Swedish lock giant Assa Abloy acquires smart lock maker August Home

 The smart home market continues to heat up, and the legacy giants do not want to get locked out: quite literally. This morning, Assa Abloy, the $23 billion Swedish lock giant that owns Yale and many other brands — announced that it is buying US-based smart lock maker August Home to double down on new technology. Terms of the deal are not being disclosed but we have asked both August… Read More

William Neill: Retrospective

William Neill, Half Dome, Elm and Sunbeams
Half Dome, Elm and Sunbeams, Yosemite National Park, California 2016.

And you may ask yourself, well … how did I get here?
–Talking Heads, “Once In A Lifetime”

I was talking to someone recently who asked me what kind of photographs I make. I paused for a moment to ponder this basic but critical question, then answered that I specialize in photographing the details of nature. Although I revel in capturing the majestic grand scene when the elements all come together, I prefer focusing on the intimate landscape. Rather than describing the wide scene in front of me, I zoom in tightly, attempting to imbue my images with magic and mystery by isolating unique details I discover. By creating photographs where the content or orientation is not immediately apparent, a magical, mystical feeling may come through. I would rather make an image that asks a question than answers one; that intrigues and arouses curiosity in the viewer.

Many of my “On Landscape” columns published in Outdoor Photographer have shared my thoughts on how best to develop thematic portfolios, a distinctive style and a career as a creative landscape photographer. Perhaps if I share some thoughts and stories about my career, they will help you with your own landscape photography.

William Neill reflections, Snake River.
Cloud reflections and Mt Moran at the Oxbow Bend on the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, 1990.

Finding Your Voice

Over the years, I have gained a sense of myself as a photographer, finding a certain clarity about what inspires me to photograph and what I wish to communicate. Fortunately, this clarity came early in my career. In my college years, I studied the works of landscape masters such as Eliot Porter and Paul Caponigro, who focused more on the details of nature rather than the broad, descriptive view. Just a few years after buying my first camera in 1974, I moved to Yosemite and never left. Living in or just outside the park continuously since 1977 has been key to my development as an artist. After a few summers working for the National Park Service, I was hired to be the photographer-in-residence at The Ansel Adams Gallery. I got to know Ansel and attended many of his summer workshop sessions, meeting other world-class photographers such as Ernst Haas, Joel Meyerowitz and Jerry Uelsmann. I started teaching photography to park visitors, taking them for daily “camera walks” in the meadow near the gallery. I learned to make my own color prints, ironically, in Ansel’s black-and-white darkroom. I listened to the photographers I met and explored this famous landscape.

Photographers find their voice when they discover what subjects move them most deeply. That passion, that emotion from within is the magic element. An excellent way to concentrate one’s attention is to develop thematic portfolios based on those emotional connections. The first phase of this development is to see what themes exist in your photographs and which of those are the most promising, and to start editing the images into a portfolio that exemplifies your best work.

Curating Your Photography

There are two main requirements for an exceptional collection: there must be a coherent theme that moves you and motivates you, and there should be consistent quality. In any situation where you show your work, great images are diluted when average images are included to “fill out” your presentation.

William Neill, Tangle Falls
Tangle Falls, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, 1995.

Learning to think in themes is an ongoing process that can continue for years or even decades. As you begin to assess the current level of your work, you also learn to maintain that standard of quality using your editing skills and become conscious of ways to improve your future efforts. There is no set way to do this, so we must learn to trust our own instincts and observations, and listen to the opinions of others we respect. Those instincts depend on how well we feel an image translates our vision, plus the equally subjective process of comparing our images to those of others.

With a long-term persistence and commitment to my portfolios, every year I’ve made a few new top level images, slowly building the depth of each theme. The payoff shows in a new book to be released this fall. The photographs are organized by those main themes: an in-depth look at my “Landscapes of the Spirit” work; my recent “Antarctic Dreams” series; a black-and-white portfolio entitled “Meditations in Monochrome;” my “By Nature’s Design” series of patterns in nature imagery; a portfolio of my ICM (intentional camera movement) work called “Impressions of Light;” and last, but not least, a collection of Yosemite photographs I call “Sanctuary in Stone.”

The titles are important because they encapsulate the ideas and passion for each theme, and guide the viewer toward those ideas. More importantly, a theme concept can inform your efforts in the field and subsequent editing sessions. When editing, you not only judge both technical and aesthetic aspects, but you consider whether the photograph adds depth and quality to your chosen theme.

