Saturday, 24 July 2010

Signs of rain

Signs of rain, Manila, July 2010

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Natural lighting

Lightning storm, Manila, July 2010

What did you do on Saturday night?

After the fun and games of Typhoon Conson earlier in the week, we just had a rather long thunderstorm roll through. It was putting on a great show and time and direction were just right for some photos from the back garden.

They don't really stand up to fine scrutiny - focussing in the dead of night against a dark sky proves to be rather tricky.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

SoFoBoMo 2010: and another one

Although I didn't really need to, I felt like putting together a second submission with some of the "rejects" from LineCurveTexture, and so The Other Things was born. I didn't compromise on selecting for editting - these are the images that I would select otherwise but that didn't fit in any way into the original project.

I was also trying to get a background transparency to work with pdf 1.4 but to no avail. The intention was that the background frame would disappear when viewing so that the images would be nicely centred on the screen with a natural border.

I'm pretty sure this should be possible, as per pdf sepcs, but can't for the life of me figure out how to get it to work properly. I think it's maybe a viewer issue (yet I use Adobe's reader) and no amount of settings adjustments seem to work.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

SoFoBoMo 2010: done

I've finally completed my first submission for the year. Find it here.

Some points worth noting about my experience in doing the layout:

I was limited to an all electronic process, not having commissioned a printer since moving house (fully 6 months ago). I normally print the pages on small paper swatches and rearrange the on the floor/table.
This led to problems. Because of the multiple image sizes, I had a 2-dimensional problem as i looked to balance subject and image size across the whole book. equal sized thumbnails are not suited to this. The other major headache is the number of images: about 100. This makes it hard to keep track of them all while scrolling back and forth on the screen.
As a result, the actual layout of the spreads took about twice as long as it should.

I've also realised that the multiple page size idea is better suited to larger page sizes. here it works OK, and I could get a way with a few less than perfect pictures due to the smaller sizes. For a printed version, I think I'd want twice the page size.

Page size is also an interesting challenge. having both portrait and landscape orientation actually makes it trickier to select a page size. Life would be so much easier if I'd picked all the large images in one orientation and all the small ones in the other. Then I could pick a larger size but rectangular page.

I also surprised myself about double-truck (spread across the page fold). With the right subject and composition i think is can work quite well, as it does here. But that's just my opinion.

Please feel free to leave comments on what you think.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Sometimes it's all an accident

Manila, June 2010

A case in point. Carefully composed and shot as black and white. The colours are all over the place but that was never the intention. Created with the project in mind.

As I started running through the processing steps, this jumped out at me after only the first couple of moves. Just right, without it ever being the intention. No good like this for the book, but just right as a single image. A complete accident, which I may not have found if I'd run the development steps in a different order.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

SoFoBoMo 2010: the editing process

Manila, June 2010
One of the SoFoBoMo 2010 rejects

As a progress report, I thought it might be useful to some to go through the edit ting process I've been using. I don't do bulk edits in this way very often and so SoFoBoMo is also an opportunity for me to hone my skills in that area, too. here is the step-by-step:

1. Having imported all the photos and catalogued as normal (I had 527 frames taken), I make first cut selections. I'm using Lightroom exclusively for processing and editing as it's a quick and easy one stop shop for the whole workflow. First cut is a fast process - anything that seems like it fits the theme and appears properly composed, exposed and in focus. 226 picked, took about 15 minutes.
2. Work on the first few to develop the visual look, exposure, toning, contrast etc. That takes a few minutes per photo, maybe I spent an hour sorting that out. The key parts of the development got turned into Lightroom presets, especially the toning, which speeds up the rest of the work.
3. Work through the first-cut to pick the ones to edit. Again, pretty fast and I develop a lot, rather than waste time mulling over selection. With the presets developed I spend only a couple of minutes on most photos. A few have local adjustments which take a bit longer but I doubt I spent more than 10 minutes on any one frame. As this is about a fast turn-around, I want good not perfect works of art. And consistency is more important to me than a few individual highlights. 102 edited.
4. I developed a Smart Collection to gather up the edits as they were completed, I'll use the collection for the final sorting and selection. I'm not into the book layout proper yet but I have a few distinct page forms in mind: double-truck, full bleed, single page, multiple per page. The 102 will get ratings based on likely page type and sorted into order of pages in the collection. I may or may not use them all.
5. From there, It'll be new export presets to turn the edits into the final images for the book. Part of that preset will be automated numbering and filing so they're all in order in a separate folder on my computer. Having them sorted that way speeds up entry into the book layout.

Even though I've been working on editing all week, I've actually spent very little time each day. 100 at, say, three minutes each is only 5 hours of work to get to the final cut plus the original hour to get the visual look right, meaning about an hour a night this week.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

SoFoBoMo 2010: contacts part 4

These are the last (I hope) of the frames from this year's shooting. I've also processed most of the previous frames, so I already have 60 first-cut selections. Overall, this is probably the most I've had for a single SoFoBoMo book and will give me plenty of flexibility for the final product.