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July 2007 Archives

July 1, 2007

Censorship Out of Control

I remember way back in 2004/2005, I was chatting to fellow flickrnaut scootie, about how I'd paid for what was essentially beta software, and what would happen if it, flickr, was to go down the gurgler? Well the opposite has happened. It's become a monolithic giant and is running out of control.

Take this image for example, a graphic composition involving torn posters that over time have come to form a beautiful and textured surface. Why then has it been marked restricted* by the flickr yahoo staff? Ah the vagaries of being an early adopter eh?


*Thanks to barb for the heads up on this one, this image in now being hosted on ipernity.com.

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Greasemonkey AKA Creammonkey

Guess I've been living under a rock, grease monkey type functionality now available for Safari. Bring on Web 2.0, *woot*, it's called cream-monkey, and now lot's of user input can be quickly and easily controlled using it from your menubar, in Safari.

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July 2, 2007

What I've learnt about Photography...

...and online sharing sites and communities.*

For either of my readers who MIGHT have been living under a rock, there's been controversy a plenty of late on flickr. This has given reason to ponder my flickr future.

Recently, flickr internationalised it's site. Bringing more language options into place. This turned out to be a double edged sword. It appears that flickr.de** imposed a level of censorship that put quite a few noses out of joint. As a consequence some of flickr's best European photographers have moved to ipermity.com. Censorship is not the only issue that has been bugging a few people, I know of one former flickrnaut, who was starting to get broken links elsewhere on the web because flickr was changing uri's. I personally recently suffered a minor irritation of the censorship variety. I also feel the 'sense' of community has been slowly declining over the past 15 or so months.

So while I ponder the future of my flickr account, I checked out ipernity.com, found some contacts in there and have been poking around blogging and generally getting a feel for the place.

In one of my blog posts over at ipernity, I mentioned how I'd learnt a few things about photography and online sharing community sites. So I thought I'd jot down a few thoughts about my time, nearly 3 years, of hanging around in the flickrverse. [Please bear in mind flickr is the first community that I've gotten involved in and felt I understood it machinations.]

  • Less is more. Only upload what you consider your absolute best. If you are chasing some kind of notoriety, the quality of your images needs to impeccable. However, if you have an idea or pre-conception about your own work in a cyberspace context you may never be 'found' . If your ideas are not about what the hoi poloi consider to be a 'good' photographs, read sunsets, babies, macros etc here, attention will be scant. If you are not interested in some level of notoriety then upload at will, eventually all the right people will find you.
  • Sex sells. Some of the most popular images on flickr are by women of themselves in flirtatious poses, often scantily clad. Erotic photography of women by men rates well too. By rates well I mean 1000's of views per image within a week or so of them being put online.
  • Put Out. You only get out what you put in, unless you are gifted photographer with an eye that appeals to the hoi poloi. Again if you want interaction and dialog, then you've got to put out so to speak. This can ultimately be a double edged sword. There are only so many hours in a day you can view and comment on photos and get involved in group discussions. Unless you work in IT and are expected to sit at a screen all day everyday.
  • Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. People may or may not have thick skins. As with any text based online community subtle nuances of language are often lost, be prepared to put noses out of joint if sarcasm or irony are your main tools of choice in an online community. On the flip-side don't be afraid to jump in and get your feet wet, it's all just letters on a screen anyways.
  • Never ever take yourself seriously. Bit like life really, and only help when you are asked for it, help that is.
  • Play have Fun. These places are one big game, a game for adults, play have fun, maybe learn some stuff on the way, but don't expect to become rich or famous. Flickr particularly will never lead to much in the way of opportunities, getting published etc, other than the odd image here and there. The sheer volume of images makes it almost impossible to offer anything unique and universally appealing.
  • Geeks first Photographers 2nd***. These kinds of places are invariably inhabited by Geeks. Said Geeks may or may not have an appreciation for the finer points of photography and it's nuances, of technique, history methodology or rules and rule breaking, don't expect any form of appreciation if your motivation for making images goes beyond the best lens and having the right amount of your image in focus
  • Be open and receptive. You will make contact with fantastic people.

*Based on my limited experience with flickr.

**Of course Germany isn't the only place to impose this kind of censorship, but for some reason this time around the ripples ran a little deeper. There was a similar furore over the UAE's censorship of flickr back in around 2005, I think?

***I'm speaking here in broad generalisations.

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July 3, 2007

Free e-book

lofi photography book

For both my readers a free book to download and do as you please with, I recommend reading/viewing it on screen but if you can justify the cost for printing and binding them go ahead print it out and bind it, all I ask is that you send a postcard from where ever you are, or better still somewhere exotic.

l will acknowledge ALL postcards somewhere in cyberspace.

