Sorry about the headline but I thought it would get your attention.
This is a handmade camera belonging to Czech photographer Miroslave Tichy. Here’s a brief from the gallery representing his work:
“Tichý is truly one of the great ‘finds’ of an unknown artists who worked on the outside edges of the art world. Following the communist takeover Tichý spent some eight years in prison camps and jails for no particular reason other than he was ‘different’ and was considered subversive. Upon his release in the early 70’s, Tichý wandered his small town in rags, pursuing his obsession as an artist with the female form by photographing in the streets, shops and parks with cameras he made from tin cans, childrens spectacle lenses and other junk he found on the street. He would return home each day to make prints on equally primitive equipment, making only one print from the negatives he selected.”
Go over to the gallery to check out his work.
We all know that Bill Gates loves the Macintosh, right? Well, if his own words don’t convince you, take a look at the Super Secret Microsoft Mac Business Unit’s laboratory hidden somewhere in the bowels of the software giant’s Redmond headquarters.
And get a load of this pic. Yup, those are all Mac Minis. And they belong to Bill Gates and you can’t have them!
So you want your DVDs to outlast you. Well then, you need gold.
Kodak has announced their new Preservation series recordable DVDs and CDRs which both contain 24 karat gold within the discs to make them archival. According to Kodak’s product info:
“Gold promotes longer disc life. Gold does not oxidize or break down; therefore data is preserved longer. Kodak Preservation CDs and DVDs use only 100% 24-Karat Gold.”
Delkin Devices also has recordable optical media called e-Film (enough with the “e’s” and “i’s” already!) which also contain gold.
I’m not so sure about this gold standard for archiving purposes. The discs are much more expensive than regular discs and the chances are high that the discs themselves will outlive the optical drives used to read them. But, I suppose if you’re really wanting the most stable optical disc, gold might do it for you.
Plus, they sure look purdy.
Well, this was bound to happen. Apple decided that $499 was too much to ask consumers to pay for their photo processing program, Aperture, so they dropped the price by $200. In addition, the program is now Universal, meaning that it will run natively on both the Intel Mac as well legacy Power PC Mac. The update can be downloaded here.
Now, for you
suckers early adopters - those of you who bought the program for $500 - Apple is offering you a $200 “e-coupon” which you can download here (PDF link). Here’s their press release:
“On April 13, 2006 Apple released Aperture 1.1, the first Universal version of Aperture and a significant update to the revolutionary all-in-one post-production tool for photographers. In addition, Apple lowered the price of Aperture from $499 to $299. Apple is offering a $200 e-coupon good on the online Apple Store to licensed users of Aperture 1.0. Licensed users of Aperture 1.0 Academic will receive a $100 e-coupon.”
I suppose that giving back that $200 is the least they could do. Even at $299, I think it’s still a little steep, but manageable. Capture One costs over $500 and so does Photoshop CS2, but those programs do a heck of a lot more than Aperture. I’d still advise waiting until Adobe finishes up Lightroom and puts it out on the shelves. My bet is that Adobe will price it the same or less than Aperture.
Just like our beloved Scotty, I love going on shore leave and taking with me a whole stack of technical manuals to read.
Well, if you’re like Scotty and me, you too can grab a stack of Apple software and hardware manuals here. They are all in PDF formats, so they’ll fit nicely on your
tricorder Palm or other PDA (or you can read it on your quaint Macintosh - just don’t use the mouse as a microphone). Catch up on all the Apple software and hardware you have/don’t have/want to get/whatever. The downloads are free and there are plenty of them.
So be a good Aberdeen pub-crawler and snuggle up with a tech manual or two. And if you don’t know what “RTFM” means, Google it.
Yes, noise. We don’t like it at three in the morning and we certainly don’t like it in our digital images.
Well, luckily, there are solutions to the digital noise that pops up in your digital images. Two programs called Noise Ninja and NeatImage will help you rid the noise from your images while maintain most of the good stuff. Both programs come with Photoshop plug-ins, but only Noise Ninja comes with a stand-alone application as well; helpful if you don’t own Photoshop.
I use Noise Ninja and I think it’s just great. It does a great job at eliminating most, if not all, of the unwanted noise in my images without trashing the fine details too much. Also, Noise Ninja lets me create my own camera profiles which help fine tune the noise reduction specifically for my camera at specified ISO settings (remember, higher ISOs mean more noise in the image). After creating the profiles, Noise Ninja reads the metadata of the image and applies the specific profile to that image. So, if I shot an image at ISO 400, and I created a camera profile for the 400 ISO rating, Noise Ninja just loads up that profile and applies it to the image. And that’s that; no more noise. If you don’t want to profile your camera, Noise Ninja does a pretty darn good job in automatic mode.
I’m sure NeatImage works just as well. I don’t own it so I have no opinions about it. Well, it is less expensive, but you do need to have Photoshop to use it (or another program that can use Photoshop Plug-ins).
Also, notice how both websites use pictures of hockey players as demos? Interesting.
Now as far as the noise at 3am, well, there’s not much I can do about that. Use earplugs.
Find out why Macintoshes, Tannerite and beer don’t mix. View this video to find out why.
I suppose all this talk about grey cards and underexposure is due to the fact that it’s a crappy day outside. Well, that probably true.
So, another tip/lesson to remember:
Grey cards are for measuring exposure, not for using to white balance digital images (white balance with a grey card? Whoa!). The regular old Kodak 18% grey card is not appropriate for getting your white balance straight with your digital cameras because it is not totally neutral in color. It does represent a mid-tone, but so does grass and so does a rich blue sky. There are slight color variations in a grey card that your camera (or Photoshop) will be sensitive to and alter the color of your images slightly.
So, with that in mind, buy one of those WhiBal® cards I mentioned earlier today and keep the grey cards for metering exposures. By the way, if you use a Kodak Grey card for determining exposures, you might find that you end up underexposing your images slightly. Read this article by Thom Hogan about the real truth of 18% grey cards.
The truth is out there! (So is the sun, I can see it coming)
Okay, now for some lessons about exposing images using your digital camera - with the help of an article over at the Luminous Landscape website.
If you’ve been having difficulty with getting the proper exposure on your digital SLR, perhaps it’s because there’s a tendency to slightly underexpose the image. We all learned, way back when, that overexposure is a bad thing. Once those highlights are gone, they’re gone. Burned away. Fzzsssst.
So, as we transition to using our new Nikon D2X, D200, or Canon 5D and 1DS Mk2, we are also making sure not to overexpose, to avoid the “blinkies” on the LCD, to make sure that histogram is not too far to the right.
Well, you still don’t want the “blinks” (indicating overexposure), but getting that histogram over to the right a bit is not as harmful as you might think it is. Read this article by Michael Reichmann at the Luminous Landscape.
The short of it is that if we make our exposures biased towards the left of the histogram, then we are not allowing the camera to capture all the tonality that it is capable of receiving, especially in the highlight area. Slightly overexposing the image and then pulling back the exposure using a RAW convertor (this applies only to RAW images - with JPEGs, all bets are off) results in an image that contains greater tonality. What this accomplishes is a couple of things: highlight data that is seemingly gone is actually there (and recovered) and the noise and “posterization” is reduced in the darker area of the image.
Anyway, read the article and send me any questions you have.
See, I knew digital was better than film.
So we’re all wishing for a little balance in our lives. Well, your whites can be balanced, at least in your digital pictures.
Head over to RawWorkFlow.com and watch these videos about a product called the WhiBal®. Essentially, this is a video manual for the WhiBal® white balancing cards, but offers a lot of useful information about grey cards and white balance in general. The host and inventor of the WhiBal® product, Michael Tapes, makes a simple presentation, understandable to all. He seems like a nice, regular guy. Even I learned a thing or two. For instance, white balancing for JPEG and RAW requires different shades of grey.
And remember, when you shoot RAW, white balance can always be set back at your computer. Although it will be a lot easier if you use a product like the WhiBal®.
I intend to buy these products as I can see their usefulness (I guess the videos did their job).