Sunday, August 12, 2007

Visually Speaking


CC attribution: Troy McCullough, flickr

It's been a while since I touched my toes in the realm of the photographic.

A few months ago was Lavie's birthday. She had been wanting a new digital camera for some time. Nothing fancy, just a nice and slim one she could stick in her purse and grab mostly candid family shots eating pizza, visiting, the hamster, etc.

After much looking we settled on a Kodak EasyShare C763. It is light, small and has a great-big LCD screen. It has a 7.1 MP capture device, a slew of "scene and color modes," and image stabilization.

Lavie really loves it. It fits her small hand nicely and is light enough to carry in her purse.

As an added bonus, it uses SD card media, so she can just pop out the memory stick and put it right into either laptop and grab the files and go. Although it came with special software and cables, we haven't found a reason to use either one yet.

I'm getting the chance to show her many of the image editing applications I have been collecting, although she is fairly comfortable in Photoshop.

So here are some links regarding the visual arts I've picked up this week

Contest Controversy

One of the tech-tip sites I RSS feed daily is Daily Cup of Tech.

Blogger Tim Fehlman does a great job pulling from a wide range of sources, providing fresh looks into daily tech integration with "real-life."

My favorite and most referred to posts are his suggestions on maximizing USB memory device uses; Have Your Lost USB Drive Ask For Help, USB Drive AutoRun.inf Tweaking, and DCoT Helps Find Lost Child.

Anyway...Tim had started a contest to create a new DCoT logo. Seems easy enough.

Except he seemed to have attracted some strong comments from a reader who felt that these logo-design contests were "damaging" to the graphic design industry. RE: No-Spec, and Design Contests

So back and forth they dialoged.

In the end, it seems a "no-harm/no-foul" was called, but the discussion was interesting.

Lavie really enjoys doing graphic art layouts and designs for her company, and they always go to her instead of a "professional" graphic design artist. Wonder if that is "unfair" as well?

With the proliferation of "prosumer" grade graphic editing software and easy-to use alternatives to the BIG traditional graphic arts photo-manipulation and vector design software, it is becoming easier and easier for "amateurs" to enter the world of graphic designers and deliver acceptable and enjoyable works for their businesses and own enjoyment.

As I have noted, I use the following open-source, freeware, shareware software for most all of my image needs: Inkscape (vectoring), Paint.NET (photomanipulation), ImageWalker (photomanipulation), Photoscape (photomanipulation), PhotoFiltre (photomanipulation) and FastStone Viewer (thumbnailing and quick editing). There are tons more.

I do see a distinction between slyly using a "contest" to generate submission product which will be used for business purposes (It's just not cricket) and creating a "contest" aimed at your community of fans and audience to generate work that will be community based, community created, and community enjoyed (It's freedom, baby, yeah!).


If you like history and photography you HAVE to check out this website at least once! is the 100-year-old photography blog that brings our ancestors back, at least to the desktop. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a boy who worked in an Alabama coal mine near the turn of the century.

The webmasters at Shorpy take the finest in historical photographs they find, and then do hi-res scans for your enjoyment.

The quality of the photography is unmatched. In a world of MegaPixels where many today think that only recently is the photographer able to capture the finest degrees of detail and effect, it is refreshing to know the old-timers were doing that same thing 50+ years ago, without Photoshop.


Just a few samples:

Definitely added to my Photo Faves bookmark list.

Reminds me of the website Lost Films where webmaster greywater collects old cameras, and if he finds film in them, attempts to develop them. Quite a lot of interesting "lost" images.

Spotted via RetroThing

Japan Years: Japan Photo Blog

Mike and Nicki are a great couple living over in Japan with their young son Josh.

Their blog-posts are warm and endearing, but even more endearing are the photographs they are capturing "in the field." Even cooler is the fact that Mike knows the awesome photographer of Japan "Sushi Jeff" Laitila"! How cool is that?!!

They have a really great and extensive photo gallery link on their blog which is just spectacular.

I really loved the Bon Odori Season 2007 post (gallery link) which really captures the fun and energy of an annual neighborhood street festival in Japan. Lots of uninhibited pictures capturing the daily folks of Japan having fun, being people and enjoying the mix of culture, food and community that makes these places so vibrant and rich with color and excitement.

I think my favorite in the whole gallery is Girl In Yukata Eating Yakitori.

Her expression is classic pre-teen youthfulness. Dressed up in a traditional summer kimono, purse slung off forearm, one hand shoveling food into her mouth, the other clutching a box of the rest of her snacks. A crowd of the neighborhood adults and kids in more Western clothing slightly out of focus behind her milling about a fair-tent light by glowing lights strung on wires.

Beautifully classic.


I've always been a bit shy of taking up the camera. Not so much because of the technical nature of photography, but it seems that the best photographers who I admire get so close and personal to their subjects...almost intrusively. I'm a pretty shy person (no, really!) at heart and it is with great trepidation I aim a camera lens at another living person. Give me plants, landscapes, architecture, iconic images and I'm fine.

So when I was reading Thomas Hawk's photo-blog website the other day, I picked up a new term that sounded interesting: Photowalking.

Brian Auer did a spectacular job putting together a "treatise" on photowalking: In Response To My First Photowalk… | Epic Edits Weblog

He defines it as being the act of walking with a camera to take pictures for fun...but kinda in an informal group-shoot environment.

It sounds like a great way for the "shy of lens" to have the group-support of others in approaching subjects and situations they might not be otherwise comfortable or inspired to go tackle on their own. Along with the bonus of getting some great tips and friendships out of the experience.

Trevor Carpenter's website showcases the concept.

Maybe then I could gather up the courage to be brave of eye like Thomas Hawk, Mike and Nicki, Sushi Jeff, or John Watson.

Local Miscellaneous Image Info

The Houston Art Museum will be screening the anime movie Ghost in the Shell 2 at the end of August: Houston Art Museum to Screen Ghost in the Shell 2 - Anime News Network

Other great anime titles are also being presented so if you don't normally get the chance to see anime productions on the big screen, now is a great chance!

Productions are to coincide with MFAH exhibition RED HOT -- Asian Art Today.

NASA Human Space Flight - NASA is posting spectacular High-Res images from the current STS-118 shuttle Endeavour's mission. Most are currently pre-flight photos, with a few launch images and now some of the orbiter's underside captured for review of the heat-shield conditions.

STS-118 imagery

Always guaranteed to be out of this world!



Corrine said...

(Catching up with a week's worth of your blog posts from my RSS Feed. . . )

I hope Lavie has as much fun with her Kodak EasyShare camera as much as I have been with my V610. I added a Kodak EasyShare AIO 5300 printer to the mix and love the immediate satisfaction of being able to share high quality prints with family and friends.

(Full Disclosure: Yes, I am a long-time Kodak employee, but not in marketing and purchased the products with my own money.)

Mike, Nicki, and Josh said...

Hey Claus,

Congrats on your new camera purchase and thank you for such a glowing review of our blog and the pictures there. Please share some of your upcoming pictures soon with your readers.

SushiJeff is indeed an awesome photographer - I'm fortunate enough to not only know him, but to get some valuable advice from him from time to time, too. On a side note, I also bought my camera from him (my Canon DSLR).