Thursday, September 12, 2019

Freedom to be Creative

Social media bring lots of benefits as well as many problems. The thing i have noticed, I actually saw this coming it long ago, is that the restrictive ways photos and posts must be formatted and submitted, definitely limits and fences in creative expression. First we could blame the way the popularity is scored, should I rather say celebrity-like biased feeding frenzy. And don’t get me started on the very biased algorithmic display bubbles. The Online – Social Media Aesthetics we see today suck.

So what to do about it?

Should we #TURNOFFSOCIALMEDIA, we can and in the short term that can be a big relief (unless your hooked). However it means that you end up in a much smaller isolation bubble, aka you cause yourself to be largely overlook. Some presence at least seems to be expected of us these days, for example you might hear “He doesn’t have an Instagram account he can’t possibly be a real photographer", which of course is rubbish.

Even this blog, and blogging in general have become overly constrained by restrictive SEO scores download speeds and bounce rates. Whereas I feel it should be accuracy, reliability of information and ideas, inspiration and originality that should be rewarded instead in is popularity! Enough of the rant. Back to what is worth embracing and why. The big plus of sharing things on the internet is extending your exposure. In theory that should happen if what you share is good and/or informative.

I was getting particularly frustrated on the restrictions and difficulties of posting several pictures using Blogspots web based post tool. (I missed the ease and flexibility of Open Live Writer, but that can no longer upload photos, #FAIL most likely due to google photo changes). So after listening to Brooks Jensen’s Online Aesthetics podcast I decided that making an occasional PDF would be firstly easier to create (using anything, word, Canva etc) and also easy to share. So I have started with a photo essay of the murals in Townsville.

So I began with a simple page for an Instagram story, and guess what you need to format the image as a thin vertical. Whereas  I do a lot of #3by1grid, where I subdivide panoramic images into three square images. Most people wouldn’t realise this since you need to look at my Instagram profile to make sense of these grids. So only a few people in the know will realise what I am doing here. Anyway my Instagram story did get about 25 views.

Thus the search for creative expression that is not beholding to the Online Aesthetics of Social media continues…

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Almost a Digital Nomad

Whilst I used to travel a lot and may have been a digital nomad before the term was invent, i’m not really one anymore yet I still want to be able to edit and manage my photos anywhere I happen to be. HoweverI need a bit more power than smartphones and social media offer. I have a HP Spectre, a 2 in 1 style tablet/laptop and whilst I have travel with it many time before. This trip as first time it was my only computing option. It worked wonderfully.

#234/365 paying homage to my IT team while travelling

I also limited the accessories I carried. Two identical backpack style hard drives for backups (rotated weekly) a wacom bambo stylus/pen. usb c to usb A and hdmi dongles, hdmi cable anf a wireless mouse and  usb c charger (not shown)/ The real magic is in the software, although I have lightroom installed I didn’t touch it once. I mainly used picasa to load my photo from an old SD card reader and Photo Mechanic to quickly review rate,cull and add metadata. I then select my best and dragged those on PhotoLemur (an AI based automated postprocessor from Skylum).This was usually time for a coffee, shower &/or get ready for dinner and generally only 5 minutes after inserting the SD card.

I only use Photo;emur to show what might be possible, although I did find often that I would use photolemur Jpeg as the image to upload to instagram and very occasionally flickr. Usually then I would use either On1 Photoraw (for stitched Panoramas) and Aurora HDR (for Bracketed HDR) and either to postprocess RAW files. If the place I was staying had a suit Big Screen TV with HDMI Port I was able to review and edit my photo larger, easier on my old eyes. I had downloaded a trial version of Skylum 3 but stop using it after 2 days because I was only playing and it didn’t offer me any capability I didn’t already have.

Of course I was dependant of WIfI being available to access the internet and sometimes that wifi was a biyt unreliable. I would say I wasn’t totally committed but I did manage to post a photo a day to flickr for my 365 project and keep Instagram clicking over. I was very happy with this very light weight yet powerful IT team in my backpack.

My (Repaired) Camera Bag

I have my much loved ThinkTank Mirroless Mover camera bag back in service (with a repaired zip). It is perfect for my little OMD 10 mkiii Olympus mirroless camera plus two extra  lenses. (I also acquired a forth lens along the way which also fitted in easily). It was never overcrowded and very light compared with carrying my older Pentax DSLR and just one lens.

#218/365 Whats in My Camera Bag

The big bonus for me is I have enough room to carry an A3 sketch book (or two) and also my mini Cotman sketchers palette and a couple of pens and water brushes giving me the ability to sketch anytime I was out with my camera, which was always. Even if I just sat down for a coffee or waiting for a lunch order, I could sketch.

As I was only carrying one camera body I made sure I had my smartphone and the old but reliable pink FujiPix compact camera as backups (not required). Again I can report that I used everything I took (see my Flickr posts)

The small tripod is really small and just ok for my light Olympus, importantly it fits in my suitcase, as does the various chargers and cables on the pink microfiber cloth. I didn’t normally carry them around.

My slimmed down Art Kit

I thought I should recommence semi-regular blogging with a couple of short posts about the creative tools I took on my recent travels. Traveling out of a suitcase does put a big restriction on what you can reasonably include. Further on other trips I have carried items I never used.

#217/365 My Plein Air & Travel Art Kit

This time I wanted everything to fit into the little red Pocket Backpack (it looks like a soft purse but expands out in a simple backpack. I had considered long and hard and decided to take a very sketch oriented set of tools (two palettes of watercolours, inktense blocks and pencils my watercolour brush roll, a roll of sketching pens & pencils and a variety of papers) and a small drawing board (see if you can find it). Whilst travelling on planes this fitted nicely at the base of my case but the rest of the trip was always on hand in the red backpack. I actually had a small extra sketch kit in my camera bag but that can wait till the next post.

I can report back that I used  all of it as some time and because everything as always at hand I used it often. You can see some of my work over at @normhansonart on instagram.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Hmmmm no post for a month or so …

Some Apology is necessary for me missing so many opportunities to post but I was frankly very frustrated about Open live writer no longer letting me post photos (its more probably a Google photo issue). You have to admit posting photos is important in a principally photographic blog. Then I also had the hassle of yet another Microsoft Windows 10 update note really working and the bits that dis work cause me havoc on my LAN. Plus a couple of hardware problems. Blogging became a very low priority.

Anyway I’m back refreshed from a trip up north (see @normhansonphoto instagram posts) and peaching things together again. Rather than trying to frustrate myself more I might restart slowly with less photo intense posts.

PS thanks for sticking around

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A Hybrid Approach 2 :: More Standalone HDR

More than anything else it was the need to run Standlone HDR applications, hat forced me not to let one piece of software (AKA lightroom) control what I was doing and how I was doing it. I have been interested in extending the dynamic range that Digital Cameras capture for a long time and had used many early HDR tools that used jpeg files (and got reasonable results). A lot of these tools let users go over the top, with luminous lurid colour and crunchy tones in the sky, as examples. HDR became synonymous with unconstrained over processing and even despised by many self-appointed photo purists. In some case I would agree but I wasn’t scared away and with the widespread development of RAW editing tools many of the tone mapping techniques where incorporated in the tonal adjustments of the RAW photos (which has in general more information on which to establish the best tonal range). The role of HDR and tonemapping has become more subdued and now offers the possibility to easy lift a digital photo to something like you rembered the light when you took the photo. Rather than the hazy, greyish image you loaded from the card. The extreme HDR effects are dying out, well except for Instagram where “funky” colours might still get you extra followers and real estate where evening photos will all the lights on and a wet path and strong colours still helps sell properties

My Current Skylum ToolsOne of the best known champions of tone mapping is Trey Ratcliff, of Stuck in Customs blog and a couple of years ago he got together with the Mac Phub team (now skylum) and bought together the essential and the best tools to build HDR images and bought out the program Aurora HDR. I was a bit late adopting it but I now have the latest edition Aurora HDR 2019 and I love it. You guessed it its another Standalone Program. Well it can also be setup as an addin. In my view it iss easier to use standalone, similar to the NIK software utilities I have the program icon on my desktop and then just drop the images in my HDR EV Bracketed set onto that icon. You then get the Merge setup dialogue screen, where it is possible to control the amount of antighosting, chromatic aberration and aligning the photos with the set.

