Monday, October 24, 2005

Yet more signs that all might not be right with me...

Buying polarizing filters for my 72 and 77mm lenses and a 2GB CF card for my cameras vs. buying a new Apple video iPod for roughly the same cost?

Winner: Filters and 2GB card - because those are 'necessities' when the iPod is simply a nice to have. A polarizing filter would've made this shot I took a couple days ago much better, so I've learned my lesson.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Flowers becomes my new #1...

Originally uploaded by markdemeny.

For some reason, despite all my best efforts - it seems my flower shots seem to rise to the top of the pile. Although my current views for new photos are much higher than they used to be, it seems that if I slip one in there while I'm shooting other things it tends to draw more views and more comments than a comparative shot. This is now the "Most Favourited" of all my pictures.

I think perhaps the Flickr thumbnail syndrome contributes to this - a really saturated, simple image will grab peoples attention, while a more subtle pic will not.

Not that I can complain - positive feedback is always nice and keeps me going. It's just something of a surprise, that's all.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Brain Teasers...

Slashdot had an article on math/logic problems. The first linked response was on a game called 'The Petals Around the Rose'. Since it involves the founder of my current client, I thought I'd post it here for your amusement.

I took me a few rolls to figure it out. Luckily the article doesn't have the solution listed, but you can check your guesses here.

I think my friends are quite sick of playing Trivial Pursuit and other games with me, and this is a game I'd never seen before (and quite a funny little one - you'll kick yourself when you figure out the answer) so I'm curious to see how my friends fare.

The Fujifilm FinePix S3Pro

Fuji S3

Just before leaving for Seattle, I purchased a new digital camera to compliment my Nikon D70. You may be asking, what could possibly justify spending double the price of the nearly perfect Nikon D70s? Granted the Nikon is quite the machine for the cost, it's fast, compact and easy to use. The Fuji is none of these. However in spite of these shortcomings, it's quickly becoming my favourite machine for shooting. I had some good advice regarding the S3 from Ryan Breznier who has an S2. The good and the bad points of the camera are pretty much exactly as he described they would be.

The S3 is built upon the Nikon F80 and it shows. Operations like setting the ISO are actually based upon the film camera dials and operations. There is no auto ISO, and operating the camera is very much like using a film camera, rather than a digital one.

The Good:

The dynamic range is fantastic. It actually works. Take a look at the following two shots; the first is the JPEG straight from the camera - as you can tell, the highlights are completely blown out. The second is the RAW file with the highlights pulled down. With other digital cameras, the only way to accomplish the photo would be through bracketing, which is time consuming and requires the use of a tripod. Having to process the Fuji RAW file is time-consuming, but no moreso than working with bracketed photos.

I love having a vertical grip. My large lenses are much easier for shooting in portrait mode with it. Not only that, the grips for both positions have fantastic ergonomics. Why Nikon intentionally made the D70 unable to use vertical grips is beyond me and one of my big complaints.

Colour options. The camera has multiple options for setting the saturation of colour and skin tone, this allows some amazing colour straight from the camera without any post-processing. 'Film Simulation 2' is fantastic - this shot of flowers taken on my first time out with the camera has quickly become one of my friends favourites.

It's very quick to swap between JPEG and RAW, a simple 2 button operation - whereas on the D70, you need to navigate through multiple menus. So even though the Fuji RAW format is a beast, both in terms of size and write speed, but luckily you can easily switch to the really great JPEG format with ease.

The Bad:

The RAW files are huge - 25Mb to be exact. This can eat through a 1GB card in short order.

It's SLLLLOOOOOOWWWWWW. RAW files take about 20 seconds to write to the card, during which you can't access the menus. A short image preview flashes on the screen, but disappears during the rest of the write. JPEGs are quicker to write - within a few seconds. If you really need to preview the image, shoot in JPEG to get the settings you want then switch to RAW.

The unexpectedly good:

Time-lapse photography (via USB and laptop) - using the Fuji Software (free, unlike Nikon Capture) I can control the camera via my computer for things like time-lapse photography.

Manual in-camera focus - I haven't used it, but unlike most digital SLRs I can actually use the LCD to manually focus the camera and even zoom in.

Nice huge LCD for viewing photos

No IR pass filter - so I can put an IR filter on the camera, for high-contrast black and white photos.

Focusing seems to be quicker and smoother than my D70. My 80-200 f/2.8 is very 'jumpy' when using my D70, but is smooth as silk on the S3.

Here's a list of all my pics taken using my Fuji FinePix S3Pro


I've recently discovered the joys of Geotagging. Quite simply, it's adding latitude and longitude information to your photos, allowing all sorts of nifty tricks, like overlaying Flickr information with Google Map info (using both APIs).

This is the type of really neat 'Web 2.0'-type applications that open APIs allow.

View all my Geotagged photos.

I'll eventually start uploading at least one photo from each country I've visited, so I can have a visual representative view of all my travels.