I got pictures back from this weekend. The ones from Jamaica Bay didn’t come out so great (excuses/reasons: the noon-time light made things very flat, couldn’t get close enough to frame things nicely), though I might post one or two in due time. I did take some family portraits that came out well. Check them out here.

On a photographic note – the family photos were the first I took using the flash I got not so long ago (though the portrait of my grandmother is just with natural light). I think they came out well – the one of my family doesn’t look too artificially lit.

posted August 31, 2004 – 8:23 pm

I need a napkin to wipe up the drool on my keyboard after seeing this. The new iMac looks stunning! If one happened to appear on my doorstep soon, I certainly wouldn’t complain.

Inspired by Anna’s version I had on Sunday night, I made a really tasty cold corn soup for dinner last night. I also made a roasted orange pepper puree to mix in with it – the combination was great!

posted August 31, 2004 – 7:34 am

I updated the canary wood box project page to include more photos and a description of the “making of” process. Enjoy.

posted August 30, 2004 – 6:37 pm

I was gonna use frequent flyer miles for my October California trip, but when I found round-trip tickets to San Francisco for $230, the choice was clear. I’ll save up my miles for the Alaska trip I’m dreaming about next summer…

posted August 30, 2004 – 12:18 pm

I went on Friday to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Mostly, it was just hot and buggy (if I stop posting in about a week or so, you can assume it’s because of West Nile), but I saw some nice birds, including ibis, osprey and many black crowned night herons. I’d definitely recommend stopping in there, just not in late August around noon-time.

Saturday and Sunday were mostly spent avoiding spending time outdoors in New York – although it was only 85 or 90°, it was also 80% humidity!

posted August 30, 2004 – 6:02 am

The “studio” photography went really well last night. Check it out here. More pics to follow…

posted August 27, 2004 – 2:48 am

I went for a nice walk at lunchtime today and saw a family of Cedar Waxwings hanging out by the stream near my office. One of them took flight, hovered for a few seconds in front of a big spider web, plucked the spider (while still hovering), and ate it. Pretty amazing! I might bring my camera in next week and try to take some pictures.

posted August 26, 2004 – 1:00 pm

The CostCo photo printing experiment from the other night produced mixed results. They did, in fact, print an 8″ x 12″ glossy print on nice photo paper in about 45 minutes from my digital file for exactly $2.09 (with tax). However, it wasn’t such a great print – it was very grainy, and the colors weren’t right. I’m not sure what kind of control I have over either of those parameters – if I’d Photoshopped the scan differently, could they have produced a better output? I hope so, and it definitely seems worth trying again after a Photoshop tutorial or two.

Check out this article in the NYTimes in which people claim their iPod has an agenda when choosing music on “shuffle play.” Pretty funny stuff.

It’s my grandmother’s 90th birthday this weekend, and I’m finishing up a small box I made as a gift for her. I wanna set up a little photo studio somewhere in my house to try taking some fancier pictures than normal – a la the maple box (those photos were taken in a real studio, though). This page (PDF) seems to have some good suggestions.

posted August 26, 2004 – 6:12 am

Word on the street (and at photo.net) is that CostCo will print high quality, large, 8″ x 12″ or 12″ x 18″, photographs from digital files in an hour for $1.99 and $2.99, respectively. Doesn’t this seem absurdly inexpensive?! A call to CostCo confirmed the pricing, though they said they can only do prints in under an hour if you bring them fewer than 100 at a time. Apparently people routinely request thousands of prints. No worries there…

I’m gonna bring in some pictures tonight and see how they come out.

posted August 24, 2004 – 10:40 am

I got a chance to scan in photos from Friday’s trip to Great Meadows. You can see them here. The two that I posted earlier are really about as good as they get, but the others aren’t bad. I’m definitely happier with these images than the ones from Ipswich River.

It’s Restaurant Week in Boston. If there’ll take a last minute reservation (it’s often pretty booked up by now), a bunch of us are going to either Upstairs on the Square or Sandrine’s on Thursday night for a (relatively) inexpensive, sure-to-be-good meal. If I’m around next year, I’ll plan ahead and make reservations at Icarus, a place I’ve always wanted to try.

posted August 23, 2004 – 8:37 pm

Well, both Dan and I managed to get up at the appointed time, and we had a very successful time taking pictures at Great Meadows. I got all three rolls of print film and one roll of slide film developed today, but haven’t had time to scan most of them. I’ll leave you with two teasers and a promise to scan the rest soon. (They’re big files – sorry.)

An egret and a water snake.

posted August 20, 2004 – 6:36 pm

Somehow, Dan and I agreed to meet up tomorrow morning before sunrise to take some photos. I think it might have even been me who suggested it. Yikes!

Really, though, I’m quite looking forward to it – we’re headed to Great Meadows in Concord to watch the sunrise and see what we can see.

posted August 19, 2004 – 7:46 am

I seem to, on a fairly regular basis, forget how important it is for me to get lots of exercise. I spent almost all of Sunday inside, and didn’t get out on Monday. Not-so-mysteriously, I was pretty grumpy on Sunday, Monday and yesterday during the day. After biking to Waltham, playing a relatively intense frisbee game, and biking back to Davis last night, I felt great!

posted August 18, 2004 – 7:52 am

I’ve been asking every once in a while at Hollywood Express when Rivers and Tides would come out on DVD. Now I know the answer. Late September? Too long to wait…

posted August 17, 2004 – 12:43 pm

I got the photos back from our outing on Saturday. They didn’t come out quite as well as I’d hoped, but there were a few salvagable ones… check ’em out here.

posted August 17, 2004 – 6:07 am

Since I got the replacement scanner on Friday, I’ve been scanning a few frames a day. For kicks, here’s an example of what the Minolta DiMAGE Scan Dual IV can do:

Bird in London

This is a 100% crop from the above image (the red highlighted portion viewed at full resolution):

Closeup view

Not bad! This negative was a pretty good one – scratched or really dirty negatives yield pretty spotty images that take a bunch of time to remove (in Photoshop or the GIMP).

The big feature you get if you spend about twice as much money on a scanner is Digital ICE, and it eliminates the need to remove dust and scratches in Photoshop. In addition to scanning the red, green, and blue channels of an image, it uses infrared light to detect defects on the film (like dust or scratches). It’s my understanding that the scanner shines this beam through the film at different angles and determines which features are part of the photo and which are really defects. Very cool, but a bit too expensive for me.

In other photography-related news, Dan and I went out yesterday morning to the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary to take some pictures. We saw lots of birds & critters, and had a good time. My photos are due back from the camera store Monday (Dan’s got a nice digital SLR, so he gets more or less instant gratification) – I’ll let you know how they come out.

posted August 15, 2004 – 10:18 am

I spent a couple hours last night organizing my photo negatives. I managed to get them all in to sheets and each sheet labelled, though I had to do some sleuthing to find out when I had taken a particular roll of film. I seem to be missing exactly one strip of four frames out of the whole lot, and it doesn’t even have pictures that I like on it. Not bad!

I didn’t do anything with the 10 or so rolls of APS film I’d taken (the negatives are stored in a film canister instead of flat), but even counting those, I thought I had more pictures than I really do. There might be 25 sheets of about 20 frames apiece, plus the APS canisters, totalling a modest 800 photos or so, spanning 6 years.

posted August 11, 2004 – 12:00 pm

Wanna see some absolutely gorgeous pictures from National Parks in the US? Check out Quang-Tuan Luong’s site.

I’m planning a visit to San Francisco in the fall, and thinking about taking a two or three day camping trip to a park not too far away. Any suggestions?

posted August 11, 2004 – 7:30 am

I’m probably the last on my block to discover the wonders of online bill payment, but I finally did, and it’s fantastic. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to buy in to what I’m guessing everyone already knows to be a good idea. Maybe I was turned off by the fact that my bank charged for the feature (it’s now free), but in hindsight, it would’ve been worth the $3.50 a month they wanted (the five stamps I use each month is half of that already, without accounting for time saved and hassle avoided). In any event, I’ve moved out of the stone ages, at least when it comes to paying bills – I’m still not getting a cell phone.

posted August 10, 2004 – 10:41 am

I heard Peter Mulvey on the radio this morning. Someone please get this man a voice-over contract, stat! At least have him do a book on tape. I could listen to him talk for hours…

My project for tonight: archiving negatives. All my photo negatives are haphazardly stored in various containers in a drawer – it took me half an hour to find a particular frame the other night.

posted August 10, 2004 – 7:08 am

Saturday just wasn’t my day. On two occasions, friends that I was meeting up with didn’t show (one says I got the day wrong, but I’m not convinced…), and my car got hit. Fortunately, it was a nice day to be outside waiting for people, and the folks who hit my car were kind enough to leave a note. Oh, and also, my new film scanner broke.

Sunday, on the other hand, was a great day. Rif and I went for a nice bike ride along the river and a great walk in Mt. Auburn Cemetery (where we saw a cormorant, a green heron, and a kingfisher in the span of about 30 seconds). I got some Scrabble playing in (two bingos: REALIzE for 66 points and QUOtERS for 106 points!), and had a really nice dinner out on their patio with my folks. Glad the weekend turned around…

Last week, I finished making my frame saw, and I put up some pictures of the construction process. Check it out here.

posted August 9, 2004 – 7:22 am

I swung by Calumet on my way home last night and picked up my new toy! I only had about ten minutes to spend with it yesterday, but the preliminary results were very impressive. I scanned one color negative and one color slide, and the resulting images from both were not bad, especially considering I didn’t do any futzing with settings. It’s not speedy, but it’ll do the job just fine…

In reading about film scanners in general, I came across two pieces about image histograms and curves. The first is kind of technical and long-winded, but ultimately covers a lot of ground. The second is a little clearer, but goes in to less detail. Both relate more or less directly to scanning film, and it’s clear that getting really good results from any scanner requires using these functions.

I’ll post samples and more observations as I have time to play…

posted August 6, 2004 – 5:59 am

It’s being reported that Henri Cartier-Bresson passed away. Not knowing too much about him, I found this great collection of his portraits.

I’m considering getting one of these to transition negatives to digital. Any experiences to share?

posted August 4, 2004 – 11:37 am

Well, our Cape-bound bike trip just wasn’t meant to happen this year – with thunderstorms and high heat and humidity predicted, we figured biking wasn’t the best activity for the weekend. Instead, Matt and I headed down to NYC.

Highlights from the trip included a viewing of Spiderman 2 (good summer action film), dinner at Flor de Mayo (Chinese-Peruvian!), a visit to J&R; Electronics and B&H; Camera (talk about overwhelming), and (many) cupcakes from the Cupcake Cafe.

I also took some more pictures with the old camera – we’ll see how they come out.

posted August 4, 2004 – 6:13 am
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