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Picasa 2 works on PCBSD!

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Good news!

There has been a long long wait for Google’s Picasa on FreeBSD / PCBSD. And the wait is now over… if you are running PCBSD, just go get the latest Wine 0.9.32

Step 1: Install Wine – double click on the .pbi file and follow on-screen instructions.

Step 1.1: Install arial.ttf in c:\Windows\Fonts ( /home/username/.wine/drive_c/windows/fonts )

Step 2: Install Picasa – start up konsole, navigate to the directory where your Picasa installer is located ( cd /home/username/Desktop/ ) and run the installer by typing ( wine picasa2-current.exe )

Step 3: Thank the Wine Team and enjoy!

Written by hiway

April 5, 2007 at 5:36 am

Digikam Albums on Network Filesystem

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Digikam has issues with albums on a network share. It uses sqlite database, and it seems that the database file cannot be stored on a share.

Click here for the bug report…

Now, I was stumped when Digikam refused to work the first time, I thought it was because of the overwhelming number of photographs that I threw at it – 30GB, over network. So I reduced it to 12MB… nothing happened. That’s when I sensed that something is wrong.

The above bug report almost washed away all hopes of having my files on a central fileserver and accessing them from the various machines around me. I went to sleep at 6 am, thinking about this… woke up for lunch, and woke up with an idea – I mounted the share on a directory which is outside the path of Digikam’s library, then I symlinked the directory into the library. So now basically, the sqlite database sits on my local harddisk, but the files are accessed from the server – problem solved!

Library: /home/harshad/images/

Share mounted on: /home/harshad/shared/

Actual photos on: /home/harshad/shared/photos/2007/

Command:

ln -s /home/harshad/shared/photos/2007 /home/harshad/images/shared

I should mention that it works fine when I have the sample images amounting upto 12MB… when I gave it the whole library, it loaded the information into the database, but after showing no further progress for more than 30 minutes, I terminated it.

I think I’ll have to have various symlinks for smaller sections of my library and have shell scripts to create / delete these symlinks before loading digikam to make it lighter on the software and network!

Hope this issue is solved and we don’t need this workaround.

Note: Edited on 5 March 2007 for some typos.

Written by hiway

March 3, 2007 at 3:32 am

Open Source Photography Workflow Management Software

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A few days ago, I stumbled upon a nice application. From the website it looks nice and might soon contain every feature that I want – I haven’t been successful in making it run on my system (yet).

First of all, it is a Java application… and FreeBSD/PCBSD isnt exactly Java paradise. Yes the support is improving fast, and I’m happy about it :-) So, after downloading the “jar” file, I tried double clicking in Konqueror file explorer – which promptly opened the archive and showed me the files inside. Hmm… not exactly what I wanted to do.

So I fired up Konsole and issued the command

jar blueMarine-0.8.6-setup-linux.jar

For which is gave a rather confusing reply:

Exception in thread “main” java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: blueMarine-0/8/6-setup-linux/jar

Yes folks, I am an outsider to the Java world. I usually am clueless about how things work here. So I searched on the Internet and found nothing that said somebody had the exact same problem and how they solved it. So, I realized that I was probably on my own for generalizing the problem, finding out a generic solution and then applying it here. So after searching a bit, I found out that Java was unable to find the “classpath” for the given jar file and it makes no assumptions that the classes might just be in the same jar file… and so we have to tell it exclusively – it’s in the same file dangit!… well, for a computer to understand that, the command is:

java -jar blueMarine-0.8.6-setup-linux.jar

Finally, (wait, its not really finally) it worked! The interface loaded and complained that I have Java 1.5.0 while it needs 1.5.0_05! So until I make up the mind to try and upgrade Java (which isn’t a lovely process on this Operating System) I’m going to do something else (which includes having a cup of tea or sleeping). I need to make my mind up soon! :-D

*sigh* sometimes, I really dislike softwares. Whoever said that computers make life easy, hasn’t really ever used one.

Oh, and if you are curious, here’s the link to blueMarine: http://bluemarine.tidalwave.it/

Written by hiway

February 26, 2007 at 4:43 pm

Studio Photography

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PriyaFinally after trying to convince myself to just keep with nature photography, I decided to give studio photography a try. I’ve done it before for a friend, but that was the ‘first time’ and I was not alone – I was photographing in the studio of ‘Abhi Tak’ a cable news channel that runs in 4 districts of Maharashtra. Oh and though it sounds similar to a national news channel’s name, this channel has been running from long before!Thanks to Kuldeep Munde, the owner of Abhi Tak who not only encouraged me during the very beginning of my career in photography, but also has been giving me many opportunities to learn and gain confidence! Among them was the idea to introduce me to studio photography.

