Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Where I’m Going Tomorrow

December 2, 2009
Thailand Motor Expo 2009

Thailand Motor Expo 2009

It’s time for Thailand Motor Expo 2009. I always enjoy car shows in Thailand. The combination of bright shiny new cars and pretty girls showing them off it irresistable to me. And to a lot of other photographers.

This sign is in all the subway stations.

It’s best to go on a weekday – it will be a complete scrum at the weekend.

There is a FREE! shuttle bus from Chatuchak Park Subway Station (and Mo Chit Skytrain Station) to the enormous exhibition site called “IMPACT Challenger Muang Thong Thani”. That’s in an inconvenient location in the far north of Bangkok. In fact it’s over the border in Nonthaburi province but you’d never know it. The Bangkok conurbation just goes on and on.

Of course I’ll take lots of pictures. It’s worth taking the Canon EOS-30D and my Canon 580EX flash to get the best pictures. It is good to have a wide-angle lens too. I do not like to weigh myself down with equipment so I will content myself with that.

Capture One Version 5

October 29, 2009

Phase One has an interesting interview with Phase One’s Vice President of Research and Development, Claus Mølgaard. It’s got more content than the usual product introduction interview. You can read it here.

I’m fascinated by the idea of the Focus Mask. It’s puts a mask (in Photoshop terms) over your picture where (I guess) the opacity is related to how much the picture is in focus.

Here’s a screen grab from the Phase One Web site which is the best I could find.


Focus Mask in Capture One 5

Focus Mask


I guess it works in a similar manner to the autofocus on the camera – a contrast detection algorithm. However, that is the limit of my knowledge.

When we examine a picture I think everyone would agree what parts of it are in focus. But I don’t know how you measure that at the pixel level.

I have not used Capture One. I wonder if they will release the Focus Mask technology as an addin for Photoshop or Lightroom. It’s a classic software company problem. They could reach a larger market and make more revenue in the short-term by enhancing the dominant tools in the business. But they would lose a competitive advantage for their software. It’s a hard call for a company.

It is also interesting to try and read between the lines as Claus discusses their handling of Raw files from different manufacturers. Phase One (the makers of Capture One) compete in some ways as they also make camera hardware and lenses. I bet they have some interesting stories to tell of their relationships with the major vendors. “Coopetition” is a complicated thing.

The Difference Between Grain and Noise

October 24, 2009

After my test of the new Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Beta “Grain Tool” yesterday I thought I’d do a comparison with the digital noise that is the modern equivalent of film grain.

I used my Nikon Coolpix P6000 and shot a similar scene. Again I used a tripod, aperture priority and varied the film speed through the camera’s range from ISO 64 all the way to ISO 6400.

Note that when the camera is in one of its auto modes it will set the ISO at values between these steps. You can also set a “fixed range” of ISO speeds. I normally confine it to choosing speeds between 64 and 200. That’s a nice feature given the noise that the small sensor generates.

Note also that the maximum size picture you can take at ISO 3200 and 6400 is 2048 x 1536 (2M). I guess Nikon is ashamed to make bigger pictures with so much noise. Thus the last two pictures in the gallery below are not comparable with the rest.

Coming Back Soon

October 4, 2009
Coming Back Soon

Coming Back Soon

Still Away

October 3, 2009
Still Away

Still Away

Away For a Few Days

October 2, 2009
Away for a Few Days

Away for a Few Days

It’ll Never Catch On

September 6, 2009

I wrote a fairly long post this morning about reading textbooks on mobile devices. I used the “Press This” feature of WordPress to start from an article on the NY Times web site.

But when I pressed “Save Draft” the tool complained that my post was blank. All the content got lost in the cloud and there was no way to retrieve it.

Very annoying.

If I compose on the WordPress site it saves drafts automatically. But apparently not when using “Press This”.

It’ll be a long time before Internet connections worldwide are reliable enough for critical work. In the mean time I’ll stick to client based applications for the stuff I cannot afford to lose.

Maybe the post will be better the second time I write it. I believe many established writers throw their first drafts away. Tools like this mean it is so easy for first drafts to get published. Perhaps draft destruction should be a standard feature.

Still Away

July 19, 2009
Still Away

Still Away

and testing the WordPress scheduled publishing feature.

Away for the Weekend

July 18, 2009
Away for the Weekend

Away for the Weekend