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Hi, everybody. Sorry I missed out blogging on Friday – my wife and daughter flew up to New York City to meet me Friday morning (I was already up in NYC on business), and I got all caught up in that. We had a blast (saw two awesome shows: ‘Wicked’ and ‘School of Rock’ and took a hilarious tour of NYC called ‘The Ride’ – highly recommended).

Anyway, I’m back and of course, on Friday (as luck would have it) all hell broke loose when Google added a disclaimer to their download site for the free Nik Collection of plug-ins, that they would no longer be supporting it moving forward. If a new OS from Apple or Microsoft is released and it breaks the Nik Collection from working, they’re not going to fix it. Or, if a new version of Photoshop or Lightroom stops it from working, they’re not going to fix it. Or if a stiff wind comes along, and it breaks the Nik Collection they ain’t fixin’ it). Tip of the hat to DPReview for uncovering that.

Well, long time Nik Collection users are (me being one of them) are pretty much freaking out, so I thought I’d do a quick Q&A about it here on the blog-a-roonie:

Q. Didn’t Google pretty much say the same thing when they first released the Nik Collection for free? 
A. They did. They said, in kind of a soft-sell way, that they weren’t going to support further development of the collection.

Q. So we kind of already knew this?
A. Yeah, we pretty much did. I wrote about that in my Q&A the day they made the initial “free” announcement, back in March of 2016.

Q. So what exactly did you say in that Q&A about it?
A. Well, I answered a “Q” with an “A” (see below).

Q. Does this mean that future updates for this collection have ceased?
A.
Based on what I’ve read, I absolutely think that is the case, but I haven’t confirmed it with anyone inside Google yet.

Q. So, what if I download it today, and then there’s a major Mac OS or Windows update down the road and then it doesn’t work anymore. Will Google do an update to fix it?
A. Not as best as I can tell, so use it today and enjoy it for as long as it works.

Q. Will Google ever release a Nik Collection Version 5?
A. I would love that, but based on their post about why they are making it free, it seems fairly clear that their desktop plug-in days are over (that was my take on it anyway).

Q. So, how much longer will it still work?
A.
For some folks, it’s already too late. I’ve seen posts and gotten emails from people who have told me straight up that when they updated something and the collection stopped working. They have some sort of configuration (maybe it’s a particular graphics card with a particular OS update, of what-have-you), but it broke their Nik world. I hate to hear that (and I worry about it myself because I’ve been a Nik Collection user for years. In fact, I did an entire KelbyOne online class on how I use the Nik Collection (and released it just a few days after Google made their “Free” announcement).

Q. So, if they already alluded to the “we’re not updating this stuff anymore” situation when they released the free version, how come everybody is freaked out now?
A. Because Google added the “we’re not updating this stuff anymore” text right to the downloads page itself, so it’s more official and scary looking. Plus, I think we all hoped that Google wouldn’t really just leave us hanging like that and that they actually would, in fact, update the software when push came to shove.

Q. Yeah, but you’re saying people are already having issues with the Nik Collection working?
A. Right. So, push has already come to shove – and apparently enough people with problems contacted Google for help that they felt they needed to put a disclaimer on their downloads Website.

Q. Maybe Google is understaffed and doesn’t have someone available that could patch the software?
A. That’s entirely possible, but at last count, Goggle had around 62,000 employees (but that’s from last year. It’s probably more by now).

Q. So they have 62,000+ employees, but they can’t spare one to simply fix this plug-in that is beloved by so many people?
A. Apparently not. If Google wanted to assign one, or even one thousand, Google certainly could and probably not even notice they were missing — but apparently, they don’t want to devote even one single engineer to fix it, or they would, right? This is a business decision for Google (no longer supporting the Nik Collection), and I get it — it doesn’t fit into their plans/strategy moving forward. I’m not happy about it, but I do understand it.

Q. But isn’t there a petition on change.org asking Google to at least to a maintenance update?
A. There sure is. Here’s where you can sign it.

Q. Did you sign it, Scott?
A. Absolutely!

Q. So, do you think if enough people sign this petition, it will convince Google to change their mind?
A. No. Not a chance. I believe that Google has no interest in the Nik Collection whatsoever. I believe the most work that has been put into the existing Nik Collection since 2012 was them putting up the notice that they’re not going to support it any longer.

