July 02, 2011

Photo Finish

Okay, I finally worked through the pile of photos from Paris. The photoset is complete at 248 pics. And while there are many I enjoy (and many I admit are pretty pedestrian), this metro candid and this Montmartre stairwell photo are my favorites. So much for snaps of tourist attractions!

Candid Montmartre Metro Stairs

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2010

Handful of Photos

Renee took my P&S to a robotics tourney last weekend at OMSI. The lighting was not very conducive to sharp photos, so I only put up a few. After that, you'll find a handful of her with her new haircut, grabbed today.

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:10 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2010

Assigned Photos

Renee got an assignment to produce some photos contrasting plenty with want. The result is available in this photoset, and a sample is in the banner.

She took some pretty neat photos of the derelict house in our neighborhood. I think I'm gonna try to talk her into going on a photo expedition with me sometime soon.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2010

How Many Clicks

Today's banner photo may seem rather amateurish, and simple enough to warrant only a single glance. I'll grant you that, but you might be amused to check out its companion photo set, wherein we explore the answer to that age old question, "How many clicks does it take to get to a snap of Renee where her eyes are in fact, open?"

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2010

Not a Pro

Well, for a change, everybody is asleep before me. Usually, the sequence is Jean, me, then Renee, who always manages to drag out the evening chores (so I lie awake making sure that she is at least finishing up in a timely fashion). Tonight Renee beat me to bed due to running a sleep deficit. She was so run down that she fell asleep in French today, and had to hitch a ride with me, when normally she would walk home from school.

So here I am, with my new purchase. I've been running Adobe Photoshop CS for years now, and only recently discovered that the upgrade path has been shortened to three versions back. As CS 5 is coming out soon, this means that CS 4 would be discontinued, and I would be forced to either buy CS 5 at full price, or remain on CS forever after. I was waffling on this choice, but Jean said she thought I did enough family photography that the household budget could be used for the purchase. So here we are.

I did a full backup before installing. I was worried that for some reason, CS 4 would not work at all, despite the assurances that my machine/OS met the requirements for the product. With a full, bootable backup, I had a way to go back to CS if CS 4 failed. And as soon as I started, I felt pretty clever for providing an escape route. The reason is that after I invoked CS 4, I tried opening a sample NEF (raw file) from my D70, and as soon as I tried to crop it, the program locked up my machine completely. I had to power cycle the darn thing! I tried variations on this several times, to the same effect.

Finally, I realized that I needed to check the memory usage settings. The default settings try to take about 70% of memory, and do aggressive caching. I cranked these back to something more like my Photoshop CS settings, and after a bit more fiddling, I am now able to use the software on my machine.

So the lesson here is that I am not a professional Photoshop designer. I would need a machine that is newer than four or five years old, with at least twice the memory (more like four times the memory) and a fast offboard hard drive, to let the default settings stand.

Anyway, I've just begun exploring, and honestly I don't think I'll have much to say about it other than to use it. Good for another two product iterations!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2010



I'm pinning this post to the top of the weblog for a few days until I have a chance to complete my photo kibutzing. The biggest delay to getting them online is that Jean wanted my most recent photo on Flickr! to be a clue in Renee's Easter Egg Hunt. Since my bundle of trip photos amounts to 221 photos (out of a total of 558 taken), that would have been quite the Easter Egg hunt!

Anyway, the banner photo commemorates our trip, with Jean and Renee posing at the entrance to Granville Island market. You can find the complete photo set labelled Spring Break 2010. I hope to create a number of subsets for the various attractions we visited. Given how long it took to get this set together, don't hold your breath...

P.S.:While not being much of a photographer, I still got a lot of pictures I really enjoyed. The aquarium was a real pleasure, so besides some neat images of Jean and Renee, Vancouver 2010-1884 is possibly my favorite photo of the trip (until I change my mind). You can click through to here for larger versions.

Original Post

I'm gonna put a placeholder here for notes on our trip to Vancouver. When I get a bit more time I'll try to cull through some of our photos and get them up online.

We went for a whirlwind tour over Spring Break with Renee. We actually had to produce passports, though they don't stamp them for crossings to and from Canada. The border agent told me we could get a stamp in the visitor center. Went in and they said "they always say that!" Bastards!

