It takes more than fancy equipment

Every photo taken today is taken with a more sophisticated camera than classic photos taken years ago that everyone recognises. It’s not the camera, it’s the photographer. Sure, the barrier to entry has collapsed but talent counts and separates a snapshot from a work of art.

If you don’t believe me, then read today’s What The Duck! for a humorous look at this issue and don’t get hung up on buying expensive bits and pieces for your camera. Sometimes though, dumb luck helps.

PS. if anyone is worried that they’re getting obsessed wth purchasing expensive Canon lenses, especially L series ones, then give me a shout and I’ll take them off your hands. No, I won’t charge a penny for this charitable work. I just want you to get back to basics and take great photos!

Thanks Treasa for mailing me about the broken permalinks here!

The secret life of the Irish blogger

2006-11-06__mg_6390-m.jpg Haydn Shaughnessy’s article on blogging in Ireland is in today’s Irish Times. It’s a lengthy 3/4 page read and in the Arts section so it covers the artistic side of blogging more than the political or mainstream – photography, podcasting and video blogging are the main aspects of blogging that he treats.

Unfortunately the online version is subscriber only but here’s what he wrote about us photobloggers:

In fact, Irish bloggers excel at photography, and two of the most outstanding are the O’Caoimh brothers. Their record of changing Cork city and county are the kind of document we might look back on in a decade with some gratitude. The photographs of Ryan Whalley, meanwhile (www.glasseyalley.com), logging the Cork countryside and coast, are exceptionally well staged works of art and draw attention from around the globe.

In each case it’s their self-taught skills that make blogging a superior distribution mechanism than, say, the local photographic gallery. Is the Irish blogging scene vibrant and creative, as the photography suggests?

Ryan’s Glassey Alley photoblog, and my brother Donal’s blog are referred to above. One of the photos in the article is this one I shot at the Ceili Mor several weeks ago. If this is your first time to this site feel free to browse around and visit again. There’s a new photo here every day!

Is the Canon 30D noisier than the 20D?

Is it possible that the noise levels in the Canon 30D are worse than that of the ageing Canon 20D? According to this story it’s true! I find it hard to believe because the cameras are so similar – same sensor, same digital processor and more. I wonder how the 20D compares to the new Canon 400D?

Even if you don’t have any Canon equipment, the article takes a look at the RAW vs Jpeg debate too which might be less sensational but makes for a good read. (via)

Luminous Links

I wish Luminoous Landscape had an RSS feed. I’d subscribe to it in a flash. It doesn’t so I’m only now discovering some of these great articles –

  • Of cameras and art is the final in a series of four articles discussing the artistic merits of photography. A subject close to my heart.
  • Digital Focusing and part 2 look at problems with making ever bigger prints from small sensors and other digital issues.
  • Leica M8 review – this is the first digital Leica, a brand much loved by some photographers. I’ve never used a Leica so I don’t get what the fuss is about. This review promises to solve that. We’ll see!
  • Finally, the Canon Rebel XTi EOS 400D is reviewed. I excitedly mentioned this camera when it came out and my brother Donal bought one of these and I’ve played with it briefly. It’s impressively light, the screen is great, and the mirror flip-up is quieter than my Canon 20D. I can definitely recommend buying one if you’re looking for a DSLR!

Run Photoshop in Linux

It may be possible to get Photoshop to run in Linux but would you want to? As a research project in the interest of informing the dear readers of this blog I attempted the install.

  • First of all I had to search out an illegal copy of Photoshop because frankly I don’t have Photoshop and can’t afford it given the revenue I get from my photography. Bittorrent helpd here but, boy was it a pain. There’s a version of Photoshop floating around called “Portable Photoshop”. It’s a self contained install. Unfortunately I got hopelessly low download rates for the several torrents of this application I tried. Adobe, you have nothing to worry about!
  • While that was downloading I installed wine with a simple apt-get install wine. No surprises there. Apt did it’s job and installed everything properly.
  • Finally, the necessary bits downloaded and I unzipped it into a directory then ran wine Photoshop.exe.

How well does it run? After running Wine, up popped the Adobe loading screen and for what seemed like an age it looked for plugins and other assorted stuff. Finally, after a significant wait the Photoshop user interface appeared and I marvelled at how far Wine has gone since I last tried to run Half Life 2. First thing to do was load an image so I clicked File-Open, selected a file and clicked OK. Then, poof! An out of memory error popped up and Photoshop died!

After closing Firefox and Thunderbird I tried again. This time the image loaded but as soon as I tried any operation on it the same error popped up. After briefly searching for an answer and looking through the winerc, I didn’t bother trying a third time. Even if I didn’t have these memory problems I wouldn’t find myself using it. It doesn’t match the rest of the desktop. It’s dog-ugly actually. Windows apps usually are when they’re running in Wine. Bye bye Photoshop! It’s now deleted off my drive.

Linux users – Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo, Slackware, Red Hat, whatever you use, just use the GIMP. It’s a great piece of software that’s simply different to Photoshop. That doesn’t make it necessarily worse. If you are really hankering after the Photoshop UI then go play with Gimpshop. You’ll feel right at home in no time and you’ll save the 833 Euro that Adobe charges for their cash-cow. Ouch! How can any non-professional afford that?

Oh, Sven is working on colour management for the GIMP to keep all you printing folk happy!

Another alternative, Krita has come a long way since I looked at it last. I installed it this morning using Edgy’s Apt repository and it looks good. From a photographer’s perspective it’s missing a few necessary tools, although a levels tool is in the works. It does have support for CMYK but I’ve never had a use for that and as Cyrille says, all home and business printers use RGB. Some high end printers use CMYK but your local lab will print from Jpeg files so don’t lose sleep over it! I must post a comparision between the GIMP and Krita when I’ve used it before.

A visit to Pineapple Studios

I visited Pineapple Studios last night with Mallow Camera Club. Jessica Jones and Tina showed us around and it was an eye opener for me. Jessica is rightly proud of the lighting in her studio and went over each system answering questions as she went. A shooting session followed and I was roped in to model for a couple of shoots but unsurprisingly the guys seemed more interested in shots of Jessica and Tina!

Tina then showed us their lab and went through the process of working a photo in Photoshop. They have two large printers and plenty of facilities for printing all sorts of size images. Tina printed off an 8×10 and 8×12 explaining that they calibrate their printers several times a day to cope with changes in temperature as the day gets warmer from morning to evening.

The visit was great fun and very interesting. If, like me, you’re not very familiar with portrait photography, you’ll be shocked at how complicated it is and all the skills the photographer has to call on. As Jessica said, “if you don’t like people then don’t photograph them.” A huge part of the job is getting people relaxed and forgetting that it’s a photoshoot. She spends an hour making a portrait so the customer relaxes and the shot looks natural. She took a group portrait of us and hopefully she’ll send the image on to me soon. I asked everyone if they minded having their photo on the web and thankfully nobody dissented. I’ll update this post with the photo when I get it!

Thanks Jessica and Tina for showing us around!

Jessica has already sent me on the photo. Thanks, nice job!

Mallow Camera Club

Moo Magnets

What will you do with those hundreds of Moo mini cards? You can’t possibly give them all out. Why not make cute little magnets out of them? Meg Pickard explains how using magnetic tape. It’s so simple but I can imagine that this would be a nice birthday card filler especially with a personal photo (along with the obligatory gift of lottery tickets or money of course!)

I’m going to make a few and stick them on the fridge!

What else can we do with the moo mini cards? (Thanks Damien)