Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Yet another Google favourite stumbles

It seems to have been at least two week since the last dissapointment with google. perhaps a recent record (actaully it was only 7 days I had to turn off the thumbnails in popular post on thr righthamd column of this blog) Ok it just seemed longer. Today I am woking in my studio which does use an old computer which is still running vista (and running a little slow but doesn’t give me the heartaches of the theoretically upgaded windows 10 machines). Its slow and stately, never misbehaves and fine for what I need.

bad googleHowever today I got the message that google will not be supporting chrome on Vista. This is a pity because using chrome across a range of computers and opeating systems was nice. What do I expect for free, obviously the confidence I once had in google is now almost none.

My only solution is to keep using the software tools google once brilliantly championed but now has lost interest in and hope there as no legacy, compatibilty or upgrade consequences to come.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My First 3D Picture

I do like trying out new things, and since my new computer comes with an Intel “Real Sense” 3D camera I though I should try it out. Trouble is the Camera app that comes with Windows 10 is not 3D aware. A little looking around and I found itSeez3D, which can make 3D scans of people (it must start by recognize a face). Most importantly there was a Windows 10 app that recognises the Intel real sense, that I could download. There is also an IOS app (for iPads with R200 cameras)


The standard windows app is free, but there is also a business version (for commercial use). However the only interesting extra feature I saw was being able to print your 3D models. Unfortunately I see being able to make small 3D plastic “selfies” as a toy application rather than something I would need at the moment. You can do the 3D render locally on the tablet, this took me less than a minute but was pretty crude or once you have an account with itSeez3D (Simple enough but it took a while and a verification email step), you can upload to the cloud (that took a few minutes) and have a much more detail (final) model produced on the cloud (I had to wait about 10 minutes). The result was really impressive you can interactively rotate and scale your 3D photo/model on the screen. For me the next step is figuring out how I can use the 3D models to create unique art. That’s going to take some time, which I have, but I do like the potential of  technology and will be looking for a way to scan non humanoid objects soon and perhaps then make some virtually amazing sculptures.

I then went looking for a way to embed a 3D viewer in this blog posts.Try out Sketchfab below, click on the 3D arrow to manipulate the image. Unfortunately the 3D view highlights a couple of places I didn’t get adequate coverage. However for a first attempt I’m pleased.

My Clay Sculpture by imageo on Sketchfab

Monday, April 25, 2016

PhotoFriday :: Bold


Beach towels drying in the sun on a windy day through a glass wall.


For PhotoFriday‘s topic Bold

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Are we really Shadowless?

Today I visited a new exhibition at mga on Australian Exotica, which presents the views some contemporary Australian photographers that is a different and erotic place. On the way back to the car park I walked the path on the right below and loved the shadows. However compare that with the photo of typical open forest (below left) I had taken earlier a short distance away. Different style of shadows but not really exotica.

Typical Australia Open Forest European Style Garden

“The trees  [in NSW] nearly all belong to one family, and mostly have their leaves placed in a vertical, instead of as in Europe, in a nearly horizontal position: the foliage is scanty, and of a peculiar pale green tint, without any gloss. Hence the woods appear light and shadowless: this, although a loss of comfort to the traveller under the scorching rays of summer…”

…Charles Darwin (notes on trip from Sydney to Bathurst 1836, From Chapter 19, The Voyage of the Beagle)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Free WiFi is great ….but slow …& other self inflicted woes

Waiting for my flight & uploading to flickrI’m sitting at Brisbane airport waiting for a delayed flight, and I thought it would be a great time to upload my best three photos from today. Ok there is free WiFi and it was simple enough to get connected BUT as I  was trying to upload to flickr via the web interface, I came to realise that after 10 minutes I had uploaded less than 10% of the files (an estimate looking at the progress bar). There is a good chance that the whole thing will abort because the three files won’t upload before my flight is ready to load. Do I abort and try individually? … or some other anxiety inducing worry. No the first rule of travel is go with the flow. The free WiFi is slow, so I’ll just wait and see what happens. Nothing is really being lost if I wait till I get home.
Upload time outSo the answer to that wait, is the flickr upload ground to a halt. Time to stop worrying and perhaps have a coffee.  Damn the flight is delayed further. Perhaps I’ll restart. …slowly slowly two of the three images get loaded over the next half hour wait. Now the incoming flight has arrived and passengers disembarking. The public service announcement indicates there is a problem and some passengers have to embark via the rear door and that means going out on the tarmac. It’s sure to be me, no big deal so I go to check my boarding pass on my phone (I’m just trying this for the first time).
2016-04-22-23-48-57Bugger the flight has closed off (and theoretically departed) so my boarding pass is no longer valid, and all I can see on my screen is I no longer have a boarding pass. So I join the queue of people with the same problem infront of a very stressed ground staff at the gate. After talking on her radio for a while, she says we’ll have to go to service desk. So the queue moves over there and eventually I get a printed boarding pass. The plane still is waiting to load and a massive queue is waiting to board but still to board via the air bridge and when the boarding actually starts only myself and two other guys walk over to the stairs to the tarmac, our boarding pass is checked and we stroll to the back of the plane. climb the portable stairs and get seated, everyone else is slowly getting through the air bridge crush and the the narrow corridor between the seats and other passengers arranging the luggage, it take a further 20 minutes to load everyone. Why weren’t they listening to all the announcements? Ah that’s right they where listen to their iPods, or watching video of their iPads or just talking on their phones, and probably their frequent flyer apps didn’t notify them because notify is turned off!
The morale of this story is perhaps we expect the always connected and on-line world to be there, work and look after our interests. However we shouldn’t stress when they don’t, just be prepared to go back to the old methods that work (ie Perhaps just wait to get home to upload, use a printed boarding pass, listen to the announcement)
PS: I was writing this as the events unfolded and I was able to update a draft of the text to blogger via my Open Live writer app, but it got hung up trying to upload the images I had capture on my phone & PC to Google Photos (low bandwidth issues same as flickr uploads mentioned above). So I had to be patient uploading this blog post as well.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Almost Black & White…

The differences between the approach of most photographers and artists can almost be summarised as a difference between black and white.

your cup is always being filledToday I listened to a great podcast,  TWIP Family ep 49.5: Trey Ratcliff On Becoming an Artist. If you haven’t already listened the discussion between Jenny Stein & Trey is really natural, full of inspiration and worth listening too. One of the topics is about analogy that your cup is always being filled (with creativity and inspiration) we just need to be able to get to appreciate the good stuff inside the cup. That analogy of a glass half full or half empty is perfect for this post.

I need to begin at looking how tonality is represented in each medium. An easy way to understand tonality is just to desaturate an image to remove all colour. I’m using the basic tonal range names from lightroom. Black, Shadow, Mid Tone, Highlights, White.

 Desaturated Photo

When taking the photo I have to make sure that the highlights don’t get blown out. I begin at the whites. It is easier to find at least some detail in the blacks and shadows, but post processing the image, whereas once the whites are blown out that’s it, nothing can be recovered (even from a RAW file). If I can make sure that the other tonal zones are well represented I will probably have a well exposed image.

My tonal sketch

When starting to sketch the same subject I’m using a well known artist trick of drawing a series of 5 boxes (some artist use 4 boxes, other prefer 7 grey tones) and use the pencil to stipple a set of graded grey tones. and I have matched them to the lightroom names. I’m sketching directly from the simple still life by observation not copying a photo by the way. The key difference is I begin with the darker tones. I personally start by blocking in the mid tones and  then move to the darkest tones (lightroom’s shadows & blacks) and then finally back towards the highlights, leaving parts of the paper to be the whites. My darker tone marks thus define what is consider highlights and whites. They hold the composition of my image together.

#111_MG_3850-sketching II

While photographers generally exposure for the highlights, artist will generally study the shadows and sketch these shadows to define the composition.

Sorry Folks I’m Turning off Picture in Popular Post Side Bar

image Google’s taunting of me continues. Today I notice that the popular post summaries over on the right hand side bar have at last started to displaying flickr images but now they overflow the screen. The effect of truncated images is really distracting. I hope this is not a ploy to bring me back to google photos. So I’m going to turn off displaying image thumbnails in the popular post in my side bar for now, Which sort of defeats the purpose on a photography oriented blog.

I have actually had some good feed back about the idea of a popular post summary, probably because my blog rambles all over the place. You can still follow topics by clicking on the green labels (blogger’s version of tags) at the bottom of the blog post. Alternatively there is a label cloud still on the righthand side bar.

At the moment, although I can easily find my most popular posts, I can not find an alternative way for a reader to find popular recent posts (other than the blogger popular posts tool). So Sorry folks no pictures in Popular post (for the moment)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Don’t Panic :: But…

I definitely don’t want to create a panic, so I need to careful in what I am warning here. The past few months have seen several disappointing announcements from those offering “free” photo storage on social media services. The ”One place for all your photos” was a claim that worried me from the start. Social media services are definitely not the only place to store your photos. You can use them to share selected photos but trusting them with the only copy is very dangerous. They have already shown that they change their minds, sell the business and/or possibly will even shut up shop.
So before the crying and gnashing of teeth stage. If you don’t have copies elsewhere it is time to make sure you do. Backup those on-line photos now

Bulk Downloading from Flickr

No so long ago you would have had to do it one photo at a time or better still one album at a time (look for the download arrow icon). Now with this the new camera roll feature it is even easier. You can just select all (which does select all your photos, so definitely don’t press delete, the red rubbish bin on the left hand side) on each grouping the the camera roll. You can then move onto the next grouping and press select all again, which add the new set to the selection bar at the bottom of the screen. Normally the camera roll is order by date (either taken of uploaded) and this is a good way to structure your downloads, say my month or by year. However remember if you have uploaded a lot of images it can take a fair while to download a really large collection and it might be wise to break the downloads into logical groups. If you are more interested in organizing your collection by theme you can consider using the magic view to help you select batches of images to download in thematic groupings (there may be a few miss-classifications).

Bulk Downloading from Google Photos

Despite the promises about recognizing how much work people have put into saving and organizing their photos in picasa. Google have been quiet about how to save any on-line uploads from Picasa into picasa web albums. The picas web photos  are still on-line but now they are in Google Photos. However finding where to download them is no longer as simple as finding the download to Picasa button. Both the the individual and album views have three vertically arranged dots in the upper right corner, which signify more options. Clicking on these dots brings up an action sub-menu which contains the download feature. It the case of albums  it is a download all. I haven’t found a way to selectively bulk download. If you are using auto-backup the photos will be grouped by date (each date will be its own album)
image    image
Remember :: It is the right time to  Backup those on-line photos now