From Eugene Eric Kim
Revision as of 14:56, 23 November 2017 by Eekim (Talk | contribs) (Notes on color film)

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See also Digital Images for more on processing and organizing images. See my /Learning Journal for goals and progress.


When you take pictures, there are basically three things you control:

  • Composition: What's in the frame
  • Focus: What you're focused on
  • Lighting: How much light reaches your camera

Today's cameras do 90% of the focusing and lighting work for you, which means you can focus on composition.

Focusing on story.

10% of the time, your camera does the wrong thing. This is where the quality of your camera comes into play, specifically:

  • Quality of your camera's lens
  • Quality of your camera's sensor
  • Ability to control manual settings easily

"The Big Picture About Exposure" from the The Bastards Book of Photography offers a great, simple explanation for how to control the amount of light your camera receives using manual settings. You start with your camera's exposure setting, which essentially manipulates:

You can also manipulate these four settings manually.

Kelby Training a possible source for online courses.



Using telephoto lenses

The Kind Of Shot That Ultra Thin Depth Of Field Was Made For




A nice explanation of apertures and focal lengths, and why you can't get good depth-of-field in point-and-shoot cameras (like mine).

In general, to [get shallow depth-of field], especially w/ point-and-shoot cameras:

  • Lower F-stop numbers (larger apertures)
  • Longer focal lengths (zoom in)
  • Get closer to the subject

Online Depth of Field Calculator


Dynamic Range


My Equipment

My primary camera is an Olympus OM-D E-M5. I also have a Canon PowerShot S95.

I have a Manfrotto 293A3-A0RC2 tripod with a ball head and QR plate. More on tripods here. I also have a Joby GorillaPod.

I have a Yongnuo 560 III and RF-602 wireless trigger. I may want to get some gels.

Digital cameras have limitations on video length.

Film cameras:

Old cameras:

Managing Photos

Most of my public pictures are on Flickr. View analytics via flickrstats. One day, I'll upload some of these to Wikimedia Commons. I'm intrigued by ThisLife and Everpix.

I use Adobe Lightroom for editing and photo management. There have been some suggestions that Olympus Viewer will render the RAW files more effectively than Lightroom, and that you should process RAW in Olympus Viewer, generate 16-bit TIFFs, then import those into Lightroom for processing and management. I've compared the two, and I haven't seen any differences in the rendering. Others have questioned this as well and have pointed out other tradeoffs.


I wrote some of my own tools for cataloging my digital prints, which are now heavily outdated. They were inspired and based heavily on Gerald Oskoboiny's digital photo publishing software.

I'm experimenting with exiflow for managing my digital photography workflow (renaming files, metadata, etc.). F-Spot has an extension that supports an exiflow workflow.

I'm constantly disgruntled by F-Spot, but I keep returning to it, because it keeps getting better. I'm not crazy about F-Spot for importing images off of my digital camera, so I'm thinking about switching the default to gThumb.

I pondered a move to Google Picasa, but decided against it due to lack of development of its Linux client. If I ever do make the move, I'll need to import my F-Spot albums.

And now I've moved to Shotwell, because that's now the default in Ubuntu. I'm thinking about Lyn on my Mac.

Other tools of interest:

Services for scanning old photos:


Tags + types. Tags can have types. If I want to get really funky, types can have relationships -- an ontology! For example, the "Eugene Eric Kim" tag could be of type "People." This would allow me to do faceted classification.

Collections (or albums) cannot be tags, because you want to be able to do special things, like define cardinality and other metadata within a collection. However, you ought to be able to assign a photo to multiple collections.

I'd love to integrate Greg Elin's Fotonotes for granular annotations.

Developing and Printing

I use Dickerman Prints in SOMA. They're really great, but probably better for specialty printing.

I'm trying Nations Photo Lab (a Wirecutter recommendation) for standard printing. You have to pay for ground shipping unless the order is over $50, so only makes sense for but bulk orders.

I've been using Photoworks San Francisco to develop and scan film.


I've experimented with Kodak TMax 400 (black and white), Kodak TriX (black and white), Fujifilm Pro 400H (color), and Kodak Portra 400 (color).

For color film, both Koda Portra and Fujifilm Pro 400H are slightly desaturated. Portra is slightly warmer than Pro 400H, but not exceedingly so. I probably prefer the warmth. However, Pro 400H seems to have better dynamic range and an interesting graininess. I'll test more, but right now, I prefer the Pro 400H.

Black and white:

Notes on using expired film. Quick summary:

  • The freshness of the film depends on how it was stored (e.g. cool, dry temperatures are optimal)
  • Some people advocate for stopping down the film one-stop per ten years, especially higher ISO (400+). Others suggest simply using the box ISO. Experiment to see!

Favorites from Eugene Chan

Photo Mosaics

The best tool for doing these on Linux seems to be metapixel:

See Also


Mentions from my photography class (April-May 2013):