not.

We can all tend to fall into that trap.  There are so many sliders, extensions, conversions, and what-nots in every editing program and Luminar Neo is no exception. It's ease to go, "if I use them all, I'll get a really good finished image". Wrong. If you use them all properly, that's often true. But there are some very intuitive, and simple tools in Neo that will give you an excellent result, and it won't take you more than a couple minutes.

I did a test. Here's the beginning image, taken in the evening, just after sunset.  I wanted to lighten up the foreground, and bring up the pink in the clouds.

©Daniel Gauss/Shot On Site

Ordinarily, I'd use a large part of the Luminar tool box to get the result I'm looking for, but in this test, I wanted to see how few tools I needed.  So here's a screen shot of the edit history: 

A couple steps don't show up here. First, I cropped the image to 16:9 to get rid of some of the sky, foreground, and some of the edges. After that I went into Develop, where I selected the Adobe Standard Camera Profile for Fujifilm X-T2 raw files. Made a slight contrast adjustment, brought down the highlights a smidge, then made a one-click optical correction and I was done with the Develop tool.
I noticed one of the houses in the foreground was a little distracting, so I used the Erase tool to get rid of it.

Then, I used the first key tool: The HDR Merge Extension. I simply dragged the catalog image to the HDR Merge box, (it's primarily used to merge several exposures of the same image, but it works great for single images as well!), pressed "Merge", and the AI did the tone mapping and spit out a giant TIF file which looked exactly how I'd hoped it would.  I could have called in done then and there, but there was one more AI tool I needed to really pop those pink clouds: Enhance AI. (PRO TIP: In a pinch, this is often the only tool you need for a great looking photo).

I was done, so how many tools was that? Five. And it took probably 2 minutes from start to finish. 
Ope! I forgot the last tool.. I used the Layers tool to add a .png file of my initials in the lower right corner. So 6 tools.  And here's the finished product:

©Daniel Gauss/Shot On Site

So, the moral of the story?  If you're in a time crunch, or you just don't want to sit hunched over your keyboard, staring at your monitor on a beautiful day, there are tools here that can get you the result you want in just minutes.

You can now get Luminar Neo, and all the extensions, plus some sweet bonuses for ridiculously low prices during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales period. Use the discount code: DANGAUSS at checkout for an additional $10 off. 

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these, I may receive a small commission at no increased cost to you. Thanks.

Yes, We Have A Bookstore. Also, It's For Sale. Inquire within

It's a link. Check us out! πŸ‘‡ 

Monday, November 21, 2022

I Don't Pay A Fortune For Quality Cycling Wear... (A Black Friday Story)

...or running gear, or yoga, uh... costumes? Or any fitness clothing for that matter. And neither should you.  (To be honest, I didn't pay anything for the two pieces pictured above... they were Christmas presents last year. And I've never bought running shorts or shirts, and you'll probably be surprised to hear I've never purchased yoga clothing either.)  But I'm here to ask a simple question:

"Why is cycling (and other fitness) clothing so damned expensive?"

Take the jacket and tights I'm wearing in the above images- they were less than $90 for the pair! If I purchased similar micro-fleece tights, and cycling jacket from one of the major brands, like Castelli, or Assos, or Rapha, I'd be shelling out $300 to $600... or more! And most of them wouldn't even have side pockets to put my cold hands in! 

So what's the secret. For that, I've got to take you back a dozen years, or thereabouts.  Back then, when I went riding, I always... always wore lycra shorts, and standard short sleeve poly cycling jersey with the 3 large pockets in the rear. I never rode when it was below 65°F. I wanted to find more comfortable "cruising" clothing items. I went searching Amazon for urban and mountain biking shorts.  What I found was even better.  I found a pair of lightweight boxer briefs with a chamois. (Ask your cycling friends). Why was this better? I could wear them under any of my baggy gym shorts, cargo shorts, or sweat pants, or anything really, and still be comfortable on the saddle. These boxer briefs were from a company I'd never heard of (true of most everything on Amazon), called Baleaf  Oh yeah- they were only about $14 then. $16 now.πŸ‘‰
Yeah, fun with QR codes....

For the next 10 years or so, they were the only Baleaf item I owned.. and eventually I reverted back to wearing regular cycling clothing for my rides, having picked up some extra shorts, and jerseys from various cheap outlets. Picked up a windbreaker from REI Coop outlet website,  bib shorts from Nashbar, and chamois-less tights from the bike shop in Las Cruces, so my riding temperature threshold dropped to around 55°. Perfect for late Fall in southern New Mexico. 

I didn't give much of a thought about Baleaf then. As far as I knew they made the boxer brief cycling underwear, and not much else. Then they showed up in a Facebook ad .. they were promoting their bib shorts, which is another item that is way overpriced from the other clothing suppliers. You're lucky if you can find some on clearance under $100. Most are $125 and up. The shorts Baleaf was advertising were around $35. I bit, and I haven't bought any cycling, (or other workout gear.. base layers, t-shirts, compression workout shorts -with a fly! do you know how rare that is?) from anywhere but Baleaf

The company has grown over the years, to where they're not just another Chinese distributor of cheap, shoddy goods.  Take a look at their website and you'll find quality clothing for all of your indoor and outdoor activities- cycling, jogging, aerobics, yoga, running and just relaxing after the workout. Recently they even brought out a line of sustainably produced workout gear. And all at price points that are well below the name brands. Check 'em out.

