Search Results for: blurb latex

On printing via Blurb’s PDF to Book: Part 1

End of the Evening, originally uploaded by Eric Jeschke.

Speaking of unfinished tales, I finally had a chance to log into Blurb.com to read about their new PDF to Book service (side gripe: why do they make you log in just to read about it?! ).  I am looking to POD publish my recent SoFoMoBo effort, Chickens, Anyone?.

I was steeling myself for the task of making individual images of every page of the book, and dealing with the intricacies and system requirements of the proprietary Blurb Booksmart software, when I ran across a pointer to the new service on Paul Butzi’s blog. I applaud Blurb for providing the new service, which is sure to be popular with folks like me that don’t want to deal with proprietary software, hacked workarounds or cookie-cutter templates. In a nutshell, the service allows you to upload your own prepared PDF of the book, so long as it meets some fairly typical, albeit stringent, requirements for book publishing.

I found that just like last year in my trial of the Viovio POD service, I still had to do a fair bit of tweaking to the document to fit the exacting requirements of trim and bleed and so forth. This was even after designing the original with the idea of getting it printed on Blurb’s 10×8 landscape offering. Fortunately, Scribus offers an “Align and Distribute” window that lets you fairly quickly fix things up after adjusting the page size, but it’s still more pointing and clicking nonsense than I’m used to.  I’d really rather edit a text file, however arcane (TeX anyone?), and have that regenerate the PDF. Come to think of it, I might try this experiment again using TeX or LaTeX.

In any case, Scribus offers some excellent support for the PDF/X-3 subformat required by Blurb. According to Blurb, you are able to keep your images in sRGB and their printer software will convert appropriately to CMYK. Alternatively, you can download their ICC profile and convert your images to that. I downloaded the profile for future reference, but this time around I’m going to try leaving the images in sRGB and see how it goes. As with Viovio, you prepare the text as one PDF and the wraparound cover as another. This is yet another reason you have to tweak your book  from the initial web-targeted version.

Long story short, after about four hours of tweaking, converting and resampling, I had the two PDFs uploaded to Blurb and a note in my mailbox that they were doing a “preflight check” of the file. I’m supposed to get another email when the check is finished and there are either problems found (and I need to tweak some more) or the book is ready to order. I’ll report back again when I hear from them.

A Linux-Based Photography Workflow (Part 4: Producing Books and Folios)

Strat

Key: R20110210-201845

This is part of a series of posts on Linux-based software tools for a photography workflow. Please read that first if you are coming to this series fresh–it will provide the necessary background information to explain the purpose of this series.

My next post in this series was supposed to be on making panoramas. I’ve run into a bit of a snag on that one and I’m going to push it to the end of the series. So we’ll move on to talking about Linux based software that I use to create books and folios.

This is actually an easy post to write because I’m going to point you at a fair bit of writing that I did in the last year or so on these subjects. So without further ado, let me point you at my categorized posts on books and another set of tagged posts on folios. Finally a pointer to my set of templates for books and folios.

A summary for those who may not wish to dwell deeper:
After some brief and successful forays into desktop publishing books using Scribus (a graphical tool), I ultimately settled on a method using the venerable La(TeX) markup language to create works that can be targeted as web PDFs (so called “E-books”), books from PDFs using Blurb.com or some other Publish On Demand service, and web and print-based folios. The method gives up some control of manually laying out the work by automating the layout using a markup language (LaTeX) coupled with TeX’s tried-and-true hyphenation and page layout algorithms. I realize that this method is probably too technical for the average photographer. However, if you have any kind of technical bent (and you well might, if you are considering a Linux-based photography workflow), you may find that the trade off is well worth it. Manual layout of books is a slow and somewhat tedious process, especially with a GUI program. A mark-up language based approach is not only faster, but inherently tweakable when your output needs change.

