Sunday, September 30, 2007

Not Exactly A Car Wash...


Out for a walk with the dog this afternoon along the power line easement, I heard a helicopter in the distance coming closer and was amazed to see it flying at only about 80 feet above an urban neighbourhood. It soon became clear what he was doing.

A large boom which had been pointing forward and not seen against the bright sky swung out, the helicopter swung round and proceded to wash the insulators on the high tension lines. I watched for a while, finished my walk, grabbed my FZ50 and went back before they'd finished the entire stretch and was able to get these shots as they washed the last two pylons.

Amazing flying, remarkably steady, the boom only 4 feet from the insulators, the helicopter I suppose another 20 feet further away. Of course, they didn't turn off the power. Click on the images for a larger view.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Getting That All Important Feedback

I've had some nice things said about my images lately, and thank you all for that. Lest you think I'm getting a swelled head, yesterday my wife looked at a new image, and another one today.

1) "What lovely paper!" was her response to the first, and:

2) "try it upside down" to the second. Oh well...

Given that she's a great believer in my photography and can be very enthusiastic about my images, it's hard to ignore responses like these two.


Kind a' puts things in perspective, doesn't it.

Wall Of Shapes

Work Gloves


The gloves were sitting on the bench in this position. I did move a few small things from the background, moved the hammer which was lying in front of the gloves to on the gloves and in processing the image did remove a circular rust stain from the workbench.

And More...





Friday, September 28, 2007

Guess Where I Was, Again....




Wasn't sure I'd find anything to photograph, after all this is my sixth trip in two months to photograph Independent Machinery. Consistent with my comments earlier about not trying to redo previous work, I spent only a few minutes at the rack of metal sheets, taking a single picture, the rest of the three hours spent entirely in the one building. I found lots of interesting things and if they work out as well as I hope, these two are the first of several images from today's shoot.

As you can see though, I still can't decide if I'm a black and white or a colour photographer. I worry a little that I should be putting all my efforts into one or the other, particularly within a single subject such as this, but I'm damned if I'm prepared to lose either, so I carry on.

Certainly the idea of the repeat shoots here is the eventual development of one or two portfolios, though it occurred to me today that alternating colour and black and white on the wall might make an interesting show.

Well, back to working on some more of the images.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cave Roof



Below is the original image. As you can see, it's taken considerable work to create the final image. Normally lightening and darkening are done in areas that are already distinct, ie. they already have a tone that separates them from the other parts of the image. Sometimes though it can be helpful to lighten and darken parts of an evenly toned area, to give it depth, to create lines that didn't really exist in the original, but reinforce the composition. Cheating? I suppose, but it's being creative and I don't see it as any more cheating than using a red filter to make unrealistic skies - Ansel did that!

It was important not to overdo the contrast and end up with a poster like effect. Careful drawing of the curve adjustment graphs helped. Tonality was increased with unsharp mask (25/50/0) as well as an earlier subtle application of Akvis Enhancer (ie. the effect was toned down after it was applied). I now routinely duplicate the image in another layer and apply Akvis to that layer so I can adjust the effect at any point in the future, both globally with the layers opacity slider, and also locally through masking of the layer. In this instance though, the unsharp mask did more for the image.

Andy Ilachinski Gets A Book Published

Remember that contest at Black and White Photography, for the chance to publish your book, well Andy won. Well done and well deserved Andy. I had to ask him what happened - modest fellow!

Bedroom Image



I also tried the same image with the verticals corrected, but prefer the 'crazy' angles of the 'straight' version above.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Working The Machine Shop

There's been a fair amount of interest in my Machine Shop project so I thought some might enjoy or even find it useful to talk about how it came about and how I 'worked the scene', not a topic you find much of in books - oh they'll tell you how to compose, but the actual process of being presented with a subject (the shop) and actually checking around for interesting things to photograph is less well discussed. I've done a little in prev. blogs relative to specific images, and have gone further in the book (yes, it's still being edited) and decided to tell you about this project.

As you probably know, I have an interest in old industrial subjects anyway, so when I cruised round an old neighborhood in Calgary, discovering Independent Machinery, an obviously old collection of buildings raised interest. I peered through the windows into a pile of junk, so much it was hard to imagine I'd be able to find a simple composition. No one was around and I wandered off.

When I went out shooting with a friend, I remembered the place and we drove by. The gates were open and there were people around. With the confidence of having a friend there too, I had no hesitation about going in and asking and they were very cooperative.

Now I had to figure out how I was going to photograph the place. The oldest part of the shop was just as cluttered as I remembered and I doubted I could find an image there (though I did later). I headed instead for the newer part of the shop, with sunlight pouring through south facing and very dirty windows, backed by trees outside so showing quite a bit of green in the windows, all be it blurred by the dirt - quite nice. The shop was fairly cluttered too but there was a position from which I could put most of it behind me and focus on the south wall. it was moderately interesting and I photographed it on it's own. I looked around to see how I could improve it and noted a chain hanging from a lift and felt that it would make good foreground.

I realized it was way too close for depth of field to manage the situation and were I to move further back, the chain lost prominence, so my position was fairly fixed a couple of feet back from the chain. I made two exposures, one focussed on the chain, the other on the wall in the background.

After that picture, I looked at some fairly modern looking workbenches covered in tools, but couldn't see patterns in the chaos and in the end though I did take a couple of pictures, they were as bad as I'd been afraid of (but I didn't spend a lot of time on them, and you never know...)

I was intrigued by the tightly packed copper tubing of heat exchangers an spent some time on that - though in the end that's my weakest image of the shoot. I wandered into the old part of the place, confirmed that I couldn't make anything out of the clutter and looked for interesting details. I was quite excited to find the pipe benders sitting in the dark on a bench (30 second exposure). It was interesting though. I wasn't sure they were in the best position and I realized I could basically put them in whatever pattern I wanted - it's a lot harder to arrange things like a painter, much easier to take what you've got and make the best of it. I'm not sure even now and after a second shoot of the pipe benders that I have got the definitive image.

They were a pretty obvious thing to photograph though as the surface had a lovely patina to it - not too shiny, but some great highlights. I tried a fairly symetrical arrangement but that looked too artificial (after all it was). I tried a bit more jumbled and liked that better. I set them up so one led to the next, fairly nice, but still a little 'arranged'.

By this time, my friend was in the building and I decided it might be best to move on so I wandered over to a third building (the newest) in which I found drill presses, milling machines and giant lathes. I liked the lathe but couldn't find a really good composition. THe drill press was ok, but not great, the bench had some interesting widgets on it so I photographed those, moving a few bolts around for a better pattern. (rounding up the strays - hey, I live in Calgary).

