Thanks for the Memories!

If you’re anything like me, you’re pretty tired of 2020 so far and ready to move on to whatever 2021 has to offer. 

Like you, I’ve had plenty of time to consider life and all it’s complicated questions this past 10 months, even with a full time “day job” that has kept me busy non-stop since this pandemic began. With all that reflecting, earlier this year, I decided to spend more time with my family in the future and have “retired” from my position as the official photographer for Scotia Speedworld and the Maritime Pro Stock Touring series. Please know that I enjoyed the last 8 years tremendously and appreciate the friendships and “family” more than I can describe. I’m going to miss my race family and promise to drop by from time to time to see how everyone is doing.

That said, I’m currently re-evaluating my photography business as well. Moving away from sports photography means that a large part of my experience and portfolio now goes away, which for a business, is problematic at best. LOL!

As many know, I also have a second, separate photography business called Elegant Boudoir, which until now has been completely separate from McCarthy Photographic. Commercial clients aren’t interested in seeing this more “adult oriented” work side by side with commercial, headshots or property images. Sports, in general, and motorsports specifically is a family endeavour and I have a number of teenagers and younger folks who follow me here and on Facebook.

So, since I have no interest in beginning to shoot weddings again or to do personal or family portraits, this site will become strictly for commercial work and the majority of my work will be happening over at my other site, elegantboudoir.ca and on Twitter @Elegant_Boudoir.

So, thanks one last time for welcoming me into the racing family and all the best in the future!

2020 Season Updates – Round 2 – COVID-19 Edition

Another round of updates was released today from both Scotia Speedworld and the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour and after attending a video conference with the provinces Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Strang, and a variety of representatives from communities, sports and recreation groups within Nova Scotia, outlines were described regarding the eventual relaxation of additional restrictions. 

The management team has indicated that they will follow the recommendations of the health teams from all three provinces and border restrictions are still in place. So, with groups still limited to 5 or less excluding family “bubbles” and requirements for many more than that to make a race happen, even without fans, race management has decided to cancel all events through until the end of June. 

Updated will be released as soon as decisions are made and the management team is still hopeful that we will get some events in this summer.

2020 Season Updates Announced

With all the current state of emergency restrictions and the cases of COVID-19 still increasing each day, so it was only a matter of time before the organizers had to make a call.

As of today, all racing events that are part of the Parts For Trucks Pro Stock Tour and Scotia Speedworld for the month of May have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. 

The Nova Scotia Government has slightly lifted a few of the restrictions this past Friday, but it’s really too early to tell if things are turning around the right way for the rest of the season to be saved. I’ll be watching for any announcements and will update the schedule pages if I hear any more.

Hope to see you at the track sometime this summer… 🙁

2019 Photo Recap

It’s New Year’s Eve and in just a few hours we will usher in not just a brand new year but a brand new decade as well. I started shooting racing full time for Scotia Speedworld and the Maritime Pro Stock Tour 6 years ago and shot part time for a couple of years before that as well as covered the super bike race weekends at Atlantic Motorsport Park for close to 4 years before that, so it’s hard to believe that more 10 years have passed since I started shooting motorsports. Time certainly flies when you’re having fun! 🙂

It’s been barely 2 months since the banquets officially wrapped up the 2019 race seasons for Scotia Speedworld and the Maritime Pro Stock Tour and I’m sure I’m not the only one counting the days until the start of the 2020 seasons…

So to help bring in the new year on a positive note, here is a selection of a few of my favorite photos from this season. Hope you enjoy the recap and see you in 144 days! 🙂

Under Construction!

Please bear with us as we move our site to a new host provider. Hopefully the transition will be smooth and efficient. Once complete, you shouldn’t actually see any difference, except things should be a little quicker around here. 🙂

Thanks for your patience!

Mike

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom releases next major update – v7.3

 

Since updating Lightroom to v7, Adobe has been working very hard trying to fix many of the performance issues that so many users have been complaining about for what seems like years. With the release of v7.1, a lot of progress was made fixing some of these issues. In fact, v7.1 had virtually no new features, and focused almost entirely on performance. v7.2 introduced a couple of new features, and you can review those features from my previous post, right here. Once again, there were many performance improvements as well. Lightroom is pretty much at the point now that most users seem pretty happy with the most recent version, at least from some of the conversations I’ve had with my fellow photographers.

One feature that was introduced to beta testers late in the v7.2 release cycle was removed for the “official” release as it wasn’t quite ready for prime time and I’ve been anxiously awaiting it’s comeback…

So, what’s new with the latest v7.3 release? Let’s take a look.

Along with some new camera support, which we would normally expect anyway, and many bug fixes that affected both Mac and Windows users, there are a couple of minor improvements as well. 

First up, the Facebook plugin has been updated internally to improve performance. The only noticeable change is that you will no longer be able to add comments from within Lightroom. 

Next, the Dehaze functions have been moved to the Basic Panel, which makes a lot more sense. Functionality is identical, just the location has changed.

Face Tagging has undergone some changes and updates as well. The engine has been completely updated to provide much better face detection. Adobe has also added a checkbox that allows you to retain already confirmed faces or manually selected faces when performing “Find Faces Again.” 

A minor change, but very much welcomed involved the Tone Curve Panel. Open this panel and you’ll notice right away that the Tone Curve itself is now BIGGER! Yay! It still doesn’t scale when you resize the side panel, but it’s about 25% larger which makes it much easier to place control points and more responsive when dragging those control points as well. 

Importing images got some more love this time around as well. Specifically for Windows users this time, importing from a connected device, such as a smartphone or tablet, will see performance improvements, with images appearing as they are scanned rather than waiting until the entire device has been scanned. Once loaded, they are also stored in Lightroom’s cache, for faster scrolling and viewing.