From the LaTeX source, xelatex or pdflatex will produce a PDF file.  I use evince (a very good PDF viewer, part of the standard Ubuntu desktop) to review the PDFs for correctness.  Once satisfied with the PDF I can either upload it to Blurb.com if I am ordering a book, or to a a web site (e.g. Issuu.com) if I am just creating an e-book.  Folios are uploaded to a web site, or printed on inkjet paper using a method that will discussed in the upcoming post on printing. After using these methods I cannot imagine going back to manual layout approaches for most books and folios.  However, if you enjoy (or need or prefer) the manual control of a GUI layout program, I can heartily recommend Scribus.  You could spend a lot of money on Adobe InDesign or some other DTP program and never use more than the feature set that Scribus offers for free.

Addendum: I use the aforementioned Image Magick convert program scripted from Python to downsample my photographs from a master folder for the book or folio.  In true geek fashion, a Makefile is used to ensure that all the images are downsampled to the appropriate size for the web or print, depending on the target output.

SoFoBoMo 2010 Reflections

Outrigger Canoe Paddles, Hilo Bay Races

Key: R20100724-122840-crop

SoFoBoMo 2010 is over, and I thought I would just reflect a little bit upon the experience.  This is my third go-around with the annual event and I’ve managed to complete a book each time.

I just about didn’t make it this year.  Not for lack of trying, but because of very serious work and travel commitments that I could not schedule around–basically, I had to get two papers finished that were accepted to a conference, attend the conference, and make two presentations.  When I finally got back, there was only about three weeks left and I was just beginning to turn over some ideas in my head for the book.  Every book concept that I thought of needed time and planning.  With only a week left to go, I hatched a desperate plan: attend a local photo walk and shoot a load of photos and try to cobble a book together around the idea of a photo illustrated walk.  I knew the area well, and had some basic ideas about the main attractions in each place.  The area is very scenic, but I had serious doubts running through my mind.  I wasn’t keen on the idea of trying to put together a “pretty pictures” kind of book, which is what I was feeling like it might shape up to be.  Whatever it would be, I would use the previous year’s book templates to lay it out, in the interest of expedience.  The postprocessing and layout work would have to be straightforward in order to get done by the deadline.

The weather on the Saturday photo walk day was just about as ideal as you could imagine, which is to say challenging for photography.  Sunny 16 pictures everywhere, and harsh contrasts right from sun up.  I could see that I would have to be right on top of my exposures, as the sensor in my Panasonic GH1 does not have a whole lot of latitude.  I arrived at the starting location and after a few short conversations with fellow photogs, I began to shoot, feeling the photographic mental muscles warm up and slowly settle into a rhythm. I was on a mission, and it would be accomplished. I plotted a rough course along the known attractions in the area, trying not to double over my tracks too much. When one has spent a lot of time in an area it’s rather easy to take it for granted and fall into old ruts–my challenge was to try to see it all again with a fresh eye.  Pretty soon the part of my brain devoted to processing and evaluating photographic compositions began to run almost on autopilot (I love that feeling), and I spent most of my conscious effort staying on top of the exposures, trying to get frames that could stand up to some postprocessing work to mitigate the strong contrasts.  Having shot slide film for 20 years, I have some good practice under the belt in that area, and it helped me out here big time.  My technique depends on the kind of camera I am using, but if the built in metering is trustworthy, then I rely very heavily on a combination of spot metering, the autoexposure lock button, live histogram and the exposure compensation controls.  These all got a very good workout.

As luck would have it, I ran across an unexpected event: outrigger canoe races on Hilo bay.  This boosted the take by quite a few frames and I began to relax a bit and feel that maybe this book wouldn’t end up too heavy on the landscapes.  When I reached the far end of the walk and hit the farmer’s market with all its colorful stalls and shopping bustle, I finally felt that the photo take for the day had some real balance.  I thought that I had some potential on my memory card, but had I been careful enough with the exposures?  Would the files stand up?

Back at home I downloaded the card and then let the files sit for a couple of days, to let my mind clear a little from the experience.  On Monday night I began to take stock.  After one brutal editing pass, it looked like there was some potential there, but there would be more postprocessing work than I had hoped.  Lots of the shots looked ok compositionally, but I had to do something about the contrast.  For many of the frames I turned to my old friend the contrast mask, a technique brought into the digital world from the old analog days where a second neg would be made of the original, but inverted and blurred.  Overlaying the negatives would result in a print that lightened the dark areas and darkened the light areas.  Of course this is trivial to do digitally, but the technique is still effective and relevant.

