Archive for April, 2008

Saturday, April 26th 2008

Nine millimetres is less than you think

Went to the hairdressers yesterday. She is always very careful when cutting and usually ends up cutting less off than I really want. So yesterday I had prepared to ask her for the cutting machine.

We agreed on using a nine millimetre comb on top and six millimetres around the sides. She started by trimming down the sides. But then she sort-of chickened out and started cutting the top of my head with scissors. I looked like a mushroom.

After watching her with the scissors for a while I asked why she didn’t just go ahead and shave it all off as we had agreed. I guess she knew how short nine millimetres actually is and didn’t want to do something I would regret. But I said that I knew it was really short and said she should just do it.

So … it turns out, nine millimetres is pretty short! But I don’t regret anything. Just takes a bit of getting used to.

Photo of my new haircut

Thursday, April 17th 2008

What can I make out of these?

Red chili pepper and lime

Yesterday I was in a shooting mood and bought some interesting vegetables and fruit to shoot when I was at Hemköp.

I set up a provisional studio on one of my chairs. I just used a large sheet of white paper that I happened to find in a photo frame. For lighting I used my desk light and a second smaller light.

Red onion

I hunted down the correct exposure to make the paper only just overexpose in the brightest corner, and then shot in manual mode.

Radicchio

I used my Sigma 17-70mm, Canon 50mm and Canon 70-300mm lenses. I liked the results best from the 50mm, so I ended up sticking with that lens most of the time. (Except for the real close-ups where I used the 70-300mm + a close-up lens.) And most of the time I had the 50mm set at f/2.8 which seems to be this lenses sweet spot.

Green and yellow peppers

If you want to see more of the shots I’ve put my favourites in a set at Flickr.

Tuesday, April 15th 2008

Shooting Flames

I bought the latest issue of Digital Camera (or to be more precise: the Swedish translation DigitalFoto) and found an article on simple macro shots you can take at home.

I saw a photo of a match being lit and decided to have a go at cloning the shot.

It was difficult getting the exposure right. To begin with I was over-exposing wildly and I had to go as far down as 1/1000th at f/8, ISO 200 before I got it right. I had no idea that a match was so bright — that’s brighter than a clear blue sky or at least roughly the same.

After having set fire to almost a whole box of matches I ended up with 19 shots which were keep-worthy. The following two were the coolest hottest:

The weird flame in the second shot is from the match I used to light the upright match, as I was pulling it back.

I took the shots against a black background but that really hadn’t been necessary. The matches were so bright that any indoor background would have looked black.

For the record I used my EF 70-300mm lens with close-up lens 500D screwed on.

The next project on my list is to have a go at weird fruits and vegetables.

Tuesday, April 15th 2008

Trainspotting

On the Sunday evening I went out to shoot the old trains I had found one week ago. There was plenty of — er — old stuff to be found.

I tried developing this close-up of a buffer both as a colour shot and as black and white. I preferred the black and white version because I think it gives you that heavy clonky metal feel.

Old electric engine

This old engine was stripped of all the machinery and completely vandalized. It was packed with that eerie feeling of old abandoned places.

Old rusty goods wagon with machine.

Black and white. Machine on goods wagon.

Not sure what kind of machine that was on the goods wagon. It could have been the engine of the engine, but it really didn’t look like an engine to me.

Open door, old electric engine.

The drivers cabin of the engine was ripped to pieces. All windows were smashed and the seats and instruments were broken.

Old gauge of electric engine.

This gauge was broken off and lying on the dashboard.

Feet heaters, electric engine.

The engines must have been badly isolated. The drivers apparently had electric heaters for their feet.

More gauges.

Since most of the subjects were shaded and the light was getting low I underexposed all the shots by one to two stops to avoid the washed out look you otherwise can get in shade.

These were only a few of all the shots from the train yard. The rest are in a set at my flickr account.

Monday, April 14th 2008

New Memory Card Seems to Work

After I bought my new memory card I found several reviews of the card saying it didn’t work properly. So I decided to test mine to see that it works properly.

  • First I filled it with old photos from my archive. No problems.
  • Then I deleted a few, and put it in my camera. I seemed to be able to see all the photos, and I could also take a few shots to fill the remaining space.
  • Finally I put it through a few disk tests. I used the Windows disk check thing and a program called CDCheck. The latter seems to work for any kind of disk. Neither of them found any problems.

Conclusion: Works for me!

Friday, April 11th 2008

Nice start, Ameibo

Screenshot of Ameibo

I was just checking out Ameibo which was launched only yesterday. If I’ve understood correctly it is a legal, torrent based file sharing service which charges for downloads and pays users for uploads.

I haven’t actually tried downloading anything yet. Since downloads cost money I’ll only download stuff I really want. But everything was looking really promising and I got the feeling of Wow, finally someone has worked it out!. How to provide legal downloads of films for a reasonable price.

But then I got a welcome email, and I quote: (translated from Swedish)

To make best use of the service we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 6.0 and Windows Media Player 11 or higher.

Emphasis mine there. Well as you understand, that’s a bit of a turn-off for a Firefox guy geek like me. At least there’s the higher which refers to IE7 I guess. That’s better than asking for IE6 only, which would be plain crazy.

Don’t they understand that their audience, people using (or willing to use) bittorrent, are much more biased towards using Firefox than the average internet crowd?

Then there’s the fact that most of the films are DRM’ed, and therefore can’t be burned and played on a DVD. But perhaps the film industry will one day understand (like the music industry now finally has done) that DRM is only a nuisance for the legal downloaders and no one else.

Wednesday, April 9th 2008

Problem and solution: 16GB Compact Flash in EOS 30D

Transcend 16GB Compact Flash

Today I got the 16GB Compact Flash card that I ordered a few days ago. I just wrote about the crazy weather but this is almost even more insane: 16GB now cost me less than half of what my two 2GB cards cost me two years ago. And back then I had a serious discount since I bought them at the shop I worked at, Allradio. That means that the price per GB is now less than a tenth of what it was two years ago!

Eager to try it out (why? don’t know) I put my 16GB card in my camera, formatted it and … Oh! It now only had 8GB of space.

It turns out, the Canon EOS 30D doesn’t cope with (formatting) cards larger than 8GB. And when the card had been formatted down to 8GB it couldn’t be reformatted to 16GB. Not in the camera, not in Windows.

After hunting around for a while, giving up, and then hunting around some more, I found a solution: A small program called USB_Format. Just unzip it and run it, and it should let you reformat your memory card in your card reader to it’s proper size.

Now I just have to remember not to format the card in the camera. But that shouldn’t be so hard. I don’t usually format, I tend to Delete all instead.

Wednesday, April 9th 2008

Crazy Weather

The weather has been really wacky the last couple of days in Eskilstuna. Today I switched back to my winter jacket and boots, and put on gloves and a hat for work. I’m glad I did too, since the wind speed gave a chill effect of what felt like -20° C. What happened to the record breakingly early spring? No one knows.

Shot from my balcony, Eskilstuna.

Sunday, April 6th 2008

Blog Design Tweak

I just removed the the borders around the sidebars to make things a little cleaner. I realized they felt a little out of place somehow.

Saturday, April 5th 2008

Saturday Photo Excursion

I was bored this morning and felt like some photography, but I just couldn’t think of anything to shoot, especially since it was around 10 and the light was very bright and sharp.

So I decided to do some location scouting instead. I packed my camera bag and went for a slow bike ride, more or less randomly around Eskilstuna. Tried to go where I had never gone before.

First I came across Eskilstuna Art Museum. Although I had read about it at work I hadn’t really understood where it was.

At the entrance there was this cool piece of art1:

Glass monument outside Eskilstuna Art Museum

Glass monument outside Eskilstuna Art Museum

It is made out of sheets of glass stacked on top of each other, and I’m guessing that the naked girl visible in the block is cut out of all the sheets.

Glass monument outside Eskilstuna Art Museum

Glass monument outside Eskilstuna Art Museum

Later on I found a train yard with loads of old rusty engines and wagons. But I didn’t bother taking any pics in the harsh light. Instead I’ll go back some evening.

Then I found this fellar (?) fluttering about. He was unusually patient when he finally settled down though.

Small Tortoiseshell, Nymphalis urticae

Well, it wasn’t that much, but at least I got some fresh air… 🙂

1) I don’t take to art very easily so this should be considered quite the compliment.

Wednesday, April 2nd 2008

Firefox 3 beta 5 is out

As the title says ^^. Get it now. Or read a review over at Mozilla links first.

Screenshot of the Firefox 3 beta 5 first load page

It’s available in an amazing 45 different languages, simultaneously! I hear Vista SP1 in Swedish will be out some time during quarter two…

There have been quite a few nice little theme tweaks since beta 4. And I believe all the memory and javascript performance improvements that the Internets have been raving about are new for beta 5 as well.