Yotophoto searches free-to-use photos

Yotophoto is a search engine for free-to-use stock photographs and images. These are images that are either in the Public Domain or released under generous Creative Commons, GNU FDL or similar licenses.

Originally an experiment to facilitate easier image searching of the Wikipedia, Yotophoto eventually expanded to index other well known free image sites. The index includes over a quarter million free images.

The image index can be searched by color by using a color picker or by entering hex values!

Nikon Coolpix S9 Sub-Compact Camera

I bought a Nikon Coolpix S9 on Friday. I wanted a very small camera to carry in my pocket. Though the camera has impressive features, I’m not sure I’m happy with the purchase. Here are a few notes…

First off, the battery only lasted for about 25 shots. Now, in the spirit of disclosure, this it is a new camera for me and I was playing with the menu features quite a bit. I had fully charged the battery on Saturday morning and was conscious throughout the day that I was trying to conserve the battery for a party that night. There was no indication the battery was going low until the display showed the low battery symbol with about 25% remaining. (I can’t imagine why anyone would bother buying a 2 Gb SD card because simply shooting without viewing and editing I couldn’t imagine getting off more than 250 shots. The 2 gig card holds over 2500 full shots.)

Second… SD cards formatted in the camera don’t work in my card reader that I use for all of my memory cards and plugged into Mac’s OS X 10.4.8. Other SD cards (from my Canon Elf and my Canon Elura) do work in the same reader. The Nikon SD formatted card did work when attached directly to the computer inside the camera.

CAN YOU SAY RED EYE? Every single indoor shot had the problem. I don’t want to be spending my editing time after every indoor shoot fixing red eyes. I know sub-compacts have this problem and I understand all of the science of why this happens however my old Canon Elf isn’t that much larger and it does not have the problem.

Fourth – Even in a well lit room, photographing a friend opening presents from a distance of about 12 feet, the pics were horribly lit. Using no flash, the shutter speed was so slow that everything blurred.

Finally, if you hold the camera with one hand, the surface of the camera is so smooth, you almost pinch it out of your finger grip when pressing the button. Holding it with two hands, you need to be very, very careful to not get your left hand in front of the lens because of where it is located on the top front corner of the camera.

It takes video. On my card, it could record almost 2 hours of video and sound.

There is an option for using it as a digital audio recorder too. You can annotate your photos with a voice caption too. (I did not try that).

Overall, and after one full day of use I am not impressed.

On a positive note, it sure it a compact camera! The menus are easy to understand and adjust. It doesn’t have many options, so it isn’t hard to understand. One feature I’d like is to be able to reset to “default” every time you turn it off and back on. It seemed easy to set options and then forget they are on or where to go to change them.

My parents just bought the Nikon Coolpix S7 which is about a half-inch larger and noticeably heavier. I may wait to see how their snaps turn out after their trip to France later this week and consider that upgraded model.

Sample video clip:

Not so fast

Yesterday I needed to ship back a gift for repair to the manufacturer that happens to be in Canada. I packed up the gift, printed my label and headed off to the U.S. Post office.

After waiting in line, the nice lady behind the counter apologetically explained that Canada requires labels to be typed in ALL CAPS. Canada also requires a form that explains what is in the box in addition to the shipping form that the U.S. Post Office requires and the third form that U.S. Customs requires (no hazardous materials or food, etc.)

After all of that, I find out that for my $23, it will be delivered to the company in 6-10 weeks. I walked out.

Five minutes later, I walked into UPS (with the same box) and the guy behind the counter typed up the packing slip on the computer from my nice and neat label, then printed it, I signed it, paid my $17 and walked out a few minutes later.

The package will be in the repair shop on Friday afternoon.

Buy my house II

Howard Owens, a friend of mine who is much more experienced in this whole social networking and marketing business than I am, told me, “The best way to market your house is to put it in your blog“. Here goes…

Birmingham, AL House for Sale
Please, please, please buy my house in wonderful Birmingham, AL so I can get all of my “stuff” (and Tracy and my dog and my piano) to Fairport, NY.

I’ll leave a can of Country Time Lemonade in the cupboard and if you ask nicely, a few white rocking chairs might stay on the porch.

A bag full of digital goodies

Yesterday was Halloween and I didn’t get any candy, but UPS delivered an early birthday package from my wife. The box came from B&H Photo Video and contained a wide-angle Nikon zoom lens. Wow! This gift is now the highest priced item in my arsenal of photo equipment!

My last camera was a Holga and I bought it for $22. I’ve been told, and I’ve been repeating, that back in the 1940’s Holgas sold for $2 at five and dime stores as toy cameras.

I decided last year I wanted to move up from the plastic camera, and get away from dealing with loading medium format film and dealing with electrical tape in the dark. (The tape is used to stop the light leaks). It was time to go digital.

My digital camera bag is filling up one piece at a time. It now includes:

Nikon D200
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR ED-IF 17-35mm 1:28D lens
Nikon AF ED NIKKOR 50mm 1.8 lens
Nikon SB 800 speedlight (wireless flash)
Nikon MB-D200 Multi Power Battery Pack (vertical grip)

I’ve been posting photos to flickr.com but I’ve slowed down a little since I started using Apple’s Aperture because I still have two books to finish reading on what I’m doing. Adobe Photoshop and Apple’s iPhoto were working just fine before. (The recent photos all look desaturated and flat coming out of the new program).

I’m also recording RAW files, because I heard that is what Sports Illustrated does and figure they know what they are doing. Right? The RAW files on this camera are 15 Mb each, so my little 2 Gb card only holds 120 images at a time now.

I have two more items on my camera wish list. I would like to save up for a Nikon 105 mm f/1.8 micro, a Nikon 400 mm f/2.8 and a Nikon 70-200 mm f/2.8 VR zoom lens. Oops, that was three things!

Now that I think about it, while I’m at it, I may need an extra body to hold one of those new pieces of glass and probably a mono-pod!