Sunday, 26 April 2009


I will be doing some more collages in the next week.

Photo-collage is an art that typically uses splicing and fusing rather than blunt superposition. I plan to utilize the latter technique.

This involves placing a tripod and (ideally) spiking it, then taking pictures of a subject or subjects as it/they move or change. This can be compared to super-long exposure night shots in which you observe moving of the stars, or time-lapse movie making.

In this case, however, I plan on using Gimp and Photoshop in conjunction with each other to open individual photos as layers, crop out superfluous (in this case, identical) pieces, and wind up with interesting collage-like results.

Some of my recent experiments have come out varying ways; the previous post here included the picture "Rush Hour," my personal favorite from this small series. The only real reason they were posted was to see initial reactions and reception. It was understandably less than expected.

The first subject will be a play rehearsal. Results may not be processed and finished until the end of the week due to a busy schedule, but I shall have another post detailing exactly what I see in superposition and collage.

Friday, 24 April 2009

New Obsession

I've been doing manips :)

A combination of long-exposure shots in Gimp (layered and opacity-altered) that are then imported into Photoshop and processed for highlighting, shadows, and contrast balance looks like this:

There are others, but it's a strange kind of thing to make and to look at. These have to have significance to someone.

Monday, 20 April 2009


Now, I am no fan of churches, or cathedrals, or anything representing organized religion, but they can be some very architecturally pleasant buildings.

In fact, it almost seems as though the churches around here adopt some kind of "holier-than-thou" attitude towards their physical structures, with the hopes that people will think their God is more present in a more formidable and impressive structure.

This is the church seen in this and this. This one was taken across the street; I really liked the Gothic-style belfry and windows. There's some pretty cool stained-glass work, as well.

There will also be some pictures of another church later on, but at the time of this (somewhat overdue) post, nothing at all is centralized, and I have memory cards and data files lying all over the place. Flash drives, SD cards, laptop, iMac at the school lab, several cameras, two iPhoto libraries, and two DeviantArt folders on two computers make it difficult to keep up...

Friday, 17 April 2009

Nullcoding on Youtube

There may not be much of a point at the moment but we're on YouTube now.

The username is NullCoding, what a surprise.

Currently there are a couple blog posts in the works, for instance one about the crappy old PowerShot A60 Jimmy has been shooting with (and fixed, as well) and his experiments with the A550.

Why can't that kid just get a nice SLR and be done with it? :D

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

E5600 update

It broke now.

Here's the parts of it.

I think it's that orange bus cable sticking out that is bent and therefore won't work. Oh well. It served me well - for an obsolete little point-and-shoot - it took hundreds of pictures and now a lot of them are up here.

Time for a new camera.

Monday, 13 April 2009


So here's a small problem I seem to have run into.

Yes, I dropped it. This after it was more or less totally unscrewed.

Believe it or not, the screen actually looked exactly like that (sans strange angle) prior to the unwanted bodywork.

Power button still works, lens is just peachy, and yes, that's packing tape holding it together up there.

It's considerably more difficult to change the batteries now, though still possible. It'll also mount to a tripod just fine.

That's the SD slot, but it doesn't go anywhere now. The actual slot is exposed now, slightly to the right of the flip-up lid.

Everything still works just fine. There are no problems other than the fact the camera is now essentially in two pieces. Oh, and the screen is set off at a jaunty angle, making it a pain to preview pictures.

Thought I'd share... :|

Saturday, 11 April 2009

I like Canon

The Canon vs. Nikon battle tends to be fought on the premise that even though both are superb camera manufacturers, they each have defining features that make them more desirable, period. There are people who stick with Canon because "Nikon's menus are too hard to read" and people who use only Nikon because "Canons aren't as feature-rich."

So I have a Nikon E8700 and I'm looking at a D40, but lately I've been using almost predominantly Canon - Canon point-and-shoots, that is.

So this picture was taken with a 6 second shutter time and looks great. The lighting and color were near perfect coming right off the camera; the only thing that really needed done was minor contrast enhancement to correct light overflow (six seconds of light from a sodium-compound-based streetlight would cause significant glare with any camera).

This was a 2-second shutter and was barely tweaked. In fact, I tend to have to tweak my daylight photos A LOT more than my nighttime ones. I think it has a lot to do with how much easier it can be to control the lighting at night. Not only can I choose an exposure time that makes for a completely different picture, but the light is minimal enough to begin with that if I see a scene that looks good to my eye, it will be very easy to make it look like that to my camera.

Anyway, just an update. I really like this Canon PowerShot A550. 7.1 megapixels, which is lower resolution than my Nikon E8700, but with half the zoom and a smaller fstop range and focal range - in fact, smaller everything...but I love it for day to day shooting. It isn't even the most recent model; it's several years old.

Time for more nightshot editing. :)

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Cloud Conceptualization II

In the first of this little series, I showed how in-camera settings can dramatically change how a picture looks. Now for some after-processing.

Photoshop can be useful for attaining deeper and more complicated photos. Naturally, it's a great show of talent if one gets a shot where little to no after-processing is necessary at all. After-processing only makes a good shot look better, after all.

Of course, sometimes a photo is taken with distinct intentions of processing to gain a more vivid and occasionally surreal appearance. For instance, look at the shot below. I took my E8700, set it to "Auto", put it on a tripod, pointed it straight up, and pressed the shutter button. The resulting picture looked like this:

(click to see full-size)

But that isn't at all interesting. This picture may look washed out, but it doesn't have to be. The texture of the clouds should in fact be the focus of the photo as the comparatively plain trees are super-imposed, but it's not apparent. In fact, it's there but barely visible. Thus, it's necessary to do a fair bit of color balancing and level adjustment to bring it out. Thus:

(click to see full-size)
Notice that the entire picture has gotten darker. It was necessary to bring out the darker colors and the neutrals while keeping the lighter colors at their present levels. This has distinguished the texture, which is here essentially created by differing shades of gray.

This involves playing with the color balance and contrast. The blue was brought up and the contrast was raised. Additionally, I raised the neutrals and the level of darker (black-derived) colors. The trees are only there to provide context; they are not the picture's subject. This is why the fact they are now darker and more super-imposed (and less detailed) isn't a big deal at all.

This picture turned out quite well. Now, it is my deviation called "Incoming".

Perhaps in the future, we'll have more on this little cloud fetish of mine. In the meantime, check out this, this, and this - all pictures of mine in which the clouds are not processed beyond simple contrast adjustment to correct for camera weakness. However, the epic clouds in this photo are color-enhanced about as much as "Incoming" (above).

Photoshop isn't everything, though. Here's an example of a really good picture in which nothing has been after-processed.

So, that's all for now. Have fun pursuing your own cloud stuff - the possibilities are practically endless.


all work contained here and on any external links posted here is the property of the artist responsible. do not reproduce or download any work without the specific written permission of the artist.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Look What I can do

I'm playing with fire...

This didn't work at all, by the way.

More from my Canon experiments coming up.

This was the A550 at 4s exposure; the only problems are that I cannot keep my hand still and that the flame is a light source (obviously) that makes my hand look ridiculous. I need to do something about that.

Decisions, decisions.

...Take what you can get.

This is the Powershot A550 I use for some casual shots. I carry it around all day and use it whenever I want. It's a versitile little point-and-shoot, but it has its drawbacks.

For instance, I wouldn't consider utilizing it for macro shots with a depth-of-field like this...

Oh well. If I'm trying to take pictures of Latin vocabulary words, with no flash, then it will do just fine...

Til then, I'll stick to a camera with a built-in 8x digital zoom lens. I just have never gotten good macro results with any point-and-shoot except the Nikon E8700. However, some of my most recent pictures have been taken using the Canon.

This is why a photographer needs to develop an arsenal of sorts...and I'm well on my way.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

The first bloom!

For the longest time, it seemed as though the daffodil garden simply wouldn't bloom. It was just a sea of green shoots. They had a character all their own - resolute in the cold and frequently windy days of early spring, and completely indifferent to their surroundings of various lifeless shades of brown.