After the main remedies were applied to the selects, I went through another, lighter editing pass, tossing the images that were redundant or less strong.  I ended up with around 40 some images, give or take a few.  I suppose I could have cut it down even further, but I decided to go ahead and lay it out with what I had after the second edit, just to see how it worked.  I had consciously chosen to go with the same aspect ratio as the previous year, in order to reuse the templates, and with my super geeky method for automagically laying out the book, it all came together in about 3 nights of total work, most of it in image processing and writing the captions.  It was 1am on Thursday morning, the book was due on Saturday, and I would leave the following day for a much-anticipated vacation.

In retrospect, I am surprised at how well the book seems to work.  That type of rapid shooting is not really my style, which is definitely a bit slower and more considered.  And the subject and type of book being a complete last minute, last ditch effort, it felt rushed.  Perhaps I just felt good about getting it done.  However, I have had way more compliments on it than my other two books, which I was far more enthused about.  All of which makes me think that perhaps I just have strange tastes.  Wouldn’t be the first time.

Will I do SoFoBoMo again?  It’s too soon to answer that.  I’m beginning to feel that I’m reaching diminishing returns on this particular exercise.  I’ve made three books, and am happy with all of them.  I feel like I know the basics of making a photo book now.  I do want to make more books, that is certain, but I think they will be longer term projects, where I won’t feel rushed.  It’s a neat exercise though, to crank out a book in a month, and maybe I’ll feel up for it again next year.

Adoramapix Photo Books: A Review

Untitled

Regular readers know that I’m interested in Publish On Demand (POD) photo books. I’ve tried and reviewed on this site both Viovio and Blurb and I’m always on the lookout for interesting new services, especially if the quality of the photo reproduction can be improved.

Recently I was contacted by one of the reps at Adorama, offering a chance to review their new photo book service, run under their Adoramapix photo printing division. With Solo Photo Book Month (aka “SoFoBoMo”) 2010 coming up soon, it seemed like an ideal time to take them up on their offer and find out the particulars of this POD service. So with the up front disclosure that I received a free photo book, here is my review.

Putting the Book Together

Since I wanted to compare the Adoramapix book with a Blurb book that I had made last year, I decided to reuse the same photographs and text for this review book rather than making a completely new book. Browsing the Adorampix web site, I quickly discovered that there was no way to upload a PDF, so I steeled myself to the fact that I was going to have to use some kind of publisher-specific software to put the book together, and lay out the whole book all over again.

Adorama’s book software is flash-based program that runs out of your web browser. A lot of people might groan at this, but to me this was a real plus, as it meant I didn’t have to install some invasive, bloated and buggy software locally on my own computer. The other bonus was that I was able to work on Linux, my preferred platform, which is totally ignored by most commercial web outfits when they make desktop software that you must download and install to use their “web-based” service (!!). Often you are lucky if you can get it for your Mac, much less for Linux, and it will likely be big and bloated because it is written in Java or C#. You’ll also be forced to upgrade it frequently as they add new “features” or capabilities to their book offerings that cannot be used with the old software. Notice to POD publishers: this is 2010! We don’t want 1980s-style pc software, bloated to late 90’s era sizes, on our computers! [Sorry, for the digression, rant off.]

I had decided to do a 10×8 hardcover book, as this would be similar in size to what I had done with Blurb. After choosing from the available dimensions the first thing I discovered running the layout program was that I would have to have either 26 or 50 pages in the book. A rather odd limitation, it seemed to me. My Blurb book had run to around 45 pages, and that was with a couple of blank pages and some front and back matter. Not wanting to add more text or blank pages to what was essentially a photo book, I opted for the 50 page option and decided that I would upload a few more photos to complete the coverage (Adorama has since added 14 page, 38 page and 76 page options).

Once you have chosen the number of pages you are dropped into the theme chooser. I’m the sort of person that likes to do a lot of the design myself, but given that I would be using a new program to lay out the book I was prepared to just use one of their templates to simplify things and then just drop in my photos and text. I didn’t see too many themes that I thought would be particularly appropriate, but there were a handful that looked promising. For each one that I tried, however, it supplied a photo layout that was vastly different from what I had in mind. I ended up choosing the blank template, and deciding to build it up from scratch.

Adoramapix Photo Book Builder

The next step is to acquire your photographs to their web site. There was a choice to upload directly, so I tried that initially, but found that it was taking way too long with the uploading. After seeing the rather pathetic upload progress of the files I canceled the upload and explored the other option they offer, which was to acquire the photos via Flickr or Picasa. I’m a regular Flickr user, and upload stuff there all the time. I uploaded the photos to a Flickr set (which went much faster than Adorama’s site) then dropped back into the book builder at Adorama and chose the option to import from Flickr. An authorization click or two later and the photos were streamed in quickly and available for populating the book. This is a great feature if you are already using one of these services to host your photos.

So far the little setbacks hadn’t really beaten me down, but it was at this point that I began to really feel some significant friction using their layout program. The drag and drop interface with precise placement and manual resizing of frames was just a little too painfully slow in Flash. Since I am adverse to doing this sort of thing even using a locally installed desktop software (check out my automated method for laying out photo books) this sort of slow and painful GUI layout work has become a bit of an anathema to me. Others may find it acceptable. Playing with the text boxes and fonts I realized that I would be at this for a very long time if I continued on that course. It was at this point that I discovered that I could drop a photo on a page and then click a button to expand it to fill the page. I decided to simply lay out the entire book as a sort of portfolio of the images, and just add a bit of the text at the front and back. Although the book would look different from the Blurb book in format, this would at least let me evaluate the image quality as well as seeing some rendering of text. If I had to do this over again I think I would simply render my existing PDF pages as images, and then upload them to the site and drop them in as full page images.

Let me say that I give Adorama high marks for trying this pure web-based approach to building a book. Unfortunately, it’s not easy making good web-based software (just ask Google) and I’m afraid I have to give the first edition of the software a “C” grade. Being a real web based service they can easily update the software from their side (I notice that they have already), and I hope that they will continue to improve the user experience. I do believe it is the right way to go. Once I had finally cleared the hurdle of creating the book in their web tool, the final steps of completing the ordering was nice and streamlined. They offer the ability to pay with Paypal, which I appreciate (I had to pay for shipping), and with a few more clicks my book was into their order queue and I was awaiting the result in the mail.

Receiving the Book, Impressions

The turnaround time for the book was fairly speedy and I received it in a little over a week. I expect the time is less for those that don’t live out in the provinces like I do. The book was shipped in reasonably sturdy cardboard and shrink-wrap packaging, and arrived unscathed.

My first impression after unwrapping the package was that this is a hefty book. The hardcover is something like 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick, made by gluing a wrap-around cover over some sturdy board material. The cover has a protective, waxy/metallic sheen, which I found slightly off-putting. Inside, the text block is done in what appears to be a thermal “perfect” binding, with the text block attached to the cover by the first and last signatures of the block being glued rather simply to the inside front and back cover, directly (and visibly) over the wrapped around cover edge. On my brand-new copy the paper was already pulling up a bit from the edges, as can be seen here. Although a perfect binding is standard in the industry, in this book it almost seems a liability due to the thickness and heaviness of the text block. From the outside this book looks like it could take some abuse, but I don’t think it would take very much before the text block comes apart or separates from the cover. This isn’t as much of a problem for the press-based Blurb or Viovio books since the text block is much lighter. On the plus side, the Adorampix binding allows a lay-flat book stance, and this combined with the lack of a gutter allows two page spreads to really be used effectively.

