Tc photos v2Sometimes, it feels as if I’m a lone defender of Apple’s Photos app under macOS. Many people find it too different from iPhoto, or think it’s too basic (even though it’s actually quite sophisticated), or… I don’t know, they just don’t like change. Except for Aperture users who were abandoned by Apple—their discontent is understandable.

It’s not just because I wrote a book about Photos and Apple’s photo ecosystem. True, I use Lightroom as my primary photo library manager, but I also make extensive use of Photos and iCloud Photo Library.

And now macOS Sierra is out, with a new version of Photos that brings better searching, Memories, revamped people identification, and more!

Alas, when my publisher Peachpit Press all but vaporized early this year, the possibility to update my Photos book also went up in smoke. That’s too bad, because I really enjoyed writing it, and thought it turned out well.

However, I’m not the only Photos defender. My friend and colleague Jason Snell has just released the second edition of his highly regarded, and best-selling, Photos: A Take Control Crash Course. Jason has been immersed in Photos during the developer preview versions of macOS Sierra and knows it inside and out. The ebook is 74 pages of hard-won information, fully illustrated and written in Jason’s friendly, approachable style. And it’s only $10!

Photos is a key part of both macOS Sierra and iOS 10, so before you order Jason’s book using the link above, consider bundling it—at a discount—with Scholle McFarland’s Sierra: A Take Control Crash Course, Josh Centers’s iOS 10: A Take Control Crash Course, or both!

Buy the Photos, Sierra, and iOS 10 Crash Courses for $28
Buy the Photos and Sierra Crash Courses for $17.50
Buy the Photos and iOS 10 Crash Courses for $17.50

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Bulbs

With so much focus on the iPhone 7, which started trickling into customers’ hands today, more people are thinking about mobile photography. Jill Waterman at B&H Photo wrote an article containing tips that go beyond the typical rules of composition and lighting. I’m quoted talking about the software behind the lens (a topic I’ve found myself discussing in a few situations this week), and two of my mobile photos are included. Read it here: 8 Tips from Mobile Photography Professionals, plus their Favorite Apps.

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My latest column for The Seattle Times looks at what’s just around the corner: a few notable features in the macOS Sierra and iOS 10 betas. I’ve been running both (as well as watchOS 3), and am impressed so far. The features I mention in the column are just a sampling, and I focused on how the Mac and iPhone/iPad work together.

I didn’t have space to mention things like the Maps app automatically noting where you parked your car, how convenient the raise-to-wake feature on the iPhone is, or the convenience of replying to texts without leaving the current app (something possible under iOS 9, but expanded in iOS 10).

Read it here: Beta testing: In next macOS, everyday features work more closely across devices.

Also worth noting: Make sure you update to iOS 9.3.5, a quick-fix security update that Apple issued late last week to patch a hole that could enable an attacker to remotely control your device. TidBITS has more info here: iOS 9.3.5 Blocks Remote Jailbreak.

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Tco parallels 12

This is no longer a new idea, but I still feel a twinge of amazement when I can run Windows on my Mac. In the dark ages, the divide between Mac and Windows computers was almost too wide, and we relied on methods of sharing data that were like running across fraying rope bridges.

Now, whenever I need to test something in Windows or work on a project that has a Windows component (like when I was writing books about Photoshop Elements), I can open a virtualization program like Parallels Desktop and have a Windows environment running in a window on my Mac.

And it’s not just Windows. I have installations of macOS Sierra running in virtual machines, too, enabling me to test features without switching my main Mac over to beta software.

I’ve used Parallels and VMware Fusion in the past, but when VMware decided to abandon Fusion last year, that left only Parallels as the major virtualization product out there. They could have coasted as the sole survivor, but Parallels Desktop 12 feels to me like a big improvement over older versions.

But there’s a lot there. And this is where Joe Kissell’s new book, Take Control of Parallels Desktop 12 comes in. I had the pleasure of editing this title, and aside from getting to work with Joe’s clear and engaging text (seriously, he’s a joy to edit), I learned a lot about the new version.

Take Control of Parallels Desktop 12 is available now for just $15. That’s 170 pages of real-world advice, guidance, and plenty of illustrations to show you what you’re working with.

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Aurorahdr2017 tone example

Macphun has announced the next version of Aurora HDR, and it looks like a great update! New features of Aurora HDR 2017 include:

  • Improved tone mapping
  • New tools, including an adjustable polarize filter and a radial masking tool
  • Batch processing
  • An updated interface

Take a look at the new features and sign up for Macphun updates that come up between now and the release. Pre-orders will kick off September 15, and the update will launch September 29.

