Aperture, I am disappoint.

After wrestling with Aperture’s Flickr integration for weeks, I thought it might be worthwhile to explain why my photostream has been so erratic lately. =P

As I sorted and processed photos I had taken during my trip to China, I used the Aperture Flickr export/upload tool to begin transferring my photos to Flickr, and I had assumed that it would upload the photos, in order, to the sets I had created for each album… this assumption was incorrect.

Every few times I attempted to upload photos, Aperture would hang during the upload process, and I’d force quit. When I investigated my Flickr stream, I found that some of the sets hadn’t been created (not a big deal), that most photos were uploaded to my stream at least two or three times each (big deal), and that all of my photos had been uploaded out of order (infuriating).

I heard that a recent Aperture patch had fixed this issue, so I removed all of my previously uploaded photos (some which had already been commented on and shared with others, unfortunately), installed the patch, and re-attempted the upload.

This time, two sets uploaded in the correct order, so I thought it would work with a larger album (about 400 photos from Shanghai). During the upload, I noticed that Aperture had frozen, again, and I force-quit the application, again.

And, again, my Flickr stream was mangled. Lots of duplicates, most photos out of order, no set created, and when I opened Aperture the next time, it attempted to “finish” the last sync session…which mangled my stream even more.

At this point, I’ve given up on Aperture’s Flickr “integration” (which is giving it too much credit), and I’m going to upload the rest manually through Flickr Uploadr.

I’ll give Aperture credit for being an otherwise solid photo management application, but this experience makes me wish I’d chosen Lightroom instead. =(

(tl;dr – Don’t use Aperture Flickr sync, it’s buggy as hell and will screw up your stream.)

The Rainbow Vomiting Pandas Of Interestingness

The Rainbow Vomiting Pandas Of Interestingness by The Searcher.

The Rainbow Vomiting Pandas Of Interestingness were starving. It was time to eat.

Ling Ling grazed on her usual fare, flowers and sunsets. She found some kittens at sunset that tasted like lemons and butterflies.

Hsing Hsing started on her latest interest, winter wonderlands and airplanes floating on the Hudson. But it would soon be St Patrick’s Day, and Hsing Hsing was already tasting the emerald tang of shamrocks and green beer.

Wang Wang explored Eastern Europe, and settled this day on Poland. The churches and streets were also very filling. A river of light for desert.

Finally, they were fed, stuffed and ready to burst. The three as one escaped to the sky, able to hold it all in no longer.

And like the day before and the day next, they burst.

The Rainbow Vomiting Pandas Of Interestingness were starving. It was time to eat.

larger one here.
Inspired by the work of Rev Dan Catt.

via The Rainbow Vomiting Pandas Of Interestingness on Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

Flickr Buddy Icon Reply v3.5 (Greasemonkey)

This and “View on Flickriver” are my favorite Greasemonkey scripts for Flickr:

Back in Oct 2006 I did a little GM script to automate more personalized replies (used to do it manually with a little bit of HTML). After a long period of neglect, I am trying to work on it again to incorporate some user suggestions.

It adds “(reply with name, icon, icon&name)” links at each of the comments under your photo. When you click on the link, the buddy icon html code will be added into the Add your comment box, where you can show nicely who your replies are directed at. Experiment with preview and you will get the hang of formatting your replies in no time. (Should work on photo and discussion thread pages).

It skips over deleted accounts and only offers the name link if the contact has no personalized buddy icon.

Warning: this might conflict with other GM scripts

v1 initial photo and information is here
v2 bugfixes: for iconless accounts
v2_2 bugfixes: name_reply function now works with apostrophes in usernames & group admins
v3 localization and improved (all credits to mortimer? for this great work!!!)
v3_1 added icon&name reply and presentation changed
v3_2 added Spanish localization (thank you v1m0r4) & fixed iconless detection
v3_3 moved the reply links inline with the comment context links
v3_4 updated code for the new HTML DOM structure on the photo page (does not work in discussion threads)
v3_5 updated by Eric Martin to work on both old and new HTML DOM structure, so it now works in both photos and discussion pages (many thanks Eric!!!)

You need to be using Firefox with Greasemonkey extension installed. Then simply click onto the link to my script below and Greasemonkey with prompt you to install,
GM Script: Flickr Buddy Icon Reply v3_5

Flickr: Discussing GM Script: Flickr Buddy Icon Reply v3.5 (updated 11th February 2009) in Flickr Hacks.

JPG Magazine Could Be Saved?

I received some very cool news from 8020 Media (the company behind JPG Magazine) today via e-mail:

We couldn’t ask for a better community. In the week or so since our last email, the outpour of support has exceeded our wildest expectations. Your efforts, such as starting savejpg.com, writing blog posts, commenting on Twitter and Flickr, and generally making your voices heard, have provided exciting new opportunities for us.