Adoramapix book, binding

The text block is heavy due to the paper being used. This is no ordinary paper, but Fuji Crystal Archive paper, widely used for consumer-based photo printing products. The paper feels like a large FCA photo enlargement (such as you might get from a drugstore with Fuji machine), except that it’s double-sided (or somehow glued back to back), yielding an even thicker, sturdier paper. The surface on my copy was lustre, which I found so-so (gloss might have actually looked better; I suspect the “matte” finish option would also possibly be available, but would be far from an inkjet art matte paper type). The thickness of this paper is a double-edged sword. On the plus side, it is very durable and can be thumbed through by quite a few people without getting the pages wrinkled (my Blurb book is quite wrinkled by now after quite a few page turns). On the downside, its tactile quality distinctly detracts from the book experience: the book feels more like a children’s book with shiny, thick, heavy cardboard-y pages rather than creamy, white supple pages. If you imagine creating a book by binding together a bunch of 8×10 double-sided glossy/lustre inkjet prints you can kind of get an idea for the feel. This is photo paper glued together into a book, not photographs printed on book type paper. If you want to produce a photo book as an “objet de art”, I don’t think this is going to satisy. For my book, which features children and chickens, and will receive quite a bit of browsing through over the years it’s not a bad choice. Time will tell whether the cheap binding will hold up, but I’m confident the pages will.

Adoramapix book

Now to the heart of the matter: image quality. Being a true photo paper, the quality of the photographs are quite good. This is a real photographic reproduction process on photographic paper. Despite my misgivings about the paper as “book paper”, there is no comparison between the photographs in this book and the books I did with Blurb and Viovio; the Adorama photo reproduction is much better to the naked eye. This is quite understandable considering that the others are printed on regular paper using a halftoning process. Although I’m not a big pixel peeping fan, occasionally it can be useful in figuring out something that you can see, but not quite understand with the unaided eye.  Here you can see an example of the halftoning pattern seen in the Blurb book vs. the basically continuous tone process used in the Adorama book. And how do the photos compare to inkjet prints (as I compared in the VioVio vivisection)? Well, I still prefer inkjet prints to these, but you have to start looking very carefully to really see differences. I think the detail and color is better controlled in the in-home prints, and of course you have many choices of papers with better tactile feel than FCA.

Although the photos were better in this book, the text quality suffered a bit. I didn’t include a lot of text due to the hassles in laying out the book that I explained earlier, but I did have one full page of text. It looks ok, but better in the Blurb book, where they can work from a real font embedded in a real PDF to a more normal piece of paper. Again, if you are not too picky about such things it won’t matter much. It all depends on how much of the “fine art book experience” you are trying to achieve.

Conclusion

The Adoramapix book service is a true web-based publish on demand service that produces photo books in a number of sizes. The photographs are reproduced on Fuji Crystal Archive photo paper, not regular book paper. Although one can quibble about the binding a bit, there is no doubt that for preserving and displaying your family’s photographs and memories the service does a very good job at a slightly premium price. The service is aimed squarely at amateur photo books and is not really suitable for books with a significant amount of text, or a fine art reproduction feel. The web-based layout software is a bit limited, so I recommend that you stick to the templates offered, or go with full page spreads as I did. Another option would be to do your own layout and then digitize the individual pages of your PDF as images. Their upload service is a bit slow (this may all depend on your internet connection), but if you are already uploading your photos to Flickr or Picasa they can pull your images from there fairly quickly, saving you the hassle of uploading them yet again to another service. The only major drawback to their service, in my opinion, is the requirement that your book be limited to either 26 or 50 pages, which is not very flexible (as I mentioned, they have since added some additional sizes, but they are fixed). I believe some of the other sizes may have different limits of the number of pages.

All in all, I was pleased, but not blown away by the Adoramapix book. I could see ordering some more of these as memory albums to sit on the bookshelf or coffee table, especially considering the ease from which photos can be brought in via Flickr. They are the perfect replacement for the photo albums of the previous century (unless you count the new iPad?). Overall I’m still left searching for a POD publisher that can do high-quality photo reproduction on more standard types of book paper in a decent binding. It seems that this is still elusive at reasonable price points with current technology.

The good:

  • Good quality photographic reproduction; real continuous-tone photographic process (using Fuji Crystal Archive paper)
  • Fairly accurate color with ICC profiles available (but printing is in sRGB color space, a bit limiting)
  • Real web-based software to create your book; no need to install invasive, bloated and buggy software on your computer
  • Can import photos from Flickr or Picasa  (actually works better than uploading directly to Adorama)
  • Good service and turnaround time

The bad:

  • No PDF service, must use their software to lay out the book (but could digitize your PDF pages and upload them to the blank template).
  • Glued perfect binding somewhat ugly and fragile (but allows lie-flat position and continuous two-page spreads).
  • Paper (at least in hardcover editions) is thick and cardboard-y, doesn’t really give a great book “feel”; lustre surface is just ok
  • Flash-based book layout software is pretty clunky, limited and slow, at least in the first incarnation; probably fine if you stick to the templates and don’t use a lot of text, but time-consuming and painful if you want a lot of your own design in it

The ugly:

  • Limited to fixed sizes of number of pages:  Want another size? Sorry!

Adoramapix book

Visit my Flickr set to see more review images and commentary, including a stunning pixel-peep comparison of the image rendering difference between the Blurb and Adoramapix books.

Turn of the Year Thoughts

Dreamscape

Key: R20091219-142547

As we pass from one year/decade into the next it seems natural to reflect on the year left behind and the year ahead.  I certainly have been doing my fair share of that, especially since the last week of the year has had a few vacation days attached and I’ve had calmer days to let thoughts wander and reorganize themselves. I’ve noticed that a lot of bloggers are sharing their thoughts, so I will too.  But I’ll try not to ramble too much!

2009 was a typical year of photography for me in that I didn’t have enough time for it.  The pressing needs of husband, father and provider came first, as they should, and everything else was catch as catch can.  Nevertheless, there were some interesting developments for me.

On the picturing side, opportunities were largely made around weekends, holidays, vacation days, business trips to other cities and the occasional outing with the local photo club. I continue my trend away from nature photography (present picture excepted!) toward more candid, portrait, “street” and still life picturing. I produced my second book (thanks again, SoFoBoMo!) and along the way found a very interesting new process for making the book that saved me a ton of computer face time. This led to a further exploration of the technique for producing folios. And although I didn’t make massive headway on it, I have spent a lot more time thinking about sets and series of images, themes and more intentional picturing, and it is beginning to have an impact on my work that is leading me in good directions, artistically.

On the equipment side, I found myself largely making the switch from serious compacts with 1/1.8 sensors to the m4/3 format with a much larger sensor.  This really only happened after I acquired a 20mm pancake lens, which made the larger camera small enough to meet my carry along cut-off weight/size.  The new sensor and lens made for some different picturing possibilities than I had been making, and I found myself returning to familiar 50mm SLR type photography, albeit not with a Pentax MX, but a tiny computer with a lens attached. And it wasn’t nearly as bad as it sounds.  New equipment can be an enabler of sorts, and I certainly enjoyed exploring with the new gear.  I also managed to scan a fair number of old slides and via the learning process established a powerful and consistent scanning workflow.

On the technical/photo processing side, I continue to use the Linux and Mac environments for photo developing and organization.  I discovered a couple of really great apps for the Linux environment for developing (jpeg/raw) and photo viewing and organizing. On the Mac side I’ve been playing with DNG profiles, raw conversion, LightRoom 3beta and of course printing (I still print from Photoshop).  I got a new wide-gamut monitor with a profiling device and finally moved away from manufacturer’s canned profiles to my own.  I haven’t blogged about too many of these things yet (mostly because I don’t find technical posts as interesting as other aspects of photography), but I may talk about some of these developments in the weeks ahead.

