Lars Wirzenius: Photography, 2003


Sunday, December 28, 2003

Photography: Teaching friends, shooting Sanna

Sanna's feet

Gave a short tutorial to two friends, Teemu and Sanna. Afterwards we had a shooting session with Sanna, a dance addict. We'd been planning this for quite some time, but never managed to get our schedules in sync before.

Again I have taken many frames with bad exposures, bad focus, or other problems. On the other hand, there were a few that weren't half bad, and Sanna herself seems to be satisfied enough.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Photography: Fine art photography is...?

A Google search for "fine art photography" gives interesting results: five of the top ten hits are to sites about nudes. Nothing wrong with nudes, of course, but I wouldn't have thought it to be such a large part of fine art photography.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Photography: Bright light not bright enough

I tried to use my bright light ("kirkasvalolamppu") as a soft box when photographing Yoe yesterday. It proved to be too weak unless it was very close. I'll have to experiment with it some more, though.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Photography: Shot Yoe

Took some pictures of Yoe, who is smart, beautiful, and going to Japan. At the moment, a few hours after taking the pictures, I am quite unhappy about them. There way too many off-focus shots, lighting problems, or other mishaps. I've been doing this for almost three years now, and I've shot over ten thousand frames, I should know how to do this by now. Blah.

However, I often feel like this soon after a shoot, and it usually passes. I'll forget about the pictures for a few days, and then I'll be somewhat less sensitive to my shortcomings and can, perhaps, see the good stuff as well.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Photography: Mutual criticism

A few friends and I met tonight to discuss each others photographs. It was quite useful. Usually, when I show my work to people, they go "ooh! such good pictures!". Tonight, since all of us were photographers of one sort or another, we were able to say negative things as well, instead of just praise. We'll have to do this again.

If this becomes a habit, it will probably even inspire me to shoot more, since it would be embarrassing to keep showing two year old pictures.

Getting feedback from random strangers over the net is even worse than getting feedback from random relatives. My relatives seem to like any pictures I show them. With random strangers I have no way to evaluate the feedback: is it from the world's greatest art critic or a fugitive from a lunatic asylum? Are they saying my picture sucks because it does, or because they don't happen to like Finnish people?

Photography: Found my sword maiden pictures

I found my edited sword maiden pictures! They were in my archive directory, just in a directory named somewhat illogically. This saves me from spending several evenings with the Gimp.

Monday, December 8, 2003

Photography: Lost my sword maiden pictures

Blah. I seem to have misplaced the manipulated versions and the Epson files for the swordmaiden pictures I took in the summer. I have the originals, so nothing much is lost, except some re-editing time. I need to re-think my backup and filing approach, and decide whether this was something more than just a mistake or whether there's something wrong with the system.

Friday, December 5, 2003

Photography: Bright light as soft box?

I've begun to suspect that my bright light would work as a (small) soft box for photographic purposes. It makes nice shadows on my fist, at least.

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Photography: Bux

While I was cleaning out my hard disk to make room for a really huge Lodju database with all my photos, I found an old gallery I made with pictures of Bux, the toy duck Richard Braakman gave me and which became the inofficial mascot of the Kannel team at Wapit. They're more pleasant than I remembered, though probably too silly for anyone else to appreciate.

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Photography: Short introduction to photography

My friend Janka got a camera as her birthday present. She's very happy about this, and this inspired me to write a short introduction to photography so as to not keep flooding her on IRC with opinions on photography. Perhaps it is of some use for someone, though of course the net is full of photography tutorials. At least mine tries to be very short.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Photography: Canon EOS 300D

Canon seems to have announced a new digital SLR today, the 300D. It's all over the photography websites. It's cheap, it's digital, and it's an SLR. I may have to reconsider my decision to keep using my D30 for a couple more years. On the one hand, I would like better autofocus, but on the other hand, I really should buy a better lens or two. On the left foot, I can't afford anything right now, so it's all academic.

There seems to be not a lot of differences between the 300D and the 10D, but probably later news will reveal some.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Photography: Sword maiden pictures, for sale

Last month, I took some photos of Spider dressed up as a sword maiden. I've decided to see if I can sell any pictures. Whee.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Photography: Image manipulation sucks

Did I mention I want someone else to do my image manipulation for me? I think I did.

On the other hand, I've also found the contrast to be quite big between the desktop's nice, nineteen inch CRT and excellent mouse and the laptop's fourteen inch TFT and slightly insensitive touchpad. I like the laptop, but it's really not all that good for anything that requires precise mouse handling (such as selecting blood stains in the Gimp). The TFT is nicer to look at, generally, in my opinion, but it's color does change rather too much with the viewing angle for image editing to be comfortable.

On the other hand, Linux, X11, and the Gimp don't have color management, so when editing an image for printing purposes, it is rather random anyway. Hm, I wonder how much work it would be to write a device driver for a screen calibration device...

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Photography: Epson Matte Paper Heavyweight

I bought yesterday some Epson Matte Paper Heavyweight, which is my preferred paper for the photo printer I have. It wasn't all too easy: all stores seem to carry only HP photo paper, but luckily does carry it.

The reason I bought the paper is to print out some photographs I took of Spider, on the theme "Sword maiden after the fight". I want these to look as good as possible on paper and this requires some editing with the Gimp. I hate editing photos, but unfortunately it is necessary. What I need is someone who just loves editing but hates shooting photographs so that we can team up...

Since I think the sword maiden photos are pretty nice, I've been thinking about whether it would be possible to sell a few prints. I'm not at all sure anyone will want to pay for them, but we'll see. I'll do my best to make as good prints as I can and then show them to people and see what the reaction is. Pricing is going to be a problem: it doesn't cost very many euros to make a print, but on the other hand, I don't want the print to cost less than the frame, and decent framing costs a pretty penny.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Photography: Ropecon 2003

Ropecon happened. While I don't currently play roleplaying games or larps, I hang around with people who do, and who also happen to organize Ropecon. Two years ago, when I'd been photographing as a hobby for about six months, I suggested setting up a studio where people could come in and have their photo taken for free. Since my camera was digital, there would be no costs involved for anyone. The studio was pretty successful and popular, and some of the photos weren't all that bad.

This year I repeated the studio. I've put up a gallery with about one shot per person.

Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail.

Some of my personal favorites.

Looking at the pictures I've taken as a group, I conclude that I'm a sexist pig. Most pictures are of women, and there are more pictures per person of women than of men.

Photography: Photography news groups

I lurk on a couple of Finnish newsgroups related to photography. They are occasionally infested by a former pro photographer on a personal crusade. Whenever he attacks the groups, they tend to become unbearable for a while. He's just done it again. This has prompted me to unsubscribe the Finnish newsgroups and have a look at*. They don't seem to be even as interesting as the Finnish ones, but they have more interesting quotes.

It's pointless to argue with someone with no soul.

Skip Middleton, in a discussion about the creativity of photographers.

Sunday, August 3, 2003

Photography: Artful composition by Michael Spinak

Michael Spinak wrote Artful composition on

The art of photography is not fundamentally about the pleasing spatial arrangement of objects in a two dimensional space; it's about communication.

Quite an inspiration article. I'll have to find something to communicate.

Friday, August 1, 2003

Photography: Obsolete digital cameras

When will a digital camera be obsolete? It is popular to claim that since new models come out several times a year that a digital camera will be obsolete in a year or so. This obsolesence is completely artificial, however.

When you buy the newest digital camera, it will indeed only take a few months until a newer model replaces it on the market. This does not, however, in any way affect your camera. It will still be just as good as it was. Accessories like memory cards and batteries are typically shared with the newer model. The only thing that is different is that you no longer own the newest toy on the market. Big deal.

When accessories are no longer available, then, and only then, will a camera be obsolete. It will take years for this to happen. Eventually it will, but even then it only means that you can't get new ones for your camera. Used ones will probably still be available, and unless you break it, the camera will work as well as it always has.

Digital cameras do seem to become more rapidly obsolete in this manner than film cameras. This is unfortunate, and I'm not particularly happy about it. On the other hand, the first digital cameras, up until about three or four years ago, were not actually all that good in that the picture quality they produced was nowhere good enough even for everyday snapshots. Now that pocket size digital cameras have become good enough to produce prints, at least small prints, that are comparable to those from pocket size film cameras, I think we'll see less fast obsolescence. Actually, I think we're already seeing it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Photography: Digital versus film

For some reason, this summer I've stumbled on an increasing number of online discussions over whether digital or film photography is 'better'. These were quite common two years ago, when I began this hobby. Since then, they've seemed to become rarer, but perhaps I've just been lucky enough to avoid them. Or perhaps the trend has now changed.

I don't actually care whether other people use film or digital. I do wish, however, that people wouldn't be so fanatical about it. Of course, it would also be nice if they would not make stupid and incorrect claims, such as that you need tens of megapixels to compete technically with 35 mm film, or that digital will make film go away completely in a few years. While I'm wishing, how about eternal peace on Earth and prosperity for all?

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Photography: Sword maiden photo shoot

Went to Suomenlinna today and took some photographs of my friend Spider, dressed as a sword maiden after battle. My ability to focus correctly seems to be lacking, but a couple of the pictures might be good enough anyway. Anyway, we had fun, and a number of tourists and other on-lookers were bewildered and amused.

The pictures aren't on the web yet, until I both have time to edit them properly, and get Spider's permission to publish them. These things won't happen until I return from Debconf3, i.e., for a couple of weeks from now.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Photography: Slumping

I haven't shot any new pictures for many weeks now, and not many all this year. I'm obviously going through a bit of a slump. I've been thinking that it's because work has been so stressful, but on the other hand, I have been able to develop EoC and Lodju regardless.

For some time now, I've taken almost exclusively portraits. Technically, they have become unchallenging: I usually get exposure and focus correct with few tries. On the other hand, they're almost always the same, with fairly little variations. Partly, that's OK, since I've been taking pictures of dresses for Lynoure, and those need to need to present the dresses, not show off my technical and artistic skills. On the other hand, I should find new challenges, technical and artistic.

I've talked with a couple of friends about shooting a game of American football. That might be interesting, although I doubt it'll be all that interesting in the long run, since I do not to enjoy watching sports. Still lifes could be interesting. If nothing else, I could start shooting portraits with more a experimental approach, trying out new things (new for me) until I find ways of making portraits that are pretty, unconventional, and flattering to the subject.

I'll have to start doing something pretty soon, or I'll end up as a former photographer.

Monday, June 2, 2003

Photography: Look! A pterodactyl!


Look! A pterodactyl!