Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

A SD card with wi-fi built into it? Now that’s cool!

November 20, 2007

On a recent TechGuy podcast I heard about this Eye-Fi Wireless SD card that comes with built-in wi-fi capability. Yes wi-fi right inside the SD-card!

So the gist of it is that you can transfer pictures to your pc or mac without even taking the card out of the camera. And this would be camera independent.. so you don’t need a camera with wi-fi built into the hardware. This is right up there in the good idea hall of fame with the Sandisk Ultra II SD Plus card that folds open to reveal a USB plug right on the card.

It also does auto uploads from the camera to online photo management services like Flickr. And I’m assuming this would work anywhere you can get wi-fi connectivity (not necessarily your own PC). Personally I don’t like just mass uploading pics to Flickr. I like to cull my photos and toss out the horrible and mediocre ones whenever possible.

I’m not sure how well it would work with Linux and haven’t read about all the other potential issues like security etc. But the one stumbling block I have is not Linux related at all. It is the fact that my Canon Rebel XT uses Compact Flash and not SD.

Oh well, it’s still very very neat. 🙂

ps – With the extra room in the significantly larger CompactFlash card, they should be able to give me a 0.5″x0.5″ OLED preview of the photos right on the card too! 🙂

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Postr – Gnome-based Upload tool for Linux

November 6, 2007

Lifehacker seems to have it’s fair share of Linux related info lately which is nice. Something interesting spotted today was this article about Postr, which is a Gnome based application for uploading photos to Flickr. I’ve been using jUploadr for a while and it does work fairly well. But it would be nice to have a non-Java based alternative that would be a little better integrated into my Gnome/Openbox environment at home. I think I’ll give it a shot this week and see how it works.

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Liquid Rescaling – Very Cool.

October 30, 2007

Saw this excellent and interesting demo of something dubbed ‘Liquid Rescaling’. In essence it allows you to stretch or compress an image but keeps some semblance of proportion for the objects within the image. It’s hard to describe but imagine you had a 4×6 image, but there was an ugly garbage can on the right hand side. With this tool, you could crop off the right 2 inches (leaving you with a 4×4 image) but then stretch it back to 4×6 *without* fattening up the people in the picture.

It uses algorithms to detect areas in the photo where it can stretch while minimizing distortion. It’s really quite neat. Even neater is the fact that there is a plugin for the GIMP which uses the tool. If you watch the demo you will be amazed at what you can achieve.

I also believe that there is no equivalent tool in the beloved Photoshop that does this. 😉

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Photographic Inspiration

October 26, 2007

I haven’t done a lot of photography related posts lately. Unsurprisingly, that’s because I haven’t done a lot of photography lately. 😉

Not that I have lost interest mind you, but anybody who reads this blog regularly will know my interests shift around all the time. Sometimes it takes a little creative inspiration and awe to get me moving again on certain fronts. This gallery by Nick Brandt is just one of those things.

While his photographic subjects might be dramatic to start with (how often do you get to photograph lions, elephants and zebras in the wild?), his use of tone and somewhat dramatic burning and dodging techniques add a huge amount of drama to each and every image.

I’ve always been a fan of post-processing when it’s well done; and in Nick Brandt’s case, it sure is. And given the tools you get in the GIMP and Photoshop, applying these techniques to improve your own images is not so hard. I’ve always found John Arnold’s Photowalkthrough tutorials to be incredibly useful in teaching techniques that can really enhance your post processing work.

Expect to see more photography related posts here in the future.

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Photographic Observation

October 26, 2007

Over the past few months I have noticed something different in my neck of the woods. I do a lot of driving (commuting etc.) and a great deal of it is on back country roads north of Toronto (the area where I live). It is not uncommon to see the odd car pulled over on the shoulder with a dead battery, flat tire, child peeing in the bushes.. y’know, the usual. But lately, when I spot one of these cars, I look over further and see people with their digital SLR cameras across the ditch photographing some grazing horses, a majestic sunset or just a nice picturesque farmhouse scene. Sometimes they’ve even got tripods set up!

