Monday, August 31, 2009

Free Calendar Wallpaper for September 09 (Desktop & iPhone)

    I am giving away free desktop wallpaper with some nice nature photos.I plan to do this monthly so please check often. The photo was taken by me in Aspen Colorado

  1. To set as wallpaper, simply click on the image,

  2. The full size image will be displayed in the browser

  3. Right click on the image and click save to disk or set as wallpaper directly.

  • 1680x1050 Widescreen wallpaper

Aspen sept 09 Calendar Wallpaper- 1680x1050 wide

  • 1024 x768 Wallpaper

 Aspen sept 09 Calendar Wallpaper- 1024x768

  • Wallpaper for iPhone

 Aspen sept 09 Calendar Wallpaper- iPhone

Let me know your thoughts on what you would like to see more in this section

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why you should not give your photo for free ?

With the popularity of digital photography and the number of amateurs joining in, its a common practice among the new entrants to give away photographs for free commercial use just for the thrill of viewing their photos published.


While its totally up to you to decide how to sell your photos, here are a few points you could consider before deciding to give away your photographs for free

  • If you really know what your photograph is worth, chances are you might reconsider your decision of giving it away.
  • When someone approaches you for a license to use a photograph you should ask the right questions like
    • What is the intended use ? say Corporate, Advertising or Editorial use?
    • If its for corporate use, What is the average circulation for the magazine or Annual report? Or in case of website, average visitors, feed subscribers etc?
    • Where will the photo be placed ? front cover, full page, spot etc
    • If its an advertisement, again the intended use, placement of the ad (billboard, magazine etc) and circulation numbers should be clear
  • If you don't know how to price the photos based on the usage, you can go to an online stock price calculator, just enter the data you collected from the buyer and use the numbers you get as a base for negotiation.
  • You may not need the money from your photos, but giving away photos for free will have long lasting impact the industry itself. This is really bad for fulltime photographers who earn their income from photography.
  • Most of the companies that approach for free photos are large corporations . Its not that they cannot afford to pay, they just simply don't want to.
  • While it may be good to give away photos for charity cause, or for non profit cause, please do the homework to see if your customer qualifies for this.
  • What ever be the reason, you should not transfer the copyright of the photo and should always prefer to grand a per use license. For unlimited use, price accordingly.
  • Never give away the RAW image and only provide the photo resized for the appropriate use i.e photos for web use need not have the resolution or size for photos intended for magazine print


This is a topic for debate so pen down you views.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Great Book to Learn Photography - Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson

After you have spent months researching for the best camera that suits you need, you finally bit the bullet and got yourself a nice new camera. But are you using your camera to the fullest potential ? When I got my first camera, I used to get decent results with only the automatic modes. I was not sure how to use any of the creative modes or what each of the dozen jargons like ISO, Aperture, Underexpose, Shutter Speed, Flash curtain mean. This review is based on my own experience with the book.


Here is a book that really helped me understand the basics and got me started into experimenting with the creative zone of my camera.  Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson . The book starts with explaining the basic concepts like what exposure is and what are the various factors that affect exposure. I recommend reading this initial section couple of time at least as understanding this is critical to use the camera in modes such as Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority etc. Going forward, the book explains importance of having the right light, the effect Aperture has on depth of field etc. The book does not go into digital processing or anything and deals with only how to shoot pictures. So if you happen to shoot film, this book is still 100% relevant for you. Whenever there is a difference in usage of a particular concept (eg say ISO) between film and digital, the author mentions it and explains both the techniques.

Of the many things I learnt in this book, some of the techniques worth mentioning are

  1. Panning
  2. Shooting snow photos
  3. Shooting people with dark skin tones
  4. Choosing the right light and time to shoot portraits
  5. How to handle side lit, back lit situations
  6. Night photography

This book is highly recommended if you would like to be creative with your camera.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Understanding EXIF data in Photos. Beginners guide to EXIF

Exchangeable image file format (Exif) is a format for storing metadata in image files. This meta data is nothing but bits of useful technical information about the photograph that get stored when the photograph is made and / or processed later. If you are learning photography, or analyzing a photograph, EXIF data is an invaluable tool that provides an additional dimension of Information to us

When you record a photograph, be it raw formats like CR2, NEF etc or universal format like jpeg, the camera records some additional information on the exposure settings or processing.  EXIF specification is used mainly by JPEG, TIFF formats.  Exif info is recorded by almost all digital cameras and even cellphone cameras these days.

