Setting my self some photographic objectives

Ok so during the week i made a point of going to 500px and tagging some pictures in 500px – i saw probably around 1000 pictures and probably didn’t tag more than 20 – i have an RSS feed for my 500px favorites – and you can see the links to them on the right of this site at the moment for anyone who’s interested the feed is at:

feed://500px.com/Blayde64/favorites.rss

I will most likely add more pictures to this in the coming weeks. I am basically doing it to try to get an understanding of what i like and why – its one step on the voyage to become a better photographer. through going through the pictures i discovered a few things about me:

  • I like clear vivid contrasting colors. Theres a pic i saw the other day that i just cannot find which really typifies this.
  • My favorite color is Teal – theres a pic in the feed of a naked blue woman – and the reason i favorites it was because i liked the colors she was.
  • I like girls too – i do like the female form, but there has to be something specific that catches my eye – one of my favorites is a naked woman but i chose her not because i think she’s pretty (she’s OK) but because of the way the light was on her.
  • I like pictures that convey age or history. I am not talking about pics of old people so much as architecture… or pictures that convey immensity of scale.

My next photographic task is going to be to take portrait pictures of 10 different people. This will be a challenge as i only have about 4 friends, and half of those don’t like pictures.

Facebook Privacy

Mark Zuckerberg CEO Facebook.

So the Zuck has admitted that FB screw up. Everyone knows how much I love Facebook. Privacy has been a big issue here and today I read an interesting article this morning on The Register – and it quite nicely summed up some of the naughty things Facebook have done which i thought i would share here:

  • In December 2009, Facebook changed its website so certain information that users may have designated as private – such as their Friends List – was made public. They didn’t warn users that this change was coming, or get their approval in advance.
  • Facebook represented that third-party apps that users had installed would have access only to the user information that they needed to operate. In fact, the apps could access nearly all of users’ personal data – data the apps didn’t need.
  • Facebook told users they could restrict sharing of data to limited audiences – for example with ‘Friends Only’. In fact, selecting ‘Friends Only’ did not prevent their information from being shared with third-party applications their friends used.
  • Facebook had a ‘Verified Apps’ program, which claimed it certified the security of participating apps. It didn’t.
  • Facebook promised users that it would not share their personal information with advertisers. It did.
  • Facebook claimed that when users deactivated or deleted their accounts, their photos and videos would be inaccessible. But Facebook allowed access to the content, even after users had deactivated or deleted their accounts.
  • Facebook claimed that it complied with the US – EU Safe Harbor Framework that governs data transfer between the US and the European Union. It didn’t.

… The full article is available here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/30/zuckerberg_ftc_privacy_mea_culpa/

Singing in the rain – The VW Advert

I think this is excellent, so i thought i would share it.

Photoshopping – but not what you think!

I was out shopping yesterday, in the fresh food section, and I couldn’t help but think there would be some cool photos there –  so I did something I never do, and I took out the iPhone and started taking some pictures – you can see them in my Flickr feed. I read a review once from a professional photographer who said the best camera he had was his iPhone – because it was always with him if he saw something interesting – I don’t think I really understood that until yesterday – I am by no means saying I am a professional. The iPhone camera is pretty good – although I am not upgrading to the 4S.

I’m normally fairly happy with a pic if I am going to upload it to flickr, and what makes me happy about these ones is the performance of the cam. If I am to be critical I would say those pics have the following issues:

  • Light balance – they are slightly too orange, and I should perhaps correct them – I didn’t becuase then I wouldn’t be showing off the iPhone picture quality. They were taken in doors.
  • Diffusion – I didn’t have control of the lighting obviously – on the tomatoes and the paprika particularly you see spots of light – and although they make the picture interesting I would have loved to be able to tone the light down, and diffuse it a little. It’s interesting the shop uses spot lighting above all of the glossy fruit & veg to give a new, fresh effect.
  • Imagination – I could have played around with angles and things, but I was there to go shopping, any one of those pics could be used as a wall paper (if you were a vegetable lover). Those pics have been done a million times by other people.

Information Overload

Managing information on the surface can seem like a really easy thing to do, and in some cases actually is – so much so i think its easy to miss the importance of it, or to overcomplicate it.

At work I work with a Microsoft product called SharePoint – its a platform, and its all about having people collaborate and share information, and as such you would think that people developing solutions would do so with information firmly in mind – its not always the case though. Things get worse as you approach more complicated technologies – its easy to be overwhelmed with choice and to implement complicated solutions where simple ones will suffice – and i think i am partially guilty of this with my blog. I kind of broke my own rules and rather than plan in the beginning, i just started blogging – and didn’t put in any kind of rules or governance as to how i tag and catagorise my data – and I am paying for it now. In my defense i didn’t think i would blog this long, i didn’t really think i had much to say (ok, some of these blogs are waffling). It crept up on me that my blog is becoming unmanageable so i am going to do something about it.

So i am looking at this today. Categories – I’ve got half dozen categories that i hardly use.

