Sunday, June 29, 2014

ThePatch :: Automobile AutoAwesome (that wasn’t quite)

AutoMobile gets jiffyLooking for a more creative direction for this weeks theme Marketing/Automobile on ThePatch I had to look no further than my grandson. He loves lego, the lego movie and everything is awesome, within seconds of suggesting we make a short movie he was designing and assembling a suitable awesome car from scratch and worked out a little sequence before I had my camera ready. We had fun shooting the circling Awesome-Mobile, although you can glimpse his enthusiastic hands in a couple of frames. To keep within the everything awesome theme I had planned to let google+ autoawesome create the *Motion gif for me.  Alas it only used a couple of the 25 photos we had created (see the google+ efforts below) so I went back to an on-line service called imgflip to create the GIF file (above left).
Since all of this was fun but probably not serious enough to enter on the patch so I have returned to a still photo of the wonderful little Awesome-Mobile itself but decided what the heck to go with the Gif (or is that Jif?)!
AutoAwesomeMobile  Everything is Awesome

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Telling the stories of the Boyd’s in Murrumbeena

The Boyds are famous in many artistic endeavours and the family home in Murrumbenna is now gone but their story is very interesting and well told by Colin Wilson. In particular the story of Merrik Boyd really came to life walking through the place that was very important to him and his wider family.

Friday, June 27, 2014

PhotoFriday :: Uncharacteristically Green

Jells Park has turned a gorgeous green, somewhat uncharacteristically, with some good recent rainfall. This a multi-image panoramas based on HDR processed images to form the individual photos before stitching with autostitch..
For PhotoFriday‘s topic Green

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Me!bourne By Night by Phone

2014-06-25_19-08-07_HDR_editI tried out a little experiment as I was in the city to go the princes theatre to see “The King & I” which was a great production. Anyway on the way the wet city streets begged to be photographed but I only had my phone. So I took a couple of  photos with HDR Camera+. Next as I waited for the train home I played the Pixlr app creative filters to make the image on the right and then I created a blog post, using a Blogger android app, expecting to be able to utilize the WiFi at the station. However after a lot of non action and spinner on the screen I eventually got a message that the server wasn’t available. However when I got home the photos where already on my Dropbox recent uploads, so dropbox worked just fine.

2014-06-25_19-08-07_HDR  2014-06-25_19-12-31_HDR


HDR Camera+ 2,  Dropbox 2,  Pixlr 1,  def Android/Google Blogger 0

Monday, June 23, 2014

ThePatch :: (Not so) dedicated follower of fashion

This week theme Marketing/Fashion for the The Patch is another a bit out of my league. I’m definitely not a dedicated follower of fashion. So I put off and put off this assignment, to the last hours and when I figured I’d actually have to do something, I tried to focus on fashion hype rather than something actually in fashion which I knew I would get out of date. I had recently heard the phase “Orange is the New Black” (I have since found out its a Netflix/TV series, which sounds a lot like the old Australian reg grundy produced favourite called prisoner) and tried to assembly something in those “fashion” tones. I must I had fun with different lighting (see the autoawesome motion gif below),but I opted for some post processing to gove it an advert feel. In the end I just didn’t like the “tall” composition so i just cropped it, a lot!
*MOTION gif of all the lighting I tried outOriginal Photo as shotEdited in Corel Photo to add a textured vignetteThen Edited in Perfect Effects to treat Background as BW

Winter Skies

Winter weather has arrived

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Virtual Albums

One aspect of digital photo management that I like is the ability to create virtual albums (collection in lightroom).  These are not duplicate copies of the photos just different views that show only the photos selected without having to move to the folder/directory in which it is stored.  The photos remain in the original folder on the computer, there is just an additional link entry in your album to find that photo and display it.  It is the perfect way to store and show only a best photos or photos on a given theme. They are a great way to organise your photo collection and probably deserves a more detail post in the future.

