Jun 152008

Here we are, that’s what I hinted at in my two earlier posts of today: The book is finished. Over the course of the last two days I have made the final touches to the images, finished some text that I had begun last Sunday on the train, produced the book in InDesign, created a PDF and uploaded it to ISSUU. I’ve also submitted it to sofobomo.org – let’s see if it gets accepted. No way to deny it, the book was finished two weeks after the official end of SoFoBoMo ’08, but at least it was done in less than a month, and that’s what it was all about.

Paul Butzi recently posted some questions about the whole experience, so here are my answers:

  • Was it fun? – Well, sure, of course. Actually I had expected it to be much more tedious and less fun than it was.
  • What sort of things did you learn? – Oh, many. For instance that when you participate in a project, it is a good idea to start on time. Or that when you embark on a journey, you have to do it with all your heart. Or that thinking about a problem tends to diminish it greatly. Hmm … all things that I would have known if it had been an IT project 🙂
  • Was your experience pretty much what you expected, or it did turn out that doing the book was wildly different from what you’d pictured when you signed up? – I wouldn’t say wildly different, but I have greatly underestimated the time that it would take to harmonize the images. In such a series of images, small differences in light are enough to make successive images different in the overall look. What the camera saw, can only be taken as an approximation. I have worked on all these images in Lab mode, and I am glad that I did so. It greatly simplified color corrections late in the process.
  • What aspects of the whole thing were frustrating? – Only the time before I began, but that is only because I did not even really think about it. I presumed, a project would naturally spring into existence and was angry that it didn’t.
  • What aspects were most rewarding? – Browsing the finished book on ISSUU. Apart from that, well, I think mostly that I learned so many things, and that nothing turned out hard at all.
  • Having participated this year (regardless of whether you finished it or not), would you ever want to do it again? – Yes, absolutely. The next time I will know how to approach the hardest part, i.e. finding a project, and I will have no problem starting when everybody else does. In fact I can’t wait until next year, I will do at least one other book this year. Maybe it will be the “Naschmarkt” project that I have written about in the book, that means staying in a place, the biggest market place in Vienna, for a whole day and taking photographs from the time people arrive and get their deliveries, through the whole day, until at night the place gets cleaned up. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll do a “Best of 2007” and a “Best of 2008” as well. With the templates that I have, making a book that’s structurally similar to this one, should not take more than two hours, at least for the PDF.
  • Do you have suggestions about ways to change things to make it more successful/fun/educational/rewarding for participants in future SoFoBoMo events? – Not really. Thanks to you all and to your efforts this was as painless as it could be.
  • What resources did you find helpful? – Paul Lester’s “book in an hour”, Some of Gordon’s links, the hints pointing to ISSUU, and of course the free Blurbs templates on The Art of Engineering. I still had no more than cursory looks into the InDesign training DVD that I’ve bought.
  • What aspects of SoFoBoMo were positive surprises? What aspects were disappointments? – Positive: I had no idea that it would be so simple to make a book. Master pages and the “place gun” in InDesign, these are real time savers. I had an incredibly simple layout though.
  • How about that fuzzy month thing? Did that work for you, or not? – Obviously not, but that’s nobody’s but my fault. Starting so late completely disconnected me from most of the social experience, and I won’t do that again. Still, even if it was a very solitary job, it was great to do it. Would I change the rules for next year? Well, probably we could reduce the fuzziness to 2 weeks, like Paul Lester suggested, but on the other hand, it seems to have worked for most participants. No, I’d keep it. It’s a nice quirk 🙂

Here we are. And now? Was that it??

Not really. I have a PDF and a publication on ISSUU, thus the formal requirements for SoFoBoMo (apart from the time frame obviously) are fulfilled, but of course I want to get this beast printed on real paper. Many people seem to have gone the Blurb route, so that’s probably what I’ll do as well. I guess that’s a job for the next weekend.

And then, of course I’ll put my template up for download and maybe write a tutorial about what I’ve learned. This may not be much, but I think I have quite a good process now, at least for this narrow application. After all, when I looked at my book this morning, I found it too small for my taste. It took me about an hour to completely re-create it from scratch at a bigger size.

That’s it for today. Here is the book. Enjoy!

The Song of the Day is “Late Show” from the 1986 Laurie Anderson album “Home Of The Brave“. See the video on YouTube.

582 – SoFoBoMo – The First Attack

 Sigma 10-20  Comments Off on 582 – SoFoBoMo – The First Attack
May 182008

Yesterday, after my first SoFoBoMo shooting trip, I was too tired to do much with the images at all, much less posting a blog entry. I had tried to realize concept #3, a real trip along a route, and I did it in a gorge in the southern mountains of Carinthia, the so called “Tscheppaschlucht“.

The idea was, to simply follow the trail along the creek. I ended up with a five hour walk and 140 images taken. Enough for a book? Probably, but I will return anyway. Almost all images were shot with the Sigma 10-20, mostly at or around 10mm. In hindsight I’d like to have more with other lenses. You know, any lens brings with it a certain way of seeing, and I’d like to explore some different angles before I call it a book.

Processing will be done in Lab mode, using a “Man from Mars” for color correction. The images were originally shot at “Cloudy” white balance. I did not trust the automatics with all that yellow/green foliage. Conversion in Camera RAW was done to 5000 Kelvin / +10. That’s a nice base for the Lab manipulations afterwards. Overall I try to keep processing conservative.

The Song of the Day is “The First Attack” from the 1987 Proclaimers album “This Is the Story“. No sound samples but what Amazon has. Sorry.