Monday, November 28, 2016

Biggest Notan Sketch to date


It was a very pleasant afternoon and I was waiting for a new contact lens so I took the time to make a quick notan sketch before I took a three panel panorama on my phone.

big pano

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thinking Outside the Frame

#330 Am I Spending Too Much Time On Instagram
This photo was almost an after-though, since I hadn’t taken a daily photo to post on flickr. I did take a couple of others but came back to this one as it summarized where I had “misspent” by photographic energy. You see I’ve become a little hooked on the idea of making the 3 column grid view in Instagram work as a secret place to display bigger images. In a strange twist this humble image made it onto explorer and there have been 1000s views over night. The real hero is actually over on Instagram @oz_endless_summer, and is meant to be promoting my photo project next year.

I first got the idea looking at making a photo of water lilies into a more painterly image. I knew Monet created a few large painting that needed to be displayed together. So it was not a big step to split my panoramic view up into 3 square images. I probably really confused my followers but slowly I can see they are starting to look at my grid view.

I have since found that there are a few others doing similar multi-panel posts and even found a tool called Instagrid that will do the splitting. However its a bit tedious to use because Instagram doesn't let 3rd party apps upload images so the individual panes still have to be manually uploaded via an official Instagram supplied app. Anyway I’m having a bit of creative fun

Saturday, November 26, 2016

PhotoProject ::Getting in Close to the Flowering Grasses

It was mainly the pollen of various pasture & native grasses that where implicated in the storm induced asthma crisis on Monday, so I have been looking at some of the fascinating “grass heads”. Quite an inspiring subject for an ongoing Macro PhotoProject.

_IGP8277-Edit _IGP8307

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Death By Update (again)

The modern version of the Blue Screen of Death
My joy at having my little HP Spectre home again was very short lived. Last Friday Window’s 10 updated itself and progressively lapsed into the same crashing, hanging and blue screen of death restart symptoms as before until today it can no longer finds its own boot sector, so back to the store again today.
Deep Dream of a Favourite Computer fading away (again)

After the Storm

Melbourne after the storm

Melbournians are still coughing and sniffling after a set of strong thunder storms following strong north winds that bought a lot of grass pollen over the city. The storm apparently fragmented the pollens into smaller particles cause a significant number of asthma attacks including 4 deaths. Our Hospital and ambulance services were stretched to capacity.

Ok enough winter, where is summer hiding?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Notan Versus Zone System

Edsel Adam’s Zone System is a lot like a multi-tonal notan system, It has 11 steps  that correspond to how he could capture light to dark on a negative. Ansel choose to use just 11 there were some variant before his that use 7 or 12, because that gave him a 5 stop range, which he was confident a black and white film negative could capture at the time. Each zone covering half a stop. One F-stop corresponds with a doubling of the quantity of light (luminosity). Using and odd number does mean the average grey tone is centered in the scale. This is magic tonal your camera is trying to average the exposure of the image. Thus this will be one of the intervals rather than fall between them. There are lots of Zone System Charts on the web (like the one below). However few are design as field references, and further most discussion of the Zone system on the web related to post processing.


Ansel numbers his zones starting at the Darkest Black, whereas I see many US based artists tend to start there numbering from the White. The numbers don’t matter really it is understanding where the tones lie in the image. More importantly where they might sit compared with an average exposure, and where you might want them in your final photo. I have put together another little field Chart/Guide this time with the 11 tonal steps. It is more useful as a guide on how you might arrange the tonal mapping for your final photo/print than an aid to composition.

My Extended Notan Field Gague

When I was putting together these notan guides I was using the RGB scale to select by neutral grays. Any colour with the same value for R (red) G (Green) and B (Blue) becomes a neutral grey colour. Since White R,G,B is 0,0,0 and Black R,G,B is 255,255,255 I had assumed that the grey midtone would be half way between ie R,G,B 128,128,128 but it just appeared a fraction or two dark to me (and warmer). I have since discovered that both Adobe RGB (& sRGB supposedly) use a gamma encoding to adjusted scaling that is a type of power curve so the steps not linear. The table below gives the RGB values of the 11 tonal zones above. This difference is subtle but could affect and Tonal check cards you would like to make yourself.

























Sunday, November 13, 2016

Following the sun into Terre Napoleon

Endless Sumer Freycinet_Map
This is a very rough map of the places I am planning to visit for my endless summer project next year.

Voici un plan approximatif pout mon voyage l'année prochaine.
Je comprendes beaucoup des endroit ont été visitéspar Baudin et nous aurions pu facilement être français (Terre Napoléon). Il est approprié a utilisé cette plan, première carte jamais publiée avec un littoral complet. La carte est basée sur les cartes de Baudin mais a été compilée par les frères Freycinet et François Peron.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Small but Fast

I must admit yesterday was a day of Joy at how fast and easy it was to do all things photographic from uploading and culling my photos, to processing them with a big screen TV monitor attached in a lightroom that flys again (thanks to an SSD drive). Lets hope Windows 10 on my little HP Spectre doesn’t updated its self to death again.

