Twitter Banner Evolution

Social media is apparently a great way to network and display one’s skills.  I’ve never sourced work through it but I do like to play around with my various social media account banners from time to time so show my skills or align the imagery with current little projects I have running.

Here’s my historical twitter banners.

 

Quick and nasty photomanip

Last weekend I attended a race where I had my coach take a photo of me from a low angle.  This gave me a photo that would be suitable for a “hero image”.

I cut myself and my bike out of the background with Photoshop’s pen tool, duplicated this layer several times, added a mask or two, changed some layers to black and white, changed the layer properties, levels and what not, whacked in a background image of some clouds, rendered some difference clouds for some quick and nasty lightning, adjusted the background colours to mirror those in my bike, blurred it a bit, flattened it then whacked it up here.

Cutting the background out took the longest.  I tend to make lots of little clicks, rather than using smooth curves when doing this, but I am tying to improve my workflow there to speed things up.

In other news, it’s crit season again so I am at races at times when I am not racing, but others are so I’m practicing my action photography.

 

In the Market for a New Camera

About 8 months ago my Canon EOS 300D bit the dust.  A cheap arsed plastic pin broke off which meant the autofocus went, the internal shutter screen no longer returned to where it should be and errors messages abounded.  I had a go at fixing things myself and after several electrocutions (man the flash capacitor has quite a kick), the camera was working pretty much until I powered it up.  The display was a bit iffy so I pulled it apart again, reseated some ribbon cables, put it all together and it was DOA.

So, since then I have been waiting to get a job so I could afford a new camera.  In the meantime I’ve been trying to figure out what Canon EOS I want and getting closer to taking on more debt, albeit interest free).

I was thinking I would go body only, as I already have two lenses in my kit – 18-55mm and 55-300mm.  These are EF lenses, not the EFS “consumer grade) lenses bundled with the cameras I am looking at.  If I went body only, I’d save about $200.

My choices are (in order of fancypanciness according to a comparison site):

  • -1100D
  • -700D
  • -600D
  • -100D
  • -70D

All of these are far superior to my little old 300D.  Looking at comparison sites, the 600D ties with the 100D and the newer 700D is not quite as good as the 600D (but I’d give points for the 700D having a higher fps).

I’ve been wondering if I really need the latest camera given any of the above are a good move up from my old one.  If I went for the 1100D, I could also get a macro lens and wind up about $500 better off than if I went for the best camera.  Touchscreen would be nice.  I do not need wi-fi as I have a card reader.  Hmmm.  Time for a wants vs needs list:

Needs:

  • -SLR
  • -Canon EF lens supported camera (sort of moot if I get new lenses)
  • -decent fps as I take action photos
  • -decent frame buffer

Wants:

  • -biggest sensor can afford
  • -decent light sensitivity (I would like to try astro photography at some stage)
  • -CF slot so can use existing card-
  • mirror lock up

Based on all a spreadsheet of features I whipped up, I am thinking the 700D will future proof me for a few years, though the body of the 1100D is soooo cheap…..

The good thing is, if I wind up getting a design job before a science job, whatever I get will be tax-deductible. Bwa a ha ha har.

Update:

Apparently my current 28-80mm lens is a piece of crap and the new bog standard 18-55mm IS lens is much better.  New lenses or not???

Dabbling in Photography

While looking through my camera kit bag this morning I came across some “macro” lenses that I bought a couple of years ago and forgot about.  I’d not even tested them out.  What they are are four different lenses that screw onto the end of the main lens body. Nothing more then magnifying lenses.  They do not working combination, only one at a time and provide magnifications of x1, x2, x4 and x10.  Examples of the quality (or not) are shown below.  The x10 lens has a really small depth of field.  It shows some promise so I’ll venture into the back yard for some cacti and plant shots later today.

I have a Canon EOS 300D at present – quite crusty, it has a 4 picture buffer on repeat shot and a 6mp sensor.  Fully customisable settings which is good.

 

Dabbling in the online freelance market

Today I had a browse through one of the sites that allows designers to submit work to clients who post design briefs.  During my studies, such work was not recommended (well, not at the job interview stage at any rate) as it is basically working for free.  In my case, that’s fine as I’m using these briefs to do work I would not do if left to my own devices – it build up my portfolio potentially and gets my work “out there”.

As well as adding to my portfolio, I need to either get a job quick smart, get money off the Government once I am poor (yay for the Australian Government – I need to have less than $3000 in liquid funds before they will give me a job search allowance), or win loads of these design comps!

Given I do a fair bit of web page work for my cycling club and just for the heck of it, I had a look a briefs that could possibly make use of this skill set.  I found one for an email advertising banner that looked doable.  So, after some quick sketching, I opened up photoshop.  After 30 mins, I ditched that and restarted in illustrator.  After about 10 mins, I exported the background, and required text layers then reassembled them in photoshop and included the company logo.  I then selected the pixels of the text and added an inner shadow so the text would pop out a little.  This rendered some of the smaller text a bit illegible, so I reinserted the text layer and from the layer with the shadow, once I rasterized that, I deleted the illegible text.  This resulted in the upper layer showing the unmodified and now legible text.

For a job where the winning submission gets $160US, I figure 90mins worth of work is sufficient.