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Tuesday, 12 November 2019 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 12 November 2019
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Cutting corners with telephotos
Topic: photography, animals, opinion Link here

While having breakfast this morning, saw this outside the dining room window:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191112/big/Ducks-5.jpeg
Image title: Ducks 5          Dimensions:          5134 x 3818, 2382 kB
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What terrible image quality! I took them through the window of the dining room. I hadn't expected it to be excellent, but I wasn't expecting such poor quality either.


Dentist again
Topic: health, opinion Link here

Into Ballarat for my six-monthly dental checkup, which translated to $120 for cleaning my teeth. Nothing wrong with my teeth, but I forgot to clean them before coming, so Mario went through them with dental floss. He needed four lengths and considerable effort to complete the job, and left a strand hanging between two teeth. And that's somebody who knows what he's doing and can see where he puts the stuff. Another confirmation that interstitial brushes are a better choice for me.


Updating photo workflow
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

I've been developing (not a pun) my photo workflow for nearly 20 years now, and I'm currently at revision 1.138 of the Makefile. A lot has clearly happened in that time.

One of the central parts is a translation table in a file called Makejpeg. Its format has changed over the years: initially it was makejpeg and contained source file name, destination file name, rotation value and gamma correction value. Since I've been using DxO PhotoLab the last two are redundant, and I've been dropping gamma for some time. And makejpeg contained only photo information; I had a second single line file description that contained the description of the photos. That made no sense, so I merged them into Makejpeg. In principle:

cat description makejpeg > Makejpeg

In the meantime, however, came the issue of scans: three years ago I added a whole lot of data to Makejpeg, so now a typical entry might be:

img225_DxO Taj-Mahal-3-cropped 0 A c 2 F 5 f 11 s 125 l 11

The additional information are: A (set me as author), c 2 (camera 2, the Asahi Pentax “Spotmatic”), F 5 (Film 5, Medium Speed Ektachrome), f 11 (f/11), s 125 (1/125 s shutter speed), l 11 (lens 11, 28 mm f/3.5 Super-Takumar).

Some of this can be useful for other photos as well. The new Voigtländer Nokton 25 mm f/0.95 doesn't supply any lens information, so I was able to add that by the same means. In the process I discovered that my kludged exposure details popup doesn't display UTF-8 characters correctly, so I had to call it Voigtlaender instead of Voigtländer.

The decision to be made: how? Though it uses the Makejpeg file, I hadn't integrated it into my workflow. On the other hand, things like setting the author need to be done for every photo, and so far I've cheated by setting my name in every image I read in, thus also modifying the original file—a no-no.

Currently the workflow is:

  1. Read in original files, unchanged: syp. I have already stopped modifying them.
  2. Prepare images for DxO PhotoLab: fordxo. This links only those files needing conversion to a directory /Photos/2-grog/, which DxO can find and select en masse without too much mouse-pushing.
  3. Process with DxO.
  4. Get the files back again with fromdxo.
  5. Create “contact prints” (a web page with small versions of each image, 6 to a line), with mkcontacts.
  6. Process the contact prints, creating the Makejpeg file.
  7. Convert, currently to TIFF, with imgconvert.
  8. Maybe “optimize” the images with photoopt, a wrapper round Ashampoo photo optimizer, like fordxo to minimize Microsoft pain. This step is becoming less and less useful, and may go away.
  9. Convert images to JPEG with ImageMagick's convert.
  10. Add missing Exif information, including missing lens information and maybe author and GPS location. This is done by setauthor, createexif.php and geotag, clearly a tacky approach, especially as it's not (yet) in the Makefile.
  11. Build the web page, using scripts in the Makefile.

So: at what point should I add the additional Exif data? Step 10 is already untidy. Can I somehow combine it with creating the JPEG images? That would fall flat if I were to remove step 8, Ashampoo optimizer, and convert the files directly to JPEG. Can I at least put step 10 into the Makefile?

The good side of all this is that I have the choice. If I were used Microsoft-based off-the-shelf software, the choices would have been made for me, and I probably wouldn't like them.


Wednesday, 13 November 2019 Dereel Images for 13 November 2019
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NBN: Goodwill exhausted
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

We've had an Internet link from the National Broadband Network for nearly 6 years now. When it was installed we were overjoyed. As Yvonne put it:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20131225/big/NBN-at-last-detail.jpeg
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But that was six years ago. During that time, you'd think that the NBN had done everything to erode this positive sentiment. Today, once again, we had an extended “planned” outage, nearly 6½ hours. I suppose I should be grateful: they had promised three outages of 10 hours each.

