Recently in photography is life Category

in money business , photography is life |



The donate-a-photo app has been around for about 2.5 years now; I only just spotted it recently on instagram. The idea is to share a photo a day, and Johnson & Johnson will donate USD1 for every photo.

Each cause will receive a minimum donation and will appear in the app until its donation period ends or its goal is reached.

Sounds simple and innocent enough. Win-win all round. Right? Everything I read online about it has been generally positive. Except my first reaction was skepticism. Originally the app used the tagline selfless selfies and encouraged people to upload their selfies. That was a massive red flag. Invasion of privacy, facial recognition, profiling. It’s yet another data gathering exercise to market their products.

My second reaction was, what will happen to these photos? This is a good way of gathering thousands of photos that they don’t have to pay royalties for. Rule #1 of sharing a pic with a big brand is be careful. They mislead, engage in bait-and-switch tactics and generally don’t give credit or compensation. Over the years, I’ve had requests on flickr to add to a website or use in a magazine (the biggest was Travel and Leisure). I’ve found that the ones that promise “credit and exposure” without paying are the worst, they don’t even send you back the link to the story (no, T+L never sent anything back). I’ve stopped responding.

The donate-a-photo app does say that the photos shared will be added to a gallery to promote the app,

but they will never be used to sell any products or for any other commercial.

donatephoto20151121

What’s the harm, I thought. I’ll upload some innocuous pics and if it gets money to the right causes, it’s all good. So far I’ve added a couple of pics of trees and one of smiley pastries. I also signed up for the UK version as opposed to the US version. It’s smaller in scale, in terms of causes included—only 2 so far this week. Unlike the US charity navigator I can’t find any good UK based charity vetting services. I may switch to US so I know more about the causes offered.

donateaphotoimpact2015

As of today, J&J claims that they have received 801k photos, which suggests they have donated $801k. Over 2.5 years it’s roughly $320k per year. Even rounded up to $500k, this is probably just a fraction of their philanthropy budget. According to this infographic, they gave $131 million in 2011, representing 1.1% of their pre-tax profits.

Creating an app like donate-a-photo is a smart idea. Lots of good publicity, and using the sharing economy concept to run the campaign. They already have a department that liaises with causes, just agree on an amount to donate and timeframe. Once the amount is reached or timeslot completed, move the next cause up the queue. Run a report every once in a while, send the money, update the app and website, claim the tax benefits. The general public do all the work of populating the galleries and spreading the word to their friends. And it makes everyone feel good.


in photography is life |

sf170tram

Photofriday challenge this week is yellow.

title: tram from castro to the ferry terminal, san francisco
description: each tram is distinctive and meticulously archived; #1811 is a Peter Witts design repainted into the original 1928 Milan livery of yellow and white with black trim
date: october 2006

Click here for full-sized and other details
©invisiblecompany 2015, all rights reserved


in photography is life |

ptown157beach

Finally uploaded trip pics:

  • chicago — mainly marathon
  • albany — firefighters memorial
  • ptown — town, harbour, beach, cemeteries, lighthouse, whale-watching
  • scranton — cemetary, former orphanage
  • state college — penn state


ptown068shellshop

May be it’s because of the beautiful weather, I’m liking how most of these turned out. I do see a difference between using the big camera vs the small camera. Not bad for an entry-level 10 year old DSLR. I’m not happy with the small camera; at the back of my mind I’m still missing my s90 and not liking the newer s110. I hardly used it on the trip.

scran017leaf

May be also due to the good weather, minimum adjustments needed for the outdoor pics. Some cropping, some levels. There’s a speck of dust or a scratch inside one of the mirrors so a little cover up needed. The indoor pics, especially at the Sage Inn, had to be re-levelled, because the interior was so dark.

ptown471whale

A friend at Ptown brought along her brand new, fabulous, envy-worthy lens. She kindly let me borrow it for a second and I quickly snapped this one of the whale-watching signboard from far away. Nice. Thanks, Dutch!

We were also talking a little about over-processing of pics. I see a lot of, especially landscape and nature photography, that are rich and complex but then I realise how much the pics have been processed and I’m less impressed. I admit, processing in Lightroom is also a skill, it just seems less photography than digital manipulation.

Interesting that Reuters just issued a worldwide ban on RAW photos from their freelance photographers, to

increase both ethics and speed

I can only applaud the decision. RAW images are flexible and can be processed much more than jpgs. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Seeing this comparison:

rawjpg
image from manners photo

who wouldn’t want to use RAW? The question then is, which is real and which is manufactured. I’m all for relatively small adjustments to exposure, level, colour—I do it all the time. But professionals who earn money taking action news photos as they happen should present the most realistic picture (pun not intended) of what is happening, hence Reuters’ emphasis on ethics.

Also fitting that in the middle of teasing me the other day, mm reminded me that I actually got paid for a photo I took when we visited whitstable. That one was literally a quick snap with none of the post-processing Lightroom stuff (well, cos I don’t shoot in RAW). Each to their own, I suppose.


in photography is life |

German photographer Marius Vieth described how accidentally breaking his $1600 EF 24mm lens gave him the idea for a

trippy & abstract photo set dipped in red about broken characters captured with a broken lens by a former broken soul

Broken: Hell's Angels

His photoset, Broken, was taken in the red light district of Amsterdam and is full of blurry, bokeh-like, atmospheric imagery. The lens doesn’t focus anymore, so it’s credit to the photographer’s skill to be able to get pictures that tell a story.

This is an interesting take on the phenomenon of autoposting blurry, poorly composed phone pics on fb without any sense of curation. Seriously, people, stop autoposting your 500 phone pics. Delete the duplicate or the poor quality ones. Upload them in proper order. Tell a story. Sigh.


in photography is life |

pt485paraboard

This week’s photofriday challenge is cloudy.

title: race point beach
description: para wakeboarding at race point, cape cod
date: october 2009

Click for full-sized and other details
©invisiblecompany 2015, all rights reserved

in photography is life |

syd020darling

This week’s photofriday challenge is downtown.

title: sydney darling harbour
descripton: view of sydney downtown
date: november 2007

Click for full-sized and other details
©invisiblecompany 2015, all rights reserved


in photography is life |

icarexcamera02

I was cleaning my freezer and was reminded that I still have a stash of 35mm film in a ziploc bag. Film stored in a freezer can last 15 years and be defrosted and refrozen. I think mine are coming up to the 15 year mark. I don’t know if my film camera still works, or may be I should use my dad’s Zeiss camera, which is older than me. I don’t know if I have the skill to do the pictures justice though. Plus, not being able to preview and re-do, that’s pressure.

cameranowthen

I remember going on safari with mm before the days before I bought my first digital camera, and ending up with something like 30 rolls of film to be developed. Had to find a friendly shop that offered a discount. If we were to go on the same safari now, I’d still take my DSLR, but all I need to worry is having enough memory cards and backing up every day. How the landscape of photography has changed. This graphic, spotted via truthfacts / petapixel, is a perfect illustration. Well, I tend not to print pics but I do look at them. My iphone has only 200 pics because I delete ones that have been processed and uploaded to flickr. I’m probably not typical, mm has thousands of pics and screenshots on her iphone and I can say probably Sis and Mum too. My niece is more like me, her camera roll is organised, she’s the one who introduced me to tidy.


©Michal Koralewski IPPAwards 2015

Digital photography is come a long way. My iphone camera, at 8MP, has caught up to my big camera (EOS350D). One of these days, I’ll have an iphone that surpasses my small camera (s110) at 12.1MP. I used to carry my small camera in my backpack, more frequently nowadays I only have the iphone.This b/w picture by Michal Koralewski from Poland won first place at this year’s iphone photography awards aka IPPAwards. What a great picture. It’s not the camera, which is a mere tool; it’s the photographer. I have so much to learn.


in photography is life |

ork416scapa

This week’s photofriday challenge is beach.

title: sacpa beach
description: hidden scapa beach at orkney, scotland—behind the scapa distillery
date: may 2012

click for full-sized and other details
©invisiblecompany 2015, all rights reserved

in photography is life |

londonnight

via mashable, a set of truly stunning night photos of London by photographer Vincent Laforet as part of the AIR project:

AIR is a creative project that started with a series of spectacular photographs above New York City. Through unprecedented viral momentum, the project is expanding to other cities around the globe with the aim to:

Show the world that it is connected

Engage people from all around the world to connect with one another.
Previous cities included New York and Los Angeles. The London pics were shot around 12-13 May, the next scheduled project flights will include Barcelona, Berlin, Paris and Venice.



Very interestng write up and observations (and loads more pics) about the project shoot in London, from initial worries about getting through the bureaucracy for permission to fly, the lack of a grid system and the dreaded British weather to realisation about the distinctive architecture and colours. Interesting tidbit, when they were flying over Buckingham Palace:
Within a few minutes we were (unusually) politely asked by Air Traffic Control how long we planned on flying around that specific area. There was no suggestion of asking us to move - but the high level of politeness sent an even stronger message.


Watch the video again, look at the London gallery again. Look at the details, the light, the colours, the buildings, the streets, the bridges. I challenge anyone to not feel completely in awe of probably the greatest city in the world.


in photography is life , techtalk |

flickr401photostream

As I was uploading trip pics I noticed yahoo rolled out yet another new look for flickr. The main photostream page still isn’t as good as the original layout, but better than the horrible 3.0. Less cluttered with sharper, cleaner lines. Can sort by date taken or different permission views. The set (sigh, album) page looks cleaner too, although I’m still not a big fan of infinite scrolling.

The two major new features are auto uploading and auto-tagging for a more powerful search.

At 1TB, flickr offers more storage than dropbox, icloud and many other storage sites. Free. I’m not even at 10% of my capacity with 27k images so there’s no danger of running out (nor any desire to renew my pro account). The new uploadr, plus the 1TB storage, lets people dump all their images into flickr automatically from computer and smartphone. No need for there to be pics stored here, there and everywhere. We can still use instagram or vine or fb, but now flickr can act as central repository for all our image files.

Will I use uploadr like that? Yes on mobile, no for computer. I already use flickr as my image repository, but I go through the process of sorting and organising before uploading. Imagine uploadr taking all 3267 trip pics and uploading into one album for me to organise—no, no, no. I want to control how and where my pics are uploaded, even though it takes me longer.

It’s a different picture for mobile. I’m pretty good at sorting my iphone camera roll, I review and delete pics that are duplicate, poor quality or temporary. Currently, I use dropbox to transfer to the mba (yes, I know I should be using pushbullet) then manually upload to flickr. If I can skip the dropbox step it will be a time-saver. It took the app a few hours to process my iphone camera roll, but going forward it will be quicker. Liking the app too, used to be clunky and non-user friendly, now I may start using it more.

asi778chimney

The other major new feature is a powerful search engine using image recognition algorithms that sees the content of an image. As an example, I had basic tags to this pic of an Assisi chimney, the flickrbots are smart enough to add building, architecture, roof and outdoor tags:

flickr402tags

Some users are up in arms about this, because they want control over their tags. I’m fine with the concept.

flickr404search

Another example: this week’s photofriday challenge is “detail” and when I plug that in as a search term, I get fairly interesting results, and advanced options to drill down into colours, dates etc. Before the update, I’d get an error or a no result page because I haven’t tagged any pic using the term detail. This is an improvement.

flickr405magic

Where all the new features come together is the camera roll. I can set it to display by the traditional, boring method of date taken. Or I can use the new magic view which sorts my pics into, well, tags. Magic view shows my pics under common criteria, when I select pattern from the sidebar, it shows patterned pics (although I wouldn’t necessarily include the pic of the space needle). I can’t stop playing around in magic view, it really is magical.

Another new feature is bulk processing: bulk download, bulk sharing, bulk editing, bulk delete. The downloading feature is one that has been requested for a long time, it’s not relevant to me but may be for people who use flickr as triage.

Not everything is positive in the update. Thumbnails are too large. For a time all my pics defaulted to family & friends instead of public. All my sets in organizr are called auto upload. My biggest complaint is that getting the html link involves a popup lightbox as opposed to a simple hover menu before. I can’t get the html code for videos. Notes have been discontinued. They are moving in the right direction for a change. The Verge has a good summary of the new design:

What’s impressive is what it’s doing for free: backing up a terabyte of photos from your main computer and your mobile devices, then making them easily searchable in the cloud. The rest of Flickr is still there: you can still follow great photographers, browse beautiful photos, and showcase your own. But among the solutions for backing up your photos online, Flickr has moved from the back of the pack to the front.


in photography is life |

par081citroen

This week’s photofriday challenge is moving.

title: allez allez, rouge
description: quick snap of a red 2CV full of guys in suits speeding along a Parisien street
date: mar-2008

click for full-sized and other details
©invisiblecompany 2015, all rights reserved


in challenges , going places , photography is life |

Started the day feeling dizzy with a heavy-head headache. Managed to walk a couple of blocks to a nearby bar café for some vegetables before needing to head back to our room. [TMI]Promptly threw up the food.[/TMI]. Slept for a few hours until around 3pm. Did about 12mins of mindfulness meditation, ate some pasta, drank lots and lots and lots of water and juice. Feeling a more human but still slightly dizzy. No idea why I suddenly got sick, and we decided it wasn’t worth speculating. The important thing is to quickly get better. I feel bad about wasting a day but mm, bless her, doesn’t see it that way. I leaned on her all the way walking this morning, and she ran up and down to the vending machine and across the road to the supermarket to get stuff. In a way, today Good Friday was as good a day to get some rest. We’re at halfway through our trip and aside from 2 masses (the next one is Easter Sunday mass) and the Sistine Chapel (which we covered yesterday), we don’t have anywhere pressing to go. If I continue to feel under the weather, I’ll try to hold on until London so I can go see my GP.

