Archive for January, 2008


Update on Scribus

I have tried Scribus for a while now, and I see why people pay for InDesign. It’s not that bad, but there is a couple of things that really don’t match my way of working. If I shall use this software, I obviously must adjust my expectations, and find new solutions. All this has been a bit difficult lately due to my lack of decent internet connection (our bathroom still isn’t finished).

On the bright side, I think I have found a good subject for the SoFoMoBo project. Still a secret, I have to think it through a bit more.


A major software upgrade

I upgraded the OS to Leopard the other day. Haven’t had the chance to try it out that much yet, but it looks ok. If you run Tiger I’m not sure whether the upgrade is worth it. It’s not that much improvements, but my wifes mac still had Panther installed, so I decided a upgrade would do us good. And of course, there is a benefit of keeping up with the latest regarding fixes and updates. One nice feature that I’ve missed is the multiple desktops. I don’t remember how many years it was since I first used this on Linux, but it amazes me how long it took for Apple to pick it up.


I didn't get that poem

They put up poems on the Oslo subway trains. I don’t know that much about poetry, even less about the poets of today, but it seems like the poems they put up are of relatively young and unkown poets. Anyway, I was heading home from work today when one of those posters caught my eye, and I started to read. It was in Norwegian, and I don’t rememember it exactly, so I can’t put it up here. The thing was, I read it over and over again, doing my best to understand it. No matter how hard I tried, I just didn’t get it. It didn’t make any sense. 
I have read poems by well known writers that I did understand. So was it just me being slow, or was the message in this poem rather weak. I assume there was a message in there. Obviously the message must have been weaker than other poems I have read, and of course it may be that I miss some important reference. 
I find this hard with most images as well, to understand them I mean. The vast majority of fine art photographs don’t tell me much beyond the obvious, but unlike the poem, I usually conclude that there is no underlying message. It’s just a reflex. I think it has to do with the massiv amount of meaningless photographs I see everyday. It makes it so easy to assume that a photograph is just that. But I don’t see a poem that often. Usually I have to go look for them, so when I see one on a poster on the subway, I automatically assume that it is there for a purpose. That someone brighter than me thought it to be good. So if I don’t get it, the fault is on me. The fact that it is a poem is such a strong indicator in it self. If I see a photograph, I usually assume that some advertising agency put it there to make me buy something, and that just hit my in-brain spam filter. Due to all this noise, you really have to convince the viewer that it is worth spending time looking for something subtle or hidden in a photograph, and if you don’t have a well known name, you must communicate with big letters. At least part of the message must be in big letters, just as a teaser. 

And I'm in on the SoFoBoMo

I expect it to be fun. Still haven’t figured out my own theme, but there is still some time before the start. Kudos to Paul Butzi for the initiative.

To lay out the pages, I’m planning on investigating freeware solutions like Scribus. Haven’t tried it yet, but it looks promising. It claims to be color managed, and it also claims to have fairly advanced pdf export functions. Write me a message if you also will try to use this application, and maybe we can exchange some ideas as we progress.


pushing myself to produce

Many things are written about creativity and productivity, or more precise, what you can to to improve it. Even if we may learn something from what others have to say about this, I think that most must be gained from your own self insight. Even if what you come up with is the same as everyone else, you still have to realize that it applies to you. It may be the simplest thing, but unless you recognize it as an obstacle, you won’t get passed it.

I do spend time both to identify my own obstacles, and to find ways around them, both in my professional life as an electronics designer, and for my personal projects. I started doing this because I felt unmotivated at work a couple of years ago, and it really helped. I don’t read books about “How can YOU become more ……”, I just try out different small things. Small variations on how I do my everyday tasks, how I organize them. I try out different methods for preserving my ideas. Some of the things I try, I just come up with myself, while others I read about somewhere and try it out. And if it doesn’t work, I just let it go and try something else. And it does make a difference. Most helpful are the techniques and methods I device for myself, or something I adapt.

In photography, the things that has helped me most is the blogging. It creates an illusion of a big audience (which in fact is very small, but don’t tell anyone), and I feel committed to post something to please the crowd.

My most recent project, The monthly folio, is another attempt at pushing myself to produce some finished work. I’m still curious how that will work.