On the inspiration side, I visited the Yousef Karsh exhibit at the Art Institute in Chicago, entered two local photo/art show call-for-entries and got pieces accepted, attended a critique, sat on the board of another photo contest, attended several art show openings, and attended about half of the photo shoots and meetings of the local photography club.  I tried to read a couple of books on the creative process, but got bored. I read a (probably) unhealthy number of photographers blog posts and browsed a lot of online work. I posted a lot of photos and a few words now and then on my own blog and enjoyed some very pleasant exchanges with other bloggers (you know who you are!). I had a print swap with another blogger (Thanks, Kjell!).  I participated in a small invitation-only online photography critique group (which I liked a lot), until the owner decided to shut it down. Oh, and I sold exactly one photo on the internet. 🙂

Wow, looking back it sounds like I accomplished a lot, but somehow I always want more photography!

Looking ahead, here’s what I see for 2010 in Eric’s photographic journey:

Picturing: I want to really put a concerted effort into themed work.  I’ll probably still be posting a fair bit of come-what-may, but there is going to be more intentional picturing making.  This could be bad, if it makes me feel forced, but I’m going to try to do it in clever ways that don’t get me into that corner.  And I’m going to schedule some days for pure photography.  I’m also planning to dabble in a little video (courtesy of the GH1), but nothing too serious.  Expect some more “formal” portraits. I’ll make another book.  I’d like to produce at least one good folio on interesting paper.

Equipment: I’ll be continuing to explore the GH1 and the normal prime as my main photo machine. I may try some more iPhone photos as a kind of explicit toy-camera like effect, but I don’t expect too much here, I found the lack of any basic exposure controls somewhat frustrating.  I don’t expect any major new camera purchases (never say never!), but perhaps a new lens may show up some day.  I’ll continue my scanning of old material and hope to make some good progress on completing it.

Processing/Technical: more experimentation along the vectors I’m currently exploring as described above.  I’m currently into a fairly minimalist processing regime, and I don’t expect too much change there, although I’ve been playing with raw development a bit more and may try to settle into some custom raw processing profiles (tone curves, etc).  I want to print and frame more work this year.  I’ll be ordering a bunch of new papers and testing them out.  On the blogging side, I’m pretty happy with the outsourced WordPress blog (after years of maintaining my own web sites) and will probably stick with that.  I renewed my Flickr Pro membership for two more years, but I also signed up with SmugMug (and transferred the Flickr sets over with SmuggLr) because I’ve grown tired of Flickr stagnating; it seems that integration into Yahoo sucked all the creative life out of it, and there has been almost no new development on it.  After the dust settles I’ll be with one or the other.  I’ll probably drop my Imagekind Pro account as it hasn’t been much use for any of the uses I originally envisioned it for (and that includes a few things that SmugMug does); it also appears to be languishing after absorption by CafePress.  I may blog about a couple of these decisions if there is interest.

Inspiration: I will be entering more photo contests/shows this year.  It would be interesting to attend a workshop if I can spare the time. I’ll continue to try and attend as many openings as I can because I find viewing art of any kind inspirational, and photographs take a whole new aura in print.  I’m going to pay more attention to the cinematography in the few films I will see.  I’ll continue to blog and post work (of course!) as well as try to keep up with a reasonable core set of blogs. I’d like to do more print swaps with other photographers, if I can find any willing participants.  And I’d like to participate again in a small, private, online critique group (anyone know of any openings?)

Whew!

Well, maybe I didn’t succeed on the avoidance of rambling.  Nevertheless, a fairly decent summary of what was and what is likely, vis-a-vis Eric.  I sincerely hope that you, Dear Reader, will continue to enjoy and prosper in your photographic journey in 2010.  I look forward to another year of contact, learning, ideas and inspiration. Cheers!

Folios: Templates Updated

Amy with Sea Arch, West Coast Trail, British Columbia

Key: BC1995-0028

I finally got around to updating the Blurb POD latex templates to include the folio templates as well.  Both the book and web versions feed off of the same images in two different resolutions: 144dpi for web and 300dpi for print.  So the same master images can create four documents: book (web), book (blurb), folio(web) and folio (print).  Pretty nifty trick I say.  Get `em while they’re hot!

In other news, I finally got my desk cleaned off and I found a scanner under there.  Actually, I knew it was under there somewhere and that was my main impetus to clean.  I’m getting ready for another round of scanning.