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Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

If anyone has any old film cameras, darkroom equipment, materials, paper, etc. etc. that they will decidedly never use and they’d rather pass them onto someone who will — I’m willing to pay shipping. 🙂

Understanding ProRAW

With iOS 14.3 and the new iPhone, Apple has introduced an updated RAW image file format spec that extends on the already robust editing capabilities of RAW. They call it ProRAW.

Ben Sandofsky, of Halide, goes long on explaining how digital image sensors work, what RAW is, and how Apple has extended that spec and why with ProRAW in Understanding ProRAW.

I appreciated this bit:

Remember old film cameras? Their photos also had to be developed from a negative.

Remember? I used one today Ben!

It is a worthy read if you’re into this sort of thing. I have an iPhone 12 Pro Max and plan on using ProRAW when the situation warrants it. In fact, with what will likely be one of the biggest snowstorms of this winter headed our way I have some ideas. I’m glad Ben took the time to explain exactly what the main benefits are.

As usual, Michael Tsai has some info re: macOS 11.1. Still some showstopper bugs. I’ll wait until at least 11.2.

Matthias Ott on having a personal web site

Matthias Ott on CSS-Tricks:

Personal websites still deliver on that promise. Nowhere else do you have that much freedom to create and share your work and to tell your personal story. It is your chance to show what you stand for, to be different, and to be specific. Your site lets you be uniquely you and it can be whatever you imagine it to be.

Today is the perfect day to start your own web site if you don’t have one.

Should I update to Big Sur 11.1?

In early November I wrote that I’d be delaying my update to Big Sur. Specifically, I wrote:

I’ll be waiting for at least two releases before I update.

Well, 11.1 came out today. Depending on how you count, it is sort of the third release of Big Sur. There was 11.0, 11.0.1, and now 11.1.

Honestly, I had my eye on updating to Big Sur a few days after 11.2’s release. I figured that would happen sometime in late-January or early February. Surely by then many of the larger issues I’d read about will be resolved.

After reading Craig Mod’s tweets this weekend about Big Sur I’m tempted to update. I realize his comments are flavored by his using an M1 Mac, but that doesn’t make me much less eager to update.

Like hunger, if I wait a little while the feeling will fade away. Only to come back stronger in the near future.

Chrome is bad

From Loren Brichter comes Chrome is bad:

So it turns out that Google Chrome was making everything on my computer slow even when it wasn’t running, because it installs something called Keystone which is basically malware. I made a website because this shouldn’t happen.

I’m currently using Safari every single day. It is lightning fast and I love the tab overview feature. I miss Firefox’s Containers feature – but I’m trying my best to stick to apps that are truly Mac apps.

I can’t see a single reason to have Chrome installed on a Mac these days since so many browsers use similar rendering engines. Even on Windows I would think Firefox or Edge would be better. I’ve seen some say they need Chrome for some services but I’d wager only Google services require that.

Apple Maps continues to improve

Justin O’Beirne is still at it, and at more detail than ever:

This is the tenth time that Apple has expanded its new map since its public launch twenty-six months ago in September 2018.

I appreciate the amount of work O’Beirne puts into these updates.

Over the weekend Eliza and I tried Apple Maps to find a house and it was clearly taking us to a very wrong location. We switched back to Google Maps and it was right on the money.

I would prefer to use Apple Maps (for privacy reasons) but I simply cannot trust it. If I do not know a location I need to be able to trust that the map is taking me where I want to go. I’ve also invested a lot of time curating a list of my “Want to gos” and “Have beens” in Google Maps.

Jack Baty’s bad film experience

Jack Baty, 11 years ago:

I ran out of film while on a deserted island. I set the ISO incorrectly on my OM-1, overexposing the roll by 2 stops. I opened the bottom of the Leica M7 before rewinding the roll. I had only a 28mm prime lens with me when what I needed was a telephoto. I was in fading light with nothing but Fuji PRO 160. Walgreens scratched one of the negatives during processing. The lens hood I used caused terrible vignetting. And so on. Oh, and I left a roll of exposed film in the pocket of a pair of shorts. it didn’t survive a trip through the laundry.

I’m glad Jack shared this link with me. He may not know it, but it makes me feel better about my little mishap. Someone always has it worse. (Sorry Jack).

While I am upset that I lost 30 frames from two different photo excursions – one to the NY state border where I shot photos of bridges, and several frames from the waterfall and of a friend – I am trying to focus on the fact that I enjoyed the experience even if I lost those photos. Both days were lovely days and I really had a great time. I’m choosing to focus on that.

Made my first 11x14in print last night. It is from a 6x6cm negative I shot the day before. I’ll share a digital scan of the negative as well.

An 11x14 print of a waterfall is soaking.

Lost 30 frames of film due to the camera not advancing the film. C’est la vie.

A diagram of my current photo storage footprint. Not the process, just the storage. I’m hoping to detail the process in a future post.

Do I have to click this button 1,200 times?

I’ve reverted my site’s theme to the previous design. I spent a decent amount of time but I simply couldn’t make the new theme work as I thought I’d be able to. Perhaps I’ll start over.

Looking forward to participating in an upcoming 127 Day.

The Places feature in Photos for macOS (on Catalina still) shows zero photos. The feature works when I’m looking at the map in People but not in Places. Anyone else?

I enjoyed Herzog’s Fireball.

The story of the Studebaker darkroom print

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may have seen that I was in the darkroom this weekend.

