The Gigapxl Project

Darren wrote this at 6:00 am:

If you’ve been following photography web sites or geek blogs for a while, you’ve no doubt heard of The Gigapxl Project. These guys have built a very large camera that shoots 9″x18″ film sheets, which are then scanned to produce a 4 gigapixel image. That’s gigapixel, as in, 1000 megapixels.

The Gigapxl Project has had a good bit of media coverage lately, including a very interesting talk by Graham Flint at the Pop!Tech 2005 conference. You can listen to the talk at ITConversations. You can also read articles about the project at the Wired and Popular Science web sites.

So what’s the point of such massive photographs? They’re currently working on a project called “Portrait of America”, which aims to photograph the key sites that define each of the states of the USA and provinces of Canada. They are also working with Google to integrate their images with Google Earth, so web surfers can see the sights and explore cities all around the world.

Perhaps most exciting is the potential this technology has to record as best we can the deteriorating cultural and archaeological sites around the world for future generations:

In terms of the future, we have been much encouraged by the diversity of applications which continue to emerge. One of particular appeal relates to the documentation of cultural and archaeological sites which cannot be preserved and which inevitably will deteriorate with the passage of time. Many thousands of these sites are present around the world. Prime examples include entire cities such as Rome, Italy. In this instance, limestone structures which have stood for thousands of years have become the victims of acid rain. Stonemason’s chisel marks, until recently clear to see, have all but vanished. Only through a massive program of ultra-high-resolution documentary photography can such details be preserved for enjoyment and study by future generations.

This Week’s Updates

Darren wrote this at 6:00 pm:

Updated Pages

Canon EOS 5D Reviews

Canon EOS 20D Reviews

Wedding Photography

Camera Tossing

Darren wrote this at 8:08 am:

If you’re looking for something a little different to do on your next photographic outing, consider “camera tossing”. This is where you set your camera’s shutter on self-timer mode, then throw it in the air and see what kind of photograph it takes.

You can read more about it at Camera Toss (The Blog), including _nod’s tossing guide for beginners and the Camera Toss Mini-HOWTO.

Here are a few interesting shots taken using this method:

  • supertoss2, made by throwing a Supersampler camera in the air (this camera takes 4 photos in rapid succession on a single frame of 35mm film)
  • calligraphies, Photoshopped camera toss images
  • multishot toss, made using a camera in multi-shot mode and then joining the images together
  • the Flickr Camera Toss page for lots more

Most people seem to use cheap or disposable cameras for this type of photography (for obvious reasons!), but at least one person has been doing it with an EOS 10D.

If you’ve done some camera tossing, feel free to post links to your results in the comments below.

Photographing China

Darren wrote this at 6:00 am:

Michael Reichmann of Luminous Landscape fame has recently returned from leading a two-week photographic tour of China. As he always does after such trips, Michael has posted a series of very well-written articles about various aspects of the tour:

While you’re at the Luminous Landscape site, don’t forget to check out Michael’s Bangladesh book. I’ve ordered for my Christmas stocking, have you?

Monochrome Printmaking

Darren wrote this at 6:00 am:

From Monochrome Photographic Printmaking with the Epson UltraChrome K3 Inkset:

I have seen my fair share of revolutions in photography over the years. I have owned and shot one of the few digital monochrome cameras in the world (the Kodak DCS 760m). For over a decade, I have been a participant along the path of the development of the digital photographic era. But never before have I been so emotionally affected by a new technology, as has been the case with these three products coming together. There is nothing as important to a fine arts photographer as seeing his or her own work in print, exactly as composed and intended. I can truly say that what I am creating with this body of technology is resulting in making fine art photographic prints—“an image that is printed to exacting standards, so much so that it cannot be reproduced by any other means.”

This essay by fine art photographer Pete Myers is a very comprehensive look at the current state of the art in digital monochrome printing. He seems to have had an almost religious experience with the convergence of three keys technologies this year – the Epson UltraChrome K3 inkset, ColorByte Software’s ImagePrint RIP, and Pictorico Photo Gallery Hi-gloss White Film paper.

