(photo by Marrkus Spiering)
(photo by Marrkus Spiering)
Every summer there are some crit races in downtown Portland and they are a blast. I missed last week's Twilight Criterium but got to see last evening's Giro di Portland. The racing was hot and fast, with some surprise results. The Cat 3 race was won by a 13 year old that won a race earlier that same day and won a race the day before. The final Mens 1/2 was won by a late breakaway from one of the oldest riders in the bunch. Overall, it was a great summer night of racing in downtown Portland.
A few days ago, I saw a mention of a hot air balloon launch going on this weekend locally, both on Saturday and Sunday. When I woke up around 6am after just a few hours of sleep on Saturday the thought popped back in my head, I threw some warm clothes on, grabbed my camera, and headed out. I was greeted with dozens of balloons in various stages of setup and flight. Walking around near each hot air balloon's base, I was pretty awestruck by the colorful beauty, the great early morning light, and the sheer size of them up close. The whole experience was overwhelming in a nice way and on the second morning I dragged Fiona along with me. Here are my favorite shots from the last two mornings:
The full set of shots is on flickr.
The futility of the entire human condition, summed up in a single photo and caption
This is from Dan Sharp, from last weekend's race that I was also at, and it not only looks cool, those guys are going about 25mph on a somewhat cloudy day and I'm amazed that this photo could even be technically captured so well. So great.
Last year I visited my friend Becky's gallery at Point B Studio while driving up the Southern Oregon coast. She mentioned the idea of including my stuff in an upcoming show and I filed it away under the "someday, yeah, that'd be cool" pile. Fast forward to earlier this year and Becky asked me to submit something to a show with several other artists. I kicked around ideas for the past few months until I came up with something I'm calling Twitart.
I went through my most favorited items at Tweeteorites and Favstar, picked ones I liked and then went through my 30,000 photo archive of stuff I've shot over the last seven years, looking for images to match. My favorite piece is this one:
It was fun to see other artists and talk with other photographers in the show. I particularly liked Christopher Garcia's work that combined pixel art in digital prints with hand drawn elements and finished with screened inks. The pieces were really beautiful:
If you're headed up the Oregon Coast, stop by and check it out.
There are billions of photos on Flickr, which is a whole lotta pretty to look at. But, if you’re a budding photographer, how do you get noticed? And, if you’re looking to use an image for your work, blog, ad campaign or more, how do you find just the right one and make sure you have the appropriate rights to use it?
This is fantastic news and could be a total game-changer. Flickr has already done many great things for budding photographers, but helping them get paid for their work steps it up to a whole new level.
Way back in 2000 when Blogger was first taking off and introducing thousands of new writers to the web we used to talk about a whole photo system pb came up with that would allow amateur photographers to display their photos and eventually become a sort of stock photo house and place to find newsworthy photos for syndicating, with all the money going back to the photographers.
It seems like the idea took a full ten years to come to fruition, but I sincerely hope this is the start of something big for Getty, to be able to tap the creativity and expertise found among the millions of Flickr users.
Sorry. I can't resist. John Carson, a fellow runner from Canada, unearthed this photo from the archives of the Toronto Star. It's the finals of the 1500 meters at the Ontario 14-year-old championships, many many years ago. The runner on the left is Dave Reid, who was the greatest Canadian miler of his generation. I will only say this: in this particular race, Reid placed second. I "retired" from competitive running a year later, in large part because I realized that the particular statistical fluke represented by me beating Dave Reid was unlikely to ever be repeated. (For the runners out there, I believe I ran something like 4:05.)
Such an amazing photo of a young Malcolm Gladwell!
Friends have asked how I manage photos, so here's a breakdown of my typical process, whether that's shooting for 15 minutes in my backyard or several hours across the country, it all follows a similar pattern.
1. I set my camera on the highest burst mode, run 16Gb and 32Gb CF cards, and shoot all day (in JPGs, not RAW for speed, laziness, and disk space). For bike races especially, I'm bursting out a dozen shots a second as riders pass in the hopes one of them is in focus, capturing the light and action well. I typically shoot 300-1500 photos in a day depending on the activity. If there's a huge lull in action I sometimes review and toss out the obvious bad ones.
2. Go home (or to my laptop if traveling) and dump them all to iPhoto
3. Skim through the photos full screen in iPhoto, with the Information and Adjustments floating panels showing. Delete blurry/bad ones directly (which automatically advances to the next shot so it's quick), leave so-so photos, and mark good ones as 5-starred using the info panel.
4. I have a smart album in iPhoto set to photos taken in the last couple days that are also rated 5 stars.
5. I go through the best of photos again, weed out any that aren't up to snuff (simply clear the stars), and optimize the remaining.
6. I used to dump into Photoshop at this point to fine tune every shot, but now I'm lazy and there's so much content so I just use iPhoto's adjustment controls and often it's just hitting the auto-enhance button for most shots to get them 90% of the way there.
7. After I have my best photos all brightened up, I usually run the Flickr Uploadr and dump them to my Flickr account as a new set.
I've been working this way for the past couple years and typically it's pretty quick. Even going through a 1500 shot day, the time from when I start reviewing photos to the time I upload the best to Flickr is less than an hour. For smaller (300 or less) photos, it can be completed in about 15 minutes start to finish.
So a long, long time ago I decided to both teach myself to shoot photos better and document my quickly changing life by creating a photo blog back on October 10, 2003 with the grand vision of keeping it going for ten years.
At the time, I was pretty busy with multiple projects, but thanks to moving all my photo management to a new mac and this new fangled application called iPhoto, I got my daily photo posting regimen down to about 10-15 minutes each day (which included download photos, select the best, edit in Photoshop, save to desktop, upload via FTP to site, then build blog post around it). It was a tolerable nightly chore, as long as my life stayed somewhat stable.
Soon after having a child a couple years later I started slacking a bit, then a bit more, until I didn't have 15 minutes a day to spare towards a little hobby site. I'd say the whole thing died sometime in late 2005 when I just gave up on daily posts. I streamlined the process further but the uploads and blog posting was too much of a hassle. I kept posting plenty to flickr, thanks to its ease of use with various photo uploading tools. In 2005, I started wishing for a way to make a photoblog powered by flickr entirely, which wasn't an option when I started.
I'll start by saying I threw this together in about an hour, I tweaked the default template but know it has a bunch of annoying quirks (several I noted in Flickr's new App Garden thread linked earlier). The oldest photo seems to be dying and I haven't imported any of the 2003-2007 content that was previously on the site (I'll eventually do it). Also the feed sucks so I'm replacing it with a tag feed from Flickr. I'm not happy with the URL structure or even the idea of having an external URL for something that actually lives at flickr, but what I am happy about is the ease of use.
It's pretty much just a stream of my favorite recent photos posted to flickr and it really cuts down on the workflow to the point where a photo can go from my camera to iPhoto to the web and to this site in about four clicks within the span of a couple minutes. I'm no longer aiming for daily new photos or trying to make myself shoot one new one per day, I'd rather just keep it to as often as an interesting photo comes along that I feel like sharing which will likely be on the order of 3-4 per week.
Now that expectations are appropriately lowered, enjoy.
aka "Merlin's Rockstar Flash" aka rear curtain flash aka 2nd curtain flash
(I'm writing this down because it took an hour of researching down ratholes to find it and I keep forgetting the entire process)
I was looking through some old photos I took from 1998-2002, some using a 1 megapixel camera while the rest were from a 3 megapixel camera. I had seen these images dozens of times before, and remembered them as well-composed, sharp photos. I was really getting into photography back then and I recalled the photos as my best work. Taking a fresh look at them today, the first thing that hit me was whoa, the photo quality is terrible! There is clearly a lot of low resolution blur going on. What happened to my mind's beautiful memories of these images?
Here's one I shot at SF's MoMA. I remember thinking it was so arty and geometric and I recall it not being blurry but looking really sharp. If you look at it now, the screen over the window is a completely pixelated blur. I recall the same feeling when looking at Jason's photos from Web98. I remember when the photos were new and I thought they were great back then but looking at them now, the quality is worse than my first cameraphone. Another old photo of bloggers got this reaction from me today. Back when I first saw it 6 years ago, it was a great photo. Today, it looks awful, severely limited by the technology of the day.
