Mark Hughes

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Post processing

Published October 25th, 2011

I love looking at other people's photographs, particularly for ideas for my own images. Some people are so amazing with their eye for composition.

Composition is one thing, post processing is another. I have seen lots of photographs on 500px and a few other sites from professional photographers where some of the post processing is a little sloppy. Sloppier than I would think would come from a professional. Intentionally sloppy for effect is one thing, poor post is another.

I really like some HDR images provided they aren't pushed too far. What I often see on lots of HDR images is sloppy post processing, where chromatic aberrations and halos are visible but not intentionally so. I still have lots to learn about post processing and think the things you can do with Photoshop CS5 and Photomatix are pretty cool. I do, however, think that often HDR images are pushed so far that these artifacts appear and are left in the image. If an image is pushed to create a "crunchy" effect, tha ...

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Light field cameras

Published October 21st, 2011

Wow. Photographic images may be about to change.

Can you imagine not needing to focus an image? Well the future is now.

Lytro has released their very unusual camera. This lightfield camera is a completely innovative approach to photography. You can see their product at https://www.lytro.com/camera This new little camera has only three concealed buttons on the camera and it looks like a square tube. The rear of the camera has a small touch screen that you can view the images and see what you took a picture of. It is revolutionary.

Check out the picture gallery at this address https://www.lytro.com/living-pictures/282 To focus on an object, click on that object.

Very cool.

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Storage is a Problem

Published October 11th, 2011

Storing photographs is a problem. I come from more of a tech background before I ever had to deal with digital images. I have a phobia when it comes to data storage.

When I first started to actively manage computer systems (as part of my job) it was over 20 years ago. Early on, I found a room full of Wang computer disks. The only problem was that there were no computers or equipment capable of reading or decoding these Wang disks. This was about 8 years of electronic documents. Someone had diligently backed up all their digital records only for them to become a large pile of plastic and metal that could not be used by anyone.

So... my career dealing with technology has led to a circumstance where I like all my data to be readily accessible for fear of it becoming permanently inaccessible. This is a problem storing RAW images. They accumulate as a crazy rate and are problematic for long term storage (DVD's and CD's are not really long term storage).

I have terabytes of storage ...

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Time of Day

Published October 7th, 2011

Interesting. I had posted a blog entry figuring out how to get 500px ratings to improve. I was still figuring it out. Still am, but it is clear that the time of day matters.

I posted a new image today early for me (around 11:00 am) just to test my theory. Normally I am bit of a night owl and will post around midnight. I got a fewer views, I got more votes for today's image. While I will admit that it is a pretty nice image (I like it), I have others that are similar that are also on the 500px website but were posted much later. The later posted ones typically have more views but fewer votes. Not sure what that really means, but it is an interesting observation.

One of these days I will figure it out....

;-)

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500 px Growing Like Mad

Published October 4th, 2011

Six million views for 500px. Wow! That's how many views to this website there were in September.

http://www.techvibes.com/blog/torontos-500px-is-on-fire-with-6-million-visits-in-september-2011-10-03

That is a little mind boggling.

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A Moment in Life

Published October 4th, 2011

I went on a short streetcar ride with my son a few days ago. It was a 100 year old japanese streetcar running on a short section of track that only runs during the summer. There was only a few weeks left before they were going to shut it down for the winter season. We were taking some photographs and a young pair photography students hopped on board with a larger format film camera and heavy tripod. They were off the the farmer's market to try to capture some images.

The volunteers running the streetcar were older gentlemen asking lots of questions about the equipment the students were using and about DSLR's in general. It was interesting to eavesdrop on their conversations.

When we hopped out after our round trip, there were two more people taking photographs of the train. Expensive equipment, but I wasn't sure if the photographers were anything more than recreational. The democratization of photography.

Digital media has made taking photographs much easier. I also think, ...

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Still figuring out 500px

Published September 22nd, 2011

I am still trying to figure out this site. There are so many amazing photographs to see and so many skilled photographers. I really enjoy looking at all the photographs and trying to figure out how they did some of them.