Oh, you need more inducement to check 'em out? Well, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are approaching, and you just know they're going to have some sweet deals, like-
  • Up to 60% off sitewide
  • 5% stacked discount if you use the code KTM999 at checkout.
  • Get another 20% off if you become a VIP member.
  • You might also try code: DanielRGauss (never know, you might get another 10% off)
So, if you're tired of emptying your wallet for a pair of Nike running shorts, or Assos cycling shorts, and if you want to save a whole bunch of the green stuff, check out the Black Friday specials at this link right here!

And watch the old man keep his balance just down there πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡


Posts may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these, I may receive a small commission at no increased cost to you. Thanks.


Friday, November 18, 2022

Look Sharp. Be Sharp. And Don't Miss The Insane Luminar Neo Black Friday Promo!

I shot this bridge a couple months back. I had thoughts of doing some fancy editing on it. It's old, but still in use, and in its setting, it had a lot of character. We were in a hurry, so I didn't get a chance to take more than this one image.  It looked OK on the camera LCD, so we moved on to our intended destination deeper into the Gila National Forest.
When I got around to working on it a week or so later, I was so disappointed to see that the image was very soft.. the result of a tiny bit of camera shake from being in a rush.  I set it aside, and set to working on the pictures that I actually took the time to shoot

Jump ahead a little more than two months, and the Luminar Neo Extension this photo needs is released: SupersharpAI! As the name implies, it uses AI to analyze all the data in the JPEG or Raw file, and figures out where things went wrong, and fixes it! You get options of "Low", "Medium" or "High" sharpness correction. This one was definitely a candidate for  "High".  

Once I got the resulting sharpened image, I knew I had to reward myself with a total bending of reality.  I've shot dozens of images of clouds for just this purpose. In fact, not long before I shot this bridge, at the height of our monsoon season, I shot just the image to use here. And it's easy with Luminar Neo's AI Sky Replacement tool.  (While I prefer to use my own skies for this purpose, Luminar has a marketplace full of sky packs, and image presets. It's quite the rabbit hole when you get to searching through it.) So what did I do with this crusty old bridge? Well, wait no further....

Hot Springs Rd Bridge. ©Daniel Gauss/Shot On Site

Can you feel the deluge approaching? Should I have added lightning? Easy to do. I'm ecstatic I was able to save this image.

Have you got motion blurred photos in your libraries? Out of focus images. SupersharpAI is for you, (and don't tell me every image you've ever sharp is in perfect focus!).  

How about all the other Luminar Neo extensions that have recently been released? Background Removal AI (which I showed you in the previous post),  Upscale AI, and Focus Stacking (which I haven't introduced you to, but I'm going to!). 

And now, with Black Friday (remember? I promised Black Friday up there πŸ‘†πŸ‘†) on the horizon, you- yes you! Can get Luminar Neo, and all the extensions, plus other bonus goodies at the lowest prices I've seen yet! If I was on the fence about springing for a new editor, this would get me off the fence faster than Humpty Dumpty! And get this: my discount code: DanGauss, will save you an additional $10 off the already low promotional pricing on any package.  And here's my advice: Just skip straight to the "Pro Plan".  You'll get the most for the least. If you're not the subscribing kind, the second best deal is the Lifetime License. Pay once, and it's yours forever.  But just hit this link or click on the ad in the right sidebarπŸ‘‰ and see for yourself. If you've got questions, I'm here!

Black Friday + Cyber Monday promo pricing  runs from 11/18 to 11/29/2022

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these, I may receive a small commission at no increased cost to you. Thanks

Monday, November 14, 2022

Feel Free to Augment Your Reality

Dogs,2003,  and a Bridge, 2021 ©Daniel Gauss/Shot On Site


The folks at Skylum Software, just released a buttload of new extensions for their Luminar Neo editor. Some practical (I'll get to those in a future post), and some fun and creative. Background Removal AI falls solidly in the latter category. Take the above image for example.  If you've got your readers on and can read the small print you'll see the dogs' picture was taken 19 years ago at a dog camp in Asheville. The bridge was shot last Thanksgiving at the Nature Conservancy's Iron Bridge Conservation Area northwest of Silver City, New Mexico.

This screenshot from the Luminar Neo desktop shows the steps (though not in process order) I took to get from there to here... upper right is the original Nikon D1H raw file from 2003. Bottom right is the background removed, with a single click and a bit of fringe work around the ears, Bottom left converted to a png file with a transparent background, where it is then ready to be inserted into another background. Notice that I needed to flip the dogs so the light direction was consistent. Also a single click. Spent about 10 minutes total. Obviously more can be done, but I wanted to get the news out.

I used a couple of the other new extensions when putting this image together, including NoiselessAI, to remove digital noise in the dog image caused by the small 19 year old Nikon sensor, and UpscaleAI, to increase resolution for the same reason.

If your interest is piqued, hit the links at the top of the post, or the vertical ad on the right sidebar. If you're buying, don't forget to use the discount code: DanGauss to potentially save $10.

Fine print:
Posts may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these, I may receive a small commission at no increased cost to you. Thanks.

Friday, November 11, 2022