I’ve known Dolce&Gabbana to have really stylish ads. And even though many of them are obviously staged, i.e. people from multiple pictures placed into one, usually they are very credible. I haven’t noticed before that they would put clothes on people that wouldn’t previously be there.
The other day, however, I found this ad. It’s one page of a spread, where, again, multiple people are united in one ad, but look at this:

Dolce&Gabbana bandana

Dolce&Gabbana bandana

Is it just me or should this bandana throw some sort of shadow here and there?
I know if I would have a bandana over my eyes like that, it would cast a good shadow, even if there would be a reflector held under my face…

As a photographer you see things, you notice things, because you observe what’s happening around you. I know not everyone has a photographer’s eye, but I do believe that every has some sort of “observe-ability”. The other day, when I went climbing with a friend of mine, we saw a good example of “being oblivious of your surroundings”. A young man came out of the sports center, passed a car, walked around his own car, stepped in, started his engine and reversed straight into the car he just passed. Despite me and my friend yelling warnings.
The guy drove back into his parking space, got out, walked to the owner of the car he just hit, and said “boy, you’ve got a small model car. I didn’t even see you!”

I know, I know… Traffic accidents like this happen all the time. In one way or another I can grasp for example that you miss a car coming from the right. It’s moving, it might be somehow slipping your attention or your angle of view. But on a well lit parking lot, where you just passed the car. That’s just weird.

It happened to me once too.
I was waiting in line at the traffic lights, four cars in front of me, three cars behind me. To my left there’s a parking lot, full save for one spot. I see a guy coming out of the store, looking at the line waiting for the light to turn green. He walks to his car, gets in, and reverses. Straight into my door. And with considerable speed. I had nowhere to go, and frankly, I was too flabbergasted to have done anything. I just looked at the reverse lights of his car turning on and the car coming at me.
I had to climb out from the passenger’s side, because my door was so busted it wouldn’t open anymore. When I got out and looked over my car to the guy, who’d driven back into his parking space, he walks up to me and says “Where the HELL did you come from so fast?” I look to my right at the four cars waiting in front of me and then to the left to the three cars parked behind me, spread my arms in a “look to both sides” gesture and go “Sir, where do you THINK I was coming from?” (I could’ve added there “I just landed with my space cruiser after a 15-light-year trip to the end of the Galaxy, and thanks for the fish”, but the guy didn’t look like he would’ve understood that, anyway).

Both very similar cases. Very similar behavior.
Some sort of indirect denial of their own mistake. Which makes it all the more interesting, from a human behavioral point of view, that is.
It definitely makes me wonder what can consume people so much that they really are sometimes completely oblivious to what’s happening around them.

Food for thought…

Lightroom is for archiving photographs. Lightroom is for editing photographs, very much like Photoshop.

There’s one other trivial thing – I think – missing in Lightroom: Support for scanning images.
Photoshop has this nifty little TWAIN support, where you can scan images straight into Photoshop.

Photoshop screenshot

Photoshop screenshot

Suppose… I was a photographer already in the previous century, when there was still that weird thing with that kind of plasticcy material with its light-sensitive layer… dang… what’s it called again… Oh yeah! FILM! You got these funny strips called slides or negatives. And you’ve got a basement full of boxes of these, that need to be digitalized.
Or maybe you’re just one of those true artists who love photographing with old cameras and positive or negative film and do all kinds of old fashioned Ansel-Adamsy stuff with it and want to digitalize it afterwards for the world to see? Or maybe you don’t even have slides or negatives anymore, but boxes full of prints that need to be digitalized…?

Being a photographer using Lightroom, wouldn’t it be just the bestest thing to be able to get the same little screen from the File menu and scan from Lightroom, after which it’s added to the open catalog straight away?
I mean… Instead of opening Photoshop (or whatever other third party software that runs the scanner), scan it, save it somewhere on your hard disk, open Lightroom, search for the location where you saved the scan, and import it into the catalog in Lightroom?
That would save a good amount of time. I’m not a software programmer, but I believe that’s only a matter of copy-pasting some coding from for example Photoshop. And voilà, problem fixed, and another handful of photographers satisfied.

