Mastodon Setup further updates…

I haven’t seen a whole lot of improvement today, but I did see that I ended up with some toots coming in which are closer to when things were happening on the system, but it seems that for the most part this really isn’t working all that well.  It’s OK.  I’m kind of getting frustrated, but I guess I can live with how things are for now.

One thing, someone was talking about it on one of the other mastodon instances, and I saw that I just am looking “very generic” and I didn’t really like that so I did a quick bit of work to try to get something together that looks at least different, even if it’s not really all that fancy…

"Mastodon on Open Psychology" with a simple background with green hills and clouds

This is the “thumbnail” which I created for the mastodon instance.

It certainly isn’t generic, so I think that’s a big plus.  But it’s also not all that nice.  I mean I do like what I ended up with, considering the amount of effort that I put into it, but it’s still not something that I’d say should be sitting around for long like this.

I did think that I liked the way it turned out when I took the text off so I also created a version like that:

green hills with clouds

This is what it looks like when I take the text off.

I actually think this ended up turning out not too badly at all.  The nice thing with working in a digital format is that if I do the layers thing correctly, I can usually get stuff to look fairly decent because I don’t have to worry about how each element works with the rest, until I start to get to that level of work with it…

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Mastodon Setup – More information

Last night (about 23 hours ago apparently) I shared about setting up a Mastodon instance, and that things were kind of working but not really.

I shared that is open for registrations, and that people would be able to sign up there (at least for the time being).

And I hoped that people signing up, would help with getting things worked out.


No one has signed up, and so far I don’t seem to have much improvement…

But on the good news front, I decided to fix (or at least look at) the IPv6 setup, and maybe that has improved stuff.  The setup was clearly broken.

Which probably means that it’s broken here too.

I’m not quite sure that it’s “fixed” there, but at least I can connect out, and I had been able to connect in a way that actually was seeing connections.

But I’m not entirely sure that the problem there has actually been fixed.

Some good news.  I’ve had a couple new posts that look like they are from more recently than the previous most recent posts, but still…

They are still older than the oldest post on the server itself.

I checked to see if I could find any logs which might give me more information than what shows up in the Sidekiq log that I can get access to online.

I couldn’t find anything more.


Some of it is working…

It’s coming, and I’m hoping that the recurring jobs which haven’t been run yet, might actually help some of that, and that the plugging away at it might actually help too.

So, I don’t really know.

I think that adding a dozen or so follows seems to be helpful to some extent.

Still.  More people there *might* be a helpful thing.  And I’m still trying to figure out if anyone can help with any of this now or not.

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Mastodon instance setup

Over the last approximately 2 weeks we have been working on setting up our fist Mastodon Instance which we’re now at the state that we want to let people know about as things are kind of settling out.  We currently have 3 accounts there which is enough to feel that things are working “reasonably well”.

I think by the time I finish writing this up, I will have a bit better idea of how things go…  So here goes.

This is a bit of a timeline:

  • Friend asks me about what it takes to set up a mastodon instance and I respond with what I know off the top of my head.
  • I ask about what the reason for wanting to set up the instance is, and I get really excited about it.
  • I decide that if I can, I want to be involved with this project.
  • I do a little bit of research and see that I might be able to do enough of it in a way I like, so try to get as far as I can without an accessible host.
  • I decide that I can do it.
  • I start to set up the instance on a linode.
  • I run into a step which I’m not quite sure I want to tackle, and leave it for a bit.
  • I decide I want to tackle it, and see if I can get it up and running.
  • I find what *look* like pretty close to drop in place scripts to do what I have been having issues with.
  • They need some work, I set them up.
  • I start running, and it “works, but.”
  • I fix some issues, but still not working correctly.
  • Decide to give a bit of a try with a “test” of following different accounts.
  • It kind of fixes some of that stuff.
  • Finally decide, it’s time to see what happens with regular users.
  • We are now a bit over 24 hours since getting it up and running, and…

OK, let’s expand that timeline:

Friend asks about setting up mastodon

A friend asked me about what it takes to set up mastodon, and I said what I knew from the top of my head.

That information was along the lines of, “there is which you can set up, or you can set up an instance on your ‘own’ machine.  I don’t really think I want to set something up on my own machine, because last time I looked, I kind of balked at the instructions.”

