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About Graham

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  • Joined Alamy
    27 Apr 2008

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  1. Another vote for Imatch here. It can have quite a learning curve, but it is very capable. A new version, IMatch 2020, has been teased by the developer, but it has not been released yet. Photo Mechanic 6 is also an excellent browser with lots of capabilities to manage keywords, and the cataloguing function (it will be called PM6+) will be good once it is out of beta (where it has been for a long time). Registered users of PM6 can, however, use the betas and help contribute towards its features or help find bugs. Neither has image editing capabilities.
  2. I use a desktop PC as my main computer. I try to keep everything on local drives, backed up to removable drives. I currently have 10 internal hard drives, of which 4 are SSDs. My images (now over 600,000) are on the normal hard drives. The main OS and programmes are on one of the SSD drives, as is my Lightroom catalogue (it has its own dedicated SSD drive). This is pushing internal drive capacity and power supply to the limit, but it works for me. Everywhere one hears that SSD drives are a panacea for speed of performance, particularly Lightroom, which even in the best set up system often seems to limp along at the pace of a lethargic snail. Despite the OS and catalogue being on SSDs and there being plenty of free disk space (performance of SSDs degrades if they are allowed to become too full), Lightroom's performance over the last couple of weeks has dropped from the barely acceptable to the totally intolerable. I therefore checked my system (which is a high end i9 Windows 10 build with plenty of RAM optimised for graphics uses and a good graphics card with 4GB VRAM), and found that the SSD TRIM command had been turned off, I do not know how. Having downloaded a couple of small SSD optimisation utilities and forced TRIM to run, I have found that Lightroom is now much faster, approaching the heady heights of more or less acceptable levels of speeds most of the time (or at least not too intolerable). The moral of all this is yes, do use SSDs if you can for your OS and catalogues, but do remember that they need TLC and performance can degrade over time for no immediately obvious apparent reason. It can well repay your time if occasionally you check to see that performance continues to be optimised. Graham
  3. I agree with all this. Once you have carried out the RAW conversion, data is discarded and cannot be recaptured. Highlight recovery as part of the RAW conversion process accesses data that subsequent processing of even a 16 bit TIFF cannot access, because it is no longer there. Similarly for shadows, which is why it makes a lot more sense to deal with noise at this stage as well, although the Lightroom/ACR noise reduction engine is not as good as other options which can only be applied after conversion, such as Denoise (other like DXO, but I have not used it). If I am going to create a TIFF from a noisy image to process in Photoshop, I will typically do basic noise reduction in Lightroom/ACR and then apply further noise reduction as needed using the tools I can access in Photoshop. One technique that I find works well in Lightroom/ACR is to apply any more aggressive noise reduction I need for the shadows via a radial or gradient filter which covers the entire image, then limiting its effect to the darkest areas using a luminosity mask, so that mid-tones and highlights do not lose detail. You can do the same thing in Capture One using a layer and luminosity mask for extra noise reduction in the shadow areas. Graham
  4. Seeing in another post that millions of EyeEm images are becoming available on Alamy, and several other posts about the quality (or lack thereof) of keywords in images that seem to have been bulk added from other agencies, I do wonder whether the (or a) reason for the QC change might be that these images may not have been through an equivalent QC procedure and be of less overall technical quality, in which case Alamy may be having to use resources to weed out the more obvious dross from these collections. The QC procedures have for many years been pretty tight and hopefully will have resulted in Alamy having a good reputation for image quality which benefits everyone. If imported images which have not gone through a similar QC process might tend to reduce overall quality, and therefore reputation, it would make sense for Alamy to target these and free up resources with less checks on contributors who have proved themselves over a sustained period. Whatever the reason, I very much welcome the change: it is a real incentive for me to be able to upload and deal with keywords while everything is fresh in my mind, rather than having to wait and then maybe worry about a load of images which are sitting there without keywording having been dealt with because I might not have the time to do this later when the QC pass has been notified. Graham
  5. How strange. I just uploaded a batch which went straight through under my new 5 star status - but the four submissions from Friday and the weekend are still sitting there awaiting QC! Graham
  6. Fab, up to 5 stars this morning 😁. But it’s not retrospective: my uploads from Friday morning and three more Friday to yesterday are still in QC! No-one has mentioned any promotions to 4 stars yet: I wonder whether there are any now, or whether all promoted 3 star contributors have gone up to 5 stars? Presumably in future there will be a progression which will include 4 stars. I wonder whether the new system is a result of a rethink regarding live news restrictions? I lost live news privileges, along with many others, when the system changed, although I have had several later stock sales from former live news uploads. The withdrawal of immediate live news uploads has led me not to bother uploading a small number of images, the immediacy of which would be lost with a QC wait. We will of course still have to wait for the daily database update before our images can be found, but it does make the process a day or so quicker, which may give a better incentive to upload images of more immediate interest in the hope that they will still hit the target while the interest in the subject matter is still warm. Graham
  7. Hmmm, not sure what you have to do to qualify for the 5 stars and instant QC. I uploaded 6 images an hour or so ago, and they are awaiting QC as normal. I have only had one QC failure in recent years, and that was over a year ago, in October 2018. Since then I have made about 200 submissions, all multiple images, and therefore several thousand images in total. Previous to that, my last failure was in May 2014, so I am not a regular transgressor! Maybe once you have been on the naughty step, it lasts a very long time.... Graham
  8. Photo Mechanic does not include processing. It is a super-fast file browser/ingester with all sorts of metadata and keywording facilities. PM6 does not yet include a DAM/catalogue facility, but this is where PM6+ is heading. All PM6 users can try out the PM6+ beta builds as they are released, but pricing for the upgrade to the PM6+ version, once it is out of beta, has not been announced yet. You would still need DPP or PS with either version. Neither, for that matter, does IMatch include processing. Like iView, both will help organise and find your images, but neither will process them. Both will allow you to send your image to your chosen editor for processing. Graham
  9. Nice surprise today. A previous sale was reversed, and replaced by a new sale at a higher figure. I have had plenty of reversals for smaller amounts (or just straight refunds), but I think this is the first time it has happened this way round 😀
  10. If you decide to have a look at Photo Mechanic, they have announced a $20 discount from 27 November. I have not yet seen a discount offered for IMatch Graham
  11. I would recommend that you have a look at IMatch by Photools.com. There is a significant learning curve to it, but it is incredibly powerful if you take the trouble to learn it, but it also works out of the box (as it were). The developer, Mario, is very good about answering the most basic of questions and there is a supportive user forum. Definitely worth a look, as far as I am concerned. PhotoMechanic is also developing an asset management version. It is still in beta, but I expect it will be very good once it is finished, and again the developers and other users are very supportive about helping via the user forums. I don't know whether either of them will have Black Friday deals. PhotoMechanic certainly did last year. I would definitely look at migrating from iView sooner rather than later, and I agree that the Capture One asset management capabilities are not very good (as well as expensive). Even if you keep iView going in the short term, the time will come when there will be file formats that it cannot read. I have not used iView, but if it can save metadata as .XMP sidecar files, you will have no problem importing into either IMatch or PhotoMechanic. Graham
  12. Graham

    More categories

    If more categories, then maybe the option to select more than two (and failure to select a specific number not to affect 100% discoverability). Presently I often find it difficult to decide which two categories to select.
  13. Alamy are not unreasonable about this. I am an occasional Live News contributor and I know I have sold at least one the next day as a direct consequence (as a result of the vigilance of some kind soul in one of the "Have you found any images in..." thread). Yesterday evening I was coming home over London Bridge and by chance came across a protest by minicab drivers against Sadiq Khan and the imposition of the congestion change on minicabs. I always have a camera with me and I enthusiastically snapped 100 or so pictures of what was going on, and headed for my train home with great anticipation, planning to upload some to Live News. It takes me nearly 2 hours to get home, and as I was uploading the pictures to my computer, I checked my emails - what a day to find the notification from Alamy that Live News uploads were no longer possible! A quick call to Alamy resulted in the suggestion that I email Live News with a sample picture, which I did. They came back shortly afterwards and temporarily restored my Live News upload capability, as a result of which I was able to upload 19 images. The images were up about 4 hours after they were taken. I will be looking later today to see whether any of them made the newspapers. So far as I can see, there were no other Live News uploads covering the same subject yesterday (although there have been similar previous protests, which may mean that newspapers are less inclined to cover a repeat event). Come what may, Alamy were certainly not dogmatic about this and found a way to help when there was an immediate and genuine Live News type event. Graham
  14. My Alamy has not worked on Safari my iPad for a few days. It displays the framework of the page but no graph or other details, including access to other reports. I thought this was due to slow connections while travelling but it has persisted since my return home.
  15. On a very slow connection while travelling, this stopped me getting in at all. If the connection is too slow, there is an error message along the lines of “recaptcha timed out”. It makes access impossible in these circumstances. Of course, if the connection is too slow for captcha to work, it is going to take a very long time to get any meaningful information from Alamy, but the security should not defeat access entirely on slow connections.
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