I then found a small wooden box full of odd shapes of metal of a variety textures and tones. These were definitely interesting and I was fairly sure I had a good image here. Unfortunately I hadn't noticed that in photographing it next to the wall, one edge was very much in shadow. I have made successful prints but I really had to bring up the shadows and also do a substantial amount of cloning of metal parts to extend them, and the image isn't top drawer as a result. This was the biggest reason to go back for a second shoot and that's a story for another day.

So, you might ask, how did I actually go about finding these things to photograph? The obvious answer is I just did, through years of practice. On a more practical level though, I know I was looking for interesting shapes and surfaces that photographed well. I had no special agenda, had no special point to make, other than perhaps to say in the end, see how fascinating the stuff is at an ordinary machine shop?

Well used tools that are not painted have a lovely surface. If it's curved, even better. Much of the place had so many things going on, finding an image was more than difficult and most of my success has been with parts of things, close ups or isolated details, like the lights.

The things that I have found on subsequent trips I didn't even have the slightest inkling of on the first visit.

There were lots of images I walked away from because even though the parts were excellent, the whole just didn't work. Perhaps I'm a bit obsessive about composition but it's what works for me, I have to be able to make some sense out of the parts - they have to work together for me, and certainly I tend to most admire work that is strongly composed. Composition is certainly not the whole story, but it's an important and probably essential part for me.

In the end, my search was for 'neat' things, before looking for 'neat' photographs.

Tripod Features

For those of you who haven't committed to using a tripod regularly yet, here's some things to think about:

1) I don't know a single experienced photographer who uses a tripod with braces from the centre column to the legs, and most prevent the legs from swinging out for low work and irregular terrain and special situations.

2) likewise the use of anything but a ball head unless you are shooting large format - virtually all of us have converted over to ball heads of various designs and prices.

3) a tripod that goes to at least nipple height without the head and without raising the centre column is essential for a normal use tripod, though you may wish to compromise on a lightweight travel pod.

4) if you do a lot of stitching, you need something to level the rotation of the ball head - I use a leveller from Manfrotto on my Gitzo tripod, works really well.

5) number of sections really depends on quality of construction - lots of people decry 4 section legs but that's what I use and that extra height is sometimes very handy.

6) there are a few times that I have missed the ability to reach out horizontally, say over a wall and then shoot down, so there is definitely something to be said for the new manfrotto and other tripods that have swinging or positionable centre columns.

7) some say that you should never use a centre column becuase it isn't steady, but I have several portfolio images in which it was useful or even essential.

8) Carbon fibre is nice, but hardly essential. Wood can be good too and sure repairs a lot easier after jambing a leg in the car door. For a long time I used a Berlebach tripod with good results, though once I switched to dSLR's and a tall ballhead, it wasn't as stable beween the centre column and the head as I'd like. The swivelling centre post (essentially a ball joint with a hole in the middle for the centre post) was a great idea. I have even thought of getting a new centre column with a more solid top for the ball head. That tripod took abuse no metal or carbon fibre tripod would stand.

9) little spikes on tripod feet really don't do much for me - if the tripod isn't stiff enough to stand on ice on it's own, you have too loose a tripod. Big spikes like the Zone VI tripod used to have serve their function, but soft marshy ground isn't going to be fixed by any spike less than 10 feet long, so I don't consider spikes essential and I don't have them on my Gitzo.

10) quick release heads are nice, and for a dSLR, an L bracket is wonderful - but not cheap - Manfrotto make some nice inexpensive ball heads with quick release plates, and they don't have the problem of the camera sliding out of the plate holder because of being two instead of three dimensionally held. Mind you, my really right stuff lever release clamp has never ever let go and there's something about a clamp in which you can see from it's position that it's on - which you can't with a rotating knob. With knobs, I just get a bit paranoid and check frequently - never lost a camera yet and I do carry the 1Ds2 over my shoulder on the end of the tripod.

A New Camera

With the spate of new dSLR cameras from Canon, Nikon, Sony, some with pretty impressive previews, the itch to run out and buy a new camera has to be getting stronger. I know I suffer the itch.

Here's some things to think about though.

1) whatever you buy is going to be superseded by a better model within a year, and probably less, possibly for less money.

2) A swinging LCD screen is an obvious addition to a dSLR - so obvious it's hard to believe it hasn't been added yet. I'm still confused about the pixel count on the new Nikon - one site even showed pictures of how much finer it is - so so much for the talk of pixels versus dots. That said, can you imagine how handy a camera with a 4 inch screen (I think there's room) which tilts would be - even newspaper photographers would find it a godsend and for still life, macro, flower, even landscape work, it would be awesome. I strongly suspect this is only a model away (that's to say, better than even odds that we'll see it within the year).

3) Michael Reichmann points out that Nikon has autofocus in live view while Canon has to flip the mirror. Anyone bet that won't be on the next Canon? (too late for the 1Ds3?).

4) Initial enthusiasm for the new is often tempered over time with more realistic estimates of quality. I've been burned by acting on enthusiastic reviews, only to find within a month or two, all the problems surface. Whether it's the arcane interface and problems with the Canon 5000 printer or it's ink so glossy it doesn't work well with any of the glossy art papers yet produced or the autofocus problems of the 1D3, the infrared problems of the Leica M8, history is so full of (if I'd waited, I would have been warned) that even if you are interested in the current new generation of cameras, you might well want to curb that enthusiasm.

There, now if only I can control myself.

Gary Nylander On Using A View Camera

Gary had made a great comment to my 'Is The View Camera Dead' entry so I asked him to write about using the view camera and he has posted this to his blog. Gary's excellent images can be found at his website.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tripod Use

After my walkabout yesterday, as I checked out the images I made, several had hand shake issues. I had noticed on the walk that my hands aren't as steady as they used to be so it was hardly a surprise. None of the images couldn't have used a tripod and presumably there would have been sig. fewer flawed images - rejected for hand shake despite image stabilization.

I'd thought that not taking the tripod would let me concentrate more on seeing, but in hind sight, I don't think that's true. Had I put my lightweight tripod on the camera and carried both over my shoulder, I could just as easily have wandered around. Setup might take a few seconds more but I don't think it would have interfered with the experience.

On the other hand, I have been thinking of photographing in an old part of town, with shoppers around. Setting up a tripod could well be problematic in that situation and grabbing shots between pedestrians might well depend on not using a tripod. Were I to include the shoppers, then even more the tripod would likely be in the way.