There WILL be others, how often I'm not sure.

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July 7, 2007

Mobile Phone Camera Accessories

Just bought some el-cheapo lenses that attach to my mobile phone camera.

A Macro Lens and a Vignetting/Starbust.

Who would've thought that these things would even be made, as if most mobile phones don't already have bad enough lenses.

Photos to come as I experiment.

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July 8, 2007


Currently I have several boxes containing a couple of hundred Cd's of images. Finding images at this point is not too difficult a task, but what of in the future say 10 years time, what if CD readers become unusable antiques? What happens if I hit the hundreds of millions mark down the track, currently I have shot 3,000 images on my Sony Ericcson since October already?

I recently had lunch with a friend who is employed by Museum Victoria, and the current project she is working on is, Digital Asset management. Our brief discussion got me thinking about these issues down the track. Currently I use a date system and iView Media Pro, with a small level of manual input on my part. Will this serve me in the future? Currently my negative filing system is similar. A system I've been using for 20 years, which works well, as I find the process of sitting down and flipping through proof sheets, rewarding, therapeutic, and educational. Scrolling through screen after screen of thumbnails is more immediate, yet, less 'contemplative'. The immediacy of the screen seems to affect the way I think about my images. It can get frustrating trying to find and elusive image, but this problem hasn't occurred to me since, I upgraded to the pro version of iViewmedia pro.

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July 9, 2007

Why I love Mobile Phone Photography

ocean beach mermaid

If I was in this situation of stumbling across this doll with ANY kind of serious hardware I would think long and hard about exposing my camera gear to the elements, of salt and wind. However I wouldn't think twice about whipping out my mobile phone.

Now this gem of a small slice of life is captured for prosperity. Eat ya heart out, Lartigue.

Thanks to bk2000 for sharing

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Six Seven Things I Like About Using Flickr

My recent write-up on Photo sharing sites and their communities, seems to have struck quite a chord with several people. One comment suggested the tone was slightly downbeat as far as flickr was concerned, so in the interests of giving a fair and balanced view of life in a Photo-sharing community, here's 6 7 things I like about flickr.

  1. Visitors, I have far more people 'see' my photography in the short time online than I could have ever imagined in a real gallery around Melbourne, unless I made it 'big' and got to show in the NGV.
  2. Community, there is still a real sense of ownership and community amongst many of the users of flickr, something that is in some ways immeasurable and somewhat ephemeral, but definitely value added for sure.
  3. Other Photographers, I'm still astounded by the depth and breadth of talent out there, it always has and will continue to be a real humbling and grounding experience, for me.
  4. Connections, I have connected, albeit in a somewhat cyberspace kind of way, with several people who I would never have encountered. Not to mention, in Melbourne I have actually physically met people who also, I never would have an opportunity to meet. This enabled me to have a group show/exhibition, again not possible without all the other people's support and participation. Some of these people have had skills that were also applicable to the web in general, and services too*.
  5. Skills improvement, my use of and application of the technologies that drive web sites has grown and improved, as well as my confidence to use and apply them. I feel my writing has also improved as well.
  6. Fun, I still manage today to spend many hours having fun with other contacts in and around flickr, on a daily basis. So, as far as value for money is concerned, well it's true value there's no doubt.
  7. The interface, is so simply and yet so well thought out, it may have taken a while to get to know my way around, but in other sites site that I've looked at since this one is just so graceful, simple and elegant.

*A big hat tip to Andrew for all his help, I am indebted in far too many ways to even count, thanks again.

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July 10, 2007

How to Take Better Mobile-phone Photographs*

In an effort to clarify in my own mind what I'm doing with my mobile phone camera, I've decided to add a few pointers here on how I use a mobile phone to capture what I consider interesting images. If you have no aspirations towards image making with a mobile phone, try this article at 43folders, it has some fun ideas and uses for these gadgets.

First a disclaimer. This is not a recipe to making good images, but rather, a set of guiding principles, and like all good guiding principles, these can sometimes be broken. Also, I'm going to assume you are using a camera with at least 1.5 mega-pixels, today's 2 and 3 mega-pixel phones are more than adequate for small prints.

