Drove down to Oxford today. It’s about 65 miles from Solihull and took a little over an hour to get to. Silverstone, where the British round of the Formula 1 world championship is held every year, lies on the way and I was extremely tempted to ditch Oxford and head over to the track instead. Not knowing whether they’d have a track day today, and also not having much money in the wallet did convince me to keep driving without turning off the motorway though.
Oxford is a student city and feels like one. Everywhere you go, you’ll see somebody walking about with a set of notes or a pack of books in their hands, while others scurry about going from home to their college or vice versa. Of course you can’t help but also feel a bit of nostalgia about your own college days when you look at all of them, and it’s a good feeling to be reminded of those relatively carefree days. The college buildings are great to look at from a design point of view, as are the streets and small alleys between them. I mostly walked around and didn’t bother with any of the touted tourist attractions that I find to be trite in a place such as this. Spent a couple of hours walking the streets and came away with a good feeling inside, of having visited what is possibly one of the most revered cities, educationally, in the world.
Day 4 of the workshop with Bruce Percy.
Morning Session –
Evening Session –
Day 3 of the workshop with Bruce Percy.
Morning Session –
Evening session –
Day 2 of the workshop with Bruce Percy.
Morning Session –
Evening session –
Day 1 of the workshop with Bruce Percy.
Shot 1 – Morning session.
Shot 2 – Evening session
Torridon is such a world of difference as compared to the tourist-infested area in Glencoe. It almost seems as if the entire world has come into Glencoe for hiking, walking, and general merry-making. It’s not that it isn’t a great place to be in, but Toriddon is no less. In fact, according to me, the rugged beauty of Torridon is a level above that of Glencoe, if not more. The manner in which the land meets the waters and the sky at Torridon are to be seen to be believed. It looks serene and dangerous at the same time; intensely beautiful and awe-inspiring.
I spent the first half of the day driving up to the end of the road onwards from Torridon, up to a village called Diabaig. It’s located at the shores of Loch Torridon, and is accessible only if you are willing to traverse a tortuous section of single-track road across the mountains in the area. The views throughout leave nothing to be desired, and when the sun comes out they gain an entirely new kind of look, so different from when it is overcast and cloudy that it’s hard to believe you’re looking at the same piece of earth. The weather being what it is in Scotland, especially in the Highlands, it kept raining and clearing every hour or so and I was fortunate enough to have witnessed the full splendour of Torridon in just half a day. Diabaig itself isn’t much, but with it’s setting along the shores of the Loch it acquires an off-track charm that is entirely its own. Hopefully some of the images I shot over there will do it, and Torridon, justice.
Overall, I am extremely happy with my stay at here today. The second half of the day was much less eventful weather-wise and shooting-wise, but it was also good to ease-off towards the latter half, which helped the grandeur of what I had witnessed in the morning to sink in.
February 2010 marked my return from Australia, having spent 15 months working in Melbourne. Those were probably 15 of the most eventful months of my life thus far. So much transpired within that time that it’s best not to get into it. Let’s just say I learned a lot of things from my time there, and as a fallout of various events that occurred in, and because, of my living there. So once I came back to Pune, life had shown a whole different side of itself, and me, to me. One that I had not been aware of earlier. I knew I had to do something to change the way things were going. There really wasn’t much that was holding on to in terms of my career. It was no career at all, in fact. Think of it more as a temporary adjustment, just till I figured out where I wanted to go eventually.
I’ve been bitten by the photography bug for a few years now, and having owned a dSLR for a reasonable amount of time now, I’ve accumulated a few things that any photo-hobbyist would acquire over the active course of their hobby. I have read quite a bit about color management and why it is essential to get it right if you’re serious about your work, but being a salaried individual I never quite had the money to buy a monitor simply because I wanted better colours… until now.
Dell, as a lot of people are aware, keep giving discounts and special deals throughout the year. In April they had 10 days of special deals running. One one of those days, I decided to plonk some money for a monitor I had been eyeing for a while, the Dell Ultrasharp 2209WA. This is an e-IPS panel, and has had a very high percentage of people reviewing it favourably. For the price it is available for even without a discount, it any hobbyists best bang-for-the-buck option available in the market. To go along with it, I also bought an X-Rite i1 Display 2.
Before I plunged into calibration of my new monitor, I went through a reasonable amount of reviews and articles about calibration, colour spaces, etc. I was hoping it would help me nail the process in my first shot. Only, I didn’t realize how accustomed I had become to my laptop’s LCD (which is quite crummy, photography-wise). As soon as I had my monitor calibrated by the i1, I realized the reds and greens were too bright and saturated. Disappointed, but certain it was my fault, I proceeded to re-calibrate my monitor five more times over the next few days, each time with the same result. Exasperated and disappointed with the results I was consistently getting, I put my questions online on a few forums, hoping someone would be able to tell me what I was doing wrong. Unfortunately my posts disappeared into the deep abyss of old forum posts in less than a day, with barely one reply which wasn’t as useful as I was hoping it would be. I had decided, enough was enough, and rather than letting my money go down the drain, I’d sell the monitor and calibrator to someone who was smarter than me and figure this out. However, having acquired a monitor, that too of the quality of this one at the price I paid for it, was something I couldn’t convince myself to do so easily. So I decided to give this one last shot.
I deleted all the previous profiles created by the i1, and got the monitor into its native state. I then proceeded to adjust the brightness, contrast and colour levels on my own, with no point of reference, till the time the screen content looked the way I expected and wanted it to look. Despite that, I found that there was no way to get the super-bright greens down to manageable levels without messing up the gamma adjustment, which then tilted the balance of colour unfavourably towards green. So I settled for what I had, and used these settings for the next couple of days.
Today, after two days of manually setting the monitor, I ran the calibrator again. Post-calibration I now find that the monitor resembles the condition I had obtained manually, only a little more accurately. So does this mean I wasted money on the i1? I don’t think so. I know that some time in the future I’ll buy myself a good printer, and maybe a bigger monitor with a larger gamut than the 2209 (which covers sRGB fully). Having the i1 with me at that point in time will help me calibrate all my devices and help them play nice with each other. As far as the super-bright greens and reds go, I guess I’ve been using crummy LCDs for so long that the colours that I consider too bright or saturated were actually the ones that I never saw correctly earlier. Lesson learnt.
If you’re considering buying a color calibrator for your monitor, I strongly advise you not to waste time thinking about it. Just get one. It will make a ton of difference to your work. even if it only personal work or fun. I can’t say much about the cheaper hardware calibrators available in the market, but for sure the i1 is great, and comes with a very good software which is very simple to follow (although it keeps crashing my system… maybe it’s because of Vista.) I’ve heard some really good things about the Spyder 3 Elite as well, and most people say it is at par or slightly better than the i1, so it’s worth a look as well.