The latest version of aurora incorporated AI feature in its new Quantaum HDR engine, that pre-processes a number of refinements steps including object recognition. This takes a little while and again not so long you need to go and make a coffee. You will them arrive at the fairly convenrtial main edit screen with some key viewing controls along the top, with a set of edit tool on the left hand side (which can be easily hidden and/or expanded) and a set of “looks” tiled as thumbnails along the bottom. Looks in aurora are like presets in other software that nicely combine several of the tools. In this case I am quite happy to just accept the default adjustments and tone mapping. I am only left to export the HDR file.

If I am intending to do any further edits of make a large print I save the HDR in Tiff format full size, if I’m posting of flickr or social media it will be a Jpeg of reduced size (eg 2400 on the longest side).

Aurora is currently my go-to HDR favourite.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

A Hybrid Approach 1 :: Where to Start?

I’ve decided to try and describe my hybrid approach to using a range of photographic software tools (aka my photographic mistresses). It really began long ago when everyone had lightroom and it was in charge of everything. I was interested in HDR and had to use other software to pull the EV bracketed sets together. One of the first tools to let me use RAW files directly from within lightroom was NIK software. Google had purchased the system and for a short time offered it for free downloads, still as an add in for Lightroom. I actually found all the tools very useful but it was HDR EFex Pro that I used most. As I was slowly moving away from using lightroom I started missing my access to the NIK tools, generally finding alternatives in other software. I even researched trying to use NIK tools as an Add-in for OnOne. Then a few week ago I saw a YouTube video by Robin Whalley of Lenscraft that mentioned using the NIK programs stand alone. Turns out it pretty easy, you just need to create a shortcut  link\icon on your screen to each program within the NIK collection, then just drop the photo (or photos in a HDR set) onto the icon. Suddenly I have the NIK tools back to use when I need them.

So onto the task of straight forward HDR. This begins by selecting the 5 photos of my EV bracketed set and dropping them onto the shortcut link. This bring up a dialogue to work on a copy or the original and after that the main setup dilogue screen, where options such as alignment, ghost removal and fixing chromatic aberration (those purple and green outlines at high contrast edges) can be manipulated. Also the opportunity to choose which is the reference exposure. Next chick Create HDR and this begins the series of processes to combine the exposures according to your setup. It takes a little time but not enough to justify going to make a coffee.

In a familar NIK software style you then get a basic processed photo to view but with a series of tools, icon and sliders on the right to further enhance the image, OR a series of tiles on the right hand side showing various presets to further stylize your photos. In this case I’m happy to just accept the default HDR result and click on save. I have the option to save the result as a Tiff or  jpeg (other formats don’t interest me) and where I would like it stored.  Job done in less time!

Its exactly the same as if I submitted the selected photos in lightroom to the HDR Efex plug-in, via a special export process but quicker and without the hassle of reloading the result back into lightroom. Same result in less time and no need to fire up and wait, and wait… and wait… for lightroom.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Alvin returns as my photographic Life coach

Its more than a year since I sort out my cartoon ultra-ego., Alvin, as a personal trainer to help me reduce my mucking around in photo editing software and social media. Potentially avoid wasting a lot of time.

So how did I do? Social media is definitely cutback (largely because of frustrations rather than conscious effort). My attempts to reduce my burgeoning harem of photographic software mistresses hasn't gone so well. What I have found is a hybrid solution of using the tools that are best suited my projects at the time was far more satisfactory than trying to adopt a strict workflow and a single software application. Having a range of tools suits my creativity, providing I know how to use them, then I don't have too!

