Friday, August 29, 2008

Labor Day Weekend


This weekend is a long, holiday weekend for most of us in the US. People will be grilling out with friends, going to sporting events (college football starts this weekend), walking on the beach and generally enjoying the last holiday of the summer. All to celebrate the American worker ... yeah, I don't quite get it either, but it is a holiday. More after the jump.

We plan to go into Greenville on Sunday to watch the 2008 USA Pro Cycling Championship road race. This is will be the last day of a two day event. The time trial is on Saturday, while the road race is on Sunday. The course is laid out so that the riders will pass through parts of downtown Greenville ten times. Thus there will be many chances to see the riders. We went last year and had a good time. The course will be passing by the same location that we were at last year. Which is great because it is a public park with playground areas to keep my son occupied when the riders aren't in view. We are planning ahead this time so that we can stay to see the entire race this year. Last year we saw about half of it. I do hope that the weather is as nice as it was last year. It should be a good opportunity to practice various shutter techniques like freezing the action, panning, capturing motion blur, etc. I'm really looking forward to it. The photograph above was one of my favorite shots from the race last year.

I hope that you have a good weekend, holiday or otherwise, and that your camera is kind to you.

Keep shooting.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cooliris Browser Plug-in

Cooliris makes a couple of neat browser plug-ins. One of them allows you to preview a photostream, such as Flickr, SmugMug, Zenfolio, etc., in a 3D "photowall". It makes previewing a large number of images much easier and quicker. The thumbnails can be larger, plus it will display the photographs in full screen if you want. It will even pick up the title and caption information from the photo-sharing sites. Very cool plug-in if you look at large photo galleries on the web. There are plug-ins for both IE7 and Firefox. However, I can't seem to get it to work on IE7. However, it works beautifully on my Firefox 3.

They also have another plug-in call Preview that allows you to preview the page that a hyperlinks links to in a small window. Very nice little feature for browsing the web. Preview doesn't work with IE7, but does work with Firefox 3.

Check them out at their website; Cooliris

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Monday, August 25, 2008


The Corner

This past weekend was Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photowalk. The Greenville, SC event was a lot of fun and we had great weather for it. A front had come through and cleared out all of the haze, plus the humidity was low and we had a good wind to keep it cool. Met some other photographers, shot some pictures, had lunch, and most of all had a lot of fun. I even found a couple of new areas in that part of town that I didn't know about.

My full gallery is here.
The Flickr group is here.

Keep shooting.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

My First Photosynth

I took some of the photographs from the photowalk yesterday and created a "synth" using Microsoft's Photosynth. I only had about 60 photographs, and apparently I didn't overlap them nearly enough to get good 3D sets from it. However, I did get enough to get the effect. I will definately be trying this again.

Here is the synth I got from it. Click the thumbnail button to see more of the shots. They got processed into a couple of different 3D groupings.

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Friday, August 22, 2008


A couple of years ago, Microsoft presented a public demonstration of a new technology they were working on called Photosynth. What it does is analyze a collection of photographs from one particular area and then combines them into a psuedo-3D presentation. It is almost a combination of a slideshow, a gallery, and a 3D model. You can "move" around an area, and the system will then display the photographs of that area. When you zoom in, it will zoom in to any photographs taken of the details of that portion of the area. It is a very cool idea and implimentation.

Earlier this week, I saw a new video presention where the research team explained some new features they had added recently. Those features included maintaining an object's position as you rotated around it so that it didn't jump back and forth. They added an "on-the-fly white balancing" feature so that photographs taken by differnt photographers and cameras would blend in together better. Plus, they added the ability for the system to distinquish between night-time and day-time photographs so you could select one or the other to view.

What took me by surprise yesterday, is that Microsoft has rolled Photosynth out as part of their Live web services. In other words, you can now make your own "synths" as they call the 3D presentations. Currently, Photosynth requires a download that installs two components. One component is a browser plug-in that allows you to view the synths. The other is a small applet that starts the process of making a synth. There is no client-only version yet as the process requires the server power to generate the synth presentations. Another downside is that it seems to be limited to Widows XP and Vista at the moment.

If you are interested here is a link to the Photosynth website. It has been quite a bit more popular than Microsoft expected, so the site has been up and down with heavy traffic loads. Once that gets ironned out, I do plan to give it a try this weekend. So, look for a post with my first attempts in a couple of days.

This technology has the potential of changing quite a few ways of displaying and presenting our photographs.

As always, keep shooting.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Post!

Quartz Crystal

It has been awhile since my last post. Sorry about that. I've been getting my son ready to go back to school and haven't had much of chance to do any photography. There is the photowalk this weekend though, and a professional bicycle championship on Labor Day weekend. So, the funk should break soon.

In the meantime, above is a macro shot of a quartz crystal I took last year after I got my extension tubes. The tubes are a relatively inexpensive way to try out macro photography without having to purchas an expensive macro lens.

Anyway, keep shooting.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Photo of the Day: Sidewalk


This photograph was taken at a downtown park. The brickwork formed some interesting patterns. When I got the photograph home, I wasn't happy with the colors. The final image had some adjustments made to Levels and Curves for contrast as well as increasing the saturation and boosting the colors. I suppose I should clone out the bubble gum spots, but I'm not convinced that would be much of an improvement.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Photo of the Day: Wreath Berries

Wreath Berries

I took this photograph of some berries in a wreath above a fireplace to play around with the depth of field of my 50mm f/1.8 lens. It was also a test to see how well it did in low light conditions too. The lens did pretty well if I do say so myself.

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Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photowalk

Photoshop Guy, Scott Kelby, is having the first ever worldwide photowalk on August 23, 2008. It is to mark the publishing of Scott's new book for Lightroom 2. One of the cities in my metro area got added to the list in the last batch, and I registered for it. If you are interesting in attending one of the photowalks, check out the official site for cities near you and event details. Some of them have already filled up.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

SC State Museum

"Did you hear something?"

We met my parents at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, SC this weekend. My son is spending the week with them, and Columbia is halfway between us so makes for a good meeting place. We had never been to the museum before and I was surprised at how large it is. The museum building is an old, renovated textile mill that closed many years ago. Very appropriate as the textile industry had been one of the state's major industries for so long prior to such things moving overseas. The exhibits generally included things that have a connection to South Carolina, but were quite extensive. Dinosaurs, colonial and antebellum periods, early industrial age, mining, forestry, space exploration, various science items, and state habitats. My son had a good time and was interested in so much there. A few more photographs after the jump. As always, click on the photographs to see them larger. The full gallery is here.

Fire Engine Gauge

Sabertoothed Cat Fossil

Fitz Telescope

Fitz Telescope Detail

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Monday, August 4, 2008

The Power of Photography

Rather than post another shot from my archieves, I found something better to direct your attention too. Over on his blog, photographer Joe McNally has an inspirational article about how he helped a father fighting MS achieve the photograph he had in his head but couldn't shot himself. It is a good read. It shows how photography can touch and inspire us no matter who we are. I have nothing better to say about photography today.

Blogging from Both Sides, Part One by Joe McNally

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