Over-Processing can be fun

Most of my photography, at least the images that don't get turned into black and white images, end up going on my website more or less as-is. Sure, like most people, I dabble with the curves and sharpen things up a little, that sort of thing; but mostly they remain looking more or less true to what was originally shot.

Not that I'm opposed to lots of post-processing, far from it. Sometimes the results can end up looking very attractive. I think the following might be a case in point (it works for me anyway):

As I type this my friend Tim is scanning the latest film from my Lubitel 166B. He threw a jpeg of the first scan over to me to have a look at (and it looks nice) and I had a quick mess around with it in Photoshop Elements. Not a deliberate attempt to produce something, just an idle play.

And this is what happened:

Arty Storm
Click for bigger version

And I quite liked it.

While I wouldn't actually go with the above as the finished product of that shot (it looks nothing like the original and is horribly over-processed), I liked it enough that it was worth a quick upload. Once I've got the scanned tiff file I might even work on a version like this.

The shadow behind the cloud is a really nice detail. I hadn't even noticed that before I over-processed it.


On the off chance that it might be useful to someone I've put a copy of extlogkeywords on my website. This is the tool I wrote to generate the data to feed GraphViz and which is central to the production of my clickable search term interconnectedness graph thingy.

It's not terribly good ruby code, it could do with some tidying up. Also, because I hacked up a quick-and-dirty apache log parser, it probably won't even work for your logs (I should probably hunt down a good and flexible ruby library for that, there's got to be one out there). Still, if anyone wants a play/hack, it's there for the taking.


More ruby, graphviz and weblogs

Things have progressed a little further with my initial play with GraphViz. I noticed that it can produce SVG output and that the input format permits links to be associated with nodes. This meant it would be easy enough to produce a graph, with links, that could relate back to searches made on my site.

I decided to keep things simple and just deal with my photography so, after a little bit of extra scripting later, my site has a clickable search term interconnectedness graph thingy.

No sofas, slimy things with legs, horses, monks (electric or otherwise) or stoned poets were harmed during the writing of this code.

ruby, graphviz and weblogs

For the past few days I've been following Tim's messing about with some Haskell weblog analysis code and I've been meaning to have a play myself.

Some time ago I knocked up a little ruby script to extract the search terms from my weblogs. It never did anything clever and probably didn't do anything as near as clever as some of the things I could download but, well, you know what it's like when you want to hack up something yourself.

So, last night, I got around to extending it so that it would emit different types of reports. One that I added was a type of graph output (similar to Tim's) and, once I had that, I kept thinking that doing something graphical with the data would be the next fun option.

A quick search on the net and I stumbled on GraphViz. I then had a quick read up on the DOT language and I then extended my utility so that it would emit the graph data in DOT format. It took a little bit of messing about but, finally, I had something that worked.

The result looks like this. That's a subset of my web logs (if I throw too much at GraphViz's neato command I run out of memory!) and it only shows individual words that have appeared more than once. The numbers in brackets are the count of the number of times the word appears in the data. The lines, obviously, show how the words are related to each other as found in search query strings.

There's no surprise that the graph seems to cluster around Clipper and mutt.

I'm not sure that any of this tells me anything useful, but it is a different way of looking at what searches result in hits on my site.


Near Ewerby

On Saturday I had an hour or so to kill before needing to be in Sleaford so I took a little drive around some of the back roads east of the town and ended up just outside Ewerby. I happened to have the EOS 400D with me and shot a very small set of images of the landscape just outside Ewerby.

Pylons are such a photographic cliché, but they're also hard to resist. ;)


The Wrong Lens

Yesterday evening was quite a nice evening, mostly clear sky with some interesting clouds hanging around. So, because of this, I decided to head out with the Lubitel like I'd done a couple of nights earlier. During that previous run out I'd seen a shot I thought might work with the Tamron AF 55-200 and the EOS 400D so I took the 400D's kit lens off and put the Tamron on.

Because I don't have any sort of lens bag (yet) I did what I'd normally do: I put the kit lens in the Tamron box. I then grabbed the Lubitel, the tripod and the 400D and headed out.

I managed to use up the last couple of shots on the roll in the Lubitel (and it's now in the post, on its way to be processed and scanned by my friendly Scottish landscape photographer) and also took a couple of shots of a developing storm using the 400D. At that point I was wishing I'd left the kit lens on so I could get a wider angle, but I just about managed at 55mm.

I then drove to just outside Pointon to have a go at the shot I'd seen a couple of days before (a long shot of St. Andrew's Church). Having tried that, and got another shot of another developing storm, I started to head home.

Part of the way back I noticed another storm that was doing really well, nice anvil shape on top and everything. It was at this point I found myself wishing that I hadn't left the 400D's kit lens at home. A nice wide-angle shot of the storm above the fens would have been perfect, but there was no way I was going to manage it with the Tamron.

So, lesson for next time: either take both lenses out with me, even if I am just "popping around the corner", or at least take the PowerShot G9 as a backup.


