Category Archives: Photography

I want to be a Real Photographer

Around the time I started to take my photography seriously, a couple of years ago, I started to “follow” professional photographers on the internet. Reading strobist, going on a strobist seminar, following people like McNally, Zack Arias, JoeyL, Zemotion, duChemin, Wizwow and a lot of other professionals – reading their books, blog and tweets. All of them – good people, all of them inspiring – all of them¬† – professional.

I was getting really serious about this. I experimented with different kind of business card. Wrote a plan. Designed a web-page, based on all the good advice from Arias. Focused on my strong points and worked towards a portfolio and web-presence that would show me to the world as the photographer I wanted to sell.

But then…

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Photo book printing

Note: This article has been, sporadically, updated since it was written. Most of it is still relevant.

I recently photographed a couple of weddings and decided to make photo books, to the happy couples. They where a huge success. Initially I just chose the service that allowed me to pick up the books locally and seemed fair price wise. But then I decided to make a small test to see if I had chosen wisely.

A couple of notes:

  • The is a comparison of consumer services. I’m aware that there are professional services, that will give you a lot more then the consumer service, but also that at a totally different (higher) price.
  • I’m in Denmark, but as far as I can see what I’m writing here will be relevant for most people in Europa, as the service and machines used are probably all the same. It’s probably possible to find what exact machine is being used, but setting may vary, so I’m not sure how useful this information will be.
  • I’m only looking at book printing here.
  • Pricing is current as of December 12th 2008.
  • Both foto.com and digitalshoppen.dk (fujicolor.de) now offeres “photopaper” quality books. I’ve only tested the Digitalshop “Brilliant” print, but haven’t added it yet. The short of it: Better then the good PhotoCare.

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New homepage: DejligtVejr.dk

Well, yeah, the domain name is danish, and it translates to “nice weather”. We had a bit of rain yesterday and I got tired of hearing people complain about it, so I decided to do a mini-site with a nice photo slideshow showing some nice weather:

http://dejligtvejr.dk

The site is flash based, which normally goes against my idea on how to make homepages, but this is not really supposed to be browsed. It’s not an information source. It’s just a bunch of pictures. If you can’t see them they are all available on http://gallery.tc.dk

I made the site using the web function in LightRoom, using the AutoViewer from Airtight Interactive. Very easy!

Online back up: Mozy

I’ve about 120GB of photo’s that I backup on DVDs and an external harddrive.

What I’m really bad at, is taking these backups off-site (a.k.a. somewhere else that will not be affected if the house burns down).

I used to copy it all to my own server (it was in a hosting facility), but as I’ve moved everything to a hosting service, that doesn’t make sense any more as they have limited storage.

I looked around a bit and mozy.com, seems to have a good reputation. 5us$ a month for unlimited space, is very cheap for that kind of peace of mind.

I can’t help but thinking that it’s to cheap. But doing the math, it’s rather easy to see that, even with 120GB they will be making money of me within the year:

Back of envelope math: a one TeraByte hard drive is about 300us$, (120/1000)*300=36$. In a raid5 array, every fifth drive (depending on implementation) is for error checking so you need to multiply with 1.25 = 45us$, plus admin and network traffics costs. Probablty still less than 60us$.

The software seems quite okay, and is available for windows and OS X. No linux versions seems to be available, but as I do most of my photo work in LightRoom (and windows), this really is a non-issue for now.

The software has been running for a couple of hours now and is a 0.6% of the total 120GB, it’s not maxing out my upload speed, but it’s doing a good enough job, and it will be done in a week or so…

I’ll let you know what I think of it when I’ve used it a bit more…

p.s. one week later: It’s still uploading. It’s uploaded about a fifth of the 120Gb. I’m not sure how I could mis-calculate that badly, as it’s has been running 15 hours a day all week. As I have 2048Kbit upload the max is closer to 1.5-1.7Mb/s, but I’m unsure if the limit is at Mozy or somewhere between me and Mozy. Actually my theoretical daily upload is 22GB, so my first estimate isn’t that bad and my actual throughput is just really, really bad. My guess is that it’s a lot worse during the work hours, where the nets are a lot more busy.

p.s. One month later: nearly done uploading :-).

p.s.: May 2010: I’ve uploaded a total of 337Gb (uploading is a lot faster now)

Casio Exilim EX-S500 Wheel of Fortune mode…

While hunting for a way to access the service menu on my Casio Exilim EX-S500 pocket camera, I found a wheel of fortune function.

With the camera turned off, hold down [left], and press [Play] (the little arrow in a square), and the camera will randomly flip through all the images on the screen going bip, bip, biiip, biiiip, slower and slower until it stops, displays a random photo and goes “swuuuush”. I’m not sure how drunk you have to be for that to be useful…

I never found the service menu.

New Box

I’ve finally gotten around to building a new box.

My old was an AMD Athlon 2200+, with 512MB ram and a couple of 120Gb Drive. Still up to most tasks, but getting a bit hard driven in some cases.

New one is build around an Intel Duo 2 Core E6320 (running 1.86Ghz), with 2Gb ram and a 400Gb Samsung hard drive. I’ve mainly build it to be silent, but it can be over clocked if I so choose (an Asus P5B motherboard helps with that). I tried running it at nearly 3Ghz for at bit, but haven’t tested it extensively.

One benchmark

LightRoom 1.0: Export 16, Dng files to Jpeg. 10MP.

New: 47 seconds (33 seconds overclocked)

Old:  345 seconds

Yes, the SSE2 instruction set is really important for LightRoom and makes all the difference.

Adobe LightRoom 1.0 First Impressions

I’ve been using the LR beta for quite a while. This is my first impressions of the final release, version 1.0. I’ll walk through the most interesting (to me) features and try to include any insights that I may have. Enjoy.

Get it from: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Available for both Mac OS and Windows (XP/Vista).

30 day trial is available from Adobe, so you can download from Adobe and run at once, while you wait for the CD and printed manual to arrive.

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Fast Pentax Glass

I’m currently looking for some faster glass for my set of Pentax dSLR cameras. I already have a 43mm ltd 1:1.9 (auto focus) and an old Ricoh 50mm 1:1.7 (manual focus). What I would like is a 1:1.4 or faster. I’ll use this blog to get an idea of the marked. I’ll focus on fast glass and fairly cheap glass. It needs to be as short as possible – 50mm is okay. I may sell the 43mm towards this lens…
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Pentax K10D – Known Issues

I love my Pentax K10D. Very worthy replacement for my *ist DS.

As everything else, these days, it does have issues. I’ll try to keep up to date with them in this post, so that new owners for the K10D can be made aware of them and hopefully find help in here.

I’ll mainly list the issues that are firmware related (and there for fixable), but I’ve included a couple of issues that are, probably, not fixable by firmware, or even something you really want fixed. Things like the Jpeg Edge issue is not really something that should be fixed, it’s just about knowing that you need to switch from Natural to Bright mode if you want sharper jpegs.

This blog has a thread at DPReview.com – where I’m trying to get help to make the list complete.

Please try to keep further discussion about specific issues to the linked threads. This blog is not really a good platform for discussions (a real forum is a lot better for stuff like that).

Update Jan. 20th 2007: There’s a version 1.1 firmware to be found. It seems to be the real deal. It changes this. From what people have reported on dpreview and my own experience it fixes what’s the change document says and nothing else. I’ll move all the issues that a fixed my 1.1 to a separate section..

Update Mar. 6th. 2007: There’s a version 1.11 firmware. Only a couple of minor issue fixed.

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Pentax K10D

By sort of a freak accident I got a chance to buy one of these cameras today. I’ve had a Pentax *ist DS for a about a year and half. It’s been a great camera and there’s really nothing wrong with it. That doesn’t mean that it could be better.

The main selling points of the K10D is the 10Mp censor, Share Reduction and weather sealing. I want it for the 10mp and the SR.

Unfortunately I’m baby-sitting tonight, so it’s limited how much I can play with it. But I’ve been through the menus, clicked and turned all the knobs.

My first impression is that it’s quite heavy compared to the DS. And that it autofocues very, very fast, and that’s in a dimly lit apartment. Oh, and that I have to order a bigger memory card in a hurry, as the 16mb DNG files (the PEF files are 13Mb not much better, and unsupported by my raw software).

Autofocus: Even my Sigma 70-200 1:2.8 APO DG locks focus in my dimly lighted living room at 200mm and f/2.8. I’ll have to see how it does with the x2 teleconverter tomorrow. Something the DS had problem with in low light.

ISO Noise: Yes, it’s there and it’s quite visible at 1600iso. I’m not sure that it’s actually worse than the DS, but I’ll have to do tests to find out. The thing with it is that it seems more ordered and therefor more eye catching.