I did manage to upload the photos that were tasks #21-30 of 30.30: take 10 photos over 10 days. I set these tasks deliberately knowing that I would be travelling the second half of march and figured it would be easier. One would have thought that there were plenty of opportunities in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Belgium, Florence, Siena and Assisi to take 10 simple photos. I don’t know if it’s the subjects I picked but it wasn’t as straightforward, may be it’s because I kept forgetting. Managed to get 10 photos in the end. Posting thumbnails, click for full size.

21colour 22shape 23direction 24loud 25morning
26nexttome 27numbers 28old 29people 30water

  1. a colour
  2. a shape
  3. direction
  4. loud
  5. morning
  6. next to me
  7. numbers
  8. old
  9. people
  10. old


Challenge is done. I’ll post the final update.

in 101.1001 , challenges , photography is life |

southbay011tower

Task #20 of 101.1001 is to reach 1001 instagram/vine/snapchat total. I tried vine and it was fine, but instagram offered similar videoing functionality and I’m used to using instagram, so my vine count is still under 10. I never got round to using snapchat.

Without me noticing it, I reached 1001 instagrams a couple of weeks ago. This was taken when mm and I drove out to South Bay on a nice cool evening and the place was empty. The lifeguard towers looked sad and forlorn on the beach.

in challenges , photography is life |

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer



This photo-a-day challenge is actually from feb-2014. They post one item a day over the month, instead of posting the whole list at the beginning of the month. Seems to be quite interesting anyway. Full set here.

18magic

Probably my favourite is 18magic, the stack of rocks my niece built at the beach. I thought it was pretty magical.


in challenges , photography is life |

trip397rain

This week’s photofriday challenge is weather

title: rain along highway
description: driving along the highway somewhere in Idaho or Montana, trying to outrun the heavy rain
date: july-2014
also available to view full-sized

©invisiblecompany 2014-5, all rights reserved

in challenges , photography is life |

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer


The problem with doing 30 day photo challenges is finding interesting material when I spend most of my time at home. I can only take so many pictures of my desk. That said, I thought I’d go through this month’s instagram to see if I can fit them into this photo-a-day challenge. It’s not the right way of doing a challenge, so the results are mediocre at best. Anyway, start with the list:

00list>

01 new is the january 2015 calendar page; for #02 change I scattered some coins on my desk (the desk had to make an appearance somehow); #03 organise is dragonboats stacked up at Stanley beach. And so on. Applied a bit of creative licence on a few, like #05 clean is laundry hanging to dry, #19 ice/icy is space food ice cream and #21 noise is an empty stand at the track (think about the noise when it’s full of people).

12texture 16happy
22whereistand 28traitquiet

A few were decent attempts. #12 texture is the mat we have on the balcony, it turned out quite texture-y; #16 happy is halves of two pastries I shared with mm, it was only when I looked at the pic that I realised they made a smiley face; #22 from where I stand is a shadow. #28 is supposed to be a personality trait. I think you’re allowed to be creative, so I used one of the water bird perched on a log at sunset. I thought it was quiet and peaceful.


in photography is life |

hk2015001aldrichbay

We were going to get our hair cut together, but mm was too tired and decided to wait for a couple of weeks. So I went on my own. Chatted a little with Sam (our hairdresser) and we calculate that he’s been cutting my hair for more than 15 years, may be even 20. I like him because I don’t have to tell him what to do, and he’s not talkative. He knows I don’t like talking, unlike 95% of the other customers there, so he gets on it.

I went looking for panettone afterwards, but couldn’t find any. Sigh. Bought a couple of pastries to bring to mm for tea—they were really good. She was feeling more energetic and it was a nice day so we went for a walk along the seafront next to her building. Caught the sunset too. I like the colours on this pic.

She had dinner plans with her school friends, so I stopped off at my last resort supermarket to look for the elusive panettone. Yay, found them. Got an apricot & chocolate one for mum and a marron glacé for me.


in photography is life |

trip108antelope

The first photofriday challenge of 2015 is stillness. This was one of the shortlisted 2014 favourites that didn’t make the final 10.

title: antelope island state park, utah
description: Antelope Island state park is the largest island on the Great Salt lake outside Salt Lake City in Utah. The barren yet beautiful scenery consisted of beaches and deserts; the hot day making it hazy like a painting
date: july 2014
also available to view full-sized

©invisiblecompany 2015, all rights reserved


in photography is life |

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer


I posted over 6,000 photos and videos to flickr in 2014. And I thought 3,500 in 2013 was a lot. So many trips this year: Mediterranean cruise to Greece, Italy, Israel, West Bank; cruise to Alaska including stayover at Seattle and Vancouver; month-long visit to the US including epic road trip from Chicago to Portland that took in several national parks; 2 trips to Japan: Hokkaido & Tokyo; an end of year trip to Seoul. Not to mention family events, outings with mm (and her family). Plus my part in documenting the 79 days of the umbrella movement.

It was very tough to narrow 6,000 pics to ten. Mostly I went for scenery or ones that were memorable for me. I tried to include diverse regions but it was difficult, for instance most of the pics from Tokyo and Italy were repeats or food, since it’s not the first time I’ve visited those places. That said, I guess I managed to pick pics of the sea, lake, mountain and desert.

vic159vsunset

This was a surprising one. Out of the entire Alaska cruise trip, many pics of glaciers and mountains made the shortlist but this one of sunset at Buchart Gardens stayed with me longer. The light was fading fast, we’d just gotten to the bottom of the Japanese garden and making our way back to the entrance. I had to stand on a fence to get this quickly. No filters, no adjustments.

Not as good a year for food photography. Most food pics were instagram eating out, I had a rather poor cooking year. The product I was proudest was making a box of truffles for my niece’s birthday.

in outside interests , photography is life |

201412landmark01 201412landmark02

Had some errands to run in the afternoon, walked from PP to Central and even up the escalator to almost back home. Not as crowded as normal, except nearer the end of the working day. Saw the christmas decoration at the atrium of Landmark mall. Pretty. And the bright lights of Harvey Nics in the background helped. There’s a sort of tilt-shift quality to the pic but when I put it through the tilt-shift app it didn’t work out as well as I thought. Original instagram on the left, tiltshifted on the right.


in photography is life |



As instagram overtakes twitter by reaching 300m mau, it’s worth looking back to my first posts on both services. Joined twitter august 2007. It’s easy enough to find a user’s first tweet through twitter’s discovery service. Not much meaning to that first tweet, which means I used it for the correct purpose, hahaha. I use twitter primarily to record my running and workouts, and for the longest time it was pretty much the only things I posted. I’m trying to vary the content a little more nowadays.


inst001kettle

Joined instagram july 2011 and the first pic was of my kettle. Very mundane. Most of the instagrams in the first few years were of food, and like twitter I’ve tried to diversify somewhat lately. Most pics I take on the iphone get instagrammed, and as new filters are announced, my view of quick pics has changed. I took pics of the recent pannacotta I made on both instagram and my camera and as I was photoshopping the camera pics I was looking for the effects I’m getting on instagram.

All my instagrams are automatically posted to twitter, and all tweets are automatically saved to a google docs spreadsheet; the automation achieved by IFTTT recipes. Because of IFTTT I don’t have to pick any one service, they seem to co-exist quite happily. I have mostly different followers so there isn’t so much overlap.


in photography is life |

med236sidihouse

This week’s photofriday challenge is blue. This was taken in the picturesque village of Sidi Bou Said near Tunis, which was a pretty touristy village with whitewashed houses with windows and doors painted a uniform blue colour.


in photography is life , techtalk |

praha122charlesriver

Another #randomflickr, this one was taken in Prague oct-2011. Pretty autumn colours along the river vitava from the end of charles bridge.

An article on quartz talked about twitter bots. An interesting one is pixelsorter which

sorts the rows (or optionally columns) of an image according to a specific method like hue, red, brightness, luma, etc




Just tweet @pixelsorter and attach an image. It’s a bit like playing with the multitude of filters on photoshop.



There are also a few preset commands which give other results. This is the effect using preset[triphop]. Pretty cool. I love discovering quirky pointless stuff like this.


in photography is life |



I’m trying to start a new trend on twitter, to post random flickr image. It’s a good way for me to look back at old pics. I used a random number generator to get a page number (I have a total of 239 pages) then I picked an image that I liked. This was during Taste of Chicago jul-2010, my parents were visiting and we were having a great time.

This is my second attempt at #randomflickr. Let’s see if the trend picks up. Not harbouring a lot of hope. I did a quick count, even though I have 197 followers on twitter, only around 20 are active. There are about 100 real people who haven’t posted for ages, or have automatic feeds from their fb statuses. The rest are commercial or fake accounts, I also attract a fair number who probably wanted to follow @wattpad, and for some odd reason, a bunch of indonesian / filipino followers.

That said, I’m enjoying hanging out on twitter and instagram. Much more rewarding than fb, which has turned into a sad popularity contest.

in challenges , photography is life |

glcr154sunset

Task #28 of 30 in 30 is to participate in a photofriday challenge.

This week’s theme is nightfall. This was taken from the balcony of our cruise ship cabin at Glacier Bay in May. I was taking a picture every few minutes waiting for the perfect sunset shot, this was around 9-10pm.

in photography is life , thing-a-day |

lenserror

The last day of our road trip, my small camera broke down all of a sudden. All I was doing was turning it on to take a picture. The lens extended part way, then there was some grinding noises of it trying some more, then a couple of beeps. The display said lens error and the camera shut down with the lens extended. I don’t know if it was the heat of the badlands or if a grain of sand had gotten inside or if I’d been turning it on and off too many times.

We had atrocious internet that night at the Ramada Inn Mitchell, I spent the little connection I had on the iphone in the lobby googling how to fix lens error. Methods included cleaning around the lens with the edge of a sheet of paper and tapping the side of the camera. Nothing worked. Fortunately a) it was the end of the road trip and b) I had my big camera. Worse case scenario, the iphone camera takes acceptable pics. Lesson learned: bring 2 cameras on a long trip, even though it’s a pain to lug the big camera.

The small camera is my day-to-day camera, so I have to get it repaired or replaced pronto. I bought it almost 2 years ago, so it’s out of warranty. Official repair quote was US$170. Gulp.

hkcamerarepair2014

A little more digging led me to a small local shop that quoted me US$50. I figured, this guy Raymond has good reviews online and it’s worth a gamble of $50. The tiny shop, more a glorified store room, is located on the 22/F of a dingy office building in the middle of the most crowded shopping district in town. The shop is stacked full of boxes and equipment and parts with a tiny space just inside the door for customers to stand. They’re professional though, taking care to mark down my camera’s serial number, not charging till it’s fixed and giving a 30 day warranty. Took them a few days to get the parts and fix the camera, I picked it up yesterday and it’s working fine. Raymond told me that the lens mechanisms on s100 and s110s last about 500-600 times, so obviously Canon doesn’t test like Ikea.

Since there were no other customers, I asked him for recommendations and tips. We agreed that the s90 and s95 are better and more reliable cameras than the newer models; the product cycle for modern electronics is too short for meaningful testing. Interestingly second hand s95 cameras are still costly, which reinforces our argument. I’m also half thinking of replacing my almost 10 year old EOS 350D. His response, ditch the dSLR and instead look into the G1X. It occupies an undefinable place in the market, with all the power of a dSLR (except detachable lens) and yet too large to be a real point-and-shoot. He showed me the quality achieved by the 4x digital zoom and it’s impressive.

Reviews are okay, there are some issues like slow auto focus (which I also find with the s110), macro needs filter (macro on s110 isn’t up to par with s90) and it’s neither here nor there in terms of size and weight. It’s more expensive than the s110, and the s110 was already at the top of my price tolerance.

I’ll always want a small camera that fits in my pocket so the question is whether the G1X is the right camera if I want to downsize from the big camera. I need to think about what I really use the big camera for: the last few years it’s been events like conference and weddings. Can a mid-range camera do the job? Should I get a second hand dSLR instead? The ideal set up will be s110, G1X and either 5D or 7D. That’s wishful thinking, I don’t do enough photography to justify the expense.

big

in photography is life |

sisuk158bluewhale ldn119bigben

The theme for this week’s photofriday challenge is big so I searched through my flickr archive. With 23,000 pics there has to be one that fits right? The first pic is of the blue whale at the natural history museum. Good. Blue whales are big. Then it gave me big thunder mountain at disney world and big ben. Also good, keyword match.

lolla021crowd islay332bowwash

The rest of the search results included all pics from bear country, because in the description I said big horn sheep. By the same logic it gave me lollapalooza 2009 (big crowds) and the visit to Bowmore distillery 2012 (big conglomerate).

