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Timing in Photography

An important aspect of photography is ‘timing’. Often a millisecond separates a snapshot from an award winning shot. Timing comes only from proper judgment and foresight of the situation. A photographer should be patient & calm as he shoots.

Timing1
Timing2
Timing3

Out of the above three images, the second one is perfectly timed. It tells a story. The rest two are simply snapshots with no engaging quality. The three were taken just a few milliseconds apart.

Altering a process priority is indispensable when you wish to change the behaviour of a running program on the system. Most of the times, when one wants a program to complete its processing faster, tuning its priority holds the key.

Under Linux, this can be accomplished by two ways – GUI & CLI. For this article, we will look at changing a process priority the GUI way. The CLI warrants a separate article.

Once you have the process running, simply open the “System Monitor”. Do note, I am under KDE for this demonstration. So the system monitor options may vary as per your desktop environment. However, the corresponding options should be self explanatory.

Process Priority GUI

Once in System Monitor, click on the “Process Table” tab for a summary of running processes on the system. Here identify your program. In my case, I wished to increase the priority of the Openshot process so it may process my video faster. So upon highlighting the Openshot Video Editor’s process in the table, I hit F8.You should now notice a similar window like one shown above. Here drag the sliders to the right for faster processing. You will be prompted for the root password as you do so. That’s all, the process should now conclude faster.

Many a times, one needs to keep an eye on certain aspects of a system. Be it verifying transfer of contents over to a host or scanning log files as they are written to, these tasks need constant supervision. Wouldn’t it be better if there was some automation to accomplish this? Thankfully, there is one.

Most Linux distros have an inbuilt utility known as ‘watch’ which essentially keeps running a particular command, every ‘n’ number of seconds. The watch command is very simple to use.

Recently, I was rendering a video in Openshot. To my inconvenience, the progress bar within the Openshot failed to show any visual indication. Here I quickly fired up a console & navigated to the location where my video file was to be rendered by Openshot. After this, it was simply a matter of running the mundane ‘ls -lhtr’ command using watch. The ‘ls -lhtr’ lists the files by their recent modification times & presents them in human readable size output. I used the following format;

$watch -n 5 ls -lhtr

Watch Command

Here the ‘-n 5′ option tells watch to run the command ‘ls -lhtr’ every five seconds. One can notice the increasing file size of the file which was rendered by Openshot as the command ran at five seconds interval. Thus, I was guaranteed of Openshot doing its work smoothly despite the conked progress bar in GUI.

The ‘watch’ command is regularly used by system administrators to check the output of a log file as it is written to viz. apache access log. Of-course, one can even use the ‘tail -f’ command to check the output of the log file in this scenario. Watch is a nifty tool in any administrators toolbox and its utility is limited by your imagination.

When I began this blog, I did it so just with the intent of teaching the masses. I did it purely out of passion. And now, the hardwork has been paid off yet again with a recognition. Baggout has selected “ShutterTux” amongst the “Top 10 Photography Blogs in India”.

badges_Blue_2015

It’s a moment of pride. A motivation to continue doing the good work I do. This award goes to all my faithful readers. Thank you for the unwavering support all along the way. Many thanks to the Baggout team for the honour.

Pay attention to White Balance

Most of the professional photographers make sure, white’s stay white. Often we are challenged with tricky lighting conditions which make deciding on a white balance difficult. JPEG shooters are more vulnerable since the scope for colour correction is limited in post-production.

However, even if you’re a RAW shooter it is important to get WB close to perfect right in the camera. A bride on her wedding day looking resplendent in her saree would be disappointed if you supply her with photographs wherein her saree colour is way off. It happens quite a lot in wedding photography, purples turn into blue. Since the amateur photographer is lost in other aspects(composition, lighting etc) of the photograph, it(WB) gets easily hood-winked. However, the bride and her family are the first to spot the mistake. In rare cases, they might not complain but you are sure to lose the client for a future photo assignment.

WB-Before-After

In order to avoid such an unpleasant scenario, one should be careful about the WB during shooting. Often WB is a subjective topic. Some like their pictures to be warmer whereas others opt for the most neutral colours. I fall in the latter category. I do tweak the WB to one other than the prefect when I feel the need for it. Often I proceed with setting the camera’s white balance to a ‘preset’ closer to the lighting condition I am shooting in. When I shoot under mixed lighting conditions, I make sure to get a “Grey Card” reading from my subject. Of-course, I always shoot in RAW. Combination of these two methods give me a head-start when I have the photographs over the computer post shoot. Most often, the WB is spot on or close enough. The little adjustment(if required) is easily handled in post-production.

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