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Category / Photography

Life in Microcosmos 9 November, 2011 at 1:09 am

Another supported project – electron micrographs of really small things printed really big (1.5m square 1.2m square, max size for printing with this technique by the supplier).

Gallery back online 2 February, 2009 at 4:27 pm

For some number of months (the numer itself unknown) my galley has been offline. I was rather concerned that the days (weeks?) worth of tinkering with it, loading gallerys, editing meta-data, etc, had been lost in some abysmal database screwup.

Today I used my web host’s autoinstaller to create a fresh gallery to make some comparisons, to see what’s what.

I enabled a debug setting and was looking at another page for a while and discovered a response indicating that connection to the database had failed. I don’t know the eact cause of this – the database did exist on a server, and I was able to view/administer it through the control panel, but maybe it wasn’t accessible via the “local” php script(s) forming the gallery.

I took a backup of the existing database, created a brand new database, imported the backup, updated the gallery configuration settings with the details of the new database and, hey presto!… my gallery is back! Joy!

I suppose now I should do something about it not containing any new photos since September. :o)

So, what made me come to be tinkering with this now? Well, it is snowing here in London now, as of yesterday – a few inches at least I reckon – and I wanted to share a few photos.

Stay tuned.

Link: subpixel’s gallery

-spxl

Once upon a time in London 16 November, 2008 at 4:43 am

This is an entry I’d started writing on Tue 28 October, but didn’t get around to completing until now, so mostly references a weekend three weeks ago…

Tuesday 28 October

It seemed to be quite chilly when I was out last night, and this evening, when a houseguest came inside, they announced that it was snowing outside. What?… I open the window to take a closer look outside, and sure enough… snow!

I guess it is time to go shopping for a warm jacket then. Especially since my last jacket was nicked a couple of months ago at the Notting Hill Carnival (or just after it, since the carnival was closed for the night at that stage).

Speaking of things getting nicked, I might recount a tale from Saturday night. I had a mind to write about it just after it happened, but instead became engrossed in playing with visuals and making some new videos. Put on your slippers and dressing gown, grab a blanket and come sit by the fire…

Shunned // Shunt

Saturday night, 25 October, I caught a bus down to London Bridge to check out the final night the Netaudio mini-festival at Shunt Bar. It had been running there the previous two nights without me knowing about it, and I was keen, from what I’d read it was about, to go. There was some warning about arriving early as the bar tends to get very busy, but I didn’t manage to get down there until a bit after 9pm. When I arrived I saw a queue. Walking, walking… where does it end? Woah, it goes around the corner and far beyond that. Eventually find the end, wondering if it was going to be a complete waste of time. Soon enough, one of the staff came down and said that, based on last night’s experience, queuing from around that point we could expect a three hour wait. Yes, three hours. And, given that they close the doors at 11pm (the bar itself closing 2 or three hours later), that essentially meant there was no chance of getting in at all.

Disappointment!

Well, what could he recommend nearby that might be somewhat similar? There’s nothing else anything like it, apparently (I’m not surprised, really), so I decided to head back to see what Shoreditch held in store.

Spacelapse // London Bridge

I decided that I would walk back to Shoreditch. A chance for some healthy exercise, even though it was a bit chilly, and reflection on why I hadn’t left the flat earlier to go to the Netaudio gig. Also hoping that I didn’t get lost, given that I didn’t have a map.

Crossing London Bridge, I decided to take a bunch of shots of the Tower Bridge and see if i could make a ‘spacelapse’ animation something like I have seen made by Dr.Mo. And so I’d take a long exposure (4 seconds) photo with the camera resting on the bridge’s railing, take a bunch of steps (about 8), and snap again. This tooka little while, and I had a few strange looks from people, but noone getting in my face or being aggressive, which is a good tradeoff. :o)

In the end, I’m not sure that the photos are of suitable quality, nor perhaps great enough quantity to make a decent animation, but I haven’t really played with it much to see for sure. A project to put on the back burner, I think.

Seeing the Light

It didn’t seem like too long before I was back at Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street Station, theh Shoreditch High Street. I didn’t know what was on or where I wanted to go, but had a general idea to check out some place(s) that I hadn’t been to before. One such place was The Light. Open. Plenty of people around. In I go. Seems to be a lot of (fumbling for right term) “classy”/snooty/suited/gold-digger-y people around in the bar on the ground floor. Perhaps nice to look at, but I didn’t attempt barging in on anyone’s conversation.