With the advent of better sensors and digital SLRs, it's pretty astounding what comes out of a digital camera today. In an instant, I realized how fast and far the technology progressed in less than ten years. Could you imagine if traditional photography progressed from gelatin silver prints to medium format in less than a decade?
I've been neglecting my once-ambitious photo site for the past year. I used to think it was because Fiona was taking up all my free time, but I realized it was more the tools I was using and the restraints I imposed on myself. I've continued to take a lot of photographs in the past year, but I've been short on free time to process them or think of things to say about them. I realized the confined template and complicated workflow was keeping me from uploading photos to the site.
So I started from scratch with blank HTML page, and made sure it was flexible for any size photo and any amount of text while always keeping the back/next nav in the same exact place so you can click your mouse and page through dozens quickly.
Ultimately, I'd like to script something that lets me upload an image to flickr, pull it down along with the title and description into my photoblog, and have each entry link back to flickr to handle comments. Eventually, it'd be nice if I could just select a good photo in iPhoto, export to flickr and hit a single button to do the rest of interaction with my photoblog, but until then I'm still uploading them one at a time to my blog, only now the site can showcase shots of any shape or size.
So I just got iPhoto 6 going today and I was playing around with it for a bit and I'm pretty happy with the upgrade. Here are the things that stood out so far:
- It's much faster than previous versions. There was a long painful step where it had to create thumbnails for a few thousand photos (took a while) but now it actually does scroll quickly through the library.
- I used to think iPhoto was slow but then I tried Aperture. Even on my 2Ghz G5 iMac with a Gb of RAM, Aperture would lag during scrolls, animations took a while, etc. I gave up on Aperture and am back on iPhoto now which feels super fast compared to both Aperture and earlier versions
- The photocasting out to .Mac is kind of pointless since I won't use that feature, but subscribing to photocasts is KILLER. You don't have to follow just .Mac photocasts, the app can read flickr RSS feeds natively. Here's a screenshot of my flickr friends feed in iPhoto. This sure beats using a reader like bloglines. I can already tell I'll be looking at more photocasts than listening to podcasts. It hink Apple's really onto something here.
- I noticed you can drag flickr photocast photos into your own albums though it doesn't seem to import them into your library. I could swear that shared iPhoto libraries over the network let you drag other people's photos to your library. It'd be cool if iPhoto could interpret settings on photos like say, Creative Commons licenses, and let you pull down images from Flickr to your library based on the license, and maybe if people had a share-alike license you could edit them in your library and repost to flickr with the license info intact (along with a pointer to the original on flickr). At the moment, you can't do anything with flickr photos in the photo editor.
- I imported several thousand old photos from my 2002-2004 iPhoto backups as well as hundreds of recent photos from Aperture and it went pretty quickly. Rebuilding all those thumbnails took a while, but I now have over 11,000 images in iPhoto and it's still fast.
Overall, I haven't found any problems yet, though I'm still looking for a flickr export plugin that works with iPhoto 6.
Now that I have a phone that takes some impressive photos (This shot is probably the best example I've seen for color, depth, and light that the little cam can capture), I really wish iPhoto could manage my images instead of my preview-free bluetooth file browser.
I bet it'd be trivial for Apple to enable connections via Bluetooth (to your paired devices) to import photos.
I removed the "daily" photo thing that was on this site, because I was being pretty lazy and only updating once a month as of late. But instead of simply stopping that feature, I chose to do something a bit more ambitious.
I like taking photos on a regular basis. I get a chance to practice and improve my technique and I also get the chance to capture memories in a format I can easily archive.
As I've gotten older, I've noticed that time seems to move faster. The rate of change of those around me makes my head spin. Children seem to double in size between the times I see them.
Today I turn 31 years old, and to help me document the next ten years I've started a new site for daily photographs, at: http://tenyearsofmylife.com/.
From 31 to 41 I'm sure there will be a lot of interesting things coming up along the way. I'm going to shoot for one shot per day, but I'm not sure how many will be taken on the same day. I may eek out a dozen photos shot on one day over time, or simply try and pick the best shots from the previous few weeks of photos to showcase. I'll see how it goes.