Walter Astrada wanted to go on a motorcycle trip and take photographs around the world. He didn’t have much money. He didn’t have a motorcycle.
One more thing: He didn’t even know how to ride a motorcycle.
Continue reading A Global Journey With a Camera and a Motorcycle
Despite its age and budget status, my trusty SONY NEX-3N still serves me well. But the lack of an optical viewfinder (OVF) hasn’t become any less annoying with time. Although the camera has a decent display, it becomes pretty much unusable on a sunny day. Admittedly, excessive sunshine is not the problem we face here in Denmark very often, but it’s known to happen.
Fast forward to the last weekend. I’d been having breakfast on a lazy Saturday, leisurely perusing the Mr. Zenza Rolls-Royce story, when it hit me: I actually have a waistlevel viewfinder for Zenza Bronica ETRS lying around. So why not couple it with my SONY NEX-3N?
Zenza Bronica waist level finder on SONY NEX-3N for better viewing experience and increased retro chic.
The viewfinder turned out to be almost a perfect fit for the camera’s display. Better still, the viewfider has small plastic rails at the bottom, so it doesn’t scratch the display and sits solidly on the screen. To prevent light leaks completely, I put a thick rubber band around the rails. This also adds some grip to the viewfinder when it sits on the display.
Simple rubber band acts like a light sealing and makes the viewfinder more grippy.
I can use the viewfinder as a simple display shade, or I can pop up the magnifier for even better viewing and increased retro chic. In theory, it should be relatively easy to mount the viewfinder permanently on the display, but I prefer to use it as a removable accessory.
When configuring saving settings for the JPEG format in the Saving Images section of the Configure digiKam window, you can choose between medium and high chroma subsampling, or disable it altogether. But what is chroma subsampling and what does it do? As you may know, JPEG is a lossy format, which means that it trades quality for a smaller size. One of the methods for achieving a smaller size is to store color information (chroma) at a lower resolution than brightness (a.k.a intensity or luma) data. This is possible due to the fact that the human eye is less sensitive to color than brightness, so discarding color information doesn’t produce a perceptible loss of quality.
Most graphical applications do that by using the 2×2 chroma subsampling method that breaks the image into 2×2 pixel blocks and only stores the average color information for each 2×2 pixel group. digiKam deploys two subsampling schemes. The 4:2:2 ratio is used for the Medium chroma subsampling that reduces color resolution by 1/3 with no perceptible difference. The High chroma subsampling uses the 4:1:1 ratio and reduces color resolution by half. This results in higher compression but tends to alter colors. The Chroma subsampling Wikipedia article provides more information about chroma subsampling and various schemes.
Unscientific tests show that the subsampling methods deployed by digiKam can achieve up to 20% size reduction (i.e., a ~19MB JPEG file can be compressed to ~15MB using the high chroma subsampling). For collections containing thousands of photos, this translates into significant disk space and bandwidth savings.
This article is a part of the digiKam Recipes book. Buy your copy to get the most out of digiKam.
Photographer Éric Lafforgue has spent years traveling the world to shoot documentary photos for well-known publications. He was even given rare access to North Korea, where he shot thousands of photos showing citizens and government officials going about their daily lives.
Continue reading These Photos Got a Photographer Banned from North Korea
Anybody who’s been to Tokyo will know that the city is best viewed at night, and these stunning pictures prove it. They were taken by Masashi Wakui, a talented and self-taught Japanese photographer who has expertly managed to capture the capital in all of its nocturnal and neon splendor.
Continue reading Magical Night Photography Of Tokyo’s Streets by Masashi Wakui
A new release of digiKam Recipes is ready for your reading pleasure. This version adds two new recipes: Chroma Subsampling Explained (tucked under Configure digiKam) and Create Embeddable Maps with digiKam and uMap. That’s all there is to it this time around.
Readers who already purchased the book will receive the new version free of charge. Please refer to the Book Updates chapter in the ebook to download the latest version of digiKam Recipes.
Learn more about digiKam Recipes, and buy it via PayPal, Amazon Kindle Store, Google Play Store, and Gumroad.
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The Kupol gold mine is truly desolate. Located in the Chukotka region of northeast Russia, it’s more than 100 miles from the nearest town and accessible only by air or a temporary 200-mile ice road between November and April. Getting there is tough, and staying there is even tougher. It is a cold, brutal place, and photographer Elena Chernyshova spent two weeks there in February 2014 for National Geographic Russia.
Continue reading Take a Tour of Kupol, an Isolated, Freezing Gold Mine in Siberia.