Q. This reminds of when you said on “The Grid” right after Google bought Nik Software — you didn’t think Google bought Nik because they wanted to get in the business of selling plug-ins for Photoshop. I remember you saying that.
A. Yup, I did. I said I felt they bought Nik pretty much just for their Snapseed mobile app (which is awesome), and that I didn’t see them continuing to develop the Nik Collection as desktop plug-ins.

Q. And at the time, how did the Google/Nik folks react to you saying that?
A. I believe it was the catalyst for them installing a dartboard set with my photo on it.

Q. Yeah, I heard about that. Didn’t they even send two Google/Nik employees to be guests on The Grid to refute what you were saying?
A. They did, and they were masters at not answering my direct questions about will there be a Nik Collection 5. I made the joke on air that they were so skilled at not answering the question, that they should consider becoming politicians.

Q. So did they ever release that Nik Collection version 5?
A. Senator, I plead the 5th on the grounds that I don’t want to yell “I told you so!” so loudly that it knocks their dartboard set off the wall.

Q. Maybe, since Google doesn’t want it, they’ll give it to Adobe, and they could add it to Lightroom or Photoshop?
A. Ahhhhh, if only the software industry worked like that on any level. What a wonderful world it would be. It’s more likely that Google would assign 200+ engineers to update it than it would that they give it to Adobe or anyone. That’s not how multi-billion dollar software companies roll. I don’t want to whine too much – they did give us for free what was once a $499 collection of plug-ins (and they added another plug-in to it; the Analog Efex plug-in that everybody was hoping for. Stop snickering). ;-)

Q. So, all that aside, where does that leave us now?
A. We’re pretty much hosed. It is over. If your Nik Collection hasn’t stopped working yet, it’s like I said, “Enjoy it while you can” because it’s death is a-comin’.

Q. So, what’s your plan?
A. You might have already noticed that I’ve been transitioning over to using MacPhun’s Luminar plug-in. It has a lot of the same type of effects as Nik ColorEfex Pro 4 (which was their plug-in many pros I know relied upon — that and SilverEfex Pro for black and white conversions). It’s only been out since late last year, but it’s already had over 4-million downloads on the Mac alone, so it’s pretty much just taken off.

Q. Yeah and that’s why I didn’t switch to them earlier — they don’t have a Windows version.
A. Well, now they do (MacPhun announced it a week or so ago, and it’ll be shipping very soon).

Q. So, it’ll be on both Macs and PCs now?
A. Yup!

Q. Well, are you going to do a class on these as you did on the Nik Collection?
A. I’m on it. In fact, I’m in the studio taping it this week.

Q. How does it compare to the Nik Collection?
A. I think it compares closest to the Nik ColorEfex Pro 4 plug-in (well, it should be – some of the guys from MacPhun used to be “the guys from Nik Software”).  It has many of the same types of effects I went to Color Efex Pro 4 for, like: glows, detail enhancement, bi-color gradients, high-key effects, black and white conversions (not quite as good as Silver Efex Pro, but still good), Advanced Contrast, Structure, Polarizer, all that stuff (though it doesn’t have a straight-up Bleach Bypass effect, I think there’s a preset that gets close, but I will miss that effect from ColorEfex Pro 4. It doesn’t have “Tonal Contrast” by name, but it has the look (they call theirs “Structure”).

Q. Anything it does better?
A. It has lots and lots of presets (a lot that comes with it, and others that are downloadable), and the user interface is better (except for the pictures they use for the presets icons – they look very “consumerish” to me). It has a good Layers feature, so that’s pretty huge for Lightroom only users and their masking tools are really good. It’s got a spot healing tool that’s not bad (again, if you’re Lightroom only), and you can use it as a stand-alone app if you like (it doesn’t have to plug-in to Lightroom or Photoshop, but that’s how I use it exclusively).

