Fix for Lightroom not Importing images When Inserting Memory Card

If you, like me, have been dealing with Lightroom 6+ not launching the import dialog box when you insert a memory card even though you have made sure all the correct options have been checked then you are in luck. The issue apparently is with the registry, because my issue started when Adobe changed the import dialog box during one of the updates. Even after the next update, Lightroom wouldnt launch when I inserted my memory card. A uninstall/re-install didnt resolve the issue, so I started comparing between my 2 pc’s. I noticed that there were numerous registry entries that were different between the 2, as the desktop still acted correctly. Once I removed some older entries from the desktop relating to LR3/4, the same issue surfaced. So today, I downloaded a registry finder to help cleanup the registry from old Lightroom entries. A finder is a bit different then a cleaner as you can specify what you are looking for v’s simply having the software check for old entries/issues etc. Lightroom is one of those programs that doesn’t cleanup after itself if you uninstall it or update it. After one more uninstall, I ran the registry finder, and looked for Lightroom entries, it found close to 300 orphaned entries that can affect a new LR installation. I removed all the entries, re-installed LR6, made sure that the correct options were selected under preferences and closed LR.

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Upon memory card insertion, my Win10 system asked me what I wanted to do with the images (so far so good), I selected LR and nothing happened. Okay, I know LR is up to 6.4, so I grabbed the update and installed it. Once I started the software, I made sure to check the preferences, and guess what, the Show Import Dialog When A Memory Card is Detected, was unselected. So make sure you check that after the update. Anyway, I shut down LR, and inserted my memory card, and YES, the import dialog box started like it used to. Now, I just have to redo my desktop installation.

Shanny SN600SC Flash for Canon

My thoughts on the new Shanny SN600SC flash that I got from Amazon recently. This is obviously a clone of the Canon 600EX-RT flash (for better or worse), but at a much cheaper price. Do you get feature for feature performance at 1/4 of the price. No, but then you shouldn’t expect to. For one, you need to get a separate radio module to be able to control remotely other flashes, whereas, the 600EX-RT has the radio built in. For me, it’s not an issue as I have radio triggers (Cactus V6 shown below) already in use. I don’t have a Canon 600 to physically compare it to, so I can only report on the Shanny independently.

Just from the images, it looks to be a direct clone in size, controls, etc.

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It even has a 5 pin connection, identical to its counterpart, which is important, since the flash is advertised to be able to be controlled from the camera while attached to the hot shoe.

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So let’s test that shall we. I attached the flash to my 6d, and went to the flash menu. The camera detected the flash, and I was able to make changes in the flash from the camera. Okay, great, now how does it work in the field. Well I had an event to shoot recently to required me to use a hot shoe mounted flash (well not “required”, but I prefer to use a flash if possible over simply bumping the ISO to ridiculous levels while using a 70-200).

Anyway, I love getting editorial type images with my 70-200 at events. I get more natural expressions, because folks don’t realize I am taking their picture most of time. So I mount the Shanny in the hot shoe, attach my large bounce device (similar to this), bumped my ISO to around 1600 (it was a dark venue), set the flash to ETTL and go forward. One of the things I wanted to check was to see if the flash would indeed detect the focal length of the lens and change the zoom of the flash to match. Well, I tried both the Canon 24-70 & 70-200 and the flash accurately matched the lens focal length with flash zoom throughout the evening. I rarely use the flash pointing straight at folks, but instead point it up to bounce off of the ceiling, and use the bounce device to push the light forward as well, simply adjusting the flash exposure compensation as needed depending on the distance. With the Shanny, and my ISO combination with +1 on EC, I can easily put enough light on someone from over 25 feet away that looks pretty natural.

In post, I generally adjust the highlights in LR down to get rid of the flash effect, regardless of the flash unit being used.

So, would I recommend the flash as a replacement to the Canon 600EX-RT..? Yes & No

Yes, if the internal radio module is not needed (i.e. you already have other radio triggers)

No, if the afore mentioned radio module is necessary

Edit: Shanny has now released the SN600C-RT with a built-in radio  module, along with the SN-E3-RT Transmitter (similar to the Yongnuo YN560-TX)

Am I going to buy the new version, not sure yet as I am currently vested in 3 different flash brands at the moment (Yongnuo, Shanny, & Cactus). It’s going to depend on which way my photography leads me (Real Estate, Events, Portraits, Commercial etc.) Each one has some slightly different needs, though from a strictly $$$ point, Yongnuo has a large lead with its radio enabled flash (YN560IV) being only $71 on Amazon, and the Shanny SN600C-RT almost twice that. The biggest issue is going to be reliability, Yongnuo has been around a little while now (roughly 5+ years) and though it’s had QC issues, it seems to be genuinely interested in fixing any issues that pop up. Shanny, is still rather new, and only time will tell us about it’s QC practices on its products, and how long they will last.

Shooting for AirBnB

I have been a photographer for AirBnB since 2011 when they contacted me to shoot for them. My shoots for them have been sporadic up until May of this year. With Richmond hosting the UCI bike race this year in September, the interest from folks in having their listings professionally photographed (as compared to a cell phone/P&S shot) has kept my busy. I have already shot more listings since May than I did in the previous 4 years. The photography service I provide, is not something the owners pay for, rather I am paid directly by AirBnB. Because just like real estate photography, AirBnB has realized that better (much better in most cases) quality of images, translates into more bookings, which in turn means more $$$ for both AirBnB and the owner/landlord. And with all of the areas 75,000 hotel rooms booked up for the entire period, folks are going to need someplace to stay if they are coming. Thankfully AirBnB has realized that professional photography is worth something, and are willing to pay more then some real estate photographers are charging for their own work….Below is a sample of some of the listings I have been shooting.. It varies from a couple of rooms, to the whole house, what folks are willing to rent out.

 

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Tinsley Blvd Real Estate Shoot

Another model home shoot (couldn’t ask for more) down in Prince George. These kind of shots are what you wish every home shoot was like. Unrealistic I know, but still. You’re biggest worry is making sure you get the best composition, and lighting it correctly. Halfway through the realtor had to leave, so I had more time to try out some different things without worrying about wasting someone elses valuable time. These are all shot with multiple exposures (+flash) and fused together in LR/Enfuse. It’s a different technique than straight HDR, as the flash helps to remove the “dirty” look so common in typical HDR. The whites are crisper, you don’t get the severe color cast that has to be worked extensively is the walls are not white/cream colored. Takes a bit more time on site, but I save a boatload on the backend when I sit down to do my PP’ing.

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Downtown RVA Photo Walk

Haven’t gotten to get out and simply go walking around much lately due to the weather, and just work issues in general. The other day, the stars aligned, and out I went. The hard part, is finding things that I haven’t already shot a few times in different light. On times like this, I only go out with one lens, and force myself to work out the composition. That day I was using my 70-200, so everything either had to be a distance away, or I had to look closer and ignore the overall view. We have a new building going up downtown so there were some new reflections to get. The other side of that, is that images compositions I have created previously of the buildings on either side, can no longer be had. Reason being, the place where the building is going up was a surface parking lot that was completely empty on weekends., so the perspective has totally changed.

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The other two images were taken along the James River part of the Richmond Parks.

Keystone Truck and Tractor Museum

Keystone Truck and Tractor Museum, down in Colonial heights VA, across the highway from Southpark Mall. For a (70,000 sqft+) museum that is basically 4 years old, you could easily spend a few hours looking around. And, they add things on a regular basis. 99% of the equipment is pristine, and most of it will run. If you have in interest in old things, and what folks used to use to get the job done, then this is one of those places you need to visit.

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I was asked to shoot the place for advertising and trailer wraps. From a photo taking standpoint, you could easily spend hours taking/making images. From overviews to the many detail shots, the place is a feast for the photographic eye. I know I spent a couple of hours there myself, and still feel as though I left many items not captured.

The ability to shoot in RAW format with the Canon SX40HS bridge camera.

As I shoot real estate photography, I sometimes need to get elevated shots because of various reasons. I currently use PAP (pole aerial photography) rather than a drone because of the up in the air govt. rules on the commercial use of said vehicles. The pole that I use has the ability to go up to around 24ft. At that height, the last thing I want is to attach my Pro DSLR to the top. You start to run into weight issues and being able to control the pole if hand holding (which I do). So, I went out and got a Canon SX40HS bridge camera to use.

