Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Sunday 14 November 2010

On Flickr

I started posting my photo to my Flickr photostream. The main motivation for this is the community aspect, the one where you get people together around the same interests and sharing pictures. The other is that I have been meaning to write my own gallery software but I have never found the time or motivation to actually do it - no of the one I have found did inspire me either.

I'll continue to host my pictures myself as well. Two is better than one. And maybe one day I'll have that gallery software written.

I have added a little "flickr" link on all the photos I posted here since 2009 so that one can view them on Flickr.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Think wide

I finally upgraded. Sunday, I got myself a Canon 5DMkII to replace my aging 20D. Not to be mistaken ; I do like my 20D a lot, but I'm feeling encumbered in my creative process with the 1.6x crop factor turning by 24mm to the equivalent of a 38mm in term of field of view. That's a bit narrow for somebody like me who like wide angle.

Amongst other things, the main feature I get are:

  • full-frame (good idea I had not to invest in EF-S lenses): that's something I was really missing from film. Despite having more wide angle capabilities, it also helps controlling depth of field.
  • better noise contol. I was first impressed by the 6400 ISO shots I took. We'll see how it goes.
  • A larger buffer: I never thought I'd be limited by this in the past, but I have run into more than often lately with the 20D.

Things I might use experiment with:

  • movie mode: the interesting part with the movie mode is that it has been the subject of the last firmware upgrades as it is being used more and more in the movie industry for second unit photography and digital plates (for use with green screen)

It came with the firmware 2.0.3 that Canon released yesterday.

With it, I got the "kit lens": EF 24-105 f/4 L IS. Unlike other "kit lens" this is actually a not cheap and good piece of glass. Well build, sharp, etc; so much better than the 24-85 or 28-105 I was using. And better than the 28-135 IS that Canon was putting as a kit with models like the 40D (with 1.6x crop). With a significant rebate when purchased with the camera, I was afraid it wouldn't come with the lens hood nor the pouch, like the retail version. But no. It is the exact same deal. Note had I had the EF 24-70 L, I wouldn't possibly have gotten this lens.

I'll write more about both of these later.

The test pictures. Because I love the challenges, they have been shot at ISO 6400. Is just corrected the white balance because of the difficult lighting conditions.




Sunday 30 December 2007

Digital Rangefinder

I went yesterday to a RFF meetup in Toronto. I had the occasion of testing out the Epson R-D1, the first digital rangefinder camera, and I must say I'm pretty impressed.

Here is one of the shot, straight JPEG from the camera:

For this picture the lens (a L mount Canon 50mm f/1.5 that belong to the pictured camera) is not as sharp, the two other lens I tried are much better.

Oh and libopenraw now support the Epson ERF RAW files (code in git).

Thanks to Jack for the camera and lenses, as well as Joseph for the other lens (used here).

Elephant & Castle, Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, Canada - December 29th 2007

Sunday 11 November 2007

Lest We Forget

Canada's War Memorial Monument in Ottawa, July 20th 2005.

Today November 11th, is Remembrance Day, in the honor of all the war veterans that suffered to help bring back the peace in Europe about 90 years ago, and later in other various conflict.

Ottawa, ON, Canada - July 20th 2005

Sunday 12 August 2007

Birmingham Pics #2

Another picture from Birmingham.

A shot of the canal from Broad Street, July 15th. Canon 20D - EF-50mm f/1.4 - 1/125, f/4.0 @100 ISO

And also some other here

Tuesday 7 August 2007

Birmingham pics

I started slowly skimming through the pictures I took in Birmingham at the time of Guadec 2007. The choice is hard, more because I'm somewhat unhappy with what I produced. Clearly the 50mm f/1.4 is not always well suited (even less with the 1.6 crop) as I would benefit from a wider angle.

Here is the first favorite:

The Bull Ring in Birmingham, July 14th 2007 Canon 20D - EF-50mm f/1.4 - 1/125, f/7.1 @100 ISO

Tuesday 24 July 2007

Guadec photo coverage?

I was reading about Ubuntu Live photo coverage by James Duncan Davidson, I was wondering if we shouldn't try to get one for the next Guadec [1]. Off course there is the financial cost of such a hire, but I'm pretty sure that, like for the video filming of the presentations, we could find volunteers to do it (count me in). On my side, I sort tried to do it, to some extent, but it is a lot of work for a proper coverage, and I was also attending, which does not mix very well.

The other issue being technical: I miss a very important piece of glass, the EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS to be able to cover the talks / keynote properly (the 50mm f/1.4 is too short for that even with the x1.6 crop of the 20D), and trying for a few shots Garrett's lens convinced me.

Maybe next year in Istanbul...

BTW, one more time thanks to the Guadec organizers. It was fantastic.


[1] actually I was wondering even before Guadec, watching James' work with other conferences

Tuesday 29 May 2007

exiv2 and Python

I discovered today pyexiv2, which is a Python interface to the infamous Exiv2, a GPL library to read and write Exif and IPTC/IIM metadata from JPEG and various camera RAW file. Too bad I can't reuse the exiv2 code in libopenraw as it is GPL and not LGPL.[1]

pyexiv2 is actually an exemple on how easy it is to write Python module in C++ using Boost.Python


[1] The decision to use LGPL for libopenraw is in complete relation to the policies from both Gnome and KDE when it come to libraries, and nothing else.

