A Photographic Recovery

Way back in 2006 I had the chance to go to Death Valley with a friend. He brought his nice film camera and I borrowed a digital camera that, while I had used before, was not that familiar with.

I committed one of the cardinal sins of photography. I did not look at any of my settings before I started shooting.

The photos were of lower resolution than the camera was capable of, and, even worse, had a time stamp across the bottom corner. Here is one of the shots.

A Photographic Stick in the Sand, 2006, original res with timestamp version
A Photographic Stick in the Sand, 2006, original res with timestamp version

These files have sat for (checks calendar) let’s just say a long time on my computer. I had not the heart to delete them, but they were still a disappointment.

You see. Death Valley is beautiful. If you ever get the chance, go. Even if it is hot (bring water!) It is worth it. And yes, the experience was still with me, but I had still wanted to have some nice photos to go along with it.

Well. Here we are in 2023. I had recently purchased Photomator for the Mac. (There is another post here about me searching for a solution for my photos, but later) I’d used it on my phone for a few years, and decided to give it a go due to how great Pixelmator Pro was.

As I was playing around with the app, the tools and the interface I found myself back in 2006 with these photos. So, starting with the repair tool, I gave it a shot. And was amazed.

  • Repair removed the timestamp from a good number of images without too much compromise.
  • Super resolution upscaled the image from 1280 X 960 to 3840 x 2880
  • The ML Tools and some color adjustments corrected the older camera’s issues

And they look great, take a look at the same picture.

A Photographic Stick in the Sand, edited 2023, higher res and color corrected
A Photographic Stick in the Sand, edited 2023, higher res and color corrected

Are they as good as they could have been had I actually paid attention to the settings on the camera? No1. Are they good enough that I am now happy with them and am going to post them to my Flickr 15 years later? Absolutely.

I know these tools aren’t new, especially for you Photoshop experts. Which, I am not. It is more the ease and the integration with the rest of my workflow that brought these to my fingers (without a subscription cost).

And perhaps a willingness to do alterations to my photos I had not previously considered. (Afraid of, perhaps, crossing the line from “edited” to “modified”)

There is a happy epilogue to this, as I was able to get to Death Valley this year with my nice camera and I was very careful with settings. (I did forget my wide angle lens, however. Maybe next time…)

Black and White picture of Badwater, Death Valley, 2023, scaled to 50% to reduce size
Black and White picture of Badwater, Death Valley, 2023, scaled to 50% to reduce size

  1. Technically the camera had a 5 MP sensor with a RAW resolution of 2560 x 1920. BUT, I believe the natural output would have been better than an upscaled one. Also these photos were JPG, as I had not yet taken the leap to RAW. ↩︎

Common Creativity

In a previous entry, I talked about my decisions to make my Flickr portfolio, for the most part, creative commons licensed.

Well, curiosity got the better of me, so I went out looking on the Googles for pictures of mine.

First I had to get through the weeds. There are a few websites that offer up Flickr galleries for backgrounds and such, as well as one that just offers up Flickr again (I think for looks, mainly).

I did actually find some people using my pictures for things out there. I just thought I’d highlight a few.

screenshot for timetokickbuts.comFirst is one of my desert road shots. This was taken with my iPhone, then highly modified with Snapseed. The site, timetokickbuts.com, takes quotes, mostly inspirational, and adds them to images to increase the affect. I like this because it is not only someone using my work, but they have done something with it. Transformation works are allowed under the BY license I chose.  That picture is a combination of two people who have never met. Pretty cool, I’d say. And, well, the quote is pretty good too. (though I think we should do some for ‘writing’, Doris!)

The second is “all work and no play”. This picture was created using Type-writer, a little app that is too much fun to play with some days. It pretends to be a typewriter, with sounds and the joys of no delete. Oh, backspace works, but the letter stays. The post is good too, talking about the iPad and the writing environment. Sometimes less is more. the constraints of the typewriters provided, perhaps, a more focused approach to writing. Surely we see some return to this with the rise of distraction free writing programs, such as ByWord (my weapon of choice for iPhone/iPad/computer writing these days)

The last is coffee shark sleeps. This image is made with sketchbook mobile on my HTC Incredible using a stylus. It was a part of the 365 project, and specifically my all-fish-February. Coffee shark made a few appearances that month. The article is about technology, and apparently a shark dreaming about coffee. Which, I know, is a common thing. Actually it is about how technology is a force that contributes to changes in culture.

I found a few others, this blog uses a Trinidad picture for its background. This blog uses the same pictures just outright. This dictionary of stuff uses one of my Swedish panoramas in its entry for Stockholm. All very cool.

Oh, and what would the internet be without a blog of cats.

But… but… you weren’t PAID for any of that! No. No I wasn’t. And that is ok. Nothing above is a paying gig that I have somehow lost by licensing my stuff by CC. All of them have, as they were supposed to, credited me with the picture.

My only wish with all of this is that somehow I’d known about these things. I know that isn’t a part of the requirements… which I am certainly ok with. From an artist standpoint, I’d like to see what the kids are doing out there in the wild.

I’ve updated my Flickr profile with more information in hopes to get feedback when someone grabs a shot for something they are working on. Still, in the end, it is a good feeling to see that something I did wasn’t just appreciated by strangers, but used by them for something.

A Month in the Life, June


It is July. I know. but that seems to be the theme overall in June: a bit of slacking. There was art, there was work, there was a lot of things. But there was mostly slacking.

So did I do 30 things? one for each day of June? I don’t know. I haven’t counted yet…

I did break a personal milestone, a person barrier if you will. My Doctor Who story is now over 50,000 words. Now that isn’t quite full length novel, but it isn’t quite finished yet. Still it is a milestone i’ve always looked at and wanted. Now I have it. And i am writing the last two episodes and still loving it each step of the way.

Now I haven’t been posting it (slacker!) because I’ve been bogged down in presentation. It is easy to be bogged down in presentation. I like TiddlyWiki, a lot even, but I am not sure I like it for the Who stuff. Still I should be posting, rather than waiting. And I will. I have a few ideas, but I’ll work and post.

I did get a few shots with a new camera. I spent the better part of two weeks fretting over a new camera. I wanted one and went from wanting a massive DSLR rig I could not afford, to a smaller one, to eventually a Nikon Coolpix P300 which has all the manual features, but fits easily in my pocket. Here is a shot from the first day playing with it.


July will be a month of less slacking. I have a new camera. I have more energy. And most dangerously, I have some ideas.