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Even if the camera hits the ground, I still am only out less then a third of the price of my least expensive lens. My two biggest issues, are that (1), the camera natively does not have the ability to shoot in RAW, and (2), while it does have internal 10sec timer, its only good for a single image. Well, I ran across CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit), that not only opens up the ability to shoot in RAW, but also allows you the ability to setup a internal intervalometer utilizing a script within the program. If you have used Magic Lantern with your DSLR, then you are already familiar with the process of installing the firmware. Just like Magic Lantern, its NOT a permanent firmware update. It removes itself each time the camera is cut off. You have two options to install it. You can either update the firmware manually each time, or, as I have done, set it up to automatically load every time the camera is turned on. After using it, and pulling them into LR5, I noticed that you could see the corners of the lens in the image. So, back to the internet to see if there were any lens profiles out there for the camera. And sure enough, somebody has done the work already. I download the profile, imported the images, and LR correctly applied the profile. Is it as good as the RAW file from a full fledged DSLR, no, because the image sensor is much smaller compared to a DSLR, even a crop sensor, so noise is going to be much more of an issue when you start bumping up the ISO.  But since I will be using it outdoors during the day, that wont be much of an issue.

The other plus that I mentioned is the ability to setup the internal intervalometer. Now, I can set up then number of images I want to take, and how long between shots. So I can take one, move the pole, and get another without having to touch the camera again (as long as I stay within the same focus plane). The hack, also sets up the camera to take a USB trigger. So you could put together a 15′ cable and trigger the shutter remotely. The hack just opens up so much more capability with the camera then you are given natively.

Check out the site, and see if your camera has a hack available for it.

Action Shooting with the Canon 6d

Can you shoot action with the Canon 6d effectively. Yes, and No. The 6d while not the ideal camera for action shots, can be used effectively as long as you set it up accordingly. By that I mean your shutter speed needs to be fast enough to capture the action (absolute min. shutter speed of 250). If you can’t get it that fast you either need to open up your aperture, and/or raising your ISO until you can. You need to be using AI Servo mode. Set your camera to use all of your focus points. And that is where the 6d is weak even against the older 7d.  With only 11 focus points, and only the center one being the more accurate cross-type, you do not have a lot of room for error.

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Still, as long as you are aware of the limitations, and have worked to minimize them, you can get some good shots.

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The ISO on these was set to 250, with an aperture of F/4 on a Canon 24-70 F/2.8. Since snow acts as a light reflector, and it was decently bright, my shutter speed stayed around 2000, certainly fast enough to cleanly capture motion. The hardest ones to get are the ones of her leaping after snow I was kicking up. Since she was so close, I had to guess where she was going to jump and be ready. Understand, that the closer you are to the action, the faster your reaction will need to be, and the need for a faster shutter speed. Even then, there are going to be some missed (out of focus) shots. But, as with anything else, practice makes perfect. If you don’t take your camera out and practice on something that isn’t essential, you can have read all of the books out there on action shooting, and still miss more then you get. You need to understand how your camera works, and what are the settings needed for what you are photographing.

Rocketts Landing/Rocketts Village

When the Civil War erupted, Rocketts Landing‘s riverfront location became vital to defending Richmond from naval attack. Both banks transformed into the Confederate Navy Yard, home to the ironclad warships and torpedo vessels known as the James River Squadron. However, on April 2, 1865, the Navy Yard and its ships succumbed to the infamous fire that destroyed the Confederate Capital. Two days later, Abraham Lincoln came ashore at Rocketts Landing to tour the city, still smoldering in the distance.

By the 1920s, most of the port’s traffic was carried away by the growing network of railroads and interstates and the once busy town faded away. Rocketts Landing transitioned into an industrial district until it was demolished by bulldozers in the 1970s. Today, Rocketts Landing has started a new era of activity and excitement, as it welcomed new residents and businesses in 2007.

Its always hard to capture something that has been shot numerous times in a different way, or from a different vantage point (See Eiffel Tower)

Rocketts Landing

Fort Harrison (Battlefield Park, Henrico VA)

The only two replica canons within what once Fort Harrison, within Battlefield Park in Henrico VA.

Fort Harrison stood in 1864 as the most powerful fort in the extensive outer defenses of Richmond. Built on high, open ground, the fort and its surrounding entrenchments were built to protect the approaches to Richmond from the south

The weather was wonderful, but since its still technically winter, there was practically no one else there.

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