Not the search results I wanted, except perhaps the blue whale. However, I don’t like submitting snapshots to challenges. There has to be at least some technique or composition or something more thoughtful. So what image would be best to convey big? The usual suspects came to mind as I proceeded to search again.

big sky — the parent-child tree at hokkaido:
hok637parentchild

big ocean — surfer at bondi beach:
syd218bondi

big nature — frozen niagara falls :
tor194falls

big buildings — skyscrapers in central district:
hk160central

big machine — snowplough engine at white pass railway:

skag267trainplough

big food — steak at maze grill:
ldnmaze004bonerib


This is both an easy and hard photo challenge. The current submissions aren’t that helpful either, most people have gone for the easy option. Big scenery, big statues, big heart represented by someone wearing a t-shirt with a heart (seriously?). Some are quite irrelevant too. I’m undecided on this challenge, I don’t think I have found the perfect pic to submit. May be it’s a mood thing, that I’m in the mood for something intense and broody and all I can find are literal interpretations.

p.s. the google image search for “big” gives very…interesting results, mainly of human bodies partially covered by small pieces of cloth. May be they’re supposed to be attractive but I find these images of stupid big brother contestants, big muscles and big boobs to be off-putting.

in going places , photography is life |

Finally the trip pics are sorted and uploaded. From the 1846 pics and 11 videos it’s now 977 pics and 10 videos:

  • general road trip — misc pics taken during drive, platte river archway museum, lincoln highway monument, salt lake city, antelope island, twin falls, columbia river, coeur d’alene, old montana prison, wall drugs
  • portland — city, waterfront, foodcarts, distilleries & wineries
  • gcls 2014 — mostly private set of a few pics I took or with me in them
  • yellowstone national park — beautiful scenery, waterfalls, geysers & volcanic activity areas, a vast lake, and buffalo
  • devils tower & deadwood — iconic devils tower including the prairie dog colony, mount moriah cemetery, days of 76 museum, deadwood historic main street, winery
  • south dakota — custer, crazy horse monument day & night, mount rushmore, badlands


Some favourites that haven’t already been posted:

in challenges , photography is life |

airshow1094angels

This week’s photofriday challenge is simplicity. This was an accidental shot taken at the Chicago Air and Water show a few years ago. I was focused on capturing the US Navy’s Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornets as they flew past in formation. I didn’t even see the seagull until I sorted the pic.

I like this because it’s also as if the seagull was flying straight towards the planes, but of course it was just the angle. Seems so much like a photoshopped image, but I know it wasn’t. And anyway, I had a nice day, even though it was hot and I spent hours sitting on the hard concrete of the jetty at north avenue beach.

If ever I make a poster of my work, this will be a good contender.


in going places , photography is life |

I’m at parents’ to monitor the internet; they haven’t had internet or cable tv since the weekend. The repair guy came, changed the modem and within 10mins of him leaving, the connection dropped again. I reset and fingers crossed the connection has been stable so far. I’ll keep an eye on it for a couple of days.

With no wifi or tv, I was just using my iphone which okay for email, fb and reading. I had wanted to get started on the design stuff I said I’d finish this week, but without internet to download graphics the design is still in my head. I was able to get started on writing the cruise posts; even without access to flickr I can get the text sorted and then just add the pics afterwards.

It’s quite nice to partially unplug for a bit.

skag082emerald

Anyway, I uploaded all 1,556 pics and videos when I was home last week. I basically discarded about half of the almost 3,000 I took. I can’t stop looking at the glacier pics, but there are others favourites too. This is Emerald Lake in the Yukon on Skagway day. The turquoise green colour apparently is light reflecting off maristone at the bottom of the lake.

sea147gumwall sea301chihuly

Other colourful things we saw were the gum wall at Seattle, the #2 most unsanitary attraction in the world (the blarney stone being #1). In contrast the macchia forest glass sculpture at chihuly garden & glass is a thing of absolute beauty.

yvr462birds

We saw plenty of animals on the trip: whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, bears and bald eagles in the wilderness or semi-wild settings. Saw a couple of birds of prey demos too; hawks and falcons and owls were familiar and very impressive. I’d never seen, nor heard of turkey vultures before, they had one at Grouse Mountain. Pretty mean looking beast.


in 101.1001 , photography is life |

sap471kushidori

Task #21 of 101 in 1001 is to reach a total of 20,001 photos on my flickr account.

Considering the start count was 18,555, this was always going to be an easy task especially since I’ve already been on several trips since the beginning of 101.1001. But silly me, I forgot to keep track of exactly which photo was #20,001 so I had to backtrack and count. The page numbering system on flickr is currently broken but I think this is the one. This was at kushidori yakitori restaurant, of the young chef tendering our precious skewers of food.

in challenges , photography is life |

syd264performance

This is the final photo challenge task of this month’s 30 in 30, the topic is box.

I saw a few possibilities for this topic, like a stack of fruit boxes at the supermarket or discarded polystyrene boxes at the side of the road or an overflowing box for charity clothes donation. But none have the impact of this street performer squeezing herself into a 16” box. This was taken in December 2007, a beautiful summer weekend day at Circular Quay Sydney.

in challenges , photography is life |

sap133tram

Continuing on photochallenges, task #29 of 30 in 30 is a photochallenge topic of travel.

I just finished sorting and uploading the hokkaido pics. Here’s one of the loop tram at sapporo.


in challenges , photography is life |

deepbay054bay

Task #27 of 30 in 30 is to submit to a photo challenge. This is for photo friday: textures and is from Sunday’s outing to Deep Bay. One part of the bay is a small fishing village where there are oysters and various dried fish. I’ve tried to show the contrast in textures between the rough and sharp oyster shells which are discarded along the bay and the flatness of the water. Not sure how successful it is.

in challenges , photography is life |

00sap20lakehistorical

Task #30 in 30 in 30 is a photo challenge with the topic: water.

This is a panorama of the lake at the absolutely beautiful historical village of hokkaido which was taken using mm’s iphone. We chose the coldest, windiest day to visit the outdoor village and it actually started snowing heavily when we were there. At that point we were probably the only visitors on site. But we wouldn’t have missed it for anything. At one end of the village was a small lake, which was partially frozen. So pretty and now that our trip is over, I want to continue with all things hokkaido for as long as I can.

This is just a self challenge, this week’s photofriday challenge is glorious, which I think fits this pic too. But I guess using an iphone panorama pic isn’t quite the thing to do for a photo challenge.

in photography is life |

kr065palace

This week’s photo friday challenge is flowering which I take to mean fresh spring blossoms. This is an old pic, taken at Changdeokgung Palace Seoul, of cherry blossoms in April.


in photography is life |

Lifehacker asked, what’s the best picture you have taken on your smartphone? Interesting. Mostly I use the iphone to instagram food pics so there are not that many that I would say come under the “best of” category.

hkleiyuemun

One of the few unedited ones I have. Coast scenery whilst on a walk with mm. Nice colours and composition but, gasp, it’s vertical, ugh.

emptypianostage inst001kettle

Of the ones on instagram, the piano at concert has atmosphere and the kettle (instagram #1) has a still life quality to it.


in 101.1001 , challenges , photography is life |

icarexcamera01

Task #24 in 101 in 1001 is to try a challenge at photochallenge.org. They take photography very seriously and post weekly challenges aimed at stretching participants’ photography skills. The submissions are great, and even though I joined their flickr and facebook groups, I’ve felt too imtimidated by the quality of work there to attempt myself. They also encourage submissions of work taken during that week, and sometimes I don’t have time or am in the right place to participate.

The challenge in week 7 is still life: camera. And because we are preparing for our trip next week, we have cameras on our mind. I asked my dad if his old camera is still easily reachable, and it is! Just hiding at the back of his wardrobe.

The camera is a Zeiss Ikon Icarex 35S and it’s older than me. Fully manual, and still in its now very stiff leather casing. The protective UV lens is fogged up and useless now, but is easily replaced. It’s taken all our childhood photos, and I remember my dad lugging it around with us. It’s less heavy than I remember, probably because to a young child, it would have felt quite heavy. I still have a few rolls of 35mm film in my freezer, so I may play around with the camera one of these days.

Not much still life composition or special lighting or background to speak of. Just natural light from the window onto the desk in my room, which thankfully is a neutral grey colour. Ideally I’d use my big camera, but it’s at my place so I’m stuck with the s110.

The one I ended up submitting is the one with camera and paraphrenalia scattered around, supposedly tastefully. I also took a couple from traditional angles.

icarexcamera02 icarexcamera03

I uploaded to their flickr group, not confident enough to upload to their fb group yet, I think people on flickr are more welcoming and tolerant than on fb. May be it’s just perception. Hopefully I get some good comments.

in photography is life |

This week, flickr turns ten. Thanks, Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake. To celebrate, they asked people to add their ten best shots to the flckr10 group.



I joined a year after its launch, in 2005, because we went to New Zealand and came back with so many pictures I needed a place to store and display them. I now have 18,754 images on my account and quite honestly it’ll be hard to narrow down to just 10. My favourites set currently has 125 pics. I’ve done a best of set every year since 2007.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer


This is my interesting set which is automatically created by dopiaza’s plugin which takes 100 pictures based on interestingness, tags, number of likes and some other random criteria.


nz0005portabello

So anyway, this is the first image I uploaded. Taken in December 2005 at the portobello motel at Dunedin, the first stop on our NZ trip. A bit gloomy, but pretty views and we had a nice room with kitchen.


hok147marimo

My most popular pic, with 4,959 views, is of a marimo (moss) ball taken at lake akan hokkaido.


eggpotatoskin02

My most popular food porn / recipe pic is this one of eggs baked in potato skin. So easy to make, I think I’ll make again soon.

in challenges , photography is life |

parentchildhokkaido

Been a while since I participated in a photo friday challenge, this week’s challenge is climate.

title: parent child clouds
description: the parent and child oak trees at Biei, Hokkaido, Japan
date: august 2008
link to full-size original
© invisiblecompany.com 2014 all rights reserved

in photography is life |

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer


I posted 3,512 photos and 21 videos (total 3,533) to flickr in 2013. With trips to the Mediterranean, Scandanavia and Japan there were many candidates for best 10. I ended up picking mostly ones of beautiful and memorable scenery.

in photography is life , techtalk |

It’s fairly widely reported today that yahoo changed the way flickr embeds work. At first glance there is no difference, but hover on the pic and the enhancements become visible. The small difference is the username, filename and flickr logo are prominently displayed at the bottom when hovering. There is no way of deleting the text, it’s part of the iframe. I’m not altogethr happy about this, but it will make embedding from other users easier, that I don’t have to separately add text to attribute the pic to them. And if anyone has access to my embed codes, I get the attribution credit.

The bigger change is the ability to scroll from the pic itself. Hover on the pic and two scroll arrows appear. Try it.



This was a rare snow scene at my local park in London, taken early in the morning on the way to the tube station. Scroll through to see the adjacent pics in my photostream. Apparently there is a way to enable scrolling through the set the pic is in, which I haven’t figured out how to do yet. This I like, very much.

For the moment, the old style embed is still available, so here’s the same pic again.

ldnsnow2012021001

in 101.1001 , photography is life |

[slideshow at bottom of post.]


Task #91 on 101 tasks in 1001 days challenge.

My first hard rock café shirt was London, a long long time ago and it cost £20. I think it was one of my first ever visits to the HRC. Still have it, albeit a lot frayed now (it’s the second one in this set). Then I started buying a few more, and fell into the habit of wearing dark polo shirts all the time.

I try to visit the hard rock café whenever I travel to a new city and buy one of their polo shirts. There are 14 here, I thought I have more. There is one from Singapore that was green with blue collars and the one from Gatlinburg that I either lost or gave away. There is only one duplicate — the blue striped one I got at London and Prague. Usually when I see duplicates I don’t buy it, which is probably why I have fewer than expected. I know I passed on Dallas, Universal Orlando, Copenhagen and Osaka in just the last few years. I also don’t get to swing by the local HRC every city, which is okay, I’m not too bothered if I miss out because they are rather expensive.

[p.s. I think I prefer showing sets using pictobrowser here rather than flickr slideshow yesterday, more a habit thing.]


in 101.1001 , photography is life |

hrcshirtoslo02 hrcshirtoslo01

101.1001 task #91 is take pictures of all my hard rock café shirts. So I took out my current favourite, the black one from oslo. The picture of it hanging on the closet door is creepy and sad, and since selfie is word of the year, I took one of the shirt. Yeah, the selfie one wins.

in going places , photography is life |

Links and sets on flickr.

