Windy

Today was one of those days when leaving the camera inside would have been so easy. When I left our for my walk with the dogs it was around -8°C (16°F), mostly cloudy, and very windy with constant wind speeds of 12 m/s (27mph) and strong gusts. If it wouldn’t have been for the fact that the forecast promised some sun later and we needed some new images for Life of Jalo I wouldn’t have even considered taking it with me. And the fact that I’m really trying to complete a 365 project this year (I’ve only missed one day so far).

Because it was so windy and the wind was blowing the snow across the fields I set out with the express goal of trying to get a shot that really showed how windy it was. Even though I was ready to fall into despair during the first half of the walk where I didn’t really get anything decent, the latter half saved me.

It may have been the sun that decided to make a few appearances through the clouds, the difference in shooting directions, or just that fact that I’d had some time to hone my technique. Whatever it was, I got more pictures than what I could use in a single 365 picture or by posting another picture up on Shutterclicks. So, you get this blog post.

And in this case I must admit that these pictures were more than just shots. The more I think about my photography, the more I understand the difference between taking pictures (or shots) and making pictures. Making pictures requires some thought, a goal, a vision. This time I succeeded, often I don’t.

Naturally, there were more pictures of the dogs, but those I’ll save for Life of Jalo, just in case ;)

Amorphis Magic & Mayhem tour 10.12.2010 @ Finlandia-Klubi

Yes, I know the gig was almost a month ago… I blame the holidays and our everlasting house remodeling project. But I finally got around to making my selections and editing the images from the gig today. As fans probably know, Amorphis published an album filled with remakes of songs from their first three albums with the new vocalist as a celebration of their 20 years in the business. In honor of the album, they made a club tour of Finland in late November and early December. Since they weren’t going to hit Joensuu and we were heading south anyway, we decided to catch them in Lahti for a very enjoyable session of Magic & Mayhem.

Like the album, the gigs songs were only from the first three albums as well – in Lahti we even got to hear Tomi Joutsen performing Elegy live for the first time. Another added bonus to fans during the tour was the appearance of Amorphis alumni on-stage. Only one gig (in Tavastia) had the full complement of past and present members, we got to see three: Olli-Pekka Laine, Pekka Kasari, and Kim Rantala.

I also selected a slightly different position than usual when seeing them so that I could get better pictures of the members I didn’t have good shots of. I can’t say that I chose poorly – especially when the stage in Lahti was much larger than in Kuopio or Joensuu and the lighting was bright enough.

It was also the first gig that I shot with my (still) new 7D and EF-S 17-55/2.8. Neither the body nor lens disappointed me and I think I’ve found my new goto setup for concert photography in our small venues.

As always, more pictures available in our photo gallery.

Publishing pictures online: looking at image size

Not that I’ve taken the plunge and bought an iPhone 4, I need to revisit the whole issue of what size to use when publishing pictures online. I’ve written about this before – even though I’d forgotten all about it. Luckily Google reminded me about my post when researching this post.

So, first you may ask why didn’t my new phone start me thinking about the whole issue again. Well, the iPhone 4 has a ridiculous display that makes photographs look really good. But at the same time, many applications automatically resize all images to full screen (e.g. Memoratus and the official Flickr app). When the picture being shown has originally been uploaded at a lower size (for example the default 640px of Flickr), the full size version tends to look… Well, unflattering would be a good description.

Of course one solution would be to not resize smaller images, but on a small phone that also leaves something to be desired. And as other displays increase in resolution from the old 72dpi (or so), the issue will continue to persist. However, at the same time we as publishers of the images must also be wary of image theft etc.

Sure, publishing an image on the web will always serve as an avenue for image theft especially when the image is used online. But in most cases those situations are noticed and can be resolved. Honestly I’m more worried about unauthorized use in print. And that is where the published size of the picture becomes important.

In my research for this post I noticed varying guidelines on how to prevent image theft (watermarks, various tricks to hinder downloading, hotlinking prevention etc.). The interesting fact was that most articles were still agreed in limiting image size, 500px was often mentioned as a good size (probably since it is the old default that Flickr used).

My previous post on the topic had some data on screen sizes used when browsing various sites of ours. Then, I was making the case for displaying larger images (700px as opposed to 500px) and only partly addressing image theft. Now statistics show quite clearly that 700px (or Flickr’s 640px) is a size most people shouldn’t have issues with. I really won’t go into a discussion on mobile sites etc. since I am looking at the issue from the perspective of publishing photographs – looking at most photography at 360×240 is a fairly pitiful experience.

At the moment I’m still going to stick to my original though of publishing images with 700px as the length of the longest side. Even though it means that when I visit my own shots on my phone, the experience isn’t always optimal. Who knows, I may have to revisit this whole issue sooner rather than later…

365… Should I?

I know, I already tried it once (or maybe twice?) before and didn’t get too far. But honestly, again I find myself wondering whether I should start a 365 project. This time the trigger was the Mostly365 site that Lisa Bettany started.

Now that I finally carry around a fairly decent camera all the time (the iPhone 4) it is conceivable that I could take a picture every day. At least something worth publishing somewhere. I’m certain that many of the images wouldn’t be worth publishing on shutterclicks, but putting them up in my Flickr stream would work. Honestly, I’d even have a start since I’ve got a few shots from yesterday in Seiska (the 7D).

Sure, it would be a challenge to take at least one picture each day. On the other hand, I could also start using my phone more to document possible ideas and such and post the ideas, locations, whatever raw and see if I ever get around to taking them any further. And honestly it could be refreshing to let go of some of my limitations.

Who knows, maybe I’ll give it a go… After all, what do I really have to lose?