Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cartoonize yourself

my WEG caricature A really great Melbourne  identity died this week, the cartoonist William Ellis Green, better known as WEG. I am lucky enough to actually have one of his caricatures of me.
The WEG story I like most, happened earlier this year when a burglar broke into his home. When the police arrived and asked for a description he said I could do better than that and dashed off a caricature. The police recognized the burgular and the story goes that 15 minutes later the guy was arrested and charged
If you don't have access to a friendly cartoonist there is a neat on-line service that can help you out, it is called BeFunky and it has a tool called cartoonizer. Their promotional  video is better than anything I could describe, so here it is -

Cartoonizer in Action from BeFunky on Vimeo.
befunkyWhen you have finished there are a number of ways you can save your work including exporting directly to a comprehensive range of popular social networking sites.

I'm sure you can have some fun with your own cartoonist on-demand!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

on the roof of the world

I have been reading Alain De Botton’s “The Art of Travel”, which features a graphic of the view from an jet airplane window, on its cover. (I’m fairly certain it is a mock up rather than a true photo mainly because there is no internal reflection). The image is accurate in that it shows the interesting phenomena of a very dark sky above the horizon, when view from the upper atmosphere, because the air above is very rarified and has little moisture thus little backscatter of light.

13-dec above the barrier ref pano 01 big-1

Taken over the great barrier reef, about 20 minutes out from cairns. (note the reflection of my shirt in the lower part of the image)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Just how many digital photos do I actually have?

I am catching up on a few things, including backing up photos from my recent travels, and I got to thinking -

"Just how many digital photos do I actually have?"

It took me a while to figure out how I might get picasa to do it. The on-line picasa help and forums weren't a lot of use other than informing me that picasa 3 can now handle a millionpicass step one photos. I didn't think I had that many. Then I read that backup would estimate the number of discs required, and figured it must also counts the files, folders etc. to do that. It is in fact very easy to do, On the tools menu find the backup pictures item and a set of dialogue boxes appear at the bottom of the screen. Ignore panel one for this process.

So don't start the back up, just selectpicasa step 2 all in panel two and picasa will go away and search through it database and get a summary of not only number of photos, but also disk space consumed and the number of CDs or DVDs required to back up everything . I had my answer now and hit cancel not burn!

Cpicassa total files 

Ok the answer is way to many photos. 141 Gigabytes! 220 CDs! That's probably a seriously bad habit!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Flickr and low band width

I have been travelling a lot recently and I tend to travel in places that have very low bandwidth connection to the net, and or I’m trying to use my Next G Modem (and the telstra ads only give you half the story, you can use their next-G in more places, that is true, but it will be  ..s  l  o  w,   …v e  r  y   s  l  o  w, …s  o    s   l   o   w   …i  t    w  i   l   l       b   e      u   n  u  s   e  a   b  l   e  )

Flickr problem Flickr seems to becoming particularly fragile when it comes to bandwidth, I’m not sure when this trend started (maybe several months ago), but it has become very susceptible to timing out. You wait ages, nothing happens, then it you are lucky an error message (and the humor of this message has well and truly worn off) or just a browser error or a hung upload process, or just simply nothing! Uploading photos and accessing discussion thread with lots of photos posted in them is virtually impossible with a dial up line or an “over shared” internet connection. Worse such simple issues look as if they might work, with a “jiggle the wires and retry”, but they fail over and over again, having restarted at the beginning each time. The result is hours of frustration.

As far as the uploading photos is concerned you have two good work around. You can email in photos (and email is more reliable on low band width, primarily because it can begin where it left off when a link times out (and the time out on emails may be more tolerant).

The second good trick is to use the flickr mobile portal.

It is a very stripped down version that is designed for phone access, and has a very clean and tight format, but only offers a limited set of feature. These include seeing recent activity (like comments on your work), upload photos and video (from your phone) and being able to view thumb nails of your photos and contacts. The thing I would like is to be able to access groups via this mobile portal, but that is not available!

Please look at improving these things flickr!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Art Class

4 panel autostitch (note two juliens)
click on images to see more detail 2 panel autostitch
3 panel autostitchpicasa collage Taken with my cameraphone and assembled with picasa collage & autostitch

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lens Disaster

I’ll be the first to admit I am hard on my field gear, from boots, sunnies, phones, computers, I own and regularly use several devices with cracked LCD screens, and super glue or duct tape repairs. All this is a fact of life, I need things to be robust and reliable, that's all I ask.

