Sunday, August 18, 2013

And the beat goes on...

Did you notice the new banner up top? Every now and then I feel the need to change it up. And when I do, I post the previous banner in the body of the blog because otherwise it disappears completely! So...



I chose the new image because (a) I had to find something that would fit in the footprint, an extremely wide pano, and (b) I like the smooth tonality and colour blend of this image. It is a picture taken from my dock on 12 Mile Lake. I've taken hundreds of pictures from the same spot but occasionally one stands out. I like how the shape of the shoreline and its reflection on the left creates a virtual arrowhead that causes the viewer's eye to move from left to right across the image and back again to pick out the structures and detail.

For those who care, it's an HDR merged in Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 from 3 exposures, shot with the 17-35mm lens at 17mm and f/8 on the full-frame D600. For what it's worth, here's the original image (well, the merge!) minus a few pixels for better framing.


I will make this available as a fine art print. I think it would look outstanding on a matte art paper. Check out the gallery link at right to find it and email me to order a print. It also makes a fine wallpaper image for your computer. Two sizes, one for normal and one for wide screens. This wallpaper image is FREE for subscribers to my newsletter, so click here or on the link at upper right to subscribe.


I'm going to start today by nagging you.

Backups

Some of my readers are diligent about doing their backups. Some are not. Some people need a subtle reminder to do it. This is intended for you!

Do your backups. My backup strategy isn't perfect but at least I do them. Today I sync'd my two external drives so I have two up-to-date copies of my photo archives. I also copied my Outlook data files to an external drive. Don't forget those, they're in a weird location (on a PC) and you don't want to go through what I did when the original got corrupted...

On a personal note, I have to sit down and create a new Lightroom catalog that contains all my "Keeper" images, then copy the whole shebang to another drive. Reason is, my external drives are getting very full and I'd really like to have a third copy of the important images, at least. 
Update: I just did that. It took about 8 hours for Lightroom to percolate and copy a little over 500Gb of data. FWIW, I have over 15,000 keeper images (ones which I had flagged earlier as 'not unacceptable')! I should have sent it directly to the external drive because now it wants another 7 hours to do that. I feel better, though. Now I have a third copy of my "keeper" files and it's going to be stored off-site.  

Anyway, do it today. I don't know what your backup strategy is, but do it. Just imagine your house burning down to the ground and in addition to everything else, losing all the images you've ever shot.

Emergency Medical Card

If for some reason you have a medical emergency, the important information about you should be available if you end up in an ER and can't tell them everything, or can't remember. You should also have contact information, a list of meds, all that stuff in your purse or wallet JUST IN CASE.

Years ago, I created a .pdf document that you could fill out (on your own computer, you don't send that out anywhere) and put it up as a public service. At one point I had a hit counter on that page and recorded over 50,000 hits: I lost it, so I'm going to start it over again.

Anyway, go to this page: http://www.faczen.com/medcard.htm and fill out the form. You simply type your info into the page, print it out, then run over to Staples and get it laminated if you want, and carry it in your wallet or purse or camera bag...
Note that this is absolutely FREE and we don't record any information about you including the fact that you downloaded the document or visited the page (except that we count how many people have done that). No worries.
You may be one of the rare people who don't have any medical issues or take any prescription drugs or have any allergies, but at least you should carry your doctor's name and contact info and who to call in case of emergency. Please do it now. And if you think it's a good idea, please tell your friends and loved ones.

OK, finished nagging...

Heads Up!

I'm going to be announcing an Algonquin Park Fall Colours PhotoWalk in the next week or so. My initial concept is that there will be no charge for my students and subscribers to my newsletter, just trying to put it together. Watch for the announcement on the Newsletter.

SmugMug has a new look

There are lots of places you can put your photos up on the web for free. Everyone's doing the "cloud" thing now, but most of the free sites have some down sides. Every day, I read about how someone's pictures were stolen on FlickR or on 500px... I've been a SmugMug subscriber for years and because that's the only thing they do and because it's not totally free, they care about you.
I had a "Professional" account there because I wanted to be able to sell images through them with a markup. They had links to a couple of really great labs, like Bay Photo in San Francisco, and you could easily order directly. I stopped doing that because, well, it wasn't a good way for me to market my images (that said, I haven't found one yet!). Anyway, I downgraded my account to something called a "Power" account which costs me $60/year. If you're interested, here's the comparison between the different accounts they offer.
A couple of weeks ago, they totally revised their interface and look-and-feel. It's really, really slick now, IMHO. Check out my site at faczen.smugmug.com. Go ahead, I'll wait right here...

