Saturday, December 31, 2016

Have a Happy & Prosperous New Year


My #endlesssummer adventure start tomorrow, you can also follow be on that as @OzEndlessSummer on twitter and/or @oz_endless_summer on instagram

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

PhotoProject :: The Art of Photography :: Assignment 1 Variations

The Suburban Bush Track 1the subiurban Bush Track 2_HDRThe Suburban Bush Track 3 UnderfootThe Suburban Bush Track 4 ShadowsThe Suburban Bush Track 5 ShadowsThe Suburban Bush Track 6 Deep Dreaming of AIartThe Suburban Bush Track 8 Reserve Perspective collageThe Suburban Bush Track 7 CompositionThe Suburban Bush Track 9 Hotter & DrierThe Suburban Bush Track 10 Australian Summer Vibe

I was looking for a place to put this gallery of photos in  just one spot and avoid reposting across the social web. (ie still looking for a suitable POSSE approach, Post [on your] Own Site, Syndicate Everywhere)  I haven’t found a viable solution yet, so this post duplicates images already posted on tumblr and/or flickr and not to forget instagram. What it shows is all the photos together.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Looking Forward, before looking Back

This time of year most folk on the social nets are looking back over the year that was, which is fine but I am focused on looking forward I am already well into the planning of new projects for next year.

Cameras need sunglasses & lens cleaners tooFirst and most significant is my endless summer in 2017 which is a private Art and Photography project visiting and recording some icon parts of the landscape in the sunshine. This brings about some technical issues which many artists and photographers struggle with. How to capture and photography the beauty of the harsh Australia Light. You can follow on my travels and work process at a few social media places including @oz_endless_summer on instagram, @ozendlesssummer on Twiter and  An Endless Summer group on flickr

Photographer's SketchbookThe second project is a Photographers Sketch Book, with is following Ted Forbe’s assignments on his You Tube channel “The art of Photograpy” Whilst the sketchbook is something very physical, you can follow along both its content and ideas behind the images on my tumblr sub-blog mapopaj

Also there are likely to be plenty of posts relevant to these projects in this blog and my normal instagram profile @apimageo

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Photographers using a Sketch Book

The idea of a photographer using a sketch book is not new. There is a wonderful scene in Alain de Botton’s documentary about his book “The Art of Travel” (this sequence starts at 40:30 in) where he takes a bus load of Japanese tourists to a quaint English village and then takes their cameras away and gives them sketchbooks!


This video link above expands on his inspiration for this actions,  based on the writings of John Ruskin

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Using Notan to Guide Post Processing

In my last post I looked at making a notan sketch and using my Notan Cards to check tones. Below is the photo I took.

Original Photo

The Camera has done a reasonable job with exposure and despite the hard lighting I have managed to get a nice blue sky as well because I have a polarizing filter. However the photo looks quiet flat compared with what I remember of the harsh light, warmth (aka heat) and cicadas throbbing chorus.

Black & White "tonemapping" step

My first task is to re-establish the tonal range. Making the pathway and tree lighter (the whites slider in light room) and a slight tweak to the darken the shadows just a little. Often using trying to understand the tonal changes (low level tone mapping) it helps to just look at a black & white Version of the image while you are doing the adjustments. There are lots of ways to do this but one of the easiest is to just take the saturation slider to zero (all the way to the left in lightroom). After doing this “tonemapping” you should bring back the colour. You might be amazed to see it has become a little more intense the colours are (in a natural way, more like you have increased luminosity slightly, not a saturation overload).

Enhanced Image (like I remembered)

I’ve downloaded the 30 day trial of On1 RAW, so I’ve also taken this image into Effects and used Dynamic Contrast, which give that almost HDR look (which I like), I’ve also added a little warmth using their Sunshine Filter.