A range of pricing will be available. From Macphun:

  • Current users of Aurora HDR Pro can upgrade to Aurora HDR 2017 at a special pre-order price of $49
  • Current users of the standard version of Aurora HDR can upgrade to Aurora HDR 2017 at a special pre-order upgrade price of $69
  • New customers can pre-order Aurora HDR 2017 for $89
  • Pre-order customers will also receive special bonuses that will be announced soon

I’m looking forward to getting my hands on this release and updating my book to cover it!

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My esteemed colleague Julio Ojeda-Zapata knows that you should buy an iPad Pro if you’re in the market for a new tablet, but which model? The 12.9-inch model has a beautiful screen and faster performance, while the 9.7-inch model is a bit lighter and offers the True Tone display (and a wider color gamut).

In this TidBITS article, Julio breaks down the differences and spotlights the advantages of each: Comparing iPad Pro Technologies and Intangibles.

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Fresh Pressed Apple Juice

We have two apple trees in our yard. The apples have come on early this year, requiring that we harvest as much as we could before a storm shakes them all onto the ground. Today, a neighbor and I chopped and juiced them (and apples from his yard) using his press. It’s fun, messy business: rinsing the apples, putting them into the chopper, and then pressing the juice. He and I, my daughter, and my visiting mom and nephew all worked at turning the mixture of several different types of apples into golden sweetness. Apple pressing is a lot of work; it’s not necessarily hard work, when you take each step into account, but it’s definitely work altogether.

The result: 69 quarts of apple juice, of which 23 quarts are in my fridge!

IMG 4997

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Birdhouses

Over at TidBITS, I write in more depth about the changes in Lightroom for iOS 2.4, and they’re doozies: Lightroom for iOS 2.4 Changes Mobile Photo Workflow.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, adding native raw file format support to Adobe’s mobile photo editor is a big deal, especially for people who are looking to use just an iPad or iPhone on photo shoots to minimize the gear they carry.

It means you don’t end up with separate edited copies of photos that are synced with Lightroom on the desktop—a raw file editing in Lightroom mobile is synced to your main library with edits intact. And the editing power takes a big leap in quality, pulling detail out of shadows without blocking up sections where JPEGs just don’t hold up.

For example, here’s an underexposed raw photo edited entirely in Lightroom on my iPad:

LRm24 raw before after

There’s a better example in the article that shows extreme pixelation in a JPEG.

I also talk about the new local selection tools, which are great for adjusting selected portions in linear or gradient areas. Here’s another before-and-after, showing the radial tools at work; I was able to bring up the exposure for just the birdhouses without overexposing the background.

Lightroom m24 local original

Lightroom m24 local radial

Overall, this is an exciting release, something I’ve been looking forward to for years. It streamlines the mobile photo workflow and does what I envisioned in 2011 when I wrote the first edition of my iPad for Photographers book.

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The ol’ eyes just aren’t what they used to be. After getting a new eyeglasses prescription and noticing how my mother’s iPhone text is permanently larger than normal, I decided to write my latest Seattle Times column about the many ways anyone can make their phone screens more legible. That ranges from simply enlarging text in the Display & Brightness settings to activating accessibility features such as text zoom. I also point out a few new options coming in iOS 10, such as adapting the screen’s display to accommodate different types of color blindness.

This just scratches the surface of iOS accessibility features, which are rich and highly regarded. I recommend following Steven Aquino’s work; he has produced lots of great coverage in many venues.

Read my latest Seattle Times column here: iOS aid makes reading on a screen easy.

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06b pixelmator truck edited after

Looking for an image editor on the Mac but don’t need the full power (or cost) of Adobe Photoshop? In Macworld, I just reviewed Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon, a great $30 alternative. This new version focuses on the application’s selection tools, adding a Quick Selection tool and a Magnetic Selection tool to make it easier to select and edit specific areas of an image.

It also adds a new Photos Editing Extension called Pixelmator Retouch, which gives you the ability to do retouching edits—like lightening or darkening specific areas, selective sharpening, and more—to images right in the Photos app, without exporting them to Pixelmator proper.

Read the review here: Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon review: Better selective editing and a new Apple Photos extension.

I edited the photo up above entirely in Pixelmator. Here’s the original version for comparison:

06a pixelmator truck edited before

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