Q. Anything worse?
A. It loads a lot slower when you first launch it. I’ve whined about it to them like a thing that whines a lot. I imagine it will get faster soon due to a bunch of whining [not just mine alone, but I can whine with the best of ’em when it comes to software], and if not, the whining will continue, (but much louder).

Q. So, if you’re telling us about which plug-in you’re switching to, I’m picking up a vibe that you feel like the Nik Collection might be ‘going away.” Am I right?
A. No. that’s not the ‘vibe’ I’m putting down. The vibe I’m putting down is the ‘death vibe.” Google said it — they are not supporting the Nik Collection any longer. It’s over.

Q. Scott, now you are starting to freak me out because maybe I’m reading between the lines here, but it sounds to me like you’re hinting that the Nik Collection may not have a very bright future.
A. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying “it has no future, and is dead now.”

Q. Maybe I’m jumping the shark here, but it kinda of sounds like you’re intimating that the Nik Collection may stop working for some people some day soon.
A. It has already stopped working for some folks now, and the reason is — it’s dead.

Q. But it sounds like you do think that Google will step in and save the day by assigning some engineers to do a maintenance update so we can keep using the Nik Collection, right?
A. No. I do not think that on any level, nor have I ever thought that, not even for a minute. I hoped it. I wished it, but that train has left the station.

Q. So, if I’m reading you right here, you just said Google is ‘training’ someone to update the Nik Collection? Is that what I’m getting from this?
A. You need to talk to someone.

Q. Are they at Google in the Nik Collection update department?
A. Sigh.

Well, folks, I don’t know what else to say. The train has left the station. The horse has left the barn. That dog don’t hunt. Fill in your own folksy phrase for “it ain’t gonna happen” here: ______________________. Hey, we still made images before the Nik Collection was even around, and we’ll be making ’em after they’re gone — we’ll just use a different set of plug-ins. Life goes on.

I hope you found this Q&A somewhat:

a) Helpful
b) Cathartic
c) Karmasutric
d) All of the above

Here’s wishing you a day where all your plug-ins work in perfect peace and harmony [insert gong sound here].

Best,

-Scott
Seat 11C, 33,000 feet
Feel free to move about the cabin, inc.

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, and our offices are closed as we honor and remember those who gave their lives in service to our country.

This post is dedicated each year to the memory of David Leimbach, (shown above; the brother of our dear friend and colleague Jeff Leimbach), who died nine years ago in combat in Afghanistan.

Just a humble word of thanks to the dedicated men and women of our armed services and to all those who came before them who laid down their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy each day.

Here’s wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy Memorial Day.

All my best,

-Scott

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Happy Monday, everybody! It’s Worldwide Photo Walk winners week, and here’s our schedule:

Today: Our new Video Category (for video taken during the photo walk).
Tomorrow: The Finalists and Grand Prize Overall Winner of the 2016 Worldwide Photo Walk
Friday: The People’s Choice Award Winner
Next Monday: The Photo Walk Leaders Competition

This is the first year we’ve added this new “Video shot during the photo walk” category, and Canon USA (our sponsor) was gracious enough to make a pretty amazing prize available for the winner of this new category. The Video Category winner receives:

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The Canon Video Creator Kit (seen above). The  kit includes the new Canon EOS 80D Body; their new 18-135mm lens;Canon Power Zoom Adapter; RODE VideoMic Go; a 32G SD Card, and all the other goodies (battery, charger, strap, etc.). High-five to Rob Altman of Canon USA for his vision, support, and for helping us launch this new category in such a meaningful way — Canon has been an absolutely AWESOME sponsor!!! 

OK, let’s get right to it — we’ll start with the winner, and then I’m going to share a few other videos that, while they didn’t win any prizes, I thought they deserved some attention.

AND THE WINNER IS…RICHIE REYNAN  TAN for his video “Camaraderie” 

Congratulations to Richie Reynan Tan — that looks like an awesome photo walk! :)

Other videos that, while they didn’t win any prizes, still deserve a mention:

This one is from Christopher Arnold from Stuart, Florida

This one was just so cute! Susie Lee with her video: “Her First Roll of Film.”

