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Archive for the ‘Art’ tag


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As far as I can see, photos offer three advantages:

  • You see through a different set of eyes. When I walk around with my camera up and running, I generally pay more attention to detail and to my surroundings. I turn around more often, and the landscape behind you tends to look differently than in front of you! Without a camera, I tend to miss that part.
  • Photography helps your memory. If you have photographs from the past available, they help your brain by remembering how things were, or how things evolved over time. This can be very useful. Do you remember how the chairs in your cafeteria looked like or were arranged 6 months ago? If you have the chance of knowing or storing the information of where the photograph was taken, this is a piece of great additional information. Geotagging.
  • Photography is art and as such is beautiful. This is if you are careful by some minimum amount when you create the photography.

Why am I writing about this? Two reasons: primarily I have been having a lot of fun with photography lately, and secondly photography has been proven to be highly useful in a medical case I have been involved with.

Before I went on that trip to Chile, I contemplated for a very long time about which camera to take. I wanted to take a camera, because this is the kind of trip you just don’t do on a regular basis.

I do have some photographic history, which lead to some standards. The history dates back to shooting Lego scenes with my neighbour in the grass of our garden when we were about 8 years old with some obscure Rollei camera. This is where I learned what shutter speed and aperture were. I had no idea about ISO back then. The second flourishing period of my photography past happened during my student-magazine days. I managed to acquire sufficient ads so we had enough money to purchase a Minolta 500si super. That was very thrilling. This was in the late 90s so our school had on the one hand a black and white digital scanner. But one which you had to drag manually over the piece of paper you wanted to scan, and it was only about 10cm wide. It was quite a mess, but very exciting when your picture showed up in Corel 3. On the other hand the school still had a lab, where we developed our b/w film and magnified it on paper. This was so cool. I clearly remember the first roll of film that I took out of its tiny little box. In the dark. And there were only two of us in the lab… 🙂

In the end it came down to the question DSLR or point and shoot. More flexibility and picture-quality on a DSLR versus portability on a long backpacking trip. Sony just had released a series of DSLRs on which I could use my old Minolta lenses. I made the decision against heavy weight. As I said, I had some standards, so I still wanted some manual control, so I bought the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500. And I have been very happy with it! It has a really great automatic program. It has both aperture and shutter priority. At the beginning I was not sure if the display at the back would be bright enough if it is really light out, but I have been happy with it. The only thing I am not overly happy with is the autofocus. At times it’s a little slow and at very few times it doesn’t focus what I want to focus. I also bought an Amod AGL 3080 GPS tracker, because I wanted to have access to the second advantage from the triplet above. This thing works really nice for its money and for what I wanted it for, for tagging the location of where a photo was taken. Only drawback here is that it goes through batteries quite quickly.

During the trip I had a lot of fun, and I have been using both camera and gps device quite extensively and happily. When I came back, I had about 2000 photographs and a few megabytes worth of gps logs. I was dawn back into daily life quite quickly, but since last weekend I had a new push to work on those pictures. I guess my general feeling was like this: Ok, I have this camera with which I am quite happy, but a DSLR would be a DSLR. I took all these pictures, I had looked through them, they seemed to be ok, but nothing too great, I thought. Then two things happened. I read a blog post, unfortunately I forgot where, saying that essentially every camera is the same, all have a shutter and a lense. So it depends largely on the photographer and what he or she makes out of the situation. On sunday the situation was sunny and snow was on the ground. I switched my camera to black and white mode, yes, back to the roots, baby! Admittedly, this was also inspired by some blog post. And we went on a walk and I took my camera. I guess these days this is called a “photowalk”. And it was a lot of fun!

Afterwards I had built enough desire to look at those pictures from Chile and those gps logs. So I came up with this workflow:

  • Take the individual logs, process them, put them in google earth to see where I actually do have a log. This processing I do with a little python script which creates a simple kml file.
  • Then I select the pictures which correspond to the location and time of the log file in Lightroom and drag them into HoudahGeo.
  • I let HoudahGeo do its magic, check in GoogleEarth if the tagging is correct, and write the locations to the exif file
  • I load the metadata back into Lightroom: while still having the pictures I geotagged selected I click under “Metadata” in the menu bar on “Read Metadata from File”.

During the process it is important to pay attention to the times. Before dragging the photos away from Lightroom it might be necessary to “Save Metadata on File” (cmd-S).

This little story made me very happy with photography, again! I have learned a lot about Lightroom and gps on the way! A really great resource for Lightroom has been Scott Kelby’s Lightroom 2 Book! Hopefully I can share some decent Chile pictures or that python script! 🙂

Written by Claus

February 19th, 2009 at 1:35 am

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Manufactured Landscapes

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Edward Burtinsky is a Canadian Photographer, who gained some fame through his work he called “manufactured landscapes”. These include glowing orange-red rivers originating in mine waste piles flowing through some of the most beautiful fractured limestone.

Food Processing

Burtinsky has recently been to China and his latest movie, also called “Manufactured Landscapes” opened a few days ago in New York City according to J-Walk, however rottentomatoes says it was released in 2006. The photographs are stunning, so I bet the moving pictures are worth it too!

Written by Claus

June 26th, 2007 at 11:34 am

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