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March 2009 Archives

March 2, 2009

Camera/s

It's that time of year when, I attempt to coax aspiring photographers away from the 'P', 'A' or 'Tv' settings on their cameras. For many many years we at PIC photographic imaging college used the ever trusty Pentax k1000. Simple, solid reliable, durable [even in student hands] an all round great beginners camera. No clumsy interface, no strange dials, one that could take a photo without a battery even.

When pic first bought a digital camera, a Canon 350d, it was ruined beyond repair in it's 1st year of life. By contrast, most of our Pentax K1000's are more than 15 years old and some are over 20 All still going great guns, even after numerous trips to the the camera technician.

The principles of exposure, depth of field, focus, and good picture making, have not changed. All the controls on a camera I need to teach someone how to make good images, are; manual aperture control, manual shutter control, manual focus, [d.o.f of field scales on a lens would be handy too] a tripod mount, and the ability to add a cable release. I care not whether these controls are electronic or mechanical.

Now, call me an idealist, but surely would it not be in the interests of camera manufacturers world wide to make such a camera? We enrol enough students to employ 6 full-time teaching staff and several assistants and technicians year in year out for more than 20 years. We still have over 30 Pentax K100's in our store, we have associated lenses of several focal lengths, filters UV, and coloured, cable releases macro lenses and close-up re-copying facilities, the lenses are all 'K' mounts .

I dream of a digital camera, that has minimal electronics, shutter aperture and white balance controls and no more, with a "normal focal length lens as standard, with d.o.f scales marked accordingly, with the ability to add a cheap cable release, and of course a tripod mount.

Canon, Nikon, anyone?

... crickets....

March 12, 2009

Cameras... again?

I'm often asked what is the best camera to buy.. the answer used to be ...depends, on your perceived needs and uses,; no more.

The best camera to buy is one that you will carry EVERYWHERE, and use ALL THE TIME.

March 13, 2009

CONVERSATIONS - a three part series of photographic dialogue.

Toshihiro Oshima & Velco Dojcinovski present:
CONVERSATIONS - a three part series of photographic dialogue.

Part 1: The Absinthe Dream (Melbourne, Australia)

CONVERSATIONS is a three-part series of a photographic visual dialogue between photographers Toshihiro Oshima and Velco Dojcinovski. The complete series of visual dialogue will be progressively shown in 3 different cities around the world over 3 years, each highlighting a different photographic story. Overlayed with a bonding and comforting mood the photographs of the series glimpse into the similarities and differences of the cultures and styles of both photographers, aiming to weave a visual symphony of moods and tales

.

Part 1: The Absinthe Dream is the opening chapter of the series and follows the green dreams of a woman at the end of a long city night. The photographs depict her disturbed and abstract glimpses of memory and subconsciousness, the city she lives in and the people she's been with, breaking away into a bright daydream. Photographed in Melbourne, Tokyo and throughout Asia and Europe in 2008 and 2009, the photographers exclusively used traditional and analogue equipment and a wide range of mediums.

CONVERSATIONS Part 1: The Absinthe Dream will be showing at
McCulloch Gallery, 8 Rankins Lane Melbourne,
Friday March 13th - Sunday March 22nd

More information? http://www.conversations-project.com

Velco, is one of the Melbourne Flickrati, and a contact of mine. I will visit the show, and possibly report back.

March 16, 2009

Review: Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans by Sarah Greenough et al. (Conscientious)

Here goes my credit card again! Frank's book still to this day has some impact on my approach and work, even more so in my digital work, on flickr, and on my mophone blog.

[From Review: Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans by Sarah Greenough et al. (Conscientious)]

And I haven't even read the review—yet.

March 21, 2009

Teens capture images of space with £56 camera and balloon - Telegraph

wow, and the images of course are hosted on filckr

photographs

[From Teens capture images of space with £56 camera and balloon - Telegraph]

March 22, 2009

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day

Not really news, but hey.

[From Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day - home]

Maybe this year I'll see if my students want to get involved?

I sometimes wonder, how much digital photography has played a part in the resurgence of these techniques and ideas?

March 23, 2009

Art Opening

Dam straight

Take that pomos!

March 26, 2009

Visualistion, Art , Photography


The Key to a Photograph from Ansel Adams from SilberStudios.Tv on Vimeo.

My favourite part is where Ansel Adams, says, and i paraphrase, " once you have done your homework, practiced and have enough craft, you can MAKE the image."

News Just in

An exhibition no less. Thanks to 3 thousand.com.au.

New and Used, Warwick Baker

C3 Contemporary Art Space, Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford

Launching Wed April 1, 6-8pm, Exhibition runs until April 19

New and Used is the shared title of Warwick Baker's collaborative publication with writer TB Hemingway and his upcoming show at C3. While the publication contains the thoughtful transience of the American realist painter Edward Hopper, the exhibition channels the wild and ever-creepy eccentricities of his surname-sake, Dennis Hopper.

The photographs to be presented in New and Used were taken across California and Arizona and are the artist's response to a land of virtual realities. Some works are saturated, clinging and claustrophobic, while others are odd, even unaware.

