My copy of The Matt Wates Sextet A Picture of You CD arrived in the mail today, featuring metamanda on the cover and CD label. Its selfish to gush about CDs with your photography on the cover, but I also gush because Matt Wates has reaffirmed my trust in the ways of the Internet: locating a photo he wanted on Flickr, paying for it, giving proper credit, sending a free copy, writing a nice note, etc... Most importantly, I actually enjoy the CD -- the sort of music that goes well with unwinding after a day of work like I am right now. A class act and musician.
Look for the CD to go on sale at the Audio-b Web site.
PS: In other photo news, my gallery at Integrate Fitness is up.
I've spent much of my holiday vacation writing scripts to migrate my Flickr galleries to MovableType. It's still a work in progress over at http://kwc.org/photos/, but I'm pointing out a bit early in case anyone has some feedback. So far I've only completed the first phase, which is to write the script that migrates from Flickr; the next phase is deblogify things so that it looks more like a photo gallery and then start moving in the photos. While the overall design will probably fall short of Flickr's, I have made it easier for visitors to copy photos for embedding and the performance will also be better.
I am still fond of Flickr and will continue to use it, but I want to de-emphasize its role for my pro photography -- I don't like the fact that I have become more reticent to post personal photos to Flickr. I also think I can deliver a better integrated experience and increase traffic (Google Image Search delivers 100x as many visitors to kwc.org as my Flickr photostream).
Recently the blogosphere had a little flareup when photographer Lane Hartwell had a popular video pulled from YouTube because it used one of her photos without attribution. Bloggers, who depend on free, interesting content, were crying "fair use" and incensed that she wasn't grateful to see her photo appear. Pro photojournalists seemed to migrate to Hartwell's corner, glad that someone stood up for their rights that center around a licensing-based business model.
After initially siding with the bloggers, I found myself pulled towards the middle. Bloggers and photojournalists have entirely different models of success and compensation. As a blogger, I would be thrilled to know my content found its way around the Web -- links and traffic are how bloggers compensate one another. As a photographer, its difficult to cover costs and even prominent attribution isn't worth anything. I want to see creative uses of my photos, but my status is equated with who is willing to pay me: photographers from the top magazines get top access.
And so I wish to strike a balance between my blogger and photographer motivations. I'm pulling in many photos to kwc.org so that I can own the traffic and project a non-Flickr brand. I'll continue to enable sharing of photos with even easier embedding, but I'm eliminating the availability of hi-res copies. I'll also be more focused on commercial aspects of photography, whether it be selling to magazines or pushing prints more.
I'm in a lucky and grateful position: I don't need to make money doing this. But any money I make from photography is 'free money' that I will roll back into taking more photos at more events in more places. And so this hopefully will mean more photos for you as well.
I'm thankful that Road Bike Action picked up some more photos of mine: a two-page rear spread ("Last Shot") and three in-article photos. I feel like I've accomplished impossibly many cycling and photography dreams this year and it all started with RBA. To get another welcome surprise from them is a wonderful close to the season.
Now I get to chart some new goals for 2008, which feels ridiculous because my 2007 goal was to get a media pass. My modest goal is to shoot one US Tour from start to finish, which I've never done. My medium goal is to shoot two US Tours start to finish, and my impossible goal is to shoot a stage from the back of a motorcycle. We'll see how I do 365 days from now. Today I went to the route announcement for the 2008 Tour of California prologue, so I'm already getting excited.
I awoke from my photography slumber to do a quick 20-minute photo shoot with the Down Cows. I have been in bands but never shot bands, so I was up for the experience. After shaking off the rust I emerged with two usable photos, which I then used for Photoshop CS3 practice.
The Down Cows were rehearsing for their upcoming gig with Wisely November 13, 3pm in Sunnyvale.
crossposted from spare cycles
I got my first photo in VeloNews -- the latest with Hincapie on the cover. It's a two-page "Off the Front" spread showing Scott Moninger riding past a convoy of Missouri Department of Transportation trucks. Obviously I'm happy, but for several reasons:
If you're trying to find a copy of the issue, you won't find any at the Borders in Palo Alto :).
