Shelter Dogs June 23 2012 Jun25

Shelter Dogs June 23 2012

When needed, I try to help out at the local animal shelter (Vancouver Animal Control) by taking photos of their dogs available for adoption.  I believe the quality of the photos makes a difference in the dogs adoption so I’m happy to help out when I can.  It helps me and helps the dogs.  You can see the animals they have available at PetFinder.com (not just dogs but rabbits, lizards, and at times even more strange things).  You can also see previous shelter dogs I photographed here. There were a few new faces on my most recent visit, some great dogs.  I started off with a cute beagle, very friendly and loves to play.  When he runs his ears flap around like he is trying to fly :)   Next up was this fluffy little Maltese who constantly tried to climb into my lap.   Then I met this young boxer.  He just vibrates with excitement when you play with him.  Awesome dog.   There were two puppies to play with too.   This young girl took some work, was more interested in the dogs around her than getting photos taken.   A black lab likely won’t last long down there, always popular. We put some of the dogs together, they had a great time.  The beagle has so much energy, can play for hours.   But the tables were turned on the little guy when we put him in with the boxer.  Oh crap, I’m out of here!   Make a move sucker…   Oh crap, I guess that’s the move. Better hide in here for a bit. (No beagles were harmed in the making of these photos :) )   And some of the bunnies currently available.   And finally, when I got home I decided to get a few shots of my own dogs.  Jammie will always sit for the camera, a good and obedient dog.   Cedric is an old and grumpy guy, wanted no part of...

Nikon D800 Macro and Focus Stack Jun23

Nikon D800 Macro and Focus Stack

When I was mowing the lawn, I came across a bee in the grass. I’m not sure what type of bee it is, but it could be one of the solitary ground dwelling types that can be found here. One of the wings was much shorter than the other and I don’t think it could fly. I put the bee in a safe place and took a few shots. The shots were taken with a Nikon D800 and AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens. I have another set of photos shot with the 105mm here (lower light, hand-held). Update: I found out this isn’t a bee after all, but a hoverfly (Narcissus fly).  It mimics bees as a defense against predators.  Very cool. This shot is a single image converted from RAW but cropped from a much bigger frame. ISO 360, 1/125 second shutter at f/9. I also took a few more images focus stacked them with Zerene Stacker, turned out better than I expected considering this is also a significant crop. And a flower I shot shortly after, also a single image converted from RAW.   And an image I shot previously.  The detail when shooting the D800 with this lens is just...

Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival 2012

Some shots from the 2012 Vancouver RioTinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.  Saturday, June 16th was an absolutely miserable day with solid rain all day.  I didn’t even go down to the event as sitting in the rain watching is not much fun.  Sunday was much nicer, and I did get out to watch the racing and take a few photos.   Heading out to race Racing One of the racers, a dragon boat team, and me. Concord Pacific Flying Dragons One and Too (processed in the style of “300”)   The Gong Show that is the Guts and Glory race.  16 teams race 4 legs of 500m, which means they need to make a three turns.  These boats, with 22 people, don’t turn on a dime and the turns are where the action is.  A lot of fun to watch.   Looks like the geese are enjoying the racing too.   The Hastings Street Band providing entertainment for the fans.   I also found a very cool video, shot by the steersman for team “Kai Ikaika” of Portland, Oregon, winners of the 2012 Guts and Glory race. Looks like an exciting...

Image Resolution Irrelevant for Web Display

I often see tutorials on the web about proper image resizing for the web, I actually found a few when looking for info related to my previous post on image compression.  All of these tutorials preach the ’72 ppi’ mantra saying that computer monitors can’t display more than 72 ppi so setting this higher creates bigger images and is wasteful.  I’m not sure where this all started, but it’s nonsense.  This page has some useful info and worth a read for another explanation.  What I’ll demonstrate here is how this setting has absolutely no influence on images displayed in your browser.  This ppi (pixels per inch) setting only matters when you print your images. When displaying images online, think in terms of pixels and forget about ppi. This is the image I chose to work with, already exported and visible on my site.  It has image dimensions 1920×1366 and a file size of 112 KB.  I’m going to resize this image twice with two different image resolutions.   First, using these settings in photosho.  Notice the 72 ppi, the ‘industry standard’ and ‘correct’ way of doing things.  Anything more or less would just be wrong. The resize options create a file that is 55 KB in size and looks like this: Now you can say that WordPress is changing the dimensions, etc.  If you think I’m doing something odd here just look at the file on it’s own in your browser window: link to image. Now I’m going to resize the original image again, this time with a different setting for ppi but the same image dimensions. 7200 ppi? You can’t do that!  It will create a huge image and take forever to download for my users.  It won’t look right in my browser.  This goes against everything I have learned.  Well, the options above create an image that is also 55 KB in size and looks like this: Again, if you think WordPress is doing something odd feel free to view the image directly: image link. As you can see, the ppi setting in the image resize dialog is irrelevant for web display.  It doesn’t change your file size or how the image is displayed in the browser.  I urge you to try this yourself and help end this 72 ppi myth that is so prevalent on the...

Image Compression Shootout: Lightroom, Photoshop, JPEGmini, and Smush.it...

