Author Archives: spd_wp_admin

Salute to Galen

This post was first published on Thursday Dec. 14th.  On a subsequent read I concluded that my thoughts were good, but the writing lacked bridging.  Today, Saturday, I revised the post.

This sequence of posts began with a quartet of “near day” photos. It is therefore fitting that this series ends with these “end day” photos.

“Mountain Liight” was one of the books published by the late great photographer Galen Rowell. Sebastiao  Salgado is a Brazilian photographer known for his large self-assigned documentary projects.  Bedsides his incredible photos with and of people, he has also some great mountain photos that hearken back to masters of black and white photography such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston.

Given the body of stunning work from people like Rowell and Salgado, a not unreasonable question would be, why bother taking another photograph at all?  There is an answer in my past and there is my current answer.  Once upon a time I could answer this question using verbiage that was all too self-important, and all too precious. Now, I treat myself a lot less seriously, and with much more humour.  The current answer is not nearly as hevay handed.  I get pleasure and satisfaction from the photographic process and walkabouts. The photographic process compliments my appreciation of walkabouts, and the walkabouts contribute to the photographic process.

In a world in which humanity consistently demonstrates it has no moral right to continue, it is a gift to be reminded of the marvel of living.

Cheers, Sean


Nearly Goodlies

Dear Reader,

First of all, to answer the wt… question.  I know, this is the third blog in a row.  I don’t expect this trend to last long.  But, I do have a couple more postings in mind.

Secondly, a number of years ago I knew of a man who had a penchant for collecting uglies.  An ugly is a hard thing to find.  Even though there are ever so many really hideous pieces of china  and home furnishings, many of them have an intended use.  By definition, an ugly can have no discernible use.  All those horrid fruit bowls and equally tasteless vases don’t count.  A true ugly has no function.  Some of those strange misshapen blue mountain antler things come to mind.

Here is a small collection of photos from the top of Tunnel Mountain.  I normally share with you my at least partial photographic victories.  On my scale these photos score 3/5.  They all have something wrong with them.  They teach me to be more careful.

Cheers, Sean

PS I am not against fruit bowls and vases – we have many

A Liquid Study

Dear Reader,

Here is the first of the 3 or 4 galleries from an extended weekend in Banff shared with my wife and 2 friends.  Last year we made the same trip, and the day time highs were -25 C.  This year it was down right balmy and we could walk comfortably from town to Bow Falls.  I was struck by the contrast between dark waters and old ice.

Cheers, Sean



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