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December 27, 2006

Best Photo Book available online

Filed under: Travels — stephane @ 12:06 pm

If there is any photographer out there reading this blog by accident, I’d be interested in feedback concerning photo books if you have ordered any. There is now a profusion of companies doing photo books of what seems like coffee table book quality with at least 170g paper. If you have any experience with them, I’d be extremely interested if there has been any things like banding, color cast, saturation or anything showing up.

It seems like most companies rely on the same printer for hardcover books (that is, the HP 5000 Indigo Press).

Photo book companies I can think of: Blurb, SnapFish, Album Digital, MyPublisher
In France: Photoweb (endorsed by Amazon.fr), Photoways (does even T-Shirts and stuff)

Update: My HP source pointed me as well to Amazon that ordered recently a couple of HP Indigo Press to install in its fulfillment centers and produce “full-color books-on-demand as well as color covers for black and white books”.

BSoUP Open Portfolio Competition 2006

Filed under: Travels — stephane @ 12:04 pm

Congratulations to Alex Tattersall that made 3rd place at BSoUP with his portfolio. The wide angle shots from Steve Jones (1st place) in Ras Mohammed and Nuweiba and extremely nice (why on earth do they post so small formats ?).

Alex was on the liveaboard on my December trip to Raja Ampat (this was actually his 2nd liveaboard in a row as he was diving Lembeh the previous week). He was shooting with a Canon 400D and a Patima housing as well as a Fuji E900.

You can see his picture taken in Lembeh and Raja Ampat, there are some very nice shots.

December 24, 2006

The forward march of digital technology

Filed under: General — stephane @ 5:01 pm

A few months ago, HD-DVD players made their way on the market (the number(and quality) of HD-DVD on the market is still not of interest) . Interestingly at a time where LCD and Plasma TV are really taking the home entertainement by storm. Many people indeed fork a few thousand euros to benefit from a flat screen because the power of marketing tells you that quality is way better (this is a bit more complicated than that but won’t go into details right now). The coolness factor might play a role as well.

So we’ve got HD-DVD players out there. Of course there are only a few (and expensive) LCD/Plasma that can take advantage of it…the marketing power of HD-Ready (or HDTV) is a strong selling point yet is totally useless and it does not mean that your system will be able to truely do HD. There’s really unfortunately not much point to put $2000 into a 42″ 1024×768 hoping to be HD as it is not HD. HD must be able to do 1920x1080p (no, 1080i is not HD)…you will get a better deal by watching it on your computer screen…

So what happens is that if you bought your LCD/Plasma today without looking at it, it probably mean that you will need to change it again in less than 5 years. Just like your computer. Just like your camera.

Ah, the wonderful world of being digital :)

If you are really crazy about quality (and have super deep pockets !) to make the most of your extensive DVD collection for the years to come, the DVD player Denon DVD A1XVA (~3000€) and the plasma Panasonic TH-65PX600E (~14000€) might very well do. I’ll let you choose your sound system.

December 16, 2006

Back from Raja Ampat

Filed under: England,Travels — stephane @ 2:17 pm

I’m back from 2 weeks of diving in the Raja Ampat region of Irian Jaya on the new liveaboard from Odyssea. Full boat of underwater photographers of course as it was chartered by my funny very british friend (and amazing professional photographer) Bob Whorton.

I was a able to see some new critters that I have never seen before: Wobbegong sharks, some rare and elusive toadfish, a new pigmy sea horse, new species of flatworms and nudibranchs that I have yet to identify.

Bob was kind enough to let me shoot with his Nikon D200 105mm in an Ikelite housing and 2 DS-125 strobes for the last dive. What a change ! It sure needs a bit of time to find out the focal distance of the 105 as well as get used to the viewfinder. I did not manage any decent shot with the kit (except a magnificent dorsal spine of a pygmy sea horse).

Will post some pictures soonish. (I actually don’t have that many compared to other trips)

I’m considering going to the Suakin Archipelago of Southern Sudan in June also organized by Bob. There is a good chance of having some good pelagic activity, good viz and probably some very strong currents which will make the whole thing more fun.

Might eventually consider doing a quick backpacking/photo trip somewhere in between.

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