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topaz: (camera)
Wikipedia Takes Boston takes place on April 17 from noon to 5:30pm:

Wikipedia Takes Boston is a scavenger hunt for photographs of Boston. The aim is to gather freely-licensed photographs of Boston's many neighborhoods and better illustrate articles related to the city.

The event is scheduled to start on April 17 at 12:00 PM in front of Boston Public Library in Copley Square, and end at 5:30 PM near the location of the April 2011 Boston meetup. For a list of goals for places to photograph, see Wikipedia:Wikipedia Takes Boston/Goals.


Should be a trip. Anyone want to join my team? The photo-taking-est team gets barnstars for a trophy.
topaz: (camera)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] nooks for the pointer:

THE FLASH BUS TOUR 2011

Demonstrating the speed of light while rolling across the country at the speed of a moving bus, the world's two leading educators and innovators in the big world of small flash, David "The Strobist" Hobby and Joe "Numnuts" McNally team up for the FLASHBUS 2011 TOUR.

Hobby and McNally kick off this small flash fest on March 11th in Seattle, and then head down the West Coast and across the country teaching, demonstrating, lighting and debating about speed lights. Shoot manual? Check! Wanna try TTL? Gotcha covered! 29 cities, 13,000 miles, rolling, flashing, tweeting from San Diego to Boston, Atlanta to LA, Memphis to Denver, and lots of stops in between. 

$100 for the one-day seminar, a skadillion dollars more if you want to buy their DVDs too.  Boston on April 9.  Now I need to decide if I'm ready for this.
topaz: (camera)
As I mentioned on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, recently I learned the hard way not to trust iPhoto for anything, ever. At some point in the last few months it lost the original (raw) files of every photo I've taken since 2005. I'm still trying to figure out just what might have happened, but it looks like it occurred at around the same time I moved my photos from a MacBook Pro running Leopard to a new iMac running Snow Leopard. The problem looks a lot like this (minus the Aperture issues), or this, or possibly this.

The worst part is that the failure was not immediately apparent, since the thumbnail images are all still intact and iPhoto doesn't immediately alert you if there's something wrong like a missing original. So my spot checks on the library after I moved it to the new machine all passed, and I deleted the archive from the old machine months ago.

So anyway. I'm in the market for a new Macintosh photo management tool and am willing to drop some real money on it. I want a tool that:
  • does something reasonably smart if I dump a lot of photos into it without guidance (e.g. if I took 1,500 pictures over the weekend and don't have six hours to spend sorting them right away)
  • is flexible about how I organize photos when I choose to (i.e. doesn't pathologically insist on saving every batch of photos in a meaningless "event", like iPhoto)
  • has solid basic photo editing tools: crop, rotate, curves, color levels, etc. I don't absolutely need liquid rescale or content-aware fill; for that I can always fire up the GIMP
  • good metadata management a plus (tagging, keywords, etc)
  • isn't going to forget one day where the last five years of pictures went (this is kind of a deal-breaker, now)
Any recommendations? Lightroom, Aperture, something else? Do you like the workflow your tools offer you? What about them?
topaz: (Default)

Molly in the moontime, originally uploaded by qwrrty.

PhotoFX just became my new best friend.

topaz: (camera)
The BBC's "Viewfinder" blog writes about the importance of street photography:

"For me, with my photographer's hat on, what keeps me doing this is a belief that one of photography's core purposes is to discover poetic moments in everyday life. From the invention of the medium, nosey parkers, journalists, voyeurs, and poets have used cameras to show us that this world is an intrinsically fascinating place to live in."
topaz: (Morgan - thrashin')

Mechanics Hall, originally uploaded by qwrrty.



Source of grumpiness for the day: discovering that iOS 4.0 photos taken in portrait mode show up sideways when e-mailed. It's apparently a consequence of iOS 4 being dogmatic about using EXIF orientation tags in the JPEG file correctly, and the rest of the world not having caught up. I'm disappointed to find that flickr doesn't do this right.
topaz: (camera)
 I'm thinking of making some personal business cards.  MOO minicards or traditional business cards?

I find the Moo cards really appealing somehow.  Maybe just because the unusual size feels like something that would stand out.  But my guess is that they may also be more annoying, if they don't fit into a wallet or business card holder the right way.  (And I'm doing this for a little bit of a lark, so that may not actually matter to me that much anyway.)

Anyone used Moo cards and have an opinion one way or another?
topaz: (Morgan - thrashin')
When Morgan went to Nature's Classroom in September, he took his point-and-shoot camera and extra memory cards I packed with him.  He came back with about 800 pictures.

A lot of them were of things like his dinner and mashed-potato sculptures and his classmates doing goofy things.  There were probably 100 pictures of the bonfire at the end of the week, taken valiantly in total darkness and coming out impossibly blurry.

