Afterexposure Photography

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Whew!

Looks like I’ve got WP setup now; a new theme applied, which looks especially 3D on cruddy LCD’s, and I’ve imported my blog posts from afterexposure.wordpress.com to www.afterexposure.com/blog/

My mail account was moved yesterday; along with DNS and web hosting.

I’m not really sure what moving my blog twice in a few months is going to do to Google. They’ll probably just get fed up and stop updating the indexes… I would!

On another front I’ve totally NOT selected a new web site editor. I’ve hacked the work of Sean McCormack into a Lightroom web engine so I should be able to export my favorite pics as a web site … sans text, of course. But that’s too simple. I need something better.

Web hosting: You get what you pay for!

Well, it’s renewal season around the ranch, and I had the most interesting experience with GoDaddy.

I renewed my domain name (afterexposure.com) with them; the price was right, and I had no prior complaints about their dns or registration process.

After I paid, I noticed I had a ‘web hosting credit’. Huh. Neat, I guess I could use it to pay for the web hosting with them, which was also up for renewal.

So I selected my domain, and applied the credit. It said something about taking a few minutes to show up in the control panel, so off to bed I went; visions of two more years of cheap web hosting dancing in my head.

The next day I was sad to see that the hosting credit wasn’t applied to my site, but had created a new, blank site. Ugh.

So I email customer support… no dice. The reason: hosting credits can’t be used on a renewal of a web hosting package…. WTF? That has to be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.

But lucky me, I have another hosting company for a different domain in the .ca TLD, so I emailed them:

“Hey, can you split off part of my hosting package for a second domain?”

Their answer:

“Sure, just send us the domain name and we’ll set it up. Free.”

W-O-W!

So I did, and they did. Within the hour they had sent me the new DNS entries, and shortly after that I had instructed GoDaddy to use these new entries… and -POOF-, I was in business on the new site.

They have a self administration page, so re-creating my email address was a snap. And I ftp’d a holding page to test it out; it’s all there.

The name of this wonderful hosting company?

namespro.ca

I pay a little more than I did at GoDaddy, but not by much, and I get full control; not like the template-based ‘WebSite Tonight’ crappus (that’s latin for ‘crap’, FYI) that I was using.

Now I just need to nail down a decent web site editor…

Photo hosting; a quick comparision

This post started an excuse to try using my flickr.com account with WordPress, but I think a quick comparison of the hosting services I use might be fun.

Flickr

This was my first photo hosting service, but their terms of service are kinda whacked; like having to post a link back to flickr with each image, like this:

Random Flower

Blech! I much prefer using the static flickr url so I can get the WordPress border and title; and the photo still links back to flickr, so I don’t think it’s a TOS violation.

Ever see fog outside when you wake up? Grab your camera and get out there!

Ever see fog outside when you wake up? Grab your camera and get out there!

Zenfolio

Normally I use zenfolio; unlimited storage and very few other limits it’s my first choice. Because it’s a paid service there are no distracting advertisements and it’s really slick looking. ┬áIf you like how it looks use my referral code ‘X1V-31U-ZJR’ and get another $5.00 off the already super duper cheap annual fee.

Weird building in SF; click to see it under construction in Google Maps.

Weird building in SF; click to see it under construction in Google Maps.

Photobucket

I have a photobucket account that I never update, and just recently re-discovered. It looks really … plain. Ah well. I think I was going to use it as a dumping ground for family and friends type shots that I didn’t want on the same hosting service as my portfolio work. There are still a couple of shots that are worthwhile, let’s give them a whirl:

Details, details...

Details, details...

Whoa! That’s toooooo wide! That about wraps it up for photobucket… with no image resize options for blog posts, it’s out!

Picasa

And apparently a lot of my older blog posts from blogger.com used my account on Googles Picasa. Let’s see if mine still works:

Cold beer in a North Beach bar.

Cold beer in a North Beach bar.

Conclusions

Zenfolio just rocks. I have an unlimited account with them and am tickled pink that for once, I got what I paid for. Great stuff.

flickr seems to be the #1 image sharing site, and they have addressed some image-use rights questions over the years, which is good, but their requirement to provide back-links from static image URL’s is really inconvenient for some web uses. It seems ok for WordPress for now.

Picasa is owned by Google, and despite the fact that it works, I have growing fears of Google and their ‘Do no evil’ mantra that seems more and more tarnished lately. I’m not sure I want to trust them with my images.

Photobucket is just plain fugly. Hard to navigate. No image resizing. No thanks!

A New Year’s Resolution – Almost

The idea of ‘Resolutions’ has never really made sense to me – the timing always seemed arbitrary and the goal-setting seemed to lack credibility. So this year I have something like a resolution:

“Take photos that don’t suck, and write about the success and failures. Often.”

I think the goal is pretty attainable (great photos) and the method is straightforward (write about it). Probably the biggest hurdle will be leaving Lightroom and Gimp alone long enough to actually write.

Dec 30, 2007. So to start, some catch-up. At the end of last year I did a shoot at redline studios with Misha. We had a great shoot, and got some great images; but two really stand out to me for similar reasons; they both have non-standard camera positions and viewing angles. Compositionally they are simple, which I think is important, but I think compared to similar shots from the same shoot it’s the camera position that sets them apart.

I’ll edit the pics in tonight.

Jan 13, 2008. Yesterday I did an outdoor shoot with Kaley – and what a terrific experience to be shooting outside the studio. With good, but low winter sun we got 549 shutter clicks, and 529 dead-on exposures in about 3 hours. This is far too many shots to sort normally, but with the ‘stacks’ feature in Adobe Lightroom the job is made a lot easier. Well, sort of. See, Kaley never blinks, never gets distracted, and always has the next pose & expression ready at every shutter release, so there really are 529 choices to make.

Looking at all the shots in grid mode I can see a few patterns – bad patterns – that I didn’t totally avoid:

Stiff shooting: I did the location scouting a couple of days early and found some spots that had some things to stand on, as I was hoping for some interesting angles. The downside: I was still a little stiff with a sore back, and couldn’t move around as much as I might normally. Dang. At least Kaley was very mobile! Still, the shots all looked a little ‘square’ to me. The other thing that contributed was some of the locations had limited background area, so the angles were pretty narrow to begin with.

Harsh Light: As the day got towards solar noon the shadows on Kaley’s eyes got worse and worse. I didn’t zoom the flash enough to her face, so while I got a good all-over fill, there wasn’t enough light on her eyes in some shots. And darn it all if the grid snoot wasn’t 50 feet away in my car. The pattern I have to break here is not saying ‘Hey, hold on a minute while I set up another light.’ – instead I just kept on firing away.

But a few things worked out really well:

Kaley: She has a really interesting look, and knows how to use it.

Ring Flash: At one spot I found an outdoor electrical outlet and got to try my new Alien Bees ring flash. Wow. If you are considering one, know that it’s deep enough that wide angle lenses won’t work; at 16mm I had vingnetting from the ring tunnel. Also, spring for the Vagabond II. It’s next on my list.

Full body composition: One thing I tried to avoid, and was moderately successful with, was shooting too many full length ‘from toes to nose’ shots. Worse, when you try and do this and compose for 8×10 on a camera that shoots 8×12, you loose a fair amount on the long edge…. and to fit a tall, skinny model in the frame means that only about 20% of the pixels are of the model at all! I solved this (partially) by intentionally walking in to get headshots, and shooting the entire time.

I’ll publish some pics tonight…promise…