If you clicked on "Browse", you would have seen some other galleries that I've put in place (works in progress...) but what I like is they are for special purposes and the casual visitor doesn't have to be distracted by them.

So one of the other things I like about SmugMug is that when you send an email to their helpdesk, a real live human being responds in short order. And it's someone who actually knows about things, not some CSR in a foreign call center (Hi, I'm Rajesh, and I can certainly help you with that problem...).

One more thing: Lightroom has a plug-in where you can sync with SmugMug. Just drag photos into it and click "Publish" and you're done. Nice. I just added the image at the top of this post to both my "New and Featured Images" and my "Fine Art Prints" galleries with a couple of clicks.

Anyway, I'm happy to recommend them to all my readers. Go to www.smugmug.com. You can play with it for free for 14 days, then sign up. If you mention me in the referral box when you sign up. Two ways of doing that: put in my email address (glenn dot springer at faczen dot com. You know what to do with that, right?) or just cut and paste in this code:  16NrueyZ8KPmc. You'll save $5 on your first year subscription.

Speaking of new looks...
Business Printing

Tell me how this strikes you:
■ 1000 double sided business cards, printed on both sides in full colour, full bleed, on heavy (16.5 point) card stock with an aqueous coating, all for $20 or so.

This is the front of the business card I printed for myself (no black border. It bleeds right off the edges of the card). By the way, shot from the same dock as the banner up above!.

■ 1000 postcards, similar to the above, 4x6 size, both sides full colour for about $50. All superb quality. That's ONE THOUSAND CARDS, folks!

Here's how it works: the supplier I deal with gangs up print jobs so he prints hundreds of cards at a time and trims them out of a big sheet. So each individual card is inexpensive and the printer is happy because he's making money. As long as everyone uses the same inks (4-colour process) and paper, he's laughing.

If you're interested, I'll send you a template. You fit your art in the template and send it back. We print it. Or you can use, for example, my photos for the background. If you want me to do layout and design work, I can, very inexpensively. Starting to sound interesting?

Have you ever seen prices like that for full colour high quality printing? This is a no-brainer, folks. contact me...

Don't say I didn't warn you!


I shot this a couple of days ago. It is coming... 

On to some images!


Kind of an unusual casual portrait... this was a mistake. For some reason I had a HUGE exposure compensation set: more than +3 stops. I think I turned the dial the wrong way. But when I saw the image onscreen, I liked it! I had to do a little work on the faces to bring them back, and it's at ISO 6400 (the D600 is amazing!). I need to try more of these high key images! Rita and Ray Felson are relatives, visiting my mother. 


Internationally renowned photographer Stu Freedman, visiting with the Felsons at my mother's. Stu's wife and my mother are related, haven't seen each other in 80 years or more. Stu is 90, he founded the Toronto Guild about a million years ago, and is still shooting pictures! Don't criticize my background, OK? It was a casual shot while chatting. At least I got the lighting right! (North-facing window, behind the Felsons above, if anybody cares). 



I know, it's just a seagull (Herring Gull, larus argentatus, if anybody cares!). But the 400mm Sigma lens can be really sharp when it wants to. And it's on the cropped sensor D5100 too, so effectively 600mm! I did some birds-in-flight too, that day. I practice on them sometimes when I'm at the dump. 



While riding my ATV on the trail near my house, I came across these giant fungi on a fallen tree stump. I didn't have anything with me to give it a sense of scale, so I put my Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 in it. If you're not a photographer, that's about 9" long... if you are one, it's still 9" long but you know that!  


I went back yesterday to try again, this time I brought a tripod. Now do you see how big they are? It's weird because (a) I've never seen one that big outside of a rain forest and (b) there are no other ones around anywhere. Aliens, I tell you... 

Until next time! TTFN

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