Wednesday, May 30, 2007

New Tool

Today I added a new tool to my Firefox browser that allows me to toggle around my SM pages with ease.

Granite Stonework Macro


It also has a great bookmark manager that I have organized all my SM and Degrin links in for quick reference.

This is a great little add-on that should be promoted more by SM - and perhaps it will once more users discover the Firefox browser. It can be found here: SmugManager with complete instructions for installing and setting it up.






Organizing Categories


The last week has been spent focusing on the Stock Images category in my photo galleries.

I have been trying to keep the layout simple without too many subcategories within the categories themselves. Building the pages and galleries and then linking them together has been a learning experience. There is really a lot of customization available within the smugmug pages - it is just finding it and figuring it all out that takes up loads of time.

Uploading the images is also very time consuming as it ties up the computer and slows down the DSL connection for the other computers in my network. I try to fit in the uploading around the busy times.

This week I will continue to condense and restructure my galleries as much of my work is stock related. All of my galleries will allow stock purchasing and downloading, but I think for now I will keep my Landscapes and Nature galleries separate as they are more appealing as prints also.







Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dirty Sensor

I knew it was going to happen. I was going to get some dust on the sensor of my DSLR, and I was going to have to deal with it.

pile of driftwood sticks


A black smudge/dot first appeared on one of my images shot with a white background, and since I was outside taking photos, I figured I had captured a bug flying by.

The playback images are small, and depending on the focus, the dot sometimes didn't show at all - especially on images with a multi-colored background.

After spying the dot while processing the images on the PC, a pattern began to develop. My lens was clean - but it didn't show through the lens to begin with.

My camera manual had instructions for locking up the mirror and then removing the lens in order to get to the sensor. I was nervous - damaging the sensor makes the camera useless.

After removing the lens, the sensor is right there - and so was that spot I was seeing on my images. Since I only have a blower at this time, I held the camera with the face pointing down, and I used the blower to see if the spot was loose. That dust came right off with a couple of puffs.

I can see that I will need to purchase some eclipse fluid and some swabbers to do a wet-clean at some point. For some reason this does not make me nervous. The sensor was easy to get to and as long as I have the right tools, I can no reason to dread cleaning it. What a relief!



Saturday, May 19, 2007

Stock Images on Website

My webhost, Smugmug, will soon be offering us the ability to sell digital downloads as stock.

This is good news since I have already been selling stock images through various other agencies, and already have a portfolio established.

They will be working on the all the details over the next few months and have asked for advice and suggestions from the community. It should be interesting to see how this plays out.

There are many fine photographers in this community as well as members who use this site for sharing their snapshots. Smugmug is getting into the game a bit late, but I think with the correct direction of the quality images and a professional entrance, they can make it work.

I will be uploading my stock images into a separate gallery over the next couple of months. They still do not have the organization established yet, but at least I will have some photos available when they do.




Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Processing Images

I have been spending the last few days processing some winter images that I have not had the time to do.

I have many new images that I am eager to get to, but I have made my self sit down and work on the ones that I have taken before them, otherwise, they will never get done. If I do not discipline myself then they all just pile up and some of the good images will never get processed.

Granted, the good ones are only about 1 in 100, but the usable ones for stock images are about 1 in 20. Good thing for digital images and cameras - the cost for film and photo processing would be ridiculous.

I use Photoshop, version 7, for my processing software. I try to keep the processing to a minimum, usually just a levels, brightness, and saturation tweak. Getting the image correct in the camera is best way, because no amount of post-processing is going to help to help an image that is unfocused or overexposed or too noisy, etc.

I use none of the fancy settings on my camera - the contrast, saturation, noise, etc, are all turned off. I do not like adding noise or artifacts to my images through the camera's software programing. If I want any of those options, I add them very minimumly through Photoshop. It is best to keep it all as natural and simple as possible.




Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tutorials


medical


I have discovered some great photography tutorials in the Dgrin forum site. This link will bring you to a page that has many how-to tips for general photography, photoshop tricks, and some simple web building tools and techniques that can be used on Smugmug or your own website.

This collection of helpful tips has been developed by users of Smugmug and the Dgrin community, so it is added to as new tutorials are written and posted. It is a great collection and certainly worth bookmarking and reading through from time to time.








Sunday, May 6, 2007

A Break from the Computer

I have been spending way too many hours in front of the computer these last few weeks. Granted, it has been raining a lot this spring, but the last couple of days have been way too nice, and I have missed being behind the lens.

I spent an hour today at an old Boy Scout camp that was built back in the 1800's. It is a collection of four log cabins and a large rock-built fire place in an open field. The field was surrounded by poison ivy so I am keeping my fingers crossed that getting these pictures doesn't leave me with this itching malady.

The cabins are kept up by the town and there is a small pond on the premises that the local kids like to fish in. It was nice today with nobody around so I could get my images without interrupting anybody. My family had launched a canoe and were trying to catch some dinner. In about an hour's time they had caught a couple of perch - not near enough for a meal but they we not giving up hope.

It felt good to be outside for a brief time and I must remember to do this occasionally and enjoy these little respites.





Thursday, May 3, 2007

Prices Page

I have been working on getting together a prices page for the website. The prices are currently available by adding an image to the shopping cart and choosing the size and corresponding price from there.

expenses

I would like to have a page that the customers can go to without having to go through the above process. So far I have been able to get together a page using a spreadsheet program. I will have to scan it as a .jpg and upload it that way. I cannot see any other way of designing one at this time - my html knowledge doesn't extend that far.

Hopefully I can get it up on the site by the weekend. It's not a great necessity, but I think it would be easier for my customers.





Tuesday, May 1, 2007

CSS

It has been a learning experience in dealing with the CSS for designing my website. Using the Firefox browser has been the biggest teacher.

broken glass windshield


They have a nifty add-on called the web developer. It allows you to view and edit the CSS for any webpage. As you edit the code, the changes go live on the page you are viewing. None of the info is actually changing anything on the real webpage though.

Once you get the code correct, and the page looking like you want, it is easy to just copy and paste the code to your webhost and the page will go live with the corrections. It is pretty neat how it all works.




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