Friday, March 15, 2019

#TURNOFFSOCIALMEDIA :: Work in progress

Seems there was a lot of angst generated yesterday, because the social media drip was taken away. The really sad part was that the emergency services in Australia (triple zero) has to take to conventional media  to stop ringing to report Facebook and Instagram. So sad….

Well there is a good alternative #TURNOFFSOCIALMEDIA and go and do something in the real world, the more creative the better or actually talk to someone, especially a friend. It will be really good for your health.

Yesterday I when for a walk for with my sketchbook, watercolours & pens (the actually fit in my camera bag) Sat in the sun (and strong breeze) and sketched.

Time disappeared into a flow of seeing and sketching. The only rude reminder of reality was fighting against the wind. Such is life and it is good.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

More Than A Few Cracks

I’m actually not certain that they are related but the three Internet social media services I spend a bit of time on have all shown periods of very flaky response if not just plain not allowing anything to be updates. These are flickr (a couple of days ago) Gmail & blogger (yesterday) and Instagram (today). Seems a bit of a coincidence to me.

I’ll cut flickr some slack as I know they are transferring from Yahoo hardware to SmugMug facilities, not a simple task, I’d rather not see the Bad Panda Screen. An explanation would have been nicer. Assuming they know the cause.

I see Gizmodo Australia Is reporting that gmail was down (again) yesterday. They do reference a quote from a google source that “The Problem with Gmail should be resolved” then a bit of an apology in the ame message (which amounts to nothing so I haven’t included in the quote here). No explanation of what is going on, which unfortunately is what I have come to expect from google.

Now Instagram is a bit more complex because the android and Windows 10 apps just serve up cached info (ie old data) as if it is current. Its only when I try to upload of go somewhere I haven’t recent been (eg look at a persons profile/photofeed that I see a problem &/or the” Can’t update feed” message. However the browser/web interface seems to be working albeit slowly? Looking at reported problems there seems to be a bit of meltdown going on


I’m not going to panic I’m happy to “look away” from the screens, turn off the computer, put the phone down and pick up a pencil and go sketching. Given that all these services are “free” should we complain? Yes we should, perhaps by posting a blog post like this or a tweet or whatever, perhaps its even time to consider leaving these services!


Thanks to IconTexto for the very appropriate Social Media icons and DownDector.com.au for the Instagram outage graph.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

My $10 Photobook arrives

My discount Snapfish photobook arrive in the mail yesterday. I have prepared and ordered photobooks via Snapfish before so I was confident it would be good and in fact it was great. Mainly because it forced me to documented in a physical way something that had up to then only existed in the virtual world.

This little book is mainly based on images that became popular (lots of views and favorites) via flickr’s Explore feature. There are a lot of purist and armchair warrior's that criticise this interestingness based logarithmic selection feature, that‘s ok they are entitled to, providing they explain their reasons (which few do). However I feel a little pride in having photos selected (sometimes I don’t understand the appeal of a specific image) so having them in a physical format is even more satisfying.



The real important observation for me, there is no longer any reason why you can’t take some of your photographs, particular those ones your are proud of and crate a personal photobook. Giving them a more permanent place to exist, because on the glutted stream of social media “photographs” they will soon be forgotten and lost. If your worried about cost. Prepare then now (particularly select the collection of photos to use and the rough layout) and then just wait for a decent discount offer.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Vagaries of Planning a PhotoWalk in Nature

I have been running free PhotoWalks in Jells Park (and occasionally other locations) for a couple of years, and one of the biggest issues has definitely been the weather. I seem abnormally talented at picking either rainy/stormy or super hot/glary days, of course trying to pick the daily weather months ahead is my excuse. I’m not sure I will ever be able to improve on this particularly given Melbourne’s notoriety for changeable weather. Still learning to exploit the conditions or at least not be limited by them is a great photographic skill itself.

Jell’s Park has an amazing array of birdlife, and my next PhotoWalk is in part timed to get some good bird photography opportunities. Last year around this time there were hundreds of Ibis arriving at night, a family of regularly Spoonbill cruising the lake at dusk, Herons, large flocks of Wood Ducks grazing on the lawns, So I planned a late weekday walk (to avoid crowds)  in the golden hour light before dusk. Should all be pretty reliable, given favourable weather right? Well not quiet  looking around now the Ibis have pretty much abandoned the lake (and left their favourite island a wasteland), so have the Spoonbills and only a few grazing Ducks are still around.

However all is not lost. Yesterday I went on a late afternoon scouting trip looking for the best locations and likely bird species to capture.  Rather than Ibis and Heron I saw Egrets and Pelicans. Rather than numerous ducks on the ground their were sulphur Crested Cockatoos and Galahs (not shown) and a lots of small birds flitting in and out of the light (also not shown) and plenty of cormorants, moorhens, coots and ducks.




So the next Photowalk should be really worthwhile if you want to try your hand out at photographing birds or just enjoying the afternoon light.