The aspect I noticed the biggest difference in was the time taken was in my unnecessarily elaborate panoramic postings to 2016-11-10-17-22-30Instagram. I’m splitting the images into three square images from a 3:1 aspect ratio, so that when when viewed as a 3 across grid you see the larger picture. (I like thinking outside the frame, You probably see that in a lot I do). Because I can post directly into Instagram from the HP Spectre, (the Instagram app must consider it a Tablet) the method didn’t take so long just some cropping in Picasa and export the files to my Film Roll (bloody apple-esceness terminology everywhere) and upload them from there. Just takes a few minutes at most.

However when the HP Spectre was away I had to use my android phone to do the upload to Instagram. At first it didn’t seem such a big deal, I have the LG PC Suite which can transfer files, music and photos to the Phone via WiFi.  The trouble was the android upload was slow and involved jumping out of Instagram to find the next picture, yet it was workable just slow. Then I discovered Insta Grid which can do the split into 3by1 3by2 up to 3by5 grids, seemed perfect BUT it doesn’t automatically do the upload to Instagram. It does help you by guiding which sub-photo to upload next, BUT I found Instagram on the phone would often stall on loading an image part way through the sequence, very frustrating, not only that the process from having chosen the photo and down loading it to the phone to completed uploaded was now often taking 20 minutes. The long and short of all this was I had created something interesting but it was long winded and tedious to do from my phone.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Third in the Series


My third daily photobook arrives

My Third Photobook (the third 100) in the series of this year Daily Photo Project arrived today. I love these little 20cm square books from Snapfish (especially when I can get them at a discount).They are easy to share and have the benefit of being physical, compared with Instagram or a flickr album. However they were made directly from my Daily Photo flickr album (so the process was easy).

If you haven’t made a photobook yet, Put together some favourite photos now (that’s the hardest part) and Then drop hints or even directly ask for a gift voucher to create a photobook for Christmas. Starting with the small economical books like my 20 by 20cm size from snapfish is a great way to start.

The awkward return of my prodigal PC

After two full weeks away, including a trip to HP Singapore and back, my sick HP Spectre is back home. “Does it work?” was the first question and superficially it does. The Tech speak was “Reimage ok Passed all UEFI tests” which meant the disk was cleaned off (the upgrade USB I was three weeks ago had already done that!) and a new system image installed (the USB key failed to do that!) and the hardware tested ok. Great, but don’t get excited too soon.

The first task was to connect to the internet, sync up the blue tooth mouse and reset my user account and one drive, All good so far. Then I tried to connect to myaftershot error Home group, very tediously nothing, ask to join and waiting while the operating system was considering the password for ages then just ignoring anything new on the network.Well at one stage I got to see the network printers. Then bugger! The computer just restarted itself (maybe an upgrade?) What about the Windows 10 Store to download a few things. Damn that wants authorization again (that’s the third message and code to my phone). Now its trying to download all my windows 10 apps. Time for a coffee. Arrrrh! another unscheduled restart. At least its not the blue screen of death (better only whisper that)

adobe errorNow I had the task of reloading the software I normally use (my many photographic mistressess). That’s where the disappointment really set in. whilst I could install picasa all my other decent photo applications refused to install, with similarly unhelpful error messages during the assembly component.Why all suffered similar problems was a mystery but I decided to down load a fresh install from lightroom (not a good choice because it is huge). About 10 minutes into the 25 minute download you guessed it my system decided to do a restart. so with only about 30% download complete. I was able to restartimage  and continue but now it said it would take 2 hours, I’ve seen Microsoft exaggerate download time before so I pressed on. Three hours later and 6 restarts later no photo software had been installed and the lasts restart suggested 3 hours to go although the download was 700MB into the 800MB+ of the lightroom setup file. Time for bed and let it go and get the computer ready to go back to the store in the morning!!!!

In the morning all I could find was a totally blank screen with a mouse cursor I could move around. Pressing the on/off switch bought up the slide down to shutdown screen. But sliding down just got me back to the blank screen, Several on/off and holding down the key for longer and longer. I finally got the system to restart BUT it was doing an update at 100%. A 15 minute wait and the update started again at 10% and crawled its way back to 100%. Finally it restarted AND has been working fine since. I now have my cluster of photo software installed and tested and ready to use.

Welcome back my most prodigal little friend, but don’t try that again.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Unexpected Google Let Down ... Yet Again

Trying the make a post today I keep getting a Token Response Error from Open Live Writer, seems google isn't playing fair with OAuth again.

Lets hope it gets fixed because Open Live Writer is the key component that makes Blogger usable. Don't just leave it to the Open LiveWriter team to fix Google, DO SOMETHING POSITIVE FOR A CHANGE...FIX IT or help the Open Live Writer Team understand why you are doing this.

Having to use the web interface for blogger to post this is, just bring out arcane the blogger tools are.

PS :: OK I fixed it myself, I had to "reconnect" the blog and google asked if I could authorize the blogger api for Open Live Writer. I did and the error disappeared.  So Google had forgotten me!

