Archive for the 'Photos' Category

Promoting Creative Commons through a tweaked Facebook meme

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Facebook Album Cover meme resultIf you’re on Facebook then it’s unlikely that you haven’t been sucked into the meme phenomenon. It tends to involve writing something, mainly about yourself, and then tagging other people with a request to do the same. Most recently it got very popular with the “25 random things” meme (yeah, yeah, I don’t think you need to be a certified sociologist to know that those things are never truly random), that first circulated as 7 things then 16 things, but not surprisingly really went viral when it involved tagging 20+ people.

The most recent one I noticed concerns something much more random as you’re requested to create an album cover based on randomly-generated phrases for the band name and album title, and a randomly displayed “interesting” image from the photo-sharing site Flickr (details below). That last bit about the image bothered me a bit though, because the photos people were grabbing and editing were not necessarily posted under a Creative Commons license. I didn’t like the idea of people grabbing images that their creators didn’t necessarily want reused by others thus my interest in finding those shared under a CC license.

I went searching for a way to browse CC-licensed photos from Flickr’s Explore pool (photos deemed especially “interesting” by the system), but found no such option on the site (the closest to it I saw was to browse popular tags of photos shared under CC). I posted a note on Twitter about this, but the best people could do was point me to the CC option on Flickr’s advanced search page, which doesn’t address this issue since you can’t restrict a search to photos in Explore nor is searching for something specific the same as random browsing. Finally, I posted a comment on a Facebook friend’s photo lamenting the fact that I had not managed to find such an option when one of his friend’s replied with a link to a page that Mike Lietz kindly put together to generate CC-licensed Flickr photos from Explore randomly! A note to Flickr though: I think this is an option they should offer on the site.

So now I present to you the updated meme (italics are my additions) promoting Creative Commons as well as free photo-editing software. If you’re going to participate in this meme, I invite you to do so using the tweaked instructions below so as to help spread CC love.

CREATE YOUR BAND NAME & ALBUM COVER:

To Do This

1 – Go to Wikipedia. Hit “random”
or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 – Go to Quotations Page and select “random quotations”
or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album.

3 – Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
Grab the photo randomly generated from Creative Commons licensed photos on Flickr here:
http://mikelietz.org/code/flickr-ccgettr.php

4 – Use Photoshop the free Paint.Net or Gimp or similar to put it all together.

5 – Post it to FB with this text in the “caption” or “comment” and TAG the friends you want to join in.

Photo credit: Thanks to zedzap‘s CC-licensed photo, which is what I used to create the image above.

Lights, camera, fun

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Armed with my new Canon Digital Rebel XSi, I headed out the other night to check out the Lincoln Park Zoo Lights. (To Chicagoland readers, note that today, Sunday, January 4th is the last day to see them this season.)

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights Mosaic

For now I just have the lens that comes with the camera, the EFS 18-55. I had a lot of fun trying out some of the settings on the camera on this outing. Given that it was night time and I didn’t have a tripod, most of these shots would have been hard-to-impossible to achieve with my point-and-shoot.

Overall, I think this is my favorite:

Tree lights

The blur was not intentional, in fact, I managed several other shots later that were not blurry, but I like this one that group the most.

Regarding the various lights, this was one of my favorite pieces:

Blue reptile

Finally, the most fun unintended result:

Lights!

Fun times ahead with my new camera!

Images galore

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Almost a week after the elections, I continue to be obsessed with related news reading up on people involved with the campaign and the transition team as well as the myriad of interesting opinion pieces. I’ve also found some interesting visuals. Here are links to a few in case you haven’t seen them yet:

Halloween house

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Unfortunately, I’ll be out of the country on Halloween this year, but seeing this house and yard over the weekend in the northern suburbs of Chicago sort of made up for it. (Click for links to the individual photos.)

HalloweenCollage3

Those were the days…

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Those were the days... If, like me, you’re not quite ready to start a new workweek then I recommend YearbookYouself as an amusing distraction. [Thanks to Techcrunch.]

PS. For anyone wondering, none of those were actually my days, although this seems to come close.

Photos as notes

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

While I realize not everyone is as obsessed with photography as I am, many phones now have cameras and I wonder if people remember to use them for the logistics of everyday life. So this post is just a reminder that all those things you often forget (I certainly forget all sorts of details that would be helpful to remember later) can be captured easily with your pocket-sized camera.

Cheese A recurring theme when I go shopping is trying to remember the name of that wonderful cheese I purchased earlier. Good cheese can be expensive so it’s a pity to buy the type that doesn’t work out. Last week after buying some cheese that turned out to be very tasty, I decided to take a picture of its label. Yesterday when I returned to the store I started looking for it. I couldn’t find it, but then I showed the image to the person behind the counter and immediately she had an answer. Although they were out of that particular item, she pointed me to another one that, upon sampling it, reminded me sufficiently of the earlier one that I was happy to find it. The woman mentioned that she wished more people would think to take photos as it’s usually difficult to guess what they want from their descriptions.

