Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Re-iterating My Dislike of Photographers Who Can't Turn Off Their Flash

Will update this post more, but here is an epic example of why flash photography at an aquarium is a bad idea:

Photo ruined by someone's popup flash.
As you can see, I was unlucky enough to have taken my shot at the same time as someone firing off their popup flash. Yes, I can really see the value add of using your pop up flash in an aquarium... against a large 2 story window. That glare really adds to the look and feel. 

Seriously, why do people do this? I can't imagine people are thinking this is a "great" image of what they saw? 

Contrast the above shot with one I took, which was not ruined by someone else's flash:

Sea Turtle
I took a different post processing approach with the sea turtle shots this time around, vs past visits. You can check out the images, as well as the ruined shot in my sea turtle gallery:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Shrinking Down JPEGS! ( JPEGmini )

Recently, I came across this post from PetaPixel about JPEGmini

It details a company that has come up with a way to optimize an image so that it visually looks virtually identical to the original, but takes up a fraction of the original file size. That's awesome! I even tested it against some image files:

Black Sea Nettles - JPEG shrunk using custom algorithm.

  • 24 megapixel JPEG / 12MB in size => 1.6MB resulting file after JPEGmini.
  • 12 megapixel JPEG / 4.8MB in size => 1.1MB resulting file after JPEGmini.
I performed a difference test against the original and the JPEGmini version. They are virtually identical. If you take the resulting difference image and adjust the levels, there are in fact different, but the difference can be attributed to minor random noise vs compression artifacts. Amazing!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Panorama of Los Angeles at night from Griffith observatory

Multiple long exposures shot with my 70-200/2.8 lens on a tripod. The images were stitched together using PS CS5. Amazing city of lights!

Long exposure shot of Los Angeles and its downtown towers

During a recent trip to Los Angeles, I visited the Griffith Observatory with my family and got a chance to use my tripod to do some night photography. This long exposure shot of the city skyline was amazing to behold and alot of fun to shoot.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Managing Resources - Part II

This is a followup to my previous article, "Managing Resources - Part I". It's been half a year since I wrote that article and it has been a mixed blessing kind of trip. So, here are some of my thoughts from the attempt at managing my storage through complexity, and my thoughts going forward.

How Did It Go?

If you read part 1, you'll note I went with a big box, lots of cpu cores, ram, and storage. I opted for complexity and multiple layers of abstraction to get all the features I wanted. I opted to get ZFS by emlpoying Nexenta and other Solaris derived solutions. Virtual machines to get the best of both worlds, and leveraging PCI-passthru to get a desktop experience on a virtualized server platform.

In short, this did not work out very well. :(

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Planning For Gear Upgrades

As one might have read, Sony is going to be announcing their A77 DSLR, which is the replacement for the A700 DSLR. A good deal of expectation is being heaped on this new camera and for me, some extra money will be spent in addition to the cost of the camera itself.

Memory Cards

I'm a  consumate user of compact flash. I own and use PhotoFast 16GB and 32GB cards, both rated at 533X. They are great performers and are rock solid. Needless to say, I've spend a bit of money in getting them when 533X compact flash cards were fairly new. They work great in the A700 and I had hoped to continue to use them in the A77. However, Sony decided against including support for compact flash. Instead, it will be Memory Sticks and SD cards.