The music seemed irritating-less enough, so went upstairs to see where it was coming from. At the door I’m told that there are some private parties, but it is also open to the public for a fee. How much? Two pounds. Okay, I think I can deal with that. :o) The night is called Mediterraneo, though I’m not sure exactly what the Mediterranian connection was. The DJ had copies of a mix CDs scattered at the front of the booth for the taking, so I stashed one in my pocket before taking my stuff down to the cloak room.

Had a dance for a while, and a few beers (I’m still not overly keen on beer, but I don’t find it so terrible any more that I can’t drink it), and ended up chatting for some time with a guy who was evidently friends with the DJ (since he was behind the booth) about music production and I can’t remember now (three weeks hence) what about. I remember he was from eastern Europe, but can’t remember if he was Polish or from somewhere else.

Anyhow, had a nice enough time there, had a good dance, had a chuckle at a couple of trashy drunk girls doing crazy stuff all around the place, and all for not much more than the entry price might have been for the Netaudio festival. (Note: I have to talk it up else feel depressed about not getting to spend my tenner at the Netaudio festival!) And I’d finally seen the Light.

The Light is scheduled to be closed down, for redevelopment, I believe. There’s a big poster about saving the light in the downstairs bar.

Canadians + Kebabs // Hoxton

I was hungry well before leaving The Light, so was on a mission to find some food. I stopped by T-Bar to see what was happening – about to close, so continued on. Takeaway Chinese sounded good, so head over to the place on the corner where Great Eastern Street meets Old Street, thinking “honey chicken”… but finding they were about to close when I arrived, with a few measly scraps of stuff I wasn’t excited about, so left empty-handed. Made a decision to head back over to the Caltex / Somerfield minimart on Shoreditch High Street, but walking along Old Street decided to check out Hoxton Square on my way through. In that directin encountered a kebab shop and decided that food now was better than food later, so went in and queued for service. A couple of guys came in after me, and I ended up talking to them about the menu, wondering just what exactly an order of “meat and chips” would land us. It seemed like a “good idea”, since so far I’ve not been impressed by the pocket bread they seem to use here to house the “kebab”, only I wanted one of those big juicy peppers with it. I think that’s what I was after most, since my first encounter with them in kebabs when I was in Berlin last year…

Anyhow, kebabs, meat & chips, whatever, we were talking for a bit before deciding to exit the shop. I have a vague recollection of a someone walking past and asking us some strange question; we were all in some sort of take-the-piss mood and I think we confused them, even though it seemed their initial intent may have been to confuse us. It was three weeks ago now, so can’t remember really what that was about. One of the Canuks spied some girls and made a comment about “follow the legs”, so we parted ways. Shortly after I saw one of them giving a girl a piggy back down the road. Time for another chuckle.

Byron // Old Street

On my way home I encountered an Aussie who was looking for “Dalston Street”. He’d had a few drinks and was asking pretty much everyone he passed, saying he’d only been in town for a day. I didn’t know where Dalston Street was, but figuring it is in Dalston, thought I’d help him at least find the right bus to go there, especially since it was in the direction I was already walking and not far away.

Anyhow, this guy is from Byron Bay, and is staying with friends in London, just arrived the night before. Working or studying in Byron? Studying. At the SAE? How did you know?! .. It’s the only school I know of in Byron. Lucky guess. Talked briefly about the school, asking about whether they have the (multi-)media, 3D etc courses up there. Yep.

On to more important things – someone said to me not so long ago that Kinglsand High Street is notoriously dodgy. Not the whole area, just the corridor of the street where a large number of people pass through every day and night. I told Byron (I didn’t catch his name) about this, and he said he knew something about it, and that’s why his wallet was in his front pocket. Okay, good start. Anyhow, at the point where I was about to say ti him that if he sees anyone looking a bit strange in the area (we were on Old Street, near to Shoreditch High Street / Kingsland Road, at this point) to stay away from them, we were greeted/accosted by a group of four guys.