Princeton-Stanford intersectionThis method can work with all sorts of details that are easy to forget: book titles and authors, wines, where you parked your car, what you ordered off of a restaurant menu, bus & train schedules, maps (yup, I’ll just take a quick snapshot of a map instead of printing it out), and lots more. For some of these (like maps) a higher resolution photo where you can zoom in is helpful, but for others a simple camera phone should work just as well.

Photo update

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

I feel like this photo I took last night says a lot about what I’m up to these days, on various levels, so here you go:


Footprints in the snow

Photos from Budapest trip

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

I didn’t get a chance to blog about my trip to Budapest a month ago. I had a really great time and took lots of photos so if curious then click through to my Flickr set on it for some beautiful architecture and some great food. The links below are just a small sampling and not necessarily of the best shots since it would’ve been too much work to customize the mosaic in that way.

Budapest mosaic

1. Santas on motorcycles, 2. Santas on motorcycles, 3. Get Off Signal sign, 4. Opera, 5. Street lights, 6. Mini telephone booth, 7. Basilica, 8. Old building, 9. O utca, 10. Train station by Eiffel, 11. Train station by Eiffel, 12. Heroes’ square, 13. Art Museum, 14. Heroes’ square, 15. Museum, 16. Men’s restroom sign, 17. Women’s restroom sign, 18. Fried mushrooms, 19. Hortobagyi palacsinta, 20. Chicken (with roasted garlic), 21. Gundel palacsinta, 22. Museum, 23. Women’s restroom sign, 24. Men’s restroom sign

Created with fd’s Flickr Toys.

My costume for next year

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

I didn’t mention Halloween here this year as I was just wrapping up a two-week four-stop trip, but I’ve come across something that I’ll link to regardless of the date: an awesome costume that I may just have to replicate next year. For additional Halloween geeky goodness, check out this Death Star pumpkin.

A year of photos

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

One year ago today I started a project: take at least one photo each day and post it online. Yesterday, I took the 365th photo in the project and today I compiled a video of the set:


This has been an amazing experience and I’m going to continue with it. Setting aside a few moments each day to look around and find something worthy of a photo adds a very interesting and nice component to everyday life. I’ve started noticing things I never saw before. Looking back at the full set is also a great reminder of all that I’ve been up to over the last 12 months.

I highly recommend a hobby of this sort. I have two pieces of advice. First, it’s helpful to have a small enough digital camera that you can take it with you everywhere. You never know when a great photo opportunity will present itself. Second, don’t expect to maintain a separate blog or even blog section for this (as I naively did), it’s hard to find the time for that. Rather, post the photos to a community photo-sharing site like Flickr that makes posting and organization easy and can connect you to a group of people engaging in a similar project.

I want to send a shoutout to folks on Flickr who’ve been participating in this concurrently. A great community has built up around the project, which has been another great aspect of all this.

Mystery image

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

I’ve long enjoyed cropping images into abstract sections. I like discovering sections of things I don’t necessarily notice otherwise. It’s related to Project 365: taking a photo every day. That also helps discover things in one’s surroundings that otherwise may go unnoticed.

Since it’s a slow Sunday and I just happened upon one in my photostream that I like, I thought I’d post it here:

Guess the image

Any ideas?

Read the rest of this entry »

Chocolate poster

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

I got an email through Flickr letting me know that one of my photos was being used for a poster advertising an event at a science festival in York, UK on “Chocolate: nice but naughty?”. The poster:

Chocolate poster

I thought it was just going to be one of many chocolate photos, but there it is, center stage. Yes, I know, note the missing chocolate.

(Here’s the bigger (pdf) version of the poster.)

This photo, by the way, was the subject of a blog post here two years ago. To this day, it is among the 500 most interesting photos (#233 at the time of this writing) on Flickr for November 28, 2005.

I get a kick out of hearing that people find my photos useful so this was a treat.

How quickly fire spreads

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

Before I get evacuated (not a completely crazy idea with the sheriff right outside my office), I thought I’d post just how quickly fire can spread depending on the circumstances.


How quickly fire spreads

I realize those are not on the same scale, but the surrounding trees should help identify the areas. Understand that I was just trying to do some work this afternoon and then headed out periodically to take some pictures. I didn’t set up shop for a sequence.

The distance between the fire and the nearest road is quite big so eventually the firetrucks just had to head up on the hill. By the time I finished taking photos that entire patch was dark although it looked like the flames had subsided. Of course, that’s just the part I can see, chances are there is lots of action invisible to me from here.

Now I’m going to try to get back to work, helicopters notwithstanding.

No Caption Needed

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

The link in my previous post is thanks to a new blog: No Caption Needed. It is both a book and a blog by my colleague Bob Hariman at Northwestern and his collaborator John Louis Lucaites at Indiana. This undertaking is “dedicated to discussion of the role that photojournalism and other visual practices play in a vital democratic society. No caption needed, but many are provided. . . .” The blog just started recently, but already offers all sorts of interesting images and commentary.

