snapchap: Blog en-us (C) snapchap (snapchap) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:58:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:58:00 GMT snapchap: Blog 120 120 Drivetribe

You may have read a SnapChap post on Facebook and / or Twitter about me being selected as a 'tribe leader' of something called Drivetribe.
What's one of them then, what's that about? Well, to be perfectly honest, I'm not entirely sure.

Well, the good news for you is they also like motorbikes, well, Hammond and May do, Clarkson on the other hand...
What I do know from looking around the internet, is that former 'Top Gear' hosts, Clarkson, Hammond & May [who've just started filming Grand Tour for Amazon], have partnered with a tech entrepreneur called Ernesto Schmitt to create a digital media platform for car enthusiasts. You may not have heard of Ernesto, but there's chance that you've heard of the businesses he's connected with. He was co-founder of Beamly, a social TV app that allows users to chat online about their favourite shows as they watch them and also previously, executive chairman of 'Invision' [the touchless, gesture-based recognition user-interface control, bought by Intel]. Former “Top Gear” executive producer Andy Wilman is also connected to the venture, which has been co-funded by all five partners. So already, there's some big names and big clout behind this, it's all looking good so far.
The aim of DriveTribe [which also has Facebook, YouTube & Twitter web pages] is to have a combination of professionally content produced by celebrities of the motoring scene [including Clarkson, Hammond & May themselves], and content created by users themselves.
DriveTribe will be up against fairly seasoned competition, including online ventures such as PistonHeads and CarThrottle, not forgetting Top Gear's own entity and the many large and small dedicate Facebook pages [my own included, to a degree]. But that's not to say that they'd be competing like for like, Drivetribe doesn't exist in a working form yet, no-one but them knows what's to come.
DriveTribe argues, motor and motorsport fans aren't well-served right now, and they plan to reach out to them with a new kind of content-targeting engine. They've built a UK team [I assume, of of data scientists, user interface designers and developers] with 20 full-time staff onboard, which will increase to about 60 by the launch in Autumn. The platform plans to also quickly roll out into different countries along with different language versions too.
A bit of digging and chasing links around the interwebz has dug up - which in all intents and purposes looks to be an earlier incarnation of Drivetribe. The app it used to push is no longer available on iTunes, though it states on its homepage 
"Connect with people around the things you love with the people who love them too. 6Tribes lets you find and create tribes for your interests, however big or small."
"Break free from boring status updates. With 6Tribes, you choose the topics you like. So you can geek on what you love, without the noise."
Which to me, sounds very much like Drivetribe just without the motor angle.

So what do the old Top Gear team have to say about Drivetribe?
Hammond: “Gamers have got Twitch, travellers have got TripAdvisor and fashion fans have got, oh, something or other too. But people who are into cars have got nowhere. There’s no grand-scale online motoring community where people can meet and share video, comments, information and opinion. DriveTribe will change that. And then some.”
May: “This is pure digital inclusivity. Some of the world’s most endangered tribes — Volvo enthusiasts, for example — will now have a voice as loud as everyone else’s.”
Clarkson: “I didn’t understand DriveTribe until Richard Hammond said it was like YouPorn, only with cars.”

Where do I come in then?
Well, a week or so ago a fellow forumite off a motorcycle forum I frequent, sent me a private message, simply stating "Saw this thought of you" along with the link to the DT website. I read the few pages of what I presume is just a holding website and duly filled in the form. A few days later [whilst out on the Isle of Man shooting the Southern 100] I received an email with the following message...

Yeah, I know, all in CAPS!!
Bit excited, I guess. Me too!

So what happens now? 
I dunno. Time will tell, and Drivetribe is due to be released just a couple of months away.
The website states:

Will it get me to a point where my hobby could actually pay for itself, or better still, make a living from it? It'd be great if it could, but with so much competition around me, I won't be holding my breath. But maybe, just maybe *crosses fingers*.
Will it get me to a point where my hobby could actually pay for itself, or better still, make a living from it? It'd be great if it could, but with so much competition around me, I won't be holding my breath. But maybe, just maybe *crosses fingers*.
Will there be Drivetribe events [maybe coinciding with Grand Tour events] where tribe leaders are invited along to report on their particularly aspect of interest? That would be cool, I'd definitely be up for that.
Would it open doors to other events, for me and other tribe leaders to report on? I just don't know.
If it could open doors, if it could get my work and my favourite sport a bigger audience, then I'd be happy with that, but I feel strongly that it could deliver so much more. Just think, we have brands such as Monster [don't forget, they sponsor the IoM TT] and Red Bull, selling sugary caffeinated drinks and regularly holding amazing motorsport spectacles around the World, imagine if Drivetribe could get to that level and Road Racing was along for the ride, to coin the current buzz phrase of bike racers "It would mega".
There's just so many questions I have about Drivetribe and I for one just can't wait to find out what it entails. And if I'm being a leader, then I'd be foolish not to ask what you'd hope to see, so please add a comment to my Facebook post.
So stick around, pull up a comfy chair and I'll pass around the chocolate HobNobs, this could get real interesting.