With a little notan guidance I think I have achieved an interesting composition with an slightly but easily enhanced photo that better resembles the scene I remembered (and recorded in my sketch)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Taking Notan into the Field

It would seem I am being unreasonable to ask photographers to carry a sketchbook, even a small one, when they go out to photograph. Yet just a simple notan sketch can be a great aid to seeing better composition and understanding of tones.

simple pencil notan sketchSo here is a simple example. I’m looking at a simple path I have walk along many times, with no obvious subject. So first I prepared a little sketch in 5 tones or a composition noting a couple of points of interest. The tree trunk on the right and the shadows on the path. How to I know this? They are the only places with a full sharp contrast between dark and light. I also consider the balance between lights and darks within the mass of mid-tone. The horizon line / apparent vanishing point is close to the centre (not at the rule of thirds intersections!) but the tones are informally balanced. Not a masterpiece but has potential.

checking tones with notan cardchecking tones with notan cardchecking tones with notan card

Looking at the lightest values there are actually only two place that could be considered almost white, the tree trunk on the left and the distant section of path. The sky is a deeper blue because I am using a polarizing filter.

The shadows in the foreground are darker tan a mid-grey but lighter than blank. Perhaps even a bit darker than the fourth grey tone, which roughly correspond with the range of the shadow slider in lightroom.

I’m now ready to take my photo (see  my next blog post)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Adventures in the Grid

2016-12-11-08-39-52I don’t think I’m obsessed by grids but I am using the 3 across grid format as an integral part of my Instagram post lately. Sometimes is just posting three similar items but I do has several 1by3 or 2by3 panel mosaics in my post recently. I wonder of they confuse by viewers, (I have had a bit of a drop in followers) or is it a bit of a hassle to find the grid display.

2016-12-11-08-41-37There are actually many tools and apps like Instagrids that can help prepare the grids but they all suffer from the instagram restricted api and fact that images have to be uploaded individually from a phone or mobile device.

There are many others doing great work with grids on their instagram profiles. Timagehe biggest issue being right now. there is no common hastag or icon to indicate a picture is part of a series so the casual browser needs to recognize the photo being display may be part of a grid series and click on their user icon to get to their profile. This is not a natural action for those thumb scrollers that I notice everywhere these days. Still those in the know with a bit of time to stop and appreciate the grids there is some wonderful creativity going on

I’ve settled for the hashtags

#1by3grid  #2by3grid  &/or   #triptych

When an image spread across several adjacent squares

See you on the grid some time soon.

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Week On :: An Update & still going strong

I must admit I was dreading the next Windows 10 update for my little HP Spectre. Well it came this morning as I started the computer, so with figures crossed I let it restart itself …. well it didn’t it just turned itself off so after about 5 minutes waiting and seeing no evidence that anything was on, I restarted it. AND miracle it restarted fine and has remained so.


This time I’m running things in tablet mode more. There is however a real lack of decent photo processing software that works well in tablet mode and/or with touch screens. One exception is Polarr, which is an elegant little piece of software that can do a remarkable amount of processing with simple and largely easy to follow touch gestures and sliders. However I still prefer the precision of a pen or mouse. Polarr’s biggest draw back is you have to open each file you want to edit after locating it on the filing system. It has a film strip but thay seems to have to be manually loaded. Being able to scroll through a folder or several folders and click to then edit is a missing feature they needs to addressed asap.

When it comes to file management the field does lack something that can scroll through images like instagram or flickr. The only option I see at the moment is Microsoft Photo application, which is nothing to rave about and trying to use it to find files for Polarr to edit is tedious.

I do like tablet mode, a lot, but the fact that while the decent photography applications like Aftershot pro, Lightroom & OnOne & Nik software remain touch averse I have to keep going back to computer mode and fumble with a mouse.

Still it is a joy to have my fast little helper back.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Back from the dead …

_MG_9535My lovely little HP spectre is back from another trip to Singapore, this time with a new mother board. It started without complaint so I certainly hope it is back to full strength and can ward off the deadly effects of the next Windows 10 update!

Seriously welcome home little fella, my photography missed you. So did my blogging and instagraming

David Hockney Current @NGV

I had a short amount of time in the city today and went to the David Hockney Exhibition at NGV. It was wonderfully Inspiring, Big and Colourful. I loved it

Some Instagram post about the exhibition

I loved the comprehensive nature of what is exhibited from the tiny IPhone and IPad drawings. the large colour blow up and the videos of the painting and the multi-camera movies. Especially the Four Season, a synchronised set of 36 videos of driving down a country lane in the four Seasons. Having the experience of seeing “Bigger Trees Near Warter” full size was amazing.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Why did the magpie cross the road?

I have no idea …

Why did the Magpie cross the Road?

Better ask the chicken.

Just having a play with multi-inage collage as a way to tell a story (inspired by my instagram diversions @apimageo)

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!