Monday, July 20, 2009

Photos, and things

Gosh, it's been a long time.

Things have been happening. Not, as Mr. Ollivander says in the first Harry Potter book, "Terrible things, but great", but rather "uninteresting things, but time-consuming".

Ah well.

I break my silence to let you know of a couple of mildly interesting developments on the photographic front... first, I've discovered the self-publishing site Blurb, an add-on service of Flickr (although I guess it stands on its own as well). Although a little pricey, for vanity items or gifts I think it's just about right. I downloaded their rather spiffy BookSmart software, which comes with all kinds of pre-designed but tweakable layouts, and after a bit of faffling around, managed to put some photos from last year's Mosport ALMS race into a rather nice (if I say so myself) little paperback. Which you can see here, should you be so inclined. I never did get its "slurp" feature, which directly ports photos from Flickr into your book, working, but never mind - upload from my own computer worked fine.

Now, don't go all crazy buying the thing, thinking you'll make me rich - you won't. Blurb doesn't allow its authors a profit unless they pay a monthly maintenance fee, as far as I can tell - which is only five bucks, but I honestly can't imagine there's any point. The price per book is steep, too, given that it's only about twenty pages long, but the finished product once ordered was rather nice and glossy, and as a souvenir, well worth it I think. I may do some more, although I can see that putting a large number of photos into printed albums would be an expensive proposition.

In other news, I have been approached, for the first time ever, to provide a photograph for a book. A real, honest-to-goodness book, published by a real, honest-to-goodness publisher. So far, the release has been signed, the fee set, and I'm awaiting a decision by the editorial team as to whether they're actually going to use it or not. In other words, I imagine they're weighing all of the competing photos and making decisions based on style, content, and cost. We'll see, but it's a bit exciting, anyway.

Generally speaking, when people have asked to use my photos for educational projects (for example, the C. elegans photo below), I say yes, and I haven't objected to some of my other photos being used on various websites. Heck, I've even dropped a few into Wikipedia pages that I've authored, like this one about the mighty Akai AX80 synthesizer, or this one about the equally-mighty Sequential Circuits Split-8.

C. elegans
A nematode, circa 1999 I suppose.

The photo below of College Street appeared, with my permission, in Schmap Canada, some kind of interactive guidebook thing that, truth be told, seems kind of lacking in content and confusing to use. It's on this page, somewhere, but I'll be darned if I could have found it without that link having been emailed to me.

At work, the view
College Street, out the office window (more or less)

Even strange Wiki-type news site NowPublic has occasionally asked for, and been granted, permission to use photos in their news stories, at least those stories that didn't offend me at the time.

None of these activities pays, mind you, so the textbook development is a little bit exciting. But I'm just vain enough to enjoy the ego gratification of seeing my photos get used and credited here and there, anyway. Of course, a certain website catering to expensive toys has stolen my car photos before now, as has a somewhat dodgy Toronto news website, and probably many other places I don't know about, but that's the danger of posting the things on Flickr sans watermarks, I suppose.

Back to it, I guess... I spend so much time fiddling around on Flickr these days that this blog might as well become a photoblog of some kind, I think. We'll see. In the meantime, because I know you've all been missing me posting tales of cars and racing, I give you this:

Big Smiley Maserati
A big smiley Maserati, a few weekends ago

And, as a teaser of a blog post to come, here's a shot from the 2009 Honda Indy Toronto race, an event I last went to nineteen years ago, in 1990.

Scott Dixon heads for pit lane, Toronto 2009
Scott Dixon, slightly tilted

In the words, then, of Cornelius Fudge, in the fifth Harry Potter book:

"He's back."


Joy said...

That book would be a nice keepsake. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. Have you seen the new HP movie? I saw it yesterday and want to read the novels again.

Ricardipus said...

Not yet, probably going next week... having watched the first five on DVD over the last few weeks, in preparation.

Oky said...

Am I the only one on the planet who has never read an HP book or seen an HP movie? And why you may ask? Because, in my view (and not wishing to upset my friends - I have too few!), why waste time reading science fiction or whatever it is when there's so much of the 'real' world still to discover?
OK, I'm just a Grumpy Old Man... but a smiling one!

Alethea said...

I agree about NowPublic... haven't quite seen the point, but they could have been what Twitter was for Iran, so one never knows. The Maserati is lovely. Congrats on the textbook approach - what was the subject matter?

Alethea said...

Speaking of smiling Masaratis made me think of this post.

L'air du temps.

Ricardipus said...

Alethea - thanks. It was a law textbook actually. The picture was of an old legal-ish building in downtown Toronto. I'm still unsure as to whether they'll use the photo or not, and won't be paid until the book is published (allegedly), but they didn't squawk at the fee I suggested. We'll see. :)

Oh, and cute post. I like smiley cars myself. And thanks for the nice words re: the Maser photo. :)