Bring out the gimp!

Some people find the name of the most popular open source and GPLed image manipulation program slightly funny or rude, others as a derogatory term, while others just see it as the acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Programme. I think a lot of English speakers fall into the first or second camp unfortunately.

Wikipedia has all bases covered, from the sadomasochism definition to the more familiar GIMP definition.

Gimp is a usually derogatory term used to refer to a (male or female) sexual submissive person, typically dressed in black leather (or rubber), often in a gimp suit, and wearing a bondage hood or mask of the same material. This apparel emphasises sexuality by drawing attention to the crotch and chest, and also sexually objectifies the wearer. Sadomasochistic practice often features in the notion of the gimp, with a partnership of power exchange between gimp and dominatrix or dominant. It can also imply that a male has a smaller than usual penis.

Yeah, I use the Gimp to draw everything…

When was the last time you used backups?

“Click! Click!” The sound we all dread to hear. The sound of a hard disk failing.

I bought a Western Digital “My Book” external drive a few weeks ago and moved my Backuppc backup files onto it. That freed up a 250GB SATA drive which I promptly filled with all my photos from 2000 to 2005. That’d be 109GB of data, all archived in a separate drive from my “current” work on this year’s and last year’s photos.

Unfortunately I discovered that the drive has some errors on it, rendering several months of photos unrecoverable. What makes it worse, I had forgotten to add those directories to my Backuppc configuration. Luckily, my trusty old DVD backups came to the rescue and I’m now copying the corrupted files back into my main repository.

The failed SATA drive is less than a year old, I think, so I’ll dig up the receipt and head down to Maplins. I need to buy another external drive anyway, now that I’m replacing my noisy desktop machine with a Dell laptop. Another option is a dedicated RAID array. The Drobo, reviewed by Thomas Hawk a few weeks ago looks very impressive. A bit pricey and I wonder if it’s available in Europe? Apparently the new 1TB My Book drives features a dual drive functionality, and access to gigabit ethernet. Choices, choices, choice. (Later.. The review here of the 1TB My Book says that it has some form of DRM, and is unstable. Definitely one to avoid.

The last DVD backup I made was way back at the end of January this year and I’ve taken another 20GB of photos since. DVDs are too small.

So, when did you last backup your photos? Would you be upset if you lost all those memories?

PS. ironically enough, while feeding Adam this morning I watched Homerazzi, the Simpsons episode where Marge loses all her family photos in a fire and Homer becomes a paparazzi. Here’s some of his work, including pictures of Paris Hilton attacking Bart!

Later .. Doug is having problems with his Drobo, although he’s getting great service from the store he bought it. When he plugged the Drobo into his Mac it complained it couldn’t read the disk. Nasty!

18,000 people nude in public

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This is what 18,000 naked people look like. This is old news to some, but I missed it at the time. How did they manage to organise so many people so well? Photographer Spencer Tunick created the images in Mexico City. His next project is sometime this month in Amsterdam. Anyone going or gone to it?

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For more, check out Google Images, Laughing Squid and Knuttz.

Fair dues to him getting those shots. I find it’s hard enough to shoot ordinary group shots, without having to communicate with such a large crowd! Mad stuff altogether! His Naked States DVD is out too. I saw this on tv and it’s worth watching to see Spencer in action.

Vote for me in the photoblogs awards

Niall thought that inphotos.org wasn’t nominated for the Photoblog Awards but after registering and trying to submit my blog myself I found that it already was nominated by Gavin of Headphoneland. You can vote for his blog too. Thanks Gavin!

So, please vote for In Photos dot org. Like I did with the Irish blog awards this year, I won’t labour the point but I would really appreciate the vote! And if you can, please link here and encourage others to vote. Your trackback will get some linklove for your post!

