Thursday, December 25, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Hoots

A family of Tawny Frogmouths [Podargus strigoides] having an afternoon seista.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Stop motion ... that moves

A Google+ MOTION* Autoawesome
This animated gif produce by google+ had me a bit mystified. Waves just don't rebreak like that!
The I realised I was panning along a breaking wave with a telephoto taking this set. So the series should stack together like the series for a panorama. What has seemed to have happened is the images have been matched up on the white wash of the broken wave, setting this as a fixed point, If you look at the wave in the foreground you can see it breaking shape is moving to the left.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Flickr has a rethink on Wall Art

alvin cc protestThere has been a bit of a kerfuffle around the new flickr feature called Wall Art, which was a curated collection of images from flickr, you can order canvas or board mounted prints. The original description said that “Licenced Artists” would receive 51% (which appears considerably more generous that red bubble and similar services). A real problem was flickr had include a lot of Creative Commons images, without regard to the licence type, and the submitting photographer Many of the flickr community where understandably upset  and flickr has wisely decided to remove any creative commons works, for the moment and refund on any purchases.

I think the scheme is fine but it should be based on an opt-in or at least and invitation to participate for selected images (it is supposedly curated after all). The good outcome is flickr reacted quickly and in tune with their community.

Are you listening google+ and facebook?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Trial ...that slipped away

My eye issues interrupted my trial of OnOne's Photo Perfect Suite 9, the only photo I got to process in earnest was this one, to submit to PhotoFriday's theme last week. Somewhat ironically I ended up using just the tools/features I have come to like from version 8.5. Such is Life. I did notice the big improvement in the browser speed.

So Suite 9 is a serious contender to run in the browser mode before importing into lightroom, to add metadata, select and star the best and cull the duds. Unfortunately I didn't get to play with the smart photo edits (which supposedly lets you revisit past edits)


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Instant Photos (in a digital age)

I notice target are promoting the very cute little Fujifilm instax mini 8 camera,(its also available in other chain stores like JB HiFi and even officeworks and comes in a range of colours not just pink) which use a polaroid like style of instant picture development system. It is not digital and uses special film (which is freely available and not prohibitively expensive) to create small photos,  …but almost instantly.

Most kids today will not know of the excitement of watching a polaroid develop for the first time and the thrill of getting the physical picture immediately. So there will me a period of wide eyed wonderment! However these one-off small pictures may not be what a modern kid wants since you can’t upload them to instagram, doesn’t come with a phone app etc…

So what has happened to instant photography in the digital era? Most significantly Polaroid (and Kodak) famously stopped production of their instant films. A dedicated group of enthusiast banded together, the are now called the impossible project, bought the_IGP0298 polaroid equipment and now produce a range of film (albeit expensive, it works out at about $2 per shot), So the charm of those white bordered prints lives on, at least for some. There is a nice summary of the Status of Instant Photography in the blog post by Cameron Knight.

The other way to get an almost instant prints is to pair up your phone or digital camera via Bluetooth or WiFi to a suitable printer (not all camera and printers allow this but many of the most recent models do). The difficulty is finding a suitably portable printer and this is where polaroid are currently betting their future, they have teamed up with Pogo, which have been producing portable printers that use Zink technology (it stands for zero ink and use special paper impregnated with dye crystals that start transparent but change to colours when heated)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Update on Christmas gift ideas for Photographers in Melbourne

I was visiting the mga gallery, the Monash Gallery of Art (it has specialised in Photographic collection and  I am a member of the friends of gallery) and browsing through their small shop. When I realised I had overlooked a great source of christmas gifts in my previous list, So if you are still looking for a gift for a keen photographer and you live in Melbouirne, the  MGA gallery is worth a visits. It has an amazing range of things in their smallish gift shop; photo centric badges and button, through the fisheye keyring (shown on right) that can snap onto your smart phone (and they also have the macro lens version), through a range of classic plastic film cameras to a very comprehensive range of the best photo books and well as other refined but less photographic gifts. A stop off at the mga Cafe is a way perfect to keep this all low stress shopping and enjoyable. If you live out on the east side of Melbourne you might also consider a gift of a Friends of the Gallery Membership, they organize plenty of activities to interest almost everyone.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