If you’d like to join us please Register via Eventbrite.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Revisiting & Extending my Photographic Punctuation Marks

Its been a while since I wrote about the idea of including pictorial punctuation marks in my camera’s photostream. It much handier (pun intended) than taking notes or trusting memory. As I’m taking more and more group image sets this is a very easy way to find and group like images just in the thumbnail view (eg PhotoMechanic as I load the photos where I can colour code them accordingly or in OnOne Photo RAW where I like to group Stitched Panoramas, HDR and Focus Stacked sets in their own sub–directories). This avoids a lot of wasted time churning thorough a mountain of similar images, and keeps things a little better organised.

Think of these first the hand signals as visual brackets


Panoramic Sequence, and direction of shooting. I still don’t use this all the time, because a panoramic series is usually pretty self explanatory. When I have used this I will add this marker photo before the panoramic sequence is shot. I further identify the stitched panorama series with a Green Colour Class



 HDR Bracketed Sequence, I use this to indicate I am taking 3 or 5 a photo sequence. This is another punctuation marker that I normally use to precede a sequence. I usually don’t bother put this in front of every HDR set in a continuous series (such as combined HDR and Stitch Panorama because it is relatively easy to find the groupings). I then use the Yellow Colour Class to easily identify the HDR sequences.



Focus Staking. or other multi-bracket techniques. This is a new marker because it can be very difficult to discern the beginning and/or end of focus bracketed sequences when more that two or three shots are involved. I have therefore adopted the approach of adding this at the end of each sequence. I use the Blue Colour Class to identify this type of bracketing.


I like to think of the next hand sigalns as simple punctuation marks  ; (=battery) . (=end)  ? (=cut)  ! (=good)

Battery Change, still my way of recording when I changes my battery, looking back through your photos and finding the previous battery change photo, then just subtracting the new photo number from the previous gives you the battery life in terms of number of shot per battery charge. On the Pentax DSLRs this can be weeks to months worth of shooting but on the mirrorless Olympus this is generally days to a week. Doing this let me work out I get around 750 photos from a single battery charge from my new Olympus OMD EM10iii, which is about double the claimed 330 shots.



Full Stop, End is a marker to end one series or starts another. I used this often for a variety of breaks or just simple visual markers to aid looking through a large collection.





Cut, not something I use much, but I have used this simple bit of sign language to remind myself that the previous photos should be deleted. I never just flag photos to be deleted I immediately delete them as soon as they are loaded onto my computer, I also delete this marker.





Good, another new punctuation mark just to remind me that close to this marker is a photo I liked at the time, maybe good light, composition or just that perfect moment.

Whilst I normally take both Jpeg & RAW, I usually delete the larger RAW version of any punctuation photos, as I never intend to post process them.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Now they tell me!

Flickr had indicated last November that they would not be deleting any photos previously licence under Creative Commons. Since most of my photos were That would mean I could leave the old flickr account active and nothing few images would be deleted. However the implied overriding conditions for free accounts was that I would not be able to upload any new images. Perhaps to get around this I just needed o create a new flickr account and start a fresh, but that seemed like trying to game the system to me.

My use of flickr was never to acts as an on-line photo storage instead I just wanted to use it to share photos and participate in the various photo-concentric communities so It was an easy decision for me to cull my flickr photostream.

Howvever recent posts in the flickr blog suggests maybe I interpreted things wrongly I will perhaps be able to upload new creative commons files into a free account over and above the 1000 photo limit. Such is life.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Interestingly I’d forgotten about Scout

Last weekend snapfish had a good discount on making photobooks. I’ve been using the small 20 by 20cm size as suitable to pull together small collections that are personally meaningful (eg a series of a previous 365 project). The culling of my flickr photo was still fresh in my mind so I figured it was time to prepare a book about my more popular photos on flickr (not necessarily my favourites) Most of them had been in Explore, flickr’s very useful way to display the top 500 photos on any day using an algorithm they call “Interestingness”. From my perspective the difficulty was know what has or has not been included (other than lots of views and likes). Anyway I went to prepare the booklet and realized I had culled a lot of the photos, probably about 15) that had made it into Explore (oh well such is life) they weren’t so interesting to me. I was able to prepare most of the book in record time directly downloading photos to snapfish from flickr albums with pnly a few uploads from my archive. I called the book “Confessions of a flickr freeloader” (since I have always had a free account and the book is being printed right now.

After all that was finished I realised I should have used Scout from BigHugeLABS, which will pull out your photos that have been included in scout and produce a poster (like the one below) with accompanying links to those images. Its really neat, or might have been.

1. #5/365 The Big Decision looms, 2. More Recycling, 3. INKtober Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, 4. Towards the old Exhibition Building, 5. Before sunset, 6. Inspired by Max Dupain's Iconic Sunbaker photo, 7. Day 1 :: Finishing Up, 8. Photographer crush on Fisherman's Bridge at Canal Rocks, 9. Flinder's Bay rock pool, 10. #338 Last light, 11. #330 Am I Spending Too Much Time On Instagram, 12. Autostitch panorama sunset II, 13. #106_IGP4642-Australia Rock II, 14. _IGP2361_2_3_norfolk_gaol_gate, 15. waiting for the comet, 16. Always look on the bright side..., 17. 27-mar_04, 18. P5233079