That was off the top of my head, and we started talking about it more, and then I did a bit of research about what it costs for, and what that would mean, and then also looked at the instructions out there…

And I went, “hmmm…  These instructions look like they could work better than I thought they would, for how they should be setup.”

And kind of left that at that for a bit (basically overnight type bit) and then…

I ask about what the reason

I ask about what the reason is thinking that there is already plenty of instances out there, and why would someone be putting in what seems like pretty significant effort to have an instance setup.

I find out the reason, and I realize that this is something that I really want to see myself, or that if I found out about it, I’d be pretty excited.

We talk about it, and I decide that I’m pretty into it, do more research and decide to move forward with seeing if I can set something up.

I don’t really say why I feel I want to do this, because I want to hear the passion without throwing my passion for the topic out there (and we’re not at getting something setup for that quite yet).

I want to set this up

I decide that I want to set this up, and start to see if at least the basic components can be setup to a level that I want to set up an instance that will end up being a decent thing.

I also tell the friend that the reason that I think this is such a fantastic idea is because the community that this is about is one I belong to and that I’ve struggled with that stuff myself.

I end up doing enough testing of setting up that I really want to give spinning up a new instance a go.

Setting up Linode instance and GitLab documentation

I decide that I have enough information that I can probably set something up on Linode, and decide that the best thing about trying to set this up is to actually document my process because I think that I should do this from a perspective that I will be doing it again.

I set up the Linode instance and create a project on GitLab to store the documentation on.

I start working on getting things setup.  This was February 1st according to GitLab, and it probably all started about 2 or 3 days earlier that the idea started to be processed by me.

Running into issues

After having set the system up as far as I could (I think it probably took about 2 days to get as far as I could just slightly modify the instructions, or more like 36 hours) I run into the problem I often run into.

The instructions assume I’m running systemd which I’d rather not do unless I have to (in fact I’ve decided to not run certain things simply because I can’t find instructions that don’t basically amount to, “If you don’t want to run systemd for this hopefully userspace programme, you will be on your own.”

So, I decide to leave it, because I’m at a point I can’t really focus on that sort of thing (I do try to do something with it, but just can’t even get the most basic bits done).

Take a break for a while

I will admit I just let it sit there for about 10 days before I decide I’m ready to tackle it, and more or less stay in that space of wanting to tackle it, and then it takes a few days to get to a point that I decide to actually do something.

Then yesterday I decide to do a bit of a search, and I end up finding there are OpenRC scripts that someone is sharing that look like they should be pretty much drop and run with them.

It wasn’t quite that easy, but it was only a few different things that had to be changed, and I saved the files over on GitLab so that when I next setup an instance that it will work fairly well as it is.

I start running, and it “works, but.”

I manage to get everything running, at least I think so, but I don’t see how I can log in, so have to figure that out (nice instructions are available, but I didn’t write it down) and I manage to log in.

Then I start looking at getting all the settings right, and checking to see how everything is running, and it all looks “Kind of OK,” so I start to do some testing…


A bunch of stuff is failing, and this just doesn’t make sense…

I can’t figure out where any of what I can see is incorrectly setup stuff is running, and am kind of ready to give up, then I realize that I have a temporary database setup that might have something to do with it.

I restart it, and the obviously wrong settings become correct…  But still testing isn’t quite working, so I sleep on it…

I fix some issues, but still not working correctly.

Those issues are fixed, and I keep doing testing, but nothing seems to be working quite right (still) so I just wait to see what I get then I decide to send a message on Mastodon, and see what people will say.

I use my current main account, and send it out, and get some response to that, and it seems like there are people who at least have some idea as to what I might be able to get some help with.

Eventually my initial messages get a response and there is a comment (and I didn’t really get an answer, because I failed to provide enough information) about whether different instances are behaving differently…

Decide to give a bit of a try with a “test” of following different accounts.

So, this is an idea, I can dump my follows from my main account, and see what happens with that, and see if anything gets fixed…

As soon as that ends up getting resolved to a reasonable level and just straggling processes, I take a look around, and things look somewhat better, not fixed, but better.  There *are* messages arriving from other instances.  Sure they’re old, but they aren’t so old that they’re not really useful (like several months old (June I think)) but only about a day older than the instance I am running is.  So, it’s only about 2 days behind when I last looked.  And so far that hasn’t changed…

Finally decide, it’s time to see what happens with regular users.

And at this point, because I really am thinking it needs to have a little more local activity, I create an account for my more “personal” stuff, and see how that goes.  I import stuff from a different instance, because well it’s different stuff, and decide that I’m ready to get some friends up and going with it.

We are now a bit over 24 hours since getting it up and running, and…

I am now looking, and I see that we are kind of looking to go, “public alpha”.  Probably more like a beta, but I’m not happy with where things are, and I think that enough isn’t working.

Federation isn’t working anywhere near as well as I would like, but then some of that might actually resolve before too long on its own.  I have had a couple of different people talk about, “improper IPv6 setup” but I’m not even sure what that might mean.  Or more, what I think about that is I don’t know what that might mean in my case, I do know what could happen as I’ve tried things, and it just really means that I have had problems with it when I don’t have it setup correctly, but I’m not quite sure if there could be something wrong, as things do seem to be working…

So, I’m open to new people joining.  I’m going to post this over on Patreon, and maybe a bit later on Ko-fi.  Well, a link to this, and a link to the instance itself.

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Essential Oil Label Work

Today I have been working on doing some essential oil labels.  So far I’ve only really got one done:

label design for essential oils

Essential Oil Label – Lavender Essential Oil

This is pretty much what we have for the label, it’s not a lot to it, but I guess it’s just that it’s work which has been done.

I guess the thing about having done this, a lot of how this has kind of not been getting done, is because Inkscape has been giving me some serious problems on my computer for a while.  I had been trying to figure it out, and just had mostly given up.

Then my client was talking about how she would like to work and get the existing labels done differently, and update them, and be able to work with new oils and blends.

We started to talk about how I do things for the work I’d done in the past, and I started to set things up in Inkscape, and everything was going well, until I started to pan my page, because the page was off the screen, and it wouldn’t leave pan mode.

I found (and I’d like to see if anyone else has had this experience) after much poking and prodding, that there seems to be something with, “use pressure sensitive tablet” which causes this behaviour.  I don’t really have much idea what it is.  I got a tablet a while back, and was wanting to use it to do what I’d done for things like the Tongue Emoji that would “work out” and it just didn’t work out.

For stuff like that, I have started to work in Krita, and am really loving it (I have a clown that I’ve created), and I’ve not really been missing Inkscape as I’ve mostly not been using it, or what I’ve been using it for, hasn’t been having any problems.

So…  I am showing this, and it’s really not working well, and I just decide to install Inkscape on the iMac, because, well that just makes sense (right?).  Well, so far I haven’t got it so that it’s working, so, I’d say no…

Anyway…  I decided that I should be able to fix it, if I did a bit of research.  Oddly…  I really didn’t find anything that would work (maybe I wasn’t Ducking it right).

But I started to poke around, and saw the “use pressure sensitive tablet” setting, and was going, “that tablet has been a problem in Inkscape, so I might as well disable that” and then took the idea that it might fix things too.

And it did…

So, I think that I am pretty happy with that.  I’m working on trying to figure out how to render what the labels will look like in Blender.

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30 Days of Multimedia — Day 3 — Beginning Web Accessibility

This was something which I was thinking about, as I have been sort of doing some work with a group I belong to, and there are some things which I think should be done in terms of accessibility for stuff with web content:

  1. HTML should work without any CSS or JavaScript
  2. CSS should be used for presentational content
  3. JavaScript should only be used to enhance the HTML and CSS version

Now that is basically just a start, but since we want to keep things pretty simple for a single post here, I think we can start with these things right from the beginning.

HTML should work without any CSS or JavaScript

This is something that a lot of websites will fail because they are using things like JavaScript to control what is displayed, and what is not displayed.  While straight HTML often is pretty “boring” or hard to look at, but if it won’t work when presented as straight HTML, you are likely to have some problems.

When you are working with a content management system (such as WordPress here, or Weebly with that group I’m working with) often it can be difficult to know what all is happening unless you really work hard to dive into it.  With that in mind I will speak of testing in terms of a hand coded site, which I don’t really recommend except as an exercise to learn what is happening underneath, or if you wish to keep things extra simple.

I may write about some of the reasons you may want to hand code your site (usually with some programming to provide some dynamic content) in the next few weeks.  But for now we’re assuming that this is starting from the most basics.

HTML should be for content only and be semantic

This is a bit of a tricky thing  with what I am trying to say here I think.  First off, you HTML should “work” by itself.  That is it should look good enough that it makes sense by itself when it is rendered by the web browser.  But if we say that it is only for content, how do we make it “look good”?

Well the thing is, we don’t need it to actually look good we just need to make sure it makes sense.  So what I am looking at in front of me should never be what the HTML itself looks like:

Compter screen with a lot of different text on

Screenshot of WordPress post editing window

There are a few different things here which are presentational, and would not really work with straight HTML.  And one of those most obvious things is that the content is presented with three distinct columns of content.

Of course, with that said, that doesn’t mean that the way that this presents couldn’t actually work in terms of being straight HTML.  It would be a matter of making sure that what you want to present is in the right order.  And for me, this middle column content probably would present early than either the right or the left.

But when we start working with things in CSS then we can take stuff and present it in an “out-of-order” type way.  So I could have this centre edit window at the top (probably under that title bar that is currently at the top) but then the Categories and Tags from the right as the next elements.  Difficult, but not impossible.

So, the HTML has the content, and only worries about presentation from the perspective that when it displays without CSS and JavaScript it displays in a meaningful way.

Now in terms of that other bit…  The way that we actually write our code.

I can write all my code in ways that when I apply the CSS a person who is looking at it may have no idea that my code doesn’t really mean a lot:

For example:

<div class="paragraph">This is a paragraph</div>


<p>This is a paragraph</p>

The above will work but because we have ways to do it without reverting to stuff which fails to express what function the content serves, ideally we should work to use those methods wich already exist to handle the content.

For example use an <em> tag rather than a <font> tag to indicate that you are seeking emphasis.  In “days of yore” there were a lot of HTML tags which were presentational such as <center> or (dare I say it) <marquee>.  The latter was never well accepted.

We eventually decided that such things were not really good practices, so we have either done away with them, or made it so that we don’t use them.

CSS should be used for presentational content

This is maybe a bit confusing too.  So if I want something in the centre, what I do is somehow do it in the CSS, not in the HTML file.  Why?  Well in part because as originally designed HTML was designed to convey “information” and presentational (how things look) isn’t conveying information, it is providing a means (ideally) to convey of that information “a little better.”

So another thing, is that you don’t simply put the CSS in the HTML file.  I have seen this repeatedly.  Where there is a lot of code which ends up directly in the HTML file, which is CSS, or JavaScript, that should be elsewhere.

We have the ability to load files, now with how things can end up loading, if there is more file loads, it can end up slowing down the website, but this really should not be handled by dropping the file loads down to a single file (you can technically do this with a PNG file, where you can have the image and all the presentation of it all in the same file, but it’s more of a “scary trick” than anything practical).

Now here is a tricky bit, is whether or not certain “modern” CSS ways of handling thing should be done with CSS or with JavaScript the way it used to be done.  My feeling is that as CSS works, if you can do it with CSS.  Now here is a bit of a problem, how do you handle “older browsers”.

Depending on how you handle things, you might not need to worry, sure your gradient disappears, or your animation disappears, but if you can have it so that the CSS still works in older browsers you can probably be safe.

JavaScript should only be used to enhance the HTML and CSS version

This is a case where “if you don’t need it, then don’t do it,” or more “you can do it, but if you need it to do what you want, your site will not be accessible”.  So the specific issue I was looking at was an “Accordion Box” which was being used by this group which even though it consisted of simply the 3 different items, the code to do so consisted of almost 16K of CSS, with no idea how to go through this.

If the code isn’t self-explanatory it is going to need to be commented, and when I strip the code which is not HTML from that section, I end up with less than 2K, and a lot of that is actually HTML layers of different things, the code which is the actual content comes down to less than 256 bytes.  And everything else should have been in external files, and whatnot.  Now of course, we run into the case which can happen where we then end up with trying to load 12 CSS files, and 12 JavaScript files, because you don’t want to be loading content which isn’t needed, because well you see each byte counts.

Except it doesn’t.  It’s how fast a page will load which counts, and unless you are using both a rather modern browser, and your web server is very well setup, loading 30 files when a lot of that could be combined in probably 3 files, with maybe a maximum of 6 files (except for stuff like images), you probably are far better off trying to get some version which has as few different files as possible.

While I want to *code* my site with the form stuff in a nice set of files, it’s probably not doing a lot of good when I end up loading that set of files, and the accordion set of files, and the image set of files, and the video set of files, and the calendar set of files…

This is in a way sort of part of what is called DRY or “Don’t Repeat Yourself”.  Though not really.  It’s just that when you are doing things like this in development, it is important to make sure that when you see “this isn’t working” you have a means to relatively easily find where the problem might be, but when we are talking about how things will work when you are working with something like a web site, multiple files can slow things down dramatically.

But so can large files.  If I have something which is going to be a small image, like what is called a “favicon” I may want to design it at a resolution of 1024×1024 (just a nice number), but if you are using it as a favicon, it used to be defined as 16×16 and you’re going to be downloading something which goes there (on the tabs of your web browser) in any case, and unless you are doing something which will be displayed everywhere else at a higher resolution you don’t want to have a big file which will take 4000 times longer to download.

So it can be a bit of a balancing act.

I am thinking maybe tomorrow I’ll talk about why you might want to hand code your site, specifically around stuff like speed of loading, and server load.

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30 Days of Multimedia — Day 2 — Do What You Can

I had a couple of ideas of which I’m not sure about.  Yesterday, I think there was a post about captioning, and I realized that there was something which I failed to say about this.  And that is do what you can.

There is a certain ideal that a person seeks when they are producing art of any sort (art being any form of creative project) and there are things which are important to go and try to do.

The thing about having those ideas is that sometimes what happens (as is currently happening to me) trying to achieve those ideals can prevent you from producing the work to begin with.

I know that I shared a podcast and felt that it wasn’t terrible to be an episode early in the production process, and we were looking for some feedback on it.

The problem I had with what the person said was basically, “this is way from what this company does who has done this for 10 years, over multiple different podcasts, and it should be way closer to what this podcast is.”

The problem, it was about the second episode I had ever recorded, and to have accomplished what he wanted I would have had to prepare for about 3 times as long as it took me to get that whole podcast out before even starting to record, then record it a few times, and then spend about 4 times as long editing it as I did.

And, due to a number of factors (this being one) I haven’t recorded another episode in any of my podcasts.

So, here I am trying to let people know that they should just produce, not let people tell you that you’re not doing a good enough job and thus you end up not doing it.

While I think that captioning and providing accessible content that is standards defined, is really important.  But there’s something people really need to remember about that.  Don’t focus so much on something that you forget to actually produce something.  If you don’t have the resources, then don’t quit because you can’t do it right, just do it.  And hopefully with time you’ll develop ways to be able to produce more work that is closer to what you really want, and you learn that now that you can do something more, that you can dream bigger…

Just a quick note.  And tomorrow, a little web development post…

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30 Days of Multimedia — Day 1 — Video Captioning

Just diving in to some video captioning.  I know there are some steps that I want to figure out how to do, but currently I don’t have a solution for them.  Currently I host videos on 3 different platforms:

  • PeerTube
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo

I have a means of getting captions to show up on YouTube, and I think the same way will work with PeerTube once I upgrade.  It looks like the releases aren’t up to the point I want to upgrade right now, but they should be (if I am not mistaken) by the time this post goes out.

Vimeo, I am not currently seeing any way to add captions to videos unless I burn in “open captions” which are captions which are put on the video itself.

So, trying to handle the captioning on all three platforms as it currently stands is going to be an individual process.  I was really hoping that I could do the captioning, put the captions in the video container, and then just have it work.  Unfortunately that doesn’t work on any of the platforms.

At least I haven’t found a way to make that work.

So, now I’m going to go to getting the captioning going.  I’m, recording this process so that I can do something with it when I am done the captioning.

First off, I am using Gaupol to do my captioning.  I’m sure there are better tools out there, but it does what I want well enough, and I’m getting used to the workflow.  So let’s get started.

