What's up at Ravens March.

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Posts Tagged ‘photography’

A Brief Lamentation

Posted by Dirck on 19 August, 2019

A long time ago, I got a new(ish) camera. I went on about it at some length, too, because I was able to take pictures that weren’t hideous, which up to that point was not the wrong word to use.

I mean… you can tell it’s a pen, but otherwise, uck.

Somewhat more recently, I got an actually new, fresh out of the box camera, and not only had it not taken pictures before, it was objectively good. Again, I mentioned it previously, and hinted that I might be switching over to it for site photos.

I did not. Why? Consistency. Let’s have a look at a pair of pictures from that earlier post:

The old Canon

The new Nikon

The new Nikon

They’re both good enough for my purposes, but they’re not the same, even though they were taken with the same lighting in the same place. And that made me not want to make the switch– I’m a lazy bugger, sometimes, and learning how to process the new shots so they’d look like the old was too much trouble. Also, the little table-top camera I use has a little trouble bearing the weight of a real cameral, even if it’s not carrying a mass of film in its guts. So, I carried on until…

Until it was time to show you all my super-cool Apollo commemorative pen. I headed down to the photography grotto, and found the camera wasn’t switching on. So I replaced the batteries. Which didn’t work. And that’s why this picture looks a little odd:

Something I don’t know how to adjust in an iPhone: white balance

It turns out the (nearly) modern phone camera  is pretty good, but getting pictures out of it, into my computer, and then washed and filtered until they’re consistent with the other shots on my site is even more work than dealing with the real camera. Ironically, that whole process would probably be easier if it wasn’t an all-Apple environment, but that’s the bed I now lie in.

Anyway, having finally convinced myself that the little old point’n’shoot is never going to open its eye again, I’m using Gargantua and putting in the slightly increased effort it takes to make it look about as duff as my previous efforts:

You might think I took this two years ago instead of mere days (also– coming soon to a website near me!)

I should be happy, because the pixel count is vastly higher now… although you wouldn’t know it. Rather than reducing image size by about 20% as part of the effort to make all pictures the same visual length, so visitors to the site can compare images side by side for a real sense of the pens’ relative sizes, the new standard needs an 80% reduction. In theory, this will disguise more in the way of scrapes and cat hair, leading to more beautiful pictures.

I will miss that little camera, though.

Today’s pen: Parker 50
Today’s ink: Herbin Bleu Calanque


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Doin’ the Charleston

Posted by Dirck on 4 April, 2016

Just a quick note, by way of proving that I still occasionally do things to make pens feel better:


It’s also a fine proof that I still do not have complete command of my camera and attendant software.

Today’s pen: Parker 65
Today’s ink: Waterman washable blue


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Throwback Thursday (Gently)

Posted by Dirck on 31 March, 2016

The throwback is only to last Thursday.  Last week, we got what I could without much fear of contradiction call the only real snowfall of the winter.  Those who attend to the cycling of the equinoxes will probably spot that, technically speaking, spring was already upon us last week.  This illustrates both the contrary nature of weather and how astronomically-determined seasons just don’t mesh with experience here in the broad Canadian prairie.

Anyway, last Thursday, the snow had stopped, and the sun was out by day’s end… and there were some pretty things emerging from the interaction of loads of fresh snow and low-angle sun.  As it takes me this long to drag images out of my good camera and process them, it’s not exactly news, but it is fodder for my own little on-line gallery.  Here, see how pretty Old Man Winter can be when he’s just shuffling out the door–

March Foliage

March Foliage

Snow Lace

Snow Lace


The Darling Buds of March (seriously, Tree– it’s too early; go back to sleep)

Today’s thawed pen: Parker 65
Today’s ink: Waterman washable blue 

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The Echo of “Boo”

Posted by Dirck on 3 November, 2014

I’m taking a moment off the writing today to mention that there’s a few new items on my aimless photography page.  This is by no means the best, but the interaction of auto focus failure and night vision setting fill the hole in my Hallowe’en that a paucity of visiting trick-or-treaters left.

Graveyard 2014 nightvision

Today’s pen: Parker Duofold Senior
Today’s ink: Herbin Éclat de Saphir 

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I Am Running Out of Excuses

Posted by Dirck on 11 April, 2011

One of the mainstays of my site has been rather sad photography.  Grainy, obscure, occasional simulation of cataracts– I had it all.  Apart from a limited quanta of aptitude for still-life photography (I’m better at landscapes), the household digital camera was rather crummy, and apparently had not so much built-in obsolescence as components with a short half-life.  Earlier photographs were better than later, and in the last few months of its life it required hours of effort to download ten photos.

The first excuse failure was thus the replacement of the miserable camera, and as a mark of how miserable that camera was I will mention that the replacement cost me $10 at a garage sale.  The careful reader of my site will have seen amelioration in my photographs, thus:

The old camera (kind to the pen, frankly)

The new camera (and a less rickety pen)

This just leaves us with strange reflections and flash-flare.  Last Friday, those remaining issues became threatened, with the arrival of a “photo studio in a box” (from ThinkGeek.com, if you want your own).  This contained a light tent, a couple of lamps designed to stand beside it on a table-top, and a little tripod.  With the new camera included, we see something that almost looks good:

Old pen with the old set-up

Still an old pen, but a new arrangement

Improvement!  I was reading a movie review site, which argued that the appearance in the world of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was the moment at which the movie industry lost the excuse of making a technically bad film– the writing and acting could still stink, but the whole affair can’t help but be polished and professional-looking.  I am standing near, if not actually in, the threshold of that moment in relation to home photography.  Alas.  At least the auto-focus (which is the ONLY focus) on the new camera is still a little whimsical, and I’m unlikely to stumble on a $15 DSLR camera at a flea market.

Don’t, by the way, expect an instant change-over of all pictures on the site.  Not only does just the simple snapping and inital post processing take about an hour per 10 pens, I have to amend each page of the site, and I’m also thinking of doing some off-site storage of the photos to avoid over-running my storage again… which is yet more delay.

A cool thing about the new set-up is that I’m being somewhat scientific in my approach, putting the camera a consistent distance from the pen (as opposed to my previous routine which involved holding a fill-lamp in my prehensile tail), which means that the relative sizes of the images is the same as those of the pens, so this…

is actually as much bigger than this…

as it appears to be.  It’s not a big thing, but it makes me happy.

Today’s yet-to-be-rephotographed pen: Sheaffer Cadet
Today’s ink, declining to sign a release: Wancher Matcha

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