The downside using an album structure in current software is that it can be very hard to transfer this structure to other computers and/or software.  Each package has the unique way to maintain the album contained within its code.  A few packages will let you exports and upload the contents of albums but fall short of being able to export the album structure,    For example Lightroom does allow their collections to be exported as lightroom catalogues, then reimport this catalogue into lightroom on a different computer.  The process is simple enough but is better described by Steve’s Digicam post. Another examples is the original Picasa and Picasa Web Albums (the on-line side, which is now google+ photos) which lets you maintain matching Albums on-line as on your computer and synch the two.

Use Album Keywords as Metadata

A neat way I have to be able to exchange the the organization you have established with your albums and then be able to exchange this between packages or onto online services that support the Album concept, is to code all the contents of the album (or collection) with a unique Keyword, tag or Hashtag. I was for a time using the ~collection_  prefix to identify this organization metadata by I have abbreviated this to ~alb_ (for Album). Of a  photo or batch of photos is transfered it is usually easy to search for the new metadata, Tags or Hashtags and create a new album or similar grouping from the search results.

To finish here is a great post by +Will James, on how to reorganize your albums in google+/picasa web albums.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Winter Solstice

A fitting sunset over the lake at Jells Park to mark the start of our longest night down here in the southern hemisphere.   

Twitter had the Fail Whale now Flickr gets a Bad Panda

Twitter earned a far bit of notoriety when the service was first becoming popular for the Fail Whale display. Which basically meant the service was down (normally due to bandwidth restrictions). The whale was cute and gained acceptance, perhaps even a fan base. This let the Twitter engineers focus on fixing things rather than fire-fight complaints. I haven’t seen the fail whale in a long time.


Flickr has been running into a few problems lately, superficially since February and often just regionally and are displaying this photo with the title Bad, Bad Panda. Flickr is apparently undergoing some pretty heavy updates, many are scheduled, which I assume are related to the new user display formats. Really it means the site is down and they know about, so be patient.  Once upon a time you would get a boring 404 message when a web site doesn’t respond, the Bad Panda screen is a much nicer let down but I don’t think it will be legend like the fail whale.

For those interested here is the story behind the Bad Panda Picture.

If you want to check an on-line service you use often and doesn’t seem to be responding. Fist of all check some other site (like the google query page) to make sure your access to the net is working. If the site is still not responding you can use a net called Is It Down Right Now?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Picasa Web Albums are still there, albeit harder to find

I recently tried to add the location to a photo to a photo already posted in Google+, and could not find any option to do it. That surprised me as it was always possible in picasa web albums. I could have of coarse added the location in picasa and re-uploaded the photo. This however leaves a duplication and any comments, views and links are not carried across. I wanted to just upload the photo already posted. I did manage to find a way to get the picasa web album view and add a location but it is somewhat harder to find that photo presentation format today.

One thing that needs to be explained is that trying to access picasa web albums via any update version of picasa (ie 3.9) actually take you to a google+ photos view, not to picasa web albums. Further the neat link I gave back in March, no longer works either, it also takes you direct to Google+ Photos
(this link no longer works, you will be redirected to google+ photos)
This link still works (at the moment!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sneek preview of “The Road”

one of Wes Stacey Photographs from his series the roadThis week’s photobook club was a preview of the hanging of the next exhibition at the Monash Gallery of Art. It brings our little group back to our first meeting where we where given the privilege of looking into Wes Stacey’s suitcase containing an extensive set of hand made photo books. He had collated photos from his travels in 1974 & 1975 into simple one page per photo diaries of his road trip around Australia.The photos are being hung in the same way the only other exhibition of these works (see below). However in the mga gallery the walls are still the deep dark tone used for the Bill Henson curated show, so the arrangement of photos look marvelous,  like a cross between very large contact print sheets or an analogue instagram photostream. The exhibition “The road: photographers on the move 1970-1985”,which also includes other important photographers works, about “the golden age of automotive travel in Australia”. wes stacey's original exhibition of the road series

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Another (free) Colour scheme app

imageFor those that don’t have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, here is an alternative to Kuler.  I Just noticed this nice new app in the google chrome web store called Color Creator, from Mudcube. It is a really simple and easy to use colour picker that appears to create harmonious colour schemes (not sure exactly how) from your own photos. You can save them to Illustrator, Photoshop or Gimp or manipulate the palette via HSL (Hue Saturation Luminance) or RGB.