PS I seldom use Lightroom (its version 4.4) any more, just occasionally to find an old image.

Friday, May 24, 2019


The site maintenance shutdown for flick has been well advertised and even has a little good panda contest for the likes of me (free users or peraps a gift for a friend). This is probably the finals steps of the migration of services off the Yahoo’s servers, but seems to have taken a day longer than anticipated. The new owners and the flicker team seem to have put a have put a lot in place to make sure this is a seamless transition, including a Known Issues page They warn a few features might take a little longer to bring back on-line. However its return to be up online again has not gone so well for me. I can not upload my photos either with the newer photo uploader.

Or the Old Manual Photo uploader

This hiatus has punched a whole in my 365 project (post a photo on flickr each day this year) for a second day, but I’m not panicking, I’m patient and I’m sure they will figure it out in time, I also realise PRO member will get higher support, Here is a link to the current status of the scheduled maintence, why not take the opportunity to go out and take a few more photos, perhaps enter their good panda contest.

ALL FIXED I’m able to upload again  GOOD PANDA

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Suspicious behaviour, and a decline in trust

The news that Adobe was going to put the price up (actually doubling the price) of their basic Creative Cloud Photographic offering, was soon “retracted” as just a marketing A B test. That’s some test!

Then came the news that long time CC subscription holders would have to update and only be able download two of the most recent versions of the adobe apps. The reasons given escape me because I also found them a bit difficult to swallow.

Next a third strike for Adobe!  They were exposed writing to users warning them that using old version of the software (that those user paid good money to “rent” from adobe) would leave them open to a third party legal action. Again I find this unbelievable unjust. Like Adobe is happy to abandon them. What is going on at Adobe, don’t they care what their users think.

So I must admit I was feeling a bit smug that I resisted the subscription model (for purely cost reasons) Even though I still have to occasionally update my software. Many companies try to get that upgrade fee out of you often (eg yearly) I normally resist and upgrade on the second or third iteration and or when new features I would regularly use are rolled out. Generally I download the free trial versions first so I get a good idea of what I need versus could wait a little longer for.

Such an upgrade was the latest version of Corel Video Studio it performed way better with the 4K video from my new little Olympus and I like the multi cam synch capture. Suddenly I was  being annoyed by a nagging pop up messages every day (offering what seamed a reasonable discount). So I caved in and ordered the upgrade at the AUD$51 price. Even before I had finished and had only downloaded the initial setup program, another message popped up offering a slightly higher discount. Bummer, This is not clever marketing this is just annoying.

I do like the Corel Video Studio 2019 Pro by the way. It is a good upgrade.

What the heck are your heavily automated market teams up to software suppliers? Do you understand why you are loosing our trust?

Sunday, April 28, 2019

More Experiments in Camera Motion

Sharky James of the PetaPixel podcast has teamed up with FujiFilm to create a series of weekly photo assigmnents. Last week’s theme was “Share your streaks of creativity”, in other words, movement and blur/slow shutter. A classic theme to look at moving the camera during the exposure. Something I have tried before and enjoyed. I decided to be a bit more investigative this time and try out a range of movements.

 Note that I never really need an excuse to experiment with potential photographic techniques.

JiggleSwipe to the right
Pan Right Pan Down
Rotate ClockwiseZoom Out
All of these show some merit, but I think I like the jiggle the best (its just part of a grape vine)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Flickr & Pixsy

Flickr partners with Pixsy to fight image theft

Flickr has teamed up with Pixsy to help protect images on Flickr. Pixsy is a service that will scan your photos. then using reverse image search and some Ai as well will periodically review and report on any other locations around the web your image is being used. Some are legit but other can require take down notices and possibly seeking damages or payment for licencing images (these are more legally complex and really focussed on US based copyright registration).BTW pixsy does get paid unless you do.

I think something like this is well overdue and will add some teeth to Flickr’s licencing (its the only social media outlet I know that still display the licencing details with the detail photo display). There are still  creative commons options as well as full copyright. Importantly Pixsy can send legally binding takedown notices.

If you are new to flickr you might find it wise to turn off the download options to discourage “inadvertent steeling” of your photos . Alternatively you may also wish to change your privacy for Friends &/or Family.

This Pixsy service is only being offered to FlickrPro subscribers, and really does value add if you want to use flickr as a place to share your work to a wider audience but are worried about image theft. I’m going to stay with my free account because I already signed up to a free versions of pixsy monitoring connected to my flickr account quite a while ago and you can still independently do this but there are limits.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

On becoming A Lens Based Artist

#92/365 On Becoming a Lens Based Artist

Being a nice way to say I like to use photography creatively, and I'm not afraid of post processing

Monday, April 01, 2019

Projects & Bodies of Work

I’m well over gear reviews, mirrorless versus DSLRs and megapixel counts etc that has preoccupied so many photography bloggers and photography oriented You Tube Vloggers of late. It was refreshing to watch Julieanne Kost, remember that lady that talked you through some of the deeper areas of Lightroom  around a decade ago, on this week in photo (itself too often gear obsessed). She is still an Adobe Lightroom Evangelist by the way.

Julieanne would like to call herself “A Lens based Artist” rather than a photographer to avoid arguments with the purists. I really identify with this description, I feel it applies to me as well. She also covers her love of projects and the important reasons why she must outline the outcome as a body of work. Its a creative look at many aspect of photography and really worth a view.

Also see her Color of Place project, and perhaps follow @jkost on instagram

Colors of Kyoto

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Empire (of Dust)

It didn't take me long to break my own #TURNOFFSOCIALMEDIA campaign. I had the fortune to get tickets to Rone's Lastest Exhibition/Installation at Burnham Beeches. Its amazing, so I just had to upload a photo of the flooded Library via WiFi from my Olympus camera to my phone and then onto Instagram. All so easy and I've fallen off the wagon already

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 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

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Further Experiments with Deep Dreaming towards #HANDDRAWNPHOTOs

Yesterday I did a series of panoramas with two different cameras on the leap track in the southern part of Jells Park. This was primarily to test out the panorama stitching in the new version On1 Photo RAW 2019.2 (trial version). I was quite happy with the results, which managed to capture the quintessential nature of the Australian bush. This inspired me try some further experiments in using Ai methods to refine my #HANDDRAWNPHOTO idea. Basically I’m investigating different styles of photography and post processing that might allow the hand of the artist, his mark making/style to shine through and become part of the photograph.

So the first step for me was to create a simple semi-abstract sketch of just the shapes and textures I could see between the trees in my panoramas. This was made with sharpie pens, in simple blue, purple and black hues. (i wasn’t going to try and use the colours from my sketch just the tones). This is very loose and not too accurate but that was what I wanted.

I used this sketch as my default style in the Deep Style module of Googles Deep Dream, This involves a bit of time to process because the software has to create a neural network which will understand the key style elements, lines and shapes and how I draw them. The original photo is uploaded image at the generate screen. I have been constantly tweaking the settings under the style tiles. The important setting in these examples is preserving colours (from the original photo). Its trial and error from there and can take time, so enjoy it, have a coffee.

This pair shows the original photo above and the resulting deep dream below.

I think this is starting to look what I am after.

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Self- appointed Camera Obscura

I was surprised when I looked at the reflection of the late afternoon sun to see a classic camera obscura style upside down image of not only the sun but also the silhouettes of the trees outside my front door. there wasn’t the classic “dark room” (although the stair well is naturally darker at that time of day) or the pinhole to let in only the stronger outdoor light.

The angle of the sun was such that it did hit the glass panels of the front door at a low angle and the light then traveled onto a beveled edge of a large mirror on an adjacent wall in the entry, then onto the wall of stair well. An amazing phenomena, a nicely inverted image, that my photo don’t really do justice to. It was all over in a few moments as the reflected sunlight moved up (opposite direction to the setting sun) and across the mirror and off the beveled edge.