OK, I’m not sure why, but the audio isn’t coming very loud, so I can’t hear myself, so first I need to dive into Kdenlive and see if I can fix that.

OK, it seems to be an issue on my end, or at least YouTube is loud enough, but Gaupol is not.  I may just have to drop in and do that at some other time.  Right now I’m re-rendering the video, and that will take some time.  So I’m going to pause with the stream, and probably pick it up again tomorrow.

I finally figured out what was going on.  Gaupol was playing through the monitor, and I was listening on the headphones.  Anyway.

I opened up Gaupol:

mostly blank application window

Gaupol starts with a blank screen, with little idea of what is going on.

This is a bit disorientating when you first open this up, or you open it up for a while, but then you start with a new file:

Application window with a table, with one line of data

Gaupol looks like maybe things will be workable after you create a new file.

This is starting to look like there may be something to do, but I’m working with a video file, and (I don’t talk about this) you can’t open the video file, until you have got here.  I keep trying to start from there, but it won’t work.  So let’s open the video file:

Application window with video, video controls, and table of data

Now we’re getting somewhere, this looks like what I hope things will look like when I’m captioning (or might look like).

So now we have what we need to work.  And the process is pretty slow for me (partially because I have to type things in, so I can’t type as fast as I speak) and partially because there are some finicky bits about how this all goes.

I recorded the sessions (I ended up splitting it up in two sessions as I had to go out for supper.  And those videos are about an hour each.  This is for a 5 minute video.  I’m getting better at going through this and doing it relatively quickly, but it takes time, and really ideally doing captions is best done by someone who is involved with what is said, because you are better at figuring out what was said than someone who doesn’t know.  (A friend offered to help with it, but said that he’d have trouble translating the audio to text due to auditory processing issues).

So, I’m going to jump to what I have for the actual caption file, and what it looks like in the end:

Application window, with video, and table of captions of the video

This is what this looks like in the end.

This is what the final captioning looks like.  I notice that I have left the captioning with a blank caption at the beginning, and this might not be ideal.  I haven’t had problems with this, and it might be something with how the files are handled, but that first blank caption ends before the next caption begins, and if there was content, this likely would be a problem, but with it being blank it seems like it has been working.

I’m leaving this here for now, but if you go to my PeerTube the videos of the actual captioning should be there.  It will be two videos which are each about 1 hour long.

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30 Days of Multimedia — Introduction

“This Month” I have decided to do “30 Days of Multimedia”.  What I mean is that in September I am going to write stuff which is stuff that Datse Multimedia Productions type multimedia projects.  I’m not entirely sure what I am going to be doing, so this is a bit of a plan for what might happen for the month of September.  I know that I’m writing this a bit early, so it may end up scheduling the post, rather than actually publishing it today.

Here is some sense of what I might be writing:

  • Web Development
  • Photography
  • Video Production
  • Design
  • Digital Art
  • Open Source Creation
  • Creation Philosophy

That’s the sort of 6 areas that I am looking at.  Maybe I should expand it a bit:

  • Web Development
    • HTML
    • CSS
    • PHP
    • These things really could well each be a “30 Days Project” but we may do a bit of stuff here.
    • Accessibility (Day 3)
  • Photography
    • Shutter Speed
    • ISO
    • These two are an extension of what I wrote a bit ago
    • Photo Merging (using Hugin)
    • Composition
  • Video Production
  • Audio Production
    • Recording
    • Levels
    • Hardware
  • Design
    • Design Basics
    • Colour Theory
    • Balance
  • Digital Art
    • Producing Digital Art
    • Setting up drawing tablet on Linux
    • Vector vs Raster
  • Open Source Creation
    • Open Source Software
      • GIMP
      • Kdenlive
      • Inkscape
      • Krita
    • Tools for working
      • Anki
  • Creation Philosophy

That’s just a bit of an overview, and I think that I can probably get a few different ways to go with this, currently the ones I think would probably work as a different posts are probably about 2/3 of what I will need to do.  I will probably put the completed ones after here.  And I’m sure that the individual posts (which may start being written some time before the beginning of the month).

I hope it goes reasonably well.  I also would really like to get close to the 30 different posts published for the month of September.

