Photography Finds.

A bit of a changeup today. One tool, one service, one time waster, and no article.

The theme this week is images.

Tool: The GIMP. Every bit as powerful as Adobe Photoshop in the right hands, the Gnu Image Manipulation Program is a freeware application for Unix, Windows, and even Mac OS.

In years past I made use of Micrographx Picture Publisher, but without constantly upgrading it I found myself behind the times. A good masking system does not an image processor make, and recently I've been casting about for a new application with which to perform image editing tasks both simple and complex. GIMP is my solution.

The upside is that it is free, and it is extremely powerful. The downside is that it is not simple. In fact, in many cases it functions counterintuitively for my. But I'm learning more about it slowly, and beginning to play with layers and selections and feathering. My photographs are starting to be halfway interesting and having a way to add the finishing touches without feeling like I'm butchering the images in Paint is a luxury that I appreciate.

If you're looking for an image editor, and you know your way around computers, the GIMP is your man.

Service: Flickr.

I've been hearing about Flickr for a year or so now, but I've been really noticing it over the last three months, and finally decided it was time for me to join in and see what it is all about. In short, it is an image hosting program based around the concept of self-contained communities. Rather than being an image host for forums like imageshack, Flickr is a collection host that allows you to group your own photographs and let others peruse them at their leisure on the flickr system.

Since it is moderately open source and the grouping system is intuitive, all sorts of interesting stuff is happening there, and there are some lovely pictures to be stumbled across among the usual amatuer photographs of pets and flowers.

I recommend that if you are into images at all, set yourself up an account. You'll find lots of interesting stuff there and it makes a good place to store images if you need to show them to someone later.

As an aside, I have an account there where I'll be posting a stand-alone set of all the images I upload to Through the Camera Lens, so if you ever need to browse through those images, they can be found there.

Time Waster: infinite flickr.

Have you ever walked between two mirrors, and noticed how it seems that you are cast into infinity on either side, tapering off and curving away to dissappear in a million reflections of yourself?

Infinite flickr answers the question of what happens when a community is built that creates such a trail where each member is a different link. You grab the most recent infinite flickr photograph, make sure it's plainly visible, and then take a picture of yourself alongside that photograph. Now you post that to the infinite flickr group. The next link in the chain repeats this process. If you backtrack, you can watch yourself fall through computer monitors from Hollywood to Hong Kong, each new user in a different place pulling you into their office or living room briefly. It really drives home the concept that technology could unite the world.

For a very surreal look at how each image falls into the next, try the Infinite Flickr Movie created by Monkiineko.

Monday, August 08, 2005


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