Anyway, we had a lot of fun, and stopped by Seattle on the way home. Now it's back to work, so pictures will probably be awhile coming.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:53 AM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2009

New Batch of Photos

A new batch of photos up at Flickr means a new banner photo! This time, the wife and two kitties stand in.

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2008

'Published' 'Photographer'

I'm using scare quotes for both "published" and "photographer" in this entry's title, because I am not really either. But just for giggles, I accepted an offer to have one of my photos appear in a Portland travel guide. The photo is of the Syun Izakaya sign.

The travel guide is called Schmap!! (complete with the two explanation points). It's online only, and my photo is one of a set of photos by different amateur photographers of the restaurant, found on Flickr!

These guys don't pay anything, so it's more along the lines of those Who's Who in <something> books, where all the revenue was derived from publishing a bunch of peoples' names and then selling the book to 'em. Here, I guess I become the promoter for their travel guide due to having my photo in the pile.

It's even more amusing, since this was a casual shot taken with my point-and-shoot rather than a more considered photo taken with my DSLR. So, not a photographer, and not published, since I don't get paid, except in egoboo.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2007

Speed Graphic

Some meat for the next (hypothetical) time I watch Speed Grapher.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2006

Photography QOTD

"Big cities like New York, Paris, etc., have permit requirements for shooting on public streets. While it is another layer of hassle, I do not want to hear anyone moaning that they live in Paris/London/Tokyo/etc., and that this is a huge disadvantage."

David Hobby

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2005

Renee's Glasses

Just in case you've been wondering what Renee looks like with her new glasses, the banner photo should give you a good idea. Larger sizes available at my Flickr account.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2005

Define This Phenomenon

There's got to be a word to describe this. I've had this experience before, many times, where I see a word or phrase which I'm certain I've never seen used before in my entire life. And then, in the course of days, I see it again and again. What is that called?

For example, what spurred this post is that I recently saw a word of recent coinage in digital photography. I don't know how recent; after all, I just saw it used for the first time a few days ago. Now I'm reading Thom Hogan's review of the Nikon D2x and I see it again: chimping:

Still, I can't imagine a situation where I'd need more than two batteries for a day's shoot, though there may be a few prolific photojournalists out there that disagree. Indeed, if you shoot less than 500 images in a session, you'll probably do fine with just one battery, regardless of how much chimping you do.

And yes, while the word in question seems to be derogatory, I have been known to 'chimp'.

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)

June 15, 2005

Say Cheese

Photoshop CS and Adobe Camera Raw 2.4 are now installed on my iBook. All software updates to date have been installed, and I did a repair disk, repair permissions and mirror backup of the disk. One more piece of preparation for this year's Anime Expo!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:55 PM

May 07, 2005

Raw Converters

As I wrote at the end of April, I was experimenting with standalone RAW converters for the Nikon NEF files produced by my D70 camera. I finally got around to doing a side-by-side comparison. I took the four flash pictures I posted to Flickr as my test group. I ran each NEF file through each converter, using only the presets which were available from the main controls of each respective converter. The goal here was to see how good a conversion I could get, using minimal effort (no tweaking of temperature, sharpness, color balance, etc. once I'd selected a preset profile). I then dumped each image to a TIFF file.

I just now got through comparing the results, and my ratings look like this:

Dark RoomCapture One Wins
DinnerRaw Developer Wins
Kitchen Backlit OneCapture One Wins (marginally)
Kitchen Backlit TwoCapture One Wins (marginally)

In no case did Adobe Camera Raw win with the presets available. Colors were usually so muted that the image seemed underdeveloped. Capture One suffers from the opposite problem. In two cases, while it won the contest, the images were saturated with color. If I were developing a full image production flow and using this to pipe images into Adobe Photoshop CS, I'd need a non-default profile that toned down the color saturation somewhat so I didn't feel overwhelmed. On the other hand, if I'm looking to imitate Fuji Velvia, I've found my converter.

The images in the link above are from Capture One, the overall winner of the contest. I've no intention of dropping $100 on this tool, as I'm too much of an amateur to justify the additional expense and steps. But if I ever find myself taking tons more photos, or charging folks for my output, I will definitely consider Capture One.