I guess what it comes down to is:

Always use a tripod unless you have a GOOD reason not to.

I'll try another casual walk later this week, with lightweight tripod and let you know the outcome.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Out For A Walk






Not in the mood for a serious shoot, I nevertheless wanted to get out with my camera, so grabbed the FZ50, didn't even take the camera bag, and wandered the back lanes for an hour round my neighbourhood. Absolutely nothing that would make a portfolio, but pleasant and probably doesn't hurt to exercise my eye and brain a little. All of the images would have been better quality had I taken my tripod and good camera, but then I wouldn't have gone out - so...

Machine Shop 5


Technically challenging, with huge flare from the windows (in fact the only light source), it took some work to correct as best possible for the flare. I also had to remove a couple of aperture shaped flare spots in addition to adjusting the contrast and shadows.

I like the angled lines of the image though, in the ladder and the walls, the storage bins and the roof beams.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Brian Kosoff

And here's another portfolio to check out, this from APUG, the analog photographers group - ie. film.

Brian Kosoff

and Brian's own website

apologies for the earlier mistake in Brian's last name.

Machine Shop Variation

Sometimes you have to choose between two relatively similar images. First is an image I worked on tonight, a wider view, a bit more complex, which might be interpreted as cluttered) but I like the corners of the sheets at the bottom and top. The first image includes the drum in the bottom right, but I have toned it down.



Or perhaps this one, which was the earlier image I worked on. This image has a better splay, but it's a simpler design.



At the moment, I think I prefer the first image, though who's to say how I'll feel tomorrow, never mind next week. I'll live with the images for a few weeks before deciding. In this case the images are probably too similar to include both in a portfolio.

Interestingly, were I submitting for publication, I might well send both, letting the editor choose which they prefer - they like having a choice, and they may pick one over another for entirely different reasons than you might consider - such as which goes better with the other images, how it will look in reproduction, shape relative to page, and so on.

Photo Net

Occasionally I'll check on what's happening at Photo.Net and found the following two photographers.
Ben Goosens - amazing skill at creating these imaginary images - not a style of photography I like but I can certainly admire it, and know what, I actually do like some of the images. Not such a stick in the mud as I thought?

Camilo Margeli - a fair amount of repetition but there are some lovely images here none the less and his skill with macro is impressive.

Finally, New Image Of The Month


With a reminder from Andrew, I finally changed the image of the month, and to simplify things, I have limited it to a single print, one size, 8.5X11 and as an experiment, dropped the price, including shipping to $25.

I'm going to do this print on Canon Photo Paper Plus Semi Gloss on the 5000.

We'll see how this flies.

From the image description:

From my recent Independent Machinery series of images, this shows a rack of perforated steel sheets used in the shop to assemble a variety of oilfield and other equipment. It really does look like an abstract painting to me. Shot with my Canon 1Ds2, Canon 17-40 mm. lens, three blended images with focus adjusted between and the images blended in Helicon Focus for increased depth of field. Not only can this increase depth of field, I can use the optimum f stop, in this case f9 at 1.6 seconds exposure, iso 100, lens at 31 mm.

Heat Exchanger


Interestingly this image is actually turned 909 degrees to the right. It just didn't work for me as a vertical, but cropped and rotated this way I quite like it. Given the lack of horizons and visual clues, it doesn't really matter that it's not in the 'right' position. In fact, being round, I could have rotated it to the right and shot it in this position, but it didn't occur to me at the time and it wasn't mine to rotate anyway, being a guest at Independent Machinery and wanting to maintain goodwill.


I like the repetitive curves from the stainless base to the grilles, complemented by the lines of tubing angled up and to the right.

Canon 1Ds3

Canon has put example images on their website from the new 1Ds3. There's lots of criticism on the web on the quality of the images but out of curiosity I downloaded the hillside town landscape image and loaded it into Photoshop. It was interesting. The image seems quite soft, yet has a tremendous amount of detail. When it came to sharpening though - my usual 300 .5 in smart sharpen for my 1Ds2 was way over the top for this image and in fact the best result was 300 .1, an amount smaller than I have ever used.

Not only that, while my normal routine is to use Photokit Output Sharpening for the appropriate DPI setting, in fact the best print made was when I didn't do a final output sharpening. I'm using a Canon 5000 printer which can sharpen output within the printer driver but this was set to zero.

We'll need to wait to see side by side comparisons between the II and the III cameras but there is at least the suggestion that while the pixel count isn't all that much more (21 vs. 16 MP), perhaps the AA filter has been weakened a bit and perhaps there will be a significant difference.

The times, they are interesting.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Is The View Camera Dead?

Clearly the answer is no, lots of people enjoy the pace and routine, the huge ground glass, dark cloth and having a negative the size of a dinner plate. In fact there are more manufacturers of large view cameras now than at any time in history. you can get ones of wood - teak, mahogany, cherry, ebony. You can get them metal (including titanium and magnesium, pvc and other plastics, even MDF.

There are 4X5's, 8X10's, even cameras up to 20X24 and panoramic formats like 4X10, 5X12, 7X17 and 8X20.

Oddly, film isn't an issue today. Ilford is selling all manner of odd sizes and out of Eastern Europe there are other options. You can still get rediloads in 4X5, though processing colour is getting more difficult and I suspect the future of view cameras is going to be almost exclusively the realm of black and white photography and in particular alternate processes requiring big negatives for contact printing - platinum and palladium, albumen and other types.

On a practical level, there aren't a lot of reasons to use a view camera - it's heavier, slower, less versatile, less reliable, bulkier, has inadequate depth of field, problems like windage and bellows factors, squinting into dark corners and carrying adequate film.

That said though, working with a good view camera is in itself a rewarding experience, regardless of the images that come out the other end. My first large format camera was a borrowed crown graphic from the local newspaper. It was rigid and light, the Optar lens was pretty sharp and quite tiny, everything folded up into a nice well protected box. Oh, sure, you didn't have back tilts and back rotation, bellows a mile long or geared controls, but it worked well and reliably and took good pictures.

Given that you can tray process 4X5 film and flat bed scanners are all you need for digitizing images, you might want to give it a try. Perhaps not for a football game, but for landscape, still life, architecture - it's a pretty potent tool and might just help you see differently too.

I still have two view cameras though it's been some months since I last used them. I have seriously considered getting a bigger view camera with which I could make contact prints, which many people maintain are still the ultimate in quality.

Of course, a $35,000 medium format kit could do almost as well, but few of us can afford that kind of equipment.

