Sunday, November 01, 2009

A Portrait of The Alhambra

The making of a book

Finally I have both copies of the book "A Portrait of the Alhambra", that I made both in Apple's Aperture and in Blurb's Booksmart. The results are very interesting. Firstly the Aperture version is slightly larger at 28cm x 21.6cm, compared to the Blurb version which is 24.1cm x 20.3cm. I ordered the Blurb book in their "Premium paper", which is noticeably thicker than the Apple version. The Apple paper is still good though and both cover and pages have a nice silky finish while the Blurb book has a glossy cover and silky pages.

The slightly bigger Apple version

A Portrait of the Alhambra

The quality of the actual printing is very similar, and apart from one rather important difference, may simply be a matter of personal preference. I found the Apple photo prints to have slightly more reddish/yellowish tones, which on most of the photos gave quite a pleasing effect.

Pages from the Apple version

Portrait of the Alhambra

Pages from the Blurb version

A Portrait of the Alhambra

However, on the one black and white photo in the book, this was not what I wanted and in this respect the rendition of colours in the Blurb book is much better. The other photo that also gave a very different result in the Apple book, was one of the Alhambra at night, where the sky has a brownish tone, whereas in the Blurb book it is completely black. I personally think that the Apple version is perhaps closer to my original photo, but the Blurb print is far more pleasing.

So which one is better? Overall, I think I prefer the Blurb book, even though there are some aspects of the Apple book that I really like. What makes the decision easy in the end is the difference in price, the Apple book being considerably more expensive.

A Portrait of the Alhambra

The whole Blurb book can be previewed and purchased here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Creating a book

I've had an interesting few days, spending long hours in front of my iMac, putting together my first book of photos. I wanted to try two services and two pieces of software for comparison. The first was Aperture, the Apple photo management program that I use, This has a book making facility integrated into the program, which makes the creation of a book very straightforward, you then click a button and, providing you have an account set up with Apple, upload and order your book.

Good bits of using Aperture:

Easy to do
Easy to order

Bad bits:

Very slow to upload
Text options limited (somehow couldn't use different fonts very easily, or choose different sizes within the same block of text - did I miss something?)
Seems expensive (but haven't got the book to inspect quality yet)

The second service I tried was Blurb, using their free software Booksmart. This involved exporting all the photos from Aperture (which took time), but I found the layout options very flexible and allowed some 'creative' options which I enjoyed. Maybe I didn't fully explore the possibilities with Aperture, but there seemed to be more options (especially with text!) in Booksmart.

Good bits about Booksmart (and Blurb):

Easy to do
Lots of options
Easy to order
Cheaper than Apple (but haven't got the book to inspect quality yet)
Seemed to upload more quickly (but see below)
Being able to sell to the public with a profit :-)

Bad bits:

Having to export photos from Aperture was time consuming, even when all photos were selected en masse.
First attempt to upload failed.

I will report back when both books arrive for a comparison of speed of delivery and quality of product.

By the way, I have entered the Blurb Book Contest, so please vote for the book from the 23rd October onwards :-)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I blow my nose at swine flu

OK, I'll admit it, I've blown my nose a few times the last couple of days. I've even sneezed and coughed once or twice - BUT I HAVEN'T GOT SWINE FLU! How do I know? I haven't got a high temperature and apart from one slightly stuffy nostril, I feel absolutely fine. Whatever happened to the summer cold? It seems everyone with the slightest sniffle claims to have swine flu these days. I'm not saying that nobody has it, but I'm guessing there are fewer than reported. It's just a theory of course, but with all the media hype, over the phone diagnosis and the availability of Tamiflu, I'm wondering whether some people aren't exaggerating their symptoms just a teeny bit, just to get hold of antivirals.
Yesterday, at Stansted, I saw two women wearing masks. I consider this to be a little over the top, as there is no proof that masks would protect you in any case. We have to live our lives as normally as possible. It's a bit like after the September 11th attacks, a lot of people were afraid to fly. It seems to me that governments quite like to have their population fearful and dependent on them for 'protection'. After September 11th we saw tanks at Heathrow(!) and increased security everywhere. In this case our government gives us a pandemic helpline, Tamiflu and the promise of vaccination in the autumn.
The world's gone mad.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Commercial break

The other week I decided that the time had come to see if there might be some people out there in the big wide world who would want to buy my photos. In a flurry of activity, I set up an account with Red Bubble, who take care of all the hard work for me and I am now able to offer any of my photos as greeting cards, prints of all types and even posters! I was pleasantly surprised when, within the first few days, I sold three greeting cards :-)
I have taken a small selection and uploaded them to my Reb Bubble site, but any of the photos on my Flickr page can be made available by request.
If you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you can see a slideshow of the Red Bubble photos and a link to find them. If you're too lazy to scroll, there's another link on the right hand side of the page :-)

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Education, education, education

So the Rose Review of the Primary Curriculum has been published and I heard that Mick Waters (QCA Director of Curriculum), speaking at a conference in the past few days, has said that schools should totally ignore it! He says that the Conservatives don't like it at all so it is never likely to happen.
It seems rather perverse that politicians can get rid of something that is seen as a positive move by a significant part of the education community.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A passing

Saddened to hear of the death of John Martyn today. I first went to one of his gigs in 1974 and last saw him in November 2008. This feels like the end of an era.