Jan 21 2008
Archive for the 'Photography' Category
Jul 27 2007
Since buying my wonderful Canon EOS 30D in January , I have taken a few pictures that I would like to get framed. I have already got them printed up at 10×15 but this is not really a standard size to be able to buying a pre-made frame. I was rather shocked when I got a quote of £50 per picture.
Although I could probably get a better quote if I looked around I decided that I would instead have a go learning to make my own picture frames. I previously purchased some mounting materials and a 45˚ mount cutter so I can create a mount for my pictures, I got those from a local stationary shop (the Press Shop in Smith Street, St Peter Port). I also already had a craft knife for trimming down the mount.
What I didn’t have was the framing wood, glass, backing board, paper tape (for sealing the frame) or tools. The other day I came across diyframing.co.uk, they can supply all the materials required for framing and a broad selection of tools for amateurs right though to professionals. In fact their main aim seems to be helping people set up their own framing businesses. To get me started I have ordered a start pack which contains glass and backing board, I also ordered framing wood and paper tape.
Rather that ordering online I phoned them up in order to check about postage to the Guernsey and also about getting VAT removed. The person that I spoke to was extremely helpful and was quite happy to answer all the questions I asked. With regards postage, they had to call me back the next day after weighing the items but it work out very reason able and, two days later, the parcel has arrived.
The last items I require in order to start framing is a mitre saw, some glue, and fixings. All of which I shall be getting from B&Q this evening.
In total I think this will set me back approximately £70. One the face of it that seems quite a lot to me (my friends know I don’t like spending money!) but that is considerably less than the £150 I was quoted for professional framing 3 pictures and most of the money was for tools which will be reused in future framings. If, but some strange quirk of fate, I manage to get good at framing I may even add it as an option to Encaptured.com but I shalln’t make any promises just yet.
Jul 20 2007
Most people that are reading this will probably already know that I use Flickr for hosting photos. Most people will also know that I have, in the past, ordered MiniCards and NoteCards from Moo.com. It is true that I have fallen in love with their simple but effective ideas and the top quality products they produce.
Yesterday I was pleasantly surprise when, having recently fix my website contact form, I got an email from Rachel Bremer. She wanted to let me know that Moo.com has just released another product for your Flickr photos called StickerBooks. The book contains 90 stickers on 15 tear-out sheets and is a bargain at only £4.99 ($9.99 US).
This time the picture on Moo.com contains hands holding the sticker books to give a bit of scale. My guess is that if each sheet contains 6 stickers, each stickers is going to be about the size of a postage stamp.
I’m impressed that Moo.com has taken the effort to contact people that are talking about their products. Seeing as they have got free postage during July I’m definitely going to ordering me some stickers. This is one case of direct marketing that has worked. And, if their aim was to induce a viral marketing campaign then I am quite happy to assist.
Jun 22 2007
The other night I was on a bit of a downer and so decided that I’d indulge myself in one of my favourite pastimes. No, not bell-ringing or sailing…. photography! It was evening, almost clear skys and a breeze coming in from the south-west, so where better to start than Vazon to see if I could capture some surfers in action.
Although there were a fair few surfers in the water, there wasn’t much in the way of waves. Instead of giving up I decided to have a go at some more “arty” shots. With the water just coming up to the bottom of the wall I decided to have a go at taking pictures of the groynes at the base of the wall. My fist 20 shots were ok but nothing special. What I really wanted to a long exposure to blur the water, so I tried shutting down the aperture and added a neutral density filter… and then another neutral density filter… and the a graduated sunset filter… and finally a polarising filter. Finally I managed to get a six second exposure which was just enough to blur the water.
As well as uploading the final photos to Encaptured.com, a stock photo site that I run with Shane Marriott, I also uploaded low res copies to Flickr. Quite amazingly I my photo managed to make it onto Flickrs “interestingness” list for the day. Whether it is there forever I don’t know but I hope it is.
Apr 26 2007
A while back I found out about Moo and their MiniCards. What Moo does is allows you to take your pictures from Flickr, Bebo, SecondLife, etc. and have them printed as mini business cards. Once you’ve selected your images (between 1 and 100) you can specify what details you have printed on the back.
I’ve been thinking about getting some for a while, mainly for Encaptured.com, but have been unsure whether they’re worth the money. Finally, however, I decided to bite the bullet and get some, as I’d just uploaded some good pictures to Flickr. I figured it was not big deal if they turned out rubbish as they were only £13 (inc. postage).
Well, they arrived today and I must say I’m very impressed with them. The quality is perfect and, although they’re a little smaller than I expected, they feel right. This set have got my personal contact details on but I think I’ll order another set with the Encaptured.com details.
Jan 07 2007
I recent wanted to use my Canon Ixus500 to shoot a video of a Lego Mindstorm NXT robot I built. When I came to use the camera, however, I couldn’t get the camera to go into video mode, or panoramic or manual mode. It seemed to be stuck in idiot mode.
The camera is about four years old now, so is well out of warranty. What do you do with an out of warranty broken camera? Take it appart and hack about until it works again. I noticed that it was possible to get the camera to go into video mode by turning the shooting mode switch to video and pressing the button, so that gave me a starting place for my investigation.
The back was fairly easy to take off as it was only held on by six screws. If you going to try this make sure you remember where you remove the screws from as they different sizes and putting them back in the wrong place probably wont work out to well. I’ve included a picture of the screws laid out as they are located on the camera.