  1. Mobile Phones Cameras Are Not DSLR's:- coming to terms with the limitations of these cameras is part of the learning process. Drop those expectations and you are on your way to becoming a better image maker, using mobile phones.
  2. Camera Phones Are Stupid:- your eyes AND your brain are what enable you to comprehend and appreciate the world. Get close to things that are important, shift and change your viewpoint, examine all aspects of the viewfinder/screen, try and eliminate distracting details. Get Closer, Get Closer, Get Closer.
  3. Camera-phones Are Legally Blind:- so don't go trying to get them a driver's license, but seriously, you would be surprised how much light IS required to take a photo, without artefacts like noise. Bright sunny days to soft overcast ones are the best times to make images, with your mobile phone. This assumes you DON'T want these artefacts.
  4. You Are Better At Vacillating Than Your Camera Phone:- the fully automatic nature of these cameras is good, most of the time, sometimes, however it is better to under or over expose a shot to get the best results. Take a series of over and underexposed images on your camera if it has the facility to do this, [and you have the inclination and time to do it] you do have plenty of room on your phone's memory storage don't you? Failing that, titling the camera to include or exclude bright areas such as sky can trick the meter into giving a different exposure.
  5. Cheap Tricks Are For Nice People Too:- carry your phone everywhere, most people do. Look around you, if something catches your eye, quietly pull out your camera and take a photo, do that EVERYDAY for long enough, and you will start to see what works and what doesn't. Speaking of cheap if your camera-phone supports removable storage, upgrade it to at least 128meg, that way taking 300+ photos on a weekend away is entirely feasible.
  6. In Cyberspace People Can Hear You Scream:- don't simply assume that images you capture with your mobile must end up as prints, or die a quiet death on your hard drive of your computer. Places like flickr, facebook, ipernity, photobucket, myspace, all encourage you to upload and share photos online, the perfect environment for displaying images made using a mobile phone of any size CCD.
  7. This Is Not A Pipe:- ultimately a photograph is an abstraction of reality, these phone's poor optics and electronic design cannot not replicate the real world, understand and apply this, and you will get some surprising results.

*Thanks to Lord of the Flies, for prompting this article, sorry about the poor writing, just keep asking, keep shooting and keep joking.

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Famous Photo Critic Dies

John Szarkowski Dies!another hero dies

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July 11, 2007

PIC Student Exhibition

I am proud to announce, some of the students who put up with me on a daily basis, are having an exhibition. The show is titled, batch 41607 and is at Cusp Gallery starting Friday.

Cusp Gallery is at, 238 High St, Northcote.

The exhibition, runs from the 14th - 27th of July. Opening night, Friday the 13th! of July. [Ominous.] Wind down from the days bad luck and get in early for a few drinks.

Cusp Gallery

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July 13, 2007

Flickr GUI Changes?

UI changes?

By the way I love my little Skitch application

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July 14, 2007

Photographic Processing in the 21st Century

I'm about to begin investigating digital processing tools. Photoshop and digital file capture has moved a long way in the short space of 5 years. Photoshop is no longer a necessary tool in any photographer's toolbox. Assuming they work in RAW, as any good pro should, they now have the following to choose from, Lightroom Aperture, Silkypix, DxO Optics Pro 4, Capture One LE and Pro, Expression Media/iView Media Pro, Bibble Lite & Bibble Pro, to name but a few. As an educator, this presents many issues, I have expounded at length about these in the past. Later next week I am attending a PD session that, will hopefully clarify in my mind where I can take this.

In the meantime here's a few screen-grabs, and thoughts on my limited experiences with some of these applications.

This is not meant to be an in-depth review, just a cursory glance with some pros & cons thrown in.

iView Media Pro/Expression Media

Expression Media

Reasonably priced under $300 AU, [cheaper for Education], light, fast, simple, useful global editing tools, seems to recognise pretty much any file format I've used, so far.Runs easily on my humble g4 iBook

Capture One LE

Capture One LE

LE is reasonably priced, light and fast, powerful editing tools, global only runs easily on my humble g4 iBook. I just wish the GUI was a little more polished.

Adobe Lightroom


Expensive, [$500.00 AU], powerful tools, runs sluggishly on my humble g4 iBook.

Adobe Bridge CS3

Bridge CS3

Sluggish on my g4 iBook, [which Adobe Product isn't?] powerful organising tools, that synchronise nicely with Photoshop, difficult to cost as it is bundled with Photoshop, no editing features just organisational ones.


SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.0 ( http://www.silkypix.com )   1/1

Reasonably priced, fast and powerful global editing tools. Runs well on my humble g4 iBook

Capture One Pro

Capture One Pro

Expensive, powerful global editing tool. Outstanding exposure control, 0.1 of an EV, my kind of tool for sure. I just wish the GUI was a little more polished.



Expensive, [Education pricing available] requires g5 or higher and very specific hardware to run, won't run on my g4 iBook. Screen-grab is from a g5 I have access to.

DxO Optics Pro 4


Reasonably priced, seems to have powerful tools, but I may have installed in incorrectly as it wouldn't recognise the Pentax RAW files on my hard drive? This review gives some insight into how it works and what it does.

Bibble Pro

Bibble Pro

Very Cheap. Powerful tool, a bit sluggish on my g4 iBook, and the interface is very amateurish looking, [I confess I'm a GUI snob, I mean I'm a visual person after all]. But I guess you get what you pay for.

Bibble Lite


Very cheap. Less powerful than the Pro version, but still sluggish and as for the GUI, well like I said call me a snob! But I guess you get what you pay for?

This then begs the question, what software packages are both my readers using to process archive and catalogue their camera files, and are they both shooting in raw?

More reading?

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July 15, 2007



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July 16, 2007

Two Years Ago Today


My Nikon was still going strong.

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July 17, 2007

See that button, shall we push it and see?

Today we had a Professional Development day, at work. Ian Lobb a former lecturer at RMIT, maker of "Lobster" the colour tool for perceptual colour editing in Photoshop, and a wonderful artist, talked at length, about several things. Empiricism in today's and yesterday's photography -editing in hue, saturation brightness mode was one of them.

It's an issue that has been hovering in my mind for some time.

Given the ease that images can be made using a digital camera, why would one even contemplate editing an image, to accurately represent your own vision, never mind the problems that Photoshop present in terms of visual perception and colour.

Well I had big plans to write something in-depth here, but my head is still awash with so many ideas and my jumbled notes just still too fresh to make a great deal of sense. However the whole day has helped me clarify issues regarding photoshop raw capture and workflow in my mind a little better. At the very least I got to hear that others were wondering about issues of education photography and digital. Hopefully, we will be able to produce students who, think and work with files in a way that empowers them to understand what it is they are doing beyond pushing buttons and buttons alone.

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July 18, 2007


Well yesterday I rambled on a bit, in the cold light of dawn here, well pre-dawn actually, I've decided that I will heed Ian's advice and compare several of the RAW processing tools I've downloaded and opened, the ones I could get to work at least.

Hopefully I'll have some results by the end of the week.

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Schmaps, CC Licenes, and Ego

Thanks to Brendadada, here's an interesting article regarding CC distribution of photographs, and Flickr

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July 19, 2007

New Google Maps Feature

Googles Maps

This looks like a cool new feature from Google Earth, is it even new though?

Thanks to Peter from the AusPcTagging Group for the heads up.

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July 20, 2007



I managed to get me an invite to pownce, thanks there brendadada. I have 2 invites left?

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How long till the end?

July 21, 2007

Urban Phalanxes

Thanks to Incognita Nom De Plume, for the heads up on this blog of urban street art. This is what Julie says about her work

"In a globalised world, cities are rapidly becoming homogenised spaces. At first glance difference is disappearing, we see the same cars, same buildings, and same franchises.

This work will explore the idea that the marks on the pavement and the minutiae found in the streets can tell you where you are and provide clues for deciphering the narratives of the cultural terrain."

While we're at it Incognita Nom de Plums' work is in itself beautiful and ephemeral.

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July 22, 2007

Mobile Phone Accessories

Mophone Add-on Lenses

Small cheap attachments that can add an element of fun, to your mobile phone photography. They cost, $4.99 each at The Warehouse a cheap chain store, in Australia we call them $2.00 shops, originally they sold nothing over $2.00, well now with a chain like The Warehouse they can up that price a little. They are quite good and for screen based work more than adequate.

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July 23, 2007

Photography Prize Shortlist Announced

The William & Winifred Bowness Photography Prize shortlist has been announced[pdf file]. Needless to say I'm not on it.

However, I'm always pleased to see the diversity of approaches to image making that still exists.

The list itself reads a bit like a who's who of Australian and in particular Melbourne Photo Artists, congrats to Joyce Evans for being shortlisted in particular, one of Melbourne's earliest Photo Art Practitioners, and longest patrons.

What I find the most interesting is the amount of output isn't as biased towards Digital as I would have thought. It seems artists are still enamoured by the richness of the wet process. I'm looking forward to the exhibition in September.

Image by, Damian DILLON Desolation Row #18 2007 Lambda print 76.2 x 127cm, used here without permission.

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July 24, 2007

Speaking of Shortlists

Donina, one of the gifted and creative people I have the good fortune to meet on flickr and in real life was recently highlighted in the Hey Hotshot competition, a hearty congrats to you there Donina, let's see where your next attempt gets gets you.

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July 26, 2007

My Very Own Photo Quote*

"In a still photograph you basically have three variables, the direction of light you use, where you stand and when you press the shutter."

*Thanks to Henry J Wessel. [requires realplayer]

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July 27, 2007

Blogger.com, changes

blogger.com on safari

Some changes it seems have occurred around blogger.com, recently, is this a web standards move, or something to do with Safari 3.01?

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More Geek

I'm no technology commentator but this AIR app by adobe seems to have a lot of potential, and overall I ike the idea of applications moving off the desktop and online so to speak. Given that air is a technology that and I'm quoting Adobe here:-

Adobe AIR is a cross–operating system runtime that enables developers to leverage their existing web development skills in Adobe Flash®, Adobe Flex™, HTML, JavaScript, and Ajax to build and deploy rich Internet applications (RIAs) to the desktop.

Web developers are excited about Adobe AIR because it enables them, for the first time, to build and deploy cross-platform desktop applications without having to learn complex OS-centric development technologies.

Interestingly one even may give skitch a run for it's money. It's called screenplay.

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July 29, 2007

Photo Sharing Sites Compared

I've been roaming the interwebs over the last few weeks, searching out another cyber-gallery/home for my photography.

In my travels I've found the following sites, which is by no means an exhaustive one, but a good starting point for those thinking of using the web this way.

  • ipernity.com#
  • zooomr.com
  • multiply.com##
  • deviantArt.com*

Today I spent some time uploading and tweaking, my mulitply.com site. Which lead to me noticing the pluses of flickr and perhaps why it's become so successful.

Two areas I notice where flickr really is head and shoulders above the others, uploading and groups. One minor negative, is skinning or the appearance of your stream.

Something that flickr doesn't offer is 'skinning' the ability to change, the appearance of your page, multiply does and so does as does ipernity, each to a different degree, but the look of your site/page can be made different to the rest of the site, a feature also by the way of myspace, which in itself has become a cottage industry, but not facebook. Anyway I digress. This skinning feature is obviously a feature not clamored for by many people. [Some basic layout changing can be done on flickr, but I don't get the feeling people don't want to change the appearance of the streams on flickr. Possibly a clever move on flickr's part, certainly from a 'branding' point of view. But flickr has done some other things that make it stand and and more memorable.

Uploading to flickr, is a breeze. People can use the flickr interface itself, and several 3rd party apps that will do it very seamlessly for me as well. Multiply has no 3rd party apps that I can see, just a java, e-mail or html interface for uploading, which isn't bad but those little 3rd party apps I use really tap into the aspects I want fast easy simple and feature packed. Ipernity has one 3rd party app, which is very good, it has been so long since I've used zooomr I can't remember now how to upload, and I think there are account problems as well? DevaintArt's uploading system [html] has always been to prescriptive for my liking, [I'll be the one who decides what sort of categories my photos fit in thanks].

Creating groups and more importantly adding photos to groups. On ipenrity, as I write, no group facility exists, nor on zooomr, on multiply their are groups, albeit a huge variety of them, but adding photos to them is a separate process to adding photos to your own stream/account. When adding photos to groups on multiply, you add separate albums to the group, a bit of a nuisance really.

# I followed a European flickrnaut over to ipernity but can't remember who?
## thanks to brendadada from flickr for the heads up
* I signed up a long time ago never done much in there though.

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July 30, 2007

More Photo Sharing and Now Storing sites?

Thanks to b's comment yesterday, I went in search of more places to store and share images, in the process I found this site, free-webhosts.com, which then sent me in search of even more places to share and store photos. Still nothing shapes up quite like flickr in terms of it's overall, look, feel, ease of use and sense of community. Photobucket for example has a clunky interface and isn't that clear about limits attached to a free account. Shutterfly, despite it's more liberal upload limits, explicitly prohibits hot linking, and seems geared to selling prints anyways, I'm not even going to bother with Kodak's equivalent as they are not renowned for having their fingers on the pulse of things these days.

As for communities in general 'online' I suspect that flickr has built a rod for it''s own back. In the process of setting up such an organic process, there is bound to be certain levels of anarchy. I realise to that getting to 'know' a community takes involvement and time, but the 'structure' of the groups on flickr seems unique. You create a group about anything and list it anywhere yo feel comfortable and invite away. If it well managed it prospers, if not well whatever. All the other sites have very well defined boundaries that you must at add your group to. Making it less anarchistic, but somehow less owned.

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Two Years Ago


Two years ago, my Nikon was still going strong and I was carrying it everywhere.

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About July 2007

This page contains all entries posted to musings from the photographic memepool [the shallow end] in July 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2007 is the previous archive.

August 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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