Sean\’s Sicily

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Almost a Disaster

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After I read quite a bit about DNG vs RAW (for example), I decided to use DNG as my basic photo format and abandon storing everything in RAW.  The biggest reason is that Nikon RAW is a Nikon format, and they’re free to change it at any time.  Yes, I know DNG is an Adobe format, but they’ve submitted it to ISO and they’ve published the spec, so it’s a lot less likely to be made obsolete.

Fortunately Lightroom 2 has a built-in DNG converter which makes the conversion fairly painless.  Unless, like me, you’ve been moving files about in Explorer and putting the Lightroom catalogue out of synch with your files!  The conversion stops dead when it meets an unmovable file.

The first few times this happened, it was down to user permissions.  Adding myself as owner to all the photo directories quickly took care of that.

Then it happened again for missing file.  They weren’t really missing of course, I’d moved them for one reason or another and hadn’t updated Lightroom.  Lightroom quickly updates itself when you show it where the file is.

And then there are the missing missing files – files that I’ve deleted for whatever reason.  I just confirmed that they really were missing, and removed them from the catalogue.

And that’s when the headaches begin.  Because Lightroom has 2 levels of selection – all the photos you’ve selected in a subtle highlight, and the actual photo you are currently working on is highlighted in a brighter shade.  And dumbwits here hits the “delete” button when there’s 700 odd photos selected.

Now it would be really useful for Lightroom to have a fool-proof dialogue that says “Hey stupid, you’re deleting more than 5 photos, are you really sure?” for example.  But it doesn’t and of course neither will it let you cancel the operation.  So the photos are gone from the catalogue.

Not a disaster, because they’re still on the disk.  But all the metadata is gone.  I don’t care about the adjustments, but I’m a keen metadater, and I can’t face having to re-work all the metadata for 700 photos!

OK, let’s think about this.

All the photos are still on the disk.  So I don’t need to get them back from backup.

The catalogue was backed up before I started the DNG conversion.  So that’s no good, because the catalogue won’t find the .DNG files as it’s looking for .NEF files.

Solution – launch the backup catalogue, write-to-file the metadata for the deleted photos, re-launch the current catalogue, import the missing photos and read-from-file all the metadata for those photos.

As I use a date-based archive method (photos are stored just by date and nothing else) I knew exactly which files had been deleted from the catalogue.  It was simple (but slow) to write the sidecare .XMP metadata files, and just as simple to re-read the data for those files.

Phew.

This shows the important of good organization and having recent backups!

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Written by seancasaidhe

October 30, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Posted in photography

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Luci nella notte

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Luci nella notte

Originally uploaded by A’mio

Sonia has posted a beautiful photo of Marzamemi – taken outside the old church (bombed in WWII) this photo shows the renovation of the old piazza. Sonia remembers when it was all overgrown and was one of the main roads in the village – now it’s (mostly) pedestrianised and at nighttime it’s full of people and kids just walking about, sitting at the outdoor cafes etc.
The arch in the background is an aquaduct for bringing water from a well inside the church to the palace next door.

Written by seancasaidhe

August 19, 2008 at 10:56 am

Posted in Sicily

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Photo Book!

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I surprised Sonia when I got back from Dublin – with Erika’s help on the Italian, I’ve produced my very first book on Blurb!

I Colori del Mondo
By Sonia Virzí

I managed to convince her for several seconds that I’d bought a book in Dublin that had a cover image amazingly similiar to the photo of the old lady that Sonia took in San Vito lo Capo, titled Indietro nel tempo; ecco;

She didn’t even realise that the photo on the back was the one she took in Belfast, which unfortunately isn’t in Flickr, but you can see it on the book preview.

And it was only when she opened the book and saw more of her photos that she copped on. What a fantastic reaction. Made all the sweat worthwile.

Of course then she started pointing out my grammer and spelling mistakes in Italian, so we sat down, corrected it, and re-ordered a few more copies! So go to Blurb and buy some!

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Written by seancasaidhe

July 9, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Images of Thoughts

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For once I’ve something good to write about (a lot of Sicilians complain that I write too negatively abouut Sicily, which isn’t true at all, it’s just the negative things get me worked up more than the positive things!)Images of Thoughts

So here’s to Luigi – one of those genuinely good guys that everyone likes, and a regular at Flickr Palermo meets. Obviously he’s a keen photographer and I can’t count the number of times I’ve bumped into him at various concerts and events, always with his Canon, always with a smile and a keen eye for a good photo.

So when I heard that Luigi is launching a photographic exhibition at the MiKalsa bar, I was keen to get along.

Fortunately Sonia was able to swap shifts at work so at 21:30 we found a decent parking spot nearby and arrived to find Pepe and Rojo digging into some dinner, with the rest inside. Sonia certainly considers it an unmissable event, and I’d have to agree.