And the big one? Meet Profiles.

What are Profiles? Remember the little used option in the Calibration panel called “Camera Calibration” which housed some less than useful presets you could apply to roughly match your camera’s built in presets? Well, they are now called Profiles. Camera Profiles, specifically. Think of them almost like film in the digital world. A Profile can affect the tonality and color of an image and affects the way RAW data is processed by Lightroom and ACR.

Why the big deal? Well, two things really. First, it’s been moved to the Basic Panel, which makes them much more accessible and more likely that you will remember to think of using them. Second, they are much more powerful than they ever have been before.

Profiles have actually been around for several years, but their use has been limited to mostly power users. Adobe Standard has been the default Profile since the introduction and has provided a great base point to start with when processing your RAW files and helps create consistency across a range of lighting conditions and cameras. Over the years, profiles have been created to match most major camera brands and mimic the “styles” built into most cameras. 

What most people seemed to miss was that these profiles, match the JPG preview the camera creates and then embeds into the RAW file. Remember when you first started using LR and the brilliant preview that initial popped up was quickly replaced by a flat looking drab photo? That was back before Profiles were introduced as Camera Calibration and Lightroom showed the embedded JPG preview before it rendered the RAW file. How times have changed!

With Lightroom v7.3, Adobe has introduced several new “default” profiles. Adobe Color, which will be the new default profile moving forward, Adobe Monochrome, Adobe Neutral, Adobe Vivid, Adobe Portrait and Adobe Landscape. Similar to the past, each of these Profiles will focus on the tones typically found in each style of image. 

With the release of Lightroom v7.3, Adobe is also adding several new Creative Profiles. These include Modern, Vintage, Artistic and B&W. Yes, B&W. We, the beta testers fought hard for that one. The default Adobe Monochrome couldn’t be changed, but we pleaded with Adobe that photographers shot black & white images, not monochrome images. It’s semantics, I know, but small victories, right? 🙂

Each of the creative profiles have several options so feel free to look around and play. You might be surprised by the results.

How are Profiles different from Presets? Simple. Profiles affect the initial RAW processing and when displayed in LR, the sliders all remain at 0. Giving you much more latitude to adjust as necessary. When applying a preset at import, the sliders take on the value of the preset. If you have an import preset that increases Exposure by +0.5, the slider will be +0.5. If you have a Profile that increases the Exposure by +0.5, the Exposure slider, in Develop, will show 0. This can be important for many reasons, but the biggest one is that you get more latitude with your edits. Plus, you can change the Profile later without affecting the actual edits you’ve made, since they don’t affect the sliders. Also, thinking of the future, Profile developers can incorporate 3D LUT (Look Up Tables) in the profiles meaning they can accomplish things that are simply not possible with the RAW processing engine of LR or ACR. 

Cool, right?

One of my personal favorite updated in LR v7.3 is the Profile Browser. Click the small set of four boxes just to the right of the Profile drop down box and you will see the new browser. 

Here, you can choose, Grid, Large or Test to display and browse the available profiles. Remember, applying a Profile doesn’t affect your develop settings, so feel free to select different profiles to see how they affect your image. At the top of the browser is a list of “Favorite” Profiles. You can add a Profile to your favorites list simply by moving your mouse to the upper right of the preview icon. When you do, you will see a small outline of a star icon appear. Click it and the star lights up and the profile is added to the favorites folder.

You can filter the available profiles by Color or B&W simply by clicking on the “All”, “Color” or “B&W” headings below the Profile name.

My favorite part of the profile browser (and if you haven’t noticed yet, it also applies to the Presets too!) is that as long as you have “Use Graphics Processor” enabled in Lightroom’s preferences, when you hover over a Profile (or Preset) you see a full preview of the Profile (or Preset) in the Loupe view!! No longer do you need to squint your eyes to see the tiny Navigator Panel preview of your presets. Again, Yay!! 

Such a huge feature, IMHO.

When finished browsing, don’t forget to click the Close button to close the browser and get back to your familiar Develop panels.

With the release of v7.3, there are still some performance improvements, although most are incremental now and many of the biggest improvements are already implemented, but I understand there are still more to come. I’ll keep you posted with my updates as new versions of LR are released, but the first rule of Fight Club, err, I mean, the LR Prerelease / Testing Group is that we aren’t allowed to talk about the prereleases until they are released. 

So, enjoy the latest release of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom v7.3 and I’ll be back with more when the next release is available too.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram as well at @McCarthy_Photo and @Elegant_Boudoir too!

2018 Race Schedules Released

It promised to be another busy race season throughout Atlantic Canada this summer! There were a few big changes in the schedules this summer!

For one, the Maritime Pro Stock Tour has added a second PEI race at Oyster Bed Bridge and this second PEI race replaces the only stop at Speedway 660 in Geary, NB, and the season opening race will be at Petty Raceway rather than Scotia Speedworld this time around!

As far as the Scotia Speedworld Carstar Weekly Racing Series, the season opener is still on Sunday during the Victoria Day weekend but for the first time since I’ve been photographing the series, there is a scheduled off weekend coming up right after Monster Jam in July. I love hanging out at the track each week, but it can be nice to recharge the batteries once in a while. I wonder if my wife will be able to find something else for me to do that weekend. LOL!

The full schedules are now available on the gallery pages and here are a couple of quick links.

Parts for Trucks Maritime Pro Stock Tour 2018 Schedule

Scotia Speedworld Carstar Weekly Racing Series 2018 Schedule

See you at the races!!

Posted in Uncategorized