Credit’s due when it’s due

I have just installed the hotlink builder plugin for WordPress. It provides a basic level of protection for the images on your blog from leechers visitors who come via Google and MSN looking for images. At least some of them are going to right-click on an image to use it in their own blogs, sites or myspace pages. This plugin displays a chunk of code they can copy and paste into their template or post to display the image. That code has a link to your blog which is much better than someone simply stealing your image and not giving credit.

It’s not perfect, but you can see it in action here. Right click on the image of the spire and James Joyce. A red bordered box will appear above it. Unfortunately if you right click on other images the box still appears in the exact same space which could be off-screen. I must try making it a popup div instead.

I also installed the small but useful break out of frames plugin. It simply breaks your blog out of foreign frames. Google Images is probably the worst offender of the referrers to this blog so hopefully it’ll encourage people to stay a bit longer here. Both plugins found via seobook.

Later… Some minor fixes required to make it work properly:

  • Line 116 of hotlink-builder.php should be $src .= ' alt="' . get_bloginfo('blogname') . '"'; otherwise it’ll print your blog title before every post.
  • WP-Cache needs to know about the cookie this plugin sets. Open up wp-content/plugins/wp-cache/wp-cache-phase1.php and add the following code around line 72, in the function wp_cache_get_cookie_values():

    if( $_COOKE[ 'imagesearcher' ] == 'yes' ) $string .= 'searchengine';

Take an ordinary photograph today

Instead of obsessing over composition, is the flash head pointed in the right way, what about aperture, and is my ISO too high, I’m going to try to take an ordinary photo in P or even Automatic mode.

It won’t be a scene of immense natural beauty in a wilderness somewhere, or it may not be a bustling street scene covertly shot to capture a busy moment in time, but it will be a memory. My son Adam has changed so much in the last 8 weeks yet I’ve been too tired or busy to take out the camera. Can you believe there are only a few dozen shots of him? That’ll have to change.

I plan on leaving my DSLR somewhere handy, or even the Panasonic FZ5 and record daily snapshots. These are the moments that make up my life – Adam’s smiles, his cries, his feeding, his playful gesticulating while he lies in his cot. My family, my wife, dog, my siblings, my dad, my friends. Visitors to the house will be encouraged to pick up the camera and take a photo of Adam with his mom and dad, otherwise we may never be in the same frame!

In preparation for the exhibit next month in Bandon I had some prints made. I also had some family snaps printed and they have gone down a treat. Digital photography is a wonder, these images will be with us for the rest of our lives.

If I can I’ll create a script that will allow me to autoblog them to Adam’s own blog. It shouldn’t be too hard and it’ll be great to have in chronological order.

Take an extra-ordinary photograph today and everyday.

Five more common digital photography mistakes

Jim posted his 5 most common digital photography mistakes and I knew I could come up with a further five, so here goes:

  1. I’m not ready!
    How many times have I missed a shot because my camera was at home or in the bag? Lens covers can be a nuisance too.
  2. Leaving the camera in timer mode.
    I can’t remember how many times I’ve left the timer mode on after taking a self portrait, a group shot or a long exposure shot.
  3. Flash photography in AV mode
    This usually happens when I’ve come from an area where flash photography is not allowed and I’ve shot in AV mode because of the low light conditions. Canon cameras expose for existing light in AV mode so you get a long exposure with a flash. Jim already covered not changing ISO rating, a related topic.
  4. Help! My flash is dead!
    I have a fancy pants Canon 580EX flash. When I bring it out at public gatherings people look at me as if I’m a pro, and they ask what newspaper I’m with. It really shatters the illusion when the batteries are dead.
  5. Deleting or formatting camera media before everything is copied off.
    It has happened a few times. Out in the field I’ll review my images, and sometimes delete ones I don’t want. Sometimes my finger nudges the next photo button and I delete the wrong image.

Not all strictly digital photography mistakes but I make them all the time. It’s a wonder I have any photos to show here at all. What’s your number one annoyance about digital cameras?

PS. Thanks Jacinta for reviewing this post! (via Photographyvoter.com)