Artful Dodgers // Old Street

I still had my hands full, eating the “meat and chips” as I walked, and the meeting started with one of the group asking Byron “What’s your name?” Uh-oh… this is not something you expect to be asked by someone you’re just walking by on the street. Given what I was just abou to talk to Byron about, I was instantly suspicious. I was asked my name too, I think in a bid to keep me distracted. I was trying to keep an eye on what was going on with Byron and saw what appeared to be the leader of the group give him a big hug, reaching straight for Byron‘s back pocket – not into it, just feeling the outside to see if something was there. Oh, shit… I’m trying to ignore the guy who is more or less standing between me and Byron, being wary of him coming any closer or trying to touch me, still holding my dinner, but he is successful in distracting me enough that I can’t quite follow the action. I see the group leader hand Byron his phone – some sort of (intended to be seen as) playful/friendly gesture, and I knew there was a good chance that the phone wasn’t all he’d managed to get his hands on. Byron, still fairly drunk asked somehing like “Where’d you get that?” and might have even thanked the guy… I made my way closer, raising my voice saying “Come on, man, we have to go”, putting my hand on his shoulder and trying to physically drag him away. The group of guys let him go, and walked off towards Shoreditch High Street.

Now was my chance to tell Byron what I was about to say before we were interrupted, and suggest he check his pockets. Sure enough, his wallet was gone. Byron asked what to do. I didn’t really know, and suggested he could try asking for it back. Four gangsters vs. me and a drunk guy didn’t seem like good odds if there was any (more) trouble… Byron chased after them. Seemed like a bad idea at that moment. I checked my own pockets and continued walking along, hoping I didn’t have to make an emergency call to the ambulance and/or the police. Amazingly enough, when I caught up with Byron, he’d retrieved his wallet. He thanked me repeatedly, and found that his ID was still in there and either his credit card was still in it, or he’d left it at home, I’m not sure which (and I’m not sure if he was sure).

Anyhow, Byron stll needed to get home, so I continued on with him to the bus stop on Kingsland Road to find out what bus he should take. It started to rain when we were there, so I asked another passenger if they could try to guide Byron on to the bus, which they would be getting themselves. I had to assume Byron would know where to get off (I asked him, and he seemed to think so), and I had to dash home myself in the rain (using the foam takeaway pack as a tiny attempt at sheltering myself). As I went, I hoped that Byron didn’t get done over again before making it back to his friend’s house…

-spxl

See inside my Mind! 24 October, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Video link: Mind! Reggae Dubstep | 22 Oct 08 by spxl

I created this video from clips and photos I took at Mind! Reggae Dubstep on Wednesday night (22/Oct/2008) at The Dogstar in Brixton.

I wasn’t counting on the mindlondon.com branding across the top being made so blurry in the YouTube version, and the titles could certainly do with some improvement. I might try making a nicer overlay next time. I figured I’d already spent enough time pfaffing about, and it was time to release something!.. The render, re-encode, upload cycle takes quite a bit of patience.

-G.

Rome, if you want to 15 January, 2008 at 7:02 am

Subpixel in Rome  civis romanus sum  Red wine by the Colosseum

Rome, Vatican City, Venice, Osoppo (near Udine)… places I have been, if only for a short while, in Italy.

Columns from a Roman ruin  Vatican City  Venice canal at night

I’ve just made the last of my Europe photos (London since the birthday visit to Denmark) available in my Gallery. Unfortunately I have nothing from my visit to Austria or the stopover in Vietnam, thanks to my camera being stolen!

Crippled old woman in Venice  Venice canal  Flier on a post in Venice

Anyhow, Italy was the starting point for my trip to Europe. Having only spent about a day and a half in each of Rome and Venice, though, the experience was a little glossed over! No matter, it seems a nice enough place to want to go back to. I’d like to visit Pompeii some day as well.

Watercolour painting against Venice backdrop  Building with a big clock in Venice  Tree-lined pathway in Venice

The food was pretty good in Italy. I’d eat some more of that! :o)

-G.

The Beatles, Banksy, graff & light painting 8 January, 2008 at 5:12 am

Today I thought I’d have another crack at getting Neon v2 to work with other video formats again. I’m sure it used to work, but I’ve broken it somehow. Reinstalling Neon didn’t seem to work, so I’ve taken some drastic measures and tried uninstalling as many codecs as I could figure out how to uninstall… which led to uninstalling some other guff I don’t need and trying to clean up the mess. I’ve had this machine for over 2 years now, and haven’t ever done a format, so there’s a lot of shonky crap cluttering up the registry, etc. Not that I suppose the registry isn’t full of crap at the best of times anyway! I’ve been having problems with Firefox lately as well, probably due to a ‘crash’ a week or so ago (let the battery run out whilst lurking near the TV at the back of the house – Firefox apparently has some issues with starting up after not being shut down properly). One thing that bugged me was that it would hang when, for example, attempting to upload photos to Facebook (I think it had something to do with the Java plugin).