William Neill, Yosemite Valley
Morning Mist, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California, 2013

Although the Antarctica photographs were made over only a five-day voyage with Luminous Landscape, my other themes are collections created over four decades. My black-and-white images offer an example of where the inspiration began. Although I’ve gravitated to working in color, early on I was more strongly influenced creatively by black-and-white masters Minor White, Edward and Brett Weston, Wynn Bullock and Paul Caponigro. Seeing the abstract, mysterious and less-literal landscape imagery these photographers often made, I was inspired to strive for the same effect in color. Many years passed as I pursued this goal. Digital technology eventually progressed to the point that allowed for high-quality black-and-white software conversions from digital capture and scans of my color film. When a corporate art project for black-and-white murals was presented to me, I happily dove into the editing and processing of images from my 4×5 film archive. The project led me to expand my initial selections into a full-fledged theme, transforming a long-latent passion for the black-and-white landscape.

Preparing For Presentation

I recently prepared an exhibit for The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite. The gallery has been showing my prints since 1983, when Ansel himself approved of my representation there. Each exhibition there has taken on a different flavor depending on the curator, the season and what new images I have made. When deciding what to print, I have naturally focused on showing my most creative work, but the final choices are a collaboration between myself and the curator. Each gallery I work with has a different clientele and curatorial focus and knows their customers best.

Writing an artist’s statement is an excellent way to give voice to a thematic concept and guide the viewer to understand your point of view, whether for a book, exhibition or online portfolio. Of course, photographs are visual communications and should speak to us directly without verbal definition. However, writing can add important depth to the impact of images for any project. Words matter. Ideas matter. For an exhibit there a few years back, I entitled it “Sanctuary,” and I wrote the following artist’s statement for the exhibition:

The theme of Sanctuary provides the foundation of my exhibit selection. Preserves of nature such as Yosemite offer a sense of protection from outside forces, much as do the walls of a church or temple. From within the protected walls, the peacefulness and beauty of Nature, its quality of sanctuary, gives comfort and calm. Given this sense of Sanctuary, the creative energies of an individual are given the freedom to express what one feels, to express the connection between the soul and the beauty of Creation. I can’t speak for others but this is what I have experienced.”

William Neill, Sentinel Park
Clearing winter storm, Sentinel Rock, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California, 1990.

Although not entirely based on the new book, my Yosemite exhibit was a retrospective drawn from my 40 years living in and next to the park. In writing a statement for the exhibit, I wrote the following words to describe my creative process.

Seeing and feeling beauty is more vital to me than any resulting imagery. When the key elements of photography—light, composition, and emotion—are before me, I am fully engaged, yet detached, without expectations. The magic of my discoveries—whether the dramatic light of a clearing storm or an intimate detail on the forest floor—recharges my spirit with a sense of wonder. The intensity of the experience makes me feel vibrant and alive, the necessary first step to creating a transcendent image.”

I’ve had the good fortune of having my photographs exhibited and published over many years. The first book I illustrated was The Sense of Wonder by nature writer Rachel Carson, published in 1990 by The Nature Company. The success of this book, reprinted in nine editions, led to 10 subsequent books. Flash forward to 2017, and I have a new retrospective book being published by Triplekite Publishing of the United Kingdom. Four decades as a fine art landscape photographer are represented within.

I have been working on the book since the beginning of 2017, but the idea started to come together three years ago, when I contacted Triplekite Publishing. The book of theirs that caught my eye was Iceland, Above & Below by Hans Strand. I could quickly tell from the sample page layouts on their website that I shared the publisher’s sense of book design, specializing in fine art landscape photography, as well as their focus on high-quality reproduction, clean design and large format for their books.

William Neill, Sequoia National Park
Giant sequoia and fir tree in the fog, Sequoia National Park, California, 1993.

The collection, entitled William Neill, Photographer: A Retrospective features 151 images, many never before published. Included are images taken with a 35mm film camera from the 1970s and 1980s, through to my current digital captures. A significant number are photographs made with a 4×5 film camera. It is an amazing feeling as I pulled together 40 years of photography, but there is also great tension as we entered the final stretch of the book building process. Writing my essays, used to introduce each theme, was a challenge, requiring I be both concise and poignant. Essays by Art Wolfe and John Weller supplement my writings in the book. With 151 images in six chapters highlighting my themes, I hope that a sense of my artist’s journey comes through.

Learn to focus on your greatest sources of inspiration. Commit to seeking your own creative vision. Consider what style or themes drive your passion to photograph, and follow that path even if it is “the long road” to success. Good luck and good light.

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Adobe Announces New Products, Updates

Adobe Announces New Products, Big Updates At MAX 2017
The new Adobe Lightroom CC

At MAX 2017, Adobe’s Creativity Conference in Las Vegas, the company announced new products and big updates. Lightroom CC was introduced, and Lightroom Classic CC, Lightroom mobile and Lightroom.adobe.com updates were detailed, in addition to Creative Cloud Photography plan changes and a new Lightroom CC plan.

The company is rebranding the current version of Lightroom CC as “Lightroom Classic CC” and is launching a new Lightroom CC, which is a cloud-based workflow. With a “streamlined” interface, the new Lightroom CC is designed to provide easy access to images on any platform across the company’s range of products, but has a completely different, minimalist look.