But a lot of them came out well.  And some of them really stunned me.

I think I could work with this guy.

forest walk

fish heads

mussels

Aquila shows off
topaz: (QRcode)
A relative has written to me with a question: how do you figure out a fair price for a used DSLR?  She's looking at a Nikon D80 up on Craigslist and not sure whether the $475 being asked for the camera body is reasonable.

The thing is that I'm not actually sure whether there are special issues around pricing used cameras that don't apply to other electronic equipment.  My usual M.O. for figuring this out would be to go search for Nikon D80 bodies on ebay, Craigslist, etc. to get an idea of what the ballpark price should be, but I don't know if that's a good approach here.

How would you solve this problem?  And if you had an opportunity to try the camera out, is there anything specific you'd try to do to make sure it's in good working condition?

lens flare

Oct. 18th, 2009 07:36 pm
topaz: (camera)

lens flare, originally uploaded by qwrrty.

Photographs taken in very low light, with one distinct light source in the frame, produce this ghostly shadow of the original light, diagonally opposite the original in the frame. (at the lower left in this image)

Why? It doesn't appear to be a "lens flare" in the technical sense and I don't think it's a diffraction flare either. Anybody willing to hazard a guess?

topaz: (camera)
http://www.google.com/search?q=qwrrty+photo+flickr

Links to photographs that people have pulled from my Flickr photostream and attributed to me.  (Practically everything I post has a Creative Commons license, so this is completely fine.)
topaz: (camera)
PSA, for those of you who are recent additions to this journal: I post a lot of photographs here.  Most of them are pictures of the kids, or some project I'm working on, or are in some way a commentary on my life.

I also keep a photojournal, [livejournal.com profile] pixilator, where I post photos I've taken that I really like or just find interesting or want to share for some other reason, but which don't necessarily bear a lot of relevance to my life.  If you like the photos I post here, you might like those, too.
topaz: (HTH)
1. Take a photography class.

I'm trying, I'm trying real hard, I really am.

[livejournal.com profile] mzrowan announced that she'd signed up for a photography class this fall.  I was so surprised that the class actually fit into my schedule these two months that before I knew it, I had signed up for it too.  Bonus!

I was even more surprised when she discovered, almost by accident, that we have homework before the class even begins.  Wow.  Okay.  Well, glad she noticed so that we could be prepared!

Then we got email from the instructor yesterday.  He just discovered that he has a scheduling conflict on Thursdays and cannot teach on that day after all.  We should all write to him in the next 24 hours and let him know which days we cannot make class, so he can find one that works for the most people.

Not so cool, but okay.  Mistakes happen, right?  I email him my limitations.

Voicemail this morning.  Apparently he didn't get my email.  Class has been rescheduled for Tuesdays, starting on the 22nd.  I am committed on Tuesday, September 22nd for First Responder training.

Now, I think I could actually safely miss this first responder class -- there's a make-up session scheduled in October, and so far classes have really been kind of information-light anyway.  But I'm already so cranky that I really don't want to bend on principle.

Other warning signs: his mail with directions to the class session say, please don't arrive too early, because the studio is too small for "hanging-out" space, and also that he expects to start the first class precisely on time, so please be punctual.  Dude!  It's a little much to ask people to be punctual but also not to arrive too early!

Here's the topper, for me.  We're supposed to get our books before the first class starts, and (I think) even have completed the first reading assignment.  But the course syllabus doesn't even appear to list the titles of the books we're supposed to have!

I have sent him email that I think is reasonably polite but firm: is there a possibility of a make-up session for the September 22 class?  And can you please clarify which books we are supposed to get and what we should have completed before the first session?

I really don't want to give up on this, and there's a part of me that's hoping that his apparently total logistical flakiness is because he's a really brilliant guy and a fantastic instructor.  But the rest of me keeps asking, "Say WHAT now?"
topaz: (froggy)
The Commonwealth Museum exhibit that's supposed to have my work in it, "The Massachusetts Experiment in Democracy", is apparently now open.  Anyone interested in playing hooky with me this week and seeing if I'm really there?

They are unfortunately rather inconveniently located for most of you, at 220 Morrissey Boulevard.  And their hours are M-F 9-5, so this really does mean playing a little hooky.

Either Tuesday or Friday this week would work for me, maybe as a long lunch. Whaddya say?
topaz: (tiger!)
I want to take pictures of you.

When's good for you?  Let me know.
topaz: (garfield minus)
I have a few digital photos (3000x2000 JPEGs) which I would like to turn into high-quality prints suitable for framing.  How should I go about this?  While inkjet printers have gotten stunningly good at photo reproduction in the last couple of years, my experience has been that it's very hard to find paper that will really hold the color well for more than a few months.

Where should I go?  A printer?  A photo shop?  Any recommendations?

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