]]> (snapchap) drivetribe tribe leader Mon, 18 Jul 2016 15:27:40 GMT
Pushing dynamic range in RAW images - is it cheating, is it wrong, is it just rubbish? Firstly, apologies, I haven't had (or rather, spared) enough time to add content to this blog. I'll try and find more time, honest.

This topic started when another member of a motorcycle forum I frequent grumbled about the style of photography being used in a magazine he subscribed to. The following text is compiled from my responses to his grumble, so if at points the thread of the copy below wavers or is somewhat disjointed, then apologies, this wasn't written as an article, more a collection of thoughts.


Firstly the grumble, copied verbatim from the forum:

"Does anybody else dislike the photography filters they use ? If you've looked at the mag recently you'll probably know the style I mean, it's like the contrast has been pulled to emphasise black and white. Its almost cartoon and makes looking at details in the picture difficult.

It's really annoying"


It was then suggested that the image in question used HDR


This is the photo in question.


This is a photo by, I believe, Chippy Wood who supplies Bike Magazine here in the UK with images.


This was my initial reply:

"Hmm, I'm guessing the answer to 'does this^ use HDR?' is 'kinda' (yes, in other words). It's not a straight out of the camera shot, by the looks of it, but then it doesn't look like true HDR.

HDR is usually a compilation of 3 images (taken in very short succession in a rapid burst, unless in a controlled light situation where more time can be taken), one taken with the light bit (sky in this case) metered correctly for light, the mid tones (the bikes) metered correctly, and then the dark bits (the wooded section, top left) metered correctly. The 3 images are then combined (either in camera or in post process in software such as Lightroom) to get the best of all three. Usually, in the hands of someone fairly ham-fisted, this results in a quite muddy image, usually with unrealistic and unnatural dark or light halos around objects. 

To my eye, it looks like this image has been taken just the once and then the image has been pushed and pulled in post (probably in Lightroom), it's quite a marmite effect, some like it, some don't. Some images it can work really well, others it can look a bit crap. It all depends on what effect the creator wants to make. It may just be that the photographer made a mistake on the day when taking the images and went to rescue the image in post, though I very much doubt it.

If it were me I'd pull in the sliders a bit and give the colours a bit more saturation. But that's me. There is no right or wrong way, only personal preference.

A good example of this is that one of the photographers I sometime tune into occasionally posts up an image of his and invites his audience to crop and process it to see how they would interpret his work. It's quite fascinating to see the varied results.

Here is a link to one of the RAW challenges. It's from the pages of, who amongst others supply images to the MotoGP Motomatters site."


Another forum member likened the image in question to the "image equivalent of a "smile" setting on an 80's Audio Graphic Equaliser"

I replied:

"That's the thing about post processing, it's down to the eye of the individual operating the software and how they want their creation to look, or perhaps down to how jaded they were when processing hundreds of images.

For example, the following two images I took last year at the Classic within a couple of hours of each other. Depending on what my camera settings were and if I'd got them 'bang on' or just 'near enough' I could push what the camera naturally records to pick out more of what can be seen. This also goes the other way in post processing in how far I want to push it all for the effect I wish to get.

This is Rutter crew trying to figure out an issue that Michael's just returned with.


Despite what you see it all happened really quickly, the crew being really quite animated, moving around quickly and in difficult lighting (going from bright sunshine into dark shadow and back again), so my camera settings were a little bit off and I had to rescue the image a little to get good overall lighting.

This on the other hand, is Maria Costello awaiting her turn on the start line on Glencrutchery Rd. I had a little more time to get this image, and quite a few opportunities to refine my settings. I'd got the camera settings absolutely bang on in the sweet spot of the lighting available. Which meant that in post I could push the processing in equal amounts in both directions in seeing more of the image in perfect light. It's not HDR, this is from a single image, there was no compositing. It clearly illustrates what the Fuji X-T1 I use can collect given the right settings in the right conditions. I understand it's not everyones taste, but it makes for a more unusual image and that's something I'm trying to use to stand out from the crowd."




