Posts Tagged ‘photos’

Cruise Night – a love affair with curves

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

20120704_CRC3432
20120704_CRC338120120704_CRC337820120704_CRC3439I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that I like about photographing the cruise nights in Galt on Wednesday nights. You can see previous posts here and here. On previous occasions it has been the colours I’ve noticed most, but this week it was all about the curves. There were several Corvettes from the mid-sixties present this week and if ever there was a car with great curves, it’s a pre-1980 Vette!

I was surprised at the number of folks who showed up because it was very hot and sweaty that night – even at 8pm. Lots of people milling about makes it difficult to get wide shots and even the closeups are sometimes ruined by a reflection of bystanders. I have found, though, that you can only really appreciate the curves when you get really close. From ten feet away a ’68 Vette is just a beautiful car but at ten inches it’s a beautiful curve contained within another curve.

The wednesday night cruise nights have rekindled my love affair with cars. Twenty years ago, though, it was about horsepower and cubic inches. I have now discovered the art of automotive – and you have to get up close to see it.

You can see the full set of cruise night photos, including the 18 from this week, in this set on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carmichaels/sets/72157629764006232/

Malawi: Blantyre Secondary School

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

20120423-DSC_3757

One of the highlights of my trip to Malawi, besides all the official stuff we did, was the opportunity to visit the school where my grandfather, Robert Dale, taught biology from 1965-67. He was sent to Blantyre Secondary School (BSS) as part of an aid program funded by the Canadian government through the External Affairs department. The rest of the family, including my mother at 13 years old, went with him and they all lived on the BSS compound.

As I arrived in Malawi, I wasn’t sure I would get to see the school at all. We had a very full itinerary and the school was just far enough away from where we were staying that squeezing in a visit would be difficult. Even if we got to the gate, I never expected to be allowed inside.

As it happened, the Monday after we arrived was a holiday due to the state funeral being held for the late President Bingu wa Mathurika. This unexpected holiday broke open just enough of a hole in our schedule for me, my wife and our new friend Conrad (from the group) to walk the 1.5 kilometres to BSS.
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My first photography tip…

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
photo credti: Lee Haywood

photo credti: Lee Haywood

Just a month into my journey as a “serious photographer” and I’ve developed my very first “trick of the trade” – how exciting! I haven’t actually looked to see if anyone has already included this in a tutorial of some kind, so it’s possible that this isn’t completely original.

The Scenario:
I spent the morning taking “staff portraits” at the office. In the past, we’ve always had to scramble to get a decent photo of someone when we needed it – either for the website or a workshop bio, etc.  We decided to take semi-formal portraits of all staff just to have on file.

The Problem:
It was, of course, the final subject of the day that caused the “problem.” She was a blinker – a bad one! A few of the earlier subject had one or two shots out of four or five where their eyes were closed, but this subject was something else. She knew it too – she told me that she always either has her eyes closed, or she looks like she’s on opiates. I couldn’t disagree with her. Twenty-five shots later, experimenting with various flash settings and delays, etc, we STILL didn’t have a shot with her eyes open.

The Solution:
The answer was hers, actually. She was telling me that she’d run into the same problem at the optometrist’s office – they could not get a clear image of her retina because she kept blinking. “The only thing that finally worked,” she said, “was for me to click the remote.”  I hesitated. “You want to try?”

She took the remote, closed her eyes, and then opened them as she pressed the remote (in her lap, out of frame). Bingo. The first shot was a keeper. Eyes nice and clear – naturally open. In fact, her entire posture improved and it might be the best portrait of the day. Interesting.

Conclusion:
If you’re taking portraits, I wouldn’t recommend handing off your remote to every subject. If you run into a stubborn blinker, however, it might just save your shoot.

What to YOU do for blinkers?

 

Beautiful Decay

Monday, January 4th, 2010
Michigan Central Station - Marchand and Meffre Photography

Michigan Central Station - Marchand and Meffre Photography



I have no idea why I’m subscribed to the RSS feed io9.com… I’m sure I had a reason. But when these photos popped into Google Reader this morning, I was awestruck. Dumbfounded. Speechless.

As a guy with strong ties to Michigan, I have a soft spot for Detroit. I think it may be one of the most interesting cities I’ve experienced – but folks rarely get past the “Motor City” moniker to see the beauty of Detroit.

This collection of photos by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre capture an unusual beauty – the beauty of decay. It is not really beautiful, of course, but heart-breaking to see these architectural masterpieces crumbling. Michigan Central Station has always intrigued me as it is plainly visible from the interstate feeding the Ambassador Bridge and I have stared at its broken windows many times over the years wondering what would become of it.

Marchand and Meffre’s photographs make me a little sad – but I’m glad that they’ve been able to create some beautiful art from such miserable circumstances.

WordPress Image Handling Sucks (WP Wednesday)

Monday, December 21st, 2009

WARNING: Today’s WordPress Wednesday post is a selfish rant – and two days early. So much for Christmas spirit. ;)

Yes, I said it. The words “WordPress” and “sucks” in the same breath. It’s a rare thing for a WP fanboy like me to do, but today, the Automattic folks deserve it.

This week’s release of WP 2.9 brought some awesome image editing tools to WordPress users – but the entire image handling system is still broken. It’s a kludge.

When you upload an image to WP, it “crunches” it – creating up to 4 versions of the image at various sizes (thumbnail, medium, large and original) on the server. These are now the ONLY sizes available to you in your posts. In addition, with the exception of gallery-generated pages, references to these images inserted into posts are specific to the pixel size (150, 300, etc.) rather than the relative size (thumbnail, medium, large, etc). Yes, you can change the pixel sizes of the relative sizes – but once an image is uploaded, you’re stuck with the settings of the day.

This wouldn’t bother me so much if I didn’t know that there was an alternative. Why can’t WP resize images on-the-fly at the server?

Example:
William Bundled Up
This image is located at http://colincarmichael.ca/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/SDC11443-300×199.jpg. See those pixel references in there? This image physically exists on the server. Very limiting.

In contrast, look at these: (from a Drupal site I run, the tech isn’t Drupal-specific)

URL: http://www.presbyterian.ca/photoresize/4398/600

URL: http://www.presbyterian.ca/photoresize/4398/300

URL: http://www.presbyterian.ca/photoresize/4398/150

URL: http://www.presbyterian.ca/photoresize/4398/news

See those pixel references in the URLs? There are no images on the server in those specific sizes – the server resizes the original image on the fly as required. See that last one with a relative size of “news”? The server resizes that to a size specified in the settings, in this case 250px.

There’s no reason that WordPress’ image handling could work the same way. You’d only need to store the original of the image on the server, and you could insert images of any size in your posts. Additionally, if you had “virtual” sizes defined such as full=600px, half=300px, thumb=150, etc, you could have images that would resize gracefully if your theme changes and you now need full to be 400px and half to be 200px.

So, Automattic, how ’bout it? Now that you’ve given us image-editing tools in 2.9, can you address the broken image-handling problem?

Christmas Tree Hunting

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

There’s nothing like the smell of a real Christmas tree in the house. In years where we’re away from home during Christmas we make do with our artificial tree but every third year we’re home for the entire holidays. In those years we go tree hunting: