My Flickr page Hint: Visit my Flickr stream:

At Home He's A Tourist.

Gang of photos. Taken from all over the world.

Anonymous said: After importing images from my digital camera to Apple Aperture, my lens is displayed as "Unknown (160) 11–16 mm" in the image's metadata tab. How do I fix that?

After buying a new lens (Tokina 11–16 mm f/2.8) for my Canon EOS 600D (Rebel T3i) I took some pictures. When importing them to Aperture, the lens was identified as “Unknown (160) 11–16 mm" in the metadata tab.

Exploring the complete EXIF data set with Phil Harvey’s great ExifTool revealed that the correct lens information could be found in the LensID tag, while Aperture seems to use the sometimes incomplete Lens tag to display the lens data.

Now, how could you copy the content from LensID to Lens? Well, there’s no way to do it in Aperture directly. One solution would be to use the command line utility ExifTool:

/usr/bin/exiftool -overwrite_original_in_place -P
  -tagsfromfile @ '-Lens<LensID' IMG001.jpg

The command above overwrites the tag Lens (= “Unknown (160) 11–16 mm”) with the content of the tag LensID (= “Tokina AT-X 116 AF Pro DX 11–16mm f/2.8”).

I looked for a more convenient way to achieve this. So I came up to write my first AppleScript application, called CorrectLensEXIF. To use it, follow these steps:

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Anonymous said: What gear do you use?

Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS

The Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS (called PowerShot SD700 IS in the U.S. market) has always been a faithful companion to me. Though compact in design, it features a surprising variety of functions (yet it is easy to use) and makes really great photos (tagged “Canon DIGITAL IXUS 800 IS" in this blog)! Unfortunately, my IXUS 800 IS ceased to work recently after years of reliability – just when we were about to stop by in Las Vegas on our California vacation back in 2010. So it was replaced by…

Canon PowerShot SX130 IS

…a Canon PowerShot SX130 IS (found at a local Best Buy in Henderson, Nevada). It stands out with its 12× optical zoom lens, a 12 megapixel sensor and a HD movie function. The great zoom capability contributed much to an actual bear shot in Yosemite National Park (not to be confused with a beaver shot, hehe…). A real downside of this otherwise great all-purpose camera is its poor battery life. (Photos taken with this camera are tagged with “Canon PowerShot SX130 IS" in this blog.)

Canon EOS 300V

The Canon threesome is completed by an analogue SLR veteran: the Canon EOS 300V (does V stand for vintage already?). Measured against its rich features and its high quality, the EOS 300V used to be offered for an incredibly low price. Despite the fact that I really like it and still use it quite often, you won’t find many photos (tagged “Canon EOS 300V”) taken with the EOS 300V on this blog. (Simply because scanning, editing and uploading photo prints really is a pain in the a**.) As soon as balances allow, it will be accompanied by a digital SLR (recommendations welcome).

Update October 2011:

Canon EOS 600D

Though balances do not really allow, I purchased a digital SLR recently. Welcome, Canon EOS 600D. I can’t await to start taking pictures (tagged “Canon EOS 600D”) with it!

bitterlee said: I'm from Las Vegas, but I lived in Western Germany from 2003 to 2005. Your pictures are beautiful. They remind me of a very interesting time in my life. I just wanted to share.

Well, thank you very much. You’ll find some more pictures of Germany (and of my home town Münster) on my Flickr account. And on this map–created with iMapFlickr.

Anonymous said: Ay! There's an all-new "Share on Facebook" button under each post. How come?

Almighty Facebook has entered this blog. From now on you’ll find a handy little “Share on Facebook" button under each blog post. Wanna know how to add this to your blog?

To do this you need to

1. edit theme (see Tumblr documentation)
2. add custom CSS.

Basically, we use the Facebook “share URL” which looks like this:[URL you wanna share]&t=[Title] (where "Title" is optional)

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Anonymous said: As a diligent reader I cannot forbear to notice a new tag used in this blog: What does #HDR stand for?

Each photo that has been digitally enhanced with an effect referred to as exposure blending or Pseudo HDR is now tagged with #HDR in this blog. Both Adobe Photoshop® and The GIMP offer some ways to use these effects (a google search will tell you how).

Three letters calling for a little explanation: HDR stands for High dynamic range (imaging), according to Wikipedia…

…a set of techniques to allow a greater dynamic range of luminance between the lightest and darkest areas of an image.

The whole HDR thing with its scientific background is quite complicated, involves some maths and physics and people even felt the need to write books about it. So this brief explanation can only give you a rough idea. Here I will focus on what (pseudo-)HDR can do to improve your photos.

One of the many differences between the human eye and a digital camera is that common artificial optical systems are not capable of including the whole range of luminance in a scene. A seascape, for example, can have very light areas (like the sky) and very dark areas (like the sea) within the same scene. That range often is too wide to be captured by a camera with a single shot.

One solution would be to take multiple pictures of the exact same scene, each with a different level of luminance (that is, for example, each with different exposure times). Monet used a similar approach when he painted several views of the Rouen Cathedral under different lighting conditions. Now put these images together somehow so that the resulting picture has all the luminance information in it and voilà, you’re done.

Let’s have a look at the examples below (a harbour scene in Lazise at Lago di Garda, Italy). The first photo (left) shows a detailed sky, but you can hardly tell the color of the boats. It is under-exposed. On the second photo (center) enough details of the boats can be seen, but the sky now renders much too bright. It is over-exposed.

HDR example

The final picture (right) is a digitally processed composition of the under-exposed image on the left and the over-exposed image in the middle. Now the whole scene looks balanced and features rich details in the light areas as well as in the darker areas in the front.

Because it is difficult to take the exact same picture multiple times (even if you use a tripod with your camera) you can let your photo editor do some math on just a single shot and still get astonishing results:

Yosemite (Raw)

Above is the unedited photo, taken right from the camera’s SD card. Below you see the same photo edited with an exposure blending filter using The GIMP.

Yosemite (Exposure blending)

You can put even more effect on your photos, resulting in surreal looking phantasy-like imagery. But remember not to carry digital editing to excess as the effect may wear off or even start to get annoying – like auto-tune in music already has.