Do I recommend the view camera for normal work - well, I'd be a bit hypicritical if I did, given I'm shooting digitally, but not all photography is about practicality, some people drive antique cars, even though newer ones are safer, faster, more fuel efficient and so on - there is just something about the tools. Furniture makers love to use the hand plane they inherited from grand dad, sure a power planer could do a faster job, possibly even a more square one, but there's something about using your hands, and that's the feeling you have with a view camera.

Of course, there are lots of view cameras that are less than fun to use - ones that shake at the best of times, or slip their settings or bend when you lay the dark cloth on top to expose the film. There are cameras that take an instruction manual to set up or 10 minutes to assemble from a reasonably compact package.

The best view camera I used was a Linhof Color Kardan. This monorail was built like the proverbial brick outhouse yet quickly disasembled for back packing. It used a two part screw together monorail of huge dimensions and absolute rigidity. It had universal bellows (normal back with a big pleat at the front simulating bag bellows - a great combination). It was so rigid I could mount my 19 inch Artar on an apple sauce can on the front and know nothing was going to move.

In theory, digital can do everything large format can. If I stitch enough images, I can get the same resolution. If I use helicon focus and multiple images, I can get the depth of field that tilting can produce (and more since I don't have to rely on everything being in one plane). I can compensate for a smaller dynamic range in digital vs. black and white film by bracketing exposures. Of course, this could mean at an absolute minimum a 27 shot image - say three wide for stitching, three deep for changing focus and three along for changing exposure - now that's just plain silly.

One of these days, I'll haul out my 4X5 again, just for fun, and for a change, and just for the heck of it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

On Glossy Dried Matte (or the modern equiv.)

I have been a little less than happy with the depth to my new black and white prints from the Independent Machinery project so this morning I decided to try some Canon Semi gloss paper. I'd had trouble with other glossy dried matte wanabees because the canon 5000 printer uses a particularly glossy ink and so the white areas of all the papers I have tried showed significantly less gloss than the dark areas.

I had been noticing the incredible printing quality in Lenswork, thinking that these magazine reproductions were looking better than my matte prints - nice for Lenswork, frustrating for me. Oddly, Lenswork has gloss differential too -their ink is glossier than the paper - and I hadn't been complaining about that - so maybe I'm a bit too paranoid about the whole gloss differential business.

Anyway today I tried the semi-gloss Plus paper from Canon thinking that Canon's paper might better match Canon's ink. Sort of - there's still substantially more gloss in the dark areas so not a brilliant solution there. On the other hand, the depth of the blacks is wonderful, the prints don't make me look enviously at Lenswork. The gloss differential doesn't bother me on thse prints since they don't have large areas of very white - others might - time will tell.

I'm not thrilled with a plastic paper but that may be more bias than fact as the prints look darn nice. I think I'll check out that new Harman gloss Baryta paper.

I think I will continue to use the Canon Semi Gloss Plus for my own prints. One observation I have made is that with matte prints, there is a limit to the resolution of images which means that in general I don't like prints smaller than 13X19 with a generous border. With the canon paper, there seems to be higher resolution (perhaps less dot spread) and thus 8.5X11 prints look wonderful, and fit nicely in hand - I think that could become my standard size in the future - intereseting.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Print Prices

With the quality of inkjet prints approaching that of silver prints, and frankly already exceeding the quality of most platinum prints (yes, I know, heresy, but I'm convinced it's true none the less), it's time to rethink the whole business of how much a print is worth.

Some things to ponder:

1) Very little work is involved in making one more inkjet print.

2) Inkjet prints are innexpensive, even allowing for amortizing the cost of the printer, considering ink and paper, even factoring in spoiled prints (if my 7600 puts one more drop of black ink on the edge of a 24X26 inch print, I'll scream).

3) Assuming some detailed instructions, anyone can make another print - including your descendents, even your spouse, your assistant, lover, gardener or whoever you wish - since the quality is set in the file, barring any obvious printing flaws, every print is going to be perfect.

4) Inkjet prints don't need infinite protection - they are replaceable - especially if priced reasonably. As Jeff said, forget the glass, I can always make another print.

5) For the largest part of the world, photographs form decoration, not holy relics, not priceless masterpieces - when you are ready for a change - either throw away the print, or even better, pop it out of the frame, store it on a shelf and recycle the frame for the next photograph - thus ensuring an ongoing market for our photographs - if we price things reasonably.

6) Inexpensive prints is a concept incompatible with current gallery practice. It doesn't have to be, but it is, and getting the galleries to change the way they do business is going to be challenging, if not impossible. It may simply be better to do an end run around them - if they can't keep up, well, think Neanderthals. Of course, they could change - instead of catering to 2 - 3 clients a day and selling one print a day and not always making a profit, galleries could offer a choice of hundreds of prints at reasonable prices and have 30 customers a day buying 45 prints a day. That's not impossible, I was well on my way to that kind of sales at the Farmers Market.

So, with the above in mind, just how expensive should prints be? Do better photographers charge more, or simply sell more prints? A good car, TV, sofa, and just about any other product typically cost more than a poor one - but not that much more, not usually more than double the cost of a cheap one, and often because of labour and cost of materials is higher - I would argue that photographers of reputation shouldn't charge any more than the next fellow. Their reputation doesn't make their next image any better, only their skill can do that - let the consumer decide which is the better product. Odds are the better photographers will far outsell the lesser ones and reap a reward unprecedented in photography.

Quality inkjet paper costs up to $5 for 13X19 paper. Pigment ink to make an image on said paper with a generous white border, another $5. Depreciation on the printer, say $2. Allowance for damaged prints, say an overrun of 50%, which is probably quite high. Cost of getting the first perfect print - substantial, say 10X the cost already, but is it reasonable to expect the purchaser of one print to pay that entire cost, and for every subsequent purchaser to pay it all over - assume that this setup cost is spread over the first 10 prints sold, so basically doubling the cost of the print - after that - gravy for the photographer - anyone who can sell more than 10 prints deserves it.

O.K. so we have an individual print cost of $12, setup of another $12 for a total of $24. Don't forget packaging, - say mylar bags and backing of acid free foam core (that's how I sold my prints at the market). That adds another $3. We're now up to $27. Of course, we haven't paid the photographer, nor amortized his camera equipment or computers and so on. The retail trade is generally based on a 50% markup to survive - that is, whatever you buy the product for, you retail it for twice as much, give or take. With Walmart and other giant sores, I dare say that's no longer valid, but it will do for a start.

