Selfies and Dingo

Selfies are huge on social networking sites. The word selfie was declared by none other than the highly respected Oxford Dictionary as the word of the year for 2013. For those of you who don’t know what a selfie is (there are some people who don’t), it is, according the Oxford Dictionary, “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” There are even selfie derivatives now with my favorite being a belfie or an image of your posterior.

2014-04-10_Dingo Watching NOVA
Dingo watching an episode of NOVA’s Inside Animal Minds, a series about the science of animal cognition and how it is changing what we know about the intelligence of animals. Check your local PBS station for dates and times.

I think that a large percentage of the selfies I see are, to be totally frank, self-indulgent and egotistical exercises of the photograph art. I really don’t care to see you eating dinner or dressed in a cheerleader outfit or diaper or sitting on your toilet. (Yes, they are out there.) However, I can’t say that I have never shot a selfie. I do so very occasionally to document a moment but even then I don’t post it on Facebook.

Despite my general feelings about selfies, I have decided today to make one exception to my general rule of no selfies: Dingo can make selfies. Dingo is my above average dog and she watches NOVA (see the image with this post for proof) and Nature on PBS, Ceasar Millan on Animal Planet, and any animal show on the National Geographic Channel. No cartoons for Dingo. She can also convince any of my office colleagues to part with their lunches with just a look.

Over the next few weeks, I am going to train Dingo to take selfies for two reasons: (1) she needs to learn some tricks and (2) I get to spend quality time wither her sharing my love of photography. (It has been difficult to train her to use Photoshop or Lightroom because, without opposable thumbs, she has trouble using a mouse.) Dingo can be stubborn but responds well to food. So, she should learn quickly following the training outlined in this Photojojo article; it is based on the use of positive reinforcement, i.e., use food to incentivize the dog to take its picture. I also need to buy a new app, Big Camera Button, for my iPhone.

I will report back in a few weeks and post some of Dingo’s selfies. In the meantime, what do you think of selfies and dogs and cats…



Adobe Released Lightroom 5.4, Camera Raw 8.4, and Lightroom Mobile Today

Adobe released Lightroom 5.4 and Camera Raw 8.4 for Photoshop and a new offering, Lightroom Mobile, today.

Lightroom Mobile is completely new application and, based on first impressions, appears to largely satisfy a need expressed by many Lightroom users: How to show and edit images on the iPad. (Several images of the Lightroom Mobile interface are included here. You can click on the image to see a larger version.) In addition to being able to show and edit images on your iPad, any modification made to an image on the iPad, including metadata, will be reflected in your Lightroom catalog.

Screen shot of Home screen in Lightroom Mobile
Home screen showing the catalogs that have been synchronized with Lightroom Mobile.
Screen shot of grid view of images in a collection sync'd to Lightroom mobile
Grid view of images in a collection
Screen shot of editing screen in Lightroom Mobile
The Edit window in Lightroom Mobile.

The ability to edit images on your iPad is huge. However, there are some limitations:

  • Only subscribers to the Creative Cloud or the Photoshop Photography Program can use Lightroom Mobile.
  • You can only sync collections. This means that, if you want to take a folder of images with you for editing on your next cross-country flight, you must create a collection with all the images in that folder and synchronize that collection with Lightroom Mobile.
  • Lightroom Mobile uses smart previews, which are much larger than regular previews, to enable editing. The more smart previews you carry, the more space the images will take up on your iPad. (This could be a good thing because now you can justify a 128 gig iPad 4 to your significant other!) You can carry some images as regular previews and some as smart previews; you just won’t be able to edit any images with regular previews.
  • Both your iPad and computer must have access to the Internet to sync your changes. You iPad must upload the changes to the Creative Cloud and then your computer must download the changes to Lightroom. So, at a minimum, there will be some delay between working on an image on the iPad and the changes appearing in Lightroom.
  • Lightroom Mobile is available only for the iPad. Adobe is working on Android and iPhone versions but hasn’t committed to a release date for either version.

The new versions of Lightroom (Mac | Windows) and Camera Raw offer the usual camera and lens updates as well as bug fixes and are free to current Creative Cloud or Photoshop Photography Program subscribers and perpetual licensees of Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CS6. If you are subscriber to the Creative Cloud or the Photoshop Photography Program, you should update Lightroom and Photoshop using the Adobe Creative Cloud app. If you have a perpetual license to Lightroom or Photoshop, the new version can be downloaded by opening Lightroom and, in the main menu, clicking on Help > Check for Updates… or by opening Photoshop and, in the main menu, clicking on Help > Updates…

As always, you should update to the latest version of Lightroom and Camera Raw even if you don’t plan to use Lightroom Mobile or have a new camera. Both contain bug fixes.

– Brian

Caveat to Above: As noted above, Lightroom Mobile was just released today. As I use the app, I will likely find aspects of the app to like and aspects to hate. In a couple of weeks, I will post some further thoughts on Lightroom Mobile.