BAD Google Photos … yet again

I was just getting ready to resume blogging. Everything about my camera obscura post was nicely formatted and ready in Open Live Writer (a much better place to set up your blog post than google/bogger’s pedestrian offering. As I put my toe in the water and clicked on the <Publish> button I got hit with an undecipherable error.

I had seen this before too many times. It will be that I am not able to upload the images to google photos as part of the publish task. The real underlying cause will thus be something google has done to their google photos system, perhaps its API, perhaps an album size limit or some new upload authorization step. Unfortunately It will be left to the voluntary developers on the Open Live Writer source project to find and fix the issue while google tries to divert any responsibility. Am I being too cynical? Heck no!

This fix seems to trigger a repeated opening of open live writer for me, so I’ll let the investigation and fixes continue. All the previous work arounds don’t work this time but I found my own, by firstly uploading the image to the web and inserting a web shared image rather than having it uploaded. Bit frustrating and fiddly but it works

Saturday, January 12, 2019

My Social Media slow down …. almost a break

Now my oldest photo on flickr
taken in 2005
I was able to reduce my flickr photostream by close to three quarters quickly but the last few hundred photo took me longer to select and delete. Not so much about Views or Comment or Favs, most had plenty of those, it was more about what I wanted  to represent me (which is actually a bit of a chaotic mess at the best of times). Looking through my entire collection highlighted how I had changed (and hopefully developed as a photographer), not that my early photo were bad some are in fact really good (& taken with a 4megapixel camera). I could see changes and improvement with each new camera, interwoven with different bits of software I started to use and some experimentation with new methods. In particular one thing stood out some of my favourite photos, they were all the ones that were hard to get. Fleeting moments of light, extreme long exposures, experiments in colour, taking subjects and techniques that are often considered too hard or methods I had worked out for myself.

My plans is to now take my time to reduce the photostream by a further 200, while still uploading daily (ie to add one I need to also delete one). This is slow project and may take a long time. A photostream of 800 is my goal.

An unexpected flow-on has been losing interest in other social media (eg Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and even this blog), Suddenly they look more like shouting into the wind. Which I always suspected they were. I’m sure i will continue to keep using them (particularly Instagram and blogger) but it is also fine to have a break and wander in the light more, take better photos and enjoy life!

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Flickr Lock-out Day has arrived

imageI fell short a few hundred photo when I did my first pass on the great flickr clean up. So I figured I had a good opportunity to find out what would happen on the 8th. Well nothing happened yesterday because in Australia we are a day ahead of the USA. However today when I logged into fickr I got a very obvious notification in RED. the Lock-out has begun.
No need to panic. I’ve had a break from deleting photo so I’ll have to return to the task a fresh, before I can upload.
A significant side benefit of this project is I have reacquainted myself with a lot of my earlier work (which was actually better than I expected) and I have been able to review what was popular. One thing I did notice was the effect of better post processing, firstly when lightroom reached version 3 and the tonal adjustment made editing RAW photos amazing. Then Nik software (still great) and On1 Photo and recently auroraHDR. Flickr has three different measures, View (just how many people stopped and looked), Favs (photo others liked a bit like the heart in instagram) & Comments (self explanatory). I’m more likely to keep those with more favs and comments but less than 200-ish views seems to be the “sweet spot” on those photos that have gone unnoticed and can be deleted.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Preserving Albums, Collections & Organization as you move digital photos

In the process of downloading my files from flickr I’m reminded of the unexpected issue most folk find when trying to transfer a lot of files between different photo managers. Things like EXIF and key words can be embedded in the files (in the case of Jpeg and Tiff, also DNG but not other RAW formats) and sidecar files (eg .xml can also carry this data with photos as they are transferred between packages. Unfortunately the organization features such as Albums (or Collections in Lightroom) are not transfered and/or not compatible between packages.