Once the back of the camera is removed I quickly located the problem. One the back of the shooting mode dial are some little pieces of metal that make a contact with the circuit inside the camera. After four years of use they have been pushed away from the circuit. All I had to do was very carefully bend them back in towards the body of the camera so they make a good contant with the circuit,
I put the camera back together and amazingly (for me) it now works perfectly. Unfortunatly there is now no need for me to get a new camera other than because I want one. Now, how much was that EOS 20D on eBay?
Nov 09 2006
Those of you that have to listen to my music on a regular basis will know that I’m a stickler for a good mashup and today I think I found my musical heaven.
Its a site called Mashup.Podcast which does exactly what it says on the tin. Its a podcast made by a bloke that, like me, likes mashups. I’ve only listened to half a podcast so far but what I’ve heard I like… although there does seem to be a little too much talking for my liking. Having said that I may actually learn something about mashups, like who’s doing them and where to find more of them!!!
Check out the site @ http://www.tbr.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/mashup/current.shtml
May 12 2006
What Is HDR
In computer graphics and cinematography, high dynamic range imaging (HDRI for short) is a set of techniques that allow a far greater dynamic range of exposures than normal digital imaging techniques. The intention is to accurately represent the wide range of intensity levels found in real scenes, ranging from direct sunlight to the deepest shadows. From: Wikipedia
HDR images are generated by taking multiple pictures of the same scene at different exposure settings and combining them digitally on a computer. Generally, the more pictures that are taken at different exposure settings the better the resulting HDR image will be.
The very basic requirements for producing HDR images are a digital camera and a computer (which I’ll discuss later). However, it is strongly advisable to get a good tripod, the sturdier the better.
The Camera Surprising as it may seem all of my HDR images have been produced from pictures taken on a Canon IXUS500 digital compact camera. So long as a digital camera has exposure compensation it is suitable for producing HDR images. The list below is a random selection of cameras I found on Dabs.com that all support exposure compensation:
- Sony DSC-S90 Cyber-shot £128.07 inc vat
- Samsung Digimax V700 Red £194.27 inc vat
- Casio Exilim Pro EX-P600 £275.98 inc vat
- Canon Powershot S70 £239.35 inc vat
- Samsung Digimax V700 Silver £187.81 inc vat
The Tripod One of the most import issues when taking pictures for a HDR image is that the camera must not move between shots. To reduce camera movement a good quality tripod should be used. However, when purchasing a tripod you should consider the camera the it will be used for. For example, I wouldn’t go out and purchase a £150 Benbo tripod for a compact camera and like-wise, you shouldn’t use a cheap compact camera tripod for digital SLR. I’ve personally gone with a Jessops Tripod 315 at £18.99 (inc VAT), it’s probably not the best tripod for compact cameras but it does the job I require just fine.
Apr 27 2006
I’ve recently start experimenting with digital photography. I’ve owned a digital camera for several years now but I have only just started to play around with more advanced techniques of manipulating digital pictures.
My first experiments were with HDR, which is the result of taking multiple exposures of the same scene and then combining them on a computer in order to obtain a hyper-real rendering of the scene… obviously there is a little more to it but I’m not going into that here, that’s what Google is for. There are several good applications out there which make the process of generating a HDR image incredibly simple. You don’t even need a big expensive digital SLR camera, even my Canon IXUS 500 is capable of exposure compensation, which is the key to HDR.
Tilt & shit
The other technique I’ve been wanting to have a go at is a digital Tilt & Shift effect. Traditionally the tilt & shift style of images was generated in one of two ways. Either it was created when taking macro photographs of model scenes (e.g. model railways) using a very short depth of field or it was created using a bellows adaptor on a camera with interchangeable lenses (e.g. an SLR). There is however a much easier method than these for digital photographers… photoshop. I found a great four step tutorial on RecedingHairline.co.uk the down side is that so far I have only found one of my pictures that was suitable to try this effect on.
What I wanted was a source of pictures that I know I would be able to play around with and then post on the internet for other people to be able to see what I was doing. I wasn’t until today that I realised that the very site I had been hosting my images on was also an almost limitless (relatively speaking) source of material to work with. I remember that I released my images on Flickr with a creative commons license and that it must surely be possible to search for other images with a creative commons license on Flickr. And sure enough there is. Now when I see a new digital manipulation tutorial I have no reason to not have a go at it, all I need to do is use the Flickr Creative Commons search to find a suitable image to play around with.
Mar 08 2006
Since I moved GrinGod [dot] com to UH Hosting I have no longer had Gallery installed on the server, instead I use Flickr for hosting my images.
To display the images in my website I decided to go with FAlbum, a plugin for WordPress. This morning I upgraded FAlbum to the latest version (0.6.4). I also saw in Digg this morning a list of Downloadable AJAX Galleries, Slideshows and Effects.
One thing led to another and I ended up doing a mash-up of FAlbum and Lightbox JS. Now, when you are viewing an image in my photos, you can click on one of the size links which (if you are using a modern browser) will display the selected image size in a nice Web 2.0 style lightbox.
If you want to use my mash-up I’ve made the modified files available on my download page. Please note that I am not planning on supporting this mash-up and that I may well make changes to it in the future. None of my changes have been or will be localised.