Monday, May 21, 2007
CppUnit and Emacs
Few people will understand or care about this posting, but it's a code snippet I'll want to be able to find again someday.
Add this to .emacs so that Emacs can parse test-failure messages generated by a CppUnit-based unit test application:
(require 'compile) (setq compilation-error-regexp-alist (cons '("\\(!!!FAILURES!!!\nTest Results:\nRun: [^\n]*\n\n\n\\)?\\([0-9]+\\)) test: \\([^(]+\\)(F) line: \\([0-9]+\\) \\([^ \n]+\\)" 5 4) compilation-error-regexp-alist))
Thursday, May 17, 2007
My Nikon D80
I like my camera. It's mine; you can't have it.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
There is absolutely no reason to include this picture in my blog. I just like wind-up chickens.
I was very self-conscious about the first few self-portraits I took. It seemed vain. And I noticed every little blemish.
After doing a few, I don't feel as bad about taking them or posting them. I am my most-compliant subject, so I should take as much advantage of that as I can. However, I don't publish any pictures of my prominent jowls, and I convert pictures to black-and-white if that is more flattering. This is my blog, and that is my prerogative.
All of my self-portraits can be found here: photos tagged with "selfportrait".
Flickr has a lot of young female photographers who take nude pictures of themselves. I am glad that they do what they do, but don't worry, all pictures of me will be clothed.
The "Sarah Watching TV" shot took some thinking and planning. In contrast, this shot of her six-year-old sister took no thought or skill at all. I just snapped a few pictures of Hannah sitting on the couch next to me, and chose the best one to publish.
It's better to be lucky than to be good. A 50mm f/1.8 lens helps too. And again, the subject deserves most of the credit.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Sarah Watching TV
Why do people buy expensive cameras? Look at this picture.
This is the kind of picture that can't be taken with a simple point-and-shoot camera. The picture is lit only by a television and a couple of incandescent lights in the room, providing interesting colors and highlights. Cheap cameras can't take non-flash pictures with so little available light. If you were to use a flash here, her face would just be washed out and featureless.
This picture was taken with a "fast" lens, meaning a lens that lets in a lot of light. It's called "fast" because it means you can use a faster shutter speed, leading to a sharper picture for whatever level of light you have. But sometimes you don't want a fast lens; you may want a wide-angle lens, or a telephoto lens, or something else that is optimal for the shot. A camera with interchangeable lenses gives one the flexibility to choose the right lens for a particular shot, rather than being stuck with a single one-size-fits-all lens.
Even with this fast lens, I had to use a shutter speed of 1/3 second, which is pretty long. It helped that my niece was mesmerized by High School Musical, and was therefore motionless.
Note how her face and head are in focus, but the background is blurred, causing her face to pop out against it. This is known as "shallow depth of field," and is another trick that an inexpensive camera can't perform. A shallow depth of field requires a longer lens than the pocket-size cameras have. If this photo was taken with a small camera, the subject wouldn't "pop." Some small-camera afficionados fake this effect by using Photoshop to blur out the backgrounds, but as with most things, natural is better than fake.
Of course, an expensive camera can't make you a good photographer. If you're lucky, you'll have nieces pretty enough to make up for your lack of skill.
Friday, May 11, 2007
ShutterClock is a community website that tries to get people all over the world to take a picture at the same time, and share them.
This is my picture. It's not a great picture. All it has going for it is that it was taken at the correct time.
Take a look at the ShutterClock website or the Flickr group to see others' pictures.
Photography Money Pit
When I got into digital photography, one of my thoughts was "at least it will be cheaper than flying."
After buying the D80 kit, with one lens, I've since bought two more lenses and an uncountable number of accessories. The cost so far is pretty close to two grand, and I've only been in it for a week. As with flying, I'm not going to actually add up all the figures on the receipts, because I know the result will be disgusting and depressing.
Don't get into this hobby unless you have a lot of discretionary income, or more self-discipline than I have.
But still, it's fun.
Southern Comfort (SoCo) is the most disgusting alcoholic concoction I've ever tried.
If there is anyone out there who actually likes it, please let me know.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Hannah in Pantry
While waiting for my new camera to arrive, I've been going through my old photos, taken with my 2-megapixel Canon PowerShot A40. Most of the photos aren't very good, but I've got a few that I'm proud of.
This is the best picture I've ever taken, although I have to give most of the credit to my model. My two-year-old niece Hannah was repeatedly going into the pantry, closing the door, and then jumping out and saying "boo!"
She's six now. Where does the time go?
Saturday, May 05, 2007
I've been hobby-less for a couple of months. Scheduling problems and weather have prevented me from getting into some of the things I was planning (kayaking, fencing, martial arts, Italian travel). A friend at work has been trying to talk me into taking some photography classes along with him, so I decided to let him win the argument.
My last foray into photography was about five years ago. I was taking my year off from work, so I bought a Canon PowerShot (2 megapixels!) and spent a couple of months playing with it and with Photoshop Elements. I learned a lot, but my interest waned. I took hundreds of pictures during the first few months, but lately I notice that every time I pick up the camera, it has dead batteries because it's been sitting unused for too long.
This time, I'm plunging in deeper. I've ordered a Nikon D80 digital SLR camera and an 18-135mm lens. That set me back about $1150. I also ordered some photography books from Amazon, and after buying all the necessary accessories, the tally will be a couple hundred dollars higher. Then I'll have to pay for the classes. And, inevitably, I'll need to buy more books, more lenses, and maybe another camera.
Concurrently with the photography, I'm also going to try to learn to draw (yet again) and learn about visual design. Maybe I'll even try painting.
Can anyone suggest some good online photography-related forums, blogs, or other useful resources?