So, if someone phones and offers to buy a print, they can have a 13X19 bagged print for $54 give or take. I have been charging $69 so that's not too far off. Given that I have probably forgotten some costs - say business cards, shopping bags, advertising, back of print info sheets, and a myriad of other items, the $69 figure for a 13X19 print is probably pretty close to right and less than $50 is probably hobby pricing - ie. not meant for making any income. An 8.5X11 print would cost around $35.

In the current world - there are photographers selling inkjet prints through galleries (and therefore not anywhere else because the gallery wouldn't like it) for $500. I really can't see this lasting much longer. Sooner or later common sense will prevail.

Now, if we add matting, framing or other services, well that's a whole other story, but what if that imaginary gallery that decided to switch rather than fight, stocked some standard sized frames, easily loaded and reuseable, for modest prices - say $40-$100 instead of the usual $150-$300 they normally charge for a custom frame, well, I suspect they could attract a fair number of customers.


Food for thought.

New Web Gallery From Independent Machinery

I have uploaded all the photographs from Independent Machinery to a single gallery on my main site, including both black and white and colour images. I'm not sure that mixing colour and black and white makes sense but we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Old Shop


As they say, the solution to this image was "non trivial". I shot three exposures, bracketing from full interior detail to windows not blown out, combined them in Photomatix HDR, then converting with the same software to tonemapped. I then went into Photoshop and corrected perspective (the lens had been tilted up to include roof). I decided the roof was too cluttered and cropped it.

The image still didn't look right so I used Michael Reichmann's unsharp mask (25/50/0) which has the effect of increasing local contrast. Now it was looking fairly natural. Several more masked curves adjustment layers and the image was better balanced.

There's still considerable flare around the windows but when you consider that those windows are the only light source and the room is "well lit", the camera did quite well to record it - I did have the sense to clean the lens just before the shot - any dust specks on the lens show up as white spots in the image. I think the lens did quite well for itself (17-40).

Monochrome Is Mighty Nice


Abstract In Steel



This afternoon was my fifth trip down to Independent Machinery and these perforated steel sheets were a wonderful find, perhaps the best yet. I know I was pretty excited as I was taking it. At times this excitement can get in the way of a good shot as all learned routines seems to fly out the window in the pressure of the moment - if I could leave the lens cap on by mistake, I probably would. Fortunately, after the first capture, things calm down and I start thinking about what I'm doing - f stop, depth of field, careful framing, any shadows, did I let the camera stop shaking before firing off the shutter.

It's terribly wasteful of memory, but memory's cheap and I usually get the shot, something that didn't always happen in the early days of 4X5. Even there, I always carried a lot of film and would fine tune over 4 or 5 shots, not 20 or more like I do now.

Truth is, I'm a pain to photograph with as I'm damn slow, methodical in my scatter brained way, you might say.

I'm not sure yet whether this will be better left in colour - there isn't a lot of course, but so far, what there is seems to be important to me.

Change Of Plans, Be Flexible


Went back this afternoon to Independent Machinery, only to find a truck parked next to the two scenes I wanted to rephotograph - oh well. That made me look round to see what could be salvaged, and I saw this rack of metal from a different angle. I quite like this one.

Three images blended for depth of field, using Helicon Focus, a small amount of Akvis Enhancer (that is, applied then faded back to about 15%) then the image darkened in places. Some subtle colour changes to make things balance better and that's about all I did to the image.

Unusually, didn't crop a single pixel.

More On Our Market And Pricing

I left my prev. entry on addressing who are our market for prints with the suggestion that I'd discuss pricing. In the mean time Scott Jones, another physician photographer, made the following commment which I felt needed more attention - he's saying some pretty important things here.

Scott Jones said...

Hi George,

Good thoughts. My reaction today on this is that if you take into account the major effort in marketing you discuss and take account of the hours doing so and then take into account the costs you have to produce the saleable images and then look at your income, you may find that your real hourly wage for these business efforts is incredibly small. Therfore this way of making a living is a very inefficient use of life energy of which we have a very limited supply. Unless one is a true 100% dedicated professional, it may be much more efficient to remain an amatuer in the true sense of the word and do our work for love and sell at reasonable prices to the public when the chance presents itself.

The day job probably presents a much better and easier way of putting food on our tables and then we can spend our free time doing our art. Also if one makes a living through a more efficient means, then we can sell our work at a much lower price and thus actually share our work with more people which is the point anyway, isn't it?

The great paradox is that once you substantially lower your prices, you unit volume goes way up and sometimes you end up making more money. I sell my matted prints at $60 and have sold 27 prints from my last show. That is much more than I have ever sold at higher prices and so many people have told me how pleased they are to have pieces of my work hanging in their homes. At a higher price they never would have bought one. I feel so much more fulfilled this way which again seems the point of doing art (at least for me).

It will be interesting to see what your latest thoughts ar about pricing since our last discussion. Also how refreshing to be able to not have to deal with the galleries anymore. Unless you are really a hot shot in demand photographer, that really seems a fool's game.

Thanks George...

Two More From Machine Shop


Friday, September 14, 2007

Back At The Machine Shop



The day off so I headed back to Independent Machine Shop, delivering a couple of prints, then carrying on to photograph. This was my fourth trip and I wasn't sure that I'd find much - it was every bit as rewarding as any of the previous trips. The two images here are just a start from today's shoot.

I went to convert the images into a lightroom web upload but several of the images are stitches and won't fit in lightroom. Hopefully that's a problem that will be fixed soon.

In the case of the second image, I could have used Helicon Focus to have the entire heat exchanger in focus, but actually preferred it blurred like this.

The first image looks a bit too well lit - think there is more editing to be done there. I'd actually spent an hour on the image (stitched with Photoshop CS3) before I realized that Photoshop had messed up the stitch and I had to do it with PTGui which rarely lets me down and did this stitch just fine. I used the flawed but edited image as a reference for editing the new stitch - they didn't come out identical, but the new one is as good and that's all that matters.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Just Who Are Our Market?

I've talked about who buys photographs before, all be it as part of other discussions. I think it deserves it's own hearing.

The other day I was flipping through the latest Black and White magazine, thinking that there are a hell of a lot of fine art photographers out there, probably 100 - 1000 for every collector that exists, and these are the serious ones, who produce good work and actually market their wares and have real expectations of sales.

With ratios like that, it's no wonder many of these fine art photographers, myself included, aren't exactly making big bucks from photography, and that even very established photographers have to teach workshops and do other things to provide a half ways decent income from photography.

The implication of this dysproportion of photographers to collectors is that many photographers won't sell even one photograph and very few will sell a modest number of images and absolutely none are going to do well.

That is pretty much the current state of the market.