There is a simple solutions I have written about before. It is using special key words to identify the albums. I use names beginning with the tilde key ~ and write that into the keywords (or tags in flickr jargon). In most software you need to enable writing back of the keywords into the embedded data and/or writing the sidecar file beside each file. When you load into the new software it will read in these keywords and you can selective filter on a given ~keyword then do whatever is required to create the new album or collection.

Very simple really.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Selectively Deleting Photos on Flickr? :: The obvious next question

What a task deleting 3,500 photos one at a time is a big task. Even if I allow one minute for each delete (which includes moving through my photo stream, wait for the edit icon and then selecting delete takes time and is very repetitive) it will take over 58 hours. Blimey! I wont be doing that in one hit. At say 2 hours, which could be do-able, that’s almost a month (29days). Ouch!

Surely their is a quicker way, and in fact their are two decent alternatives. The first I wrote about back in 2016, when several social media service where spruiking massive photo storage for free, “one place for all your photos, free on-line backup. It worried me then enough warn my readers don’t use these services as your only backup and also to investigate how to recover and download those photos stored on-line. Both flickr and google do offer ways to get your photos but you have to do a bit of investigation to work out how (see my post with link above)

Using Camera Roll, to select, download & delete

imageThe Camera Roll is a fairly recent development by YAHOO/Flickr standards, and it allows you to see a chronological “list” (can be date taken or date uploaded) of thumbnails of your photos. On the left hand side is the hierarchy of years and s you click on a given year you cam work through the months and days (from youngest to oldest. Its a really fast way to find photos if you know roughly the dates.

The magic happens when you select one or more of the photos. You get the same little icon tool set you get on the full single photo display from your photostream, but at the bottom of your screen Only now it works on all the photos you have selected. The Thumbnails of the selected are displayed in a film strip style view just above the icon and you can use your mouse of the arrow keys to scroll through the film strip thumbnails, which also show a tick in front of the image. click on the tick will deselect the image from the selected set.

You can change privacy, edit, share or add the selected photos to an album, but the two tools useful now are on the right hand side (at the bottom of the screen). First if you want (or more particularly if you need to) download a copy of the photos before deleting it click on the download item. This starts a background process where by the selected items are all written to a Zip file. The link to that location from which that zip file can be downloaded is then emailed to you, So You need to wit a few moments to get the email (generally It arrives within a minute or so but time required probably depends on how many photos and how busy the flickr server is. To be safe I download this zip file and check it before O go onto delete the selcted photos, which are still selected in my film strip at the bottom of the camera roll view.

This process may seem overly complex but it is probably based on sound privacy advice This process will stop others scraping your photos using this facility, because the email link is only sent to you. I have found about 3 minutes is the average time for this round about trip. So the next question is how many photos to add to each selected group. So far I have found 30-60 photos works well and I try to keep them in logical groups, months or trip, or family events. At an average of 50 per group, downloading and deleting 3,500photo become roughly 70 sessions or say the  minutes each (ie approx 210 minutes) or roughly 3 hours 30minutes, which is now not so daunting (eg 1 hour a day for three days.

If you just want to delete files and not download them first you can power through the deleting process using select all on the dates ad deleting month long or longer batches. Be careful deleting files is permanent.

Using Organize, to tag and delete

imageAnother alternative that is considerable more flexible but might require a little more work is to your the Organize tools. Firstly you need to select the files you want to delete. You can do this is small manageable batches, use the addimage tags option from the menu at the top of the screen. I use a the very specific tag [DEL] to avoid confusion with anything else mentioning delete. This key word is then added to all the photos selected. Next you use the advances search option at the bottom of this display (just above the film strip). Select tag only and enter the [DEL] code in the search box. You will see the photos again in the film strip and thus have a second chance to deselect items you might have included by accident. Next using select all under the search dialogue, which outlines all the photos selected so you can easily drag them up on to the batch organize work place. Finally under the edit menu option at the top of the screen the last item on the drop down menu is delete.

This approach may take longer but it does let you interact with the photos and see them in larger format, compared with just thumbnails in the camera roll view. Also you get a second chance to review what you are about to delete.

So now all I need to do is Do It.