Saturday, January 17, 2009

Windows Live Essentials

I have just updated my Windows Live Writer, which I use a lot for preparing these blog posts, other than support for tables and maps which I haven’t tired out yet. It has a couple nice insert features for photographer (and movie maker). You can now insert a photo album,like the one to the left, but only by uploading the photos directly or using the windows live on-line album feature. The insert video feature is much the same but also has the ability to add video from common on-line services like You Tube. A similar feature for the photo gallery that read from Flickr, photo bucket and/or picasa web albums would have been a winner. Windows live essentials can be downloaded for free and includes a few other neat utilities, but just getting windows live writer will make your blogging life easier.

The other surprise was that sky drive, also free, now gives you 25 gigabytes of space for free! Yes, I got that right 25Gb! That is a lot so I have started to use it as a trial place to do my daily backups (of photos) so they are not just on one storage media (ie my camera card then my whichever computer I am using) even when I am travelling. Will keep you posted on how this goes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Photo Impressions (an update)

Whilst I have not been publishing them here, my photo impressions of birds in particular, have become my best selling works. This one, of a lone gull flying into the sunset, focusing on the theme “extinction is forever”.   It has been in preparation for some time for the Venus Artist Contemporary Showcase. I always end up doing lots of tweaking of colour palette and tiling textures. In the end I have opted not to include in the exhibition (it is the first photo impression I has included a written message on)  but have also posted it on RedBubble (you can purchase a poster or a large canvas version from them).
Into the sunset pallete 03 I treat the creation of  my photographic mosaics just like a classical painting. Whilst I do use modern software and digital photos I follow a more traditional method to develop the image. The photo itself is like the initial sketches one would do to develop composition and form. Next I look at the tones and colours of the image and select a limited palette of harmonious colours. Instead of mixing these colours from a tube I look through my collection of photos. Usually I just use photos related to the theme of the photos (shorebirds in the venus bay sunsets in this case) but lately i have been adding a few specially generate fractal flames in the specific colour scheme I am missing.  From this I assemble my new palette, a library of coloured images not just pigment. Finally I have been looking to M C Escher for the shapes and tessellations of the tiling. I have also recently moved to having some reproduced on canvas, and reproduced at a decent size to reveal the smaller photos used in the tiling when you look more closely.(see detail below)
Detail of into the sunset image (click here to see it larger)
Please note I have stopped using the term Photomosaic, which with this spelling has been registered as a trademarked by Robert Silver. I use the professional version of Andrej Olenik's Mosaic Creator, which is based on different patented techniques to those covered by the patents filed by Robert Silver through Runaway Technology Inc.
If you would like to be kept informed of norm's work, send an email to the address below and you will receive an occasional email newsletter of upcoming projects and exhibitions.

Friday, January 02, 2009

HDR revisited, and a newbie

I was testing out my new lens (the replacement for a favorite that had an unfortunate accident) in the local rainforest. I was using it at a decent wide angle (32mm, that’s about 48mm equivalent in old-school 35mm jargon) and decided to take a EV bracketed set for some HDR post processing, even though I didn’t have a tripod.
Original exposure
I was happy with the original image, and below are the ±1.5 EV photo also taken at the same time. The exposures weren’t so long but with the mirror movement between shots it was long enough to guarantee that I might move and my photos would be out of registration. To complicate things there was a reasonable breeze moving the ferns.
-1.50 EV+ 1.50 EV
Section of the image demonstrated poor registration Since my chief bug-bear with currently available HDRi software is image registration, this is the prefect set to test out the new Picturenaut program, which is self promoted  as a new breed of HDR tools. It is free to download, small and compact, fast and easy to use. Just running with all the default settings I got the expected poorly registered result.
picturenaut HDR create screen dialogue Then I tried the the Automatic image alignment check box, and the results where not bad, still some poor registration as you move away from the center but still a much better result that most other software will do with the same image set. I think I keep Picturenaut around for some more testing! Which is a big deal for me at the moment because I am becoming more and more in favor of doing less post processing or other fiddling about on my images. By the way it has one limitation that may discouraged the die-hard digital photographers, is it does not currently have support for raw image formats.
HDRi image created with Picturenaut
My favored HDRi tool is still dynamic photo. Whilst I did have to do a lot of manual adjustment and pin adding rather that rely on auto registration, (and it did not do as good a job as Picturenaut on this example) I think the result with thw extra manual work is crisper and does give a more even rendering of the tone mappings, closer to what I believe I saw.
dynamic photo , with manual aligment and smooth compressor tone mapping

Thursday, January 01, 2009

feather in the forest

More of the birds at Grant’s Picnic ground in Kalista

Happy New Year

Experimenting with long exposures to capture fire works. My Pentax has a B (for Bulb) Mode that keeps the exposure open for as long as you hold the button down. Trying to keep the camera steady for this hand held shot was a challenge but the camera was pressed firmly against the glass window (This also cut out unnecessary reflections)
Posted by Picasa