Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Saturday 28 May 2011

Northbrook, Ill., sometime in late April 1986:

Saturday 28 May 2011 16:09:11 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography#

In May 1986, I went to Boston with my school choir (all 130 of us, plus chaperons) and took about 240 photos. Here's one of them:

Check out two very different transformations of this photo—one from 25 years ago, and one from today—at The Daily Parker.

Friday 27 May 2011 20:17:21 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography#
Friday 27 May 2011

South Pond, Lincoln Park, Chicago, 1:27pm:

Friday 27 May 2011 18:08:35 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Photography#

Monday night I played around with one of my favorite slides from 1986. Today at lunch I rescanned the slide at 3600 dpi, after giving it a good dusting, and with the scanner's Kodachrome corrections. Here's the result:

For comparison, here's my previous attempt, using the 1200 dpi scan I made during my first pass:

The differences are much more apparent at full size, especially since the top photo's dimensions are nearly four times longer than the bottom one's.

Public Garden, Boston, 10 May 1986. Kodachrome 64. Exposure unrecorded.

Friday 27 May 2011 12:35:12 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography#
Thursday 26 May 2011

As I play around with high-dynamic-range imaging, I remembered a photo I took in 1991 while driving through North Dakota. I remember taking about a bunch of bracketed shots because of the scene's wide exposure range. Last night I looked for the image and found that one of the two negative strips covering the bracket is gone. Not only gone, but I wrote a note to myself in May 1992 on the negative holder pointing out that it's gone. Without the full bracket, an HDR image won't work.

Fortunately, I have the first image in the series, which I took using the camera's recommended exposure. A quick rescan at 3600 dpi, then a few minutes in Lightroom, and voilà:

(For comparison, here's the raw image from my scanner:)

I'm still about 60 rolls behind that image in the scanning project, unfortunately, so other photos from the trip will have to wait a while.

Kodachrome 64, 20 July 1991, near Sturgis, N.D. Exposure unrecorded.

Thursday 26 May 2011 13:21:20 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Geography | Photography#

A strong storm system just to the south of Chicago is drawing cooler air into the city from the northeast and the lake. At the moment we have some truly delightful weather: winds north-northeast at 35 km/h with gusts up to 62 km/h, visibility 5 km in mist, temperature 7°C with a windchill of 2°C.

Says WGN's Tom Skilling:

The last time it was even close to this cool on a May 26 was a half century ago in 1961 when a high of 9°C occurred. The average high this time of the year is 22°C which puts the day's predicted 7°C high some 16°C below the long-time average. By contrast, temperatures on this date a year ago hit 31°C—a level 23°C warmer.

In short, it's crappy outside.

Thursday 26 May 2011 13:09:54 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Wednesday 25 May 2011

I had a few minutes before work this morning to try out HDRSoft's Photomagix software. The program takes digital photos taken at different exposures and combines them into one image, a process called high dynamic range imaging, or HDRi.

For my first attempt, I used three photos of the park near my house that were only 1 EV apart, so the result may fail to awe you:

Here's one of the three originals from Monday evening, at the "correct" exposure:

The HDR image looks better, but not that much better. In the next couple of days I'll experiment some more, now that I have a better idea what I'm looking for and how to shoot it.

Wednesday 25 May 2011 13:16:14 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography#

It turns out a lot of stuff happened on May 25th in years past:

  • In 1521, the Diet of Worms coughed up an edict formally designating Martin Luther a heretic;
  • In 1878, the infernal nonsense Pinafore opened in London;
  • In 1925, Dayton, Tenn. indicted John Scopes on charges of teaching evolution in a school;
  • In 1963, Mike Myers was born (yes, he's that old);
  • In 1977, Star Wars hit theaters (and I spent an hour waiting in line in Torrance, Calif., to see it);
  • In 1979, American 191 crashed in Wood Dale, Ill.; and
  • In 2006, Geek Pride Day had its first celebration.

No over-arching point is intended here. I just thought the connections interesting.

Wednesday 25 May 2011 08:42:31 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink | World#
Tuesday 24 May 2011

Actually, I'm blegging for information. Has anyone used online photo printing services like ZenFolio, SmugMug, or Shutterfly, either as a photographer selling images or as a customer? Maybe your wedding photographer used a third-party site?

As a corollary, do you or does anyone you know buy stock photos for publication?

No, I'm not quitting my job; but with a backlog of 30,000 photos—some of them already sold as stock, some of them more than once—the wheels in my brain have started to turn. (Maybe it's the MBA.)

Tuesday 24 May 2011 14:30:43 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography | Business#

Why didn't I get Adobe Lightroom earlier? Even its basic photo-editing tools dramatically improve photos (or at least get them back to where they should be). I'm going to re-scan this one at higher resolution, after carefully dusting it, and with the appropriate filter, but for the moment, I think I've gotten pretty close to what the original Kodachrome image looked like:

This one came close, but not quite:

Both: Public Garden, Boston, 10 May 1986. Kodachrome 64. Exposure unrecorded.

Monday 23 May 2011 21:49:36 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography#

Another of my favorite Bills:

I want to try out some new techniques on this and a few other shots I took tonight, but I won't have time until the weekend. For now, here's a gratuitous statue photo.

Monday 23 May 2011 21:14:04 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Photography#
Sunday 22 May 2011

This morning we had weather about as perfect as a human could hope for, 26°C and sunny by the lake, with a gentle breeze out of the southwest. I hopped on my bike for an actual workout, complete with heart-rate monitor, for the first time in a couple of years, then came back, grabbed my camera, and walked the dog. Some results:

ISO 400, f/6.3, 1/640, 225mm

For more photos and some discussion about how Adobe Lightroom is making me rethink photo storage, go to The Daily Parker.

Sunday 22 May 2011 15:56:03 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Biking | Chicago | Photography | Weather#

(This is the 2,500th post on The Daily Parker. And now back to our current thread, already in progress.)

Version 1, pretty much as it came out of the camera:

Version 2, processed from the raw camera file:

8 April 2011, 18:16 BST, 1/1000 f/5.6, ISO 100

Subtle differences—but noticeable.

OK, walk the dog, thence bed. I feel like I learned a lot today, including that I have to learn a lot more.

Saturday 21 May 2011 22:46:33 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography#

I'm continuing to play with Adobe Lightroom, and it turns out I've been doing a lot wrong for five years (i.e., since I first started shooting with a digital SLR). It looks like I'm going to shoot a lot more raw photos, because they allow modern software (like Lightbox and Photoshop) a lot more control over the final image.

And, of course, I discovered this using Parker as a subject. The results don't completely suck:

50mm, 1/60 at f/2.0, ISO 3200.

50mm, 1/15 at f/1.8, ISO 3200.

Saturday 21 May 2011 22:16:01 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Parker | Photography#

A few days ago I experimented with photo processing to try out a technique a photographer suggested. I neglected the most obvious transformation of the photo in question:

I've also downloaded Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, though I may want to go full-bore Photoshop in a couple of weeks. Lightroom looks like a fabulous way to organize photos, which would be helpful as I've got north of 25,000 right now and that doesn't include about 170 rolls of negatives I've yet to scan. It has some basic editing tools—nowhere near as powerful as Photoshop—and I'm just getting used to them.

I still won't get any photography books for my Kindle.

Saturday 21 May 2011 20:06:30 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography#
Saturday 21 May 2011

The 30-park geas can resume now that I'm done with school.

Go to The Daily Parker to see how far I've gotten and where I still need to go.

Saturday 21 May 2011 17:17:14 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Baseball | Cubs#
Friday 20 May 2011

Via Bruce Schneier, evidence that the Centers for Disease Control have a sense of humor:

There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.

This is a lot more entertaining than Internet Information Services configuration, no?

Friday 20 May 2011 16:56:38 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Jokes#

Problem: I have multiple websites on a Windows 2008 server (using IIS7), and I need to enable SSL (https:// connections) on more than one of them.

People really interested in server configuration can read the rest at The Daily Parker. For the other 6.9 billion people in the world, we now return to your regularly-scheduled blog.

Friday 20 May 2011 16:38:31 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Business#

Generally, I prefer to learn new things by reading first, then doing. I mentioned Wednesday that I've grown dissatisfied with my photography skills, so naturally, I'll go first to Amazon. You know: read about a technique, try it out, post the results online, rinse and repeat.

So it seems somewhat odd to me that most of Amazon's top-rated books on photography—like this one on Photoshop—have Kindle editions that cost almost as much. Because nothing will help someone understand how to do advanced photo editing than 10 cm, 18 dpi halftones, right? Even stranger: the example I just cited has a companion DVD, which I assume does not come with the Kindle version. That, to me, puts the F in WTF.

Friday 20 May 2011 13:09:35 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography | Business#
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May 25th
Have I got a photo to sell you
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More shots around the 'hood
Summer comes out for the weekend
Blog post #2500
What I've learned today about image editing
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The 30-Park Geas, revisited
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David Braverman and Parker
David Braverman is a software developer in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
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