Main page:

  • day 1 part 1 — friday 13 sept — flight, car, yamazaki distillery 山崎蒸溜所
  • day 1 part 2 — friday 13 sept — wakayama 和歌山 market, shirahamakan onsen hotel 白浜 館
  • day 2 part 1 — saturday 14 sept — shirahama 白浜 beach, engetsu island 円月島, toretore market 南紀白浜 とれとれ市場
  • day 2 part 2 — saturday 14 sept — sandanbeki 三段壁, senjojiki 千畳敷, public onsen, sunset
  • day 3 — sunday 15 sept — shirahama errands, nasty weather, rinku premium outlet, kyoto 京都
  • day 4 — monday 16 sept — kyoto koyamizu temple 清水寺, sannen-zaka 三年坂, ninen-zaka 二年坂, philosopher’s walk 哲学の道, nishiki market 錦市場
  • day 5 — tuesday 17 sept — arashiyama 嵐山 flood cleanup, tenryuji temple 天龍寺, bamboo forest
  • day 6 — wednesday 18 sept — breakfast at kyoto, travel to osaka, shopping, dotonbori 道頓堀 wagyu beef bbq dinner
  • day 7 — thursday 19 sept — osaka kuramon market 黒門市場, doyugasuji 道具屋筋商店街, takashimaya, uniqlo, dotonbori kobe beef shabu shabu dinner
  • day 8 — friday 20 sept — osaka kuramon market, underground shopping street, heading home

In travel section:


Flickr:


in photography is life |

cfcard8MB

I’m taking both cameras to gcls this year. Going through my kit for the big camera: check lenses, check flash, check battery, check memory cards. Found this CF card that came with my first digital camera, a EOS350D, which I bought in 2005. No, it’s not 8GB. It’s 8MB. At today’s image sizes, it can hold all of 4 jpgs.

CF cards are way more expensive than SDHC cards. I bought a new high speed 16GB card, even with shopping around it ended up costing almost $50. I simply couldn’t justify getting a 32GB card. May be I should go find an SD-CF adaptor.

in photography is life |



That’s all. No words.

in photography is life |

flickrnew

I have been a flickr member since 2005, and a pro member since almost the beginning. When flickr was fun; before yahoo bought it. I kept my pro account after the yahoo takeover, and when they pretty much ignored it.

I clicked on flickr and was presented with the new layout. No warning. No explanation. No notification prior that this was happening. I saw this huge page with huge pictures of my photostream. There was a random pic from someone else they set as my cover page. I was told to upload a bigger and better avatar.

Yes, there’s now 1TB of storage for all accounts as well as a slew of other features. But here’s my problem: all the benefits I paid for are now part of the free account. In fact, it looks like the free account is even better than the old pro account. Lots of reaction, mostly negative from existing pro users. Wade through the usual resistance-to-interface-change whining and there are genuine problems:

  • not given any warning, no trial period
  • no option to change interface, some display features seem to have disappeared
  • glaring black background
  • even slower to load than before
  • organizer still doesn’t work
  • search doesn’t work, I got a blank page for a simple search on “ham”
  • infinite scrolling on photostream doesn’t work, is extremely slow
  • titles, descriptions and comments only on mouseover
  • uploader doesn’t work
  • defaulted to random cover picture that wasn’t mine — even facebook didn’t do that, they left the cover page area blank and asked the user to pick their own
  • assigning cover pic only limited to recent uploads, couldn’t search through sets
  • collections seem to have disappeared

Techradar’s post title said it all, Has Yahoo Lost Its Mind:

Most of it sounds like the sort of teething problems you encounter when a free service undergoes a radical revamp - but for its most loyal users, Flickr isn’t a free service. It’s something they pay for, and have done for a long time.


Exactly. I wouldn’t have minded the new site if I were a free member. If facebook or google or even yahoo mail change their design and functionality, I have nothing to say because these are services I use free of charge. I changed to timeline on facebook fairly early because I thought it was okay and knew it was better to embrace the inevitable early. The issue with flickr is, I’m a pro member. I’ve paid for this service for 8 years. I don’t think I’m wrong in expecting to be treated with a little more respect.


flickrprices

And what the hell have they done with the pro accounts, and pricing? They say pro accounts will be grandfathered, if it’s set to auto-renew. Mine isn’t, but I can still see the extension option. Apparently users also have until August to downgrade to a new free account, but nothing is said about refunds. My pro account has a whole year left, so what am I supposed to do? I don’t want to renew now, but I’m afraid the option will go away or the price will go up. The new pro pricing doubles to $50 and the only benefit is ad-free. I have adblock plus for that. I just don’t trust that I’ll have unlimited uploads with the new free account—I don’t upload all the time but when I do it’s a big batch.

Honestly, I don’t mind the new design. I don’t quite like it, especially how it’s In.Your.Face but I’ll get used to it. I just feel they didn’t do a good job in rolling out the new service, including the lack of a heads-up, not offering display options, and not fixing existing usability issues. This is not what we expect from a supposedly experienced business.

What really rankles is the way pro users are being treated. We loyally supported the service during the past few years, but because we’re not good ad revenue prospects, or not instant gratification mobile users, we’re being pushed to the side. Flickr was originally about photography and photographers, now they just seem to want to turn it into yet another social media site. By all means, try to attract new customers but don’t do it while alienating existing customers. This is not the way to run a business.

I know they have me locked in because migrating 15,000 images is a big endeavour, but I’ll probably need to look at alternatives. Like many others, I already have a 500px account and I just signed up for ipernity. If things get really rough at flickr, I’ll just eat that $25 fee and migrate over.

in esoteric meditations , photography is life |

airshow1094angels

The day after twelfth night is Epiphany. Do I have any profound thoughts? Nope. None at all. Aside from about 40mins out running hill repeats, I stayed home all day. I sorted some more pictures, that’s it. Reminds me, this is one of my all time favourites, and it wasn’t photoshopped or anything. I took this at the Chicago air and water show 2010; in the background are the Blue Angels doing spectacular air acrobatics, in the foreground is a seagull. One of those perfect moments. Seems appropriate for a day like today.

in photography is life |

canons110dayone

I said I’d get it, so I did. I saw the ad on the subway last week, but only had time to go to the shop today. Around US$470, so no big difference in RRP. I did get some extras: spare battery, 16GB card, mini-tripod, screen protector, canon case and a pair of puma socks.

Battery is charged, haven’t played with the wifi yet, I need to log into the canon network, and I’m still thinking of whether to do that.

in photography is life |

canons110

I didn’t bring the big camera with me so all I have right now is the iphone camera. The next incarnation of my beloved lost s90 is the s110, which comes out late October. It’s only a small upgrade from the currently available s100, with added GPS and wifi. Truthfully, I don’t need either, and if the release date weren’t so near I probably would have gone out and bought the s100 instead.

in photography is life |

mirrorprojectpan

Way back in the long ago past, before flickr, or instagram, or facebook, or iphones, there was The Mirror Project. Between 2001 and 2006, around 34,000 simple 300px self portraits on mirrored surfaces were submitted. Of course, nowadays it takes instagram 10 minutes to reach 34,000, and facebook has 300 million pictures uploaded daily.

It was a different era. Most people had digital cameras then, but phone cameras were still in their infancy. Arguably, people thought a bit more about taking pictures. Or just appreciated the opportunity for participation more.

Which is why I was very excited to read that founder Heather Champ has relaunched the mirror project from backups. No new material, just the original stuff. How wonderful. I hope she doesn’t open up the site; or if she does, point new submissions elsewhere. There’s a piece of internet history there, a time capsule as she describes. Best not to disturb it.

I didn’t, and still don’t, like my face all over the web. So I only had a couple of pictures in my gallery. So kitschy and simple and so bad, they’re even good.

in photography is life , techtalk |

picmonkey

A sad day indeed, when picnik closed. I’m not going to want to go into the trouble of logging into google+ to use it, I want a browser based editing tool that is easy to use. A couple of ex-picnik engineers did and for similar user experience, it’s great. I’m temporarily using it as my picnik alternative. Another one that will hopefully launch shortly is ribbet, which has been touting itself on a picnik alternative facebook page for a while. A quick google gave me mashable’s 7 alternative. Looks like we won’t be left out in the cold, lots of people are racing in with their own product.


in photography is life , techtalk |

flickrdown

flickr was down for almost 2 hours on Thursday. They tried to be humorous and posted on their blog something about the servers being uncomfortable and then later

our chiropractors have found the spot and are applying gentle [massage] pressure right now

Thank goodness for twitter. As soon as I got the connection refused message, I went to check #flickr and lo and behold a lot of people were reporting the same problem. I appreciate them trying to lightened up the situation, but a major site like flickr going down has dire consequences, however much they apologise. I have 11,488 pictures and videos stored there. True, they are backed up on iphoto, but imagine if I had to reload them if something goes wrong. That’s inconceivable.

That the internet and the cloud has become so integral to our lives is no surprise to anyone. IMHO, it is a utility, just like electricity or gas or water. Prolonged outage will cause major stress.


in how the day went , photography is life |

ldnsunrise20120104

This morning as I was walking to the tube station, the sky turned pink from the sunrise. The clouds were lined up in a pretty pattern and there was a crispness in the air. Took this on instagram, with the hefe filter. I have a normal pic on my camera that I haven’t bothered downloading yet.


in photography is life |

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer


full set: flickr

This year I hardly did any artistic photography. I’d say the majority are food and travel pics. What I’ve chosen for the top 10 aren’t based on quality or skill. Each one has significance:

  • bbmm blessings rainbow — first of two rainbows that greeted us, just as one of us was feeling down, truly a blessing
  • Chicago marathon runner with US flag — I purposely ran ahead of him to get this, I”m not American but I was still moved
  • Diana’s beautiful garden — reminds me when Sis and my niece visited
  • bike at the Southbank — one of the many favourite places Mum and I discovered when she visited, this is a special shot cos it’s probably my only one that has king’s in the background
  • hot air balloon at Prague — the city is simply so pretty
  • people fising at St Ives — perfect memory of mm’s visit
  • roasted bone marrow at St John — epitomised my eating out culinary journey this year, tried many new restaurants and new dishes
  • sparkling cranberries — what can I say, simple to make and I’m very proud of the composition of this pic, even though yes I copied it
  • beet & sweet potato stack — yes, the second pic from just the past week, but another brand new recipe that will be in my portfolio for a long time
  • instagram kettle — my first instagram pic, to add a fun and techy element to the selection


in photography is life |

stg399palm

This is an old picture from 2007, taken uring my epic 28 day trip to the US and Chile. This was when I visited my friend Doc K and was taken at Valparaiso on day 25. It’s a favourite, because of the blue sky, the moon and the position of the 2 trees. I’m using this as a cover pics for my fb accounts.

in photography is life |

inst001kettle

I’m playing around with photography apps, this is an instagram pic of the most mundane kitchen object, my kettle. Fun.

in eating and drinking , photography is life |

lambshank09

Been a while since I posted a homemade food pic, so here’s one of my most “famous” ones — lamb shank with roasted root vegetables. Must get back to cooking more.

in photography is life |

natgeotrees

This picture of camel thorn trees set against orange-tinted dunes at sunrise in Namibia that was in the National Geographic is probably one of the most perfect picture I’ve ever seen. Breath-taking. My little mara tree pic that I use as avatar pales in insignificance.

in photography is life |

nz0209qt

It all started with a post by flickr designer Timoni West on how the page that shows us recent uploads by our contacts is broken. The baton was then taken up by Jason Kottke, who goes further to say that flickr has become the place to put every single one of your photos instead of how it was intended to be, sharing of good quality photos.

Oops.

I’d forgotten the original purpose of flickr. And I willingly confess that I do use it for storage rather then display. I don’t blindly upload every photo, I rename, photoshop and sort. So at least my collection isn’t random and difficult to navigate. It’s the only site, apart from my website, that I pay for. $25 a year is acceptable (well, it’s $50 for 2 accounts but who’s counting).

So, in the spirit of sharing best photos, here’s one of my favourites and I would say top 10 of my best work. Taken at Queenstown, NZ. Not photoshopped. It’s been my wallpaper for over 5 years.

in photography is life |


video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q57RmNlpH4E&feature=player_embedded

Although iphoto 11 can share pictures directly to flickr and facebook, it’s still very rudimentary. Can’t edit sets, can’t add descriptions, can’t add tags and most importantly, pictures get uploaded to the photostream in the default is date order. Doesn’t work for me cos I rename and regroup pictures, I end up with a mess.

The days when the share function wasn’t available for older iphoto versions, I used a couple of external tools. So I sucked it up and spent $10 on the upgrade to flickrexport. Now to get photoshop installed on the mba and I’m back in business — it’s no big deal, I can still use photoshop on the mbp, it’s just a short walk to the other room.

in photography is life |

canonad

Spotted on photojojo, this could be the best camera ad ever.

in photography is life |

hok480tomita

Nothing to say today. Thought I’d post another flower pic. Cheer myself up for a second. Farm Tomita, Hokkaido, Japan. Summer 2008.

in esoteric meditations , photography is life |

chi182flowers
taken almost 5 years ago, the first time I visited Chicago

Spring is here, but I’m not sure what I’m feeling right now. All I know is that tomorrow I probably won’t need to wear my coat.

in photography is life |

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer


set here: best of: 2010

Took me this long to remember to do a best of 2010 flickr set. Every year I pick 10 favourites taken during that one year into a set. 2010 was less about technique and quality of the photos and more about the events — a year of running culminating in the marathon, parents visiting me, going to orlando with mm, and not forgetting experimenting with food.

in photography is life |

holga003apples

Legend has it that a couple of Austrian photogs discovered a factory full of intriguing plastic cameras in Russia and saved these cameras from being destroyed. In doing so, with its unique and quirky effects, a cult was created. I thought long and hard about getting the original LCA cameras, but chickened out and got a holga instead. And one that had been modified to take 35mm film to boot.