From Adam Carter with this video Out Photo Walking 2016. I like this guy (you have to stick with this one — it gets stronger as it goes)

From the Gamcheon Cultural Village PhotoWalk, South Korea Photo Walk, by Carlos Vasquez. It just looks like a fun time! (and isn’t fun just the best thing to have?)

I liked this one from Egypt by Kahled AboBakr— they look like a great group of photographers. :)

OK, last one: This is from the Ft. Worth, Texas Stockyards by Brandi Korte (I actually did a photo walk there once as part of a conference I was speaking at). Great area for a photo walk.

Thanks for letting me share all of these with you; congrats once again to our prize winner Reynan, and a big, big thanks to the 2016 Worldwide Photo Walk Official Sponsor, Canon USA, for making this new video category a reality. :)

See you tomorrow for the big reveal of the 10 Finalists and the overall Grand Prize Winner! Somebody’s getting an amazing camera! :)

All my best,

-Scott

Every day now, it seems photographers around the world are ponying up money for a Kickstarter campaign to get some new piece of camera gear get made, or a new camera bag, or some obscure lens. Does the world really need another photo gadget? Don’t get me wrong, I love gadgets as much as the next guy, but I’ve found something that will make you feel better than any gadget you’ve ever bought. Instead of buying something, you can save someone.

Today, as a photographer, you can do something bigger. Something that really means something in the bigger picture. Instead of backing someone’s get rich quick scheme, why not donate just a few bucks to feed some wonderful kids living in an tiny orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya? This is an orphanage the wonderful photographers who read this blog helped build from literally an empty plot of land, into one that cares and feeds more than 30 awesome children.

But they need our help.

If you want to do something today that will make you feel far better than backing yet another kickstarter camera gadget,  this is your chance.

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So far, we’ve raised $4,748 dollars, which absolutely helps (and for which I’m so grateful), but it’s just 13% of our $35,000 goal. The photo walk is just three weeks away, and we need your help.

You can help us get there. Give a buck. Give $5. Whatever you can give makes a HUGE difference to these kids, and this tiny orphanage. Maybe your company would like to donate. Maybe your friends. This all adds up. It really does.

Photo Walkers — I’m Calling Out To You!
I’m encouraging anyone taking part in my 9th annual Worldwide Photo Walk to give just a buck. $1. If we all do just that, we’ll easily reach our goal.

Here’s the link to the donation page we set up at Generosity.com for the orphanage. Doing this will make your day, heck your whole week, that much better. It will.

Here’s wishing you an open heart and an open mind, for others in need.

Best,

-Scott 

 

shootlikeapro

Mornin’ everybody, and greetings from the Tampa Convention Center. Sorry for the late blog post this morning — I got in kinda late last night (shot the Bucs game yesterday), and I basically walked in and hit and sack, so I’m writing this before I go on stage in 40 minutes here in Tampa.

We just added two more dates in January for my “Shoot Like a Pro: Part 2 (Reloaded!)” full-day seminar, if you’d like to come out for the day. The dates and cities are:

Richmond on Wednesday, January, 27, 2016

Atlanta on Friday January, 29, 2016

Hope you can come on out. It’s normally just $99, but if you sign up early (like now), you can go for just $89 (plus, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee if it’s not the best photography seminar you’ve ever attended, period!) .

Here’s a quick trailer that explains what I cover in the day:

That’s it from here in Tampa. Hope you all have a rockin’ Monday (I’m not really sure what that means), and we’ll catch ya back here tomorrow where I hope to have a post all ready fer ya before you even wake up. :)

Best,

-Scott

Last night Adobe released a ton of new updates for users in the Adobe Creative Cloud and Photoshop was among the apps that got a good amount of changes to it.  These features were things that we got to see a sneak peek at Adobe Max – but it is so nice to see that they are out as fast as they could.

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We are excited about the new features – so much so that we have them all set up in our Photoshop CC 2015.1 Learning Center! Our own Corey Barker takes you through all of the features and gets you up to speed on all of the new additions in no time at all!  We also have all of the updates in one spot there.

I believe there is no better time to be an Adobe Creative Cloud user.  Whether using the Creative Cloud Photography Plan or the Full Creative Cloud subscription, the amount of features you’re getting from Adobe is wonderful.

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