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By Raffy Paredes

The open source RAW photo processor RawTherapee, a free alternative to Adobe Lightroom has just been updated to version 5. The update includes new features, performance enhancements, some bug fixes, and much more. As reported on PetaPixel.com, the new version includes several new features—the Wavelets tool, the Retinex tool, automatic chroma noise reduction, manual luminance noise reduction using sliders and curves, post-resize sharpening, “Luminance” and “Perceptual” tone curve modes, and a lot more you can read about on the RawTherapee blog site. Additionally, RawTherapee 5 boasts “over two years’ worth of amazing speedups, code cleanups and bug fixes, making it faster and more stable than ever before!”The newest build for Windows and Mac userscan be downloadedat http://rawtherapee.com/downloads (PetaPixel).

  • Untitled (Melanie Catamin)

  • Untitled (Ronaldo Olorcisimo)

  • Untitled (Rosette Lazaga)

  • Angkot Wat Temple Siem Reap Cambodia (Lara Jasmin Concepcion)

  • Ariba San Pablo! Aura sa Pyesta ng Coco! (Robert De La Rosa)

  • Fort (Walter H. Guillarte)

  • Hikong Bente (Reymart Sefuentes)

  • Night in Manila (Ryan Oliver Co)

  • Untitled (Mandy N. Buenconsejo)

  • Untitled (Marytes M. Taloy)

    Photoshelter.com has come out with their 2017 Photographer’s Guide to Photo Contests. The guide covers 42 photo contests to consider or avoid. Listed for each competition are the deadline, entry fees, submission rights, promised exposure, what the winners say, and the verdict by Photoshelter.This is an interesting read even if you have yet no intention of entering any of the listed photo contests. Free for downloading at Photoshelter.com.

    A study sponsored by Sony just a few weeks ago found that consumers are ready to embrace selfies as a tool. But a recent research paper, published by Sarah Diefenbach and Lara Christoforakos of Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich published in Frontiers in Psychology in January suggests that while a majority of smartphone users enjoy taking selfies, very few people like looking at selfies of others.The paper is titled The Selfie Paradox: Nobody Seems to Like Them Yet Everyone Has Reasons to Take Them and is based on a study that surveyed 238 people from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. The study acknowledges that it is based on a small population sampling, the results are potentially biased towards the surveyed regions, and that other cultures have more accepting attitudes towards selfies (DPreview.com).

    If you’re into uploading your own videos, it might interest you to know that according to a recent study of YouTube videos, those that contained the word “you” in the first five seconds had view counts that were 97 percent higher than videos that did not mention the word. The study, which was conducted by TubeBuddy and Hey.com, analyzed 30,000 YouTube videos uploaded between April 1 and December 1, 2016. In order to be included, the videos had to have a minimum of 40 views and belong to YouTube channels with more than five uploads and 10 subscribers. In addition to nearly doubling a video’s view count, the word “you”—or variations, such as “your,” “yourselves,” and “y’all”—increased a video’s likes by 66 percent and engagements by 68 percent.While the staying power of “you” is a well-documented phenomenon in the advertising world, this study suggests that addressing the audience directly in video content, too, is an effective strategy for engagement (Nofilmschool.com).

    And now to our featured readers led by four new contributors to the column.

    Lara Jasmin Concepcion shares a silhouette photo of the Angkot Wat Temple at Siem Reap in Cambodia. “Hundreds of tourists from all over the world gather around the moat before sunrise in eager anticipation of the beauty that is about to unfold before us,” writes Lara Jasmin. “And that’s when it happened. The astronomical dawn that morning gave birth to slivers of light that shaped the contours of Angkor Wat’s intricate silhouette. The light eventually became strong enough to mirror this Khmer architectural wonder. I have never seen such beauty in my life. That fleeting moment made me understand why many have traveled and why many will travel. No words will do justice to describe the grandeur of the sunrise at Angkor Wat.”

    From Ronaldo Olorcisimo, Sheriff of the Regional Trial Court in Binangonan and photo enthusiast is an untitled photo of two Aeta children gleefully watching a flying drone.

    Laguna-born Rosette Lazaga currently working as a hotel employee while pursuing her studies in Belgium sent in an untitled photo of a Tagbanua family’s nipa hut near the twin lagoons in Coron, Palawan. “I have been living in Belgium for more or less nine years now,” shares Rosette. “It was in 2013 when I started having interest in photography. Since then I started carrying my DSLR everytime I travel, or even when I just go out of the house to take some candid photos.”

    And from photo newbie Walter  Guillarte of SM is the photo titled, “Fort.”

    Other photos on today’s page come from previously featured readers some of whom regularly send over their photos to the column.

    Seafarer Mandy Buenconsejo submitted the untitled night photo of a bridge taken during his port stay in Ulsan, South Korea.

    Marytes Taloy shares an untitled photo of their guide lighting a lamp in the Sumaguing Cave in Sagada, Mountain Province. She writes: “As a photography lover, traveling is one of my favorite hobbies so I could capture more pictures of different people while being away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This picture of a man with a lamp is the person who guided our group when we entered in the cave. It took us two and a half hours before we could finally say we did it. I just want to thank you this man for accompanying us. With his helping hands and the lamp that he carried for an hour are enough reasons to share this picture.”

    From Hong Kong, domestic helper Melanie Catamin shares an untitled black-and-white photo of the city central by the bay. She writes that Hong Kong is a city of dreams. But one Sunday mid-afternoon, everything turned gloomy as a storm approached. Melanie says this scene reminds her of Gotham city in the Batman movies.

    Reymart Sefuentes writes that his water falls photo, “HikongBente” was taken in South Cotabato. The falls whose name means “immeasurable” is 70 feet high. It is the second and the highest of the seven falls of Lake Sebu. One can reach the falls by climbing up 776 steps of a concrete stairway or by driving through a vehicle access road.

    The fiesta photo “Ariba San Pablo! Aura sa Pyestang Coco!” comes from Robert Bryan De La Rosa. Writes Robert: “San Pableños say San Pablo is where their heart is. It is the place where they store their smile, make memories and plan their future, where they reminisce, dream and make them do come true. It’s a tradition that doesn’t run through families but by every heart of each San Pableño.”

    And from Ryan Oliver Co is the long-exposure photo, “Night in Manila.”

    Readers may now view issues of Picture Perfect including this column at www.mb.com.ph. For comments, suggestions or just to share an image or idea, email throughalensclearly@yahoo.com or rfyparedes@yahoo.com.

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    • Thanks for mentioning our study of “Harnessing the Power of ‘You’ in YouTube.” We found that if you say the word “you” just once in the first 5 seconds of your video, you can increase your views by 66%.