This is the first roll that I developed. Most were blurry, I got may be 5 out of the roll that were interesting enough to keep. Going back to film, i have to re-learn the art of taking just one pic per scene. The lens is also really basic, so I can’t expect it to perform in low light conditions, or to pick up any sort of detail. So, lots of light and distinct images only. Despite the lack of focus, I like the painting quality of the results. Now I can see the effects, the next roll should be more interesting.


in photography is life |

lightbox02

Every macro photographer knows a light box is a must have. Normally they cost from $30 to over $100. But it’s really easy to build a basic one at home for less than $10.

I started off with a document box from work. Cut 2 vertical lines down one long side to expose the front. Then it was just a matter of cutting 2 windows either side of the box and an another one on the lid. Taped tissue paper over the openings for diffusion. The backdrop is a piece of white posterboard with its top taped to the top of the box and the rest allowed to drape over the inside of the box. Lighting is provided by 2 desk lamps I got at Target for $4.99 (for both) and the light from the top is my living room floor lamp.

lightbox03

This is the result. With the proper white balance setting on the camera, no photoshopping is needed. This is actually my second lightbox, food photos in the past few months were taken using this setup.

in challenges , photography is life |

October 10th, A most auspicious day

Heather Champ issued this challenge:

On October 10, 2010, take a photo (analogue, digital — whatever your pleasure) at a time that’s convenient for you. There’s no specific theme, direction or time requirement. When you’re ready, share your photo in this Flickr group

Me? I’m doing the chicago marathon. I’m taking my camera.


in photography is life |

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

flickr set here

The August 2010 sh1ft.org challenge was 31 photos in 31 days. It turned out to be difficult to make interesting, for the same reasons that I don’t do foursquare — I simply go between home and work during the week. On weekends I try to find something to do, in between training, so it was easier to take pictures. There are a few favourites, so I’m pleased I participated.

in objects of desire , photography is life |

canons95

The s90 was probably my best gadget investment, I rank it higher than the ipad and even the ereader. I didn’t even consider taking the EOS to the air show, and that one has a longer lens.

Now canon is launching the s95, which adds HD video and a viewfinder (would have been useful at the air show). Almost drool-worthy. Except I don’t take many videos that need to be HD quality. (The camcorder being very low on the list of value gadget investments.) According to cnet for existing s90 owners there’s

not much of a reason to upgrade

Which is a relief of sorts, cos otherwise I would have had to find someone to give / sell the s90.


in eating and drinking , photography is life |

Apricot and Cranberries Cake
photo courtesy goenetix (…), copyright acknowledged

I just wanted to type “porn” again. Yes I’m twelve.

Anyway, any interesting tidbit is that the food porn flickr group is moderated by none other than the accidental hedonist, one of the food blogs I follow religiously and probably top of my list of bloggers I’d like to meet personally, if only to ask her for the name of the restaurant she sanctified.


in photography is life |

Mmm...cherry syrup and whipped cream
photo courtesy jeffreyww

I’m kinda upset at dogs hassling me (again) while running and generally minding my own business. Won’t rehash it here, enough talk about it on twitter and fb. So what better to make me feel, well, better than pictures of food? This is from the food porn flickr group.


in objects of desire , photography is life |

cameralensmug

I know I’m trying to cut down on junk but seriously, I have to have this!! Aptly found in the awesomeness section is this coffee mug that looks exactly like a EF 24-105mm lens, which is what I use as the standard on my EOS. Just read the photojojo people gush about it:

It’s equipped with a lens-cap lid (omg), rubber-grip focus and zoom rings (o…m…g), and an auto-focus switch that actually switches


There’s also this canon dial decal for the mbp, and other cool stuff on that site. I love how they explain that they have canon and nikon dial decals:

because we know there are two types of people in this world: those that brake for Nikons and those that don’t let friends buy one

SNERK.


in 101.1001 , photography is life |

mpchi120costume

Saw these two people in angel and devil costume outside grant park during taste.


in eating and drinking , photography is life |

stg336mariscos

Remember my post last week about taking pictures of food? Well, I think that if one’s hobby gets mentioned on the new york times, one is vindicated, no?

Anyway, since I was chatting with K earlier, here’s the wonderful jardin de mariscos — seafood platter — I had when I visited her in Chile a couple of years ago. Look at all the fresh seafood — crab, loco (like abalone), prawns, mussels, scallops, razor clams, piure (orange slimy clams).


in eating and drinking , photography is life |

citic003chickenfeet nz1074franz

I can’t pinpoint exactly when I started, but I have been taking pictures of food for a long time. Both what I make, and when I eat out. To the point that none of my friends and family bat an eyelid when I take my camera out before a meal. They either continue eating, or even help me find the best angle. Why do I do it? I dunno exactly, if pressed I’d say one of the reasons is to have a visual record of what I experience in life. How else would I remember chicken feet, or brie and cranberry sauce pizza?

I read on timeout chicago about Grant Achatz’s take on people photographing their meals at alinea. Now alinea is a progressive, awesome, difficult-to-get-reservation restaurant that serves delicate, delicious tasting menus with as many as 30 courses. Chef Achatz is not against his customers taking pictures, but questions

why people so passionate about food would sacrifice the integrity of the courses, instead prioritizing the documentation


Some of the examples he quoted did seem pretty extreme. Setting up a tripod and spending 3 mins moving plates around and finding the right light; videoing the kitchen staff; using voice recorders to describe the food. I agree it’s taking things a bit too far.

One of the reasons I got the s90 is because of its ability to perform under low light conditions. I always keep the flash off because flash can be very distracting and I don’t want other customers to be bothered by it. I’m usually pretty quick about it. I’m not using it for commercial purposes, and I hope that too many foodies taking pictures won’t alienate restaurants owners and managers and they start banning it.


in arts and media , photography is life |


The Sandpit by Sam O'Hare

Talking about Chicago, here’s a fabulous tilt-shift video of New York, via kottke, including a link to how it was made. Tilt shift makes me swoon.

in 101.1001 , challenges , photography is life |

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer


26 things for feb 2010:

  1. structure
  2. follow
  3. covet
  4. triple
  5. hands
  6. eye
  7. fancy
  8. time
  9. rainbow
  10. sadness
  11. stack
  12. line up
  13. wheels
  14. an insect
  15. into the air
  16. direction
  17. new
  18. half
  19. set up
  20. 10 mins away
  21. in my mailbox
  22. sometimes
  23. bottle
  24. behind the scenes
  25. corner
  26. a door


In the middle of all the holiday eating, meeting with people, shopping stuff, I decided to do this month’s 26things in HK and completing another 101.1001 task, which is to use a colour theme. It wasn’t hard to decide on red. Click on each pic for brief notes. Link to full set: here


in photography is life |

I took 1,546 photographs in 2009, or rather, uploaded that many to flickr. Actual taken is probably 5 times that, with the rest deleted. Here’s my top 10 favourite, in no particular order.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

  1. acupunture jelly blue — my 2 year old acupuncture shoes, taken with the lomo app on the iphone in my office. There’s something interesting about the colours that the lomo gives, it’s really quite fetching
  2. thunderbirds at the chicago air and water show — it was a miserably rainy day, the jets were very fast and I didn’t have a long lens. I had to do some extensive photoshopping to make the sky look decently interesting
  3. empty room at the ellis island museum — only slightly photoshopped, the original colours and (lack of) sharpness were retained
  4. kettle at lin heung restaurant — this is one of the last remaining traditional restaurants, and the geriatric waiters fill up customers’ tea pots using these kettles
  5. bowling pins at the antique shop on clark — more about its location than the actual photo
  6. cape cod cemetery — I got so many nice pics on that day, this one stood out because of the angle and the moss on the tombstone
  7. milford cemetery — it was the perfect time, perfect location and perfect weather
  8. little girl at market days — it was crowded, and loud, and a faux-abba band was on, but this girl was enjoying herself so much
  9. amber benson — this is definitely the case of the subject being a favourite rather than the pic itself
  10. mushroom and asparagus bread pudding — I had to include a food pic, and this one is for the staging and lightbox, as well as how delicious it tasted


in photography is life |

quince03

Over at flickr, there’s a thread for people to post their worst shots. Some of them look actually nice, the photographer must either have been disappointed, have high standards or is being falsely humble.

My worst shot 2009 would have been deleted and never made it through photoshop, iphoto and to flickr. This is the closest. I had to keep it to show the process, i didn’t have another similar one. This was when I was cooking the quinces to make quince paste.


in 101.1001 , all about people , photography is life |

chimkt038abba

This was taken a couple of weeks ago at market days. This little girl was dancing at the corner of the stage where the ABBA tribute band was playing. Cute expression and good background. I guess it’s the music as a whole, can’t believe she knows any ABBA songs per se. Way before her time.

in photography is life |

salmonbaked

I love photographing food. All my friends, family and even colleagues know this. That I’m prone to taking out my camera and photographing what I’m eating, and even what they ordered. They indulge me, and treat it like an endearing idiosyncrasy rather than an annoyance.

So I was interested to read the comments on the Lifehacker article Photograph your food without being a jerk, that some people think it’s a fetish and don’t like it when other people photograph their food. The original discussion, on chow.com talked a little about the etiquette:

don’t take multiple shots from multiple angles, kneel on the banquette, or rearrange the table

Fine enough. I don’t understand the vitriol that non-food photographers have throw at food photographers. Especially at the higher end restaurants. One of the reasons I photograph my food is to remember the dish, so all the more reason that if i were to dine at a special restaurant, I’d want to remember it. I do agree, flash can be distracting, and no climbing all over the furniture.

Anyway, this is my entry for this week’s friday food fiesta, theme is pretty plating.

in how the day went , photography is life |

The last Day in the Life was during 2008 thing-a-day. This year it’s even more flexible, we can pick any day during May. And today was a good day for it.



Summary of each hour, even though I was up after 8pm, there wasn’t anything interesting, so it’s only 10 pics:

  • 1100 — it’s a saturday, i’m allowed to lie in. first things first, tea and get online
  • 1200 — take stuff to new home. what i like about the area are the trees, and the cute roundabouts
  • 1300 — walking around Clark, this woman walking in front of me
  • 1400 — maifest at lincoln square — may version of oktoberfest, my first summer festival this year
  • 1500 — late lunch of german meatloaf sandwich with potato salad and sauerkraut, washed down with 1 litre of beer
  • 1600 — more food! almond custard cake
  • 1700 — waiting for the train at ravenswood station
  • 1800 — after 2l of beer, i need water and something for the headache
  • 1900 — yummy cherries
  • 2000 — back to where i started in the morning — water and mbp online


in photography is life |

dayswithmyfather

via gina trapani, a beautifully heartfelt photoessay by photographer Phillip Toledano entitled Days with my Father. The power of both images and words, individually and combined, is so strong in this piece. I think this will become a book, it’s worth it. I’d buy it.

in going places , photography is life |

Uploaded NYC pics: nyc set | ym6 set

One that isn’t related to the trip, but I really like it. In the Ellis Island museum, there’s a area that they haven’t totally restored and the feel is still stuck in the 1950s. Some of the rooms were empty, though roped off. This is one of them. I wanted to convey the sense of quietness and isolation that I felt, looking at that room.

nyc062room


in photography is life |


Mardi Gras from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.
Yesterday I tried out tilt-shift miniature making on one of my pics, I just want to show here a really awesome work by Keith Loutit — a time lapse video of Sydney’s Mardi Gras, using a huge series of HD stills and converted to tilt-shift minatures.

in 101.1001 , photography is life |

syd156gap

Tilt-Shift miniature faking takes a real life picture and manipulates it so it looks like a miniature scale model. This view of Sydney Harbour from top of the gap at Watsons Bay is one of my favourites and is perfect for trying it out. The recommendation for selecting a suitable candidate pic is that the viewpoint is high. So, I’m trying out 2 methods.

syd156gap-tsps

This one uses a straightforward photoshop method, according to this tutorial:

  1. switch to quick mask mode (hit “q”)
  2. choose gradient > reflected gradient
  3. draw a line from the centre of the in-focus area to the end will be where the transition from in-focus to out-of-focus is completed
  4. return to standard mode
  5. play with blur > lens blur
  6. increase saturation, adjust curves if necessary


syd156gap-tsmaker

This second one simply uses the online tiltshiftmaker. The gradient and blur effects are pretty similar, but the ability to adjust saturation, colour and curves makes the photoshop method better. Then again, there’s the big price different between a free website and CS3.

This is fun. I can see me doing more tilt-shifts in the future.

in photography is life |

cspring017panorama

Lots of events today, and I had some time in between to take some pictures of the resort. This is a panorama with 6 pictures, auto-stitched and auto-blended in photoshop.

in photography is life |
flickr
Rose n a drop ~, originally uploaded by Offline ~.


