Friday, 23 April 2010

Follow Friday (23/4/10)

I've decided to do something a little differently for Twitter's Follow Friday (#ff) from now on.  I lose track of the people I've tweeted before, and what everybody I'm following does.

So, from now on, each week, as I see interesting tweets from people and groups I'm following, I'll be updating a draft post on my blod. This post will be published each Friday, listing the most interesting people & tweets I saw that week, then I will post a link to that blog post on my Twitter feed.
And a few friends that deserve some more followers! :)
  • Ace - A good friend of mine, a photographer from down south (although we won't hold that against him!)

  • Christiancable - A fellow photographer from the Lancaster Photographic Society

  • Mary J Lockwood - A storyteller/writer/comedienne from Lancaster, although now residing in London.
So there ends my #ff for this week. :)

Except for this, as it's not on Twitter, but definitely worth a good read!

        Saturday, 17 April 2010

        Blackpool Zoo with Talk Photography

        So, button-moon (AKA Tracey) over at Talk Photography decided to organise a meet up at Blackpool Zoo last weekend.  The wife and I decided to go along (she'll go to the zoo at the drop of a hat) and take a few pics of the critters darted about their various homes within.

        There was about 30 of us that met up, and it was a great day.  The weather was fantastic, and the other folks from the forum were a great bunch of people.

        I hadn't had a chance to go through all of my pics from the day yet, although I did shoot quite a few, pretty much all of them with the D300s and the 70-200mm f/2.8VR, although I did break out the Sigma 10-20mm for a few of the ring tailed lemurs and the pelicans.  I even got told I was cheating when I pulled out an SB-900 in the reptile house (it was worth it though after seeing the results). :)

        So, here's a few of my images from the day...

        As I gradually get time to go through them, I'll be getting more online, and you'll be able to keep updated on the Blackpool Zoo set on my Flickr pool.

        Friday, 9 April 2010

        The Voigt has Länded

        Ok, so the title is an absolutely terrible pun, but I wanted to let you guys know that my 1932 Voigtländer Brilliant arrived yesterday.  I haven't had much time to play with it yet, but after building a basic contraption, I did get a quick shot last night.

        So here is my first TTV picture. Nothing fancy at all.  It's my D200 (complete with Jaffa Cakes in the background), shot with my D300s via the Voigtländer Brilliant.

        Now, I did cheat a little bit with the lighting.  We have energy saving light bulbs in our living room, and even going down manually to 2500K, it was still a little bit warm.  So, I fired up an SB-900 and bounced it off the ceiling. :)

        I thought my Kodak Brownie Reflex had arrived a couple of days ago too, but on opening up the box, I discovered that the seller had accidentally sent me the wrong camera.  So I taped it back up, returned it and they're going to refund my return shipping costs and send me out the right one (so nice to see sellers on eBay that will do the right thing and fix a situation quickly).

        So, the Brownie Reflex and Duaflex II cameras are still on their way.  I'll probably hold off on experimenting further with TTV until all three are safely in my hands, and I can have a good play with all of them, but I'll be sure to keep you guys updated, and inundated with terrible photos, until I figure out what I'm doing. :)

        Tuesday, 6 April 2010

        Enabling Colour Profiles in Firefox

        Up until recently I've been calibrating my monitors (HP LP2475w) with the Spyder2Express.  Now, this is quite an inexpensive unit, and when I first bought it, I didn't really know much about calibration.  It doesn't (officially) support multiple monitors, although there are pain-in-the-ass workarounds that can make it happen (although the whole process can take up to an hour to sort it out each time you need to recalibrate).  So, I only ever calibrated my main monitor regularly, the one on which I edit my photos and watch video previews while editing, the other screen being resigned to simply displaying palettes and other program info.  But it's also the screen on which I browse the web.

        Anyway, after going to the Focus on Imaging show last month, and picking up several 100-sheet packs of Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl and Harman Crystaljet Luster paper I decided it was about time I got a bit more serious about my calibration (and I really wanted something that would allow me to calibrate a multiple monitor system without all the farting around).

        So, I went ahead and I bought the X-Rite Eye One Display 2, and how sexy it is.  I bought it from a company called Native Digital, on the recommendation of a friend who had used them in the past.  When you buy the Display 2 from them, they also throw in two free printer profiles (normally £15 each), so as I'd just got new papers for the printer, it sounded like a great deal to me.

        Unit arrives, bit of screwing around to figure out how the software works, and I have two beautifully calibrated virtually identical screens sitting on my desk.  I save an image out of Photoshop, using the sRGB colour profile via "Save for Web and Devices", upload it to Flickr and... hold on a minute... why does it look different to the image in Photoshop?

        So I did a little digging, because I could've sworn I read that FireFox 3 supported embedded colour profiles within images.  Turns out, it does, although it's not enabled by default, which means that everything is being shown with your standard calibration, and not necessarily how the photographer intended it to be viewed.

        After a little more digging around, I discovered that there are a couple of plugins that claim to enable this feature for you, as there is nothing in FireFox's "Options" dialogue, nor any of the menu options.  The plugins didn't seem to do a thing for me, so I deleted them, and I can't really tell you what they were, you'll have to hit up Google if you're curious. Eventually I did manage to find a solution (which is a lot less hassle than downloading and installing a plugin to be honest with you), which I'm going to pass along right here.

        WARNING : You can seriously screw up your FireFox configuration if you change something in here you're not supposed to change, so I take no responsibility for anything YOU do with YOUR computer. :)

        That said, this is what I did, what worked for me, so here it is.

        When facing the Firefox browser window, you want to enter "about:config" into the URL bar.  You will be then confronted with a warning as shown in the image below (remember, I told you, not my fault if you screw something up.  If you're not sure what you're doing, don't do this!).

        Clicking the button to continue into the configuration presents you with hundreds and hundreds of ways to screw up your settings...

        So, let's narrow things down a bit.  You'll want to start by entering "gfx" into the "Filter" box shown at the top of the page, and the option we're going to be editing is highlited in the screenshot below.

        Simply double click on this line to bring up the dialog box.  When the box comes up, enter a value of "1", and click OK.

        Now, your list should look lke this.  The "Status" till change from "default" to "user set" to show that the default value has been edited by the user.  If you do screw something up, this could help you to find those settings you changed and assist you in resetting them.

        Now just restart FireFox (although, I'm not even certain this step is required) and you're all set.  Your images with embedded sRGB colour profiles (as the vast majority of photos on the web are) will be displaying their correct colours on your beautifully calibrated screen.