PhotoFriday :: Big Sky Panorama

autostitched pano with hand painted edge-001

Another Big Sky Multi-image Stitched panorama, finished with “hand painted” (using Corel photo paint) edges. This series was taken about 5 minutes before the dark skies over the lake series.

For PhotoFriday‘s topic Sky

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Patch :: Revisiting some travel photography

This weeks the patch theme is marketing & travel, which should be made for me (I travel a lot but not often to tourist destinations). However the wet weather and family commitments etc.. keep me firmly in one spot. thinking of the travel immediately drew me to the photo I took in Russell (Bay of island in New Zealand). All I did was rest my camera on the table behind our drinks, non looking through the view finder, pressed the shutter button and camera autofocused, and a glorious photo).

IMGP0417I did try scouting a couple of nearby location but leaden skies aren’t encouragement to travel. So I resorted to reprocessing some recent photos from my recent travels to Saudi Arabia.

I was fortunate to reach Bulgah Rocks at sunset (not a place on the tourist trail) but very much a special place for ancient "map" of bedoiun trade routesthe Bedouin trade routes. The trees between the rocks mark a place of permanent water. I did take several images and post an autoawesome HDR prepared by google+ at the time. However I felt I at least need to postprocess the photos this week, to be “almost” legitimate for the patch  So I used both lightroom and perfect effects 8. In lightroom I did my fairly standard tonal adjustments and a little noise reduction. Then I did the round trip into Perfect Effects and used the layers to handle the sky and the foreground separately. I also had taken a series of overlapping i9mages of the rocks, which I have stitched with Autostitch into a panorama, but panoramas are not well treated in google+ so its the the post processed sunset is the candidate.

bulgag rocks big pano

No AutoAwesomes, but an Observation

Today I didn’t take many photos (I was busy and it was raining heavily) so I only got one autoawesome showed up and it was definitely not worth sharing. Looking back over the week’s blog stats I can see my view counts have dropped, so my little experiment hasn’t appeal to you, my audience either. All this “fun stuff” from google+ photos comes for free but it isn’t really that useful. You can not get many of the features to work from scratch, so I they are not tools, they are tinsel. Even more obvious/disconcerting is the lack of documentation on these effects, and even how to use the editing features that are available. This nextweb article, does a decent job of covering the basics (unofficially on google’s behalf).

Whilst I’m not going to stop using picasa, autobackup and utilize google+ photos, I’m not inclined to leave it to google+ to look after my photos, select what is worthy and sharable.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

AutoAwesome Bloppers

I should have prepared more consistently for this, in that for some time I was deleting the not quiet right autoawesomes. Perhaps I get more than most, but I doubt it. Other than the *HDRs and an occasion *Motion and even rarer *Pano, I have found the autoawesomes to be bemusing because they so often miss the mark. Here is a collection of some I have received )and not deleted for some reason, they are not my best work for sure.

There are a couple of *HDR images where I moved the camera (I had pushed the shutter by accident and auto-backup had scoped up everything before I deleted these duds). My biggest disappointment is with stitched panoramas, which have very seldom worked for overlapping sequences I have shoot, Often they are jumpy *motion gifs, sometime they are weird *erase images. Also *erase seems to have a pretty consistent habit of liking to remove the subject or cut them into fragments. And don't get me started on *snow, I even have it covering my sketches now.

Anyway (other than in this post) I don't have to share these mishaps. Part of my Week of AutoAwesomesness

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Google+ Stories, yet another “leave it to us” offering.

image I noticed yet another autoawesome style offering from from google called Stories, which seemed perfect to add into my week of autoawesomeness. It is basically a on-line slide show that has been automatically prepared by yet another google algorithm to automatically select your best shots and is being prompted as a tool to  “brings out the richness of the memories behind the photos” and present them as “beautiful, interactive stories so you can relive your adventures”. Ok thats the hype, what actually happens? Well it does choose your adventures for you. At the moment you can not create your own from scratch! For me this is a very puzzling omission. You can however “tweak” the slideshow by adding or removing photos or videos and can change the cover photo. Thats about it!


The stories are supposedly about your “memorable” travelogues and it would appear these stories are triggered by either locations (geotags) information embedded in your photos or by landmark detection tools shifting through your images (and possibly including having your home address already known, eg. typed into google maps). Perhaps I am not the only one just a little concerned about who or what knows I’m not at home and when. 

This is an interesting in the context of a recent program titled “Digital photography: message and memory” on the ABC Radio National’s Series Future Trends. Which presents a different view, the rush to photograph every moment may be leading to us remember less and less. 

So should we leave our memories to google+ to manage?

Not sure I want that, and I worry many will not even realise their real memories have gone and been replaced by something else.

I guess the one redeeming feature is google+ stories (and movies) are private until you share them.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Experiments in Stop Motion with Strong Light & a Jug of Water

I had been looking for a different theme to trial another format of AutoAwesomes. My leaning was towards the *Motion format, which is actually a Stop Motion style .Gif files. The sun can out for a short time and left interesting retractions of light trough a jud of water on the bench, so I swirled the jug and grab my camera and took a "Burst Mode" Series in quick succession (above). I also experimented with pouring the water into a glass (below) between photos. Google+ AutoAwesome obligingly did the rest.
Part of my Week of AutoAwesomes

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Another HDR Panorama

The actual stitching of this panorama was carried out by autostitch, but the three underlying images where HDR autowaesome images generated by google+ (ie 9 photos have contributed). There are halos and there is a decided seam in the sky, still it is a power panorama giving the right feel for the distant hills and expanse of grass under the power lines. It is an almost technical success rather than a good photograph.

Part of my Week of AutoAwesomes

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dark Skies over the Lake

I was pleasantly surprise when this AutoAwesome Pano showed up in my Google+ photos. It is actually created from 16 individual photos in approximately 3 overlapping bands (taken hand held so the overlap is not precise) and cover approximately 180° view from the horizon to directly over head. It is a very big wide panorama.

I have found so far it is relatively rarely that google+ assembles my multipanel panoramas, instead it often makes then into stop motion movies. I see not being able to create a multi-image stitched panorama when you have collected a set of suitable photos is a bit of a limitation, waiting for autoawesome to do it for you is an inevitable let down.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Echos of Summer Sunset


Winter is setting in and darkness is coming early, but despite this, here are a couple of Autoawesome HDR images created by Google+ that bring the feel of a balmy summer’s evening (albeit several hours earlier). Yes the colours are just a little to stronger than I remembered but otherwise these HDRs created with all the defaults settings (ie HDR scape nature, aka Preset 1, strength slider slightly to the right,  brightness and saturation unchanged in the middle).

I’m still not convinced I should wait for google algorithms to tell me my best photos and how to post process them, but I am intrigued.  I think these are a perfect way to start off a week of posting only AutoAwesome Photos on this blog.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

A Large Autostitched Panorama in a Tight Place

SOUTH WALKERVILESometime you find yourself in tight places that defy being photographed even with a wide angle lens. This narrow channel cut into limestone at South Walkerville near Bird Rock is such a place. It both towers above you and channels your attention to the narrow opening with waves crashing in and glimpses of Wilson’s prom beyond. This struck me as the perfect opportunity to try a wider than average vertarama. I snapped 14 photos in roughly three vertical strips, autostitch did the rest.
straightened pano2

Saturday, June 07, 2014

ThePatch :: Real Estate Marketing

light up your future
IMGP2498I’m not exactly the marketing type and estate agents leave me uneasy, so I figured this theme might be a real challenge for me. I did a bit of research of real estate ads in the paper and a then the little A4 posters in the agents windows. So their photos might in general be ordinary but a lot of effort had been put into the “over the top” descriptive headers. Rather than drive around and look for a specular house, I figure I should photograph my place (not for sale by the way) but perhaps in an “over the top” way like the agents descriptions. A long exposure night shot seemed to hit the spot after a tweak or two in perfect effects not sure I’m so good on the real estate speak headline itself.
IMGP2499 IMGP2330