But what on Earth are they doing? In those 6 years we've had a total outage duration of over 5 days, or about 3.8 hours per month. It seems that things are getting worse. We've had three day-long outages in the last 7 weeks. Looking at the issue from a daytime availability perspective, that's 3 out of 34 work days, or 25 hours in 87 days, a rate of 14.4 hours per month.

High time for that TIO complaint.


HDR images revisited
Topic: general, photography, opinion Link here

What do you do when you've been forcibly disconnected from the Net for a whole day? There are plenty of things; the garden needs attention, or I could finally try to tidy up my office.

What did I do? While looking for something else, found this entry in my diary: problems getting good HDR images. But now I have Photomatix PRO, and in principle I'm happy with it. How does it fare with those images? Here the images I made then, first enblend, then HDR Projects 4. Run the cursor over either image to switch to the other image:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20160802/big/Lounge-room-enblend.jpeg
Image title: Lounge room enblend          Dimensions:          9013 x 2216, 2896 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20160802/big/Lounge-room-HDR4.jpeg
Image title: Lounge room HDR4          Dimensions:          8782 x 2248, 4171 kB
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Clearly the HDR Projects 4 results were useless. I was able to improve on them, but I don't want to have to hand tune every image.

And with Photomatix? Much better. Omitting the useless HDR Projects result, I ended up with (first enblend, then Photomatix):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20160802/big/Lounge-room-enblend.jpeg
Image title: Lounge room enblend          Dimensions:          9013 x 2216, 2896 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20160802/big/Lounge-room-Photomatix.jpeg
Image title: Lounge room Photomatix          Dimensions:          9011 x 2199, 2709 kB
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There's not really much obvious difference at first. As usual, the devil is in the detail. I had already noted that the contrast of the enblend image was too low, and certainly the details show that. Once again run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20160802/big/Lounge-room-2.jpeg
Image title: Lounge room 2          Dimensions:          4608 x 3456, 1364 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20160802/big/Lounge-room-2-Photomatix.jpeg
Image title: Lounge room 2 HDR4 optimized          Dimensions:          4608 x 3456, 2465 kB
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But the gradation of the panorama is actually darker than the enblend version. Maybe this is really a kind of image that needs special treatment.


Another sick kangaroo?
Topic: animals Link here

Walking the dogs today, saw a kangaroo sitting in a paddock, about 20 m from the road:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191113/big/Sick-kangaroo-1.jpeg
Image title: Sick kangaroo 1          Dimensions:          5394 x 3888, 5951 kB Display location on map
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191113/big/Sick-kangaroo-3.jpeg
Image title: Sick kangaroo 3          Dimensions:          5184 x 3889, 3874 kB Display location on map
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Normally they'll get up and hop off when approached that closely. But this one just looked. He was still there when we came back 20 minutes later. Another dying kangaroo?


Broom: invasive?
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

There's a broom bush on the corner of Stones Road and Progress Road, and once again it's in flower:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191113/big/Broom.jpeg
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The colour seems different this year. Previously there was much more red in the flowers:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20171031/big/Broom.jpeg
Image title: Broom          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 9179 kB
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While researching, though, it occurred to me that it's exotic and thus potentially invasive. Is it? The Wikipedia link suggests yes, but that bush has been there for several years now, and I haven't seen any others pop up. My guess is that our landscape doesn't offer the conditions for invasion.


Refining steak and kidney pie
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

I've made several batches of steak and kidney pie, most recently started on Saturday, but we discovered that we had so many kidneys left over that we ate them first, so it wasn't until today that we got round to making it. That required a number of adjustments to the recipe: more water, more salt.

And this time we considered and dismissed making it in the “air fryer”, and did it in the oven instead.

The eternal question: how long? In the end, we did them at 210° for 25 minutes, after which they looked like this:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191113/big/Steak-and-kidney-pie-2.jpeg
Image title: Steak and kidney pie 2          Dimensions:          4017 x 1597, 544 kB
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In particular, the gravy started coming out of the vent hole, so clearly it was boiling. But on taking them out of the oven, it seems that they could have had a little longer:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191113/big/Steak-and-kidney-pie-3.jpeg
Image title: Steak and kidney pie 3          Dimensions:          4085 x 3802, 1382 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191113/big/Steak-and-kidney-pie-4.jpeg
Image title: Steak and kidney pie 4          Dimensions:          4007 x 3519, 1410 kB
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Probably they need 30 minutes, followed by at least 10 minutes cooling down.


This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. It's also not a vehicle for third-party content. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


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