Adobe is also changing their pricing for the products, which we outline below. There will be a variety of ways to get access to Lightroom CC, including the standard Creative Cloud Photography plan, one with more storage and one with more storage but fewer bundled apps.

Now, here’s all the news we have about the new changes to Adobe Lightroom CC and other new products and updates.

Lightroom CC + Lightroom Classic CC

Adobe has rebranded one product as it introduces another. Lightroom becomes Lightroom Classic CC, with the launch of Lightroom CC, which Adobe says “is designed to be a cloud-based ecosystem of apps that are deeply integrated and work together seamlessly across desktop, mobile, and web. Lightroom Classic CC is designed for desktop-based (file/folder) digital photography workflows. It’s a well-established workflow solution that is distinct and separate from our new cloud-native service. By separating the two products, we’re allowing Lightroom Classic to focus on the strengths of a file/folder based workflow that many of you enjoy today, while Lightroom CC addresses the cloud/mobile-oriented workflow.”

Adobe Announces New Products, Big Updates At MAX 2017
The original Lightroom has been rebranded as Lightroom Classic CC

Adobe says its Lightroom Classic CC changes were based on user experience issues. They include:

  • Application launch time
  • Preview generation
  • Import selection workflow with Embedded & Sidecar preview option
  • Switching between Library and Develop Module
  • Moving from photo to photo in the Develop Module
  • Responsive brushing
  • New tools to make precise color and tone-based selections for local adjustments

As for the new Lightroom CC, it’s designed and built upon three principles, according to Adobe: Powerful, but simple, seamless workflow across all devices—desktop, mobile and web—and cloud-based.

Lightroom CC on the desktop is a new app for Mac and Windows. Featuring a new interface, it’s intended to let creatives have access to their original images, edits and metadata, synced and stored in the cloud. What’s called Adobe Sensei, Adobe’s version of Artificial Intelligence, lets users automatically tag photos for search capability and much more.

As for mobile, Lightroom also adds new tag and search functionality, and it has been optimized to work with iOS 11 and Android O, the latest version of the Android OS.

For web, Lightroom CC gets additional sharing tools and the new Tech Preview (experiment with new Adobe technologies and provide feedback) and a new Lightroom CC Gallery, among other features.

Also, Lightroom for Apple TV has been updated with new features to make sharing photos easier.

Creatives also should note that Lightroom 6 is the last stand-alone version of Lightroom that can be purchased outside of a Creative Cloud membership, though there will be no camera support updates or bug fixes after 2017. However, Lightroom 6.13 with support for the Nikon D850 will be released on October 26, 2017.

Adobe Announces New Products, Big Updates At MAX 2017

Adobe also made announced and updated these products:

  • Dimension CC—a new product powered by Adobe Sensei that enables creatives to design in 3D
  • KyleBrushe.com—CC members now have access to Kyle T. Webster’s brush collection
  • Photoshop CC—a huge list of new features, including easier access to your photos, a simplified Pen tool, in-product learning and more
  • Adobe Camera Raw improvements

As for Adobe’s cloud plans, the new Lightroom CC is available in three photography plans:

  • The Creative Cloud Photography plan with 1 TB includes Lightroom CC, Lightroom for mobile/web, Photoshop CC, Adobe Spark with premium features, Adobe Portfolio and 1 TB of cloud storage ($19.99/month; $14.99/month for the first year for existing Creative Cloud Photography users)
  • Lightroom CC has been added to the existing Creative Cloud Photography plan with an additional 20 GB of storage. The plan remains at $9.99/month and includes Lightroom CC, Lightroom for mobile/web, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop CC, Adobe Spark with premium features, Adobe Portfolio, and 20 GB of cloud storage. Creative Cloud All Apps members also have access to the new Lightroom CC service.
  • Lightroom CC, Lightroom for mobile/web, Adobe Spark with premium features, Adobe Portfolio and 1 TB of cloud storage for $9.99/month
  • The Lightroom Mobile plan for iOS and Android is available with 100 GB, at $4.99/mont

Visit adobe.com for all the details.

See the press releases below:

Adobe Introduces New Lightroom CC Cloud Photography Service Integrated Cloud-based Service Enables Easy Editing, Organizing, Storing, and Sharing of Photography From Anywhere

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Oct. 18, 2017 —Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the all-new Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC cloud-based photography service. Launched over a decade ago, Lightroom became the industry’s leading desktop application for editing and organizing photography. Now in an increasingly mobile-centric world, and with major improvements in smartphone cameras, Lightroom is transforming digital photography again. Built for professionals and enthusiasts, the new Lightroom CC fulfills the demands of today’s photographers for a more accessible, cloud-based photography service for editing, organizing, storing and sharing their photos from wherever they are.