We’re thrilled to say that because of you, we have multiple credible buyers interested in giving JPG a home. We will be keeping the site up after all, and hope to have a final update in the next week or so on who the acquirer will be. Thank you for making all of this possible.

Laura Brunow Miner
Editor in Chief

In case you hadn’t heard, JPG is/was in danger of going out of business, as they explain via this entry on their blog:

Today is a particularly sad day for all of us at JPG and 8020 Media.

We’ve spent the last few months trying to make the business behind JPG sustain itself, and we’ve reached the end of the line. We all deeply believe in everything JPG represents, but just weren’t able to raise the money needed to keep JPG alive in these extraordinary economic times. We sought out buyers, spoke with numerous potential investors, and pitched several last-ditch creative efforts, all without success. As a result, jpgmag.com will shut down on Monday, January 5, 2009.

The one thing we’ve been the most proud of: your amazing talent. We feel honored and humbled to have been able to share jpgmag.com with such a dynamic, warm, and wonderful community of nearly 200,000 photographers. The images on the website and in the magazine were adored by many, leaving no doubt that this community created work of the highest caliber. The kindness, generosity, and support shared among members made it a community in the truest sense of the word, and one that we have loved being a part of for these past two years.

We wish we could have found a way to leave the site running for the benefit of the amazing folks who have made JPG what it is, and we have spent sleepless nights trying to figure something out, all to no avail. Some things you may want to do before the site closes:

Download the PDFs of back issues, outtakes, and photo challenge selections. We’ll always have the memories!
Make note of your favorite photographers. You may want to flip through your favorites list and jot down names and URLs of some of the people you’d like to stay in touch with. You may even want to cut and paste your contacts page into a personal record.
Catch up with your fellow members. Our roots are in this humble flickr forum and we recommend going back to find fellow members, discuss the situation, or participate in another great photo community.
Keep in touch. This has always been much more than just a job to each of us, and we’ll miss you guys! We’ll be checking the account jpgletters@gmail.com in our free time going forward. We can’t promise to reply to every email (since we’ll be busy tuning up our resumes) but we’d love to hear from you.
Stay posted. Although the magazine is ceasing publication, we’ll be updating you on what’s happening with your subscription early next week.

We’re soggy-eyed messes, but it is what it is. At that, JPGers, we bid you goodbye, and good luck in 2009 and the future.

Laura Brunow Miner
Editor in Chief

Take a chance to check out their back issues if you have a moment. Very cool stuff. I hope they find a new home soon. 🙂

Nifty Fifty! (Canon 50mm f/1.8 II Review)

Box
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II: Box

I just picked up the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens, and so far, I’m quite impressed – much more than I thought I’d be!

Until yesterday, when I purchased the 50mm f/1.8, I had been shooting almost exclusively with the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM zoom lens that came with my Canon EOS 30D. I’m still quite fond of the 28-135mm, and for most occasions it’s the perfect walking-around lens (until I can get my hands on one of the L-series zooms). However, everyone I’ve talked to so far in the photography world has highly recommended getting a prime lens, and I wanted to find something inexpensive to tide me over until I could get my hands on the 100mm f/2.8 macro that I’ve heard such wonderful things about.

I’d also heard good things specifically about 50mm lenses (though on my 1.6x crop APS-C sensor, the 50mm is more like an 80mm), and set out to find myself a relatively cheap 50mm as my first prime lens. Of course, I found the 50mm f/1.8 Mark II lens first, because of it’s ridiculously cheap price compared to the rest of the EF/EF-S lineup of lenses, and the reviews said that the optics were surprisingly good for such a cheap lens.

Canon 50mm f/1.8 Mark II
Canon 50mm f/1.8 Mark II

I must say that I agree on both points above: this is a ridiculously cheap lens (both in construction and price), and it’s optics are surprisingly good. I first saw this lens on Amazon.com, so I knew what it looked like, but had no idea of the actual physical quality. If you haven’t seen this lens before in person, and you’re coming from a relatively higher quality kit lens like the 28-135mm, you’ll probably scoff at the 50mm f/1.8 lens. No ultrasonic motor, completely plastic housing and mount, and it’s light as a feather. I almost thought that I was going to break the damn thing when I was holding it, but I decided to try it out anyway, and I loved the clarity of the images that I saw coming from it. It is remarkably crisp, and quite fast for the price – much faster than my zoom at the wide end (f/3.5) and way faster at the narrow end (f/5.6). I’ve found that I’ve been able to take handheld shots in much lower light, and I love the bokeh it makes when it’s wide open at f/1.8.

I’ll admit, the plastic body of the f/1.8 made me strongly consider stepping up to the f/1.4 (the f/1.2 is waaaay too rich for my blood), but the price of the f/1.8 was just too good to ignore. I picked up the f/1.8 locally for $119, while the f/1.4 at the same shop was going for $300, and the f/1.2 was over $1600!

I haven’t been able to process any of the photos I’ve taken with it yet, since I’ve taken so damn many of them, but I’m sure you’ll be seeing my Flickr stream flooded with shots from my “nifty-fifty” as soon as I can get them posted. I’m really getting a kick out of this lens, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking to get their first prime lens for their Canon SLR or DSLR!

Additional Links:

Der Stasibunker – The Nuclear Bunker

Wow, so cool!

Info: Das Bunkermuseum

Vielen Dank an Mike Preißing Vorsitzender des Bunkervereins dass er uns alles erklärt, uns bis in die letzten Winkel des Bunkers geführt und uns die ganze Technik vorgeführt hat. 4 Std!!! 🙂

Vielen Dank an Familie Höhn dass sie uns das Fotoshooting erlaubt hat. Ihr habt ein super Hotel und Restaurant mit Bunker!!! 🙂 Wir kommen noch mal zum Essen und Quatschen wieder! www.waldhotel-rennsteighoehe.de/

This nuclear bunker (3600 square meters!!!) was build for the security of the Ministry for State Security of the German Demokratik Republik in a nuclear war case. It was Top secret till the end of cold war. The bunker is a museum now, but its full functionally. All aggregates are still active.

Der Stasibunker – The Nuclear Bunker – a set on Flickr.

6 Exceptional Web-based Image Editors – Six Revisions

Web-based image editors have several advantages to its desktop counterparts. The most obvious benefit is that they allow you to work on any computer (that has a browser). In most cases, you can save your work online, avoid having to install desktop software, and interface with other web based services such as Flickr or Picasa. This article shares 6 of the finest, free online image editors that are capable alternatives to desktop applications like Adobe Photoshop and GIMP.

via 6 Exceptional Web-based Image Editors – Six Revisions.

Focal DT-5000 + Canon EOS 30D?

Focal DT-5000 Zoom

Over the weekend, I found a great deal on a flash for my Canon EOS 30D at a thrift store, but I can’t find any information on this particular flash unit to determine whether or not it’s safe to use on my DSLR.

I know that it technically works, because I’ve successfully mounted it on my 30D and was able to get the flash to fire when I pressed the shutter button, but I’ve heard some rumors floating about that Canon and Nikon DSLRs are very particular about their flash units, because of their TTL flash metering and circuitry that communicates through the mount.

If anyone has any information about this particular flash, or the specifications on the EOS series DSLR flash mounts, please leave a comment on this post.

Thanks! 😀

Update: I’ve started a discussion in the PDX Strobist group on Flickr to accompany this post:
Flickr: Discussing Is This Flash Compatible With My DSLR? (Focal DT-5000)

WordPress.com: How To Embed Video

With the exception of YouTube, I always keep forgetting how to embed video into a WordPress.com blog post (hint: it’s not the embed code). Here’s a handy little quick reference on how to embed video from different sources and how to embed other sorts of media:

What shortcodes does WordPress use?

[audio] converts a link to an mp3 file into an audio player. See full instructions here.

[caption] adds a caption to an image. See full instructions here.

[digg] embeds a voting button for your link on Digg. See full instructions here.

[flickr] embeds a Flickr video. See full instructions here.

[gallery] displays a thumbnail gallery of images attached to that post or page. See full instructions here.

embeds Google Maps. See full instructions here.

[googlevideo] embeds a Google Video. See full instructions here.

[livevideo] embeds a video from LiveVideo. See full instructions here.

[odeo] embeds an Odeo audio file. See full instructions here.

[podtech] embeds audio or video from the PodTech Network. See full instructions here.

[polldaddy] embeds a PollDaddy poll(use without the space). See full instructions here.

[redlasso] embeds a video from Redlasso. See full instructions here.

[rockyou] embeds a slideshow from RockYou. See full instructions here.

[slideshare] embeds a slideshow from Slideshare.net. See full instructions here.

[sourcecode] preserves the formatting of source code. See full instructions here.

[splashcast] embeds Splashcast media. See full instructions here.

[vimeo] embeds a Vimeo video. See full instructions here.

[youtube] embeds a YouTube video. See full instructions here.

Looks like it’s much more flexible than I thought, though it would still be easier just to support copy/paste of embed code (though, I understand why they don’t do it, for security reasons, etc.)

Update: For some reason, DailyMotion didn’t get included in this list, but you can find the instructions here: