Nicaragua Trip

Our first excursion during Costa Rica vacation was to go abroad. We went to Nicaragua. Nicaragua is a poor country that has to buy its energy from Costa Rica, a big friend of Venezuela and has two old colonial towns: Granada and León. León unfortunately is way far north, so we did not go there, but we did go to Granada. However, before exploring human history we went to see natural one – Masaya Volcano.


Masaya Volcano is active, where by active I mean it still breathes. Sulfur dioxide fumes are coming out non-stop right from the depth of the crater. To see it in all its beauty you have to climb 107 steps that will lead you to the cross.


There at the top fumes are quite noticeable and some people feel they need to urgently run down, but I felt quite fine..

The second stop was a small town of Masaya. Otherwise boring place is famous by having a big souvenirs market, where people in blue attack you by offering their service to lead you to lowest price shop… we have escaped them and bought all the stuff we wanted at bargain prices.


Granada city was the last stop of the trip. A home style lunch at one of the hotels was followed by a forty minute carriage ride with frequent stops to see most interesting sights.


Right from the start of our trip we have asked to stay in Granada City longer than required by the schedule (thanks for the tip Irina and Dan) and after the carriage ride we walked quiet streets surrounding the main square.


Soon thereafter we were back on the bus heading into unknown – drive back to Costa Rica with lazy Costa Rican customs officers on our way. But just before we left we had a chance to see real WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction).


You can see the rest of the pictures from the trip on my Nicaragua Flickr Set. More photos from our Costa Rica vacations are coming shortly. It took a me whole week to process these photos and a bit of hacking of Gpisync that I use to geotag my photos to allow saving Unicode names.

Best Flickr photo Uploader for Gnome/Linux

I was struggling to find an application that would be as simple as Flickr native Uploadr but would provide me with an option to change permissions before pictures are uploaded. Finally I’ve found Ross Burton‘s Postr – GNOME Flickr Uploader.

Ubuntu 8.04 already comes with package called “postr“, however it is a very outdated version 0.9 from more then a year ago and did not have the features I wanted. Current version is 12.2 and it has a much improved feature set. It definitely belongs to Ubuntu backports, but as always with Ubuntu you will have to wait until the next stable release Ubuntu 8.10 (codename Intrepid Ibex).

For now you will unfortunately have to install it manually from console

tar zxvf postr-0.12.2.tar.gz
cd postr-0.12.2/
sudo python install

A bonus is that this program is written in my favorite Python.

Queen + Paul Rodgers Concert Photos Redux

I’m a big fan of Digital SLR photography. One of the advantages over compact P&S is that all SLR let you shoot in RAW. Raw allows you get get better results not only today but in also in the future. This is the case with my photo shooting session of Queen + Paul Rodgers concert back in March 16, 2006. Originally all photos were processed with Canon Digital Photos Professional. DPP converts RAWs into Jpeg but preserves all CMOS noise for high ISOs and can’t recover highlights without manually tweaking the curve. Yesterday I had finally found time to process all the photos again but now with Bibble Pro, which did help to automate quite a few things. The results are much better.



Thanks to Noise Ninja built into Bibble all images are almost noise free even though they are all ISO1600. In the future with advent of better image processing techniques it will be possible to batch re-process all the images again and get even better results. Again all photos are on Flickr and in my Gallery.

Hot Indian Summer

“It’s over, it’s over, it’s all over now”… Yesterday we have reached a temperature of 31 degrees Celsius and today we returned back to more normal Octoberish 15C… This is my tenth year in Canada and I don’t remember such hot weather… in fact I’m pretty sure it never happened while I’m in Canada. So the Turkey Day was very hot and I wanted to capture some of the Ontario Fall Colors. The result is in my Gallery and on Flickr.




What’s more I have Geotagged all photos from Barbados and Turkey Day on Flickr…

Barbados – the Photos from the Deep Blue

Last week after working well for more then four years (since June 2003) my old point-and-shoot camera Canon S400 died (though I will still try to find out why some time later). But it has died only after giving me the last chance to take some great-looking pictures under water. Yesterday, I have posted those pictures simultaneously on Flickr and in my Gallery.



London Honeymoon Day 7 Photos

Finally, I got back to finishing London Honeymoon photos that I have taken last year. This time I decided to process pictures from June 2nd, 2006 when we have visited the magnificent Windsor Castle and rode the London Eye. At the end we said goodbye to London late at night by taking night-time pictures.

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What’s more I have simultaneously posted pictures on my Flickr gallery. Apparently thanks to being a Rogers Hi-Speed subscriber (at least I can now somewhat justify the price) I get a full Professional membership with Flickr and therefore unlimited space, resolutions and uploads. All this is totally fantastic since Flickr is the best photographer’s community website.

Fortunately or unfortunately I still have two days of worth of UK pictures which total to about 500 files.

Back to processing photos from 2006

It has been a long while since I traveled to Chicago, USA. It took me almost a year to return to the last unprocessed set of RAW images from that trip. Finally, I have spent some time yesterday at night and whole today playing with the images. Most of the time was definitely spent on creating those huge panorama shots at the end of the album.


I’ve heard some critique from my friend that my photos tend to be on a softer side, closer to the original colors and not as vivid as one would want to. I’ve tried to fix this and most of the photos have much more contrast then I usually was creating in the past (I was using this nice little feature of Bibble ProPerfectly Clear). So you are the judge – go see the photos and rate those that you like.


Now once Chicago is finally over, I will return to even later set of images – images from my honeymoon in London in May-June 2006. Three days are still untouched and should arrive soon (I hope).

New Albums Online: Chicago Day 3 & Fall In Scarborough

Using my new monitor processed another batch of photos. All of the photos were converted from RAW to Jpeg using Bibble Pro 4.9 trial software. I think this software is defenitely worth buying, but one should understand that it is not perfect at all. Firstly it is slow, even though my PC is old enough (3.5 years) it should be able to process those RAW files faster using two Xeon 2.66Ghz CPUs. Any operation in Bibble requires a few seconds to restore preview to a full preview resolution. Some tools are absolutely inadequate like the White Balance tool which should have “Auto” preset, which is lacking currently. Using White Balance correction is very difficult to get proper skin tones. But otherwise default “Camera” white balance produces good results.

So take a look at newly processed photos from September 18, 2006 – Chicago Day 2:

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and photos of the nature from last week Fall In Scarborough:

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