Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fractured Threads Exhibition

an extension of the still photograph
Rob Birze & Sandy Birze and myself are having an exhibition of our Photography in The Ramp Gallery of The Monash Gallery of Art. We are three local photographers who came together through the VIC/TAS thread of the Australian Photographers Group in Flickr. We are all active on the photographic social webs, sharing interests in some common themes, multi exposure, multi-image works and fresh ways to look at still photography. Our techniques are very individual and authentically photographic. Using both film and digital photography they bring together multilayers of details and glimpses in time to create very strong impressions of the subjects they photograph.
Exhibition runs from May 31 to June 19
Gallery Opening Hours: Tues to Fri 10am–5pm
Sat & Sun 12noon-4pm

Thursday, May 26, 2011

But I’m not a spammer? …Am I?

I’ve had a couple of hassles from the algorithmic gatekeepers on flickr this month.

  1. Confused smileThe first is probably more a Yahoo issue, Earlier this month I was presenting a free session at the local library on using flickr for seniors. The on-line examples didn’t go so well, it barely went at all, just getting adequate Wi-Fi access proved difficult, presumable because of the bandwidth demands (of all the pictures). However the real let down was in the Join Up. Apparently Yahoo have a new feature that stops multiple log in and account set up from one ISP (ie one library) along with a few other issues. So only a couple of lucky participant could create an account at all. Further the new gmail sign up doesn’t seem to work at all from iPhones? All a bit frustrating when you are making a presentation of how nice and easy to use flickr is.
  2. imageCrying faceThe second is slightly more distressing for me. You see it now appears I am suspected of being a spammer, and not allow to use my Flickr Mail. I really hope I am not a spammer! All I wanted to do was invite participants in the VIC/TAS comp thread within the Australian Photographers group on flickr to an exhibition of photographs by three of The VIC/TAS contributors, including me. I started to email them one by one over a considerable space of time. Alas when I had got to 40 plus I got the message above and I have remained on  flickr mail lock out for nearly three days. So if you are a VIC/TAS contributor and haven’t got an invite sorry, but  look here.



Perhaps all these procedures and automatic filters are seen as generally desirable, to block out the unsocial behaviour of many but there is a danger that these same things will stop the true social behaviour of the few. As Elli Pariser noted in a recent TED talk  we must be careful  “The FiIlter Bubble” doesn’t narrow our on-line world to a net of one.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Some truth in the rumour

I wrote a little while ago about the urban myth of the traveller and his 100 slides BUT I have just seen a video called the Art of Walking,Great Ocean Walk, Victoria, Australia

One of the walkers is John Francis, also known as the Planetwalker. His story is remarkable and includes a period of 17 years where he did not speak, just wrote, gestured and played his banjo. He now has a lot of common sense to say about environmental issues. John is also remarkable in that he keeps wonderful journals as he is travelling in which he writes, paints and sketches and then gives them away to others he meets will walking to carry on the story.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

PhotoFriday :: Many

Cape Kidnapper's Gannet Colony
For PhotoFridayis Topic Many
This is a re-processing of the same multi-image panorama I took for the he’s leaving home post about the Australasian Gannets at Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand. This time I have used Microsoft’s ICE (image composite editor) to do the stitching using a horizontal spherical projection, rather than the default cylindrical projection.. Why horizontal? I’m not sure, I always thought spheres where equi-dimensional in the vertical and horizontal directions. Did they mean elliptical projection. No matter I was able to reduce the curvature in the horizon and build a larger image than I can in autostitch. I even found out my image covers 182.2° horizontally and 42.3° vertically, such precision and only based on 12 photos taken hand held. The resulting panorama is so big  in fact it defies reproducing for a blog (the image above is only 2% of its full 123MB potential) so I have also loaded it into Photosythyn so you can zoom in and have a good look around and even count how many birds there are.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gotta Share

At the onstage introduction of Twirlr, yet another new social-sharing platform, someone forgets to silence their cell phone. And then ... this happens.