As part of my tune-up for the Tour of Missouri I spent all of Saturday shooting cycling races. First up was the Beat the Clock time trial at 7am. The was mostly "field testing the 70-200 f/2.8 IS", so I shot some head-on shots as those are the most stressful for the equipment. Not everything was a keeper, but the image stabilization reduces one more area of mistake: camera shake. Normally at 200mm, you have to shoot at around 1/320 or faster to avoid camera shake blur. With all the action that's going on, I sometimes forget to check the shutter speed while shooting (I always shoot with aperture priority). IS gives a little more margin.
I left the time trial, stopped off at home to upload my photos, then zoomed down to Monterey for the World 24 Solo/Team Championships. The organizers gave me a lift out to the first checkpoint on the course and proceeded to hike about 5-7 miles along the course back to the Laguna Seca raceway. The narrow single track along the way gave me ample opportunity to break in my 16-35mm as well as my 580EX II flash. The flash got some additional testing when the sun went down and riders continued to race, but I must say that I am still not comfortable using flash in my sports photography. By 9pm I was nearly out of battery life, compact flash storage, and personal energy -- I drove home happy but tired. Hats off to anyone who shoots all 24 hours of the 24-hour race. Much, much more difficult than any road race I've shot.
All-in-all it was a great photography day, not in the photos, but in the ability to stress all of my equipment and to shoot in all kinds of light. I shot several shots with riders heading into the morning sun, battled the annihilating overhead noon sun that casts dark shadows over faces, and got some pleasing lighting with the setting sun. There was also a couple of hours of battery left to shoot some night motion blur.
I get to add CD cover to my list of photo credits, which happened so serendipitously that I couldn't really believe it happened until the money arrived. There was no effort on my part -- it's a photo of meta that I uploaded to Flickr from a Maui trip way back. Even the photo was lazy: I was just messing around with my camera settings on the beach... which is pretty much what I normally do when I'm relaxing at the beach.
John Scalzi has extolled the benefits of the Internet for the lazy artist -- he has sold multiple manuscripts by uploading them online for free instead of submitting them -- but little did I know that this magic could reach my neck of the woods.
crossposted from Spare Cycles
I just got confirmation that one of my Levi photos from the Tour of California will be on the cover of Road Bike Action issue 2. I also got several photos inside, including the Table of Contents. I don't know when the issue is coming out but I do know that it has gone to press.
With absolutely no conflict of interest, whatsoever, I encourage you all to become Road Bike Action subscribers (only $9.99).
Levi Leipheimer continues to put on a show for the fans and I've been having my best cycling+photography experience ever. Today I got to be a total fanboy + a "pro" photographer. Another photographer took time to give me advise on portfolio building, lenses, and submitting photos to magazines. People pay to have experiences like these and instead I'm being fed food and offered money for my photos. Armstrong, Ekimov, Julich, Cancellara, Hincapie, Danielson, Voigt, etc... I got near total access: Graham Watson and Casey Gibson stood behind me.
I even inquired about being a staff photographer. When I told the guy that I work as a software engineer, he told me to keep my job. Which only shows that not every dream should come true.
Now I'm tired. I woke up at 4:30am to drive down here and I need to go find somewhere to sleep. Good night all.
I new that the media pass would give me better access to take my photos, but who knew there would be other fringe benefits:
I'm in Santa Barbara now drinking coffee to stay awake. I still need to find a place to sleep tonight...
One of the unintended results of uploading all my photos into Flickr is that I have had a blitz of 2006 photos flash before my eyes. I'm finally approaching 2005 with my uploads, but I've been overwhelmed with 2006. I thought I sat on my butt all year watching TiVo, but it looks like I actually got out and saw (and photographed) stuff. I know its more traditional to get all sentimental about the previous year around New Years, but I would like to say that 2006 was a fun year and thanks to all of you who shared in the many things below.
Cycling: * Tour of California Stage 3 * Tour of California Stage 2 * Tour of California Prologue * Levi at Lombardi Sports * Sea Otter Classic * Giro di San Francisco * Pescadero Road Race * Burlingame Criterium * Menlo Park Grand Prix
I uploaded a bunch of Comic-Con photos thinking I was going to process them, but a lot of them look close enough for government work. If I haven't touched them up after 5 months, might as well just post them. This is a small sampling of what I posted in the Comic-Con '06 set, but it is probably the better of what's there. A bunch are still marked private awaiting processing that will probably never come.
