Lifehacker: Take Impressive Macro Photographs with Your Point-and-Shoot and CHDK

This sounds awesome. I’m gonna have to pull out my SD450 and give this a shot…pun intended. 😉

Remember the Canon Hacker’s Development Kit, aka CHDK—the open-source firmware that turns your point-and-shoot into a super-camera? Here’s how bug enthusiast Tim used CHDK and DIY ingenuity for better macro results from his point-and-shoot.

Spending more money was off the table for Tim’s spending budget, so rather than pony up for some new, expensive equipment, he turned to the wonder of open source. His setup is a little heady if you’re not familiar with the subject, but Tim used a reverse mounted lens technique along with the focus bracketing feature of CHDK. The results—one of which you can see in the screenshot—speak for themselves.

via Digital Photography: Take Impressive Macro Photographs with Your Point-and-Shoot and CHDK.

JSTN – Please, Canon

He’s got an excellent point – I’d love if I could set up my camera the way he’s described…

Please, Canon

Let me set my own lower limit for shutter speed with auto ISO.

I want to shoot wide open, but 1-divided-by-focal-length is just too slow for me most the time. At 24mm it frustratingly picks 1/20th even with several usable ISO stops that could go towards a faster shutter speed.

Shutter priority mode does me no good; I can’t rely on it to choose the maximum aperture (in fact, it rarely does).

Manual mode doesn’t support auto ISO. If you have it selected and you switch to manual it forces the ISO to 400. Instead, I wish it let me lock a shutter speed and aperture and then float the ISO as needed. Hitting the floor would cause the shutter speed to drop, but not before.

Actually, what I really want is a modeless UI that lets me set any two of the three (shutter, aperture, ISO) and institute my own graceful degradation.

Camera interface designs up until now have relied on the assumption that you’re only making two exposure decisions per shot (shutter speed and aperture, ISO being decided beforehand when you load the film). Digital suddenly adds a third thing to think about and the interfaces haven’t caught up yet.

via JSTN – Please, Canon.

How to Live: 25 Useful scripts for Flickr users

Following up the post on 10 Really Useful Flickr Greasemonkey Userscripts from the other day is this great article from howtoliveonline.com that lists 25 great Greasemonkey scripts for Flickr users:

25

Flickr is a nice, popular online photo sharing tool. Here is a collection of tools and scripts that will enhance your flickr experience.
Enjoy these collection and feel free to suggest any useful script or additional tool that I might have missed.

Scripts to enhance Flickr browsing experience:

Tip: To install these scripts, you must get Firefox browser and Greasemonkey extension [Read a 30 sec description on GM]. Once you install the Greasemonkey, you will see a smiling monkey icon on the right-bottom corner of your browser. These scripts need to be automatically installed when you select install option.

(continue reading at 25 Useful scripts for Flickr users)

More Model Release Info…

Model Release

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A model release, known in similar contexts as a liability waiver, is a legal document typically signed by the subject of a photograph granting permission to publish the photograph in one form or another. The legal rights of the signatories in reference to the material is thereafter subject to the allowances and restrictions stated in the release, and also possibly in exchange for compensation paid to the photographed.

Publishing an identifiable photo of a person without a model release signed by that person can result in civil liability for whoever publishes the photograph.

Note that the photographer is typically not the publisher of the photograph, but sells the photograph to someone else to publish. Liability rests solely with the publisher, except under special conditions. It is typical for the photographer to obtain the model release because he is merely present at the time and can get it, but also because it gives him more opportunity to sell the photograph later to a party who wishes to publish it. Unless a photo is actually published, the need (or use) of a model release is undefined. And, since some forms of publication do not require a model release (e.g., news articles), the existence (or non-existence) of a release is irrelevant.

Note that the issue of model release forms and liability waivers is a legal area related to privacy and is separate from copyright. Also, the need for model releases pertains to public use of the photos: i.e., publishing them, commercially or not. The act of taking a photo of someone in a public setting without a model release, or of viewing or non-commercially showing such a photo in private, generally does not create legal exposure, at least in the United States.

The legal issues surrounding model releases are complex and vary by jurisdiction. Although the risk to photographers is virtually nil (so long as proper disclosures of the existence of a release, and its content is made to whoever licenses the photo for publication), the business need for having releases rises substantially if the main source of income from the photographer’s work lies within industries that would require them (such as advertising). In short, photo journalists never need to obtain model releases for images they shoot for (or sell to) news or qualified editorial publications.

Photographers who also publish images need releases to protect themselves, but there is a distinction between making an image available for sale (even via a website), which is not considered publication in a form that would require a release, and the use of the same image to promote a product or service in a way that would require a release.