Its by improv everywhere and was spotted on TED
if your looking for the link to twirlr it doesn’t exist

Monday, May 16, 2011


This is a very simple 3 photo panorama, mainly taken of a study of the clouds but I have had some fun using this to test out some of the transformation available in anamorphme

cro oblique

conical mirror (internal)  cro polar

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sunset Sky

My attempts to capture the dynamic skys continued this evening with a little drama at sunset.
Posted by Picasa
Also for PhotoFriday 's topic Sundown

Autostitching an Extra Wide Sky

cloud pano

I thought that I might be able to escape the wind but still get the dramatic skys if I went inland, perhpas to the river. I was only partly right, the wind was just a fraction less, but the blue patch above was opening up and the setting sun was colouring some of the clouds. A perfect moment to capture a big panorama with the sky & clouds as the subject. I didn’t have my tripod handy so I turned my camera to get vertical shoots and zoomed in just enough and then carefully took a set of overlapping photos with approx. 10 degree rotation between each shutter fall. The results was 21 photos in the set (see above). A bonus I was hoping to get was a lovely clear moon. I knew if I could capture all this I would get a great image.

imageThe exposure on the whole set was fine and my hand held horizontal sweep straight enough so I just took everything “as is” into autostitch. The problem I find doing these with the free demo version is I get to a certain size and I get the very terse warning out of memory and that’s it, Autostitch wont play anymore. I think this boundary is the physical memory on your machine rather than anything hardcoded. So I just have to ease off a bit, in this case I found 16,400 pixel wide would work (and take 64 passes and 20minutes to run) which gives me an image I can safely print at around 54” (ie 16,400/300 because the print is likely to be 300 dpi) or around 140cm wide. Big enough! I could go bigger with microsoft’s ICE, imagebut if I do that will be a separate post.

The only other step was to crop out the ragged edges, using picasa and the tiniest of straightening. I still need to find a nice way to find all the detail of these extra wide images, without having to resort to photosynth (that is easier using ICE).pano-1

Thursday, May 12, 2011

PhotoProject :: HDR looking towards the sun

2011-05-14After three very wintery days of constant rain, strong winds and bland low grey skys. Not an inducement outside to take pictures. Today the blue sky peaked through late in the day, so I headed down the beach, to find a real gale force headwind. I figured I might get a few of those great moments when the suns rays radiate out from behind a cloud. The sort of thing Turner would love to paint, but happening at a fast and furious pace. The problem is that when  you point your camera towards the sun, you pretty well always give you a very high contrast image, a situation that your camera’s light meter will have a lot of trouble making the right decision. I do know that you will possibly be ok if you wait till a cloud covers the sun and only the darker zones will be black and the sky or sun will not be bleached out. (See the EV=0 exposure in the set above). I also know that a bracketed set at different EV setting is a very easy way to hedge your bets and quickly get a range of exposures “just in chance”. Further that set of bracketed images can be used for HDRi technique. This allows you to slightly expand the dynamic range of the image to put a little in the shadows or fill in a bleached sky. So the fleeting moments in the weather gave me a great little photoproject to test the suitability of using HDRI to refine a very contrasty situation.
Picturenaut Tone Mapping screenFor this test I have used Picturenaut with everything set to automatic. In particular I have used auto contrast during tone mapping. I have found that contrast is the most sensitive setting when you do any HDRI work. The next trap for occasional users is the saturation slider, which tends to produce very surreal lighting (so that was also left at whatever the tone mapping set). The three tone mapping strategies in Picturenaut I like are either exposure, Adaptive logarithm or Photo Receptor Tone mappings and I felt I needed to see how each performed on it own (ie automatically).
Clearly all the HDRI images are nice, and look natural compared with the straight image at a standard exposure. All that was needed was a bit of croping and straightening. It is not clear that there is a massive difference but I can tell there is subtly in tonal range. Was the extra processing worth it? The results are here for you to judge.
Original exposure - Sun through the clouds HDRi - Exposure Tone Mapping HDRi- Adaptive Log Tone MappingHDRi - Photo Receptor Tone MappingOriginal Exposure - The storm arrives HDRi - Exposure Tone Mappinghdri sunset cloud logHDRi - Photo Receptor Tone Mapping

Sunday, May 08, 2011


BOOKED OUT, originally uploaded by imageo.

I was going to share this invite on this blog but the course is already booked out. Sorry about that!

Don't despair there is plenty of on-line help both within flickr and externally to get you started.

Flickr was actually one of the earliest Web 2.0 social services. Sure there are a multiplicity of other sites serving up photo hosting place now but flickr has evolved into something much more than just a photo publishing place. With an actve community still finding creative & interesting ways to interact.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Avoiding the Black Hats & Spammers

black hatI have become aware that at least one of my blog posts has again been “scrapped” and reposted as an exact copy of my original post, including picture and layout, on a spam site (I will not give you the link because you should not go there, and specially never every click on links you find on these dodgy looking “content farms”). At worse they will contain links to other spam and potentially malware. At best these lazy spamdexers are just trying to attract innocent links, thus page views and a higher google ranking, to their site using lots of plagiarized (aka stolen) content. It is a dishonest practice, and sorry I can do nothing about it.
What disappoints me most about all this black hat SEO trickery and blog scrapping is the fact that Google in many cases is paying the very spammers and thieves for the stolen content! The content farms have mostly been greedy & also monetized their site using Google’s own adsense. So try reporting this Google??? I have found there is a massive blankness, no response from anyone. You may remember my previous post on a lesson of theft versus sharing. Well that site, which looks a lot like a legitimate camera review site, still exists, it just keeps changing its name slightly, its ISP, its country of origin and its owner name, so that DMCA notices to cease and desist also go unanswered. At least that low life now acknowledges my posts and links back to my site (he may think technically he doesn’t breach my Creative Common Licence, but what he does is still not legal because he is expecting Google to still pay him for my content and my CC license is for NON commercial).  I can not find him, but Google obviously still can because he still displays an adsense badge. Am I being too cynical about Google’s apparent hypocrisy and will to fix this? Rant over for now.
As I indicated above there is little I can do, but there might be something you can do if you use chrome as your browser, Google has released an add-in that gives you a personal blocklist of such sites as you come across them. It will also transmit your blocking patterns back to Google, in theory they will then get a good crowd sourced blacklist of such websites and thus downgrade these undesirables in their famous search algorithms. Let us hope Google will follow through on this.

An Urban Myth?

I’m sure you have all heard a variation of this urban myth. I have been told the story several times

“A hippy (or extreme adventurer, or lone traveller or …) was traveling the world by himself with just a backpack and an expensive SLR camera. He only has room for two slide boxes in his simple backpack. So every time he had some more photos developed he would sit down and carefully go through them and select maybe one or two and then discard or give away the rest to his friends. He would then take some further time to review his 100 photos in his slide boxes and take one the one or two required to be replaced by his new slides. So his collection of 100 photos just got better and better as he travelled.”

Anyway I’m going to have a bit of fun with this myth and put my personal favourite 100 photos up in a “pseudo” slide box in the cloud (ok its just an album within my Picasa Web albums). Watch them get better and better!

Monday, May 02, 2011

A couple of surprises

I’ve been searching the blogosphere, vodcasts & twitterverse looking for social web photograph inspiration (not to copy but to colour my blog customization) I was struck by all the black & grey (a la lightroom) and such vitriolic warfares between nikon .vs. canon or the the apple mac .vs. windows. Then I realised I was looking at the past, “so 2010 really”.


The vast majority of those that have read my blog last month where using windows (and the same ratio goes back forever). And what is this one person used an iPhone  and another an iPad? Is this a new trend?

The most popular camera for uploaded images on flickr is about to become the iPhone 4, not a nikon or canon!


So here’s the rub I’m neither a nikon or a canon fanboy, I have windows computers and thus use and write about windows software, I don’t have an iPhone and I think black or grey backgrounds make what I write very tedious to read.  Call me “uberly unpretentious” but I think I’ll stick with the simple blogger template (with a couple of personal touches on the header) and just keep writing about the same stuff that I find interesting about digital photography. With a few photo projects thrown in for fun. Alas the new blogger page view graphic is reading about 40,000 views light but it looks neater and I’m not so worried about view counts anyway.

PhotoFriday :: Primary Colour

Photo of Painted Palette with Real Brushes

For PhotoFriday’s topic Primary Colour

Colour is not an inherent property of the subject we choose to photograph, instead it is the colour reflected by them. Therefore our seeing, is entirely dependant on light and any artist or photographer is faced with complicated processes to reproduced that on paper or on a screen. An artist will have to carefully choose pigments and use a variety of brush strokes to imitate the reflected light. A photographer must rely on technology and that technology has traditionally had difficulty with pure colour, especially yellows. Kodak’s famous yellow Kodachrome box was a brilliant marketing ploy to say “we can reproduce pure colours without a colour bias”.

PS This is a Photo of Painted Palette with Real Brushes