So a great deal of recreational macro shots sprouted up around these, um, sprouts. My favorite of these is this one. My iPhoto library is overrun with ones like that, though, so it got old very fast. Imagine having nothing green and not a tree on your entire 1.5+ acre property.

Well, at any rate, I do like macro shots. They take a great deal of talent to cobble together - since it's often a portrayal of some small entity of nature, a macro shot ought to have a definite emotional overtone or message to relay. Nature tells us things.

Macros work best with a DSLR. I do not have a DSLR. So, I use the Nikon Coolpix 8700 described in the astro-shot post I made earlier; I have done all my really satisfying macro shots with it. Nikon makes microscopes and binoculars, you know. They know how to magnify things. I have gotten good macro results with an obsolete and somewhat damaged Coolpix 5600. There's nothing against the camera here, but there are some problems with the raw file nonetheless.

This is the first daffodil to come up this spring. About time. :)

The contrast is way off, though, and the color in the background is just blah. It really doesn't add any kind of just detracts from the flower, if anything. Macro is one place where it's ok to center the subject, given the subject often is so detailed you'll focus on it no matter where it is. The other thing is the ambiance I said this photo doesn't have - it's all this bokeh that would look good if only it was of uniform color and texture.

Perhaps I'll try again soon...but in the meantime, take away from this that you ought to carefully set up any macro shot bearing in mind what's going to be in the background of the shot - and of course, the after-processing you may need to put more emphasis on the subject.


all work contained here and on any external links posted here is the property of the artist responsible. do not reproduce or download any work without the specific written permission of the artist.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

E8700 Astro-Shot

Now, as nice as it looks, the Nikon Coolpix 8700 is just that - a CoolPix. This well-known line of point-and-shoot, fixed-lens small-CCD cameras from Nikon is known for many things good and bad, but close-ups of celestial entities is not exactly one of them.

But check out this picture (click to view full size):

While it's not particularly large, as astro-macro shots preferably are, this picture surprised me nonetheless. The shutter speed was two seconds but everything else was auto-set by the program - I don't ever actually do anything entirely manually with this camera.

The main reason there's little to no luck of escaping digital noise here is due to the fact that any camera that's not an SLR is prone to it. It's just a fact - the sensor is comparatively small and also not quite as strong.

Oh well - thought I'd share. It's always cool to get an unexpectedly good result on a for-fun photoshoot. :)


all work contained here and on any external links posted here is the property of the artist responsible. do not reproduce or download any work without the specific written permission of the artist.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Cloud Conceptualization I

Clouds are one aspect of nature which we have a tendency to admire from afar without ever really looking beyond.

Clouds are almost exclusively water vapor that has formed into various shapes and sizes dependent on a variety of conditions - atmospheric makeup, chemical content and composition, and relative density. When we see clouds from the ground, we frequently don't imagine them as three-dimensional, or even as structural entities, but they are.

Though hardly solid, clouds have a definite structure. A camera often sees this when we do not.

Since a JPEG image is just data, whereas what we see is merely reflected light, Photoshop can be used to manipulate an image to reveal cloud structure, which in turn can be color-balanced to bring out the true qualities of a photo. Clouds provide atmosphere and can add emotional overlays to a photo.

But before we get into too much after-processing, it's important to bear in mind that the camera is designed to take the picture you want it to take. Clouds, for example, look different based on something as simple as exposure time.

Here are two pictures of a simple sky and tree landscape taken on a cloudy, overcast afternoon. The first one was taken with normal exposure time, but the second was taken with -1_1/3 exposure time. The difference is quite noticable.

Although the shots are from slightly different angles, they were taken within 30 seconds of each other. Since a camera uses whatever light it gets, it often pays to manipulate how much it gets - as evidenced above, this simple adjustment can drastically alter the nature of a picture.

After-processing in Photoshop could theoretically make the first picture look like the second, but the closer your fresh picture is to what you want - right when you take it - the better.


The images above were captured with a Canon PowerShot A550 digital camera.

all work contained here and on any external links posted here is the property of the artist responsible. do not reproduce or download any work without the specific written permission of the artist.