Sunday, September 30, 2007

Get close, its spring

Close up on an orchid 

Now is the right time (well in the southern hemisphere, it is) to get out in your garden (or some one else's, these photos are all from my mother's garden) and get up close to the magnificent spring display. Close up photos, where the image is close to the size of the original are usually referred to as Macro Photography. Most digital cameras, and a lot of camera phones, these days have a macro setting, usually indicated by a button of setting on the lens marked with a flower. When you get up close you may find your run into few special issues, If you are using a view finder, you may find the image you captured is half cropped off (so it is better to use the camera LCD screen to frame your photo before you take it). When you are close up depth of view (not normally seen as an issue on digital cameras) will mean you may only be able to focus on part of the flower, so don't be afraid to take a few shots and move the camera in and out, till the results are pleasing. With an intricate flower a slightly out of focus background can enhanced the image. Your camera manual may have some other good advice on using that unused marco feature, for close up images.

collage created with Picasa Block mounted and hung as a collection

Close up flowers can make wonderful mosaics, or can be striking as a collection hung together on the wall.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

my beach

My Beach Pano-1 

For PhotoFriday topic the beach

Night moves

P1010002v P1010007vP1010001


Most cameras have a night scenes mode (usually indicated by a pictogram with a crescent moon) and it will lengthen then exposure time, however if there is something moving, like a car with its headlights on, you will just get a streak of light. Yet this in itself can be appealing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Make your cameraphone into a scanner

Qipit is a great little website and applet. It allows you to send in a photo taken with a digital camera or even a mobile phone, and the website converts it into a more conventional scanned image. Great for recording notes on white boards or handwritten notes, downloadable as a PDF, emailed or sent to you as a fax. All you need to do the test it out is email your image to

original photo as scanned by qipit

I thought I should try out the service with a very ordinary, low contrast, low resolution photo of a badly hand written page. I was impressed with the result but received an email saying -

Qipit has scanned your image but the resulting document may not be satisfying because the resolution of your original image is too low.

To avoid this:

  1. Ensure that your camera phone is 1 megapixel or greater. This information is generally found near the lens of the camera.
  2. Ensure that your camera is set to the appropriate resolution and image quality 
  3. Ensure that your camera is not resizing images

If you like the service you should register, its free, you can store up to 100 pages.

original photo as scanned by qipit

This last test pair, I wanted to try out what happened to a real object, and it worked well.

The leaning trees of inner Adelaide

Botanic Garden: Leaning East & South Rundel road: hanging to the West Hindmarsh square : tilting to the east Botanic Garden : leaning to North

I have noticed something strange in the older and taller trees of central Adelaide, they all lean. I can not see a simple explanation, like prevailing winds or swelling soils. They all just appear to have their own personal leans and twists, whilst retaining a calm balance as they ignore the bustling world go by below.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A charming Victorian Glasshouse

Palm Court - Adelaide Botanical Gardens

The palm court in the Adelaide botanical gardens, dates back to the Victorian era and whilst such a glass house is very suitable for the kew gardens in the UK, It may just get a fraction hot in Adelaide, so no wonder the place is now specializes for the dry vegetation of Madagascar, and just one palm.

Palm Court Central sectionl Palm Court  east wing

The glasshouse was imported from Bremen In Germany in 1875, and is thought to be the only one of its kind.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Patterns on Patterns

Picasa Multi-Exposure Collage of an image and The Gimp Filters/Edge-detect/Neon manipulation of the same imageThe Gimp Filters/Distorts/MosaicPaint.NET Effects/Outline

I tend to avoid the fancier features of photomanipulation packages, not sure why, possibly I'd rather do the picture forming in the viewfinder. However photos like those of the tree branches in my previous post, those with strong patterns, can make great images to manipulate.

An overhead photomosaic

A multi-image Photomosaic Panorama

collage-1 Yesterday I was walking under an avenue of deciduous trees that made a wonderfully patterned canopy, but even a wide angle lens would not adequately capture the effect, so I turned to the multi-image panorama solution. Be warned however not all multi-image photomosaics will automatically turn out for the best, Autostitch and similar program are written with the assumption that they will have a conventional landscape view, with a horizontal horizon and vertical trees or building as a reference, The tops and bottom of the image may need to be stretched to maintain this. When you don't have strong horizontal or vertical lines the stretching can be unpredictable, so you may need to tinker with your software's setting.

Autostich with Auto Straighten ON Autostich with Auto Straighten OFF

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Rainforest Fantasy

Rainforest Fantasy, originally uploaded by imageo.

This fantastic rainforest flower was photographed in the Bicentennial Conservatory house at The Botanical Gardens of Adelaide

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

opening up your ability to share

Windows Live Tools Windows Live, or the latest beta update, available for down now by clicking here, is Microsoft's attempt to catch up into the web 2.0 social networking- , photosharing- and blogging- -verse. Yahoo's Flickr and Googles, Picasa and blogger already have done this for some time. the software comes with four tools, the Window Live Messenger, a rebadging of the tried and true instant message system, Windows Live Email, which is Hotmail on steroids that give you a workable way to also access multiple pop mail services, next comes the nice looking Window Live Photo Gallery, which is a stripped down version of the tools in Vista, with nice web publishing/upload features, and finally Window Live Writer, a nice and simple tool to edit blog posts in a WISYWIG way.