I look at pictures on flickr’s explore page and I realise that I’ll never be any good.

in photography is life |

flickr
Picadilly Circus, originally uploaded by IanVisits.

Nowadays I’m so used to shops being open all year round, even on Christmas Day — shoppers paradise means retail trumps everything. I almost can’t remember how London is, nothing is open, no tube, no bus, no shops (apart from small corner shops may be). So i was intrigued to find via mefi phootographs by IanVisits, who took the trouble of photographing London early on Christmas Day. The resultant flickr set, abandoned london is very eerie. To see places like Trafalgar Square, Oxford Street totally empty, it’s like something out of a science fiction movie.

in photography is life |

Like last year I thought I’d do a little retrospective on my pictures of 2008.

Total 1,512 pictures, of which 428 (28.3%) are food related. So basically, I took some pictures of travelling but my major obsession has been food. This was helped by the purchase in June of the Nikon S550, which permanently sits in my backpack nowadays. I haven’t used the EOS for ages and ages (well, since Hokkaido) and I’m feeling a little guilty I’m neglecting my main camera.

For my top 10 favourites this year I’ve selected more static shots. These may not be the best quality in terms of photographic skills, but there’s something about the colour, or motion, or feel that I like.


in in the news , photography is life |
smiley sky

This was earlier this month, via sfgate. That’s Venus on the left, Jupiter on the right, and the crescent moon at the bottom making for a smiley face sky.

in 101.1001 , photography is life |

hok473tomita-bw

Thought I’d test out the gorman-holbert method on people. Not exactly a portrait, this is a picture of two Japanese kids at Farm Tomita at Furano. Turned out pretty nicely.

in 101.1001 , photography is life |

hok350forest-bw

This was converted using the gorman-holbert method, named after Greg Gorman and Mac Holbert. It’s another method developed by Rob Carr and gives outstanding results, especially for portraits.

This is from the millenium forest in hokkaido.

  • Select Image > Mode > Lab Color to convert the image to Lab mode
  • Go to the Channel palette and select the Lightness channel
  • Select Image > Mode > Grayscale and discard the “a” and “b” channels
  • While holding the Control key click on the Gray channel
  • Select > Inverse to select the shadows
  • With the shadows selected select Image > Mode > RGB Color to convert back to RGB
  • Go to the Layers Palette
  • Create a new Solid Color layer
  • Select a color from the color chooser
  • Change the Blending Mode of the solid color layer to Multiply
  • Hit Command-Option-Shift-E to create a new merged layer
  • Change the blending mode of the new layer to Overlay. Set opacity to 20%
  • Select Filter > Other > High Pass
  • Set the radius to 50 pixels
in 101.1001 , photography is life |

syd126lighthouse-bw

The lighthouse at Rose Bay, Sydney using the same b&w method. This lighthouse as a mosque feel, and i like how the dome at the bottom looks like it’s lighting up the side of the tower.

in 101.1001 , photography is life |

syd060westin-bw

One of the [many] great features of photoshop is that we can create and store actions. This is a black and white action from eliot shepard which is based on one by bob carr.

This is the lobby of the Westin in Sydney, the one where they converted the GPO to a swanky hotel, restaurant, shopping complex.

  • Convert to Lab Color (Image > Mode > Lab Color)
  • Select the Lightness channel (Channels palette > Lightness channel)
  • Convert to Grayscale (Image > Mode > Grayscale)
  • Make the new channel the selection (Control-click the thumbnail in the new Gray channel)
  • Invert selection (Select > Inverse) (Leave this selection active for the next steps)
  • Fill the selection with black (Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color > Select color #000000)
  • Tweak the opacity of the fill layer (Layers palette > select Color Fill > set opacity to ~50%)
  • Create a new Levels (or Curves if you prefer) adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels)
  • Tweak the levels in the adjustment layer as you like
  • Select Background Layer (Layers palette > select Background)
  • Duplicate layer (Layer > Duplicate Layer)
  • Run the High Pass Filter (Filter > Other > High Pass > Radius 10)
  • Convert the filtered layer’s blending mode to Hard Light (Layers palette > Select Background copy > set blending to Hard Light)
  • Reduce the opacity of the Background copy layer to a good point (I start at 25%)


in going places , photography is life |

Had half a day to spare before needing to go to Heathrow so I took the opportunity to walk around and take pictures of places and things that I’d taken for granted when I was young. First I walked from the hotel to Liverpool Street past my old company then through Moorgate and back to my old school. Some of the old shops are still there — like that Boots next to Moorgate station.

 

The school looks the same too, as was the sign for Cripplegate Without on the wall of St Giles Church, one of the remaining old use of ‘without’ I think.

 
 

Took the tube to Hyde Park Corner to the Hard Rock Café with the sole purpose of getting a new London HRC polo shirt. More about that in another post on my HRC polo shirt collection. I’d actually never walked around Wellington Place on foot, because that’s such a touristy thing to do. The New Zealand war memorial is new, and is very poignant. From the HRC I walked all the way to Piccadilly Circus to another tourist mecca — the Eros statue, Leicester Square and Chinatown. The familiar restaurants are still here, including our old favourite. Except instead of noodles it’s now a §8.90 buffet place. The second hand bookstores on Charing Cross Road were unchanged too.

Lunch at Belgo, where I had moules provenç with frites that looked more like chips. Washed them down with a Chimay Bleu beer, and tried the Floris Apple beer too. The apple beer tasted of cider, nothing special.

By then it was almost time to head back to the hotel. By bus again, and it being a nice day looking out of the windows was clear.

Here are some uniquely London things: the traditional red phonebox and the open platform routemaster buses. Not many of either left.

 

More pictures at the flickr set. And I edited monday’s post to add a few food pics.

in 101.1001 , photography is life |

stg374vina-bw

More Chile pictures. This is of the vina del mar coastline. Converted to b&w using the same gradient method.

in 101.1001 , photography is life |

stg205park-bw

I hadn’t chatted with K for ages and she showed up on chat tonight. It was great to catch up. Reminds me of my visit last July. This is one of the parks in Santiago. Converted to b&w simply by:

add adjustment layer > gradient > b&w adjust levels, curves or add burn /soft light adjustment layers to increase depth


in 101.1001 , photography is life |

sf085ladyjpg-bw

This is one of my favourite photos. I took it in San Francisco and I’ve used it as a base when I want to try out various photoshop effects. original | movie-like effect

As the last picture, converted using the lab color method.

in 101.1001 , photography is life |

sf176tram-bw

Tram interior, San Francisco. original

Converted to b&w using the lab color method in this tutorial. Pretty straightforward: convert to lab color, select lightness channel, copy, revert to rgb color, paste into r, g and b channels, save image. Adjust curves, levels, channels as needed.

in 101.1001 , photography is life |

nz127christchurch-bw

This is the second in the New Zealand series I converted to b&w. It’s from the willow bank wildlife reserve in christchurch. Original.

I dunno. I think it’s overcontrasted, making it seem like one of those very old b&w pictures. Ah well. Next in the series I’m gonna try another technique.

in 101.1001 , photography is life |

nz400cardrona-bw

I had always wanted to learn black & white photography and in the days of film camera I tried taking a couple of rolls of b&w film. Was never really happy with the results. No surprise.

With the advent of digital photography, it’s not as if we can get b&w memory cards. Taking b&w pictures can be done using a filter. Some cameras have in camera settings. The other method is to post process. Photoshop, iPhoto and all photo editing software has this functionality.

Even within photoshop there are several methods. This tutorial has simple to follow instructions. Also, this one.

This picture was of the Cardrona Hotel on that lonely road between Queenstown and Wanaka, New Zealand. I tried the simplest channel mixer method and set it to black&white infra red filter. Then used levels and curves to add contrast. original colour version.

in on the relationship front , photography is life |

nz1373rotorua

The theme for this week’s photo friday is relationship. While I have a few hundred pictures with mm, I didn’t want to enter those. It’s boring for other people to see pictures of us. Plus, I would never allow personal pictures to be seen in public.

This one was taken at Lake Tarawera near Rotorua in New Zealand. It’s a pretty lake, not the prettiest we saw on that trip. We were there late afternoon so it was quiet, it was nice to spend a few minutes enjoying the water and the small sandy beach. I took this picture of our shadows in the shallow water, it was a spur of the moment shot, the light was just right. [#262]

in 101.1001 , photography is life |

hok230panorama

When we were at the hoosoka viewpoint at kushiro wetlands, I rotated through and took a series of 7-8 kinda sorta overlapping pictures.

Autostitching in photoshop appears to be straightforward according to this tutorial. I tried, but the results using Auto-Align weren’t good, the contrast and exposure between pictures didn’t match at all. I guess it’s because there was too much green and the details aren’t clear enough to distinguish using an automated program.

I ended up eyeballing most of it, matching layers adjusting levels, curves and exposure layer by layer. The Auto-Blend function was useful though, took some guesswork out of the exercise. For the remaining parts I did some smudging and copying to eliminate as much of the obvious line up points as possible.


in objects of desire , photography is life |

I wonder if Nikon, not Canon, had come up with the first good autofocus camera I would have gone with Nikon rather than Canon. hmm, the more I think about it, yes. As things go now, I suppose it’d be too late to jump ship, buying a Coolpix notwithstanding.

Why the musing? Because of the new Nikon D90, their new prosumer DSLR. Why the wanting? Because it takes videos. I know point-and-shoots have been still and video for a while, but this is the first SLR.

It’s manual focus and may be seen as limited. But guess what, it’s not a camcorder replacement. For real videos use real video equipment. What it is, is a device that enables you to take short videos when they are needed cos somethings when you’re on holiday it just may come in handy.

If I were in the market for a new DSLR, I’d give it serious thought. What is surprising is the comment from David Pogue:

It’s pretty funny that it comes from Nikon, a company with practically no experience in video cameras — and not, say, a camcorder/camera behemoth like Sony or Canon.

I’m sure the next EOS will come with video. But by then Canon is a follower not a leader, dammit.

in objects of desire , photography is life |

I’ve always had 2 cameras. The main SLR and a smaller one I carry around in my backpack or for business trips when I know I won’t need a full camera. The second camera has always been an ixus, an original 2.0 model. It’s gotten to the point when it’s not reliable, even with new batteries.

So in June I dragged mm to get a new one. I was so set on another ixus, I did research on the various models and it was just a matter of trying out to see which fit in my hand best.

The unthinkable happened.

The shop assistant said to me that I can get the same specs as the one I was looking at (850 or 90 I think) for 30% less. It’s not a second tier brand but a Nikon. Same specs! I asked why it’s cheaper and he said that Canon spends too much money on expensive advertising which bumps up the prices. Regardless of whether that’s true or not I can’t fault the big price difference. Yes there was a huge built-in resistance to Nikons, I wasn’t comfortable because, well, you’re either a Canon person or a Nikon person.

Money won at the end. Plus it’s a small point and shoot. What’s the harm?

I’ve been using it for 2 months now. Pretty much exclusively, for the last 2 Chicago trips. Now most people graduate to a DSLR from a small digital, not the other way round. Case in point, Dean Allen’s reaction on getting a Nikon D60:

It autofocuses in less time than it takes my eyes to imagine what a proper focus would be! You can take pictures in tungsten light without tacking a fucking white card to the wall and metering fifteen times! You push the button and it takes a fucking picture! I am in consumer ecstasy!

My take on it is that it’s a very solid camera. There is no viewfinder, the LCD screen is the source. It took me a while to get used to it. The macro function is excellent, which is important to me cos the major use of this camera is to photograph food. It has a smile mode, a number of nice features, and it’s small and light. The biggest complaint is if I have it on single shot mode it takes forever for it to display the picture and enable me to take the next shot. Sometimes I have to wait 2-3 seconds before I can click again and I’m so not used to this.

No way am I abandoning my trusted EOS, it’s just the occasions when I needed a camera lately have been more suited to a point and shoot. For quick snaps of hotel rooms and restaurant food the small camera is oh so convenient. There’s not such a big emphasis on resolution and picture quality.

I did a quick test of both cameras over the weekend. The sunrise shot was taken using both. There is a marked difference in colour rending.

Picture 1: Nikon Coolpix S550 | fully automatic. Picture 2: Canon EOS350D | 28mm on EF24-105mm | ISO200 | P

sunrise007nikon 

sunrise006eos

Not photoshopped or altered in any way except resized and cropped. Does the S550 hold its own against the EOS? Well, no. The colours from the EOS have more depth, and captured the orange-red of the sunrise better. Exposure wise the S550 is brighter and sharper but the EOS picture is easier on the eyes.

I know, it’s unfair to compare. I’m not saying the S550 is not good, in fact for quick snaps it’s better. I’m just saying there is room for separate cameras in my life.

in 101.1001 , photography is life |

080808sunrise

Jetlag has been bad. I don’t know why I’m not completely exhausted cos I’ve been waking up at stupid hours all week. 1am, 3am, 4am, 5am. I give up on trying to get back to sleep once it gets to around 5.30am.

I took this at just before 6am from my study. The sky was full of reds and oranges for just those few minutes. The trees around the swimming pool act as a good foreground to the skyscrapers in the background.