What I am still trying to figure out is the rating thing. I suspect it is a function of when you post, what subject matter you post, how good is what you post and how many people are following you. It appears that some photographers with few followers hit that sweet spot with an image that is out of this world and they get a crazy number of views and votes. Others post many photographs and have almost no views. How you get your photos on the Popular, Upcoming and Favorites lists is beyond me.

What I like best is that the process of trying to figure it out has challenged me to try to make a range of photographs and to do them well. Clearly some of my photos are better vote scorers than others. What I find surprising, is that some of the photos that I think are ...

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New Equipment

Published September 6th, 2011

I recently had a birthday and Lori got me a new camera. It is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2. I had asked for it to give me some flexibility when travelling not to carry a huge set of lenses and a large camera. I have been experimenting with the new mirrorless camera and having a lot of fun. It has a neat feature that allows you to point at the part of the image you want to focus on and take the picture at the same time. I find it a little tricky to hold (because it is small and has no viewfinder) and have accidentally touched the screen a number of times and taken random images. Some of them have turned out kinda interesting (obviously by accident).

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Sport Photography (Beach Volleyball)

Published August 29th, 2011

I just came back from a quick little weekend jaunt to LA so my wife and I could celebrate our anniversary. We did this last year and attended the Manhattan Beach Open (a beach volleyball tournament). When we came last year we attended the tournament (that almost didn't happen) and really enjoyed both the event and the place. We enjoyed it so much we went back.

The south bay of LA is really quite something. Both my wife and I play beach volleyball for fun and the number of permanent courts in place along the beach is out of this world. The Manhattan Beach Open has been going on for 51 years.

For this weekend I took my gear and got lots of great photographs of the athletes in action. A bunch of them turned out great, but I have always wondered about something. At a public event like this (there was no charge for admission) are there still model release requirements for photographs or are they considered documentary? Not that it really matters for my photographs but I was just cu ...

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Raw versus JPG

Published August 16th, 2011

We take a lot of photographs for work. It is the single largest digital resource that consumes the most space on our servers. Years ago when we made the transition to digital photography, we made a conscious decision to not shoot in raw. Most of our photographs are intended to record condition, with little or no aesthetic value associated with the image. All that matters is that the image recorded what was seen. This minimized our need for server space but also limited the ability to improve marginal photographs.

As a consequence, I was slow to take to RAW imagery and many of my older photographs were taken solely in JPG format (for smaller disc space). Taking photographs for aesthetic purposes now requires taking photographs in RAW which slowly but surely is consuming much of my hard disc space (thank god for external hard drives).

The photograph below shows an example of some older images that were taken with film and scanned. They have had a little post processing after sc ...

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Out of my depth

Published August 11th, 2011

I like taking photographs of flowers, especially ones with tons of detail at their center. I don't know the names of most of these flowers. While I like the look of many flowers, I can never remember their names. Sometimes it is just a flower that I am passing that intrigues me.

So the conundrum... When I am uploading some of these images I realize, you are supposed to title the image and add tags, but I have no idea what the flower is. Not even sure how to look it up.

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Stanley Park

Published August 10th, 2011

I had an assignment in Vancouver today with very short notice.

I didn't know how much time it would take so I booked off the entire day for the trip (better too much time than not enough). Sure enough I finished early so I took the time while I was waiting for my plane to take a spin down to Stanley park with my camera equipment and a small tripod I brought along. The sun was high in the sky and Vancouver being Vancouver it was not really that sunny.

I encountered a couple of small baby raccoons, a seal, landing seaplanes and a couple of cormorants. Not sure how well the images will turn out, but it was a great little diversion

I hadn't been to Stanley Park since I was a kid. It is an awesome park with lots to see and do.

The image below is of the two baby raccoons that were trapped at the water's edge against the sea wall. Mama was nearby but I didn't get a picture of her. This image has only minimal post processing

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