Photographers put a lot of effort into marketing....to other photographers - boy is that a poor market. Getting cash out of the pocket of the average photographer makes safecracking look easy.

To be fair though, most of us tie up any free cash in travel or equipment, and if you do get a print, you have to turn round and frame it, which can cost a lot more than the print. Even wall space can be an issue.

So, who should we try to sell to? And How?

For every collector of photography, there are probably 100,000 people who like photographs and consider them art and are more than happy to have them on the wall as both art and decoration. There's an even bigger market for photographs of things - of grain elevators and trains and local beauty spots and famous locations.

I suspect that neither group are likely to happily drop $500 for an unframed print. Oh, there will be some, but not many. So price might well be important - but if the customer never knows we exist, price is the least of our problems.

In order for people to even consider our wares, they need to hear about us, even better, to see examples of our work. Truth is that we are going to have to become marketers. I suspect that a lot of you are like me and have neither the inclination or the time to become marketers. it might be best therefore if we didn't have unrealistic expectations of fortune, perhaps concentrating more on fame (if possible).

Should we decide that we really want or need to produce an income from our fine art photography, then we are going to have to become (at least to some degree) hard nosed businessmen.

It's no coincidence that one of the higher earning fine art photographers is Alain Briot - he puts more effort into marketing than just about anyone else - and it pays.
Even New York Fashion photographers spend a lot more time selling their ideas than they do making photographs. Read "On Being A Photographer" by Hurn and Jay (available from Lenswork).

Is it possible to find a middle ground? I think so. I think that a really good photographer can sell hundreds of prints, if at reasonable prices and if he spends several hours a week marketing them. It doesn't require giving up your day job, but it will take shoe leather, creativity, and just plain sweat equity. It means creating (and paying for) brochures. It means visiting dozens of restaurants and movie theatres, coffee shops and anywhere else you can think of that might just possibly hang your work. It means paying for framing and matting (so you do it yourself to keep costs down). It means following up with displays to be sure the prints look pristine and there are adequate business cards and brochures. It means having a good business sense and providing a good product - not just a pretty print, but the whole product, from packaging to included information.

None of this is trivial, and most of us aren't going to put the effort in, thus leaving the field all that much wider for those who are prepared to do so.

Oh, by the way, what does all this have to do with selling through galleries? Bugger all, that's what.

I'm going to tackle the issue of print prices next time, a very thorny issue.

Presentation

In reference to the new Harman gloss paper, someone wrote that since imaages sit behind glass it doesn't really matter whether you use glossy paper or not. I agree that a sheet of glass in front of a print almost completely removes the advantage of the gloss surface and its higher D-Max and richer tones.

That then raises the question of whether in fact we should have glass in front of our images. A number of galleries prefer to display photographs without glass in front. It's frankly a bit scary - a good sneeze and you could be facing a ruined print and possibly a dry mounting job too.

Still, there's nothing quite like looking at a print in hand,with nothing between you and the print, and perhaps it's worth the cost and risk to be able to do that in some situations.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Just An Old Photo Reworked


Looking round for something to show, found this old image, I'd liked it but never very popular, but in looking at it a couple of things bothered me so....

1) it looked a bit wishy washy so a few masked layers later I darkened parts of it considerably, increased contrast in a few spots.

2) that rock on the far left bothered me - sort of just stuck there - not enough of it for significance, just a distraction really. I cropped it.

3) that meant things were a bit unbalanced on the right, and did I really need all that dark gravel, it was the light reflecting off the water that was important - right trim the right too.

4) having actually uploaded the image to blogger, I noticed that there was a white wave in the bottom middle that looked a little out of place, and besides, wouldn't it be better to crop a bit closer to that rock near the bottom middle - kill to birds...

And that's how I ended up with this.

I can see further work being done - perhaps darkening the middle gray water on the left to balance the dark on the far right. I dare say other changes will occur to me with time - it's a never ending process of fine tuning.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Value In New And Different

Unfortunately there is a lot of new and different photography out there, displaying only those attributes and missing out on content, composition, tonality, message and most other measures of great photography. I think I rely on this 'crap' work to justify not changing what I do and I'm not sure that's healthy.

Just because something is new and bad, doesn't necessarily mean that it's the newness which makes it bad.

For example:

Huntington Witherill (who's a painter as well as photographer) has been doing some incredible stuff with flowers, initially with painted backgrounds to simple flower arrangements in black and white and more recently colour work with images manipulated in Photoshop in artistic ways. Not everyone may like it, but I doubt many would think it crap.

Ryujie has been embedding flowers in blocks of ice and photographing them and has some absolutely lovely black and white images.

A friend showed me this morning a misty dark image of a dock, fishing boat, canoe and bicycle that was very nice, and I don't think it would have been nearly as nice in either colour or with an ordinary camera.

Billie of billiblog showed a portfolio of holga images from some famous garden in Mexico, black and white, very nicely done, and darned if I can find the link Billie so perhaps you can add it for us.

The most recent Lenswork # 72 has albumen prints and one of three pears, one sliced open, is exquisite.

Truth is, there are a lot of talented photographers out there doing quite different work of very high quality, and frankly it's a lot more interesting to look at than one more spectacular landscape picture taken in the traditional fashion. My friend of this morning's coffee was himself commenting about the sameness of John Sexton's work, no matter that he admires Sexton's work very much. After Quiet Light, Listen To The Trees, and his most recent retrospective, it's like, been there, done that. John Sexton himself tried I think very sucseessfully to break the mold when he did his series on powerhouses and the shuttle and so on, that was a breath of fresh air.

Perhaps those of us who worship at the alter of Saint Ansel and believing in the highest possible standards of print quality, also have to think a little more right brained and creatively and consider the possibilities of other processes and more particularly other styles and subjects.

Ideas for new take two basic forms. We could continue to photograph our traditional subject matter, but in a new way, from a new angle, via a different process, perhaps in different lighting or much closer up or using soft focus lenses or whatever. If your subject matter is landscape, coming up with new is going to be really really hard because just about everything has been tried. Still, keep in mind it may have been done before but was it done as well as you are about to do it? Perhaps 10 million photographers shoot straight landscapes in the world, maybe 10,000 shoot infrared, perhaps 250 of them do it really well. Would you rather be one of 250 competing for publication and fame, or one of 10 million?

Alternatively, you could change subject matter to create new and different. Choosing a subject which is seldom seen almost automatically has potential to create interest in the viewer - we have all seen Ansel's images but most of us haven't a clue about, say, the inside of a flour mill, or the inner workings of machinery, or say what goes on in a busy restaurant kitchen (well, perhaps we don't want to know about some of those).