A comparison, before and after post processing with RAW files



On the left is the original RAW, on the right is the pushed version.
These two images above are both taken on a Fuji X-T1 with a 
16-55mm f2.8 R LM WR Fujinon Lens.

Because of the Autumn light there are awkward harsh shadows and there are some spots where the highlights have been blown, processing retrieves the obscured information. 

The Canon 6D I use it takes JPG images that, for me, are a bit lacking*, it's RAW images, however, straight off the bat they require little or no intervention for the common palate. My Fuji on the other hand, can be brutal when it takes photo in RAW yet deliver very acceptable photos in JPG mode. But taking them in RAW on the Fuji means I can push the image wherever I choose.

I see my work mainly as image creation, I'm not really out taking 'photos' to please others, I don't have to deliver, I can play, so I do.

*more down to my lack of understanding getting the best out of the in camera settings, there's plenty to choose from.


To illustrate my point above about the difference between my Canon and my Fuji, here are a couple of Canon 6D shots from the same day using a Canon 70-200mm 2.8l is ii usm lens with a Canon x2 extender, suffering the same issue regarding harsh shadows.


This one above, again, shows before on the left and after processing on the right. As you can see, the untouched RAW on the left looks fine, the one on the right has had the harsh shadows softened and the highlights restored through post processing, you can see it clearly in the Norton's number plate.


The Canon 6D doesn't always get it right, a harsh shadow with a bright sky background is always a recipe for trouble. There are setting on the Canon that will correct this, but I don't have time (or the brainpower!) to hunt through settings just to counter it, especially when Bruce Anstey will move his head any second to grin at someone else, so it's shoot in RAW and fix later.

The benefit of shooting in RAW is that you see exactly what your camera sensor sees, and because of the glut of information it retrieves you can push the processing about a stop in either direction, making an otherwise useless photo useable if not perfect with a little tweaking. 

If however, you shoot using JPG then you're completely at the mercy of your own skills, good, bad or indifferent. Your camera will record exactly what you tell it to via your settings and because your image is saved as a compressed file, it will throw away all the good stuff. 

If you're shit hot with a camera and can flick through the many settings hidden in the depths of your camera at the flick of a wrist, then fill your boots, shoot JPG, but when your subject is moving in, out and through difficult light conditions, shoot RAW and fix later.


Conventional photography images contain harsh shadow and whited out highlights. With your eyes, you look at a scene in full and it appears balanced, but take a sunset for example, if you concentrate your focus on the setting sun (don't look at a full sun kids, you know the rules) you might be aware that the dark part of the scene will plunge into pitch black. Likewise, if you look at the dark part of the scene the sun and sky will appear much brighter.

That is your own aperture of your eyes, your irides (plural of iris) open and close to allow the correct amount of light in. So say you look at that very same scene and look for the most neutral part, some of that scene will still be too bright for you to look at and some of it will be plunged into darkness, even though you know full well that you can look at the brightest and the darkest parts and see them perfectly well, that's the dynamic range of your eyes. Cameras suffer exactly the same limit (though some are better ie have wider range, than others). Most photographs / images are shown with this same limited dynamic range, leaving some parts burnt out and white and some parts cloaked in darkness. Had the photographer pointed their camera with the correct settings at either the light or the dark then they'd have got those areas spot on as well.

By using RAW and tweaking a few sliders in Lightroom* you can extend the dynamic range and reveal the detail in the shadows and the overexposed (bright) areas. It's both a relatively natural and again unnatural way of viewing the world, your eyes telling you that a scene to the naked eye is all balanced, although you know full well that it isn't (using the sunset example above). This extension of the dynamic range hasn't been available until relatively recently in the grand scheme of the lifespan of photography (nearly 200 years), so it's no surprise that when someone sees an image that has had it's dynamic range widened past what would be deemed the normal range the image is deemed odd or weird in some way.


I choose to push the dynamic range of my images for the following reasons - I can, I like the effect, they stand out in a sea of bike images that are near identical in (none) treatment. 


*very few photographers would knowingly use Photoshop to correct images if they knew how powerful and easy Lightroom is in comparison

]]> (snapchap) 6d HDR JPG RAW canon dynamic range fuji fujinon images lightroom photography photoshop post processing xt1 Fri, 29 Jan 2016 13:24:34 GMT