He’s titled it “Le Immagine del Pensiero”, which translates sortof to “Thoughtful Images”, which sounds a lot better in Italian than it does in English. Maybe I’m just a bad translator. Luigi has based the exibition on his more recent work, reflecting his recent focus on portraits and character studies of his friends.

All the dozen or images are extremely good – some I’ve previously seen on Flickr but many are premiered at the exhibition. Each photo has a small quote from literature attached, a little “pensiero”. My personal favourite; this.

So get along if you can, and if you can’t, get onto Flickr and leave some comments!

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Written by seancasaidhe

May 21, 2008 at 3:42 pm

My Ireland

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My Ireland

Originally uploaded by A’mìo

These are some of the images A’Mio has captured on some of her many trips to Ireland. I particularly like the shot of the GPO and the Spike, which has a great angle.

Written by seancasaidhe

May 8, 2008 at 9:59 am

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A new purchase – again!

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Seeing as how Sonia has been reluctant to use the dSLR (on the basis that I’m a selfish bastard and won’t let her, which is entirely true), and now knows too much to be satisfied with a compact, Erika and I have decided collectively to buy a new dSLR just for Sonia.  As the D80 is more for a film SLR user who is moving to digital, I reckoned that the D40 is more suitable for Sonia, who is learning how to use an SLR.  The D40 differs from the D80 in that it’s considerably smaller and lighter, has fewer function buttons (although everything can be accesed via the menu system) and is a lot cheaper.

Well, that was until Erika decided on the D40x, which is another Eur200, but has the same CCD has the D80.  I tried to say that having 10 megapixels as opposed to 6 isn’t a huge deal when one’s talking about an entry-level dSLR, but Erika wasn’t buying it, so off we went to Randazzo again to check out prices.

As happens, once at Randazzo we spotted a D40x kit with two lenses, the standard 18-55mm, and the new 55-200mm VR, for Eur180 more.  As that VR lens costs over Eur300 on it’s own, we decided to get that instead.  The comessa was the same woman who sold me the D80 so she remembered me (who wouldn’t, after having had to wait 10 minutes while I was queuing to talk to Ulster Bank to get the transaction authorised!) and she threw in a Eur30 discount off the camera, which with the Eur90 discount that Nikon have included, means that the new lens is basically free!  We did have to wait a good half hour while she chatted with a friend, and checked every piece of the camera (not wanting us to return with a busted camera and claim that it was broken when we opened it), all of which was eating into my lunch hour!

But the best moment was when we surprised Sonia with her new camera – I distracted her whilst Erika snuck the camera into the apartment.  Distraction was easy as she was checking out flickr, and by complete co-incidence found a fantastic shot by some block of some dolphins, which he’d done with a D40x.  After Sonia failed to pick up on some blatent hints (“Hey, maybe we should buy another lens…” “Hey, here’s my SECOND camera bag that…” etc.) I eventually said “Well if you had that camera you’d be able to take that shot…” and Sonia finally took the bait, which allowed us to make her close her eyes (and open her mouth, must be some Sicilian thing…) and I whipped out the box…

…and Sonia started crying.  WTF?  Emotional, these Sicilians, very very emotional!

Suffice to say she loves her new camera (possibly more than she loves me), saying things like “che carina!” and how light it is for her and how easy to use.  So next, a trip somewhere for Sonia to try out her new dSLR.

Written by seancasaidhe

August 31, 2007 at 10:41 pm

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Demons of DSLR

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Well it’s pretty clear that using a dLSR has it’s good points and it’s bad. The good of course is instant review of the shot I’ve just taken, and not having to pay to develop the film.

The bad is taking 500 shots and not one of them is publishable. I read somewhere that anyone can take photos, the skill of a good photographer is choosing the one photo that should be published. Not having to worry about the correct exposure (as I can check it straightaway on the LCD) means that I’m snapping all sorts of crap, some of which I immediately delete, others which I delete when I download to the computer. Not having bothered to read the manual (‘cos it’s in Italian!) I didn’t initially know what the other settings on the dial were for 😦

But now I know. I have to say I still find the Program setting too pernickity, so I’m usually shooting in Aperture or Shutter modes. Messed up quite a few pictures at the festival in Modica (more in another post) but also got a few that I really like and will probably post to Flickr when I get half a chance.

The other thing I’m learning is that it’s really really hard for me to explain SLR technique in Italian! Sonia is keen to learn, and is quite a good shot with the Nikon compact that she has, but going from a compact to a dSLR is a big leap (unless you want to use Auto all the time) and I can’t get across important info about shutter & aperture, which is very frustrating for me, ‘cos I’d love to help her, and frustrating for her, ‘cos she sees me getting annoyed (at myself). The other thing is that I’m suffering from a serious case of new-toy-syndrome, and get all fidgety when the camera is out of my hands, worried that someone will drop it or something! 🙂

Well we’ll just have to see how we get on.

Written by seancasaidhe

August 15, 2007 at 10:07 pm

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