Featuring a streamlined user interface, Lightroom CC enables powerful editing in full resolution across mobile, desktop, and the web. With Lightroom CC, photographers can make edits on one device and automatically synchronize their changes everywhere. Lightroom CC makes organizing photography collections easier with features like searchable keywords that are automatically applied without the hassle of tagging. And Lightroom CC makes it simple to share photos on social media.

“As the leader in digital photography, today Adobe is unveiling Lightroom CC, our next generation photography service,” said Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president and general manager, Digital Media at Adobe. “Lightroom CC answers photographers’ demand for a deeply integrated, intelligent, cloud-based photography solution.”

Key Lightroom CC capabilities include:

  • The most powerful image editing technology: Built on the same imaging technology that powers Photoshop and Lightroom, Lightroom CC offers a new streamlined interface with easy-to-use sliders, presets, and quick adjustment tools.
  • Edit anywhere: Lightroom CC allows photographers to edit full-resolution photos anywhere – on mobile devices, desktop, or the web. Edits made on one device are automatically synced across devices for anywhere access.
  • Worry free back-up, cloud storage: Lightroom CC has scalable storage options for safe and secure back up of full resolution photos – including raw files.
  • Powered by Adobe Sensei: Adobe Sensei uses machine learning to automatically apply searchable keywords to objects in photographs – making organization in Lightroom CC effortless.
  • Built-in sharing tools: Lightroom CC makes it easy to share photos directly via social media and to create custom Lightroom web galleries that can be shared via link. Photographers can also share their work through new Adobe Portfolio integration with Lightroom CC.
  • Updated award-winning mobile and web experiences
  • Lightroom CC for mobile on iOS: Built-in search functionality powered by Adobe Sensei, keyword support, hierarchical album support, an enhanced iPad app layout, and iOS 11 files support.
  • Lightroom CC for mobile on Android: Tablet support and a local adjustments brush, along with the same built-in search functionality, keyword support, and hierarchical album support as seen in the iOS app.

Updates to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC

Previously known as Lightroom CC, major updates to Lightroom Classic CC include an enhanced Embedded Preview workflow that enables users to scroll through large sets of photos to select a subset of images significantly faster than before. Lightroom Classic CC also features new editing capabilities, including a new Color Range and Luminance Masking functionality that enables users to apply precise edits. As contrasted with the cloud-centric, anywhere workflows of Lightroom CC, the new Lightroom Classic CC continues to focus on a more traditional desktop-first workflow with local storage and file and folder control.

Availability, Plans, and Pricing

The all new Lightroom CC is available across three photography plans:

  • For photographers that want an all-in-one plan that offers the full benefits of the Lightroom CC service plus the transformative power of Photoshop, the Creative Cloud Photography plan with 1 TB includes Lightroom CC, Lightroom for mobile and web, Photoshop CC, Adobe Spark with premium features, Adobe Portfolio, and 1 TB of cloud storage ($19.99/month, but available at $14.99/month for the first year for existing Creative Cloud Photography customers)
  • Lightroom CC has also been added to the existing Creative Cloud Photography plan with an additional 20 GB of storage to help users get started on the new service. This plan remains at $9.99/month and includes Lightroom CC, Lightroom for mobile and web, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop CC, Adobe Spark with premium features, Adobe Portfolio, and 20 GB of cloud storage. Creative Cloud All Apps members also have access to the new Lightroom CC service.
  • The all new Lightroom CC plan addresses the needs of photographers who want a cloud-based photography service for editing, organizing, storing and sharing their photos from wherever they are, and includes Lightroom CC, Lightroom for mobile and web, Adobe Spark with premium features, Adobe Portfolio, and 1 TB of cloud storage ($9.99/month)

For those who are truly mobile and don’t require a desktop photography solution, the Lightroom Mobile plan for iOS and Android is available with 100 GB ($4.99/month).

For more information on available plans, please visit https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/plans.html.

 

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Photo Of The Day By Scott Stulberg

Today’s Photo Of The Day is “Figures in the Landscape” by Scott Stulberg. Location: Death Valley National Park, California.
Photo By Scott Stulberg

Today’s Photo Of The Day is “Figures in the Landscape” by Scott Stulberg. Location: Death Valley National Park, California.

“These are the sand dunes of Death Valley National Park and on this day with my long lens, I captured what appeared to me women lying together,” says Stulberg. “With the angle of the sun this morning and the glistening of the tiny rocks on the sand, this was an angle I had never seen before. This place is pure magic.”

See more of Scott Stulberg’s photography at www.asa100.com.

Photo of the Day is chosen from various OP galleries, including Assignments, Galleries and the OP Contests. Assignments have weekly winners that are featured on the OP website homepage, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To get your photos in the running, all you have to do is submit them.

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