But these are the big things. There are the small techniques and ideas that has given me even more. When I started doing digital, I felt compelled to archive all my digital negatives with a stringent system of keywords and ratings and all that. Then at one point I realized; I’m not a stock photographer, nor a wedding photographer. All the work involved in keeping this kind of archive took up so much time that it prevented me from going out and take pictures, and I never used it for anything. I actually find it quite pleasing to browse to my old archive and rediscover old treasures. If I had done all the rating and classification just after each shoot, I would probably not have looked at all the photos that didn’t quite make it in the first round. So I stopped this. Now I use a simple archive method that stores each shoot in a separate folder named with the date of the shoot and a short description. I use a simple color scheme to separate the files I have started to work on, and a simple rating scheme to track which ones I have finished and published.

Another small “big one”, was the realization that spending $30 for a good plugin that did hours of boring work in just a mouse click was worth every penny. I can mention Photokit Sharpener, Akvis Enhancer and Noise Ninja. I know a lot of people spend very much time doing fairly brain dead work just to prove that they can do it, or they take some pride in doing things the hardest possible way. Why not spend that time and energy on something that only you can do, and let software and plugins do all the boring stuff.

The most important realization for me is that I have to figure out what works for me, and that in itself takes some effort and time. If you just blindly try out the methods that work for others, and think they will do wonders for you, you’re probably in for a disappointment. The daily photo posting was one that didn’t work at all for me. I know others have had great success with it, but for me it was the opposite. It was just discouraging.

And to end this post. When I figure out ways of working that helps me, I tend to get stuck at them. The best way I have found to move on and figure out new ways is to write down everything that works. It kind of establishes them as working tools that can be put in the background and used when necessary. And it frees my mind to think up new ways of improving. So if you think this is all just obvious stuff, or plain nonsense, it is first of all for myself.


Monthly folio for January

This is the official launch of my Monthly folio project.

Monthly folio for January 2008 – White Frost

It comes a bit early in the month, but I had to push it since I will have very limited access to my computers the next four weeks. I guess the February issue will be a bit late for exactly the same reason.

As I wrote in this post, I think this is a format that is a good match for me. The folios will be presented as web galleries as well as high quality pdf’s for download. These pdf’s are of course quite large, but if you have a high bandwidth connection, or enough of time, I would highly recommend downloading it. The images are larger, and the presentation better than the web galleries. Especially on a big screen.

You may read more on my Monthly folio page.


the new harddisk setup

My new hard drives just arrived today, and they’ve been busy since the minute they got out of the box. At last I can retire my old, odd collection of external drives that I really don’t trust that much anymore, and that has become a bit crammed lately.

The setup now is one WD MyBook Premium Edition II 1TB connected to my desktop computer through FireWire. This is configured as a Raid1 disk (500GB storage space), and will serve as the everyday photo storage.

In addition to that, I have got myself two WD MyBook 2 Essential Edition 500GB. These are the least expensive ones in the MyBook lineup, and only offers USB interface. Since they will serve as off site backups there is really no need for top of the line, and since all the data will be duplicated on 4 drives in total (two in the raid, and two backup disks), the consequence of disk failure isn’t really that serious.

Each month I will copy all the data using ChronoSync to the disk that is currently at home. Then I will bring that one to my office and bring the other one back home. ChronoSync is a not-quite-a-backup tool that does the job of keeping two folders in sync very well. I will try my best to sync the disk that currently are at home a bit more frequently than each month, just to make the increments smaller. The ChronoSync setup file for each of the drives is stored on them, so I will just have to connect the drive and start the sync operation that is on that drive. The backup disks will be fully disconnected when not being used to prevent damage from power glitches.

Each of the two disks are numbered 1 and 2. Disk number 1 will stay at my office during the months with odd number (Jan, Mar …), while disk number 2 will stay at my office during months with even number. That way I can easily see on the disks if I forgot to switch them, unless I am two months overdue.

Some of you may think that 500GB is a bit on the small side, but I had a look at my disk usage during the last two years, and extrapolating from that they will probably last at least two years, maybe 5, probably 3. And by the time they reach 3 years, I will not trust them anymore, and get new ones anyway. By then, storage will be even cheaper, and I can probably get 4TB for the same price as 1TB today.

Visit my home page

View the images from my blog

You'll find the gallery here (starting august 2008)

Print Swapping


free hit counters