Paintings from Sunset Series by Spence Munsinger, Color Field + Blank White Canvas + Realism + Contemporary Abstract Art, original paintings for sale

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
― Pablo Picasso

Archives for July 2015

embracing imperfection (within reason)

I sent my Fuji X-T1 off to be repaired (hopefully). Most of the reviews for Fuji service are laudatory. I’m looking for the same experience.

The Fuji X-E2. I tested it more extensively and I really don’t think it will ever affect the quality of an image. I’m keeping the dust photos as a map of where an issue would appear, but there are several things that indicate it won’t ever be a problem.

    Those are:

  • The spots are indistinct and are in the lower section of the sensor.
  • Even at f22, they are very hard to find. Once I drop to f11, they aren’t going to be visible except in this kind of testing.
  • I have the map of where these spots are – and can use that data to determine how to shoot something
  • Most of the images I’ve shot with Fuji cameras are f2.8, f4, f5.6 and occasionally f8. Very rarely do I go above that in Aperture Priority.
  • Aperture Priority is the most useful mode for Fuji cameras.

To check sensor dust, I create a blue field in Photoshop, big enough to fill my monitor screen. I set the camera on manual focus, focus on infinity. Aperture at smallest the lens has (f16 or f22, usually). Shutter I leave on automatic. I set the back screen to live mode and shoot through that rather than the viewfinder. I have been taking photographs at f22, f16 and f11 to discover how much of a real issue a particular dust mote might be. Load into Lightroom and blow up to 100% pixels and sweep across to check.

You can open Develop in Lightroom, click on the Spot Remover, select the Heal tab and then hit “A” on the keyboard. This brings any spots up as white on a dark background.

I think I’m going to check each camera I receive as a matter of course and then once I keep a camera, keep the sensor dust data for future reference.

Fuji makes an amazing camera, despite this. Sensor dust is one of the prices for instant digital capture and interchangeable lenses, you just have to learn to clean it and discriminate from acceptable imperfection and manufacturing flaw. There is Wabi Sabi – the idea that in flaw is an eternal beauty. I read that Japanese temples are constructed with one aesthetic intentional flaw. I think that makes perfect sense.

Some of the things that happen – like taking a picture with an iPhone 6 because it’s the only camera in hand – result in extraordinary, if flawed results…

colors-2

—spence

sensor dust… why’d it have to be sensor dust?…

I have some wonderful photos from a trip to Mexico in 2011. I also have some heartbreaking photos from that trip where there are giant flying saucer dust daemons in the clouds that cannot be cloned or healed by anything in Lightroom. I had cleaned the sensor on the Canon 30D at some point, but stopped paying attention to it.

I went through my current cameras… The Canon 5D MkIII was dirty. It cleaned right up with Copperhill pads and spatula and Eclipse fluid. Thank god, because I had never checked this camera until now and it could be out of warranty if the sensor had embedded dust that wouldn’t clean.

The Fuji X-E2: some slight dust that won’t come off…

X-E2

But…  The dust is out of the sky area and completely gone at f11.  Probably livable – though once the other camera comes back I may still send it in.

The Fuji X-T1:  6 dust spots, visible through f8 before they disappear, and… Right.  In. The. Sky.

X-T1_sensor_dust

Damn hard to see in these exported images – but the spots are visible in the sky in some photos. If you choose open in new tab and enlarge that image in the tab you’ll see the spots

Crap.   I should have checked immediately on arrival, and I will going forward.  This camera is going back (two months old) for service.  Apparently Fuji has had issues in manufacturing where dust exists behind the glass screen over the sensor. I tried cleaning, and it just isn’t available to be cleaned off the surface of the protective glass. One of the spots looks like a piece of grit under a clear tape.

—spence

Merging images together… Best solution? Photoshop (CC)

I tried Photoshop Elements (nope), Lightroom (successful 50% of the time). Various other products. Finally tried Photoshop CC.

photoshop

And of course, it worked brilliantly. So unfortunate. And it worked 100% of the time. Again, dammit.

Great software. Really really great software. And, compared to its previous cost of thousands, relatively inexpensive. So, ok, I’ll use that…

And concentrate on products to run through it rather than on the software itself.

—spence

Wordfence… Taking Down Nginx And Php5-fpm Every 6 Hours

I set up a new server at Digital Ocean several weeks ago. As part of that I switched to nginx and php5-fpm and tweaked the performance. I’m still looking for the sweet spot in stability and performance in this setup, but overall it’s been very fast.

I set up two monitoring services four days ago to watch stability and load times and to make certain the site stayed up. One of those services showed a constant uptime except for known downtimes. The other service… It showed down times after a couple of days at what looked to be regular intervals.

graph

I managed to log in at the beginning of one of these slow-or-no-load times and found:

2015/07/19 18:25:08 [error] 3069#0: *124530 upstream timed out (110: 
Connection timed out) while reading response header from upstream, client: 104.236.69.147, server: 
spencemunsinger.com, request: 
"GET /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php?action=wordfence_doScan&isFork=1&cronKey=2e8 HTTP/1.0", 
upstream: "fastcgi://unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock", 
host: "spencemunsinger.com"

Over and over and over, wordfence has been regularly overloading the php5-fpm sockets. I disabled the plugin (there are many other ways to accomplish the same thing without this plugin), and the graph is now level and clean, without the periodic spikes in load times. And no messages in the logs.

—spence

Fotodiox Rhinocam for Mamiya M645 and Fuji X Series Camera

The last round of digital imaging of paintings I did, I tried using a telephoto lens to take six photographs of a painting, trying to get a better resolution image. The Canon 5D Mk III 22 Megapixel image is enough to print full size for a 24″ x 30″ painting, barely. Maybe with 6 overlapping 22 Mp images stitched together I could get a better result…

It didn’t pan out, there just wasn’t enough consistency between the shots to be able to get a appreciable increase in image resolution.

A couple of weeks ago I read about the Fotodiox Rhinocam, constructed for a Mamiya M645 lens mount, and attaching a Fuji X Series camera. The Rhinocam allows taking 8 sections of the field of view of the 6cm x 4.5cm medium format lens precisely and repeatably. The resulting capture is approximately 100 Megapixels in size – enough to substantially improve the resolution of an image to be printed.

rhinocam

This is the perfect application for this – instead of trying to acquire a medium format digital back and camera, I can use my Fuji equipment to take 8 precision sections of a Mamiya 80mm or 110mm lens shot of a painting, stitch those eight together and get an amazing result.

Amazing times.

—spence