You can clearly see that almost all of them are not professionals (no big camera bags, or huge elaborate glass), but amateurs satisfying their passion and hobby on the way to and from work. Sometimes I’m almost tempted to pull over from the rat race and just chat them up about photography, but alas, my social skills are not that well developed I guess.

I’m not sure if it’s just my own perception, but it seems like digital photography of the more serious kind is really on an upswing. Very nice to see.

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Photo Printing in Linux

August 15, 2007

A recent article in LXer points out that printing photos in Linux is a nightmare. And while I can’t comment on most of the apps that she’s tried, I can say that I’ve been quite satisfied printing in the Gimp.

I recently bought a new Epson R380 printer. So new in fact that Feisty didn’t have support for it. It turns out that the Gutenprint project added support for this printer as of version 5.0.1. Installing these drivers was a bit of a quagmire, but I got it done. And luckily, the next release of Ubuntu (Gutsy) will support this printer out of the box.

So contrary to the LXer author’s findings, I can print photos quite happily in the Gimp. Yes, even high quality borderless ones (I’ve printed borderless 8×10’s and 4×6’s so far). Colour profiling and correction for the printer is not easy, but I have to say that with a little tweaking to lower the greens and increase the magenta levels, I’ve managed to get very nice colour prints. And besides, my dad has an older model Epson R300 that he uses with XP (and the Epson drivers) and his prints always end up magenta-heavy, so colour profiling is not something that’s really easy on any platform – it’s a feature that requires simplification everywhere – and no, getting your printed output to match your screen in Photoshop is not that easy either – definitely not easy enough.

My Most Narcissistic Post Ever.. so far anyway

May 3, 2007

Like many avid photographers, I’ve got thousands of photos on my hard drive, of which, I’m in maybe 5 or 10.

I just wasted 30 minutes trying to find a decent photo of myself to use for my Twitter badge. I quickly remembered that I generally hate photos of myself. It is very rare that I like any of them and that’s why the photo in my blog profile has never really changed.

I did manage to find a couple passable ones. The first one I chose I happen to like quite a bit, but it looks far more serious and contemplative than I actually am. I would feel like I was pretending if I used that one. It was actually taken with my 50mm F1.8 lens at arm’s length while I was looking out a nearby window.


I finally found one a little more in character for me. Of course it was taken when I’m at my absolute happiest – when I’m cuddling my daughter.


So until I go get the glamour shots done at the mall, that’s the one I have to settle on for my Twitter badge. 😉

Of course the backup plan is to do some very very minor touchups to my blog profile photo using Inkscape… can you tell which one’s the original?

Cool 3D photo collage modelling

April 12, 2007

Now no one can accuse me of not being an equal opportunity blogger:

[Via a recent episode of Leo Laporte’s KFI podcast]

Just in case you thought Microsoft wasn’t full of smart people (ok, maybe acquired smart people), wanting to push the envelope, check out the demo videos of the Photosynth project.

Think Quicktime VR but formed from a mass of normal digital photographs. From what I understand, they’ve got software that analyzes a group of photos of a specific location, recognizes datum objects, figures out camera position and angle of view, transforms them to account for parallax errors and assembles them together in a sort of 3D collage model. Put that inside a nice viewer with cool pan and zoom navigation and you have something really really interesting.

You can’t get this software yet (I don’t think), but it does show some really interesting possibilities for all those millions of photos being posted to the net. A use for photos in aggregate.

Now if only I could find the open-source equivalent.. 😉

New 4GB CF Card – $129 Not Bad Eh?

March 20, 2007

On a lighter note, the day before Idiot broke into my car, I picked up a new 4GB compact flash card for, get this, $129.00 CDN.

I took a look at an old Shutterbug magazine from November 2003, its cover story touting the news that Lexar had released the worlds first 4GB flash card. At that time, it’s street price was $1500.00 USD!!

I heard just a few days ago that flash memory pricing has taken a real dip as of late. So if you’re interested in a new card, maybe now’s the time.