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January 7th, 2007

New Photo Gallery Up…

It’s only been a couple years.

These are shots taken during my weekend trip with some friends to celebrate New Year’s at Rehoboth Beach.  It’s my first experiment at using Apple’s Aperture software to organize and publish my photos, and all in all I’m finding Aperture a pure pleasure to use.  With one really irritating exception.  It doesn’t seem to be able to handle the very large file sizes that result from the scans of color medium format film.  Scans off my Hasselblad are running almost half a gig and Aperture just doesn’t seem to be able to handle them…at least on the hardware I’m running. 

Aperture has a reputation, not unjustified, for being a resource pig.  The first versions of it were, I’m told, horrible.  But 1.5.2 isn’t so bad at all, if you give it at least a couple gigs of ram (I’m running three in Bagheera now), and if you’re using your machine to process graphics you should be running with lots of memory (and hard disk space) anyway.  But Aperture handles very large Tif files poorly.  So poorly the image display becomes garbled and I get the spinning beachball of death when I try to work with those images.  This time, since I was creating a web gallery, I loaded the Hasselblad image files into Photoshop and bumped down the resolution, and then saved them back out to work with in Aperture.  That did the trick.  But I shouldn’t have had to do that with a program that bills itself as being professional grade.  For the record, Adobe’s Lightroom beta handled those files just fine.  But I like Aperture’s toolkit and workflow much better.

You can create a web photo gallery pretty easily with Aperture.  I did some minor tweaking of the html pages Aperture produced, but not much was needed.   You can see the results for yourself.  It was a snap.  With Aperture this process is so easy now, that I can see updating my photo gallery much more frequently then once every couple years.

It’s interesting, but with the new film scanner and Aperture, my film cameras, and in particular my Canon F1s, are becoming much more useful to me then they’d been.   I’d seen my use of film going on the decline and my sense of it was that my future was going to be digital whether I wanted it to be or not. I bought the Canon EOS 30d digital SLR last spring so I could more easily put my stuff up on the web.  But the integration of my film cameras with the computer is considerably tighter now, and I’ve been using an F1 since I was a teenager.  I like my F1s.  They’re like old friends.   They fit comfortably in my hands and I don’t have to think about it much when using them, I’ve done it the manual way for so long.  You wouldn’t believe the number and the variety of settings there are on the 30d.  On the F1s there are only focus, aperture, shutter speed and film speed.  That’s it.  If you asked me to recite all the settings on the 30d I couldn’t do it. 

The only problem with the film cameras is taking them on the road with me means I can’t see what I’ve got until I get it all back home and the film processed.  With the digital camera I can see what I’ve got right away.  I can even post it up on the web right away as long as I have my laptop with me.  But I reckon the F1s are still essential to me, and always will be.  I’ve been using them for so long, setting my focus, and my exposure manually now for so long, it’s really second nature anymore.  They’re more an extension of me then the digital camera gets for now, and probably ever.  I can just concentrate on what I’m seeing when I use them.

I think I may not be the only one who feels that way about the Canon F1s.  I’m noticing that one of those in good condition still fetches a pretty good price on eBay.  Best camera Canon ever made.

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