Sure, many of the ideas will turn out dud, but one might not, and it might just be the idea that makes your name. Now, if only I could come up with some good ideas.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Immortality

Perhaps I'm just being morbid after my recent health issues thankfully doing much better but have you given any thought to what happens to your photographic work if (as the British put it)pop your clogs, go to that great darkroom in the sky, expire, breathe your last, move to another plane, or just plain die?

For all photographers of whatever skill and degree of professionalism (ie. making money in photography), there are the issues of accessing family snapshots. It's likely those will have far more interest for future generations than any of our lovely sports or landscape pictures. Does anyone else in the family have a clue where in your computer you keep said images and how they are organized so they could find something.

For those of you with some important images, have you made a durable archival portfolio that is likely to survive relatives cleaning up after you - or are your images (like mine) in just another printing paper box with no label and no system?

If you actually sell your work, is there a way for your relatives to access this work to sell prints already made or to make new prints. Perhaps they could use the money.

After all, what if you become famous the month after you pop off - how dumb would it be if no one could find your prints to put together a New York Retrospective. Sure you won't be around to enjoy it, but others will, and talk about leaving your mark.

Can I suggest that you and I do the following:

1) write up some simple instructions letting family know how and where you store your images and if they are digital, how to make more prints and on what paper at which settings. Even if, like my wife, your spouse is a luddite (completely computer illiterate), the instructions can always be passed on to someone else. If you have portfolios already made up, it wouldn't hurt in the same instructions to mention where. Does anyone know where you keep your backups? Today I brought a 500 gig external drive to work which has all the raw files from the last four years of work. I used a felt pen on the drive to label it. At home I have another unplugged drive backing up all my final images. It too has a label.

2) Make a master set of prints from your important images, the ones you'd save first in a fire, buy some portfolio boxes from Light Impressions Direct and Label the boxes so they don't need pawed over to find out approximately what's in there.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Wrench From Machine Shop


Uwe On HDR

May I draw your attention to Outbackphot and the excellent efforts of Uwe Steinmuller. He's given a 65 minute lecture on High Dynamic Range Shooting and Image Making that is well worth listening to - at Google lectures.

Check it out.

A newer note on Outback Print is Uwe's and Jack Flescher's comments on Harman Gloss Baryta paper which they feel is the best yet in the "I wish I was glossy dried matte" competition, at least on the Epson 3800.

My efforts with the Canon 5000 have failed miserably, annoying since I had specifically purchased it for use with the new gdm (glossy dried matte) papers. Between defective surfaces and gray papers and the ink on the Canon being so glossy it shows gloss differential on all the papers, it's been a complete bust.

I'm not going to rush this time, but if the paper does hold up for other reviewers as well, it could be worth going back to an Epson printer. I even tried some of Canon's semi gloss paper - it too wasn't as shiny as the ink on the 5000, so for now I'm totally back to matte. We'll see. Sooner or latere there is going to be a paper and printer combination that will work.

More From Museum Of The Regiments



Not exactly high art, but fun none the less and that great sky was ideal. I even had some choice on the light as a storm was blowing in and the sun came and went for several minutes as I was shooting.

Akvis Enhancer was very helpful in producing the image with the support base while manually blending multiple exposures and then enhancer helped the image from under the plane's belly.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

On A Personal Note



Life has been interesting, to say the least. It started back at the end of June when we arranged to have our house painted for the first time in too many years. It fell to me to trim back all the trees and bushes near the house (you should understand that we live in the middle of the city but have let things grow pretty wild over much of the property and have 40 mature trees in our back garden alone).

Needless to say then, said trimming was fairly strenuous and between rather dull loppers and a pruning saw, I did the job over a couple of days and completely filled a large stock trailer twice over, hauled the loads to the dump and emptied them.

A couple of weeks later I started to get some pain in my left shoulder and at the time didn't related it back to the tree trimming. Another week or so and the painters were here and needed one more bush trimmed and I grabbed the loppers, went to lop, and yelled out - I thought I knew why my shoulder was sore.

As by now the pain was significant and it was waking me in the night, sometimes several times, I headed off to the doctor who diagnosed infraspinatus tendonitis and recommended physiotherapy (which being a good patient, I didn't get round to doing).

All this time, I was playing tennis almost daily and walking the dog at least a mile and a half daily, even being pleasantly surprised that I could hoof it up a steep hill without collapsing or getting angina (I'm 57 and sig. overweight).

Advance another week or so and one Wednesday I played a little warm up singles with my friend, then went to the indoor facility to play my usual Wednesday doubles, and for the first time ever we played singles for the first hour - we had a great time, but by the end I was fairly tired.

I came home to a very sad dog, no one had taken him for a walk. We went for a walk, I almost didn't make it back. Now this was not a combination I hadn't done before but I figured that second set of singles is what did me in, so didn't think too much of it at the time.

Over the next week though a few more walks were brought almost to a halt with a combination of weakness and general soreness - this was getting a little bit odd, not to say worrying. Another week and it didn't take tennis or walks to make me sore, I was getting sore all over and specifically in my hands, now both shoulders and hips. One last rather pathetic tennis game and I had to tell the boys to find a replacement, I couldn't run for the ball.

Off to the doctor a second time and we discuss rheumatoid arthritis but hope it's just something post viral. My theory that it was just a fat old guy pretending to be young didn't seem to have wings.

Lab work was positive - at least I wasn't being a wimp, but on the other hand, now I had something and it was looking suspiciiously like rheumatoid arthritis. One Sunday the symptoms were quite minimal and I had a good walk at a reasonably brisk pace and felt even better the next day and entertained the possibility that I might be able to return to tennis within days. The next day was bad again and over the last two weeks things have got worse on almost a daily basis. A specialist classmate confirmed the diagnosis and started me on Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine).

By Thursday I was bad enough I was worried about my job and wrote a note to the specialist outlining the change in my symptoms. She called me back yesterday by which time I could barely walk and recommended a little cortisone by mouth and to start methotrexate.

This latter is a little bit creapy as it's an anticancer drug, big guns, with potentially dangerous side effects, but possibly quite helpful and usually reasonably safe. Last night I saw my family doctor who was very supportive but who felt that the little bit of cortisone was way too little when my job, sanity, and ability to move were on the line. Shortly before going to see him, the phone had rung, and for the first time, I was completely unable to get off the sofa, my wife had to put the phone down, come and haul me off. My doctor put me on 5X as much prednisone, suggesting a large dose for a short period of time to get me going.