The Patch :: Leading Lines & ‘tis the Season

My eye problems over the past couple of weeks means I have not been carrying my camera or out taking photos so this next the patch has come quickly. Today I saw this composition in a local shopping mall so I only had my trusty old HTC/Wildfire Phone to get a photo.
Comparing original photos and various processing options
Whilst I did try a HDR Camera image (it takes and processes the image in your phone). I liked the simple phone photo more and have used Perfect photo to clean up the noise, used dynamic tonal adjustment and warmed the colours as my leading lines composition.

Apologies to Cliff, for being so similar, but maybe its the problem of having such generic shopping “temples” .

Duplicate Duplicity

I’m getting very puzzled by the number of duplicates turning up each month. I have the Exclude duplicated clicked when I load anything via Picasa, but I have noticed that sometimes the other default to delete photos after loading in the after copying selection, is changed to leave card alone and so the picture might remain on the card for reloading another time (normally exclude duplicates then puts a cross against those images (so I avoid loading them twice)

So the problem remains why is it happening now? Also it seems to be far more common when loading from my Canon EOS DSLR than any other cameras., Further it is often only a few photos that are duplicated in a batch. So I’ve tried out loading with picasa and then overloading with a few other software and it seems that the most likely suspect is ligfhtroom. Perhaps it happens to be running when I insert a card but because it is so slow it only gets a chance to load a few images. However the problem is I don’t have lightroom set up to autoload images.

I’d be interested if anyone else has seen this lately.
So for the moment its back to checking as backup I my images and move them to the archive.

Photocentric Personal Gifts :: Last Call

I realise this post is probably getting a little late because the time has almost run out to have this delivered from overseas (unless you are happy to pay for priority frieght). However there is still time if you act this week and look for a local source. You can get your photos reproduced on almost anything today but there are a few favourites, like calenders, photobooks and wall canvases, but a few things like T-shirts, Photo Mugs and Mouse Mats that have probably become passé. Here is a list of some newer items, old favourites and the services that offer them online (just click on the icons to get to their sites). Big W and Ted’s offer on-line ordering and in-store pickup.Tthe photo processor in your local shopping canter may also offer similar gifts.

Photo Christmas Cards

This is one area you will need to get your act together straight awa,, to get the cards back in time to post before Christmas. A number of the offerings are just flat (postcard) style so check that the cards are folded style and perhaps include envelopes.

Home Decor

While many of the items offered in this category have been around for a while it has become a popular grouping in services offering photo gifts

Wall Art

The generally means canvas print, but can cover a wide range of photo blow ups and frequently includes framing (which is usually expensive).  The following services are all Australian based, but check delivery dates & freight options and costs.


Sorry, Throw Pillows!, this could be a fad but the products on offer do look good and could easily become loved.



These are perhaps wall calendars are a little over used as gifts but I know one’s I have produce in the past have been well appreciated. I have prepared more thus year as gifts, Keep to the simpler formats and show off your photo skills so the calendars are more personal and unique. Some services offer desk calanders, perfect gifts for working proud parents.



Whilst these have been around some time and ideal for personal gifts. They have been a bit complicated to prepare and expensive to have produced. The Cost and easy of set up have improved along with the general quality. Although it is still true that good quality costs a little more. The key Item in choice now will be delivery times.

Cases & Skins

Quiet a few services now offer Phone and Tablet “covers” (normally a vinyl or plastic sleave/skin for the back) The level of protection these offer may not be much but they can look good. Given all the models and sizes you will need to double check what’s available. The Iphone, Ipad models Samsung Galaxy models seem to have the most services offering such customisable products.