Exif was created by the Japan Electronic Industries Development Association (JEIDA).


What Kind of Information is found in EXIF ?

The following are the main categories of information available through EXIF

  • Date / Time when photo was taken
  • A thumbnail of the photo itself which is widely used by photo management programs, cameras etc to show preview of the photos.
  • Exposure settings of the photo such as ISO, Shutter speed, Aperture, Flash use, metering mode, camera make and model, focal length etc
  • Copyright info – Many cameras allow you to set this so that all the photos you take will actually have your copyright information burned right into the meta data itself.


How can i find EXIF information of a photo that i have taken ?

Basic EXIF info can be viewed in windows itself by right click on the image, choose properties and go to summary tab –> advanced


To view entire EXIF information and to edit it effectively, you will need a more powerful program and there are plenty of freeware available. My favorite is irfranview

Lets Take an example and understand EXIF information better

I goto app that lets you view EXIF information of the best photos in Flickr for any day.



These were chosen as some of the most interesting images for 01 - Jan – 2009. Quite stunning !! and if you want to understand further than just appreciate the photo, you need to take a look at its EXIF information. Its says which camera was used to take the photo, What software was used in post processing, what was the exposure settings like ISO, Aperture, Shutter speed. What specific processing was done like sharpness, contrast etc. was flash used or not? All this will help you to reverse engineer to some extend the thoughts that went into creating such beautiful photographs. Sometime it makes you think why the photographer chose such a shutter speed setting for this particular shot. Such thought process itself will lead you to new experiments with light and camera.

I will post more on EXIF in a later post.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lucis Art - Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Plugin free giveaway download



You can use the Lucis look plugin in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to create the effect shown above. a google/flickr search on this effect should give you multiple examples of this effect.

You can download this plugin free from

File name is: Arun's Lucis Look Lightroom Template.lrtemplate

Keep checking for more free giveaways like this.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sony TX1 and WX1 with Exmor R back-illuminated CMOS technology promises better low light pictures

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX1 and DSC-WX1 are both 10-megapixel cameras, with one unique feature. Both sport a back-illuminated CMOS sensor, the Exmor R that promises to deliver improved low-light performance. Low light has never been the forte of compact cameras and belonged to SLRs with larger sensors and faster lenses.

According to Sony the camera is able to capture low light photos better due to

  • Advanced COMS technology (explained in the figure below)
  • Faster f 2.4 lens used. This is much faster than the f 3.5 lens that comes with most compacts
  • Six-shot layering technology

There are some example shots below from sony Australia site.





To read the full press release and details:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Flickr Explore – some interestingness thoughts on how to get your photos to explore page

Flickr uses an algorithm  to choose the best 500 photos every day and these photos are posted on post them on Flickr Explore page. This algorithm goes by the name “interestingness”.

according to flickr - "There are lots of things that make a photo 'interesting' (or not) in the Flickr. Where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing. Interestingness changes over time, as more and more fantastic photos and stories are added to Flickr."

1) The easiest (most obvious) way to get into flickr explore is to shoot an excellent photo. or at least one that others think is interesting to them.

2) Getting more people to comment or tag the picture as favorite will really help.

3) to get more people to comment on your photos may take a while especially if you are starting off with flickr, but you can speed up this by adding your best photos first.

4) actively participate in forums(groups), discussions get people to discuss on you photos.

5) personally i dont like the comments that embed pictures in them… but you will find a lot of them in several groups. its something you have to live with if you are really interested in getting comments.

6) Get a bunch of flickr folks to regularly visit your photos by giving positive remarks and marking their photos are favorites. Its easier If you have a bunch of friends who are actively in flickr, otherwise try inviting them. All this would improve your chances of getting to explore.

Unfortunately flickr does not notify you in any way  if your photos are featured in explore (other than the attention it suddenly gets). To check if your photos are on explore, you can goto the free service    You just need to replace the username with yours and you can see a lot of statistics on you flickr account, including the list of photos that were featured in explore.

So far only 6 of my images have been in Explore and the highest position ever taken is # 34 (i still hold that). Below is a slide show of those images.

