Wednesday, 30 April 2008

The DDR door creaks slowly open...

A couple more have come out of the digital darkroom - the one I'm most pleased with is Sutton Backlane. To me, I've managed to capture this lost space in all its old glory. These back lanes seem to me to be the last of the recognisable post-war parts of Plymouth - well, at least representing them.

With those learnt memories of times long-gone, it brings to mind that we're losing some values of those times that are starting to be missed by society. Values of respect, self-discipline and sense of community are some that come to mind.

Of course, we're all quite happy to see some aspects of the those times left in the past where they belong.

Anyway, I'm starting to ramble, now... things to do, (like upload the latest photos to my mono gallery.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Flickr absorbs so much time!

I managed to get one photo through the digital darkroom - Boxing The Sky. Not really an homage to "Boxing Helena" - but I did do some cropping!

Aside from the usual curves, levels and vignette, I did some d&b around the window frames and structure, treating the sky separately (curves and levels).

Then it was onto Flikr to upload it and generally improve my profile. I joined some more groups, and spattered a few images across old and new alike. Took ages, though. Still, I've started to get some awards, which is nice :)

I tried Panoramio a few times but it was down. I'm off to try again now...

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Dodging and burning practice


The last four seem to have been all about practising d&b - I'm pretty pleased with the end results with only one not making it. I might revisit Back Lane but for now it's not even on the back-burner. The last one (not yet uploaded) is No Red Carpet (opp).

I'll upload that when I've got the next small batch ready, in a few day's time.

Meanwhile, I'm off to a bbq :)

Friday, 25 April 2008

An itty-bitty day


Today was a bit of this and a bit of that sort of day... I finished off Ageing Together, toning down the over-zealous dodging, so that one and a few others are ready for upload.

One of them that I'm really pleased with is Pallets, Tyre And Junk (opp) - I originally took the shot having a mind to get in some more practice with dodging and burning, and it turned out to be a good subject.

With this one, I did everything as per normal but pulled the levels mid-tone slider down a fair bit to darken all the mid tones. That was the starting point for the d&b - I burned the ground, leaving the two patches of light and did the same on the pallets, tyre and junk. Then I lifted the highlights by a fair bit of gentle dodging in the patches of light that were left.

In between times, I worked on publicising my blog via feedburner and did some other odds and sods.

I was pleased to be contacted by the museum and to be told in principle that they're happy to put on an exhibition of my Urban Ugliness photo essay. So that's good news :)

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

A few photos more...


I managed to chunter through three images today... I'm really pleased with the way one turned out, Building Corner. Someone mentioned that it was from my "Ansel Adams" collection :) - nice to have had the comparison made - but fat chance!

There's one other with great potential - Ageing Together - but I need to tone down some over-enthusiastic dodging I did before I'll upload it properly.

Photos from the 11th March


I eventually got to this folder in the digital darkroom - it was the result of an exploratory trip around Stonehouse and the back of Cattedown. I was really pleased with the number that have made it past first selection - 14 out of 42.

The first one out of the digital darkroom (opp) is a simple shot of the side door of a factory / industrial shed / workshop. I'm more pleased with it than I thought I would be. Of course, I still have to check it out in daylight...

Monday, 21 April 2008

Next few uploads done

Well, I thought I might burn some midnight oil and get the next small batch of photos uploaded.

I also removed three that I've grown to dislike and weren't up to the standard of the rest.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Pile of back photos diminishing...


Slowly but surely I've been going through the pile of unprocessed images in the digital darkroom. I've now got another handful to upload.

The "Battered Buffers" image is one that I'd been putting off working on until I'd got a bit better at dodging and burning. I'd purposely taken the shot with this in mind and had a couple of sessions on it yesterday and today. Originally I'd left it too dark (the disadvantage of working into the early hours when everything appears much brighter) - working on it during daylight hours helped me get the balance right.

I did get some feedback from a Studio-Online pro member that I'd maybe gone too far with the d&b. So I'm pleased it didn't get a slating! :)

Thursday, 17 April 2008

New uploads


Uploaded another 10 shots today - mainly from around Royal William Yard and Cattedown. All of them had been gathering dust in the digital darkroom. I'm very happy with the way the Courtyard View turned out in mono... and I also like the subdued hues in one of my rare colour shots. That phone box really stands out!

I liked the clean, almost winter-like subdued tones and the patterns of the trees and the different areas of tiles. The window in the corner seems to be silently surveying the yard to me.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Digital darkroom


I've worked up a few more images in the digital darkroom - some that had been gathering dust. One or two might make it onto the site - Exhaust Louvres for sure. This is one I took when the lovely ladies from the BBC team were interviewing me for the Urban Ugliness feature article.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Flickr group invites


Well, since sorting out a new account and uploading a bunch of monos, I've been invited to join a few flicker groups - well, one anyway :) ...it's the Decayed yet Hauntingly Beautiful group.

I've entered a couple into their April competition - we'll see :)

PicLens - corrected destination

I've fixed the rss file so that PicLens now takes you to the image page rather than the jpeg file. It's a great improvement :)

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Gallery updates


Just finished updating the mono gallery with some recent shots and some that were starting to gather dust in the digital darkroom.

I revisited the Barbican Prawn and think I've done it justice now.