In March 2020, I purchased this Ansco Speedex from a local hip shop On&On. Around that same time a family member gifted me some expired Kodak Tri-X that he’s had frozen since 1982. A few weeks later, on a rather rainy afternoon, I set out with the Speedex and an umbrella to expose some of my very first frames of medium format film. That same evening I developed the film in our apartment kitchen sink and scanned the negatives the next morning. Which I published to my blog.

Here are a few photos from those days in March.

The Ansco Speedex the day I bought it – March 2020
The Ansco Speedex, with Kodak Tri-X expired in 1982 – March 2020
The camera under the umbrella – March 2020
An iPhone shot of the Studebaker laying in state – March 2020
The developed negatives – March 2020
My original digital scan from March – March 2020

Now, in December, we’ve moved to a new home and we have room in our basement for darkroom equipment. On Saturday night, after many weeks of practicing printing, I have learned enough to make this frame-worthy print for our bathroom.

The enlarger on the floor (low ceilings in basement) – December 2020
The print in the fixer- December 2020
The finished print- December 2020

This print was a bit challenging due to the negatives being a bit flat. It may not appear to be flat given the digital scan – but that is very easy to compensate for digitally. This darkroom print needed a number of areas to be burned (which I’m still learning how to do). Expired film generally makes you work a lot harder for good results.

I’m super stoked. I love the provenance of these film projects. They are more than just photographs, they are our history.

Took a cursory glance at TikTok’s Top 100 of the year. Turns out I’m not missing anything over there.

What I saw somewhat recently #72: December 3, 2020

I haven’t made one of these lists in a little while, opting instead to publishing far more status updates to my site that include links. I go back and forth in my head all the time which I prefer.

I password protected a few notes in Apple’s Notes app and didn’t store the password in 1Password and now I have no idea what that password is.

I started rewriting my photo moving script in AppleScript but ran into an odd permissions issue roadblock that I can’t seem to search my way out of it.

“If you’re too punk rock you’ll never get anything consistent and if you’re too technical all your pictures are boring.” – Nick Brandreath on LFPP #41.

Sometimes it gets out of hand.

Planning out a print for our new bathroom. It will be the first photo in this set of the Studebaker photos. It will require me to put to use all of the skills I’ve learned in the darkroom so far since this film expired in 1982.

My answer to my own askATP question (again)

A little over a year ago I sent in a question to the crew at ATP and subsequently I blogged my own answer to that question. This past week I sent in another question and they’ve kindly answered it (time stamp: 1:57:16) so I thought I would answer my own question again.

My question was about the longevity of the new Apple M1 chips and whether or not we should be worried about how long they will last. Thinking back, this wasn’t a great question and I feel a bit stupid for even asking it now.

The M1 is based on the A-series chips that Apple has been shipping in their phones and tablets for years. So of course they’ve sort of already tested these designs for longevity. I have an iPad Air 2 in my closet that is rather old and I still use it for flying my drone. I also have an iPhone 7s that I use solely for recording my podcast. Both devices function just fine.

I think my question stemmed from the fact that most iOS devices get retired pretty quickly due to the exchange program that most carriers have in place. I don’t think I’ve had a daily carry phone for more than 2 or 3 years before upgrading to the next device. Anything older than that and I start to think it may show signs of its age. But, in reality, the thing that breaks down on these devices are the batteries not the chips. The “battery gate” of recent times had to do with Apple throttling their chips due to possible issues with the batteries not the chips.

I’m grateful they kindly answered my question but thinking back now I knew the answer all along. The M1 chips are not only incredible leaps forward for the portable computer space but they will also likely last a very long time. I’m looking forward to buying one in 2024 or so when my current 16″ MacBook Pro is replaced.

Help! What should I do?

So I’d like to earn a few extra reoccurring dollars for my habit using one of my skills. But I’m having a bit of an internal dilemma as to what that should be given that I have such a limited amount of time between my day job and my volunteering.

Here are a few ideas I have rattling around in my head currently.

  • Sell prints – I have many photos that I could prep to either print digitally, or hand-print in my darkroom and sell through my web site. My expectations for the interest in this idea are low since I’ve never put any effort into building an audience for my photography.
  • Sell code – I’ve been a programmer my entire life and a huge ton of my code has been useful to literally hundreds of thousands of web sites over the years. I think I can write bits of code that could be useful enough to sell through my site (think plugins, scripts, automations, etc.). All licensed as open source of course.
  • Market Unmark – This app is used by thousands of people daily (from what I can tell with our stats). The number of paying subscribers is astonishingly low. Very likely due to our very liberal free tier. We’ve paid for zero marketing. We (meaning Kyle and I) could tweak the hosted-version’s plans a bit and market it. Maybe we’d start to earn more there.
  • Offer 1-on-1s – On the business side I’ve had the privilege of mentoring founders, offering consultation to startups, etc. I’ve also helped development teams solve larger scaling issues. And, of course, with so many people getting interested in film I could offer a lot of insight in both film photography and darkroom printing that may be useful.

The main need is to be able to use my skills to offer some type of scalable value that will have a halfway decent monthly return. I’ve written this post in hopes that I get my ideas out of my head and can let them stew until I pick one (or maybe two?) and tackle them.

But if you’ve read this far I’d love your personal opinion. You can comment publicly on my site or you can email me colin@cdevroe.com if you’d rather keep it private.

M.G. Siegler on The Mandalorian

M.G. on Ev’s blog:

The Mandalorian feels like the true successor to the original Star Wars trilogy.

I agree with M.G. While I liked The Force Awakens and Solo, the other two I could do without though I’m glad they exist.

It was nice to hear my voice on Episode 30 of All Through a Lens. Thanks to Vania and Eric for playing it!