Twelve hours after taking the first dose, I was 50% better. It didn't take 3 attemts to get out of bed, I could reach the floor, I could dry myself after the shower - it was a miracle. By 18 hours I felt 80% better and went off for a mile and a half walk at normal pace, and this afternoon even slung my camera backpack on for a short photo excursion. I'm not perfect, my tendonitis in the shoulder still bothers me, but everything else is wonderfully, dramatically better. I don't know if it's going to last or if the methotrexate is really going to work, but these days there are even better drugs that can be used if it fails - there may be life after all.

It's been a couple of weeks since I could pick up my camera on the tripod, getting out this afternoon was very nice.

Oh, the plane, it was at The Museum Of The Regiments, about a mile from my house, here in Calgary, the plane was mounted by two black pillars reaching up from the ground at an angle to the exhaust ports of the jet, giving it a dramatic angle, just great for photographing. Didn't get a chance to read the plaque and identify the plane before the rain started.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sketches Of Frank Gehry


I've just finished watching the documentary, "Sketches of Frank Gehry", about the architect of Guggenheim Bilbao and Walt Disney Hall, of the building featured in the latest Lenswork, # 72. Absolutely fascinating and I think offering some things for photographers to think about as regards creativity, self doubt, where ideas come from and other relevant issues. Highly recommended. I have got to get myself to Bilbao, somehow, before I die.

Frank Gehry is not admired by all, some feel that the Bilbao museum is so 'out there' that it detracts from its function which is to show off the art. But really, if somehow that building could survive a thousand years or more, what better message could we leave the future to say, we were here, and this is what we could do.

Image above is copyright The Telegraph Newspaper, U.K.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Architecture As Subject

The latest issue of Lenswork (#72) has some lovely images of Walt Disney Hall, designed by the famous Frank Gehry (he of the Bilbao Gugenheim). The other day I saw a lovely image of a spiral stairway and my first reaction was, what a wonderful photograph. My next reaction though was to note that it was clear the architect set up this view deliberately, the sweeping curves were there to be recorded.

So how much credit goes to the architect and how much to the photographer?

Bruce Barnbaums wonderful cathedral images only show what was built by artisans sometimes almost a thousand years ago. Should they get most of the credit? Well, I have been seeing cathedral pictures in one venue or another my whole life, from TV and magazines to photo books, and Bruce's are outstanding - so if most of the credit went to the builders, how come we didn't see the kind and quality of Bruce's images in the work of most of the photographers?

Frank Gehry chose that brushed stainless steel specifically for it's light reflecting properties. He'd already used it in previous projects and knew exactly how it would photograph - so do we discount entirely the images of Bilbao and Walt Disney Theatre?

Obviously there is technical skill in recording the images, but what about the framing of the image - deciding where the borders go, and what to focus on, where to stand and how to line things up? Does the photographer get any credit for choosing the perfect light and for making a rich image of wonderful tonalities? The architect makes an interesting three dimensional object and the translation into a really good two dimensional image of finite edges is a whole other art and I suspect that once a few obvious views of a building are made, anything new and good is likely to have earned a goodly share of the credit for the photographer.

What are your thoughts - is photographing architecture a poor cousin to real photography?

Reply From Zenfolio

Here's the response from Zenfolio - nice that you can contact them directly and they respond quickly.

Hello,

Thank you for your interest in Zenfolio and for bogging about us.

We do have a Premium plan in the works that will allow you to set custom prices, assign watermarks, and remove Zenfolio branding, among other things. We do not have a date to give out when this will be available, but it is something we had in mind all along so it will not take longer than a month or two.

Let us know if you have any other questions, we are here to help.

Regards,
Zenfolio Customer Support

Monday, September 03, 2007

Badlands 3


It took 4 13X19 prints and 3 uploads until I was reasonably happy with this image. I played with cropping, I did some burning, then I noticed that the top of the cave was lighter (it actually opened up but looked like a poor dodging job, so more burning, then I saw that while I had cropped some grass at the bottom which weakened the left bottom corner, one blade stuck up in front of the rock, some cloning fixed that.

All of this of course was after hundreds of changes made to bring the tonality of the image into line. Included in those changes was something I'd not done before. I had difficulty deciding whether I preferred a blue or a yellow filter, both seemed to add something, but to different parts of the image. The solution, do both. I created a duplicate image layer then did a black and white conversion on both, then used a black mask on the upper image so that filter didn't have an effect, then painted in the effect as and where needed - worked a treat.

The original image is below. I had found it too cluttered and couldn't see a worthwile image in it when reviewing the images in Bridge, but watching a movie with my wife that I'd seen before, I got out my Epson 2000 portable storage device and flipped through images until I came across this one. The Epson tends to darken images which sometimes shows you things that look a bit washed out when viewed properly in Bridge. So it was with this image.

Zenfolio

Aware of the limitations of my using smugmug to host my photographs, I'm always on the lookout for a better solution. Smugmug has worked well for me but it isn't exactly elegant. My wife was talking with our vet (who's into photography) and he gave her his website, which turns out to be hosted on Zenfolio and I was impressed with how clean it is, how one can navigate through the images with the cursor keys and how it resizes nicely for individual screens.

Downsides so far seem to be that Zenfolio is fairly prominent on the sites so you know you are using a hosting service, not your own webdesign, and also I don't so far see any way to have text pages.

That said, it seems worth keeping an eye on and perhaps for a larger fee in the future, more customization is possible.

Oh, and image access is commendably fast.

And Another

Badlands Revisited


From earlier this year. The image isn't super sharp - seems that IS only works on short exposures, not long ones like 0.6 seconds - live and learn - I knew you could use it on tripod but I guess they meant for 1/30 and such. Hope I can reshoot this in the new year as even with agressive sharpening, it isn't ideal.

I quite like the image though so hope can can reshoot it. It was shot at 75 mm. so reshooting with the 90 ts-e and stitching would be the obvious way to go. I remember roughly where I was when I shot it, so...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Another Web Gallery Style

Uwe Steinmuller suggested I check out the Lightroom templates of Matthew Campagna at Turning Gate. You can link to the same Deadwood Portfolio images but in a different style. This one can be navigated by using the arrow keys on the keyboard, very nice.

Deadwood Portfolio


I'm experimenting with the web gallery feature of Lighroom and have uploaded a portfolio of images that I'm considering submitting - where hasn't been decided. Anyway that led to wanting to show you the images and so to lightroom rather than simply adding them to smugmug - I wanted a cleaner interface. I gather there are already some nice templates available but this was one of the ones built into Lightroom, with colours changed.

You can view the portfolio at Deadwood Portfolio