Also, just want to talk a little bit about some stuff that *might* get posted before this goes up, I am working on some video stuff, and may write some stuff about how I set them up, and will be doing some more work on stuff.  I did think that I would be doing about 6 posts by the end of the month here.

But I don’t see that happening.  Writing is usually more my thing, and I think I’ll mostly be doing that.  But then when I work with the photography stuff, the design stuff, the digital art stuff, the audio stuff, and the video stuff I will be producing some stuff with that.

One thing I have been thinking is that maybe for next September I will want to have come up with some outline for some courses that I will be offering, and I will be needing to get feedback for that.  I don’t quite know how I will handle that.  But maybe I’ll turn commenting back on.  I don’t know.  The spam comments are something which can get very overwhelming…

So what might I be doing for this (This list is probably going to slowly develop based on the above, and what I have here).

So the “numbers” are based on writing days, so there may be multiple posts written in a given day.

That should be good.  I don’t know (I hope that I can get at least a few before I manage to post this, and this will update as I am working on this).  Also, I think that I want to make sure people know about supporting me:

  • Paying for stuff through this store
  • Patreon
  • Liberapay – at writing they are transitioning payment processors, so may be difficult
  • ko-fi – at writing don’t have anything setup
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Planning for September

I continue to think that for each “30 day month” to do a “30 Days of” project.  It seems to work fairly well for me, but I know I can’t keep things up much more than that.  In my experience of the way these things go, I can sometimes do up to about 3 days worth of these in a given day, but I can’t really do it every day.  I was a few days ahead last time that I was successful.  I did “30 Days of Autism Acceptance” in April, and I tried to do “30 Days of Science Thinking” in June, but for some reason that ended up not working out.

So for September I have been thinking of “30 Days of Multimedia” which will be stuff that has to do with the work that we are doing here.  I really was hoping that I could get something different going, and my initial thought was to do “30 Days of Web Development” but I’ve decided that is too tight of a topic to really be able to do.

I’m about to start up a stream on Picarto, for working on starting some thinking about what I will be doing for that.  I’m hoping to have ideas for at least 10 days by the end of today.  And I’m working on this at an “odd time”.

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Depth of Field — f-stop/aperture, speed, iso, exposure

There are quite a few things I want to mention here, but really want to focus on basically two of them.  This is about some of the technical aspects of taking pictures, and how they end up looking, so first off:

  • exposure – This is the overall level of light and dark, though it can also refer to parts of a picture in some cases.  Overexposed means stuff is too light, and underexposed means that things are too dark.

I start there because everything else I want to talk about is what determines the exposure.  Those are:

  • f-stop/aperture – the degree that the opening in the lens is open
  • shutter speed – how quickly the camera opens and closes (this is a bit of an oversimplification)
  • iso/asa – what used to be called “film speed”.  It is the sensitivity of the sensor/film.

When these are in balance, the picture has a balanced exposure (though if it is high contrast it you can have areas of overexposure or underexposure, and sometimes both).

That is the brief overview of the different aspects of these.  We going to focus on f-stop and depth of field.  With some information about how changing that ends up affecting the other aspects.

Here are some shots that I took today.  They are all the same subject, but there are environmental changes, and changes with how I’m holding the camera (I maybe should have shot with a tripod).  The only thing which I consciously changed with these photographs is the f-stop, and it should be at “full stop” intervals if I did it right (I don’t know that I did).

Yellow flower with green leaves beside it

Rudbeckia shot at f6.4

This one is shot at f6.4 which on this lense (at this focal length) is as wide open as the aperture can be.

This gives us our narrowest depth of field and this is probably where things are a little bit complicated/confusing as this low number indicates that the aperture is more open, than a larger number.

I’m not sure how to explain it better without getting very technical, so for now I am going to leave this at this level of explanation.

There are also a couple of other things to note with this (which will maybe become more clear as we go through this).

The focal length of these pictures is 200mm so I am not going to mention that much further.  The other two things to mention are the two values which I mentioned above, ISO and shutter speed.  I left these for the camera to decide, so they end up changing:

  • ISO: 125
  • Shutter speed: 1/332 s

To me I would say that the shutter speed the camera “found” is a bit faster than I would have liked, as I would have thought that 1/200 s would have been sufficiently fast, and possibly (other than flower movement) passable as low as 1/50 s.  This doesn’t really matter all that much for this one, as the ISO is really what I would say is at the low (ie. slow sensor) end of the value range.  I would probably be happy up to about an ISO of about 400.

The reason that you (usually) want a low ISO is that the lower the ISO the less “noise” that you see.  I’m not sure that it will show up enough in the post itself, but these pictures when viewed at full resolution will show the dramatic difference that this can make.

Yellow flower with green leaves around it, background starting to show some details

Rudbeckia shot at f9.1

This picture is taken at an f9.1 setting (quick calculation) is one stop (rounded from just over 9.05) smaller aperture (and larger f-number).  The background leaves are just starting to get some very limited detail, but are still very much out of focus.

The picture has slightly different values for shutter speed, and ISO:

  • ISO 250
  • Shutter speed: 1/332 s

This is a full stop difference in the ISO, and is still well within what I think most cameras are able to produce very fine-grained pictures.

The two values changing by one stop, in opposite directions means that the exposure remains the same.

Yellow flower with green leaves around it, background starting to show some more details

Rudbeckia shot at f13

Here we have taken the f-stop to f13.  Again we have managed to have a full stop change with the f-stop.  The details in the background are starting to become a little clearer.

As with the other picture, we have some changes to the ISO and shutter speed:

  • ISO: 500
  • Shutter speed: 1/332 s

When you look at this picture (as I was expecting) you are starting to get some visible noise/grain with the ISO getting higher than 400.  It’s not that dramatic yet, but it will become more so if the camera continues this trend.  I would say that this would be the upper end if I want fine grain at looking at it at 100% zoom factor.  It probably could go higher at display (or print) resolutions higher than my screen at ~94 pixels/inch.  I’m not sure I would want to for important pictures, unless the camera really “needed” to.

Yellow flower with green leaves around it, background starting to have slightly blurry green plants behind it

Rudbeckia shot at f18

Here we have gone to f18.  The depth of field is much deeper, and the background is starting to show some details that were totally absent in the first picture.  Again, I managed to take this at one full stop higher f-stop.  The reason I think I might not be getting it right on is that my camera has 1/3 stop increments, and I know at least one is off.

Again, we have a similar change in terms of ISO and shutter speed:

  • ISO: 1000
  • Shutter speed: 1/332 s

The noise at this resolution is starting to be noticeable even at display at this size (which is actually bigger than it is when it is displayed on the blog).  This probably is the highest ISO that is practical except in low light situations.  Which we aren’t in at all here.

Yellow flower with green leaves around it, background starting to have slightly less blurry green plants behind it

Rudbeckia shot at f26

Here we are at f26 which probably is a “rounding error” to correct the previous ones, and from f6.4 it looks to be perfect, but from f19 it looks like a significant rounding error (oops f19 was what I calculated based on, but it should have been f18 which makes it make sense).

We are getting enough detail in the background that the veins on the leaves are starting to show up clearly (out of focus, but clearly enough).

We have a similar change in terms of ISO and shutter speed:

  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/332 s

In parts at this resolution I am seeing the noise showing up fairly heavily.  Personally I don’t like it, and if I wanted it for an “effect” I could add it in post production.  And still, I feel the shutter speed is faster than we really need here.

yellow flower with brown centre with green leaves around and behind it

Rudbeckia shot at f40

This is the last one of the series.  I have gone more than one stop, it looks like it is 1 ⅓ stops.  Some of the background is fully in focus in this, and it is a very different photo than the first one in the series.

The ISO and the shutter speed ended up changing slightly differently here:

  • ISO: 4000
  • Shutter speed: 1/256 s

I’m not quite sure if this is being done because of the 1/3 stop difference and it is putting that change in the shutter speed, rather than ISO?  Or because it is starting to see that it is better to increase the ISO less.

I have changed some settings which should lead to allowing for slower shutter speeds, thus lower ISO values.  I may have taken it far enough to lead to low enough shutter speeds that camera shake and motion blur are a bit more of a possibility.  I am still working on getting the settings on the camera the way that I want them, and keep trying new ways of shooting to let that happen.

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