Saturday, April 26, 2008

Pages, pages, how to layout pages...

I've been fighting page layout software lately. The problem is, I used a page layout program from my old Amiga days and I sort of have an expectation on how they should work. Of course, these programs have changed since then. So far, I've tried both Scribus and Apples Pages. I'm struggling with what to me should be the simplest things, like how to change the background color of the sheet. I know it's probably easy, and I'm just obtuse, but it's getting frustrating.

I'm going to block out some time, probably tomorrow and just sit down and learn one of these programs and see if I can get a good portion of my first set of images done. I'm rapidly coming up to the deadline for my first project.

I thought I had all the images processed for the first set, but I realized I sharpened them for printing and they won't look right in a pdf. I'll have to go back and rework a good portion of these.

I either need a longer day or less things to do. I'm sure neither is going to happen.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I bought a Holga lens for my Canon camera. While I have a real Holga, I thought it would be fun to try. It's interesting and definitely the antithesis of the Canon lens. I took it on a walk this evening to try it out. While it was late, there was plenty of light when I started, but I ran in to a neighbor and got to gabbing. When I got going again, the light had faded. I took a couple shots and they seem soft. The problem is, I'm not sure if it is the lens or shutter speed. I guess I'll have to try again tomorrow. I have to admit, I expected more vignetting also.

On the sofobomo front, I'm going to start my second project today. That will let me finish it up on my birthday.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Catching up a bit.

A week ago, I attended an informal meetup of folks in the area who read the strobist blog. It was held in a building in Sagautuck Michigan which is being finished for the Sagautuck Brewing Company. There were a bunch of photographers and a few models.

They split the groups up, with the photographers being divided up based on equipment. Usually there were 4 or so photographers to one model. For a variety of reasons I ended up leaving my first group and attaching myself to another. The gentleman who was sort of running the group was very helpful and informative. He would also answer any questions about how he was setting up the lights.

Liz, the model we were working with was also very helpful, especially to someone who had never really worked with models before.

I really like this photo I got of her. It has been suggested that I Photoshop the lights that are above her head out. I'm still mulling that over. I like the indications that we are in a unfinished building, but I also think it's a little too subtle. If I do anything more with this, I will probably get rid of them.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Work on the carnival book goes slowly. I can see that I'm going to have to budget more time to actually work on the photographs if I'm gong to complete this in a months time. The good news is that I discovered the carnival was in town longer than I thought. I was able to get back twice more, once during the day and another time in the evening for more photos. I feel confident I will have the 35 photos for the book, if not more. I'm probably going to have to pare back what I was planning on putting in.

I've given up on trying to get the original idea done. That was a project done in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore near Traverse City. Between the weather not cooperating and my work schedule, I just couldn't see myself spending the time needed to get some good photographs. I've decided I'm going to try a "Close to Home" project. I never seem to photograph near my house and I'm going to do a book of photos taken within a mile of my home.

We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bike races

I found out about a bike outing early Sunday and since I had some free time, I decided to stop by. It was a relatively nice day and we were told we had full access to the course.

Well we did, including the river that I managed to slip into early on in the race. So I not only squished for the next hour and a half while I was photographing, but I smelled like swampy water.

Looking back on the day, I didn't realize that the course was mostly through the woods and I wish I would have brought a flash along to provide some fill light. Since this is a new course and they are trying to make the races more popular, the next time I'm there, I will know better.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

SoFoBoMo - Carnival

I was going to use some of the shots I took over the weekend at a local carnival to do a demo book. The problem was the more I looked, the more shots I had that I liked. I'm not sure I have enough photos to make the "official" number of 35, but it will be close.

Now that I've decided to compile a book, I've been obsessing over the design. The part I'm panicking about strangely enough is the cover. I can't come up with a cover design that doesn't feel hokey to me. I'm going to think this part through for a while, but I definitely want to get this out of the way this week. Once I get the book put together, I just need to come up with a way to distribute it.

I'm still trying to come up with a start date for my original project. The weather still is not cooperating around here. Between that and my schedule for the next month, I'm not sure when I'm going to get a chance to hit the road.

I may have to come up with a backup plan.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


I noticed a carnival setting up for the weekend in one of the local shopping centers. Since we weren't doing anything Friday evening, I headed over there with the camera and tripod. I've always wanted to do some night shots of rides, but I always seem to miss these affairs be a day or so. I had to admit I got some weird looks walking around with the tripod, but I think I got some decent shots.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


I see that SoFoBoMo has officially kicked off, at least as officially as it can. I'm still trying to figure out when to start my book and whether I'm going to do something local first. Gordon McGregor has used Yahoo Pipes to create a kind of superfeed of blogs and pictures of people working on a book. See it in action here. Pipes is definitely something I'm going to have to look at.

I also ran across an article from someone who ran some tests on image stabilization techniques. He tested a Nikon system, an Olympus system and a handheld Leica. With all the hype about in camera stabilization, it's somewhat surprising that the Nikon system using a lens based system beat the Olympus. Of course, the best photograph was produced using a tripod, but that doesn't really surprise me. The article is here.