The best way to show off the GIMP

I just read that a portable version of image manipulation program, GIMP, is now available for download.

If it works well enough that’s going to get a permanent home in my USB memory stick and unlike “Portable Photoshop”, this one is completely legal to copy and share.

GIMP Portable version 2.2.13 has been released. GIMP Portable is the full-featured GIMP image and photo editor bundled with a PortableApps.com launcher as a portable app, so you can edit your photos and images on the go. This new release updates the included GIMP to 2.2.13, adds Vista compatibility, correctly cleans up GTK’s bookmark and thumbnail files and features a greatly improved startup speed thanks to the new launcher’s plugin processing.

A Photographer’s rights around the world

Do you recklessly walk around urban areas with your camera like I do? Are you worried?

A few days ago I received an email from John Hennessy asking me about street photography and especially what rights and responsibilities do I as a photographer have when out with my camera on the street.

Many moons ago I linked to this article on photographers rights in Ireland but it’s worth revisiting again because of the comments added since. Comment 11 by Bill is especially useful going into further detail about different scenarios but also making it obvious that the law really hasn’t been tested or is complete.

Irish law has been quite grey in a few areas when in comes to photography and publication of certain types of photos. For example the taking of a photo of a garda while on duty is not illegal however the publication of said photo is, if the member of the force is identifiable.

The photography of minors is a very dangerous area for any photographer and one area I avoid like the plague.

Blasphemy is still illegal in this country, therefore pictures that are considered so will get you into all sorts of hot stuff. This extends to artistic photos too.

A post on Digital Photography School asks Do Photographers have Rights? There are links to photographer’s rights articles from around the world so if you’re going to do a little traveling it might be a good place to start before you get into trouble!

Jpg Magazine’s issue 9 was dedicated to street photography and Chris Weeks reviewed it. You can download a PDF sample of the issue which I have done, but I haven’t got around to reading it yet. Chris likes it but he doesn’t pull any punches in his review. His review is harsh but I’m tempted to subscribe now..

How to photograph a lunar eclipse

2005-11-19_mg_5765-m.jpg

Tonight the moon will be eclipsed by the Earth which will turn it red for a few hours from about 10:44pm. I’ll be outside with my 20D and a Canon 75-300mm zoom hoping to grab a few shots, but first it’s important to know a few things:

  • The moon shines by reflecting light from the Sun and the Earth, it’s bright.
  • The night sky is dark which will fool camera sensors.
  • All celestial bodies are in motion. You won’t see it from moment to moment with your eyes of course but even a 1 second exposure of the night sky will produce an image that captures that movement.

What can you do? When photographing the moon normally, you expose as if you were shooting at midday on a bright sunlit day. The eclipsed moon isn’t as bright though. If you can, shoot in manual mode. Open your aperture as wide as possible on your lens (smaller f numbers), and take a few shots with different speeds. That’s called bracketing and is really easy and inexpensive with digital. Use the LCD screen on your camera and most importantly the histogram function – that will tell you if your image is exposed properly.

With my lens zoomed in it opens to f5.6, and I found that an exposure of 1/125sec gives a slightly underexposed shot of the moon. Start around there and work your way up and down the exposure times. If you’re using a digital camera it’s costing you nothing.

As you’ll be using a zoom lens, make sure that you have a tripod handy. It also helps to have a cable release too, but if not, use your camera’s timer function to reduce shake.

Here’s an excellent guide to shooting the moon. That guide recommends the “sunny 16″ rule. Shoot at f/16 and bracket from there, but the eclipsed moon is much dimmer than a full moon. If you search around there’s a wealth of information online about photographing the moon. Good luck!

The picture above was shot on November 19th, 2005, colour corrected and sharpened but not resized. That’s about as big as a 300mm lens on a Canon 20D will do without extra magnification. It’s getting foggy outside. I hope it clears in the next hour!

Explore Cork City in Photos

Flickr has a wonderful mapping system that makes it super easy to view photos from a particular location. Unfortunately Flickr can’t automatically figure out where the photo was taken. That has to be done by the user but it’s as simple as opening the map in your browser and dragging it to the proper location. In the future your camera will do this for you like the brand new Canon 1D MKIII already does.

I do offer one warning. There are 17 pages of photos around Cork City center alone. It’s going to take you a while to get through them all but it’s an enjoyable romp around the city. You might even come across a few new sights! Go explore the city!

If discovering Cork isn’t enough, you can also visit Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, or even Blarney. Out of interest, I tried Mallow too but the link given for that doesn’t seem to work unfortunately.

I previously mentioned this mapping system here but it’s worth another look if you missed that post.

blueMarine – Free digital photography workflow software

blueMarine

blueMarine is being developed as an open source digital photography workflow environment. It’s written in Java so it’ll run just about anywhere – Windows, Mac and Linux should be “easy” to support.

I haven’t tried it yet and I’m not a fan of Java apps in general but has anyone else tried it? They say they’re close to a beta release so it might be worth a look soon.

Start thinking of an opensource application like Aperture or Lightroom that enables you to organize, develop, print and publish your photos. Pretty standard stuff nowadays.
Let’s go on and let’s think of the workflow. For the existing commercial applications the workflow starts just after shooting the photo and ends with a print on paper, the photo archived and maybe a web gallery published.

Judging by the screenshots, it’s come a long way, even supporting geotagging of images and “Gannet”, a plugin for the amateur ornithologist photographer. (found on the GIMP Users list)

Irish Blog Awards shortlist

Sob! Inphotos.org didn’t make the shortlist! I should have put that vote link and logo in the header like I did last year. I have been shortlisted for “Best Contribution to the Irish Bloggersphere”. I guess it’s for that WordPress thingy, eh? Thanks to everyone who voted for me. It’s really appreciated!

Plenty of great links on Damien’s shortlist post, including a couple of photoblogs I hadn’t visited. Here’s the shortlist, go pay them a visit. There are some excellent images awaiting your viewing pleasure!

The Photocritic wants your glamour and nude photos

The Photo Critic is looking for nude and glamour shots to critique next week.

Would you be interested in having your risque photos reviewed / critiqued? I can’t offer payment, but if I use one of more of your photos, I’ll add a link to your blog, web site or Flickr stream, like I did for the previous photo critiques I did…

He’s quite serious, here’s a previous critique and he has written an introduction to nude photography. I wouldn’t know where to start if asked to to critique a nude. Shooting portraits is hard enough but nude is much harder by all accounts; clothes hide blemishes, spots and other imperfections. The lighting is very important as a shadow in the wrong place can ruin the image. The introduction above goes some way to explaining the problems associated with the format so you can expect some good advice if you submit photos.