Some more links worth a click.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Nikon S1000pj - World's first camera with projector

Nikon pushed innovation to new heights today by introducing a brand new product category in Digital Cameras. The S1000pj includes a digital projector to show off your photos. The projector itself is rated at 10 lumens and in a dark room will produce reasonably sharp projections of photos or movies clips on any flat surface at up to 40 inches in size.

image   image

Other Major Features

  • 5 image stabilizing features
  • High ISO 3200 and 6400 at 3 megapixels (reducing the image size should help in keeping high iso noise in check)
  • Quick In camera retouch
  • 5x zoom NIKKOR lens (reasonable zoom range to have)
  • wide angle focal length of 28mm (good to have for landscape work)
  • 12.1 mega pixels (a bit too much for a small sensor)


See it in action here

Price and Availability

Available for pre order from amazon

Press Release

Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the introduction of the COOLPIX S1000pj. Packing the pleasure of a personal go-anywhere theater into a stylish compact enclosure, the COOLPIX S1000pj delivers a fun new way to share pictures with friends and family in most any location.

The COOLPIX S1000pj is the first compact digital camera* in the world to feature a built-in projector. With a simple touch of a button, the camera projects favorite photos or movies clips on any flat surface at up to 40 inches in size. Pictures can be projected individually, or as slide shows complete with music and added effects that enhance the experience. It's the fun new way to share pictures with family and friends in most any location.

This capability to project still images or movie clips gives birth to an entirely new form of communication as all participants visually share the passion of special moments together. For example, the COOLPIX S1000pj can be used to capture photos on a family vacation, and then serve double-duty as a personal theater in the evening as everyone enjoys viewing the highlights of the day projected on a wall or a ceiling. Whenever and just about wherever friends gather, the COOLPIX S1000pj's projector can add whole new life to the party by displaying nostalgic pictures or freshly shot images for all to enjoy. Parents can even use the COOLPIX S1000pj to display photos of their own artworks or other images on the ceiling to complement bedtime stories they tell their children.

A handy projector stand is included, as is a remote control that can be used to operate the projector, release the shutter, and more.

Also featured are the precision optics of a 5x zoom NIKKOR lens that provides the compositional freedom of 28mm wide-angle coverage and macro shooting ability from as close as 3 cm (1.2 in.). This combines with the image quality and performance benefits of Nikon's innovative EXPEED digital image-processing concept to help ensure consistently beautiful results produced at the high resolution of 12.1 effective megapixels.

The COOLPIX S1000pj will be available in Black or Warm Silver. (Color name and color availability may vary according to region.)

Source: nikon usa site,

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Essential Free Software tools for The Digital Photographer

    This is a list of software (Mostly free)  that i have found useful in my digital workflow. If you don't see your favorite program here, please drop a comment and i would love to try that one out. Photoshop and Lightroom are not free but i have given the nearest free alternatives that I use.



  1. Gimp / Photoshop -  Gimp or Photoshop allows us to adjust the exposure settings, create HDRs Panoramas, work with layers etc. Gimp is free and is good enough for most purposes while Photoshop will cost a lot and has a few more options to play with.

  2. Picasa / Adobe Lightroom – Picasa is a good free photo organizer and viewer for viewing your collection from Google. Lightroom is an expensive offering from Adobe and is a complete photo workflow including integration with Photoshop. However it does not have all the layers and advanced features of Photoshop, but is great to work with a batch of images

  3. Irfran view – Irfran view is a great photo viewer (Free) and has some basic editing features as well. It supports a wide range of formats and the best feature I see is the batch processing. If you want to quicky resize 1000 photos and or rename them, adjust some parameters like sharpness while you do that, I have not seen a better tool than irfran view to do that.

  4. Microsoft Synctoy 2.0 – This is a great little free tool from Microsoft that allows you to take backups of you photos/documents. It can be scheduled and you have a lot of options to customize your backup

  5. Microsoft Live Writer (Photo Bloggers) – If you blog then this is a wonderful free tool from microsoft that works with most Online blogging services

  6. A Flickr Account and Flickr Uploadr – The best social network for photographers. If you are new to photography, the you must join for a free account. Flickt uploadr is a free tool that lets you add images to flickr.

  7. Twitter – I post the photo links on twitter whenever i upload photos or blog articles. this will help my friends who are not on flickr to follow me

  8. more to be added……