Screencapture of Live Photo Gallery

I'm not convinced Photo Live Gallery is a patch on picasa, but it is simple and free. If uploading photos to your web presence is frustrating, give it a try. the only downside is it does the thumbnail versions of your photo on the fly and this can be slow

Live writer works nicely with blogger, much better than the word macro I downloaded for blogger I uploaded some time ago. The nicest feature is writers ability to find the format template of your blog by uploading a temp post (which it also them deletes. The only downside is it doesn't do blogger's labels, something I have been routinely.

More purple


Saturday, September 08, 2007

PhotoFriday :: Purple

for PhotoFriday's topic purple

A bee out enjoying the spring sunshine and the lavender blossom

Friday, September 07, 2007

More Lunacy

More Lunacy, originally uploaded by imageo.

You don't have to just print your digital photos, in this age of google there are dozens of site like Dumpr, I used their rubiks cude tool, that offer nifty little applets and widgets to do fun things with your photos online.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sunrise Sunset

Sunset Noumea

if your the sort of photographer than wants to precisely plan your trips and photo opportunities a little in advance, why not try out one of the new FD flikrtoys, called Sunset, it gives you a table of the local sunrise and sunset times along with phase of the moon anywhere in the world for the next month.

The hour before sunset, and particularly the hour after sunrise, are called the golden hours. As well are the warmer tone in the light, it will generally be less harsh (more defuse and thus flattering) and so there will be a better balance between highlights and shadows. A notable exception is the strong silhouette that can be achieved aiming straight at the subdued sun.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

STOP PRESS :: Inkjet ink cost $4,000/litre

Today I came across a very interesting article on the Choice Magazine online website. The truth is out there. Inkjet printer ink could be costing you up to $4000 a litre. It is not uncommon to have paid more in ink within a year of purchasing a new inkjet, some of the newer "dirt" cheap models my cost more to replace the ink than the printer cost to start with.

So what can you do about it?
  1. Make use of the best on-line deals (eg Print@kodak, SnapFish, even Bigpond) or photo kiosks (I use the instore PrinTED Kiosk in Ted's Camera stores, and have gotten consistantly good results, also try Harvey Norman and Kmart, or the kiosks in most chemists these days). If you shop around a bit and get a decent number of photo printed at a time you will find this the cheapest way to get prints, but be careful you may get what you pay for.
  2. Run the risk, and don't replace the ink when the printer driver tells you too, in other words don't rely on the printer driver's software to tell you when the ink is low. I find I can usually get another 20-25 A4 sized prints, or equivalent, after the driver pops up te message to change the ink.
  3. Go high risk, use refill or generic brands, well if you read your printer documentation you will find that using non genuine inks will probably void your guarantee. So far I have resisted the urge to do so, but lots of people do and I haven't heard any hard luck stories yet. I've had a quick look around the net but I'm not sure I want to just trust the claims of refill suppliers. With the price of the printer falling below the price of the replacement ink cartrdidges just how much is that warranty worth anyway?

    Here is a good inkjet troubleshooting guide from Tech Republic.
I've removed the links to the choice website as these articles no longer exist. Apr 2012

Monday, September 03, 2007

Accessing Flickr on low bandwidth

Flickr is often cited as the great example of Web 2.0 social networking and interactivity, but whilst it can be free to use it comes at a price. The price is the bandwidth, that used for displaying photos, large graphic/pixel output is consumed. Uploading photos can be equally frustrating. If you live in the low bandwidth world (especially those using dial up modems and overstretch home networks, as your kids download from YouTube) you might find flickr frustrating slow to use, or maybe it will be straight out unusable. I have a Next-G wireless broadband modem, which is heavily advertised by Telstra as a modern day technology wonder, and whilst good around the city it can be painful using flickr out in the sticks

There are some ways and tools to easy such stress

  1. Upload via email, you can get your own unique email address to email your photos to flickr and they will get posted into your photo stream, and optional additional address can be used to both post your photo on flickr and then post the email text and photo to you blog. You find the setting under your account, personal information, email (This can take a bit of setting up, and testing so do the set up on a higher broadband access)
  2. Use the ability to change the layout of your photostream so that you just use the small images only or small images and sets. This significantly reduces the amount of image related pixels to be downloaded before it is displayed.

  3. Set up a favorites link directly to the your photos page, this will avoid flickrs front door (main page) and all the ads etc. it contains

  4. If you are using your own computer, tick the keep me signed in box, at sign in time. This avoids the log in page next time you log in. BE WARNED you should never use this, remember me, feature at a public computer (eg at school or a library, or a cyber cafe) and the next users will be able to access your account, and possibly do naughty things

    Flickr obviously recognizers that mobile phone access suffers greatly because of band width and screen size so they have a separate portal for mobile access. However there is nothing stopping you using that from a low bandwidth connected computer. OK the photos are small and menu options are very limited but it does work well and most importantly FAST.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Photo friday :: Insignificant

For photofriday insignificant

Once upon a time a few insignificant marks on the sand could be read and understood, perhaps it marked the return of a plentiful food supply, marking of breeding teritory or just a pleasant day for a stroll. Unfortunately such knowledge maybe impossible to relearn, even with a telephoto lens.