Anyways… Firefox uninstalled, codecs uninstalled (ACE Mega CoDecS Pack, recently tried XP Codec Pack, DivX, Xvid, blah), and making a ‘fresh’ start. Firefox is back on its feet, and it seems the Facebook photo loader loads now. Yay! Now what was I going to upload?.. Oh, yeah, maybe a photo with me in it some place from my travels last year. Fire up Picasa and start looking… As per usual, looking at photos very quickly leads to distraction. So many things to look at! I start photos with me in it, which leads to tagging some friends, adding captions, renaming video clips (I try to give them a descriptive name ‘coz clips are harder to quickly browse than stills, besides which I need a name for playing with them later as visuals), etc. I soon come across images shot in Abbey Road, outside the famous Abbey Road recording studios in London. This was probably one of the few touristy things I did during my stay. I don’t have a picture of myself doing the famous crossing (or do I?.. the others were taking pictures, and I might have a copy!), but do have a couple of photos of the others, as well as a Beatles Crossing video on YouTube.

Abbey Road street sign  Number 5 Abbey Road  Beatles’ Crossing, Abbey Road

John Lennon stencil, Abbey Road

Before that I’d spotted a (possible?) Banksy piece, and, having seen something about Banksy on TV in the past few days, decided to tag (ha!) some graffiti shots in Picasa as well. Now is it ‘graf’ or ‘graff’? I supposed it could be either, and had a quick peek to see what comes up in a search for ‘graff’ – of course stuff about Banksy, but also ‘GRAFF‘, a neat little web comic about graffiti.

GRAFF - Illegal

From there I was led on to a couple of other sites, and found a new world of light graffiti… well, a new name for light painting, anyhow. Check out Lichtfaktor on MySpace for some great light painting photos, and the Graffiti Research Lab – these guys have made a projection system that you can use to ‘paint’ on buildings, etc, with a laser pointer. They’ve also done some neat bullet-time type shots with light painting around people. Anyhoo… just spent some time diving back in to the image archive and found the Banksy shots I was looking for. Tagged! Here they be:

Banksy - Rat with Peace bling

Banksy - ATM with robot arm holding girl

Check out this interesting article about Banksy and the Israeli security wall from September 2005. I imagine that’s a fairly scary place to be making political statements – especially as a western foreigner!

By the way… Neon is currently even more ‘broken’ than when I started – now I can’t play the vast majority of the clips I usually use! Something has to be done about this…

-G.

jhead – JPEG header manipulator 6 January, 2008 at 7:51 am

jhead is a rather nifty looking program… When I was in Europe (er, perhaps I should write some more about that later!) I took some photos – rather a lot, actually – and despite my best intentions, I sometimes forgot to properly set the date and/or time (more likely just the timezone) on my camera. Maybe not the worst thing to happen in the world (I managed to be separated, permanently, from my camera in Vietnam, taking images from Austria with it!), but bloody inconvenient if you ask me – I like to have things somewhat organised – at least to tell me when a photo was taken especially since I wrote bugger all to journal my journey!

The problem then presents itself – how can you edit the datestamp stored in the files? And how about the filesystem datestamps while we’re at it? Okay, it might be possible to edit the date in the file using PhotoShop or something, but that required ‘re-saving’ (and probably image-degrading) the file. Maybe Bridge can edit the metadata… hmmm… Anyhow, I eventually decided, only a few days ago, to do a search for a magic tool to do the job, and jhead might just be it!

I have to admit that I haven’t tried it out yet – ye of little disk space can hardly afford to offer that much faith first up… some sort of precautionary backup is desirable, methinks. Which reminds me, I think I have about a CD worth that isn’t backed up at all yet – that should be first priority!

Anyhow, jhead professes to be able to adjust the Exif datestamp, among other things, and that is what I’m going to try. It has other fancy features such as being able to (re-)generate embedded thumbnail images, but I might leave all tha business alone.

Fingers crossed for the basic task!

-G.