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All posts for the month December, 2010

I must honestly admit that I’m getting more and more excited by the whole cross-processing thing.
I feel an exhibition coming up!

If you find the right places and the right subjects/objects, it really turns out nicely. And it’s such a small thing, it takes less than five minutes. A couple of weeks ago I showed a friend how quick and easy it is to do and now he keeps on telling me that the image I did looks so much better (and he keeps on accusing me of purposely waiting with showing him until AFTER he submitted it to a contest! ARGH! ;) ).

This “procedure” takes just two things.
The first and most important one is to see the potential of the subject/object you’re photographing. Not everything is suitable to be cross-processed. Not every color is suitable to be cross-processed. So basically you need to be able to portray the end-result in your mind’s eye the moment you see a potential scene.
The second one is -of course- Photoshop (or a different piece of photo editing software that allows you to use adjustment layers and blending modes or similar features).

And then you apply the “procedure” and you get the following.

The potential:

Cross-processing

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/2.4, Nikkor 50mm

The potential after the “procedure” has been applied:

Cross-processing

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/2.4, Nikkor 50mm, less than 5 minutes in Photoshop

I usually don’t use it all that often, but… I mean… She… Well…
Never mind…

Anyway…
Those cosmetics products these days, there’s a lot to say about them. Flashy colors, cute bottle designs, way over-priced, etc. etc.
The Better Half is using the stuff (extra-mortgage material, I tell you!), and she claims it’s a company strategy.
The bottles in the picture (and that’s the shape of most of the bottles in this product line, regardless the brand) have a concave shape. That means -for the less cosmetically intelligent people among you- that the shape of the bottle goes inwards. There’s this funny little brush with which you smear on the stuff. The brush is about half a cm shorter than the bottle, so it doesn’t touch the bottom of the bottle. And logically, it won’t reach into the corners either, also not in the upper corners, especially not when the bottle is shaped as it is.
This results in a left-over residue in the bottle which equals almost 1/3rd of the bottle.

It might be a strategy, according to the Better Half, to get people to buy a new product faster, but seriously… does it really work like that?
A stupid little bottle like that costs close to 15€. You use 2/3rd of the bottle and then you just buy a new bottle for 15€?
Suppose the manufacturers of this stuff make the bottles convex instead of concave, and the bottle half the price (with people using EVERYthing in the bottle and not throwing away 1/3rd of it, that should be doable), then everyone would empty it and things would be a lot better, for manufacturer, for environment and for buyer…

Cosmetics

D700, ISO200, 4 sec @ f/11, Tamron 90mm macro

A while back I wrote a few posts about scam sites popping up all the time all around.
Yesterday I got a mail from a mate (he probably doesn’t even know he sent it, I’m gonna have to let him know still) saying he bought some stuff from a website called elesales.com. I tell you now to beware and do not approach. Don’t touch even with a stick! If you feel like you want to go have a look, do just that: only have a look.
And, before everyone runs there to check it out, let me emphasize that alarm bells should start ringing instantly if you see the following, on ANY website:

1) a page redirect upon load
2) super low prices, up to 80% cheaper than your regular retail prices
3) payment options only by money transfer or Western Union (DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING!!!!)
4) a Chinese store with a web page completely in (faulty) English (only, and not in Chinese) and currency in €
And for the more advanced among you:
5) they claim to be around since many years and the web domain is registered just a few months or even just a few days ago.

This elesales is your typical example of a scam site, just like the Alihashop and Admreshop I wrote about in the other posts.
Prices are way way down (€1380 for a Nikon D3?? Yeah, right!).
The store is said to be Chinese (with 50 staffs :D ) and one of the first e-commerce stores in China (Yeah, Right!!) and in business since 2008 (one of the first, eh?). The domain elesales.com is registered on December 6th 2010, the redirect vigorg.com was registered on June 7th 2010. Website’s only in English, default currency is in Euros (but you can actually change that, wow!).
Payment is only via bank transfer or Western Union. They say they accept PayPal, but conveniently, that’s only for VIP customers, which I can assure you, is very hard to become and not as they say by just contacting them. So DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING!!!!

Once again: if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
Better pay a bit more and be assured you get your stuff than paying a lot less and not getting anything.

Beware, always!

Wow, a milestone day… Day 100 and spending it with the Better Half. How nice is that? :)
Wouldn’t want to deprive you, my readers, from a post on this remarkable day, though!
And of course (even a tad bit late) use this opportunity to wish everyone an excellent Christmas and a healthy, successful, prosperous and humorous 2011!

Now…
Those gloomy days of Christmas… Too little light (even candles), a blizzard raging outside (already for 2 days) and a good book.

Merry Christmas!

D700, ISO1600, 1/250 @ f/4.8, Nikkor 50mm

I’ve been a good boy, proven by the fact that I got my share of presents from Santa, but I also bought myself a Christmas present, which was delivered right in time on Friday afternoon.
A limited, First Edition of Stephen King’s Secretary of Dreams Volume 2 with artwork by Glenn Chadbourne. Had to wait for it for almost 2 years, but it was worth it. Very appropriate on these dark, cold days. It took me a whole of 1,5 days to read the 260 pages. I think I’m going to have to read it again. And again. And again ;)

Secretary of Dreams, Volume Two

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/3.3, Nikkor 50mm, on-camera flash

Yesterday was the traditional “getting-the-Christmas-tree-day”. Every year a couple of weeks before Christmas we head out toward the east of Finland where the Better Half’s dad has a stretch of forest.
Typically this is a whole day event with a couple of extra things besides getting a tree, but the main part is about getting the tree. We’ll head into the forest, packed in warm clothes, carrying axe and saw and on the look-out for a good tree. And typically, it goes like this:
In the first five minutes looking we see a really good tree, but we decide to keep that in mind and check a bit further, since we’re only a few steps into the forest. We’ll be walking around the forest, through half a meter and more snow for 2,5-3 hours to find a good tree, but then after that we end up with the tree we found in the first five minutes and bring that home. Fail-save, set your clock to it.
This time, however, mum-in-law came along (bless her! :D ) and we took the first good tree and returned. It took them a whole of about 15 minutes, and I wasn’t even there, since I was lagging behind taking pictures.

It’s always a great experience, though, every year again, and especially this year when there really was a staggering amount of snow!

Me

D700, ISO200, 1/125 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm

Grass

D700, ISO200, 1/320 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm, on-camera flash (fill)

Sunset

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm

For the people who haven’t figured it out yet, I’ll let you have another go at it… ;)

Bubbles

D700, ISO200, 1,5 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm macro

After today I’m going to take a little break. I’ll still write, of course, but my days won’t be so oblivious anymore, because She’s coming over for a visit (how stupid does that sound? My Better Half’s coming over for a visit).
And so, especially for Her, on the day of Her return, I dedicate an oblivious post to one of Her favorite items (and probably one of my biggest pet  peeves). The Double Bubble (aka Tupla Kupla) by one of Finland’s greatest designers Eero Aarnio. As a fashion item I think it’s a total “onding”. That’s Dutch for, literally translated, “unthing”, which is basically a very appropriate name, even in English :D
Sure, it’s a financial investment (or so they say), but you know what they say about monkeys and gold rings…
But being a photographer, I think I actually managed to do something interesting with it. A color gel and rotating goes a long way…

Tupla Kupla by Eero Aarnio, in Arno style

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm, off-camera SB800 with green gel

In between water and milk we’re doing something else.
For about a year now I’ve been working on this little project, which I call PMS. I have a good number of pictures already, and I hope to make this into an exhibition some time (soon?). So if anyone knows a nice gallery that isn’t afraid of going wildly abstract… Let me know.

Some of you know already, I’ll let the others you figure out what it is by themselves. Hint: it’s not pasta :D

Prints -as usual- available, and this little project is also to be seen on my website here.
I swear, a lambda print on huge size of one of these images would look absolutely fantastic (if I may say so myself).

PMS

D700, ISO200, 6 sec @ f/11, Tamron 90mm macro, 2x off-camera SB800 set to rear-sync

(apologies for the jpg compression artifacts, it’s merciless on reds).

Here’s another few with the drops, a few with water, and one with milk (ok, that’s not really a drop). It’s funny how milk seems to be so much thicker than water. You can really tell the difference between the drops.
I’ll do a few better ones with milk later, but I noticed there were some issues with the focus. This one turned out quite nicely, though, so consider this an intro ;)

Water drop

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/16, Tamron 90mm macro, 2x off-camera SB800

Drops

D700, ISO200, 1/350 sec @ f/11, Tamron 90mm macro, 2x off-camera SB800

I’ve done a good number of posts on cross-processing. One thing is more suitable for cross-processing than the other. Yesterday I wrote about the water drops and I had a couple of pictures left that didn’t really come out all that well for the purpose we intended (trial and error, hit’n’miss, remember? :D ), but one of them actually turned out really interesting after cross processing.

See below the before and after.

Water spray

D700, ISO200, 1/320 sec @ f/13, Tamron 90mm macro, 2x off-camera SB800

Water spray

D700, ISO200, 1/320 sec @ f/13, Tamron 90mm macro, 2x off-camera SB800