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:59 PM

April 30, 2005


I bought an SB-600 flash today, to use with my Nikon D70 DSLR. I've been salting away some of my allowance, trying to strike a balance between having folding money to spend at Anime Expo this summer, and having a flash to use indoors at the convention. I finally hit that balance, and Suburban Photo had it in stock (for the first time in months), so I went for it.

I don't know squat about using a flash, so I just hooked it up and took a few photos to make sure that it wasn't dead on arrival. This is an example of the output.

You can see the four 'quickie' shots I took this afternoon at my Flickr account. "Initial Flash Test" is neat, since it was taken in a dark bedroom, by flash only. With the white balance set to flash, and a little levels adjustment, I got the image you see here. "Bounce Flash and Incandescent Chandelier" was to test whether the flash overwhelmed an already lit image. I think it's a little washed out, but okay. "Ambient Daylight and Bounce" is very interesting to me, since the light from the back yard is behind my subject. Without the bounce flash, I think Jean would have been a bit dark in the foreground, while the window would have been bright. The sidelit "More Ambient Daylight and Bounce" is just a variation on this theme.

Another interesting facet of these photos is that I used a different RAW converter than the usual Adobe Camera Raw converter (ACR) that comes bundled with Photoshop CS. I was reading a thread on the D1scussion mailing list about a recent controversy. Nikon is now encrypting white balance info in their RAW file format (NEF) for the D2X camera. Adobe has made noises about perhaps not being able to support this RAW file format in ACR, since "the DMCA makes reverse engineering criminal". I think it's really about jockeying for position as to who gets to control RAW formats, and who has to pay license fees, but it's getting talked about a lot.

One poster on the list mentioned that as a professional photographer, he didn't have time to convert each RAW file by hand, which is a limitation of ACR. Instead, he uses a commercial RAW converter that can do batch conversions given a set of parameters. So he'll choose a white balance, sharpness, etc. that suits a set of NEFs and then convert them all to TIFFs in a batch. Two tools were mentioned: Capture One, and Raw Developer.

They both have demo versions, so just for chuckles I downloaded them. At $100 and $70 respectively, I can't really justify buying them for my rather amateurish efforts. But I thought it would be fun to play with them. Capture One allows you to use the full feature set of the tool for 15 days. This is the converter I used for the photos I converted from the flash. Raw Developer lets you use s demo version forever, but puts a small print message in the middle of your photo encouraging you to buy. I plan to do conversions using both these tools and ACR, then compare the output. My chief criterion for useful software is a tool which is better at producing nice conversions with presets. So far I like Capture One best. If I were buying, I'd have to come up with the extra $30 over Raw Developer. But in reality, of course, I'll most likely continue using ACR, since it's included in Photoshop.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:00 PM

May 26, 2004

New D70 Gallery

I've linked the banner flower to a new gallery of images I snapped with the D70 at the last NOVA meeting. I used a trial version of Adobe Photoshop CS with the new Camera RAW plugin, and I'm drooling, really. Not that the photos look any better after I fumbled taking them (garbage in, garbage out), but rather that it's so much faster than any of the Nikon supplied software, and so much easier to use. I know I'm gonna have to buy this upgrade after the trip to Disneyland, so I can convert those future pics with less pain...

By the way, 0071.jpg is more or less full frame, so don't click on that link if you have a slow connection. I wanted to have one I could show to a friend at work that had a bit more detail.

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:53 PM

May 08, 2004

Getting Better

I've begun to understand the D70 a little better, as today's banner photo illustrates. The banner image itself looks little better than my first effort. I'm still trying to understand the interaction of Photoshop and the digicam output files, so scaling the image down makes it look curdled. But click on the link (large file ahead!) and you'll see that the larger image looks crisp and noiseless. You can even see dead aphids on the leaves, though they are out of focus; they were not the topic of the photo after all!

I ran down to Oregon Photo today to try to buy a bag. I want one barely larger than the camera, with nice padding and an adjustable shoulder strap with sliding pad. They didn't have a match. So until I find the perfect bag, I won't be hauling this baby to NOVA meetings, anyway. Sorry Alan!

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:25 PM | Comments (2)

May 03, 2004

Baby Steps

Today's banner photo is a mercifully much-reduced sample of one of my first photos with my new Nikon D70. The original is grainy as hell. Everything was full auto, using the kit lens, and the sun was just below the horizon.

As the samples link above shows, in experienced hands, the D70 can produce very crisp clean images. I hope to get there someday. For now, I'm just trying to compare the controls to the N80...

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:16 PM

December 20, 2003

'Tis the Season

Today's banner change is brought to you under the auspices of Haggen's Groceries, and their 'Breakfast with Santa' program. Have your child visit with Santa! Have your child's portrait taken with Santa by a helper using a crappy Polaroid Instamatic camera! Scan same photo into your computer on a flatbed scanner to render lovingly each flaw in said photo!

Anyway, no bah humbug here. Seasons Greetings and all that.

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:24 PM | Comments (1)

November 25, 2003


New banner photo! Actually an old digipic, but I thought it was about time to bump Dad off the roster, and I was too lazy to scan in the pics from the last coast trip. So ya get to see Kelly snoozing. How old is that pic anyway?

Funny thing is, it's been sitting on the compactflash card I use in my Nikon Coolpix 950 forever. I let my wife use the camera to take pictures of Kelly during her horseback riding lessons, and downloaded them to the kitchen computer for her. The kitchen computer, Haruko, is still running Mac OS X 10.1.5, and the older flashcard reader I've had since Mac OS 8 days, works with it fine. [unfortunately, the horsey pictures were all kinda fuzzy, so you won't see them in the banner for now]

I then tried to grab the one banner photo shown above by downloading it to my den computer, Megumi, which is running Panther (Mac OS X 10.3.1). No go. Not even after reinstalling drivers, rebooting, etc., etc.

After some research on the Internet, I find this is a familiar problem with some USB card readers, in fact with any which require you to install drivers to use them. USB 1.1 is a standard device API, and any modern OS is supposedly able to work with any compliant device. No drivers required. So the older gadget ain't compliant. A round of email with the manufacturer, who shall remain unnamed and hence unpromoted, informed me that they had no plans to supply drivers for Panther. "I have no plans to buy your brand again", I thought.

A trip to Fry's got me a new Lexar USB card reader, this one labelled Mass Storage Compliant, which are the magic words assuring compatibility with the USB 1.1 spec. By the way, buzz on the web is that Lexar knows how to do this right. I fussed with whether to buy a $20 no-name card reader, $10 cheaper than the Lexar one, but decided to go with the known quantity. As it turns out, there was a markdown on the Lexar item, and I only paid $9.90 for it. Cool!

So the crusade to switch all our machines over to Panther proceeds apace. And printer sharing over the Airport works great too! Can't wait for Christmas season when I finally transition Jean's machine to Panther.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:33 PM | Comments (2)

May 19, 2003


This week's Photo of the Week on Photo.net sent my memories back to Disneyland, specifically this moment. Now I'm glad I took photos.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:49 AM

January 17, 2003

Film Adventures

Well, after having had fun with Fuji Velvia at Disneyland (even using an Oly Epic P&S), I just gotta try out the new Agfa Ultra Color 100 print film. Maybe it'll scan better than Velvia on my 'cheap' Canoscan FS2710U?

Speaking of film experiments, I bought some Fuji color portrait film (Fuji NPH 400; It was the fave of the guy at Oregon Photo I talked to), and some Kodak TMAX 400CN B&W film. Jean insisted on at least a few black and white portraits of Kelly, so I cheated, and got the Kodak, which is a C-41 process film (meaning it can be developed at any regular color photo lab) without the color dyes.

This is all an extremely amateur operation. I intend to use the Sigma zoom set at around 100mm for the portrait lens, and photograph by natural light, with maybe a supplemental house lamp or two. The guy at Oregon Photo warned me to use a correction filter, 80A or even 80C, if there's any tungsten lighting in the frame, so I gotta make the trip for that. Maybe I'll finally buy a cable release at the same time. Already got the cheap tripod I bought off of Ebay...

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:02 PM