Before you order check the deliver dates. You will probably have to join, set up an account, to use the on-line services.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Photocentric Stocking Stuffers

The past few years I have had a look around at the paraphernalia and small gadgets photographers (and aspiring photographers) may like. I try to keep the price down so they are good stocking fillers or perhaps a gift into a Kris Kringle or for a relative. Well the things at the cheaper end are pretty much the same as previous years,sorry but that’s life. So I have added a couple of more expensive things you could consider
True Stocking fillers for photographers
Well outside the usual suspects, mugs that look like lenses, lens cleaning kits and lens pens , or USB Memory Card Readers I can’t see much in the under $20 range that might excite a photographer anymore.
The one possible exception is memory, SD cards are getting larger capacity (but not all cameras can use the high capacity SDHC cards (so check camera make model, most older cameras will be able to handle the Straight Sd models with come in 1 & 2GB capacities). In simple terms an 8 GB (gigabyte) card will be large enough for any photographer, perhaps except for those taking high Definition movies. After capacity, the faster the card the better (its show as the the number inside the @ symbol or called class, larger numbers are faster, again make sure the camera can read these newer cards). Well known brands like Scandisk and Lexar are a little more expensive but likely to be more reliable. (~AUD$9.99+)
If you are considering giving SD cards perhaps include an SD card Wallet as well.
Slightly More Expensive and Just for Fun
Selfie Poles, (and monopods) seem to me the big new toy this year. Frankly I’m not so sure they are necessary but there are a lot of damn selfies these days all disturbing close up and distorted, and all so similar. So anything to change the view (ie get a bit further away and thus less distorted) could be an advantage (ie give you more views on Social media). The extender pole shown here with the butterfly bracket caught my eye. Importantly it has a remote trigger in the handle (you do need to plug in a cable to your earphone jack) and no (expensive) app to have to download. (~$30 to AUD$100)
The Photoshop Fridge Magnet set is a bit pricy and I can not find any Australia Distributors, but it is available from Photojojo (who have a good reptuation delivering here but you’ll need to add priority UPS delivery to get things by Christmas). It looks like fun, you get magnets that are Abode PS menus, toolbars and Pop-up Dialgue box. Stick your photos to the fridge door (or a magnetic noticeboard and create the illusion that your are a mater photoshopper! (~USD$25 plus frieght)
More expensive but likely to be useful/appreciated
Vouchers are often seen as a cop-out but giving the voucher for a photo book can be the right trigger for the lucky person receiving the gift to produce something they will be proud off. If you know someone that takes hundred of photos but they all just sit on their computer or cloud account consider giving them a photo book voucher (starting in the range AUD $50 to $100 should get you a decent 20 page book). You may find cheaper offers around but you probably want to make sure that doesn’t come with an extra and expensive deliver and or too few pages
Stylus pen for Ipad (or Android Tablet), most of the hype for these is around Paper for IPads app and I gather its been a bit of a hit and miss affair. What I have heard first hand is that wacom’s bambo or intuos stylus have better drivers/compatibility for a whole range of applications including many photo editors, making tasks that are difficulty for fat fingers a breeze. (~AUD$30+)
A simplie fun drawing app (free or low cost) or itunes voucher to get such an app might be a nice addition so the pen can be used straight away.
Speaking of tablets and pens, I can strongly recommend having a pen tablet input for most photo processing software. These can be expensive but a simple system to start with is the bamboo fun pen & touch. Which comes bundled with both Adobe Photo Shop Elements (Mac or Windows) & Corel Painter Essential (windows only) and by looking around you will probably get this at a good price (~AUD$ 220+).
Finally a word of warning. if you intend  buying camera gear, like new cameras, lens, or even tripods for an existing photographer. It is important you check with them that it is firstly suitable/compatible and that they would actually use it. To avoid a very expensive present that sits on the shelf.

PS If you are in Melbourne the mga gallery has a great range of photographically oriented gifts 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Google+ Photo Playing with itself

I tuned on google+ photos autoback a couple of weeks ago (and forgot to turn it off) so google+ has been not only auto-enhancing my images It has now also been adding auto-effects (in this case a grotty border), Then awarding them as autoawesomes. I have no idea why this phone photo of an incomplete clay sculpture I was working on (taken just for my own reference) would get such auto-attention!

Stop it Google+ your just embarrassing yourself.

My Autoawesome Blooper Album is getting very full (but remains still largely unviewed)