Computer problems and free pictures

Golden Gate Park

After I suffered yet another computer crash I finally decided to head over to Fry's and walk home with a Quad Processor Computer, 8GB of RAM and Windows 7. Seems like the motherboard on my old computer was finally fried after it refused to recognize any of my hard drives. I added two monitors to the computer and can now enjoy the editing process again.

I have not even installed Photoshop on my new computer yet, but I am already editing photos like a champ. I downloaded the new Lightroom 3.0 Beta version from Adobe. It took some time to get used to the interface, but I am coming around to like it very much. I think I am going to write a review of Lightroom, maybe pitching it against another one of my favorite RAW editors, Silkypix PRO.

I am completely fed up by the licensing policies of Adobe, which may ultimately keep me from buying Lightroom. I am not sure yet. As my raid array disintegreated, I had to reinstall Photoshop. Then later I decided to build a raid again and install Photoshop again. Apparently the software kept recognizing a new computer each time, possibly because of the raid. Now I have to call Adobe and explain the situation every time I wish to re-install Photoshop again. My requests to erase all licenses from their Servers and let me re-install was simply denied, leaving me frustrated with a useless $600 software.

The most recent photographs I uploaded to my Golden Gate Park Gallery are done with Lightroom only. Those images also do not have any watermarks anymore. For the last few years I have included watermarks that were barely visible, but now they are gone altogether. I am working on an idea to make all images on this website publicly available for free, but I do require attribution (hyperlink on websites and url on prints). Stay tuned for more information on free pictures.

New Pictures of the San Francisco Bay Area

Golden GAte

Today I have uploaded a lot new photographs and created new galleries to hold my new Bay Area pictures. Please take some time and browse through the galleries to enjoy everything the bay area has to offer.

Even I get surprised after many years of living in the Bay Area. I discovered the overview above on a hike through the Marin Headlands.

Other great views include Lands End and the views from Mt. Tamalpais. I also included some pictures of the surrounding communties of Sausalito and Tiburon.

Check out my San Francisco Bay Area Gallery and come back soon for new pictures. I have spent the entire spring photographing and have much to show in the coming weeks.

How to Buy a Digital Camera - The Beginner’s Guide

The easy way of finding the best camera.

Trying to find the best-rated digital cameras online is a difficult task. I have finally found a good format to guide you through the maze and to the digital camera that is best for you.

I have created an interactive Mind Map to show you which digital camera to buy based on your requirements. You can manipulate the map and let it guide you toward a small selection of cameras that fit your needs:

New Montreal Pictures

Lightning Strike in Montreal

I cannot believe the backlog I am still working on. I still have pictures that are over a year old and I have still not found time to upload them here. Today I have added some pictures to my Montreal Gallery that I took on my recent trip to Canada. I always wanted to come back here for some new photographs, since I only had one afternoon on my last visit. I had a great time, despite the rainy weather. I shot this picture during a nasty downpour while standing next to a canopied park bench. The wind was knocking around my gear, and wile I tried to protect it, my umbrella almost flew away.

I often see people upset about the rain, but I think you can always take great photos, even in the rain.

Now I will start working on some Quebec City pictures and of course some new tutorials.

Web Server Hell

GallowsThe life of a photographer is maybe 10% about photography and 90% about doing other stuff, and that's a very optimistic view, since I don't want to put anyone off.

I spend most of the time making a living one way or another, editing photos, fulfilling orders, answering emails and other fluff.

Included in this other fluff is the smooth running of my server which wasn't so smooth lately and the web design tasks. I got repaid by an awful drop in traffic and even lost some Search Engine love. Finally, I was able (or so I hope) to get the problem solved by a technician at Servint. Seems like there was an errand eAccelerator running, although I was positive that I had disabled it a while ago.

Most of my readers aren't coming here to hear me whine about this or talk about other web design projects, although I occasionally do drop a few pearls of web server wisdom. It is a part of this business and may be of interest for those of us who aren't just about flickr and blogger. I think I also owe my regular readers an explanation for the performance drop and my tardiness with new articles.

Hopefully, the problem is fixed and things will run more smoothly from now on, but I guess it will take at least 6 months to regain my former traffic numbers. I am somewhat stomped by how fast the search guys reacted and dropped rankings. Lets hope they are just as fast giving them back.

Daily Awards - A Photo Community

Daily AwardsHaving your work reviewed by either a professional committee or other fellow photographers is one way to improve your technique. Putting your photographs in front of a photo community is always a bit of a gamble. Many people on forums focus on minor technical imperfections rather than the art aspect of your photograph. It is important to find the right community to review your work to leap ahead and improve your work rather than reading through endless pixel peeping discussions.

Daily Awards is one of those communities where you can have your work reviewed, compete against other artists or just see what kind of work people notice and recognize. For a relatively new site, they already have a sizable community. Even the free reviews are excellent and encouraging. Rather than putting people down, the young aspiring artist is motivated while getting exceptional feedback. I like to read other people’s feedback to compare the opinion of the reviewers to my own. It is an incredibly valuable tool to learn and see photographically.

Viewing and learning from other peoples reviews is easy and free. Uploading and getting reviews requires a paid membership at a very reasonable price. I think it is a great way to keep the members at a professional level. For your $26.10/yr you get an immense value in return. A yearly membership is a good option. Although the price declines when you sign up for a longer period, I prefer to reevaluate all my memberships on a yearly basis.
The concept of the website is refreshing and new (to me). There is a lot of value in gaining exposure and popularity. Like any social based website, you can get more exposure by contributing more but most importantly by getting positive reviews. It is a great concept and if the owners find ways to identify that their system cannot be manipulated it is also a very fair system. For aspiring photographers with lots of time it is certainly a great way to get noticed. For me it is yet another way to learn what gets good reviews.

The site also offers paid reviews where one can request a review from any one of the paid professionals over there. This might be something worth looking into when you are seriously thinking about getting published.

Titan 2 Missile Silo Photographs

Titan 2 Missile

During our Christmas Trip of last year we came through a place in Arizona that was once home to the largest and deadliest weapons system ever built by the United States.

The Titan 2 Missile System in Arizona is the only of its kind left. It has been turned into a Museum where one can be stunned by the reality of what was once the cold war of two of the most powerful countries on earth. It serves as a reminder to a time not so long ago.

After seeing all this madness and talking about blast radius and destruction I am surprised that we are still not much smarter then we were during this time.

Enjoy the grisly-beautiful Gallery: Titan 2 Missile Silo and Pima Air Museum


Ghost Towns of the Sierra Nevada

GallowsOne of my favorite places in California is the Sierra Nevada. Unspoiled Nature and left alone by tourist crowds it is a photographer's heaven. During the hot summer months, I usually try to avoid those places, but spring and autumn are wonderful for exploring Eastern California.

I have recently added a new gallery entitled Ghost Towns of the Sierra Nevada. These pictures used to be part of my Highway 395 Gallery, but this gallery is growing too large already. There are still a few ghost towns left for exploring. I added some pictures of Silver City. The city is a collection of old stuff and old buildings brought together from other real cities. I guess they are doing a good thing, claiming to have saved all this stuff from decay. The attention to detail is fantastic. I would not mind paying again for another tour. Remind the person at the entrance to show you his "ghost pictures."

The only mistake I will not be making again is to stay in Ridgecrest. I think officer B. will have to find another victim to stick his traffic tickets to. If you drive through any city in the area, you should be very aware of the cops, as tourist traffic is a major income source for these cities and the cops down their pride themselves in how many tickets they hand out year. They are so proud that they even announce this on big billboards.