A whole buncha Edward James Olmos:
James Callis (most need reprocessing):
Aaron Douglas (most need more processing):
One of Ron Moore:
I also went to the Hood of Horror panel in the hopes of catching Snoop Dogg in person. Snoop Dogg of course showed up too late, but I did catch Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson. There was also a scary-looking Diamond Dallas Page, Pooch Hall, Brande Roderick, Daniella Alonso, and Lin Shaye (thank you, IMDB).
And I also snuck this awful photo of Jennifer Love Hewitt through a crowd of people (the only photo that I processed, as it was just 1):
The more important task for me that lies ahead is finally aligning all the Quick Draw photos with the notes that parakkum sent me long, long, long ago.
I thought I'd share a few of my favorites in this entry because weddings, Comic-Con, and the Tour de France pretty much dominated my July, and I've already blogged plenty about the latter two. (I can't share some of the Iowa ones, as they are still marked private).
Suddenly my Flickr photostream makes it looks like I'm a wedding photographer, which couldn't be further from the case. If you told me last year that I would be credited as a wedding photographer, I would probably have laughed my butt off, in fact, I still do, but somehow that happened twice this month with bp/joy's wedding and another in Iowa. It helps that d and I did this together: I was lost through it all while she seemed to fall into role directing people around -- it probably isn't all that different from managing kindergartners.
I'm used to outdoor sports photography, so it's taken a bit of getting used to shooting in low-light indoor settings, but I think the hardest aspect is the logistics of it all. Admittedly, shooting bp and joy was rather easy, as we just had to sit back and let them be happy and kiss while we photographed it all. Shooting in Iowa with bridesmaids, groomsmen, mothers, fathers, grandmothers -- that was tiring, especially when people keep wandering off or are running late. You spend the whole time searching around to find better lighting or checking out the ceilng to see if you can bounce your flash or scanning back through the photos you've taken to make sure that you have good takes of all the shots you've been requested to take. You're sweating in your suit in the 100 degree humid weather and you're trying to think of something clever so you can get something better than the tired smiles from all the shooting.
Shooting cycling is so much more relaxing in comparison. Even with the additional challenge of shooting fast-moving objects, it's nice to know that you have no control over the situation: I don't have to tell a cyclist to smile or move a little to the left or go find his grandma. I just point my camera, click, and wait for the next lap.
I'm going to a wedding in Chicago on Thursday -- I think I'll leave my camera in the suitcase for that one.
The Exploratorium is as much fun for my camera as it is for me. The optical effects and cool experiments that are candy for your eyes are just as fun to get on film. They have a table there that small bits of dry ice get dropped on every couple minutes. There is a small amount of liquid on the table, so the pieces of dry ice dance around the table and create little miniature hurricanes. You can checkout some more tiny dry ice swirl and other Exporatorium exhibit photos on Flickr.
I also got some more photos of Liz Hickok's San Francisco in Jello-O. This time around, she had done a model of the Palace of Fine Arts and Marina.
I couldn't post all the photos I wanted to from Sasebo, so I'm limiting myself to two sets: one with my favorites and one from around the city center. I would have omitted the latter, but it wouldn't have been fair to the city to do so. When I first showed my mom the photos I was taking, she complained that I was taking "ugly photos." She wondered why I wasn't taking photos of the more beautiful areas of Sasebo, whereas my photos seemed to all contain rust stains and grime. This is a frequent interaction with my mom. Several years ago I was taking her around MIT, she made hardly a comment. Later in the day we visited Harvard and she immediately burst out with a, "This is so much prettier! Why didn't you go to school here!?!?"
It isn't that I find rust attractive. Sasebo is filled with so many textures and has such an overwhelming density of architecture. I can't help taking photos of parking lots on top of homes, rooftops that meet in anything but right angles, buildings that similarly lack right angles, a narrow sidestreet adjacent to bright shopping plaza, homes that rise up and up into the hillside, and stairways, stairways, stairways. Zen photos are fun, but it's just as fun to take a stroll around town.
I've already posted some photos from the area around Sasebo, Japan, including spiders (kumo), 99 islands, and Braille-encoded city, but it's taken me quite awhile to start putting up photos of the city itself. I took hundreds of photos and I just want to post all of them with detailed explanations so that I could try to convey all the interesting aspects that I strangely find fascinating, like a shopping mall that could be Anywhere, US, a train tunnel through a shopping mall, four-way overpasses, and more. Neither you nor I really have time for that.
Power went out on the north half of Castro Street in Mountain View last night. After taking an initial trip around the block to search for techies rioting and throwing chairs through windows -- all we found were people BookBuyers attempting to browse using flashlights -- parakkum and I returned back to Hope to retrieve my camera and warmer clothes. Witness the horror, the devastation, of absolutely nothing happening... in my flickr photoset:
My cousins and aunt braved the cold for me so that I could snap some sunset photos of the 99 Islands from the top of Yumihari Mountain in Sasebo. The city of Sasebo is busily spread out around the harbor along one side of the mountain, while, on the other side, things are mostly green and blue with ony the occassional settlement dotting the view. I'm not sure how one counts the 99 Islands, as there are many formations barely larger than a boulder, but by the official metric it is actually closer to 218 or so. At night you can see a string of lights snaking across the water between the islands as the squid hunters go out and try to lure their prey.
99 Islands Photos (9 photos)
bp has sent me a bit of good news. One of our side projects while we both worked at PARC was researching stress deformations and fractures of DVD substrates. We demonstrated that DVDs with Microsoft logos had a higher incidence of fracturing than other DVDs, though we were unable to conclude a causal relationship. It appears that Gizmodo has used our initial findings to build towards this important announcement: Gizmodo Announces Support for Some Form of Higher Definition DVD. We wish them the best of luck in their research.
I've finally posted some much-belated wedding photos for those of you on my Flickr friends list. Months old pqbon wedding photos have now been posted as a set. I decided to only post one photo from the Strange wedding, which I've called "Do the Tooch". It is a charming montage in which a father tries to impart the lessons of Boogie onto his child, only to discover that his child rocks to a different beat. Perhaps I should have posted the pqbon wedding photos earlier so that Tooch could have stolen his son's moves.
(still incommunicado, but also innundated with digital imagery that I need to offload)
There are a lot of techniques for converting digital photos to black and white. I've generally been lazy and just done standard desaturation, but I'm starting to discover the wonder of 'Lab mode' in Photoshop. This technique involves converting your image into Lab mode, then switching to the lightness channel, which will be a black and white version of your image. If you know what you are doing, you can then do things in this channel to get the black and white image that you want. So far, I haven't figured out what those things are, but I did stumble across the 'a' channel in Lab mode, which is even cooler, and I did figure play around a bit with curves in the lightness channel to get a B&W image that I like better than standard desaturation (but am too bleery-eyed to improve anymore).
left to right: original (unaltered) photo, 'a' channel
left to right: desaturated, lightness channel with some curves adjustments, lightness channel plus this fill layer technique
update: added in one more photo using a this lab mode technique. I also did some sharpening with the unsharp mask. I think this one has the best dynamics.
I just got back from a 3-day, 20 mile hike in Big Sur. Quite a lot of fun, quite a lot of photos. I have big plans for the photos, as I took along a GPS device to record the location of most of them. That, however, will take quite awhile to put the tools together for.
In the meantime, before I collapse from exhaustion, is a simple but fun fire study I did the first night down there:
I practiced my Japanese maple shooting technique after my not-so-great attempts 3 weeks ago. Here's the latest results from today's trip to Golden Gate Park (Japanese Tea Garden and Botanical Gardens).
From my photo captioning entry, you might have inferred (correctly) that my metamanda/sunset/beach/maui photo is one of the more popular photos on this site. I decided to experiment more with the technique (i.e. overexposure) that I used in that photo while I was at the beach in Santa Monica. On a beach, at least, the end result is rather fun as it subtracts out most of the background (water and sand) and leaves just the people and more colorful items to be found on a beach. I also enjoy the technique because it anonymizes your photo subjects, which removes some of the voyeurism when shooting on a public beach -- or at least the feeling of voyeurism, which I find to be an impediment to taking photos.
If you like this photo there's more to be found in my People on the Beach Photoset.
It turns out that going through your referrer links is a good way of turning up photo captions for your own photos. For each of the photos below (all photos of mine that I have posted to this blog previously), I have found pages on the Web that are using them and have pasted in the text used to caption the image on those pages. It's like those contests in magazines, but the photos aren't as good and the captions only find humor unintentionally.
Friends don't let friends use AOL
surely someone can do better, let's move on
Hmmm, don't know what that means but it sounds like he's insulting Microsoft. The next one sounds more like it's straight out of the user's manual
if you drop it on a hard surface your "higher capacity medium" will turn into a "zero capacity medium"!
and finally, a haiku
i saw your parked car
looked in and saw my CD
lying on the floor
Een auto voor meneer .. nu een koe.
according to Babelfish: "A car for Mr.. now a cow." (I just liked this translation)
All The Drugs In The World Won't Save Her From Herself
Apparently, likenesses of the Eiffel Tower at night have been copyrighted (post 2003, that is). While this (expressly) is not intended to prevent amateur photography of the Eiffel Tower, here is my amatuer, slightly blurry, but pre-2003-recopyrighting photo of the landmark at night:
I backposted these (click for more photos) as part of my Ireland trip log, but I enjoy them enough that I'm going to post them again :). (hmm, they would probably look better if the horizon was level)
Back when I did the 100 photos set, there were a lot of photo juxtapositions that I had to leave out; they either didn't segue into other photos very well, or one of the photos may have been required to complete another set.
This set, called Prelude B as I was initially going to post an A, B, and C prelude, falls into the category of photos that went well together, but not with anything else. The first photo is from Monterrey (a high percentage of the photos posted on this site were taken during a single trip there). The second and third photos were taken with meta's camera, with the second taken returning from Tahoe, and the third taken driving to Tahoe on a different trip. I made a slight change to the set and chose a different photo for the second than I originally intended, though they were shot at the same time using the same technique. I also "cheated" as I think the second photo is the only photo that I have color corrected (autofixed the lighting).
Vinegar is surprisingly Post-Impressionist...
If you actually enjoyed the individual sets, then here's all 100 photos presented in their intended sequence. Like I mentioned before, I presented the 100 photos in sets of 10 initially to make it easier on the download. If you viewed the other 10 sets, then this entry should load immediately. (See the individual sets for photos indentification). My final comment is in respose to meta's question of whether or not I used software to find similarities between the photos: no, I did not, but I wish I did.
Calm restored... (The End)
Back into light...
As much as an arrangement of non-humorous photos can be humorous, this is my "funny" set. This will be the last set I post for now. F, G, H, I, and J can wait for another time.
I cheated in this set and used a 2002 photo to lead it off.
This is probably my favorite of the ten sets. I'm going to post each set in its own individual entry, and then I'll probably do all 100 in a single entry at the very end. That way, if you're actually viewing these, by the end you'll have all the images cached and they won't have to download :).
I posted previously about a photo project that I was working on. The idea is that I have 100 photos grouped into ten groups of ten. It turned out to be pretty hard to squeeze every photo in, so I actually have ten groups of ten, with a two photo prelude. The 100 (+2) photos aren't the best photos that I took this year, but the grouping will hopefully be interesting nevertheless. I imagine my posting of the project will take up a lot of bandwidth, so I'll only post the photos in the extended entries.
I originally got a camera because I was sad that everytime I tried to do a photoshop tutorial/trick/guide I had to use the stock art that came with the article rather than try and do something semi-original. I figured that with enough photos of my own I would have enough of a library to do just about anything. That was the idea, which I then forgot about.
(Skip forward three years) I decided that it would be good for me to go through my photos try to do a 2003 yearbook with my favorite photos as well as photos that would remind me of good memories. As I began assembling this, I realized that I have A LOT of photos. In fact, I have 3000 photos from 2003 alone, which comes out to eight photos per day on average (which is still strangely less than the number of songs I have in iTunes). So, at long last, I decided it would be time to do an art project with my photos. The project is going to be a linear sequence of 100 photos, organized into groups of ten. If I had more time and less RSI I would probably do something more interesting, but even this so far has been a lot of fun for me.
I'll post it as soon as I feel that I like the 100 photos I've chosen. Some of the sequences I really like, but some of the themes still feel weak or forced. I'm also leaving some photos that I would really like in there, though I did manage to include the very first and third photos taken with my digital camera in it. I guess I'll have to take more photos next year :).
This is one of my favorite series of photos that I've taken, so I thought I'd post them. They were taken in Kaanapali during sunset, though you can't tell the time of day very well from them.
this entry contains a photo, click to view