All Photographers Are Terrorists

The growing problems with amateur photography in the UK, and the conflicts with people in uniform (normally PCSOs or private security, it seems), is pretty well documented, but each extra example I see annoys me further.

While I appreciate that any recorded report is going to be a little one-sided you really do start to wonder what the hell is going on when you read something like this and see the accompanying video:

Out with the Lomo Lubitel 166B

I can tell that we're well into spring now. I can finish work, do the things that need to be done once work is finished, and still have time to get out and about before the Sun has set.

Yesterday evening I took a drive out with the Lomo Lubitel 166B with a view to finishing off the Fuji film I've currently got in it (the same film that has the shots of Normanton Church Museum). I only managed to get two shots off before the Sun set (I guess that's what happens if you just take a drive and see what you can find — although I did manage to find a couple of locations that I might shoot at another time) but, at one location, I did take a shot of the Lubitel "in action":

Click for bigger version

Well, I say "in action", that was after I'd taken a shot. You can tell that by the fact that I'd put the lens cap back on and I totally forgot to remove it for this shot. D'oh!


Flag Fen and Rutland Water

Last Saturday we took a drive down to Flag Fen. As always I took my camera with me and took some photographs. It's a pretty impressive place and, if you're in driving distance, and have an interest in history and/or archaeology, pretty fascinating too. Well worth a visit if only to see the recreated roundhouses.

After we were done there we went for a bit of a drive around then then took a detour to Rutland Water to have tea. By then the weather had started to deteriorate but it did make for a pretty impressive sight over the water.

I also had my Lomo Lubitel 166B with me and managed to run off a couple of shots of Normanton Church Museum — it'll be interesting to see how they come out once I finish the film (this is the first colour film I've put through the Lubitel).


RedBubble works on a Google Map

Yet another simple application of the photography querying code I recently wrote:

The querying tool that I wrote knows which items on my main site are also on RedBubble. This means that it's one simple query to emit a KML file that would show all of those works on a Google Map. The code looks something like this:
#!/usr/bin/env ruby

require 'photography'
include Photography

...KML header/document start emitted here...

# For each photograph that is on RedBubble...
Albums.new.load.images.select {|i| i.for_sale? }.each {|i|
...KML Placemark emitted here...

...end of KML document emitted here...
Nice and simple.

The resulting file can then be fed to Google Maps, Google Earth or Virtual Earth. It can also be used to create an embedded map.


ruby, geonames and photography

Recently I've been working on some ruby code that serves up the photography content of my website as a ruby object (no, it's not available for download anywhere, it wouldn't be any use to anyone else). The point behind it is that it lets me query my photographs in all sorts of different ways (especially handy when working in irb as it means I've got a kind of REPL for working with my photographs) and also makes it easy to write programs that generate useful data.

Last night I got to thinking that it would be interesting to use this code to try and "reverse geocode" the ICBM address that every album has so that I could display the nearest centre of population to the album.

After a bit of searching on the net I found GeoNames. A handy enough site itself but even more handy because it has an API and a list of client libraries that are available. Handily there's a library for ruby.

A little bit of hacking later and I had this:

#!/usr/bin/env ruby

require 'geonames'
require 'photography'

include Photography
include Geonames

# Get place names for all the icbm locations
Albums.new.load.collect {|album|
[ album.latitude, album.longitude ]
}.uniq.each {|icbm|
near = WebService.find_nearby_place_name( icbm[ 0 ], icbm[ 1 ] )
puts( "#{icbm[ 0 ]}\t" +
"#{icbm[ 1 ]}\t" +
"#{near[ 0 ].name}\t" +
"#{near[ 0 ].country_name}\t" +
"#{near[ 0 ].distance}" )
Put simply: it gets a list of the unique locations that I've recorded and runs through them getting the nearest known location. I then use the resulting data on my site to display the name of the nearest location to where the album is from.

It isn't perfect. For example, most of the photographs I've shot in and around Billingborough end up being shown as being near Horbling (the next village north of here, and somewhat smaller than Billingborough). Still, it's a start.

Currently I've got the text linking to a search on nearby.org.uk. Via that there's some fascinating (for varying values of fascinating) links to further searches that can be done based on location.


A day in the Lincolnshire Wolds

Last Sunday was the first day of really nice warm and sunny weather we've had since, well, since forever (okay, slight exaggeration, but only a week earlier we had snow on the ground). So, given that the forecast looked pretty good for the whole day we decided to ignore all the stuff that needed doing around the house and, instead, we took a drive up into the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Of course, I took a camera or two (I took the Canon EOS 400D and the Lomo Lubitel 166B — I got through ½ a film with the latter so no images from that just yet).

I ended up taking a handful of images in Horncastle and later on in the afternoon, after we'd had some lunch, we ended up near the village of Fulletby.

It was a pretty nice day out and it convinced me that I really need to get up to the Wolds more often.