Trying Tumblr

My friendly Scottish Landscape photographer mentioned to me the other day that he'd been having a play with Tumblr. As normally happens when one of us tries something out, the other has to go have a play too. So, in no time, I created my own Tumblr account.

I've decided to use it as somewhere to "showcase" some of my photographs. Think of it as a mini-blog of personal favourites.

The nice thing about messing with this is that it gave me another reason to make use of the ruby library I wrote a while back for querying my published photographs. Tumblr has a simple API for writing entries so it made sense to write a little command line tool that would post a photograph to the blog. All the command does is it takes the filename of a photograph on the command line, finds it amongst the collection of published photographs, and then publishes an entry for it using nothing more than this code:

Net::HTTP.post_form( URI.parse( BASE_URL ),
"email" => EMAIL,
"password" => PASSWORD,
"type" => "photo",
"source" => image.jpeg_url,
"caption" => caption( image ),
"click-through-url" => image.url,
"tags" => image.tags.join( ',' ),
"generator" => "org.davep.tumblphoto"
} )
Nice! :-)


Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II: Quick Test Shoot

A little earlier on today I needed to pop to the shop. Despite the fact that it's a pretty dark and dank day I thought I'd quickly take the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II for a spin. I came back with the following shots:

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Has Arrived

Last Saturday the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II that I ordered a few days back arrived.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

I've not had the chance to give it a proper test shoot yet, just a handful of family shots around the house but, so far, I'm impressed. All being well I'll give it a go some time this week and publish the results.


Fixing a Stuck/Hot Pixel on a Canon EOS 400D

This evening I was processing some photographs I'd taken with my Canon EOS 400D earlier today and, while doing so, I noticed for the first time that it appeared to have a rather prominent red stuck pixel. I looked back through some of my earlier (although still pretty recent) photographs and could see it there too, although it did appear to be fainter.

Assuming that it was just "one of those things" (it's not like it's something that isn't easily fixed in Photoshop) I didn't think too much of it for a while but then I got curious and did a little bit of searching on Google. In doing so I found this page. Given that there was nothing to lose I decided to give it a go. Here's what I did:

  1. In the menu I turned on JPEG+RAW shooting.
  2. With a lens on, and with the lens cap on, I took a 10 second exposure.
  3. I then went back into the menu and, still with the lens on, I did a manual sensor clean for around 10 seconds (turning the camera off to finish the operation).
  4. I turned the camera back on and, once again, with the lens cap on I took a 10 second exposure.
After doing all of the above I downloaded the images to my machine and had a look. Sure enough the stuck pixel I'd seen showed up really well on the first image. Here's an image of it, on the left is a 100% crop of it and on the right is a blown up version of it:

I also found a couple of blue stuck pixels too. However, on the image I took after I'd performed the manual sensor clean, there was no evidence of the stuck pixel. I have no idea how or why this works but it appears that it does make a difference.


Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens

I've finally done it.

Almost a year after I last went shopping for a lens I've gone shopping for another. That last time it was a choice between the Tamron AF 55-200mm f4.5-5.6 Di II LD and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II and, in the end, the Tamron won (mainly because it extended my focal length range rather than double it up as the 50mm would have when compared to the 400D's kit lens). This time I've decided that the 50mm is just too nice a lens, at too good a price, to ignore.

Hopefully it'll turn up in the next couple of days and I'll be able to have a play and post some results.


Google Friend Connect

This morning, during my first "coffee in the office", I was reading my various RSS feeds and found this item on the Google Blog. Thinking that it sounded kind of interesting I went and had a look and realised that it would be dead simple to implement on my photography pages.

With less than an hour's work (a lot less really, it took longer to set the colours than it did to sort out the code on my site) I had a social networking, rating and commenting system added to my site. The only minor issue that slowed me down a little was the fact that the rate/comment gadget, when set to "per page" scope, doesn't appear to take URL parameters into account when deciding that something is a "page" (in my case this meant that a comment left on one photograph was left on every photograph on my site). Because of that I had to switch to the ID scope system and add a little bit of PHP to generate a unique ID per page.

See here for my main photography membership page and here for an example of a page with the ability to rate and comment.


Lincoln Light

Yesterday afternoon I was in Lincoln and, as normally happens when I head into town, I had my Canon PowerShot G9 with me. During a wander around the city the low winter sunlight was too hard to resist, hence Lincoln Light.


Self Portrait - 2008-11-29

Last Saturday night I wandered out into the garden and had a sudden urge to do something with the light on our house wall. This is what happened: