Author Archives: spd_wp_admin

Time Money and Light

Dear Reader,

First to Keith’s comments of yesterday, and the term of the day from a work discussion that is applicable to the transient nature of digital images.  The term is “termporal validity”.  Photos have always had an element of time in their DNA.  A challenge of digital media is that they lack tactility.  Furthermore, we are so inundated with noise of all sorts, most media has a very short temporal validity.  A book is tactile and as Keith wrote yesterday a book has prescence over time.  In other words, a book has longer temporal validity. Furthermore, a book has structure, conversations and relationships that exist among photos, and across pages. I can return to a book.  It is true, I can return to a digital image, but the digital return only engages a single sense.

Once upon a time I was a techie.  I could write batch files in DOS and in multiple flavours of Unix.  I could make the tools do what I thought I wanted.  Now, my approach is much simpler –  I just want the damn thing to work at a price I am willing to pay.  I couldn’t justify the cost of a nice printer.  Instead I bought a cheap printer.  The cost of the ink nearly forced the cats into starvation.  The printer is gone and the cats are happy.  If I need to print a batch of photos, as part of a workflow, I use Costco. Up to now I have only printed 4 x 6.  Printing 5 x 7  as part of “seeing what works” is a new element.

The penultimate topic of the day is price.  I use and they frequently have sales.  The discount is often but not always 40% off the list price of the book.  In the case of the most recent book it had 2 versions.  The first version was a paperback version on a premium paper I like. I wanted to to see if the flow was correct and if some photos needed lightening.

Details for the softcover prototype

  • Number of pages – 56
  • Number of photos – appoximately 75 photos, 5 of those pages contain a combined total of 24 of those images
  • Size of pages 9.5″ x 8″
  • Cost book 39.39, gst 1.78, S&H 11.99, 40% off 39.39 -15.76
  • Total 37.40

Details for the hardcover are as above

  • Cost book 53.59, gst 2.21, S&H 11.99, 40% off 53.59 -21.44
  • Total 46.35

Total for the project is less than 85.00 and I leave it to you to compare that to the wonderful work done by Resolve.

One last thing before I go.  I took a minor detour on the way home from work today and took this hand-held panorama.

Cheers, Sean


What No Photo

Dear Reader,

As some of you know, I enjoy making photo-books.  Typically, each book contains 70-90 photos on 50 – 60 pages.  The first book was done in 2013, and had a scrapbook feel to it. Last year I began again.  Initially I had envisaged 1 book to record our trip to Venice, Zagreb, and London.  When I sat down to create that book I resolved the resulting cacophony of ideas by dividing the project into 7 smaller projects.  Those 7 smaller projects and their status are as follows.

  • A Tale of Three Cities – London (envisaged)
  • A Tale of Three Cities – Venice (completed 2016-11)
  • A Tale of Three Cities – Zagreb (completed 2016-06)
  • The Little Book of Venice (completed 2016-06)
  • The Street Book (completed 2016-05)
  • The Design Book (envisaged)

But you only count 6.  The 7th on the list is the Book of Skies and that is today’s topic.  As I mentioned earlier this month, I also recently completed a book for my family, Kawagama.  So, of the six books so far, 2 were particularly successful.  The Street Book and Kawagama.  I attribute their success in part to my own clarity of heart and purpose.  Therein lies the photographic problem of the month.  Where’s the clarity of heart, when it comes to sky.  Looking at photos on the screen only takes me so far.  The Book of Skies may contain only 30 photos, and  I would like all approximately 150 candidate photos strewn across the floor.

This is where Costco comes in, and a problem of machine processing.  How do I get 150 photos mostly with a 3:2 aspect ratio machine printed on 5 x 7 paper without having the image cropped?  Read on.

Summary for Machine Printing on 5 x 7 Paper

  1. Collect your photos of interest
  2. Export photos as  jpgs sized to 6.5 “
  3. Change the canvas size for all the jpgs to 1400 x 1000 pixels
  4. Send to Lab

Detailed Instructions for Machine Printing on 5 x 7 Paper

I know you are a clever reader and don’t need to be told all required mouse clicks.

  1. Using Lightroom create the collection of candidates
  2. Within the collection, rotate all vertical photos so that every photo in the collection now appears horizontal
  3. Assume the photos will be printed at 200 dpi and there will be ¼ inch border around the photo. Each photo will be printed 1300 pixels wide (6.5 x 200)
  4. Select all photos in the collection and export to the working directory of your choice. The key export settings for this exercise are under “Image Sizing”.  Check Resize to Fit; Choose Long Edge; Leave Don’t Enlarge unchecked; Choose 6.5 in; Set Resolution to 200 pixels per inch
  5. Click Export

Aside: PC users, you will need a copy of Irfanview (  If you don’t have a copy of it already, please explain why.  Sorry Mac Users, I don’t know the iOS equivalent.

Now we get clever or at least mildly entertaining

  1. Open Irfanview and click on the menu item under File labeled Batch Conversion / Rename
  2. Add all the files you exported, which are now in the working directory (step 4), to the “Input Files” area
  3. Near the top right of your Irfanview screen, check “Use Advanced Options“ and click the “Advanced” button
  4. Somewhere near the bottom of the middle column, check “Canvas Size” and click the “Settings” button
  5. Set the canvas size to 1400 pixels wide and 1000 pixels high
  6. Click the “Center” radio button.
  7. Click Ok to return to the batch processing screen and click OK again to return to the main screen
  8. Click the “Start Batch” button
  9. You now have all your photos sized for printing on 5 x 7 paper in a way that the printing machine won’t mess with your carefully considered original framing
  10. I will be going with Costco, because at ca 0.39 / photo I can’t print that cheap
  11. Strew photos across the floor while listening to Coltrane, possibly “Kind of Blue”

I will let you know when I get the photos back

Cheers, Sean

November Dawns

Dear Reader,

I have now completed 2 iterations of a photo book for family members.  They are now in appreciative hands.  The working world continues to go well, and is at times mentally exhausting.  Today though is a day off, which means I was up early enough to photograph the dawn.  I was also up bright and early Saturday morning.  The first photo is from Saturday and the other two are from this morning.

november-dawn-03 november-dawn-01 november-dawn-02

Cheers, Sean


So I Had A Problem

Dear Reader,

This is an update to the orignial post of Oct. 5.  Thank you for the feedback KC.  The before shot has been added.

I have been doing a little bit of exploring recently in between trying to finish off the summer outdoor projects.  If you are a regular visitor, you know I take pleasure in detail.  There is though a problem.  Sometimes the detail I am interested in gets lost in background noise.  So I recently took a series of photos with the idea of removing the noise.  The first photo is as shot with no LIghtroom adjustments except sizing.  The second shot is my first shareable attempt at getting rid of the distracting elements. As always, comments are welcome and sought.



Cheers, Sean


Squares and A Five

Dear Reader

I have news. As of about 3 weeks ago, I can now be found on Instagram at artspud80.  The square format presents a new challenge, because I am usually so very conscious (or at least try to be) of the full rectangular frame.  This means that many of my decent photos don’t work when cropped.  So,  one solution is to take photographs  with the destination in mind.  That would mean one for Instagram and one for project x.  You could just say, hey why don’t you just load rectangular photos into Instagram. It is not a bad suggestion but where is the fun in that?

In other news, I have been thinking about what constitutes a 5 star image.  Really good photos have a completeness about them that resonates with something more than just the visual eye.  I rarely a capture 5 star image, and in fact, today’s photo is the first of the year.  You may well question the score, and I’m ok with that.  It is not really a wow photo, but there is nothing about it that I would like to change, whether it be focus, colour, light, or composition.  It just needs to be printed big.  It has calm, structure, tension, and it holds my attention – it is a winner, and that makes me smile.  I hope you enjoy it.  What do you think or feel?


Cheers, Sean

Dock Side of The Loon

Dear Reader,

I have spent the past week living by the side of a gorgeous lake just south of Algonquin park in Ontario.  The west facing dock was the site of the following  study.

The 5th photo is my first successful attempt at focus stacking.   It is a combination of 3 photos and the resulting image is over 140 MB in size.  Does anyone want an image of dock boards to cover a living room wall 🙂 ?



Cheers, Sean



For those was studyin

Not The Glastonbury Festival

Dear Reader,

Well the last time lapse experiment was another learning opportunity, which means I am not going to share with you 8 seconds of banality.  On the other hand, here is a dozen photos from our trip to England.  I was not at the Glastonbury festival but I did climb to the Tor (photos 1 and 2).

Cheers, Sean

July Photo Tour

Dear Reader,

This past weekend I participated in Neil Zeller’s  July photo tour. We spent Saturday looking at Calgary from various new and familiar vantage points. We spent most of the Sunday session west of Turner Valley. Neil was an enthusiastic guide and was always happy to answer questions. Furthermore, those answer`s were helpful.

My current 5 star classification system is
1 Delete
2 Not particular good but have the germ of a location or idea worth revisiting
3 Air Canada; nothing particularly wrong with them; nothing particularly right with them either
4 Nice Photo
5 Aahhh

Of the 248 photos that made it into the computer here is what happened to them.
161 deleted
2 star – 67
3 star – 24
4 star – 07 – see below
5 star – 00

You may wonder, given the amount of effort I went to photography water why none made it to the 4 star bin. The answer dear reader is one of the weekend’s lesson. Water falls, for me, work well when the water turns to silk, or when the drops are frozen in time. I have photos that were neither.

Cheers, Sean

Dear Reader,

Just before going to England, I went on an early morning road trip looking for a particular sunrise location.  I think the sunrise pictures will become a time lapse experiment.  I also found happy cows.  Both cows and penguins make me smile.  Cows though are easier to find in these parts.

Cheers, Sean


A Pot, A Flower, and A Sky

Dear Reader,

Though I have not shared anything with you for a while I have been busy.  Here are 3 recent ones.  Unfortunately, the sky photo does not have the sharpness and range I Iike.  Despite its flaws, it still though has merit. I had been playing with the jpeg format and had not switched back to raw – ah silly me.   We live and learn (sometimes).

Cheers, Sean