Regardless of legal issues, taking someone’s picture without his/her permission may be considered impolite and may provoke a hostile response, so the photographer should take such matters into consideration and ask permission if appropriate.

(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_release)

dPS: 10 Really Useful Flickr Greasemonkey Userscripts

All of these are excellent scripts, and many of them are available in the Better Flickr extension from Gina Trapani at Lifehacker, but my favorite by far is the Flickr Follow Comments plugin which makes that atrocity of a page into something sane and manageable.

Flickr, are you listening? The “Comments You’ve Made” page sucks hard. (Otherwise, I love Flickr to death, and everything else is somewhere in the range of pretty good to awesome.) 🙂

flickr-userscripts-1

This post on Useful Flickr Userscripts has been submitted by Martin Gommel. You can see his work at his is a Flickr account and his blog KWERFELDEIN.

Userscripts are add-ons for the Firefox web browser, which dynamically enhance the communication and visualization of certain websites.

To be able to use these scripts you need to have installed greasemonkey on Firefox – this enables and manages the userscripts. If you have greasemonkey in Firefox you can install and use these userscripts instantly.

(via 10 Really Useful Flickr Greasemonkey Userscripts)

dPS: How To Remove Dust Spots From Multiple Photos in 4 Steps

Another excellent article from digital Photography School, about how to remove dust spots from your photos. I’m going to need to try this out on my own photos, especially after that full day of shooting with a dirty sensor (see the before/after examples here: https://blog.wolffmyren.com/2008/07/07/before-cleaning/ and here: https://blog.wolffmyren.com/2008/07/07/after-cleaning/)

windowslivewriterquickeasymultipicturedustremoval-11812dust-3

Dust. The eternal enemy of a digital camera. When you shoot pictures with a digital SLR camera long enough, you will come to know the pain that dust can cause. For some it’s a minor annoyance. For others, it costs time and money attempting to salvage vital images.

In this post Peter Carey shares some tips on how to remove dust spots from multiple photos.

With advancements in DLSRs has also come advancements in Photoshop tools to remove dust. My favorite for dust removal, partially because of its price, is Photoshop Lightroom. While it is a scaled down version of the full blown Photoshop, it is perfectly suited to remove 90% of the dust I encounter.

Why is dust such a problem? Take a look at the picture on the left. Do you notice the small black spots in the sky and one big spot on the left side in the mountain? Those are not UFOs and that is not a mining tunnel. It was dust adhered to the sensor, casting a black shadow on the sensor when the shutter was activated. You can’t get back the data that is covered over by the shadow, but you can get creative and repair the damage depending on the dust location. When those dust spots are in the same location on each image, you’re in luck as there is a fairly easy method for multiple photo dust spot removal. (Note: the instructions are given using a PC version of Lightroom 1.4. Mac instructions vary only slightly if using a single button mouse)

(continue reading via: How To Remove Dust Spots From Multiple Photos in 4 Steps)

My Archival Workflow…

In regard to the last post, “dPS: 5 Ways To Never Lose Your Photos“, I thought it would be good to share the workflow that has served me well for the past couple of years:

  1. Copy/move from CompactFlash

    The first step is pretty obvious, get your photos off the card! (Generally, I move them off the card at this point, but if I don’t have any available media for step 2, or the pictures are incredibly important, I’ll leave the originals on the card and switch to my backup card.)

  2. Backup to CD/DVD

    Now it’s time to backup to the first type of archival media – I use two 2gb CompactFlash cards, which lends well to being backed up on DVD if they’re both full (since a DVD typically holds 4.7gb of data on a single layer). If I haven’t taken a full 4gb of photos in a day, I’ll either wait until I have 4gb of photos to back up, or just back up to a CD.

  3. Copy to small external HD (120gb)

    First step in the department of redundancy department, use SyncToy to synchronize my recent photos to my external hard drive. I use SyncToy instead of merely copying the files because this ensures that any straggling data gets copied over to the external HD, and because it just makes the process simpler. No half-completed file transfers I have to dig through to figure out what did and didn’t get transferred – it will give me a report at the end.

    You can find SyncToy for download here: http://www.microsoft.com/prophoto/downloads/synctoybeta.aspx

  4. Copy from small (120gb) to large external HD (750gb)

    Second step in the department of redundancy department, similar to the step above, though this is a longer-term storage, and it only involves files that have already been archived to the 120gb drive, not directly downloaded to my computer from the CompactFlash card. The reason for this is, of course, redundancy and data integrity. Since this transfer happens less often than the transfer to the 120gb from my computer, there’s less likelyhood of data corruption, and I always try to verify (to the best of my ability) the integrity of the data I’m about to transfer to “cold storage”. I haven’t yet filled up this 750gb drive yet, but as soon as it gets close, I’ll look into getting a Drobo: http://www.drobo.com/Products/drobo.html

  5. Review past archived media (CD/DVD)

    Any type of data gets outdated at some point. Luckily, there are some basic photographic standards that have been pretty solid throughout the years (TIFF, JPEG, etc.), but it’s always worthwhile to look at old media, pictures or otherwise, and make sure that both the media is still in good condition and that the media is easily accessible by modern hardware/software.

That’s my process for now, and has worked for me for the past couple of years, as I mentioned above. Unfortunately, it took me some trial and error to find out this approach, and there were some photo casualties along the way. I’m still trying to dig up my old (pre-2003) photos, but multiple location moves and changes of hardware may have lost these older photos for good.

Remember, backup, backup, backup!

dPS: 5 Ways To Never Lose Your Photos

Another excellent article from the digital Photography School blog about how to properly archive your photos.

The biggest nightmare of every photographer is the thought of catastrophic loss of their photographs. In the days of film, options were limited and often serious photographers would keep their negatives and slides in fire proof safes or bank safe deposit boxes. Even still several great photographers have had their work taken from them due to fire, water damage and even sub-grade storage supplies. Digital photography provides an additional level of complexity to photographers as they look to keep their photographic work safe. Now in addition to fire and water damage there is the risk of file corruption, failed drives and file format obsolescence. With increased risk comes the responsibility to be diligent in heading off such catastrophes with a solid backup plan. Below are 5 steps you can take to minimize risk of losing your digital photos.

1. Immediately back-up your photos to DVD after off loading them to your computer from your compact flash cards

Here is where procrastination can get the better of you. I have known several people who have accidentally deleted files from their compact flash cards before backing their photos up or deleted files from their computer with out having a backup. These days it’s not too hard to find a deal on a 100 disc spool of DVDs. Have one on hand and take the extra 15 minutes to burn a disc.

(continue reading via 5 Ways To Never Lose Your Photos)

Flickr: Excellent Photo Advice

One of my Flickr friends, Steve-h just sent me a message today recommending that I read the profile of Bachspics, which contains a wealth of advice on taking better pictures and scoring better in Flickr Explore.

Here’s a clip:

TIPS ON TAKING AND PRESENTING BETTER PICTURES

Here are some tips on improving composition, taking better and more interesting pictures I’ve collected. [Feel free to send me a Flicker Message with your suggestions.] I also recommend Geoff Quinn’s “A few lessons learned the hard (and slow) way on Flickr” at: www.flickr.com/people/gcquinn/ You may also be interested in David Brooks’ Photographic Composition Tutorial and blog about photographic composition theory found here: giant-steps-giant-blog.blogspot.com/ You can see 24 articles mostly about nature photography by Darwin Wiggett, here: www.darwinwiggett.com/articles.html Also check out some Photoshop tips and tutorials here www.tommysimms.com/photoshop.html See “Ten Questions To Ask When Taking A Digital Photo” here: digital-photography-school.com/blog/10-questions/

In the examples below you can click on the picture for a larger view.

* NO FORMULAS: To begin with there are no formulas or recipes for great photographs. But there are matters pertaining to beauty and interest such as principles relating to light, harmony, balance, color and emotion and elements of design such as line, form, pattern, shape, texture and color which enter into making a photograph attractive and interesting. Successful photographs are about knowing and applying those principles when appropriate, but also about perception, thought and creativity.

And more:

TOP TEN WAYS TO MAKE “EXPLORE”

Just photograph….
10. …looking down on a buxom woman from above her head; preferably if she has a low-cut top on.
09. …a flower and/or an insect on or near it; or just the insect will do. [Late in September 07 Flicker averaged about 50 flowers in each day’s 500, or 10%; They had 10-15 insects per day.]
08. …a cat, any cat, lots of cats; and once in a while a dog; or a dog, any dog, lots of dogs; and once in a while a cat.
07. …a sunset [Flicker includes anywhere from 25-50 of these per day.]
06. …a young adult leaping through the air, or one eye of a woman (there was a tie here).
05. …a picture of the “the 275th day in the life of…” (Who started that inane fad?); these are often self-portraits (see # 3 below)

Wow. Excellent advice. Thanks again to Steve-h for the suggestion, and Bachspics for the excellent writeup!

By the way, the rest of the writeup is on Bachspics profile page. =)

Thomas Hawk: Top 10 Tips for Getting Attention on Flickr, All Fresh and New for 2008

Great article from Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection about how to get attention on Flickr:

“What is more pleasant than the benevolent notice other people take of us, what is more agreeable than their compassionate empathy? What inspires us more than addressing ears flushed with excitement, what captivates us more than exercising our own power of fascination? What is more thrilling than an entire hall of expectant eyes, what more overwhelming than applause surging up to us? What, lastly, equals the enchantment sparked off by the delighted attention we receive from those who profoundly delight ourselves? – Attention by other people is the most irresistible of drugs. To receive it outshines receiving any other kind of income. This is why glory surpasses power and why wealth is overshadowed by prominence.”
Caterina Fake, Co-founder of Flickr, 2005.

A couple of years ago I wrote a post called Top 10 Tips for Getting Attention on Flickr that proved fairly popular. A lot has changed at Flickr in the past 2 years though and how imagery is rated and ranked on the site has also changed. That said, I thought I’d write a fresher updated post on the top 10 ways, presently, to get attention on Flickr.

Back in 2006 when I wrote my original article on how to achieve popularity on Flickr my photostream had been viewed almost 400,000 times. According to a Flickr stats page that’s been added since that time, the view count for my pages on Flickr now stands at 9,953,328. It should pass 10 million sometime this week. I’m averaging about 14,000 page views a day on Flickr.

Some of how one gets attention on Flickr has remained the same since 2006. Other stuff has changed.

(list continued at Top 10 Tips for Getting Attention on Flickr, All Fresh and New for 2008)

Flickr: Firefox 3 is now Color Managed

This post to the Canon EF 28-135 IS group on Flickr is incredibly helpful:

noeltykay is a group administrator noeltykay Pro User says:

  1. Type about:config in Firefox 3’s address bar and press Return. The configuration settings will appear.
  2. In the Filter field, type gfx. The list of settings will shorten to show just those related to graphics, ie gfx.
  3. If the Value for gfx.color_management.enabled is False, double-click anywhere on that line to toggle the setting to True.
  4. Quit and relaunch Firefox 3 and you’re in business. You can confirm that colour management is working by viewing the photos on this page. If all four quadrants of the first photo are a seamless match, then colour management in your copy of Firefox is up and running.

(thread here: Color Management PSA: Firefox 3 is now Color Managed.)

Update: In case you missed it, here’s the color profile test page:
http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter

dPS: How to Win Friends and Influence People – A Guide to Commenting on Other People’s Photos

Great post about how to effectively comment on Flickr photos. (I’ll admit, I’m guilty of the two-word-comment myself, so this is good advice for me, personally.)

One of the ten things I hate about Flickr is people who don’t know how to comment on photos. In a recent post to my blog, I lamented the number of comments I receive on my photos which consist of only one or two words: “Frankly, I don’t care if you think my photo’s “Awesome!”, I care even less if you think it’s a “Cool photo”. I’ve put a lot of work into it, I’d genuinely like to know what you think of it and why. If you’re going to comment, why not take the extra 30 seconds, engage your brain, and say something insightful.”

In the lively discussion that followed, it occurred to me that these commenters may not just be lazy. Some said they don’t feel confident enough, or have enough knowledge to feel worthy of making a comment. Others said they have a hard time expressing their feelings. And some simply don’t know what to say. I want to help fix that.

Even though a discussion about Flickr prompted this guide, and the examples I use are all from Flickr, it applies equally well to any online photography or art community, where people comment on the works uploaded by others.

(continued at digital Photography School)

dPS: 20 Photography Tips from Our Twitter Followers

Great list from digital Photography School’s blog:

Last week I asked some DPS readers who follow this blog via Twitter (our account is here) to share some of their photography tips with us.

The catch was that they had to do it in 140 characters or less (the limit that Twitter allows per message). Here’s a collection of 20 of their photography tips:

  1. “I would recommend any serious photographer a Tripod. It’s indispensable for any photography & most if your hands won’t stay still” – maniar
  2. “don’t spend your time looking at the lcd screen…you end up missing fantastic moments. The pictures will still be there later!” – burks
  3. “Shoot in RAW mode if your camera has it. Offers so many more opportunities for editing than shooting in JPEG” – PattyHankins
  4. “don’t just stand there. Instead of moving the camera, move yourself…” – XmasB
  5. “Always remove the lens cover.” – fireeducator
  6. “Get closer to the object.” – Celebtur
  7. “Expensive equipment don’t make great photos. Great photographers do.” – quicklunarcop
  8. “Fill the Frame” – ebradlee10
  9. “shoot the magic hours(!!); remember the exposure triangle; look for a new/unique angle on your subject. :-)” – laepelba
  10. “Keep taking photos, look at your photos, then take more photos. Learn from your mistakes and don’t be afraid to experiment.” – NeilCreek

(continued at digital Photography School)