Using the smallest images possible while preserving quality is important because small images load faster.  If your site visitors have to wait a long time for your site and images to load they are likely to just move on.  There are several methods of reducing the size of your images, here I compare four different methods, though there are certainly other methods (software).  I use Adobe Lightroom 4.2 for most of my image management and editing, with some work in Adobe Photoshop CS5 for some extra editing when needed.   To reduce the size of my images I most often used JPEGmini but then stumbled across a WordPress plugin called Smush.it, which is an easy way to tie in the web service from Yahoo.  Since there is a WordPress plugin that can automatically shrink your images as you upload them, it seemed like the ideal solution to my compression workflow as it was easy and integrated into the website.  I decided to do a quick and rather non-scientific test between Lightroom, Photoshop, JPEGmini, and Smush.it to see which would work the best for me. I took one of my photos and exported it from Lightroom with jpeg quality at 85, color space sRGB, and width on the long edge 1600.  This might be a common way people export photos for posting online and it was my ‘control’.  The image size is 643 KB, which is certainly not small.  This is the image (click for full size). Running this image through Smush.it, it gets compressed down to 553 KB, which is a minor savings.  Note, the WordPress plugin and Smush.it website produce the same results, in case you were wondering. However, running the same control image though the JPEG mini site results in an image that is only 234 KB, which is a substantial savings in size over the control and, as promised, no reduction in image quality. Next, I tried the Photoshop “Save for Web & Devices” option using “JPEG Medium” which was the default.  It was also set to JPEG quality 30, optimized, resize to 1600, quality bicubic.  The result is a file size only 111 KB in size which still looks excellent despite the low JPEG quality setting. So it looks like Photoshop’s export option may be the best of the bunch so far, but I decided to do a bit more.  I exported a few more samples from Lightroom, at JPEG quality 50 which results in a file of 187 KB in size and a slight reduction in quality compared to the Photoshop export which is even smaller.  Note that the differences are relatively minor, but present.  Best if you can toggle between two images quickly as I was doing on my screen. I also exported from Lightroom using JPEG quality 30, though I’m not sure if this is directly equivalent to the Photoshop JPEG quality setting.  If so, Photoshop’s export and resize algorithm must be better than the one in Lightroom.  This option yields a file size of 129 KB, which is still bigger than Photoshop’s and not as good in terms of quality. I also tried exporting from Lightroom using quality settings of 65, 60, and 55 and running all of those through JPEGmini to see if I can get smaller results than Photoshop but I couldn’t.  A Lightroom export at 60 processed via JPEG mini was still 172 KB which is a significant difference over the 111 KB file that Photoshop produced.  For Lightroom to match Photoshop in terms of file size, I had to export the file with JPEG quality set to 20.  At that point there is a noticeable drop in quality. You may also be wondering, why not use the Photoshop export then ALSO run it through JPEGmini or Smush.it.  I did that and Smush.it could do no better so it left the file intact.  JPEGmini reduced the 111 KB file to...

The Fifth Annual East Van Show and Shine

My friend Eli and I attended the Fifth Annual East Van Show and Shine held at the Whip Restaurant.  It is a fundraiser that features live bands, a barbecue, local vendors, and vintage and classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Proceeds support the Canadian Cancer Society.  We have attended the event for the last few years and it’s always fun.  There were a few new cars this year, including a late 60’s Charger and a late 60’s Camaro which are both near the top of my favorites list. On our way out of the house, Eli noticed a rainbow around the sun.  More info about this in my previous post, but it was very cool and not a common sight.   And shots of the cars. Very cool old Volvo. The most popular attraction as not the cars, girls, band, or food.  It was a pug in a side car :) Everyone was stopping to take photos. There were some cool bikes down there too.   Guard dog on duty. Mr. Grumpy...

Vancouver Sun Halo

Yesterday, on my way to the East Van Show and Shine, my friend Eli pointed out a circular rainbow around the sun.  Not something you see every day, and since we both had our cameras we took some photos.  Someone suggested that this phenomenon is called a sun dog or sundog (Wikipedia), but I think it is actually a sun halo.  A sun dog is a ‘mock sun’, or a bright point of light similar to the sun.  I this case, it’s a complete circular halo around the sun and looks like a rainbow. There are some references to these things here and here. Update (May 29):  After posting on a forum, it turns out this phenomenon is called  a sun halo.  It is seen when thin cirrus clouds are present high in the atmosphere on a sunny day.  Light refracts off ice crystals and creates the effect.  More info here: 22° halo at Wikipedia,...

Shelter Dogs May 11 2012 May13

Shelter Dogs May 11 2012

Another trip to Vancouver Animal Control to photograph dogs.  Photos from previous visits can be seen here.  As always, you can see the animals available for adoption from this shelter by visiting their PetFinder page or just drop in at the shelter. First up, this young pit bull who is a bit chunky but loves to play. I had to visit the puppies again, they are great dogs and won’t last long.  Previous photos of these little guys are here. A playful and very cute Pomeranian. Call of the wild And a German Shepherd who was more interested in napping in the grass than having her photo taken.  ...

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