BuyModelPhotos.com

Lately I've been thinking about porn.

Not like that, no.

But as in: Porn is the one thing that always makes money. And I've been curious about how to break into it, what kind of money one could make, and so forth.

This is no different than any other market for a working, non-fine-arts photographer. I'm not planning on doing it, but who knows what's down the road.

The point is that I've considered selling stock photos of trees and birds and mountain ranges, so why not nekkid women?

Well, here's something amusing I found doing my research: BuyModelPhotos.com. It's an online royalty-free stock agency (using the term 'agency' in the loosest possible sense) for the kind of photos you find advertising 1-900 lines in the back of alternative newsweeklies.

Olympus XA1

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I found another Olympus XA-series camera at a thrift store for $3 (marked $5.99, half-off sale day). Of course, it's an XA1, which is the fixed-focus selenium-meter version. It's got the quality D-Zuiko optics, but it's more like an instamatic than its rangefinder XA brethren.

[img_assist|fid=65|thumb=1|alt=Olympus XA1]

I found some images of the XA1 manual online, and though they're tiny scans, I thought this was cute:

[img_assist|fid=67|thumb=0|alt=A Piece of the Olympus XA1 Manual]

The XA1 has a somewhat mechanically complicated and seemingly delicate system to prevent you from shooting before the flash unit recharges, or from taking double exposures. On the specimen I have, you can't release the shutter or wind the film winder unless the flash unit is attached and turned on. So add repairing this thing to the list of stuff I really shouldn't have time to do, but do anyway.

Autopano-SIFT, fink, and Mac OS X

Serious nerdy talk ahead. You are warned.

When I shoot a panoramic image, I use a piece of software called hugin to take the pieces and stitch them together. hugin is free, and is designed to be a front-end for a bunch of other software.

Some of that other software includes the venerable panotools, nona, enblend, and autopano-SIFT.

Autopano-SIFT is a piece of software written to automate the generation of control points in stitched images. That is, it looks at a bunch of pictures and guesses how they overlap. It then tells other software what it learned, by generating control points.

Cleaning Digital SLR With Liquid: Risky?

Here's a 'blog entry where someone seems to have basically ruined their DSLR by cleaning the sensor with a liquid cleaner.

One of the problems with digital SLR cameras is that dust can accumulate on the sensor, since you're swapping out the lens from time to time.

There are a few solutions... Olympus' E-300 is self-cleaning. Other DSLR manufacturers instruct you to use an air blower to gently blow the dust off. Another solution has you using a statically-charged brush to get the dust off.

And then there are some companies manufacturing a liquid solution, where you wipe some kind of solvent across the sensor. The problem, however, is that the 'sensor' you're cleaning is actually a piece of glass which is sealed on top of the actual sensor, and if that seal is broken, then the solvent could wick between the sensor and the glass.

Shiira Test Drive

Here's a tidbit of information most folks don't realize:

Apple makes a web browser called Safari. This isn't the part no one realizes. The part no one realizes is that Safari is built around a web framework originally written for a linux project called Konqueror. That is: Given the nature of open source projects like Konqueror, other folks can come along and use them and even make money off them. I don't think Apple's making money off of Safari, though it is a nice browser, and an enticement to use Mac OS X.

But the point here is that, in the same spirit as that of Konqueror, Apple didn't just write a web browser, they created a framework which other software developers could use within their own programs. In theory, you see, some enterprising people could come along and use the Safari framework, known as the Web Kit, to build a whole other web browser. It would be at least as good as Safari under the hood, and would improve whenever Apple improved the framework.

Dark Frame Subtraction

Dark frame subtraction is a noise reduction technique for digital photography. Here's the premise:

For short exposure (less than a couple seconds, let's say), the noise of a digital camera's sensor is acceptable. But as exposure times lengthen beyond that, the noise gets amplified along with the subject of the image.

So if you take an exposure that's 15 seconds long, you'll record 15 seconds'-worth of noise along with the subject matter you're photographing.

However, it's also generally true that sensors are noisy in predictable ways. Some areas of the sensor are usually noisier than others, which means that if you know where the noise is, you can use some fancy math to get rid of it. And the way to do that is: Dark Frame Subtraction.

You take your normal picture, and then you take a 'dark frame,' which is where you put the lens cap on and take an equally long exposure. The idea of the dark frame is to gather the noise without any subject matter. In our 15 second example, you'd take the picture you want, and then take another 15 second picture of the back of the lens cap. You then combine these two images in an image editing program, like Photoshop, in the subtraction or difference blend mode. Alter the opacity of the dark frame to suit your tastes.

And voila! Magically the noise is reduced, if not eliminated.

Many digital cameras include a dark frame noise reduction feature. This is usually what the 'noise reduction' setting involves.

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