Now for something different…

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

Wow.

Try it here.

I should probably add this:
Time sink!

I’d prefer an ordinary afternoon…

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Comparing the hills during and after the fire

Just this morning I was contemplating how horrible it must be for the people who suddenly lost their homes in the fire around Lake Tahoe. By the afternoon I was watching firefighters from my office window battle flames on Stanford’s hills.

I was sitting at my desk already unable to work having just received word about the death of Peter Marris, Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning at UCLA, dear husband of Dolores Hayden who was a fellow Fellow at CASBS this year. The two of them had to end their year at the Center early, because Peter was sick, but I don’t think any of us expected things to escalate so quickly.

Unable to concentrate on work, I turned around to look at the beautiful view from my office. I spotted some big red flames. Soon I realized that a large area around it was completely black with smoke and flames on the periphery. Eventually sirens and helicopter appeared, as did firefighters. Some of the smoke was now white not just black, apparently a good sign. But not all the black smoke disappeared and an hour later there was still much activity. I went to an event and by the time I got back to my office, another hillside was completely black (see the difference in the left area of the two photos above).

How quickly things can change.

Photo updates

Friday, April 6th, 2007

I’ve been doing lots of fun things recently much of which I’ve documented, of course.:)

So here are some links to photo sets on Flickr. I also link to the slideshow version. I think those work best if you tweak the timing to no more than 2 seconds per image, just slide the bar in the upper right corner of the tool.

Elephant seals!

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Elephant seal

Wow, I went on an amazing tour on Sunday to the Año Nuevo State Reserve on the coast. Elephant seals only come on land twice a year and for not too long so you can’t just go to the coast and expect to catch a glimpse of these amazing creatures. The weather was absolutely gorgeous adding to the experience.

I think the photos may convey it all best. I recommend the slideshow view for this, you can adjust timing (say, to 2s) on the top for a quicker move through the album.

I also have a video compilation up at YouTube. It starts out a bit slowly, but at .50 you can see a bit of male fighting then at 1:15 you have a male approaching a female and at 1:25 there’s some very cool movement by two males. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really capture the sounds they were making due to the wind.

You’ll notice a bit of sand throwing. They do this to keep cool. They don’t eat at all while on land so they have a ton of fat stored away, which works well when hundreds (if not thousands) of feet deep in cold water, but not so well on a sunny beach.

Photo editing

Friday, December 29th, 2006

As if my photo hobby needed any added components, I have finally gotten around to doing a bit of editing on my photos. Here is one result:


Bike rack black and white with glow effect

There is a group on Flickr called Which do you prefer? where you can post a couple of photos and ask others to tell you which one they prefer and why. In response to such a request, a user suggested I try out my bike rack photo in black and white.

After changing it to B&W, I decided to play around with it a bit more. I ended up trying out the Glow effect under the Effects menu in the handy free Windows program Paint.NET. I used the following settings: Radius 3, Brightness 4 and Contrast 39. Above is the result. I think it works best with a black frame, thus the border around it.

By the way, this is the original:


Bike rack 3

Project 365: #38-#44

Monday, December 25th, 2006

Those of you who read my blog, but do not visit my Flickr account may be thinking that I abandoned Project 365 weeks ago. Not so! I have been very diligent about taking at least one photo (if not dozens) every day and designating one for the Project 365 set each day. Before the year is over, I hope to catch up with posting these to the blog.

Decadence table

Taken: December 1, 2006

#38: At the last social hour at the Center, we decided to expand the Wine Committee into the Decadence Committee, because, well, some of us don’t like wine, but more importantly: there are more ways than one to be decadent. So we created a Cheese Committee and a Chocolate Committee. Which one do you think I’m in? These were the fruits of our labor. More coming next time.

Red fountain water

Taken: December 2, 2006

#39: In honor of the big Stanford-Cal football game the next day, the fountain water was turned red (bright pink is a more like what it was, but I am assuming the goal was red).

Turtle

Taken: December 3, 2006

#40: I got a great deal on Cranium Pop 5 (<$11 including shipping!) and as soon as it arrived, I had some friends over for a game. This is my teammate’s rendition of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which needless to say, I guessed.:)

Project 365 email

Taken: December 4, 2006

#41: Screenshot of an email singing the praises of Project 365 and why more who like photography should join! (hint)

Sex and the City book cover

Taken: December 5, 2006

#42: Sex and the City Kiss and Tell book, a must for any SATC fan.

Orange leaves, blue sky

Taken: December 6, 2006

#43: Leaves in the Center parking lot.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/eszter/316921200

Taken: December 7, 2006

#44: Spotted on East Campus Drive at Stanford, reminded me of all the work my project group and I are doing.. although likely not quite the same type of surveying.