As usual the digital darkroom work was only half the job - I still had to write all the spiel that goes with the new photos, there were some template changes to make and test, finally the regeneration of the piclens rss file and the galleries.

Then the online stuff: upload all the changes and new images, re-index for the search facility, regenerate & upload the sitemap xml file and tell Google Sitemaps that it had changed.

Whew!

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Slow start to Urban Ugliness Stage II


I've just started to make some captures for UU Stage II - the derelict courthouse at the top of the hill at Greenbank is the first location...
I've also been adding generally to my portfolio with shots from the Barbican, including another study of the Barbican Prawn (again, an HDR shot).
All these will be uploaded to the galleries in the next week.
Some exploratory shots I captured around the old Royal Naval Hospital in Stonehouse may deliver a few successful shots but these are in the back of the digital darkroom, gathering dust for now :)
Just had a look around - there's quite a few gathering dust back there! Gonna have to get on the case....

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Off topic....


It's been ages since I did anything with my CafePress merchandise shop but I've spent today updating it with some great products featuring the Eye of Horus amulet design - here's a preview of a Messenger Bag.

It's a dead cinch to open your own CafePress shop and start selling your own merchandise - just upload your graphics and choose what products you want to feature them. Your shop costs nothing but you can only sell one type of each product unless you upgrade to a pro shop.

If you want to try, just click here and away you go...

What a waste of time...

Darn the PhotoBox photobook creation software! I use PhotoBox for all my on-line photo-based fulfilment but not for their photobooks after tonight!

After uploading the best 40 images from my Urban Ugly photo essay (which took a good couple of hours over broadband! - It was 220 MB or so, though...) I then proceeded to create a photobook.

First I chose the design and template, then I chose to arrange all the images in the sequence I wanted to place them. So far so good. Then I changed the layout of all the pages to a single "aperture" (i.e. one photo per page). I then saved, logged off and had a cuppa.

When I logged back on and selected to edit my new photobook, the photos ready for placement were no longer in the order I spent so long deciding on before saving!!

Ok, so I persevered. I put them back into about the same order (another 30 mins or so!) and then placed them all. I didn't care that all the pages were laid out in landscape format and some photos were portrait orientation - I'd sort that out later.

Ok, did that and as I dropped them into place I kept getting an image in place of mine as an error message that said mine was not available ....so I ignored these messages and assumed all was working behind the scenes, and pressed on.

Once I'd placed them all (error message or not) I saved my work, logged off, logged back on again and then into editing the book again.

Sure enough, all images were placed where I'd put them, the "unavailable" ones were actually ok. So I then proceeded to edit the pages for the portrait images so they used a portrait-orientation "aperture".

Then I noticed the killer... The "apertures" in which you drop your pictures are a fixed aspect ratio. And if your images' aspect ratios are different (as mine are - they're pretty much all 6 x 4) then it behaves inconsistently in how it fits them within the aperture.

This is mostly ok for landscape orientation - the full width is displayed in most cases, and then the image height doesn't quite reach the top of the aperture. For some though, and this I haven't figured out, the full height is displayed and you get to choose whether to to have the left or the right (or both) cropped by dragging the image horizontally.

It's far worse in portrait though. It always displays the full width and, with 6 x 4 aspect ratio you're forced to crop huge amounts off the top or bottom.

I'll phone them tomorrow to see if there is any way of changing the aspect ratios of the apertures or some other way of shrinking the image so that the long edge is always fully displayed ...but I'm not getting my hopes up!

I'll still use PhotoBox for standard prints and canvases but it looks like I need an alternative for the photobook.

PhotoBox currently have a great deal on at the moment - they have 25% off their canvas prints and a 2-for-1 offer on mugs...

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Got round to flicker...

Well, I finally got round to doing something useful with Flickr. I deleted my old account and started afresh.

I uploaded all my highton-ridley monos and joined a couple of groups. I'll post three images to these groups per day (and sort out those images' tags).

Should keep me going for forty days or so :)

HDR Mission - Dig Camera Mag

I submitted a whole bunch of my HDR shots, many from my Urban Ugliness photo essay, to the mag's reader's mission for March.

Maybe I'll get my second appearance in the Mag... here's hoping :)

Hair cut and something for the weekend

Went to the barbers today for a #2 all over and while we were chatting, he said he knew someone who was into monochrome fine art. So after I'd had the chop I went back to my car and got him one of my Urban Ugliness slideshow CDs. Here's hoping... :)

He hasn't been down to Royal William Yard yet but might give the Masa Gallery [Update: now out of business] a try at the weekend now I've mentioned it.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Bigger photos and thumbnails on site

I got some feedback from a photographer friend, John Miles, that when using PicLens the small size of the images on site made the photo wall and slideshow a bit fuzzy.

I've managed to increase the size of both the thumbs and images by around 10% without disrupting my layout.

...so thanks for giving me the kick I needed, John :)

See John's site

PicLens on my site

Well I've been happy for a while using piclens to view google image results and other piclens-enabled sites. So happy, in fact, I thought I'd try and implement it on my site.

As I use Arles as my photo gallery s/w, that's what I used to generate the media rss file. It took a while to set up a new minimal template just to create the necessary content for the rss file ...but I got there in the end :)

Check it out on my monochrome gallery - top left of the thubnail table, click the "start slideshow" link. To get the 3d wall, you'll need to click the linked plugin, if you haven't already got it installed.

Enjoy :)

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