Date June 24, 2008

So I just recently came back from my third trip to NYC and figured I’d post some stuff from it.  Where to begin?  Well, might as well start at the beginning, I guess.

Before I left, I’d been reading up on geotagging and basically started wondering how people could survive without it.  I decided to take the plunge and buy some hardware to get me started.  I ended up buying the Gisteq Photo Trackr BT logger.  It basically just logs GPS coordinates and timestamps until it fills its memory. But I digress…

I took the logger with me to NYC and it did quite a good job.  It had some trouble in the urban canyons of Manhattan, but it was to be expected.  It even managed to log my flight from TO to NYC, see the pic below. Read the rest of this entry »

Cool Open-Source Firmware for your Camera!

Date April 5, 2008

Canon Digic III ChipIf you’ve got a Canon camera with Digic II or Digic III processor, and you’ve always craved for more features like a live histogram, zoom while recording video, an intervalometer, RAW format (and the list goes on), your all-you-can-eat buffet of camera features is finally here!

CHDK (Canon Hacker’s Development Kit) is open source firmware that can be loaded onto an SD card and used in tandem with your camera’s original firmware. So there’s no worry of “bricking” your camera if you botch the firmware download process.

I tried it on my SD870IS and it worked fine. I find it useful that it’s enabled by hitting the direct print button. That way you don’t get the CHDK features unless you really want them (and know how to get them).

There is talk of similar code being developed for dSLRs, but this will take some time as this would require a complete replacement of the camera’s firmware, rather than an add-on type above.

Watermarking in Lightroom using LR/Mogrify Plugin

Date March 25, 2008 just recently discovered the LR/Mogrify plugin by Timothy Armes.  This wonderful plugin provides a user interface for Imagemagick’s Mogrify program that runs when you export photos from Lightroom.

My initial use for this plugin is to watermark my photos on my photoblog,  Aside from watermarking, this plugin also allows you to add borders, apply image sharpening, resize the image, adjust image brightness and saturation, and do many other things.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Best Cupcakes in Toronto

Date March 22, 2008

Bread & Roses CupcakesI know it’s a relatively trivial thing to be talking about cupcakes, but these little pieces of heaven from Bread & Roses Bakery Cafe truly deserve a mention, even if it’s only on my blog.

Typically when one thinks of cupcakes they think of dry store-bought ones that have the same overly sweet grocery store icing on them as their big brothers, the regular birthday cakes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Know Your Photographer’s Rights

Date March 18, 2008

If you’re a fellow photographer like me, you might wonder from time to time if it’s OK to take pictures of your intended subject (be it a building, location or people).  It seems everyone is concerned about security these days, and security staff are hasty to assume that anyone taking pictures in abstract or public locations are likely out to hurt people.

As a photographer, one should know their rights, according to their local laws. Here are a few links that I’ve come across that should help shed some light on where you stand in the eyes of the law (note that these are for American laws–but Canadian laws should be quite similar):

  1. The Ten Legal Commandments of Photographers is a concise list of your rights, and the rights of others with respect to photography.  Notable  quote: Taking a photo of a publicly visible subject does not constitute terrorism, nor does it infringe on a company’s trade secrets.”
  2. The Photographer’s Rights guide.  Some photographers print this guide on a small card and keep it with them in case they’re questioned.
  3. The Legal Rights of Photographers—another guide with a bit more detail than the single page guide above.

Now of course, there are places where you can’t or shouldn’t take photos.  Typically these are places of high security or locations deemed to be sensitive by authorities.  Look for signs posted prohibiting photography.  Even if you feel it is legal to do so, would it be worth the confrontation?

It might also be good to note that some places prohibit the use of tripods as they can restrict the flow of pedestrians or become a tripping hazard in crowded areas.  Places like subways or busy streets in some cities sometimes prohibit the use of tripods.