Qimage v2006.200 Released

Darren wrote this at 6:35 am:

Digital Domain Inc has announced Qimage v2006.200. New features include:

  • 3D thumbnail grid: A more robust look and feel is immediately evident as you use the new thumbnail browser. The new granite textured slates and shadow effects add depth and take the monotony out of searching for photos.
  • Instaview: Ever been searching through a batch of thumbnails and find yourself squinting or moving closer to your monitor in order to determine which shot shows everyone in a group photo with their eyes open? Have you ever wanted to just point to a file in the queue and get an instant preview? The new Instaview feature allows you to simply press and hold your middle mouse button, mouse scroll wheel, or enter key to get an instant (larger) preview. Since the preview is nearly instantaneous, you may find yourself using this feature even more than the existing “spacebar to view full screen” function.
  • Send via E-mail: The “Send via E-mail” function from the thumbnail grid has been improved and simplified so that you can simply select thumbnails and pick a resolution to send e-mail copies to friends/family.
  • {Q-E} e-mail prefix: Qimage no longer adds the {Q-E} file prefix when creating e-mail/web copies. Instead, a scratch “{Q}e-mail” folder will be created under the current folder to store the (resulting) images.
  • Print Proofs: You can now use the “File”, “Print Proofs” feature to print watermarked proofs that allow clients to review photos without giving them a way to duplicate them.
  • Cutouts: While older versions would only allow fading to white using shades of gray for transparency, v2006.200 offers a simple way to choose the “fade to” color so that you can fade to black, red, green, orange, or any color you like.
  • Folder browser: The folder browser has been improved so that the current folder displays in the middle of the window as opposed to the bottom so that you need to do less scrolling to find your folders.
  • Copy: The “Copy Images” function from the thumbnail grid has been improved so that you can simply type a file name to create a copy of an image with a different name in the same folder.

21 Ways To Improve Your Artwork

Darren wrote this at 8:24 am:

A young photographer, just starting out in the business, wrote to the editor of Lenswork magazine, asking, “What are the most important things I should do to improve my photographs?” Rather than a glib, canned answer, the editor devoted several pages of editorial space to “Twenty-One Ways To Improve Your Artwork”.

You can read the editorial in the free online sample of Lenswork Issue 58.

A couple of quotes that really resonated with me include:

Never forget that all the great photographs in history were made with more primitive camera equipment than you currently own.

and

Shoot more than you do; print more than you do; and be a ruthless editor. I’m serious. There is a great deal to be gained in sheer volume – not that volume itself is any virtue, but practice is. Besides, relentless practice does have a twin sister known as luck.

This Week’s Updates

Darren wrote this at 6:00 am:

New Pages

Not much on the Nikon D200 pages yet, but they’ve been created:

Updated Pages

Canon EOS 5D Reviews:

Photoshop Camera Raw 3.3 Beta

Darren wrote this at 5:32 pm:

Adobe has just released a Camera Raw 3.3 public beta, which adds support for RAW files from:

  • Canon EOS 5D and 1D Mark II N
  • Olympus E-500, SP-310, SP-350, SP-500UZ
  • Pentax *ist DL, *ist DS2
  • Sony DSC-R1

Adobe warns:

This version of Camera Raw is in a Beta stage and has not been fully tested by Adobe Systems. Please use Camera Raw 3.2 for the latest certified plug-in.

At this stage it’s probably only worth upgrading if you need support for one of the cameras listed above.

Photoshop In A Song

Darren wrote this at 6:59 am:

I was driving home today and heard the song ‘Crazy’ by Simple Plan on the radio. The lyrics mention Photoshop!

Tell me what’s wrong with society

When everywhere I look I see

Young girls dying to be on TV

They won’t stop ’till they reach their dreams

Diet pills, surgery

Photoshop pictures in magazines

Telling them how they should be

It doesn’t make sense to me

Is this the first time Photoshop has been mentioned in a mainstream song?