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FroKnowsPhoto RAWtalk 217: Weaponized Drones in the US, Apple is canning the trashcan and STAY OFF THE TRACKS

Welcome to RAWtalk episode 217 where we bring you Photo News, Gear Of The Week, Flying Solo and much much more. There’s a lot going on so be sure to subscribe on iTunes as well as on YouTube to make sure you never miss an episode of the show.

00:00:16 One More Time for Canada
00:03:22 Nikony Update
00:05:32 Real World Review Updates
00:09:24 Nobody Can Find Us, Not Even The Police
00:15:49 No Plug of the Week
00:15:56 Photo News
00:16:06 Trains Are Dangerous
00:20:35 Is Melania in Focus?
00:26:34 Adobe Can Auto Cut My Fro?
00:28:08 Wow Again Adobe, Turning Day Into Night Literally
00:30:15 Who Shot First?
00:33:45 Official Meredith the Drone Slayer Update and Check In
00:37:25 Lots of Drones
00:39:18 Police May Have Lethal Drones Soon?
00:43:41 Apple says SORRY
00:46:29 Magic Lantern 4K Raw on 5D Mark 3
00:47:32 Atomos Ninja Disco Inferno, Disco Not Included
00:48:36 Gears of the Week
00:54:07 Barb K Checks In
00:54:36 Flying Solo
01:25:15 Wheel of Fro
01:30:27 Memes of the Week
01:35:21 Hashtags of the Week

Here’s all of Stephen’s photo news stories in detail:

This Is How Dangerous It Is to Photograph on Train Tracks

The TODAY Show showcased just how dangerous it is to conduct photoshoots on train tracks by nearly doing one themselves. According to The TODAY Show, over 340 people are killed while trespassing on the tracks every year—mostly for photo ops. To prove their point of how easy it is to not realize a train is coming, they brought their camera crew next to a live rail where a train was due to come at any moment to see how much time they would have to get out of the way once they heard the train. Well, in the video below, you’ll see that he didn’t end up hearing the train until it was only about 100 feet away. This train was going only about 25mph but most trains are going upwards of 60 and 70 mph. He also noted that it takes an engineer about a full mile to come to a complete stop. Check out the full video below:

Is the First Lady’s Official Portrait Unsharp?

First Lady Melania Trump’s official White House portrait has finally been released after it was taken back in January. Released on whitehouse.gov, the image is not the original full resolution JPEG as previous administrations have supplied, even Trump’s own full res official portrait was made available. On top of that, it’s oddly enough a PNG file and not a standard JPEG, saved at a resolution of 1280x854px. It was taken by French photographer Regine Mahaux, who has worked with the Trump family several times in the past. The image is receiving a lot of criticism due to the lack of sharpness, particularly in the eyes. They appear to look soft almost due to over-smoothing of the face or just not nailing critical focus. Was the focus off? Did they brush over the eyes by accident? Check out the full res image for yourself here.

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Adobe’s New Algorithm Cuts out the Most Difficult Things with a Mouse Click

Adobe Research has announced that they’re working on a new algorithm that will automatically cut out and separate objects from images, no matter how complex they are, no pen tool required. Using a two-part process that involves a “deep convolutional encoder-decoder network” and a “small convolutional network,” Adobe can cut out any subject from any background with ease and accuracy. In the example images they have posted, a spiderweb was cut out from its background along with a troll with crazy furry hair—these are normally very tedious tasks that require a lot of time to cut out right, and in this case, Adobe’s software automatically cut them out perfectly with the click of a button. Check out the full research paper here, no word on when or if this will be released in a future version of Photoshop. (via DIYP)

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Turn Cloudy Skies into a Beautiful Sunset with Adobe’s New “Deep Photo Style Transfer”

Adobe has wowed us again with another algorithm as well: a new method called “Deep Photo Style Transfer.” Teaming up with Cornell University, Adobe’s new algorithm can automatically apply the “style” of one image like the color, lighting, white balance, etc, onto another. It’s not as simple as copying and pasting presets either, as they took one nighttime photo and pasted its “style” onto a daytime photo, making the daytime photo appear to be shot at night. The software even attempts to “achieve very local drastic effects,” so it will apply the dark night sky from the first image to just the sky portion in the second, it will even attempt to “turn on” individual lights in buildings that aren’t actually there in the original image. Another example includes a green mountain landscape paired with a snow-covered mountain, resulting in the snowy photograph looking like it was taken mid summer. Theoretically, they say a cloudy day can be turned into a beautiful sunrise. Adobe does note that the software doesn’t alter the structure of the photo in any way so there will be no distortion or shift in perspective, the image itself will remain the same. The research paper, which you can find here, says that their algorithm produces the most faithful style transfer results more than 80% of the time. I would love to see this come to a future version of Lightroom. (via DPR)

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Controversy at the 2017 Sony World Photo Awards

PetaPixel has an interesting story about the controversy at the 2017 Sony World Photo Awards. When the shortlist galleries were picked and announced from 105,000 entries in late February, one of the photographers selected was Romanian artist Alex Andriesi. His composited photo of a girl floating with large colorful balls was chosen for the “Enhanced” category. Shortly after the announcement, Portugal-based photographer Anka Zhuravleva took to her social media channels to accuse Andriesi of plagiarizing her work, pointing out that his shortlisted photo has many similarities to one of her images from 2011, which shows a young lady floating with orange balls in a hallway while wearing a blue dress. The post got hundreds of shares through social media, and soon the World Photography Organisation left a comment responding to the accusation: “In this instance Alex Andriesi has provided documents that support his statement that he has not plagiarised the work of any other artist and his influence was taken from elsewhere,” the organization writes. “Ultimately whilst we recognise the similarity between the images it is essential to point out that accusations of plagiarism have to have more than coincidence and that doubt is not proof of plagiarism. The documents provided to us by Mr Andriesi certainly support his claim.” So who do you believe? Did he copy the image or is it just a giant coincidence? (via PP)