That one thing wouldn’t be all, of course… :D
Being the systematically annoying perfectionist I am, there are a couple of other things that bug me.

I mentioned the (smart) collections in the previous post.
I have a couple of projects and ideas that I have compiled in smart collections in my catalogs. I found a “workaround” (too complicated and not half as effective as I would want it to be, but it works for me for now) for the missing Save Catalog As and all my catalogs I have the smart collections of the running projects and ideas.
But here’s the thing:
If the folders in which the images are located that link to the smart collection aren’t stored in the same catalog, they don’t appear in the smart collection. So say that I have a catalog with the name 2008 and I have a catalog with the name 2009, and in both I have the smart collection with the name “Panoramic landscapes”. From the catalog 2008 I have 26 images stored in the smart collection. But when I open the catalog 2009 half of the images in that smart collection are gone, because I haven’t imported the folders in which those images are located into the 2009 catalog.

Lightroom screenshot

Lightroom screenshot

The only way to work around this problem seems to be to duplicate the specific images in a separate folder and (re)import that folder in every catalog. I’ve done that to the smart collection “Some idea”, because I found it highly irritating not to have all the images for that particular idea together.
But really, what’s the use of smart collections then? They’re not so smart after all, it seems, if they can’t locate the links to pictures in the smart collections.

I’ve come to love Lightroom. When it was just released I didn’t think I would need it. I figured I could do everything I needed to do in Bridge and Photoshop.
I still do a lot of stuff in Bridge and Photoshop. I do believe that Lightroom isn’t nearly as powerful in some things than Photoshop is, but I’m not sure if I could be without Lightroom anymore. Especially (among others) its archiving and keywording properties are amazing.
But as with all things also Lightroom has some flaws.

With the amount of photography I do (and the systematically annoying perfectionist that I can be), I need to have order in my archives. Thus I would like to create many catalogs.
Yep, you can create a New Catalog and that will clear the slate completely.

Lightroom screenshot

Lightroom screenshot

But suppose (which is often the case with me) that I want to start a new catalog, but leave some of the (smart) collections that I have? Or some of the folders?
I’d delete everything from the present catalog that I don’t want in the new, leave what I need and then go to File – Save Catalog As…
But wait… what the…??? There’s no Save Catalog As…? How can there not be a Save Catalog As? I don’t know one piece of software that doesn’t have a Save As function, so what were the people at Adobe thinking when they left out Save Catalog As?

That would be the first thing I would expect in one of the new versions of Lightroom.

Last summer, when I was in the US doing that photography course, one of our teachers gave us a checklist on what to check before we go out and/or take pictures. It’s become quite an automatism over the past half year to go over that list in my mind. But not this afternoon.

A couple of days ago I was out shooting in the late afternoon. Cloudy, overcast day, and too dark, really, to take pictures. But well… stubborn… I wanted to try anyway, even if I knew better.
Upped the ISO to 1600, screwed up all my pictures, as expected. D200 doesn’t really handle high ISOs as well as the newer models.

Worse, today I shot a couple of pictures and forgot completely to check the checklist. So I left the ISO on 1600.
Bright daylight, so this image wasn’t as ruined as the rest…

Anyway… Rambling…
Doesn’t have anything to do with what I actually wanted to write.

IT’S WINTER!!! :D
We finally got a decent pack of snow, and cold weather!
Love it, LOVE IT!
It was kind of funny when I shot this picture.

D200, ISO1600, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO1600, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Tamron 28-75mm

This image is unedited. There was a gorgeous orange sunset behind me, turning everything on the opposite side this shade.
We live a bit uphill and when it’s clear there’s a sunset like this every day. Lasts only about 5-10 minutes, but when I’m home, I’m always looking.
I still have to nick the keys to the roof of our building some time. Set up there and take a shot from bird’s eye view :)

And this… Well… sunset through a glass pot with some frost in it…
Never mind me… ;)

D200, ISO1600, 1/500 sec @ f/19, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO1600, 1/500 sec @ f/19, Tamron 28-75mm

… that you may or may not know of me. It’s another one of those things that go around in blog-country. Requested by the girl from Chocolate and Capri Blue (like she wouldn’t know…).

1) I’ve weighed 80 kgs (+ or – 1 or 2 kgs) for the past 20 years. I can eat whatever I want, in whatever quantity I want, and I don’t gain weight.

2) I used to be an avid BMX-racer (also for about 20 years), and a fairly good one at that. Now I climb and play snooker.

3) My hair used to be carrot-orange when I was a little boy.

4) I can do a straddle split (between two chairs if needed).

5) I was bitten by a fish from the piraña family while swimming in a river in the Malaysian jungle.

6) I’ve been in a tv-commercial (a terribly bad one, but not because of me! :D )

7) I don’t like pea soup (at least, I didn’t the last time I ate it, about 25 years ago).

Being in graphics I frequently find myself on the look-out for cheap(er) ways to get stuff printed. If things need to be really good and well-produced, I of course turn to a local offset printer for the best results. If, however, it’s more about the quantity/price and not the quality, I try to find the best price/result balance.
I have a good number of options on my list, and one of them is (or used to be) Vista Print. I had never used them before, but I know a few who have, and I probably would’ve tried them out at some point, had I not come across a post in a forum the other day.

And sure, after doing a bit of research, there were a good number of links that were warning about Vista Print’s affiliates that would charge credit cards without authorization.

I tried a few things myself, went all the way to payment terms in the order process (without actually ordering), and read through the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy several times. In the ordering process there are about six pages with additional optional orders, subscriptions, and discounts, but there’s nothing sneaky or secret about those: it’s clearly stated, if you check this it’s free the first month (or whatever period), after that it’ll cost. They are just an obligatory annoying path through check-out and you need not select any of those.
I really can’t find anything that would give someone the option to check or uncheck a box for Vista Print’s affiliates to add some monthly subscription to the order you’re placing or anything along those lines, so it’s a really dubious case. Or then I really do read before I click accept. I’ve been mentioning that already before in this blog.

Obviously I unchecked Vista Print from my list of possible printers. And I’d advise everyone who has or will do business with Vista Print to be very cautious and READ. Read carefully!

Every year I look forward to winter.
Being from Holland originally, where winter officially ceased to exist in the early 80s (with the occasional exception to the rule every decade and a half or so) I haven’t really had the pleasure of enjoying a good pack of snow and temperatures so cold that your eyes get sticky. Until I came to Finland, that is.
And the first years were great. Massive amounts of snow, freezing cold temperatures, and great great opportunities to photograph.
Unfortunately, call it global warming, or whatever, it looks like in the southern part of Finland where I’m residing, winter’s going on holiday now too in winter… There was a bit of snow in November, but since then it’s been just dramatic. Just like in Holland. Rain, rain, rain.
So what’s left to do for a photographer then? Traveling up north would be an option, and I WILL do that some time. But right now the only option is to retreat underground… Into the tunnels under the city.

D200, ISO200, 1/2 sec @ f/5, Sigma 28-200mm

D200, ISO200, 1/2 sec @ f/5, Sigma 28-200mm

D200, ISO100, 8 sec @ f/19, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 8 sec @ f/19, Sigma 10-20mm

It’s both the nightmare of (beginning) photographers and a great tool to add something to your images. If you know how your camera works, that is. In P mode on your camera (P stands for PUH-LEASE, do not use!!!) you’re out of luck.
These days more and more handy tools come onto the market that are supposed to help the photographer getting the white balance right.

One of those nifty little things is this:

BRNO balens, white balance lens cap

BRNO balens, white balance lens cap

I haven’t had the pleasure of trying it, and I probably won’t.
Because you know what?
What ever happened to the good old grayscale card / color checker?

Color checker / grayscale card

Color checker / grayscale card

All those nifty little tools… For which you need to know your camera inside out… With that good old color checker / grayscale card you can just take a picture in the P(uh-lease, do not use!!!) setting and you can correct all your images in post processing in one batch…
Piece of cake.
And for a good metering you just meter off some fresh green grass, which is 18% gray, and you don’t need any of those tools. We don’t need development or hi-tech tools at all ;)