Tagging – i occasionally tag things but not consistently.

I am guilty of not always categorizing, or of having bad categories –  for example under tech i have a sub category of iPhone, none for iPad, and i have another category called review with iPhone Apps under that… lets face it, i don’t really review things, i just give a couple of observations, this whole site isn’t about being professional or anything like that, its more about communicating what i like, dislike, and think of the world in general – when i write about an app i don’t give the full story, analyze all its features, i just say what i think is cool. I will leave it to someone else to review.

So, i need to sit down with a pen and paper, and start to restructure this, and i figure keep it simple – there are a couple of things every blogger should know about categories and tags – put simply as i see it:

  • Categories are the over all structure – you should keep a fairly simple category structure; think of it like a folder.
  • Blogs should only ever fit into one category – if it fits into two the chances are you’ve started to overcomplicate things.
  • Tags complement categories. Tags are use to add more detailed information. they aren’t displayed in the categories bar but can be used for searching
  • Just as with categories you should think about how many tags you will have.
  • when you start to have many entries under a category then tags become important.

Of course my way isn’t the only way.. its one way, and it seems fairly efficient to me. So now i need to go, sit down with a pencil and paper and figure how to organize this mess.

 

Blogsy

They have updated blogsy, the iPad app I use for blogging and it’s rather cool. The only complaint I had about it before was that you couldn’t edit text in the designer – you had to go to HTML mode to do it. Now they have fixed it. 
 
In other news I recently posted my 500th blog. I’m surprised I have stuck with it so long. I keep thinking I want to reorganize my tagging and categories, and I think fairly soon owenrichardson.net is going to expire, and I won’t renew it. I will also loose my php server hosting with that, but I don’t mind.
 

 
 

Photoshopping

Ok this week i have gone a little photoshop mad – i saw a demo of photoshop at the weekend and saw a couple of really cool things including puppet warping and content aware fills. These things aren’t new, CS5 has been around for a bit now, but I’ve just not really had time to get into it, and probably wouldn’t have done if i hadn’t seen an adobe guy show it off. Then for me, it was like a toy i had to have. So first thing i had to do is buy a copy which i did online 2 days back, and i am still waiting for my order to be fulfilled – in the interim i downloaded a trail copy. Its interesting to note that there are some stupendous savings there if you are a student – from 1700USD to 200USD, which is cool. Im not a student.
So anyway last night i took it for a spin – I present to you my first attempt at photoshopping. 
 
The bird pic did originally have a hose pipe running on the left. To sort it I had to do the following
 
Load it – it was a raw file, on loading it it gives me options to change colour balance which made me wonder if photoshop files retain all the information when you save a raw to a psd. I still don’t have an answer.
 
Select it – learning about quick select and the shortcuts there.
 
Content aware fill – Did an ok job but was a bit dissapointed  when I zoomed in it looked like a bit of a train wreck.
 
Blur it – blurring the areas had just done got rid of obvious jaggy edges of colour that up you see in zoom but this also looked edited as it removed the colour noise
 
Add colour noise –  added 5% noise and the image was near perfect. There is still imperfections there but you wouldn’t see them unless you were looking for them, I am sure later I will come back and do a better job of this!
 
 
I’m now getting fairly adept with the keyboard shortcuts!
 

How to trick people into thinking your good looking.

Richard Owenson

Today my boss sent an email to a customer stating that our senior architect is a guy by the name of Richard Owenson. Im seriously feeling threatened by this guy, and fired back a mail insisting on seeing his CV immediately.

Of course i didnt want him to feel embarassed by his mistake. Im not making a big deal about it – but i did wear a name tag with “Richard Owenson” on it at lunch time, which also made a couple of guys in the elevator laugh, as security have been spot checking ID passes. apparently a postit note with my name on doesnt constititute official company ID. Go figure :)

iTunes + DRM


Ok i am going to put down some facts here in the hope that anyone trying to work with digital rights management and the apple are saved some effort. Here are some facts that you can get from a variety of sources, but i consolidate here.

  1. if you rent a movie on an apple TV, the movie file stays with the apple tv, so you can’t watch it or have access to the file on your mac.
  2. if you rent a movie on your mac, you can play it on your mac or the apple tv. If you then try playing it via sharing on an iPad the content is then bound to the iPad – this means you lose the ability to play it on your mac. (Tried this with rentals)
  3. If you can’t play your file on your mac, you can’t run it through M4V converter – which means you can’t remove DRM. (you are not allowed to do that with rentals but M4V converter will let you, of course i found that out accidentally)
  4. My M4V converter is broken – when i press the add button it says Load from iTunes Library…. and freezes, the application becomes unresponsive. Its still ok if you want to drop in files directly from the iTunes folder on your hard disk.

i hope that playing a purchased movie on the iPad doesn’t do the same thing (make it impossible to view on a apple tv). i don’t dare try – one of the reasons i remove DRM on my personal copies in the first place.

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