The sad case of two plastic lugs Yet I must admit I was a bit devastated by yesterday’s “office” accident. My well padded camera bag (that by the way normally tolerates a lot of rough handling, apparently rolled off my desk and possible as it fell the camera must have spilled out and when I found it the camera and lens where well separated and bag open.Worst was to come, when I inserted the lens it just popped out again. Seems two small plastic lugs are all that holds it into the bayonet fitting, and the nature of the breaks does not give me any confidence that super-gluing will succeed. The saddest part is it is my favorite lens.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Anticipating a flood

multi-image panorama of dandenong creek

rubbish from storm drains I was anticipating a peak flood in the Dandenong creek after the past two days of rain. However the flood control measures, which includes filling jells park lake, where working well. Whilst the creek was high and running fast it was spilling over its banks. One downside was with the flushing out of storm drains and gutters a lot of rubbish was ending up along the river, captured by quieter eddies. As I have been noticing for a few years now, the real litter problems is not so much plastic bags as foam cups, takeaway food containers and plastic water bottles.

Yet there is always a bright side, along with most keen gardener in Melbourne these guys seem to be appreciating the extra water. gulls enjoying higher water

Monday, December 01, 2008

smiley face 2

The lunar, venus & jupiter alignment was visiable as the sun set so I took the opportunity to do a few multi-image series that I could splice together with autostitch. The panorama below was one of the last and I used the "night scene" mode, which unfortunately over exposed and blurred out the moon and the planets but it produced wonderful colours aqnd lighting.

smiley face 1

There is supposedly rare cosmic alignment going on right now. Happily the cresent moon, venus and jupiter are ligned up like a smiley, :) the universal emotion for happiness.
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Barista School

Multi-image panorama created with autostitch

Making a good coffee is as much an art as taking a good photography. Having the best subject, best equipment is not enough you still need inspiration, experience and understanding of the medium as well. Even with the best beans and the best espresso machine you still need a dedicated barista's touch to appreciate the magic. As well as great coffee I had enough photos for firstly create a super wide panorama using autostitch then use mosaic maker to create a multi-image mosaic (you will need to click on the image below to appreciate the "detail").

The panorama from the top is given the photo impression treatment

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008


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Vertical stitching

20-nov The grey polluted and rain soaked Jakarta afternoon appears to be growing new sky scrapers each hour. It is a very vertical story like the tallest trees in a forest and not something that the normal landscape mode photo with a wide angle lens does any justice to. Even tilting the camera to the portrait mode (long axis running vertical) may not help a lot. Using a stitching program vertically (autostitch does this automatically, but other software may require rotation of the images to be stitched first) can produce a convincing tall image.

pano-4 new sky scrapers appear to be growing each day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

More mutli-photo stuff

This Photosynth is based on the very quaint Victorian Artist Society building in Eastern Hill Melbourne. This time I have managed enough overlap to get 100% synthy (a weird measure used by microsoft to record the “overlappingness” of the images). Despite being over towered by the more mundane architecture of the eye & ear hospital, this place keeps the charm of an interesting time in Australian Art. You can almost see Roberts. Streeton and McCubbin chatting on the steps.

You can see other photosynths I have created here.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

More Collage Fun

collage settings in picasa I must admit I do like photo collages, they give you the opportunity to show more than one aspect of a subject at a time. This creates a lot more interest in the viewer. The downside with collages was they can be very time consuming to prepare. Ok there are a lot of automatic photo mosaic and collage software but most just quickly deliver a boring result. My complaint was that most are very predictable and symmetrical. Then along came the new layouts in picasa 3.0, just enough freedom to play and create something unique. The collage below is the based on the frame mosaic, a square format, with a gaps between images, a related background photo, and drop shadow generated for each photo panel. All fun to do, rather than tedious.

Collage of the Sanrindham Rotunda

This collage is various view of the Rotunda on the Sandringham foreshore. Architectural subjects really lend themselves to having multiple views.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Turning off the Photo Viewer

picassa viewerWhen I first downloaded picasa 3.0, and looked at the new features,  I must admit I thought the picasa photo viewer was a pretty nifty, fast and easy and it "transparently" overlayed the view of the image over the working window, rather than opening yet another window frame. It also creates and iphoto style film strip under the image and  it gives you access to a number of picasa actions like zooming in uploading to the web & emailing without having to fire up picasa.

viewer settingsWell I've come to the conclusion I'd rather fire up picasa to do things with my photos and just want explorer to handle images as before. Now the pesky  problem of how to restore the default viewer for all those graphic file types. It turned out to easy. Under tools menu in Picasa select the item Configure Photo Viewer an you will see the dialogue (show on the left), and tick the don't use Picasa Photo Viewer line and it will not appear and you will be back to your previous setting. If I change my mind I just have to visit tools/configure photo viewer again and change my selection