jagged lines of summer pics

I have been thinking about how to organise the images from the EOS I am going to shoot this summer. The Photoshop Elements 3.0 is doing decent job in keeping an archive, but too often it crashes (there are c. 3700 pics in the archived folders so far, wonder if it is the numbers, or if the programme is just inherently unstable) – but then there is the online reference thing. Currently I am pondering between making the online folders from the Elements, or continue using JAlbum, which prints the techical data nicely, but on the other hand, the scaling-down of hi-rez original produces nastily jagged artifacts into lines, as you can see from this sample of a crow in Midsummer evening.

The rest of this photo trip into summery Häme, as handled by JAlbum, are visible in this folder.


Tried to post this earlier, but battery ran out in Vancouver night. DiGRA’05 is now over, and it is time to reflect. I am interested in any feedback, either here in the newly re-released http://www.digra.org (you can freely create an account there for yourself, do take a try). I am tired, but it appears that the conference fulfilled at least most of the goals we set for it, which is great.

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playing with photos

Friday, I finally got the digital SLR I had been planning and saving for during whole this spring. I did the purchase order first into a German net store (for obvious price reasons), but after several weeks of delays (they sell stuff they do not have in store, or even do not exactly know when they’ll get some) I went to a local shop (Rajala). The arbitration between Nikon D70s, Canon EOS 350D and 20D was long and hard, but finally I decided to go for 350D. The price of the kit was practically at the same level with D70s, which would have offered better controls, lenses and a more robust design. But when testing, I realised that I have been shooting with a Canon EOS camera from 1987, and the “Canon language” has become so natural that transfer to Nikon felt hard. And Nikon was not getting as good reviews for the picture quality – there was the moiré issue, for example. None of these were perfect cameras of course, but on the other hand all of them were very good. 20D was a bit pricy, and instead I decided to go for 350D, but equipped it with the vertical battery pack (BG-E3) which made a real difference to how the tiny camera handles. The glassware I could afford at this point was not so great (including the plastic-feeling kit lens), but I bought also a Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6 II APO which is a cheap “Macro Super” zoom, meaning I can go pretty close to those details, textures, insects and other little marvels I love to look at and photograph. In the post-processing, I am currently getting acquainted with the RAW data format; it seems that Adobe Elements 3.0 which I bought as the editing and archiving software can handle 350D RAW, but only after installing a separate update file. There are many features in this program I already love (take a look at the sample web photo folder it created from the originals with a couple of clicks), but it also appears still a bit unfinished and unstable (getting crashes and Visual Basic errors tonight, probably my photo library is just too large for it or something). I also realised that Elements 3 does not retain exposure, aperture and other tech data when you export RAW files into JPEGs, so it is perhaps best to shoot both files at the same time; RAW for print jobs and archiving, JPEG for web publishing. Need to study this some more. Other stuff: a Wacom touchpad for editing, Manfrotto tripod for support (got a remote control, too). The Manfrotto (055PROB) seems actually versatile enough, with its horizontally adaptable center column and legs that can be tilted absolutely flat against the earth, if need be. But the mini ball head (484RC2) is unfortunately not really compatible with it, so I have to get it switched. The first dozen or so pics, taken at a nearby Tohloppi lake shore at sunset should give some idea how rich in details and how huge a colour and tonal range these things can deliver when shooting in full 8 mega-pixel resolution. (I am going to need lots of hard-disk space soon…) Never having worked with a digital SLR before, I am just so dazed! 🙂

In the Making. The First Nordic Design Research Conference

Here are some quick notes, made during bus travels. I missed the first day (tutorials), and the last day for me was the program committee meeting, focusing on the future of Nordic Design Research Conferences (Sweden, 2007, most likely). More information on the event: http://www.nordes.org.

May 30. The first day of the conference at least to me proved to centre on two main themes. The first one was embodiment, or how to approach the sense and significance bestowed upon material reality – as was only natural for a conference with so many contributors working upon industrial design, or arts and crafts related fields. There were some nice thoughts that I should consider in my work on digital culture, and culture of technology studies, when I again find some time to continue writing on those themes. The second set of key issues centred around the relation of design and research. Design research seems to be going through similar kind of soul-searching as has been the case for other academic fields closely associated with a creative practise. In games research as well there are the tensions whether the rationale is to aim for new designs or into new research, in the scientific or scholarly sense of the word. Obviously, some of the attractiveness of these fields rise from the fruitful interactions between academia and creative professions, and industries, too. But as in several presentations today it was pointed out, it is important to remember which one is aiming for: to evaluate a hypothesis (and create generalizable knowledge), or to research in order to create designs. The concept of knowledge is slippery, and it is easy to prove that any evolution of artistic skill also involves knowledge creation. The discursive standards guiding the formation and distribution of scientific knowledge and artistic or professional knowledges are nevertheless generally separate and distinctive.

May 31. During this second day, I mostly focused on methodology sessions: ethnography, in vivo observations, etc., and to the technology domestication and other social sciences inspired presentations. There were some interesting points, but there was also a growing feeling that I had heard most of these things before. The concluding panel on the identity of design research was translated into the form of seeking inspirations for a hypothetical Nordic Design Research Centre. This appeared to lead into all sorts of vague directions, missing the potentials for really trying to understand the fundamentals of design research as an academic field, as contrasted to various design professions and their concerns. I left the session early to get into the bus which then carried me through the grey and rainy, but mostly rather nicely designed Copenhagen.

The papers of the conference are currently available for download in: http://www.tii.se/reform/inthemaking/proceedings.htm.

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