My photo book project: Blurb

Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu
Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu

As a computer scientist I have published quite a bit in journals and conference proceedings, however, I never published a book that was completely written by myself, except for my PhD thesis, of course.  Probably unconsciously I am still looking for a way to publish a book.
Looking back at the trip to Peru, I realize that there is a lot of material waiting for an audience. Out of the more than 600 pictures I took, I selected 50 to submit to Dreamstime, all of which were accepted. By now, quite a few were sold.
Also, I wrote 10+ photoblogs about the places we visited in Peru and about the photographical aspects. On the whole, there is a lot of material available. So, the question is what are the steps to create a photo book.
The first step is to find out what I want to achieve. I would like:

  • to share the things that make me enthusiastic about Peru
  • to share my creativity and the techniques I use for making pictures
  • to reach both an audience that likes traditional photo books as well as an audience that prefers digital versions
  • to gain experience in making both a real photo book and an ebook for an iPad

Because I already have the raw material, pictures and photoblogs, my first step is to find the right platform to produce the photo book. After looking for some time on the internet I found this interesting website; it describes eight of these platforms: Artifact Uprising, Shutterfly, Blurb, Lulu, Mpix, Photobucket, Picaboo, and Snapfish.
Although not based on serious research I choose Blurb because it allows me to make both a hardcopy and a digital version of the book, it has a bookstore based on on-demand printing, and Blurb software is integrated in Adobe Lightroom (see this YouTube tutorial). Furthermore, a friend of mine has positive experiences with Blurb.
In the upcoming blogs I keep you informed about the progession of my photo book projects and the experiences I have with Blurb.
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From fisheye to macro

My children know that I love photography. So, last week I got four lenses: a fisheye, a wide-angle, a macro, and a super macro. So, you can imagine I was quite pleased with this present.
Currently, I have wide-angle (min 16mm) and telelenses (max 300mm), however, a fisheye is completely new to me. Also, macro-photography intrigues me, however, I have no experience at all in this field.
I guess I forgot to mention that these four lenses are a clip-on of Olloclip for my iPhone. One of the nicest things is that they do not weight anything. So, it is easy to take them with me all the time.
Here are the results of my experiments with the wide angles:

Normal iPhone lens
Regular iPhone lens

Olloclip wide-angle
Olloclip wide-angle

Olloclip Fisheye
Olloclip Fisheye

The first picture is just the regular iPhone lens, the second one is with the Olloclip wide-angle, and the third is the Olloclip fisheye. Really impressive and so easy to use.
Now we will have a look ate the macro lenses. To use them, I have to unscrew the wide-angle and fisheye lenses. Under the wide-angle there is the macro 10 times and under the fisheye is the macro 15 times. Below are the experiments with the macro lenses:
Regular iPhone lens
Regular iPhone lens

Olloclip macro 10 times
Olloclip macro 10 times

Olloclip macro 15 times
Olloclip macro 15 times

Again the first one is a regular iPhone lens, the second one is the Olloclip macro 10 times, and the third one is the Olloclip macro 15 times. As you can see, which is true for macro photography in general, it is difficult to get the right focus with a handheld camera.

This was just my first experience with these lenses. They are great fun, so I will continue my experiments with these lenses, which is quite easy because I carry them with me everywhere. Great present!

Flowers, flowers, flowers

Tulips
Tulips

It must have been more than 30 years ago that I visited the Keukenhof. It is called the garden of Europe and it is open from mid March to mid May. In the past, when we lived near Amsterdam, we went there with my colleagues from abroad. Nowadays it is a bit far away for just a short visit.
As it happened we were in Hilversum having diner with friends so we decided to stay overnight near the Keukenhof. Today we visited it. The weather was perfect: nice temperature, sunny, and no rain. We were not the only one that decided to visit the Keukenhof today. However, the garden is pretty large and with the nice flowers everybody had a good mood.
Most of the flowers are (tulip) bulbs. I was not aware of the amazing number of variations: different colors, different color combinations, different shapes, different sizes etc. Really impressive. In some of the buildings there are a couple of indoor exhibitions to show the huge variety of tulip bulbs. Besides the bulbs the cherry trees were also blossoming. It looked like Japan.
It is called the garden of Europe, however, people from all over the world visit the Keukenhof. During our visit today we heard more than 20 different languages. It is really impressive to realize that so many people form all over the world visit the Keukenhof in just a period of 2 months.
Here you will find some of the pictures I have taken today. Enjoy!

Berlin: from Reichstag to Museumsinsel

Dom Church
Dom Church

Last week I spent with my family a weekend in Berlin. The first time I went there was somewhere around 1985. In those days West Berlin was still an enclave in East Germany. Of course, nowadays East and West Germany are united, as is Berlin. Although you can still see the remains of the Wall.
I have taken some pictures along our walk with the only lens I had taken: Nikon 16-35mm. Please open them in a separate window, so you can read the blog and see the pictures at the same time.
We started our walk near the Reichstag, the German Parliament (2). From there, you can also see where the Bundeskanzler resides (1). A nice modern building. Right next to the Reichstag is the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma (3).
From there on we went to the Brandenburger Tor (4-6), a well-known landmark in Germany. It is meant to be a sign of peace. It was situated right next to the Wall, and was prominently visible while the wall was teared down.
The next stop was the Memorial to the Jews murdered in Europe (7-9). The site is covered with 2711 concrete slabs of varying height.
On the way to Potsdamer Platz we saw this interesting building (10). Potsdamer Platz is nowadays a very modern center (11-12). To contrast this there are still remains of the original Wall (13).
On the way to Checkpoint Charlie (17-18; the former pass through between East and West Berlin) we passed the indoor and outdoor exhibition called the Topography of Terror (14-16).
Then we went on to the Gendarmenmarkt with two almost identical churches and the Concert Hall in the middle (19-22).
Via Unter den Linden we walked to the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) with the Lustgarten in front of it (23-26). After a walk around the Museumsinsel we ended up at the Alte Nationalgalerie (27-30).
Berlin is certainly worthwhile a visit.
Here are the six pictures I submitted to Dreamstime and that were accepted.
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