I entered this for the flickr 888 event. Some people actually take pictures of three 8s, I wish I had the opportunity to do that.

in 101.1001 , all about people , photography is life |

pekingduck02
One of the specialist chefs at the Peking Garden restaurant in Hong Kong. This is one of the best restaurants for Peking duck and when we were there on a Saturday lunchtime, the ducks were served non-stop.

The duck would come out of the kitchen, shiny and fresh. The waiter would present it to the table for inspection, then it goes to the chef’s station. Diners have a choice of skin only or skin with meat. In short precise strokes the chef slices even portions onto an oval platter with a duck handle.

It’s one of the greatest dishes in the world, and you can see the focus and expertise in this chef’s action.

in photography is life |

sg136india
A tiny roadside stall selling flower garlands, Singapore’s Little India. An entry for moody monday.

in photography is life , techtalk |

64gbcf
When I first switched to digital photography, I had a 128MB card, then a 512MB card. And I thought they were great.

When my card failed in NZ, I bought a 1GB card for megabucks.

Then I got a couple of 2GB, and recently a 4GB.

But today Microdia announced that they will begin shipping the 64GB XTRA ELITE CF card in June. No, that wasn’t a typo, CF cards are now 64GB.

I’m sure in 3 years’ time, when tetrabyte cards are the norm, I’d look back fondly at these GB cards.

in 101.1001 , photography is life |

syd266performance

I like this picture. It was taken at Pitt Street Mall in Sydney; I’d just came up from the Myers food court and it was the string quartet that caught my attention. There was quite a large crowd, and they were good. It was only after a while that I noticed the mime. My intention was to contrast the stillness of the mime against the musicians but there were too many pedestrians distracting the background. I’m glad I got the movement effect of the passers-by walking past.

in photography is life |

nightphoto
Jason J. Corneveaux’s “The Needles at Night” won the latest Wired Top Night Photos contest. There were so many amazing entries. The current contest is for macro photos. I wish I have good enough photos to enter.

in photography is life |

photoshop web
And talking about photography, Adobe today announced the web version of photoshop, Photoshop Express. It’s in beta and only has the basic features like red eye, crop, rotate, exposure, saturation, colour, hue. But it’s free and comes with a 2 GB storage so for casual use it’s perfect.

I took a screenshot, and it’s not a good sign that I had to edit it in picnik. The Test Drive version only allowed me to play with pictures they’ve uploaded; to play around my own pics I have to sign up. The way they ask for login information (name is required) made me a bit uncomfortable. Country is US only but it didn’t stop the sign up process. What did was that yahoo mail wasn’t acceptable. I’m surprised there’s so much restriction / paranoia about a free photo editing website. There are other sites available, with same or more features, the fact that this carries the Photoshop name may end up being meaningless.

in photography is life |

I’ve noticed a trend with my posts — food and photography. Which is why I was so excited to come across photojojo’s food photography tips. A sensible, if common sense, list. The trick is to get really good pics that I see all the time.

  1. setting — plain backgrounds, plates that are not the same colour as the food, get rid of junk around the food
  2. light — natural light is best, naturally
  3. colour balance — I need to learn this
  4. don’t move — or use a tripod
  5. shoot a lot — experiment with different angles
  6. zoom in — the macro function is our friend
  7. preparation — sometimes, pics of the preparation are just as interesting
  8. be quick — otherwise food starts losing its freshness
  9. details — clean the plates, use sauces and garnishes to add colour
  10. don’t shoot — some food never look good


in photography is life |

flickrwheelchair
Once in a while I get a flickrmail from the admin of a group I’d never heard of asking me to post one of my pictures in their group. Usually I do it, cos a little publicity is no harm, right?

The latest request was from the wheelchairs group. The pic in question is the wheelchair button one I took in SF, after pushing endless ones in Vegas. Pretty cool pictures in that group, which includes a list of “wheelchair” in different languages.

So much variety on flickr. It’s good.

in photography is life |

happybirthdayflickr
Photo by caterina

flickr is 4. It’s amazing, I have no idea what I will do without flickr. The other photo sharing sites are just…not the same. I had to load a couple of videos to photobucket cos flickr video isn’t due till April. While it got the job done, I didn’t like the interface and there were ads everywhere on the page. I like the easy, standard interface I have with flickr. I totally and completely rely on the hosting service. Tagging is intuitive. I like having sets and collections. I know there is so much more out there that I can explore. I am grateful for what I have.

in photography is life , thing-a-day |

From the makers of 26 things, a day in the life project for 29 February. What a neat coincidence. The aim:

do something you’ve never done before and/or always wanted to do - and photograph it! One photo an hour for as long as you’re awake during this leap day

I’m on vacation in Chicago, and I stayed at home today. But there was enough to photograph; and I did something I’ve never done before. The flickr set is shown in pictobrowser format, don’t forget to click on the notes.

Here’s a summary of each “hour”:

  • 0800 - woke up to snow
  • 0900 - conference call with work
  • 1000 - mmm tea and Tim Tams
  • 1100 - Joxer at the window
  • 1200 - pasta lunch
  • 1300 - snow shoveling, before
  • 1400 - snow shoveling, after
  • 1500 - relax with a good book
  • 1600 - beautiful scenery
  • 1700 - preparing dinner
  • 1800 - pasta dinner
  • 1900 - should I have some strawberries or not
  • 2000 - Joxer and the pot
  • 2100 - calling mm
  • 2200 - work on the set


in photography is life , thing-a-day |

crystalapple
A long day of meetings today. I was sitting looking outside, day-dreaming, thinking about stuff other than work. And then my colleague’s crystal decoration caught my eye. It perfectly caught the reflections of the buildings outside.

I had my camera with me today, so I snapped this.

in photography is life , thing-a-day |

swissclock
I bought this small desktop clock in a tiny curio / antique shop in Switzerland. Was probably in Zurich itself but could be any of the towns, can’t really remember. I couldn’t exactly not have a Swiss-made clock at home now could I. What caught my eye was the overall design of the clock, but also the intricate patterns on the face. The needles are actually pretty fragile, and there’s no glass or anything to protect them.

This is the macro view from above. I know I should be playing around with the macro setting more often, may be I’ll start a study of small things at home. hmm.

in photography is life , thing-a-day |

sf034coffee2
I’ve been meaning to try out this tutorial on how to turn a photo into movie-like effect. It’s basically methodically adjusting hue, saturation, exposure, blur and a neat layering mask trick.

Here’s the original, which was taken at this hip coffee shop at Mission in SF.

sf034coffee


in photography is life |

photo friday ran “best of 2007” as year end theme, which got me thinking about what I could consider my best photo. I have 1,788 photos tagged with 2007 in flickr, give and take a few duplicates.

The first photo this year was taken on 3 February at the MacRitchie reservoir walk in Singapore. A rather ordinary picture, all greys and dullness.

sgmacritchie003view

The last few photos are a bunch of food related pics — Christmas lunch, yogurt cheese and this one of breakfast salad being #1788.

breakfastsalad

The last non-food photo came full circle to the first one, to Singapore. Taken on 16 December at Sydney airport it’s the Singapore Airlines A380 approaching the gate. Not a very good quality pic, again dull weather, not helped by the fact that I took it through the glass.

a38017landing

I do most of my photography during travelling and this year I’ve travelled to: Singapore, Toronto, Chicago, Santiago (and surrounds), Sydney and Melbourne. Out of the full set I selected 10 favourites, more for how I like them rather than any inspiring technique. It’s interesting that half were from Australia. I guess it’s because of a) the perennial good weather and b) timing = recent.


in photography is life |
relax nude


When I was looking for the hammock graphic for yesterday’s post I put in “relax home” in a google image search. This came up on the first page, in fact it was on the top line. Clicking on the image brought me to the uk durex site, which was um surprising. The reason is that the alt of the image is relax_home.jpg.

Anyway, I studied it for a little while and realised that I wasn’t offended by the nudity. In fact, I began to appreciate the photography — in particular the composition and how the head, arms and legs are positioned. It did show a relaxed body, but there was also something anticipatory about the pose. Normally I’m clueless about art, classifying everything under “like” or “don’t like” — this definitely falls under the “like” pile.

There’s too much stigma in society about nakedness, we should put away the prudishness and start noticing the how natural the human form can be.

in photography is life |

lv117night

This is my entry for this week’s photo friday challenge — Dead of Night. Usually I’m intimidated by the quality of photos there, but this time I thought what the hell. My entry is #130 in case anyone want to vote for it. This was taken from one side of the Bellagio fountain looking towards the other side. The cloud at the bottom is the remains of dry ice after the half-hourly fountain display.

in going places , photography is life |

A few of my pictures on flickr got noticed by schmap and they asked for my permission to use them. It’s flattering, there’s a sense of pride the first time I received an email telling me my picture has been shortlisted and could I click on a link to agree or reject its inclusion.

Schmap is a travel guide, I can’t decide whether they want it online or whether the downloaded version is the proper way to use it. They cover 200 destinations in USA, Canada, Europe Australia and New Zealand — North American focused and the usual suspects in terms of cities. The interesting feature is that users can click around the guide and there are useful links and photos of hotspots along the route. Or they can plan a walking tour and see pictures of highlights on the way.

For instance, my first Schmap picture is of the Carbide and Carbon Building. There’s a map to show where it is, a little blurb about the landmark and the user can scroll through 10 different pictures of the building. They also included my picture of the Hard Rock Café in Niagara and I just got an email that a couple of my Washington DC pics have been shortlisted.

schmap chicago

The pictures aren’t the super fancy professional ones, more like ones taken by ordinary people, which I guess is the point. It’s an interesting business model. To use a clichéd saying, very web 2.0 — user-generated content, no need to use expensive photographers, free marketing. They seem to source the majority of their pictures from flickr, and the people who use flickr are mostly more tech-friendly. How better to have a bunch of bloggers telling the world about how they are included … the page links and click rate alone is bound to be stunning. Having said that, the content needs to be good to ensure repeat visitors.


in eating and drinking , photography is life | | comments (3)

I made toblerone chocolate mousse. And then I realised the recipe post doesn’t have a picture, which is bad bad bad.

Man, talk about difficult. I think I’ve posted about how difficult it is to do food photography at home — too dark, no sunlight, bad lighting, no white surface, too much stuff affecting the background. Not to mention I don’t have good enough utensils, containers and I don’t own a tablecloth. I think photographing food so it looks appealing is tough, period.

I made do with what I had, using different containers — an Ikea dessert bowl, a Starbucks espresso cup and a shot glass. I had cocoa powder and a block of chocolate for shaving. I wish I had chocolate sauce, some raspberries or even mint. But no, I’m out of all those. I did manage to find a box of amaretto biscotti for decoration. See the results:

chocmousseall

First I tried the table, then the usual makeshift white surface (ie the microwave). I tried scooping it into a fresh dessert bowl so it looks haphazard. I had a running battle with condensation and the mousse melting. In the end I shot off like 30 pics. I dunno, none of them looked good.

Oh the whole reason I was making chocolate mousse was because I was reading the article about the hidden bear inside the toblerone logo.

tobleronebear

And I remembered I had 3 bars of the dark toblerone in my fridge that needed using. Oh no, it’s got nothing to do with the fact that it’s one of my favourite recipes to use.

in photography is life |

moon

You go to a family birthday party. You’ve been given the camera. You’re supposed to get people to pose with the birthday VIP until the VIP’s smile is frozen. You’re supposed to take photos of the cake. You’re not supposed to be taking pictures of the moon.

in photography is life , techtalk |

Researching into how best to redo the gallery. I don’t have stats but it seems to me that a typical personal website will include a blog and a place to put photos. I’m surprised that there aren’t more integration between the likes of flickr / photobucket and MT / Wordpress. May be I’m not looking hard enough, but I don’t think so.

Like many before me, I hacked MT to make it a sort of photoblog/gallery type page. Six Apart say it’s straightforward — witness the number of SA staff using Byrne Reese’s PhotoGallery. But honestly, it’s not immediately intuitive, especially the treatment of thumbnails. There’s the flickrphotos plugin but there’s a fair bit of fiddling needed, it seems to me.

Of course, I don’t have to use MT or a specific CMS. There are several popular solutions:

  1. gallery
    PHP/database, flexible, seems easy to install but I’m not sure how well it can integrate to the MT-based css. Apparently some performance issues.
  2. lightboxphoto
    Full-featured, gallery maker more suited for professionals selling their photos. The most basic license is $399.
  3. pixelpost
    PHP/mysql based, developed specifically for photoblogging. Looks fantastic, allows comments and all that we’ve come to expect of a blogging software.

But I’m not going to use pixelpost or gallery (forget about lightboxphoto) because these require that my images are uploaded and hosted on my server. Not that I haven’t done that, but for the purposes of the gallery I really want to use flickr. Why? The practical reason is because of tags, sets, convenience and not having to upload to multiple locations. They’re neatly organised on flickr, I just want to link them back.

I’m glad I’m not the only one considering the options.