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Image courtesy of Anka Zhuravleva

The Drone Slayer’s Case Has Been Officially Dismissed

There’s another update on our favorite Drone Slayer, Mr. William H. Merideth’s, 2016 lawsuit with drone operator David Boggs. The original case that had Boggs suing Merideth for shooting down his drone has been fully dismissed by Senior US District Judge, Thomas B. Russell. The judgment ruled in favor of Merideth’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, finding that federal court is not the proper venue for this claim. Boggs claimed that Merideth should pay for the damages to his drone, which he estimated a total value of $1,500. Boggs attorney says “Our client is disappointed—we respect the judge’s ruling and have to have a conversation with our client about an appeal. This remains an extraordinarily important issue for the commercial and hobby issue. We desperately need clarification from this issue and that has to come from the federal level. Drones are continuing to be shot down. There have been many incidents, this has to be an issue that is addressed, but we have not decided whether we are going to file our appeal.” Did Merideth finally get the justice he deserves? (via AT)

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U.S. Drone Registrations Skyrocketing, Now Up To 770,000

Speaking of drones, U.S. drone registrations have skyrocketed, bringing the current total to 770,000, which is an increase in 100,000 in the last 3 months alone. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta says, “We’re ushering in a new age of American aviation: the unmanned aircraft era. And it’s moving at a quicker pace than anything we’ve seen before.” That doesn’t exactly mean there’s 770,000 individual people that have registered however. Individual “hobbyists” receive only one ID number for all the drones they own, while anyone other than hobbyists — aka commercial users — must register each drone separately. The FAA predicts the number of small hobbyist drones in the United States will triple to about 3.55 million in 2021. The have also issued over 37,000 “remote pilot” certificates, which allow people to fly drones for commercial purposes in specific conditions. (via CNN)

Police in Connecticut Will Soon Be Weaponizing Their Drones

Police in Connecticut could soon be using drones as lethal weapons against citizens. Connecticut’s judiciary committee approved a new drone regulation bill that, if passed, would make it the first U.S. state to allow police to use deadly drones. The new bill is titled “An Act Concerning the Use and Regulation of Drones,” and will effectively ban weaponized drones for everyone in the state except for police officers, permitting them to use drones equipped with tear gas, incendiary and explosive devices and “remote deadly weapons.” State Senator John Kissel says, “Obviously this is for very limited circumstances. We can certainly envision some incident on some campus or someplace where someone is a rogue shooter or someone was kidnapped and you try to blow out a tire.” If passed, the new bill will go into effect in October, but police agencies wouldn’t need to come up with a model policy stating how they would use a weaponized drone until next year. This won’t be the first Police drone in the U.S. either. In 2015, North Dakota passed a bill allowing police to use armed drones, however they limited them to “less lethal” weapons like rubber bullets and tear gas. (via Gizmodo)

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Apple to Release New Mac Pro and iMac next Year

Apple has come out and apologized, stating that they are indeed going to release a new Mac Pro and iMac in 2018. Senior VP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller says, “The Mac has an important, long future at Apple, and if we’ve had a pause in upgrades and updates on that, we’re sorry for that. We’re going to come out with something great to replace it.” He goes on to say that, “Apple is currently hard at work on a ‘completely rethought’ Mac Pro, with a modular design that can accommodate high-end CPUs and big honking hot-running GPUs, and which should make it easier for Apple to update with new components on a regular basis.” he adds that they will work on a new Pro display as well. They note that due to the shape of the current Mac Pro and it’s heatsink, there’s only so much they can upgrade and that in the end, it was a design flaw that cost them. They initially banked on expansion happening all through thunderbolt but that didn’t pan out. Apple also bet on dual-mini GPUs being the future, but it ended up being quite the opposite, giant single GPUs. In the meantime, Apple is updating the configs on the current line of Mac Pros so there’s more bang for you buck. I just wish they would consider this concept design as the new Mac Pro, it’s beautiful! (via 9t5m)

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Magic Lantern Adds 4K RAW Recording to the 5D Mark III

Magic Lantern has officially added 4K RAW video recording to the Canon 5D Mark III. The new custom firmware now allows ML users to access 8 different 14-bit compressed RAW video resolutions now from 1080P 48fps to a 3K and even 4K mode, all the way up to full resolution LiveView mode at 7.4fps which is nearly 6K. The 3K modes are noted to be able to continually record, where the 4K mode will only work for a few seconds before the buffer fills due to write speed issues. Most of the crop modes will be similar to that of a Super 35mm sensor with a 1.5x crop as well. We’ll see if they can add these features to the Mark IV now… (via EOSHD)

Atomos Introduces the Ninja Inferno, Pairs Perfectly with the GH5

More video recording news: Atomos has released a new external recorder called the Ninja Inferno. Many suspect this was launched to coincide with the new GH5, since it specifically will record 4:22 10-bit footage up to 4K 60p (the GH5 only records 4K 30P internally). The Inferno will become the world’s first external HDMI monitor-recorder to accept 4K DCI signals from cameras like the GH5. Other specs include everything you would normally expect from Atomos: 7” 10-bit HDR touchscreen with 1500 nits of brightness for recording in broad daylight, HDMI in and out, mini-XLR input along with a built-in bumper. It’s available now for the fairly low price of $995, considering it’s an Atomos recorder and all. Check out the full demo video over below:

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