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

User Interaction on Chromecast

2016-11-06_15-57-16_HDRI have been using Chrome cast to put my photos on a big screen (primarily on a Big LCD Screen, but also on my “home theatre” projector*) and the results are great but I have very limited interaction. The remote control falls short in so many ways. I can use my mouse and pen/stylus BUT the lag is unbearable if you are looking at the big screen and you can not see the mouse cursor anyway. So Chromecast FAILS on the user interaction front, its strengths are streaming videos and automated slideshows (it is a consumption device)

For this reason I have a short-ish (3m) HDMI cable and always plug my laptop in via it if I want to do any photo editing on the big screen.Image result for hdmi logo I can easy put the laptop down on the coffee table and use my wireless mouse (or even my blue mouse if I want more distance). Also I have a Wacom Bamboo Tablet (with a 1m USB cable just long enough to reach the coffee table)). So I can sit back on the couch (2.5m back from the TV) and work comfortably from the TV screen, no lag and I can see the cursor. I can also set the TV up as a second monitor (another thing you can not attempt with Chromecast).

I have long held the view that images (and particularly photographs) look different at different sizes, and you really are not taking photographs until you blow them up, frame them and display them on the wall, preferable some else’s, or an exhibition. Previewing an image on a Large Screen TV or Projector is getting very close to that criteria.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Using your Shadow as a “free” Light Meter

I was sure I had written about this before, but can not find the post at the moment. However I “discovered” this handy trick a long time ago. If you have a digital camera or camera phone and can see what you last photographed and its a sunny enough day that you cast a shadow, you have a “free” Light meter. I know you camera probably already has a good one built in, that seldom fails, but hereif a nice way to check it is not being fooled by the light or malfunctioning. Alternatively you might just prefer to shot in Manual.

Under Exposed Well Exposed Over Exposed

Just turn you back to the sun and point your camera down at yours shadow. it helps if there is some texture on the ground both in and outside the shadow. Take a picture and look at the texture. If the texture in the shadow is really hard to decipher you’ve under exposed. If The texture inside the shadow is fine but the part out in the sun is bleached out and hard to decipher your over exposed. When the detail can easily be seen in both the shadows area and sun-lit areas you will have the correct exposure and  anything you photograph in the foreground of a photo will be well exposed. Providing you are not looking straight into the sun or have you camera angled up above the horizon (ie you have mostly sky)

So what to do?

Underexposed (left hand photo) needs more light on your subject so you could use the aperture ring (if you have one) to add one extra stop of light. This will double the light being sent to the sensor. The traditional f-stops are however not linear (for example f11 to f8 is considered one stop). Alternatively you can use The EV (Exposure Value) setting that most digital cameras and even smart phone camera apps now include. These normally are indicated by a small square with a diagonal split and + and – against dark and light shades. In the case of the underexposed you want to add to the EV value either select +1 EV or move the EV slider to the right (a higher positive value). The final option is you can change the shutter speed, let it stay open for longer. This is a bit easier to remember since changing from a speed of 1/120th second to 1/60th will double the light reaching the sensor during the exposure.

Overexposed (right hand photo) is just the reverse you need less light during the exposure, Shutting down the aperture (moving to a higher f-stop number) or using a negative Ev (eg –1 EV) or taking a faster shutter speed.


On a sunny day the reflections on a LCD screen can make it very hard to read, for example judging colour and tone. So this is why it is a good idea to include some strong texture. Even though there may be a strong reflection on the screen you should be able to still make out the relative texture in the shadow or sunny parts of your image.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Storing a Viewer with my off site Archive

imageThe recent hassles with a couple of my hardrive backups has got me thinking again about creating a real long term archive, one that will be useful to someone else. It is a total can of worms because the formats are not all the same, I have mainly jpeg (.jpg) version of most things but I also have original RAW files and some post processed versions as .tiff and occasionally .psd formats. It would be presumptive of me to assume that however gets the drive will know about these formats and have the software to be able to read them (the exception being the jpeg format).

I had contemplated including a downloaded (install/setup) version of adobe bridge for both Window and Mac operating systems. Instead I opted for something that doesn’t require installing and can be just run from the archive disk itself. What I choose was XnViewPortable, one of the portable apps that I have on my travelling DarkRoom USB key. It is the one viewer I have found that handles an amazing number of formats. As well as JPEG it seems to handle most RAW file format including .cr2 .pef & .dng and also handles .tiff and .psd. So all the formats I currently use could be viewed. This program is a single .exe file that can be run on any DOS or microsoft windows operating system. There is also a version called XnViewMP that allow for the other operating systems (eg. Mac & Linux) to view all these formats so I also include the READ.ME file below on the Archive Disk.

This disk contains archived photographs, in a variety of formats.
The subdirectory XnViewProtable contains a viewer program that can be run on any
Microsoft Windows computer. If you want to view the photos on other operating
systems look for the program XnViewMP (the MP stands for multi-platform) on the
internet and download the version for your operating system.