There are quite a few options. My thoughts:

  1. chasr
    Simple app that displays thumbnails of sets, click on one and it goes to a page with the photos, then the photo itself. Includes recent photos and popular tags. In order to view private pictures, add comments and the like, I have to sign into flickr. Feels to me like it replicates flickr feel on my own website.
    comment: not for me. I’m not looking for a flickr clone, I’d like something that looks more elegant. Apparently I can play with the demo to see how my sets look like, but I never got it to work.


    demochasr

  2. pictobrowser
    A flash widget that displays flickr pictures. Simple filmstrip design and interface. Choose a set, tag or group and it generates a block of code to embed into a webpage.
    comment: very easy, no need to worry about design. But it’s for single sets or tags only, and in order to display multiple sets, I’ll need to code it myself. Basic, but I need more functions. Here’s my 26thngs for Sept06.



  3. jetphoto
    More of a desktop photo organiser that happens to generate a flash web album after it’s uploaded to flickr. Has GPS and geotagging. In use, it’s very Windows look and feel. The flash feature generates a pop-up page that has fairly basic navigation elements. For instance clicking on the photo brings me back to the album.
    comment: I don’t want to organise my photos through their application because I use iPhoto on the desktop. The whole point is I don’t want to manage my photos in multiple places. Such a Windows-heavy application won’t make many friends with mac users anyway.

    jetphoto

  4. satellite
    Another PHP application that makes use of flickr’s API. Uses mootools and slimbox for sleekness. Displays thumbnails of pictures of a set; clicking on one dims the set and overlays the picture in question over the set. Looks nice, very nice. Comes with a black and a white theme, so I’m not sure how much it can integrate into a sitewise css.
    comment: nice, worth looking at.

    satellite

  5. flogr
    Similar to Satellite in its use of the slimbox overlay method. Themes are customisable and EXIF data is displayed.
    comment: similar in concept to Satellite, appears to have a few more features. Worth looking at.

    flogr

  6. simpleviewer
    Very popular. Generates a flash slide show with thumbnails of remainder of photos at side, makes it easy to navigate. Integrates with flickr, wordpress as well as desktop apps like iPhoto.
    comment: I like this. Clean and neat navigation.

    simpleviewer

Verdict? At the moment it’s between simpleviewer and flogr/satellite. It’s to do with navigation — do I like the slimbox overlay approach or the filmstrip approach. Ah, decisions.


in photography is life |

I will go back and write up the Singapore long weekend trip. In the meantime, a little late, but May 26 things is done. All taken during the last few days in Singapore. Not my best collection by far, I was too slow with a lot of chances. I think my 26things standard is slipping, sigh.

1. keys10. round19. after
2. dance11. currency20. landmark
3. fold12. electronic21. from the hip
4. soft13. large22. front page
5. tangle14. fake23. a difference
6. panoramic15. stop24. telephone
7. truck16. feast25. number 9
8. sparkle17. multicoloured26. sticky
9. nose18. before

full set at flickr

01keys02dance03fold04soft05tangle06panoramic07truck08sparkle09nose10round11currency12electronic13large14fake15stop16feast17multicoloured18before19after20landmark21fromthehip22frontpage23difference24telephone25number926sticky


in photography is life |

May 26 things is up. Wow, she’s doing them every other month it seems. I don’t have any trips planned so I need to think about a novel theme.

Everything green? blue? white?

Everything taken outdoors?

Stripes?

Travelocity gnome?

Okay, this is not silly season.

in photography is life |

November 26 things is done. Most are snapshots from home, work and while I’m out and about. Not my best pics by far but … *shrug*. Here’s the list:

1. glee10. stairwell19. words
2. village11. public transport20. odd
3. reality12. art21. a stop sign
4. accident13. shoes22. traditional
5. anxiety14. friday23. the sea
6. low15. alley24. stripes
7. copy16. 7pm25. tangled
8. kindness17. telephone26. a night shot
9. bad taste18. ant’s eye view


full sized pics at flickr

01glee 02village 03reality 04accident 05anxiety 06low 07copy 08kindness 09badtaste 10stairwell 11publictransport 12art 13shoes 14friday 15alley 16sevenpm 17telephone 18antseyeview 19words 20odd 21stopsign 22traditional 23thesea 24stripes 25tangled 26nightshot

in photography is life |

One of the reasons I prefer flickr over photobucket isn't just the snob factor, I do find it the better tool. Granted, photobucket is easier to use and more intuitive, but I can't imagine uploading my pics without the tags and sets feature that flickr offer. For me, photobucket is the mass market product so the common and garden user can upload a pic and send the link to their chums; in other words, a windows user. Whereas flickr is the mac equivalent, for someone who wants a little more control.

Anyway, the reason I thought about flickr was the list of top 10 cameras on flickr:

  1. Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT
  2. NIKON D50
  3. Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL
  4. Canon EOS 20D
  5. NIKON D70
  6. NIKON D70s
  7. Canon PowerShot S2 IS
  8. Canon EOS 30D
  9. Sony CYBERSHOT
  10. Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL

See, that's another cool feature of flickr. If your camera has that function, when you upload your pic it'll record which camera.

It's also telling that actually the Rebel XT and 350D are the same, and shouldn't they lump the Nikon D70 and D70s?


in photography is life |

woot! Sept 2006 26 things is out. I wonder if I can finish it this time. Here’s the list:

1. overcome10. fly19. shadows
2. at the top11. words20. curvaceous
3. pile of12. traffic21. blur
4. coated13. fresh22. tv
5. button14. craving23. meaning of life
6. soft15. town24. price
7. strange16. small spaces25. mirror
8. package17. scream26. macro
9. team18. boring


in photography is life |

From kottke I navigated to Heather Champ’s site. And I’m reminded that:

  1. it has been ages since I submitted an entry for the mirror project
  2. I can’t even remember what my username is there
  3. I need to move those entries to flickr
  4. I need to have a big sort on my photo collection
  5. I should redo my photo gallery section. need to investigate tools, link from flickr? gallery? simpleviewer?
  6. learn photography

crap. I need to start thinking about an overally site redesign — redo entire look and feel, use switchable stylesheets, upgrade to the latest Movable Type or switch to Wordpress, add recipes. argh!

in photography is life |

I keep missing the start of 26 things, until I started constantly reminding myself about it in July. Guess what, it’s been postponed till September. Heh.

in going places , photography is life |

I loaded the photos from both India trips (45 photos). They’re not the best I’ve taken since most of them were taken from the back of a car. The November 2005 ones were also taken with the small ixus, so the resolution sucks.

mb045street mb044street mb040street mb008traffic mb05thali

A few thoughts:

Nowhere else is the contrast so glaring — the poverty of the children sleeping on the streets vs the opulence of my hotel suite; the streetside stalls vs the modern shopping malls.

mb012street mb031suite

I don’t know which is worse, the quality of the roads or the traffic. There’d be the tarmac, piles of rubbish, dirt, the semblence of a pavement, then the buildings. People walk on the road, cars and ricksaws and motorcycles and buses and trucks all fight for the same space. There are no lane markings; honking is a norm.

There is a big difference between the suburbs and downtown Mumbai. Downtown is just like any big city, may be busier and dirtier, but I felt fine walking around even in the dark.

The Bollywood business is huge. I mean, huge.

in photography is life , techtalk |

I bit the bullet and paid for a flickr pro account today. I made the Jan deadline of using up the free 20MB transfer last week and uploaded 151 photos. Today I thought I’d make a start on the feb quota. Heh, doesn’t give me that much, at this rate it’ll be August before I upload all the NZ pics. $25 a year isn’t bad. 2GB transfer, unlimited storage and unlimited photo sets. Doesn’t resize my pics. Gives me the flexibility to eventually move all my pics over to flickr and not use up my server space. The $20 I save from my host goes there I suppose.

What else do I like about it — tags, tags, tags. The organizer is okay, though I would like to have a functionality where I can add multiple pics to a set. It’s easy to use and intuitive. I’m up to Christchurch, 721 pics. I’ll do North Island tomorrow.

Oh, and my photostream has already been viewed 82 times and I have a few comments already. Wow. It should also let me post directly but it doesn’t respect my css, and the img didn’t have an alt, and there are too many strange html. Yeah, I prefer to html it myself. This was a sign we saw at the pub in Kaikoura.

sign

in photography is life , techtalk |

I’m now at the stage when I’m re-sizing the NZ trip photos. They’re huge — the onces from my camera are 3,456x2,504 px and naturally the file size is astounding. So with 1,650 photos, how does one scale them down to a manageable size and not have to do them one by one?

Photoshop Actions to the rescue. I could simply record the action (select image size —> set width to 800 —> close and save) and run it under File>>Automation. I wish it were smart enough to recognise the difference between portrait and landscape pics so it automatically makes the longest side 800px, but it’s a small thing.

I’m at 1,000+, just finished the Franz Josef Glacier set. Then I need to figure out where to upload the pics. Comcast has PhotoShow, which looks great but I think the file is only available for 30 days. Yahoo photos, hmm, boring. Ofoto or photobucket. I’m definitely leaning towards flickr. Or use iPhoto and the same plugin kottke uses … it looks great.

in going places , photography is life |

Dunedin - Queenstown

Bade goodbye to the Portabello, we were very comfortable there. First on the agenda this morning was fill up the car. It was cold, windy and wet at the BP, grrrr. Pleasant drive though, we were heading towards Alexandra, via the “fruit route.” There were lots of fruit farms near Alexandra and we bought a large pack of cherries $12. The cherry orchards were shrouded by nets, to protect them from birds and insects apparently.

By the time we got to Central Otago the weather had changed so much, from wet and windy to positively hot. Scenery changed too, we drove alongside the Clutha River and stopped at the Cromwell Lookout to take some huge photos.

clutha14

Alexandra is supposed to be a largish town in the region, but the main street was still pretty tiny. We had a late lunch of mini quiche and bacon & egg pie (more like a quiche than pie IMO). Visited the tourist information centre and got tons of brochures. Armed with our newly acquired ‘Central Otago Wine Map’ we headed towards Cromwell to the vineyards. This is the southermost winemaking region in the world (NZ holds a lot of ‘southermost’ records) and the climate of hot summers and cool winters suit the grapes very much.

The vineyard we visited at Cromwell wasn’t impressive so we decided to move on, and ended up at Bannockburn. Almost by chance we hit Olssens, which is the last one along the road it is on. We tasted the available wines there, had a brilliant chat with the lady there and bought a couple of bottles of pinot noir and some verjuice, which is sour like vinegar and used in dressings and baking. 2 bottles of ice wine too, total $165, pretty good. There were some sculptures on the grounds, more photo opportunity.

Here’s a photo at Cromwell Lookout and one of the sculptures at Olssens. Kinda similiar?

clutha10  olssens04

Then it was onward again to Queenstown. The view on the way was stunning. Rock formations, driving along the river, sheep, deer, lovely. Passed by the place where bungy jumps were invented but it was closed. Still tourists there taking pictures of the bridge.

Queenstown was very touristy, she said it was like Davos. And yes, it felt like a downmarket version of any alpine resort. Very commercial, lots of outdoor shops and backpackers hostels. We had dinner at a posh restaurant called the Tatler – sat outside, she had john dory on risotto cake and asparagus and I had rack of lamb with potato dauphinois and ratatouille. Half a dozen oysters to start and a beer for me. $90.

qtdinner06  qtdinner02

Still light out so we walked around the town. Bought cheese, eggs, ribena and stuff at a small supermarket. Tried to decide on what to do tomorrow. Saw a few internet places, about $3-5 an hour. VERY tempted. sigh. Here’s a photo of sunset at the lake. NO FILTERS, NOT PHOTOSHOPPED.

qtlake04

We’re staying at the Colonial Village motel. It cannot compare with the Portabello at all, it’s one of those places where you try to touch very little of the furniture and fittings. nothing particularly wrong, just not 100% comfortable.

in photography is life | | comments (2)

I bought it. As if there was ever any doubt. Canon EOS350D, aka Rebel XT. Though the silver version is prettier, I went for the black body cos it matches my other cameras.

Comes with a 18-55mm lens, which I promptly changed to my normal 28-80mm. A lot of the reviews says the kit lens isn’t that good. I think it should be fine, but I’m just more used to my usual lens. Also came with 1GB memory card, a tripod and there was an extra gift — a Powerpuff girl coin holder, which I gave to mm. She deserves it!

I guess sticking with Canon has its advantages. The charger uses the same cables as my ixus; the 350D uses the same card as the ixus; the software is the same. Plus the biggest advantage is that it uses my EF lenses. So now my camera collection consists of:

  • EOS650 - first generation
  • EOS300 - still my favourite
  • EOS350D - it’ll grow on me I’m sure
  • Original ixus - yes it’s the 2.1MP version

Right now it’s charging away happily. The first picture I took was of mm in the shop, surprisingly it’s very good.

What else did we do today? We went shopping, ended up in a small shop that sells owl stuff and lots of fun souvenirs. We bought a bunch of presents there. I bought her a green silk scarf.

in photography is life |

Looking around for something to do, submitted an enty to photo friday, my first. It's such a coincidence, I'm sorting out the gallery pictures and I find I like taking pictures of water most, so this week's challenge, ocean, is perfect.

I submitted probably the oldest of my favorite pictures, the lighthouse at corbiere, more usually known as jerseyblue. Entry is #216.