Last week-end (or was it the one before ?)

Last week-end (or maybe the one before, I keep delaying this post), for Victoria day, we took the train to Montréal. It was actually a meetup of Range Finder Forums members.

Without order, occurred during the week-end:

  • watched the Sens winning to get to the finals of the Stanley Cup. They play starting this Monday against Anaheim's Duck This happened at Hurley's.
  • tried out the Epson RD-1, a digital rangefinder camera. Unfortunately I don't have the pictures as I didn't have my SD cards with me... Too bad this camera is expensive, still less than the Leica M8, but still.
  • tried out a Bessa R2 rangefinder at marché Jean-Talon. For this one I have the film, but I have yet to get it processed.
  • had a shoot with models. More about that later. Two fact: the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM is one of my favorite lenses (I ended up shooting most of the week-end with it), and I need to get a decent light meter for proper incident light metering.
  • discovered a few places on Saint-Denis: La Baroufe, Le Passeport (a gothic night club, that turns back into a clothing shop during the day) and l'Académie, a very nice apportez-votre vin[1] restaurant, located next to a SAQ[2] that close at 10:00PM[3]

I really miss living in that city. I felt that last time when attending LGM, this time just confirmed it. I miss walking down Sainte-Catherine with people in the street, in the evening or on week-ends, I miss the Metro.

Let's talk about changes. When I left they were starting to tear down the building that was hiding Saint-James-United church. Now the front of the church is free, visible. Here is what that give at dusk, from the street:

taken with an EF 50mm f1.4 USM, 1/160 f/2.5 @1600 ISO

Before that, I could only photograph this from the inside, like this, with very little distance:

taken with an EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/125 f/3.5 @400 ISO

I'll go further in depth for the pictures, but the workflow for digital photography on Linux is still pretty steep...


[1] bring your own wine

[2] provincial liquor store

[3] pretty much uncommon, but for beer and wine, we have deps in Québec until 11:00PM

Friday 25 May 2007

Digital photography with free software

Linux.com has recently published several articles about digitial photography with Linux.


[1] Digital Asset Management

Tuesday 22 May 2007

XMP support

Exempi2 will use the Adobe XMP SDK as a code base, instead of reinventing the wheel. It will also become BSD licensed to make things easier with the original code.

The reasons are as follow:

  • Adobe XMP SDK implements the whole spec, including scanning XMP out of the various file formats
  • it is somewhat tested (but not on the platform we use)
  • it is less work to fix it than rewriting it
  • it is BSD licensed so perfectly fine for use in GPL applications

The caveats:

  • it needs work to build and work on Linux. I actually have done that.
  • it still fails on 64-bits platforms (fix in progress, don't assume sizeof(void*) == 4)
  • I'm not sure how much it will deviate from upstream as fixes needs to be. I'll do my best to push the changes upstream.
  • It needs a sane API. The APIs are not bad but the are not really designed for dynamic linking as they are based on C++ templates. Templates are not inherently bad, but passing them through dynamic linkage like that is not really a good idea, and worse, it is not language neutral. I'll make some nice C API inspired by what I did in Exempi.

Mental note: explain why XMP is important.

Friday 11 May 2007

Thanks you Adobe for XMP

Thank you Adobe for releasing your XMP SDK 4.1.1 under the BSD license. Now we can use it with GPL software. My main motivation beyond Exempi was GPL compatibility.

I promise I'll put it into good use. I don't know yet but I might end up abandoning Exempi in it current if that turns out well.

Update: the announcement

Thursday 22 March 2007

Open Source Photography

Thanks to Alex Prokoudine, I ran through this wiki Open Source Photography. It is a user oriented website. Interesting.

Tuesday 3 October 2006

Travelling with photo gear

When flying from Toronto to Dublin, my fear what that my connection in London-Heathrow force me to check my carry on luggage in. I only travel with one carry on that is my LowePro CompuTrekker AW to carry photo gear and laptop. Very convenient, regulation size, etc.

Getting lost on the Internet, I found a few things about travelling safely with you photo gear, mostly in the USA because this is were the regulation are getting the worse.

First, Bruce Schneier idea to put expensive camera as checked in luggage with a weapon. It sound weird, but TSA regulation about transporting weapons on board of aircraft is quite adequate as it involve making sure the piece of luggage arrive to the destination. They certainly don't want to have a lost gun somewhere in the wild. So much for your priced gear. That includes Starter Pistol used to start a race :-)

Second, James Duncan Davidson talk about various kind of cases that are both regulation size for carry on and safe in case of mis-handling. I'll keep that in mind if I have to travel more. I'm not a pro- so I don't have the same needs, but I usually pack several lenses, etc.

Tuesday 12 September 2006

Mission Photo

Mission Photo is new photo management application for Gnome. It is written in C++ by Ralph Thomas, using the Adobe Source Library (that I blogged about recently) with a brand new Gnome support that Ralph wrote. It is an older version of ASL, but Ralph promissed to port the Gnome support to the last release 1.0.20.

Mandatory screenshot: