27.02.2012

Camera lost or stolen? Find it back!

www.stolencamerafinder.com 
www.cameratrace.com
With most DSLR equipment beeing quite expensive it´s always a financial (and emotional!) tragedy to loose the camera or the bag containing the lenses...
Allthough there are many services offering insurances for this kind of items most people don´t have them insured. So, if they get stolen... they are gone and the chance to get them back is almost zero. A big part of the stolen equipment if often re-sold very quickly through the internet and you have almost no chance to recognize them cause the key-ID of the cam (the Serial-Nr.) is not beeing published within the offers of for example Ebay.
But there is something many people don´t know: the Serial-Nr. of your camera leaves a digital finger-print on every single picture you take with it. This data is saved within the EXIF-Data of the image. This is valid for almost all newer cameras in the market.
So, if someone steals your camera... and takes pictures with it... and publishes them on the Internet... well, then there is a big chance for you to at least get a clue where your beloved camera could be!
Two services I know offer this: you can register your Serial-Nr. within their database and in the case of loosing the cam, they will crawl the Internet screening for pictures with your Serial-Nr. embedded.

Of course this does not work if the EXIF-Data image has been ripped-off the file or if the thieve does not upload any images to the internet, but it gives you at least a chance to find it back.

By the way: Do you know what would be really emotional negative? To find images made with your camera online... and find out that the thieve is a much better photographer than you :-))))

Here are the Links to this 2 Services to find stolen cameras online:

1. http://www.stolencamerafinder.com/
2. http://cameratrace.com/


 

Data Security: do you have 2 minutes for your security?


mypermissions.org - Check whom you have granted access to your data

With all the different social-platforms (Facebook, G+, Flickr, Twitetr, LinkedIn, DropBox, Instagramm, etc.) we are using every day... sometimes we forget to WHOM we granted WHAT Permissions to have access to our DATA in what Social-Platform.
Specially when we are new to a social service we tend to check and test all the features available. We find a new App or Gadget, perhaps cause a friend recommended it to us or cause we read somewhere that it was cool to use. So, we granted this App access to our data on Facebook or Twitter or whatever. But, as time goes by, we learn more and more about data usage by the platforms and perhaps we would like to get back control over the data we are sharing through them.
Well, as this platforms and services live and exist because of OUR data it is a command of sanity and security to check what kind of accesses we have granted to them. Many of them just don´t make it easy to find where you can opt in or (and this is more important!) opt out the access to your data.
This is why an israel based entrepeneur got the idea to summarize the direct links to the (sometimes deep hidden) places in the Social Platforms where you can easily check to whom you have granted access to your data. Just visit the link below and be prepared to be surprised and check out what long-forgotten permissions you granted long time ago!

Link: mypermissions.org


How Lenses are produced

Canon EF 500 F4 L 
With lenses beeing one of the most important elements of the DSLR Photography (bodies you buy avery 5 years... but good lenses you keep forever!) it´s quite interesting to get to know how this pieces of glas are produced. In the following videos you will see the making of a Canon L (the expensive ones!) series Lense:

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:


So, now you know why this things do cost a lot of money :-)

Photoshop Touch for Ipad: editing on the go!

Adobe Photoshop Touch

Now that everything goes mobile and more and more people are working on mobile devices like the IPad or other Tablets Adobe has hear the signs and introduces Photoshop Touch... and even for an affordable price tag: $9,99!
Allthough image editing tools for tablets are no new invention (there are plenty of it on the market), the new Photoshop Touch brings some know features of the traditional Photoshop CS along:

* working with layers
* selection tools
* effects and filters
* filter brushes
* edge aware painting
* tone and colour adjustments
* and one thing I particularly find great: you can save your file in a Photoshop compatible format (!)

Beside this features it also lets you share through your files straight through Facebook, watch incorporated tutorials and many other goodies.

So, now you can edit your images on the go using your known Photoshop tools and if you want to get deeper into retouching them, you can get home, transfer the file and keep on editing on your home pc.

I think this is a great move from Adobe and this could be another performance enhancer for photographers needing to edit their pictures faster, for example Press Photographers.

You can see watch an official Adobe video about it here:



By the way: this does not only work on the IPad, but on Android Tablets, too!

25.02.2012

Connecting Lightroom and Facebook

Connecting Lightroom and Facebook
For Photographers using Lightroom within their workflow and thinking about using a Facebook Fan or normal page  to showcase their work this is a very handy Tip of about how to get Lightroom connected with Facebook. Similar to the way you can publish your images into Flickr from within Lightroom, you can do the same with Facebook. This is a very efficient way to organize your images there and saves you a lot of time! Watch here how it works:



But, please, before uploading your bunch of images to Facebook... take your time and read their TOS about Images/Content and Copyright. And please think about watermarking your pictures before... and never upload the fullsize :-)

Photoshop CS6: Sneak Preview (continued)

While everybody is hoping and waiting for Adobe to release their Creative Suite CS6 sometime this year (2012) there are more and more details about enhancements of Photoshop (part of the Creative Suite) leaking. As this come from the official Photoshop Youtube Channel, you can trust they are for real.
Last week I posted about the new features the Content Aware function was getting, which indeed are awesome!
The next Sneak Preview shows other areas of Photoshop beeing worked on: Background Save & Liquify Tool.


Background Save: all of us who have ever handled a large PSD file know how performance lowering it is when you have (or should!) save the file to disk. The bigger the file is the more time consuming it gets to put it on the hard drive. And during the process of saving Photoshop is blocked. You cannot handle nothing else on PS during this. Well, it seems Adobe heard the voices and they have enhanced the Save to Disk process by alowing background saving! That means you will be able to save the file to disk and while this is ocurring you will be free to work on PS and do whatever else you have to do. No more blocking and time loosing! This is a great performance enhancement, kuddos for that!

Liquify Tool: when using the Liquify Tool on big files you will notice that the opening of the Liquify Panel takes some time and whatever you perform on that panel is somehow slowy... even with a powerfull PC it is kind of remembering the times where PCs just could not handle the pressure of the software... Here, again, Adobe is working on some enhancements and the new Liquify Tool presents itself as fast as any other Filter of PS. No more Deja Vus of the pre-2000 era. It should be fast and performing!

Both of this new enhancements will drive up the performance of Photoshop a big deal and will be very welcomed by the users. Keep on doing this things, Adobe :-)



22.02.2012

Photoshop CS6: Sneak Preview

One of the greatest features Adobe gave Photoshop in the last version (CS5) was the "Content Aware" Technique (check a video about it here). Using this method you could mark some part of the image which was bothering you (for example you waited a long time till some place was empty... and right in the moment you push down the shutter... a tourist just jumps into the picture) and *voila* the space was filled with an algorithm: tourist gone, nice and fitting background replaces him. This feature is really awesome and safes a lot, lot of time of cloning and stamping. Allthough it is not perfect, it´s as close to efficiency as one can get right now. I really love it... and even have a nickname for it

"Tourist Eraser" :-)

Well, this was CS5. Now Adobe is leaking a bit of information about the features the new CS6 (which should come out this year) has got and the have published a short video about it on their YouTube Channel:



Seems like Adobe is going a big step ahead with this feature!

Flickr: they heard the signs...



In the last weeks there has been a lot of discussions about the future of Flickr. Once the Big Boy in the field of pictures it has been getting serious competition from others like Facebook, Google+ and even the new kid in town, Pinterest. And take into account that this sites are not specifically made for photographies! They are social platforms in which one of the perks is to share pictures. If you want to look for an alternative site which is made specially for images than you can find 500px or 1x.com . All of them just seem to be a bit better than Flickr when handling images. Actually sad... since Flickr has been around a long, long time (founded 2002) and should have the so-called First Mover Advantage.
Allthough beeing still one of the biggies in terms of amount of pictures saved in their databases (as of August 2011: 6 Billion pictures) Flickr had not done any innovations (at least not big ones) in the last years. Their platform still looks like it did some years ago and if you compare the features and gadgets you get at the other places... well, it looks a bit "old" or even "forgotten".
The news today is that Flickr is going to revamp some of its features:

* new photo-stream design
* new uploading feature
* and a justified View (very similiar to Pinterest)

All of this shall be online March 2012. Let´s see if this new features stop the decline and make the site a bit more pleasant to use. Let´s not forget that Flickr has got the biggest collection of geo-tagged images in the internet (about 170 million images) and one of the most friendly APIs out there. This are some gems that should/must be leveraged!

Let´s see.

21.02.2012

Online Lightning Diagram Creator

Lightning setup - Example


Sometimes you want to tell somebody how your setup for a certain shoot was or perhaps you would like to document it for yourself or your students. Well, there are many site where you can find the icons, download them and rearrange them in photoshop, save it and print it/email it.
I have found this handy online-tool which makes this process much more easier: you can design your setup online (selecting all the items need, positioning them) and get the result immediately as a JPG/PNG.

Cool ins´t it?

Creation vs Imitation - Rip-Off vs Remix

creation vs imitation - ripoff vs remix


"Intelectual Property is the oil of the 21st century" is a quote by Mark Getty, chairman of Getty Images, one of the biggest businesses that deals with Intelectual Property as a merchandise.
In the last years we have been witnessing how Intelectual Property (IP) has become a very discussed term in the media and society. All the Patent-Fights the Big Boys have been conducing (just think about Apple & Android), the court-battles many artists (specially musicians) are fighting because of possible rip-offs... all of them have something in common:

it´s all about IP.

In times were many goods can be easily reproduced (specially digital goods) at low cost, the original creators of this goods have become more pro-active in defending themselves. Allthough copycats have existed since mankind arrived on the surface of the earth, the size of the potential market for goods (specially digital goods) has increased immensly since the internet has become part of everyones daily life. And when the market is big... the potential profit is big, too. So, the incentive to defend someones IP is backed up buy an economical factor. Also, the possibility for the original creator to get notice of an infringement has grown to a degree that makes it much more easier to chase the thief. Google Images or TinEye or PicScout for example are services that are continuously scanning the web for images/photographies/illustrations and indexing them in giant databases. So, if you want to search for an image and check if someone else is using it... piece of cake: click on it and *voila* you may be surprised about where your images is being used.

But this does not only work for images, if you try to upload a video to Youtube and you´re using a soundtrack that does not belong to you (i.e. you don´t have the right to use it, i.e. someone elses IP) and they have it registered in their database... well, then you get the advice that you´re not allowed to upload it that way.

it´s all about IP.

But what is IP actually? Allthough it´s a very complicated issue, one could define it basically as the rights (backed up by the law) some has over a certain creation. Other terms that relate to IP are Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights. So, if someone creates something original (i.e. that does not exist before), then he gets rights granted over the use of it. For example, if you creat an original song, then the Law protects you by granting you  the possible profits from the use of it by the radios. If you create an image the Law protects you via Copyright of this image. If somebody else wants to use your song or image he has to get your permission for doing so. By granting you protection the Law also backs up incentive to create: if you would not get any advantage for creating something, then, in most cases, you would not create anything. Ok, artists are sometimes the exception of this rule. Some create just for the sake of creation, but the majority of persons are more likely to create if they gain something of the creation. This gain can be monetary, but can also be just popularity or gaining image.

So, IP is actually something positive because it drives the creativity potential of human kind. You may argue that not all creations have been positive for the society, but in sum humanity would not exist if there would be no creativity.

it´s all about IP.

One of the biggest problems of IP is actually a part of its name: the Property. Property or owndom is commonly defined as an entity that is owned by someone. This someone has got the rights for using it. So, if you want to grant IP of something to someone you first have to define if he/she has got the right to own it. And this is the moment where the sh*t hits the fan: in order to grant the ownership you have to check that there is noone else who claims the ownership. And this brings us to the headline of this posting: where does creation end and where does imitation begin? When is something a rip-off or a remix of something that already existed before?

it´s all about IP.

While searching for information about this topic I found a very interesting video-serie by Kirby Ferguson labeled "Everything is a Remix". You can also read his thoughts about this at his homepage http://www.everythingisaremix.info.

If you like the topic then take your time and watch this 4 videos about creation, copying, transforming and combining. Enjoy!

Part 1:

Everything is a Remix Part 1 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Part 2:

Everything is a Remix Part 2 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Part3:

Everything is a Remix Part 3 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Part 4:

Everything is a Remix Part 4 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Pinterest: don´t wanna be pinned? (UPDATE)

Pinterest Logo


With all the fuzz this newcomer into the "social game" has gotten, it was just a question of time until some issues were brought onto the table: IP - Copyright & Co. Pinterest lives of the continuous pins their members post on the boards. It´s a visual communication between their members and it´s actually fun to surf around. Alltough I am a bit overwhelmed by the disorganized masses of images I get to see when I visit them, I can see the potential behind the system. Fast & easy visual communication. By giving us the "Pin-It"-Button and installing it into the browser the members just surf around the web, find something visually interesting and they just click on the button... *voila*... it´s on your Board in Pinterest and everybody can see it. Cool.

But... what about visual content that the creator does not want to share? What about Copyright? The TOS of Pinterest are actually strict about this: you are not allowed to pin things you don´t own the right to pin (check it here under "member content"). This is important because some sentences above it states that YOU, by pinning some content, are actually granting THEM a license for the use (and even sale!) of the content you pin. In simple words: by pinning a picture that does not belong to you, you are granting them a usage license. Well, I don´t have to explain that you cannot grant something you don´t have.

Right now there is a big, bis discussion going on about this topic, specially regarding Photographers. Pinterest is full, really, reaaaally full of fantastic images and photographies pinned by their members... but I guess the minority of them have been actually created by the members. So, they are using the pictures without the direct permission of the photographer. Ok, you may say... hey, the photographer is getting  lots of marketing cause everybody on Pinterest is watching his image! Well, you would be right if the image would be linked to him (which is sometimes the case, but if the member is lazy this link is broken)... or at least have a watermark stating the name of the Photographer.

So Pinterest has reacted pro-active and now offers the possibility of opting-out of beeing pinned:

Opting out of Pinterest
Allthough I find it a good move of them to offer it... isn´t it funny that in order to protect your content YOU have to insert something into your homepage??? Shound´t be it the other way around???

Don´t get me wrong... I like Pinterest and I think it´s here to stay. But I also do think that they are taking advantage of some "gray area" of the whole internet-copyright-content-law-infringement-yadda-yadda...

Let´s see what happens in the next weeks. Till then I can only recommend photographers to WATERMARK their images. As I always have preached :-)

*UPDATE*
If you´re in G+ then check out this threat where photographers discuss this issue:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/105237212888595777019/posts/UAvbc2oT3tB

DSLR Simulator

DSLR-Simulator by CameraSim


When talking to someone who has never held a DSLR in his/her hands it is often difficult to explain in a simple way the technical correlations of the several parameters you have on your DSLR (Shutterspeed, Aperture, ISO, Focal Lenght, etc.). One way to do it is taking the DSLR in your hands and going out to the field with the person, explain some basics and shoot, shoot, shoot. After that check the images together and give some explanations.
Another way I have found is this handy Online DSLR Simulator created by Jon Arnold! Play a bit with the sliders and you will get (ok, non perfect... but you get the picture) your image with the adjusted parameters:



So, next time you want to explain a DSLR to a Noob in a very basic way... use this tool. It´s fun!

14.02.2012

Happy Valentine & Friendship´s Day for Everybody!

If you read this Blog post by Bronnie Ware (which went viral some months ago) about the 5 regrets of the Dying you will find that Nr. 4 relates to Friendship. While beeing busy with our own lives we often tend to neglect keeping our relationships fresh. But, as time goes by, we get to learn that the real thing in life is about relationships, friendships and love. Even the whole Internet is actually about this: sharing! We find satisfaction and happiness when we´re able to share our feelings, have a good conversation, have a fun time... with some else! So, go out and grab your contact list, check who are really important for you and call them. That´s it, just as easy and you´ll find yourselve sharing your feelings, having a good conversation or having a fun time.

Friendship

Have a great day!

11.02.2012

Hamburg: Alster Lake frozen! Alstereisvergnügen! (Updated with more pictures)

After 15 years it´s the first time that the Alster Lake in Hamburg (Germany) celebrates the "Alstereisvergnügen". Due to the hard (brrrr...) winter this time the ice was thick enough for the authorities to let the people party on the biggest lake of Hamburg, the Alster. Almost 1 million people will visit it over this weekend!

(Lake Alster in Hamburg 2012)
You may find the Alster lake here on Google Maps:

*UPDATE*

Here are some more images from the frozen Alster and one of the port of Hamburg today:

(Binnenalster in Hamburg 2012)

(Binnenalster in Hamburg 2012)

(Port of Hamburg and the river Elbe frozen, 2012)

It was freaking cold to take them :-)



View Larger Map

09.02.2012

Video: Hurricane Season 2011

Today I posted some amazing still pictures of our planet earth (here). They showed an harmonic and peaced view of the planet. But don´t think it always looks that peacefully... watch this video footage of the hurricane season 2011. It´s a composite of images taken every 30 minutes from June 1 till November 28, 2011. During the 4:42 minutes of footage the caribbean area is covered and every bigger storm/hurricane is marked with its name and you can follow its path. Amazing! The video is available at 1080p so, you can watch it fullscreen:



Enjoy!

Isn´t she pretty? Our Planet Earth!

Sometimes it is good to climb up, to highest point possible, and watch down. You get another perspective of the world and suddenly many things, specially the negative ones, get relativated. It´s kind of getting the big picture... watch this great pictures of our planet earth (click on them to get the bigger size):








All credits for this images go to NASA



Google Chrome: Update


Besides the release of the new mobile version of Chrome browser, Google also released a new Update for the desktop version of Chrome. If you haven´t updated yet, now it´s the time to do it :-)



08.02.2012

Facebook: New Lightbox Viewer

Today I first saw the brand new lightbox viewer for images on Facebook:

(New lightbox Viewer in Facebook)
 This new feature was rumoured some days ago (here) and it finally has arrived. It remembers me a lot (!) about the G+ Image Viewing Mode, but I guess it´s just the best way to view images (dark out everything around the image) so nobody´s here to blame, G+ was just faster :-)

My opinion about this new feature? Very welcomed! Now watching the pictures is way more pleasant. You can still mark, tagg, share and yadda yadda it... but now your eyes are not distracted by all the other things there. One thing that G+ has and Facebook does not is the possibility to check the images details (EXIF and Histogramm), but I guess the average Facebook user does not care about it. And in G+ you can turn off the download option... in Facebook it´s on. So... the same I blogged long ago (here) is still valid: if you care about what will happen to your pics then don´t upload Hi-Res pics and keep them watermarked. 

Time-Lapse Video: Landscapes

Allthough beeing a Photographer I am always keen on everything that has something to do with images... moving or not. The video I would like to present you today was shot with a Canon 5D2 DSLR by Dustin Farrel and shows the great chances you have when using the video capabilities of your DSLR. Of course in order to achieve this amazing scenes you just cannot press "record" and point´n-shoot... you´ll need some technical devices (motorized dolly, CamTram and others. Check the artists comments for it here) and some post-processing skills. But, nonetheless, the results of this (reaaaaly time consuming) work is great! If you have the chance, please watch it in HD (1080p) full screen and turn on your loudspeakers!


Landscapes: Volume Two from Dustin Farrell on Vimeo.

The locations where this was shot were in Arizona and Utah. Enjoy this wonderful piece of moving imagery!

Pinterest: the next new Hype?? (Video update) (Copyright topic Update!)

While checking the media news I have found much talk about this site: Pinterest

(Logo of Pinterest.com)
So, what is all the hype about it? Techcrunch is reporting some 10 mill unique U.S. users monthly, which would make it the fastest growing standalone site ever in history! Well, when there is smoke out there... there must be some fire. For now you can only get in by invitation, so I requested mine today and am waiting for it to arrive. So, no insights details right now.
The site works quite as an online Board, where you can virtually pin items you find on the large ocean of the internet. For doing this you get a little Java-Script which you have to install into your browser and every time you find an interesing item (for the time beeing this only works with pictures) you just pin it (hence the name: pinterest) and then you choose under which category it will be shown to the other users (photography, cooking, travel, games or whatever topic).




So, the result is a giant pin-board, divided into labes/topics/categories where you will find pictures and you may comment, follow and yadda yadda. Same as the other social platforms.

So, what´s the difference?
At first sight it seems all a bit more organized and it´s easy to find navigate to trough your favourite topic cause you just have images to see. Not much text to read, just consuming with your eyes. You just point your mouse to the picture and click. Imagine a giant magazine/catalogue full of pictures... that´s it!

So, what´s the point?
For the social users this site offers an easy way to share pictures about their most loved topics (my baby, my pet, my car...), where they can comment each others. It´s kind of talking in pictures. On the business side it could get interesting cause as the pictures are grabbed from somewhere else (for example from your travel agency site... some cute Bahamas Beach images pinned in the topic "Places I would love to travel to") and the users are beeing suggested to not only pin the image but also provide the URL-link of the place they found it... it could drive traffic back to your site. It´s all about marketing :-)

So, what´s the point for photographers?
Read above. There is for example a category "Pictures/Posters"... hmmm... does it ring in your mind? :-)

We will see if this site really gets to grow or if it is just a hype as there has been much of it in the last years. I´ll keep ya informed!

*UPDATE*

As my invitation hasn´t still arrived and I cannot log in, here I found an interesting Video Tutorial about how to use Pinterest:




*UPDATE 2*

I still have not gotten my invitation for being part of Pinterest, but I have found some very interesting discussions and articles about the possible Copyright Problems of just pinning the images you find elsewhere to Pinterest. One of the best Blog posts I found was the one of well-known microstock photographer Sean Locke, check it here!

It seems than just pinning pictures without getting the permission of the owner could be problematic! Will follow the discussions and post the results here.

*UPDATE 3*

Well, I´m in :-)... right now learning how to use it... seems fun! Want to follow me there? Here´s my profile on Pinterest!





Macros: Insects (follow-up)

After watching those fantastic macro shots of Thomas Shahan I posted some days ago, I got a bit interested in this topic and have found another really great photographer with another approach to this topic: he does not only take macro images of this cute little guys, he also makes a really arty composition of light and colours to achieve a kind of "fantasy" atmosphere. Allthough I could not find any personal homepage of him, I found his profile on 500px and there he names himself Lee Peiling. Here you can watch some of his great pictures on Flickr:



So, turn off the lights and enjoy a short travel into the fantasy world of colourfull bugs!

07.02.2012

Eye Candies from Flickr 06.02

And here are the Eye Candies from the Flickr Photographers for today:



Enjoy!

Google Earth: Update to 6.2

I have to admit that I love using Google Earth. I think it´s a wonderful peace of software which allows everybody to travel around the world... without leaving their place :-). It also allows you to check out the places before you travel (finding the most exciting places), it helps a lot when scheduling your journey and with the big community of users you can even get GPS tracks you can overlay on it, so that you can follow a certain route, if you wish.

(Screenshot from the official press statement)
With the new Update 6.2 Google Earth now introduces several improvements: the rendering gets better (which means the single pictures taken are being merged seamlessly now) and the best goodie is: now you can share your screenshot directly to G+: No more screen-capturing, saving and uploading afterwards more needed!

That´s efficient improvement :-)

HDR: High Dynamic Range

(In this image the very light [near the sun] and the very dark [near the shore]
regions were impossible to get without HDR)  


You may have heard about HDR or High Dynamic Range images. In a few words HDR is about maximizing the tonal range of a picture beyond the usual capabilities of a standard camera. In order to achieve this different exposures of the same image (exposure bracketing) are merged together and you get a more realistic view of the scene. It actually matches (if used acurately!) the image more with what you actually see with your eyes, regarding light and darkness. This has simple biological reasons: the human eye can capture way more tonalities than the limited sensor of the camera. You may have experienced this many times when the light conditions have been a bit extreme (to light or too dark). In some cases the light areas were blown up, in the other cases the dark areas got black.
Well, in order to get a solution for this problem the HDR method uses much more tonalities (achieved through the different exposures of the same image) and crunches them back (tonal mapping) to an image. By the way, there is even some development in the video area in order to get HDR for moving images!
There are many different software solutions for this, even Photoshop has got one built in.

One of the most talented Photographers using this method is Trey Ratcliff. Check out his tutorial about HDR at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/hdr-tutorial/.

In this video Trey chats a bit about HDR in Photography:



Enjoy!

Another one really great Photographer in this topic is Elia Locardi. He has a very nice composed Blog at http://blamethemonkey.com/ where he explains the how´s of his HDR Photography. Check it out!

In Flickr Elia has got some outstanding HDR images, check them out here (and don´t forget to make it fullsize view!):





By the way: HDR is not only limited for still images... there are some developments in this area in order to bring HDR for moving images. Here´s a sample video:



HDR is fun to use and can push up the punchiness of your images. But it has to be used smartly... as many new techniques, when they get fancy, there is the danger of too extreme use of it. I personally use HDR only in those images, where I think I can get some more details of too dark/light regions, i.e. images that were taken under extreme light conditions. And then I use it only with layers & masking. Otherwise the results wont satisfy you. But.. give it a try!

G+ Avatar maker

Are you on G+? And would you like to pimp up your profile Avatar? In an easy way? Well, there is one fine online-generator for this: here

Screenshot of http://gplusavataormaker.hostei.com
You can upload an image, link to an existing image, even make a snap-shot with your webcam and last but not least: you can create a QR-Code. There are many templates with the fancy "G+ Look" and if you follow the other links on the page you can even find more graphical stuff to generate online.

There is even a video showing how to use it:



Looks fine and works OK! Have fun with it! :-)

06.02.2012

Google HUD glasses coming soon?

Remember the cool scenes of Terminator scanning the whole place with his eyes and getting info displayed on his eye-field?



 Well, today while strawling in the net I found a very intersting article about the rumour of a HUD glass from Google. Actually I don´t think such a device should be impossible to make (think of all the development the socalled "augmented reality" has done lately)... the question for me is: does mankind need something like this? Imagine all the people on the streets walking around but actually beeing in their minds in some other virtual world... hmmm... me not like the idea.
On the other side I think that there would be some very cool uses for this kind of devices. Will track the issue and keep you informed!

*UPDATE*

Allthough not beeing real this video shows an example of how it could be like walking around with one of these on your nose... interesting!



The dark side of the moon

... isn´t as dark as one might think or as Pink Floyd would us like to think :-)

The NASA has posted the first time view of the far side of the moon, the side we cannot see from the earth. Actually I was very surprised that it did not look like a swiss cheese because of all the asteroids crushing on it...?


Brrr...Extreme cold weather hits Europe

Yep, it´s getting really cold around here... check out the images the guys over at Boston Big Picture have curated about this topic!

Extreme cold weather hits Europe:
Frigid temperatures have gripped Europe in the last week, with the mercury reaching as low as 35 degrees Celsius below zero. After what had been a relatively mild winter, the sudden cold caught many unprepared. Eastern Europe is hardest hit, with over 100 deaths in Ukraine, and with over 11,000 people in remote villages cut off by snow in Serbia. Most of the fatalities recorded have been homeless people found frozen to death outside, and emergency tents with hot meals have been set up to help them in several affected countries. Russia and Poland are mobilizing help for the homeless. Travel in Romania has been chaos as a blizzard hampered efforts to clear both rails and roads. Recorded temperatures in Italy were the lowest in 27 years. -- Lane Turner (45 photos total)

A woman looks out a bus in Bucharest on February 2, 2012. (Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press)

Brrrrrrrrrr.....




Whale Encounters

Ever wondered how it would be like to meet one of this gently giants? Or even schedule with them a photo-shoot? Check this amazing videos of Photographers meeting whales!



And in this video Photographer Brian Skerry chats a bit about how it was to meet one of this fellows!



Really an unforgettable experience!

Eye Candies: 500px Fresh Digest February 5th

The guys at 500px present some really nice curated pictures of talented Photographers. Check them out!

500px Fresh Digest February 5th:

Fresh photos at 500px, February 5th
magic by Mary-jane ) on 500px.com

magic by Mary-jane







Looking back by Xavier BEAUDOUX (ixbe)) on 500px.com
Looking back by Xavier BEAUDOUX

Akt impresszió by Lajos Csáki (Lajos76)) on 500px.com
Akt impresszió by Lajos Csáki

Winter blues by Ashu Chaturvedi (chewy734)) on 500px.com
Winter blues by Ashu Chaturvedi

UP in SF by Faran - www.phocus.me (Phocus)) on 500px.com
UP in SF by Faran - www.phocus.me

Pair of rocks by Paco S. Nacher (pacosn)) on 500px.com
Pair of rocks by Paco S. Nacher

Camille  by Tom Huynh (TomHuynh)) on 500px.com
Camille by Tom Huynh

Lake 2 by Alexey Saveliev (saveliev)) on 500px.com
Lake 2 by Alexey Saveliev

Man In Red II by Süleyman Burak BATIR (sbbatir)) on 500px.com
Man In Red II by Süleyman Burak BATIR

In a Dream by Dylan Borck (Kenaz24)) on 500px.com
In a Dream by Dylan Borck

Untitled by kaobanga . (kaobanga)) on 500px.com
Untitled by kaobanga .

Jorge I by Adrian  C. Martin (corqsan)) on 500px.com
Jorge I by Adrian C. Martin

Untitled by Мария Корнеева (tzzza)) on 500px.com
Untitled by Мария Корнеева

Boat... by Krzysztof Browko (Krzysztof_Browko)) on 500px.com
Boat... by Krzysztof Browko

Untitled by Carlos  Rodríguez Photographer (moshulu)) on 500px.com
Untitled by Carlos Rodríguez Photographer

Bumps by Pierluigi Orler (PierluigiOrler)) on 500px.com
Bumps by Pierluigi Orler

Boat at sunset by Michele Galante (mgphoto70)) on 500px.com
Boat at sunset by Michele Galante

Woman in red by Santi Xander (santixander)) on 500px.com
Woman in red by Santi Xander

Under snow by Magali K. (penhad)) on 500px.com
Under snow by Magali K.

sunset  by Anthea  Chan  (ciggylights)) on 500px.com
sunset by Anthea Chan

Мій світ... by  Volpeta (Volpeta)) on 500px.com
Мій світ... by Volpeta

alone.... by budi 'ccline' (ccline)) on 500px.com
alone.... by budi 'ccline'

Untitled by Igor Scheglov (2ndr)) on 500px.com
Untitled by Igor Scheglov

Mui Ne Sand Dunes by Marcellian Tan (marcellian)) on 500px.com
Mui Ne Sand Dunes by Marcellian Tan

*** by Andrey Demidov (demas)) on 500px.com
*** by Andrey Demidov

Crabtree Bridge by AP Grissom (agrimace)) on 500px.com
Crabtree Bridge by AP Grissom

kislitsyna.com  by Kristina Kislitsyna (awez)) on 500px.com
kislitsyna.com by Kristina Kislitsyna

Error 404 by Dário  Martins (Elnhaco)) on 500px.com
Error 404 by Dário Martins

Alina's geometry by Nik Panisov (nikpanisov)) on 500px.com
Alina's geometry by Nik Panisov

A Time of Decision by Yusuke Sakai (hikkko)) on 500px.com
A Time of Decision by Yusuke Sakai

Lonely bird by Wasim Fatair (wasim_fatair)) on 500px.com
Lonely bird by Wasim Fatair

Nightride by Matthias Wirth (electrix)) on 500px.com
Nightride by Matthias Wirth

V by Sergey  Redki (sergeyredki)) on 500px.com
V by Sergey Redki




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