So not to confuse with HDR, because this hasn’t seen any HDR (and no, it’s not just about dragging the saturation slider to +100)  ;)
If you’re intending to over-do it, with pictures that are suitable, it’s actually quite fun…

Old industry building

D700, ISO200, 1/1000 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm, and some serious Photoshopping...

You’ve got something stuck….. (discretely pointing at teeth)

Smile... Or maybe better not...

D700, ISO200, 1/2000 sec @ f/2, Nikkor 50mm, on-camera flash (fill)

I know… I KNOW!!!
But I just can’t help it!

I also have one with him putting food all over his face, but I’ll spare you that one ;)

Note to self: take picture BEFORE dinner, or wipe face after dinner, because using Photoshop to clean the face is a serious pain in the behind!

Noa

D700, ISO200, 1/350 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm

I shouldn’t really confess what I did. It’s too ghastly for words…
I had a photoshoot the other day. Bright day, clear sky, save for a lot of dust and other crap, invisible to the eyes. So I noticed on a picture a little hair on the sensor and decided to blow it out with my “patented” Giottos Rocket-Air. Now… Let me give you some good advise: BIN THE THING! Don’t ever use a Rocket-Air (unless you’re in a vacuum, sterile, dust-free environment).
It made things 100x worse. I just blew in all the dust instead of blowing out the hair.

Dust

THANK YOU, Giottos Rocket-Air!

So what now? Nothing else on me to fix this little issue. And I seriously didn’t feel like cleaning THAT up in 300 pictures. But hey… I have a lens cloth. Nice and soft, and clean. And I have a very long finger, that reaches all the way to the (glass in front of the) sensor. Oh, you thought you’re blowing STRAIGHT on your sensor, did you? Nonono, the smart people at the camera manufacturer do put something protective over it. So I wiped the sensor like that. Couldn’t get quite in all the corners, but the result (and my post-processing time) all of a sudden was a lot more inviting ;) It still needs some additional cleaning, but that can be done back home with the proper tools.

Less dust

THANK YOU, finger and lens cloth

Don’t try this at home! Or at least… at your own risk. Don’t call me when you screw up the sensor ;)

Being a native Dutch, and a photographer, pictures of one thing you MUST have in your portfolio.
Coffeeshops! Marihuana! Red Light District!

Yeayeah… I know us Dutch people have a reputation to uphold, but I don’t do those things! Yeayeah… *LOL*

Of course I’m talking about tulips!
I started wide and then went all the way in close. Wondrous world out there!

Flowering tulips in a variety of colors in a summery garden

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/5.6, Nikkor 70-200mm

Flowering tulips in a variety of colors in a summery garden

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/5.6, Nikkor 70-200mm

Macro photograph of a flowering tulip in a summery garden

D700, ISO200, 1/750 sec @ f/3.8, Tamron 90mm macro

Macro photograph of a flowering tulip in a summery garden

D700, ISO200, 1/350 sec @ f/3.8, Tamron 90mm macro

Macro close-up of a flowering tulip

D700, ISO200, 1/1000 sec @ f/2, Nikkor 50mm, Kenko extension tubes 12mm + 20mm + 36mm

Macro close-up of a flowering tulip

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/3, Tamron 90mm macro, Kenko extension tubes 12mm + 20mm + 36mm

Last Friday night there was a big Classic American car tour in Helsinki. Lots of nice cars: old ones, newer ones, new ones, small ones, bigger ones, huge ones… Great photo opp! Usually the drivers/owners of the cars also dress up to match the era of their car. Unfortunately this time I didn’t see much of that, and there were so many cars and so many people crowded together that it was next to impossible to get pictures of the whole car without getting the background or foreground completely cluttered. So I stuck to the beauty of the cars. Even the simplest car can turn into something artsy if you know where to look :)

Classic American cars

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/3.3, Nikkor 50mm

Classic American cars

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/3.3, Nikkor 50mm

Classic American cars

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/5.6, Nikkor 50mm

Classic American cars

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm (and some serious cross-processing in Photoshop)

Classic American cars

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/5.6, Nikkor 50mm

Classic American cars

D700, ISO200, 1/350 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm

Classic American cars

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/5.6, Nikkor 50mm

Last Saturday we were invited at a friend’s place for lunch. Oh, and to take some pictures. She’s got two lovely Egyptian Maus. One silver spotted and one black smoke, absolutely gorgeous cats. And we got to play around a bit with them.

Mauno, the silver spotted one, was a bit more cooperative than Eppu, the black smoke one, but I think things turned out very nicely. (More about Mauno and Eppu here and here).

We started with the “boring” stuff. Please, sit still, and look up. Head slightly more to the left… No, that’s too much… A bit back… That’s good. Chin up a bit more… nonono, not that much… cat nip is a bit lower…

Eppu

D700, ISO800, 1/125 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm

Mauno

D700, ISO1600, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

Eppu wasn’t too much in the mood of activity, so we did a couple of extra chin-ups with him

Eppu

D700, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm

But after that we got onto the funky stuff…

Mauno

D700, ISO400, 1/320 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 70-200mm, 2x off-camera SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

Mauno

D700, ISO400, 1/320 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 70-200mm, 2x off-camera SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

Eppu

D700, ISO400, 1/320 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 70-200mm, 2x off-camera SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

The next one’s actually slowly starting to become my favorite. Not because it’s fantastic, but it’s so elegant. Mauno’s got style. Put him in a tail-coat and he can… well… Never mind :D
This picture does remind me very much of the fairy tale “The Master Cat” (Puss in Boots).

Mauno

D700, ISO400, 1/320 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 70-200mm, 2x off-camera SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

And then, well… after an afternoon of jumping… Also Mauno had enough and called it a day.

Mauno out

D700, ISO400, 1/320 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 70-200mm, 2x off-camera SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

It’s a bit complicated to do a self portrait and make it look good, that’s why he let me do it ;)
But if you need video, you really have to contact Peter John Mäki. He’s the main camera guy at Communication & Design / White Herring Video Productions. It is a company creating a variety of video productions: from family events to documentaries and high-quality corporate and commercial material.

Communication & Design / White Herring Video Productions

D700, ISO1600, 1/500 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm, two off-camera SB-800s with Photoflex softbox and some post-processing in Photoshop for a clean finishing touch

This is only a quick post, just as a warning. Some time ago I wrote a post about a website called Alihashop which turned out to be a big scam.

The “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is” is a fairly solid motto to live by, so please do keep an eye out for these kind of things.

This morning I was checking my site and site statistics and my eye fell on a Google ad for Admreshop. Not putting the actual link up, so they won’t get any Google rating boost from me, but it’s a .com site, so if you’re curious you can check it out. DON’T BUY FROM THERE THOUGH!!!
The first thing I saw was an ad for  Nikon D700, for only €780. Too good to be true, yeah? Second thing I saw was that the layout of the pages were EXACTLY the same as those from the Alihashop I remember. Dubious, yeah?
I bet if you go through the order process you’ll find that you can pay only by money transfer or Western Union. Dodgy, yeah?

I haven’t kept track of IP numbers or domain registries, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the registrar / company behind the domain name is the same.

I’m not totally happy that these kind of sites appear next to my blog in the advertising space, but unfortunately I have no say in what Google shows in their ad space. And you can’t of course blame Google (not completely, at least), because these sites are paying customers and it’s impossible for Google to check everything.
But with your own common sense you get a long way, so if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Beware!

A year and a half or so ago I wrote a piece about Digimarc Digital Watermarking. Back then I had tried the service and wasn’t all that happy with the results, especially not with the price tag that came with it. I never looked back, and I still think that the best way to protect your images is with a big fat watermark dead center.
Occasionally I look at the stats for of my blog and on structural basis I see people having searched for Digimarc ending up here.

The surprise was when in mid February of this year I received a mail from a lady called Gina Giachetti, sent from a gmail address, who apparently is responsible for the pr stuff at Digimarc. In the mail she addresses me with my first name. I don’t find that a real problem in itself, and I don’t require anyone to call me Sir, but for courtesy’s sake she could’ve at least introduced herself and not pretend like she’s known me for 10 years already (and save me the trouble of Googling her to find out who on earth SHE was).
Anyway… She writes me that Digimarc has released 3 new editions of their products and that the prices have gone down. Furthermore she hopes that, as a blogger that reaches the photography and digital imaging community, I will share this information with my readers.

So my blog has been getting an daily average of a whopping 20-30 unique visitors, with some rare peeks if I write something really funny or stupid, so I had my doubts if the reason of her contacting me was truly just her hope of me sharing that new information about Digimarc. What I actually believe is that she found out that if you search for “Digimarc watermarking” in Google the fifth search result on the first page is my blog post, and that’s not really the best marketing / sales post you could imagine.

So I wrote her back that I’ve had previous experience with Digimarc Watermarking and that I wasn’t really all that happy with the service and it’s quite against my principles to promote and support products that I don’t support myself. But that of course I’m happy to talk to an executive or representative and if they can prove to me that the service indeed has approved I would gladly share the information.
I promptly receive a reply from Ms Giachetti in which she writes, among others, the following:

If you like, I’d be happy to arrange for you to speak with a Digimarc executive, and provide you with a way to try out the new technology for yourself. Let me know if that interests you and I’ll see what I can do.

So, wow, try the new technology out for myself, eh? That sounds cool! :) So I tell her sure, I wouldn’t mind testing the new technology and see if it got any better. It takes a week for her to reply this time, after which she apologizes for the delay because of busy schedules. But we’re still on for a talk with an executive, she has someone and we only have to arrange a time to talk.

I inform her with my schedule, we compare and come to the conclusion that around this day, around this time, would be the best for both parties. After that I haven’t heard anything anymore, nor seen any sign of life. I wonder…

So at this point I’m not sure what the service really does. I haven’t used the new version, nor seen it in action, so for all I care you still get a non-working service, only they made it $400 cheaper. To which I say: a $99 product which isn’t working, still is too expensive.