I was unsure about it all. I had always photographed nature… would I be able to adjust with faces in front of my lens? Unknown people. What would they think of me, sticking my little camera in their face? More than that, I was worried of being laughed at – for carrying a point-and-shoot into a studio!

It was en embarrassing thought, everyone else would be used to all the hi-fi professional equipment, and there I would be – with a tiny little camera, trying to make portraits.

NiveditaYes, I had a difficult time convincing myself; however I finally somehow managed to do it. On the d-day, I took God’s name and walked into the studio upright and confident. Luckily nobody was there when I triumphantly pulled out my Nikon – Nikon Coolpix 2000!

That was ok, now I was in the studio, with the camera in my hands and nobody else. Just then Kuldeep arrived with the model – his wife. He tried to make it easy on me – I knew the person I was going to photograph and it was nice to know that she is a professional in Katthak, a traditional dance form of India – and was comfortable with cameras.

We first chatted for a while, and then set up the studio while enjoying a few jokes and finally Kuldeep announced that we should start with the shoot. He brought out his camera and instructed me on the first few frames. He directed the whole show but let me choose my frames. The rest of the shoot was all fun and I almost forgot about all the anxiety I had in my mind!

PritamThe photographs came out pretty well; so much that even I could not believe that this small camera could actually handle it all! Since the light was not exactly bright – the lights were out and on the backup system, we could use only one halogen lamp. It was enough for their video equipment, but my camera was dying for bright light. Many photos came out blurred. But there were more good photos than bad, so no worries!

In the end, I was happy to have accepted his offer because there was a lot to learn in those few hours of friendly photo-shoot; many tips and a fair amount of experience too. Encouragement and trust was what I found most useful. Thanks Kuldeep!

Now, it’s been a few months since I did that shoot. I photographed a few friends outdoors and some indoors, but not in what you can call a studio environment. My camera flash to compensate for the lack of light isn’t studio ;-) Moreover I now have a decent camera. A digital SLR, nothing less!

Realizing that I would lose all track of the stuff I learnt previously if I didn’t practice, I sent out an invitation to my cousins to gather up on a weekend. Actually the credit for this idea goes to my mother. We had a rocking time with all the jokes and stories and the great food that mom served us. But more than that – we enjoyed a photo shoot that involved four models, one photographer and a very enthusiastic mom who helped everyone in stuff from make-up to holding the reflectors!

Priya, Nandita, NiveditaMy cousins Priya, Nandita and Nivedita and my brother Pritam were the celebrities for the day. Each of them took turns in posing for the camera while others were busy changing their look/dress. Mom was either helping them or holding the only artificial light source while I photographed.

Yes, we had only one light source – an 18 watt CFL lamp. I’m a sucker for artificial lighting! I just can’t do without sunlight. Ok… maybe I will be able to, but when available, I love the sun!

The setup was interesting – it was past noon and the sun was shining brightly on the floor from the balcony door. I looked around and found a small white table. It was about 3×3 feet and only one foot tall, perfect for a reflector! So I arranged it to reflect the bright light on the ceiling and on the wall behind me. We placed a wooden partition stand and wrapped it up with bed sheets, sarees – to make our makeshift background. A mirror was ripped from the wall and employed to reflect the diffused light to cover up some shadows on the background. The lone CLF lamp was used to light up the faces from the opposite direction of sunlight.

The weather was partially cloudy – and hence the sunlight was very unstable. It was diffused for a while, suddenly it used to become very bright and with the reflector – it would fill the whole room with light. Next moment, everything would be dark again.

NanditaChallenging and fun, that’s how we all love it! Turned on some music on the mobile phone and started the shoot-out! Next four hours went by so fast that nobody noticed! I had to download the photos to the laptop once and then start again – first time since I got the dSLR that I filled more than one whole gigabyte in one shoot!

Immediately after the session was over, we enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea and I started the post-processing. Everyone sat around the computer, joking about each photo as I pulled it up for editing. Some funny expressions and a few candid shots made everyone laugh out loud!

And finally after the white balance for each photo was adjusted, the levels fixed and slight sharpening added with a little glow in the end, we selected the good ones and watched a slideshow – enjoying each and every photo.

I’m more than happy today, because not only did I learn a lot more, but we all made memorable photographs!

Tomorrow, I have to select a few from the 200+ photographs and get the prints and dispatch them to my cousins – and while I’m at it – here are a few for the world to see :-)

Written by hiway

August 21, 2006 at 1:21 am

Posted in diary, photography

Photographs of Bagroja, The Unseen Ahmednagar

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Today I visited the tomb of Ahmed Shah Nizam, the founder of Ahmednagar with my friend and guide Mr. Crison Coutino.

Ok, so here’s a quick decoding of “Ahmednagar” — Ahmed + Nagar (Nagar = City). Alrighty, “Ahmed’s City”, is what the name means!
It took me 2 hours to travel and shoot and 20 minutes to transfer the photographs from the card to my computer – throw in another 15 minutes for conversion to DNG and copying to designated directories. Add another 3 hours tweaking the files in Picasa. (yes, picasa – not photoshop – that’s another story sometime soon)

There we have it! – A whole gigabyte of historical Ahmednagar!

Coming up soon, on a flickr photostream near you :)

P.S. I really should learn to remember that now I have a camera that remembers all settings – unlike the point and shoot that forgets everything the instant you turn it off. I clicked over half of today’s photos on ISO 1600!!! Thanks to this foolish mistake I have a lot of photos that came out grainy. And how I was wondering, “Today’s light seems so low – then how am I able to get good exposure reading even at high shutter speeds!?”. I should had guessed. sigh. Too late, I discovered that when the excitement of finding this beautiful monument had slightly worn off :P

Anyway, a lesson well learnt! My photography learning-through-experience train chugs along as thoughts ride on the maglev super high speed train :D I think I’m really going to need something wider than this 28mm! Architecture seems equally interesting as nature – and what a coincidence – where I have pure nature, architecture does not interfere and vice versa! (The only exceptions are what I love more – ruins)

Hmm… looks like the PS is getting bigger than the original post – so let us wind this thing up.

Written by hiway

August 9, 2006 at 2:53 am

Posted in photography, project, travel

Spectator

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Spectator

Originally uploaded by Harshad Sharma (हर्षद शर्मा).

I wish I could just sit there, like the round red rock, and watch the beauty of nature all day!

My wish is being fulfilled partly through my change to Photography as a full time profession. When I’m not photographing some event or idling away at the computer, I’m usually out photographing this beautiful world!

There are few things as satisfying as being one with nature. Just walking around in the hills, seeing the marvels of God’s artistic creations. Enjoying the patches of light and shade formed by the racing clouds overhead…

Listening to the sounds of leaves dancing in the wind. An upset cricket creating its little sonic mayhem. Water, obeying gravity. Though these subtle things cannot make it into a photograph in their true form – I try to capture the spirit of the moment nevertheless.

Watching the sun go down across the horizon… quickly making adjustments to the camera to shoot in the little light left behind and seeing the the world now unseen by the eye… and finding beauty all around.

Sigh! If only I could be assured that all this would stay just as nice as it is… maybe even get better, more beautiful!

Everyone is a spectator in this world. We go on, live our own lives, all consumed by our own little issues and complaints. Somewhat like this rock.

If there is to be a difference between me and the boulder, I need to show signs of life – of awareness to the happenings to the environment around me. And, if I wish to call myself a good human, I cannot ignore the fact that I need to improve this world as much as I possibly can.

This is a rant, an introspection and an appeal… please save our environment! Don’t pollute. Don’t choke mother nature! The existence of our species depends on our own actions! Humans have foresight… use it! Please!!!

Written by hiway

August 1, 2006 at 12:07 am

Bats! Rats! Congrats!

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Bats! Rats! Congrats!
Funny title there… and a not so lovely photograph – but hey! When in the last three years did you and I see such a photograph in my collection?

Not once!

That was because I was using a point-and-shoot Nikon coolpix 2000 camera all these days. Yes, all those silly photos and some beautiful landscapes were from that little 2MP camera.

So what has changed? Triple the number of pixels and a manyfold increase in versatility that has been added to my arsenal – a Nikon D50 digital SLR camera!

What does it really mean? Simply speaking, better pictures. Better – technically. Such as this one of a flying bat captured at midnight. A lot of creative experiments are now possible too! Just hang on till I get the working of the camera in my head. Once it starts feeling natural, the quality of photos is bound to go up.

What next? I’m now in a position to save up more $$ than before – simple – I’ll be able to earn more! And so, the next plan is to add a Nikon D200 to the weaponry in the coming 6 months. Hopefully the plans should materialize as per schedule.

I’ll now go grab a few more photos, while you can think of some ‘doable’ experiment/assignment that is both fun and challenging – so that we can test the camera’s abilities and limits… do let me know if you have been trying something on a simpler camera but was not possible due to it’s limitations – I’d like to try and teach my camera some tricks! hehe :-D

Congratulations to Nikon – for making another photographer happy – really happy, for spending that precious money on something worth it!

Written by hiway

July 30, 2006 at 1:11 am

Posted in news, photography

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