Yet, like air conditioning after arid heat, or perfume after petrol fumes, it is the softness of Baker's lens that provides balance and relief. Image by image we witness the drift of this mild-mannered Australian through an American landscape, which fluctuates between the austere and the absurd.

By Chris Barton

March 28, 2009

Another Graphic Editor

Pixelmator website

Thanks to my Wakoopa account I discovered this new little app called Pixelmator. Quoting the weekly mail from Wakoopa.com, it is the 5th most popular Mac graphics editor and:-

...is trying to do what Photoshop couldn't: make a simple to use graphics tool that doesn't create a lesser end result.

After mucking around with it on this fine sunny Saturday afternoon, I was quite impressed. The interface, has some neat features that make it really cool to look at. I like the fact that I could add a mask directly to the 'background' layer, and the fact that is just opened my raw files no fuss. Generally though, it doesn't do anything special that photoshop doesn't. Of course I'm lucky Photoshop forms part of my job so it is provided for me, therefore cost never need be an issue. More troubling though was the way curves and levels handled colour. Pixelmator handles colour in exactly the same way that photoshop does, so that is a big no-no for me anyway. Also a quick test with levels seemed to indicate that pixels are indeed 'destroyed as I worked, one of Photoshop's most troubling problems, and one never talked about.

Some screen grabs to show how I test these apps quickly and easily.

Interface

First a test file I make to see how some of the basic tools work and to check the way colour works at a default level.

test file for editing apps

The file was easy enough to create, for the grey-scale measurements, the colour wheel a bit more difficult and I would need more time to make sure it was 'correct'. Even so the blue is meant to be a value of R0, G0, B255, and it looks off on my monitor, which was calibrated only a few weeks ago.

A feature I quite liked was the way tools and their options were enlarged while in use.


Banding

On my test file at a zoom factor of 200%, there was evidence of banding, bit of a concern, no higher bit depth editing available, not surprising given the price I guess, but the banding would/could be an issue for larger prints?

banding@200%!

Raw Files.

I was very excited to see that the tool just opened the raw file I asked it to, no questions asked, again though, some processing controls at this point would be nice, even if it was just exposure, contrast and white balance.

no raw tools

There seemed to be some problems in some areas of the file, in terms of colour, but this could be the lens or the software.

fringing?

Here is the file opened in the raw processor of Photoshop, and, the evidence points to the software; but not conclusively.

same file psp

Colour Editing

This software works the same as photoshop ie incorrectly, using both curves and levels. Lobster, made by Ian Lobb, goes into an in-depth discussion about why and how Photoshop handles colour incorrectly. Have a read for more information and background on this issue.

Firstly levels. An image made of pure colour, in this case, red, should display some changes when applying changes using the levels dialogue, none were apparent. Note the position of the sliders and the readout from the measuring tool.

fail x 1

Curves; same situation

fail x 2

Pixel Destruction?

Just like photoshop, these two screen grabs of a simple albeit heavy move with the levels tool suggest some data was lost.

levels 1

The second image below show excessive gaps, which suggests some loss of data.


levels 2

Photo Browser

Like any good app these days, the facility to 'browse' stored photos is a must and this app has that facility. However, because I have tested several of these tools over the last 6 months, or because of the apps shortcomings, I was unable to locate my external drives where all my photographs are kept. Pixelmator, very cleverly found my small iPhoto library. I however, rarely use it, and so many folders had been created by apps like Lightroom and Aperture already, I gave up trying to locate my files on my external drives.

Whether it is my system of organisation or the applications approach I'm not sure, but the option to choose the location of my files, somewhere in the preferences for example would be a huge improvement.
photo browser but where's my desktop and other folders?

long long long list

Colour Management.

One of the least understood and most important aspects of digital photography is colour management. Pixelmator's approach is simple and easy to use, a real plus for a such a piece of software aimed I'm assuming at a level of the market that may not really need to know or care.

colour manangement wow

Masking.

All the usual suspects here. I guess standard these days. One standout feature though that Photoshop doesn't do is allow you to add a mask to the default image, or as Photoshop calls it 'background'. However I forgot to screengrab it, and am too lazy to go back and re-do it, you'll just have to trust me.

the usual suspects and more

One of my favourite techniques is to use adjustment layers in Photoshop to enhance and manipulate my images, Pixelmator doesn't seem to have the option despite being able to mask a background layer, ah well can;'t have it all I guess.


Brushes.

brushes options

The options for the brushes, were somewhat buried I felt. [Of course at no point did I read the manual] but once found were easy to use and modify brush types and sizes, exactly the same as Photoshop.


Here they are, the stand settings for brushes really.

brushes

Maybe the jitter options on, hue, saturation, lightness, are different, again not a tool as a photographer I use a great deal, so hard to say how useful it could be.

Value, but...

At 50 bucks US, it's a good piece of software. It has some major strengths, is easy and intuitive to use. If you were starting out in the design industry it's a real replacement for Photoshop. Pro photographers though, well, with Aperture and Lightroom really kicking Photoshop's arse at the moment, I doubt you'd bother.

About March 2009

This page contains all entries posted to musings from the photographic memepool [the shallow end] in March 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2009 is the previous archive.

April 2009 is the next archive.

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

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