Guest Article On Kwerfeldein

It has been indeed a bit silent here on the blog, but I can assure you that I haven not been completely in holiday-mode. I had the chance for some nice landscape photography up in the very north of Norway as well as exploring some slightly unusual terrain, at least for me that is. But the latter will remains a little tease until the final sighting and processing of the images.

When not being out and photographing or some tweaking/re-designing and writing for my recently launched personal blog I had the chance again to contribute a fresh guest article to the german photography blog Kwerfeldein.

In that article I am introducing my Mänty Sketches project and share a few thoughts on the idea and the process behind the project and naturally some images.

More updates to come in the near future but now I invite you over to Kwerfeldein and hope you enjoy the article.

Hung-out

It had been crazy busy around here and time for writing and processing images for fresh posts are a rare bonus at the moment. I did find some time to update at least my other blog every now and then and to finally fix the ever-so-often crashing iMac of mine. Which in fact is yet another reason for the lack of updates around here.

All these external issues aside I managed to find some time to participate in one of Olaf Bathke’s hangouts. We had some fun discussing different aspects of planning and organizing a photographic trip. With me were of course Olaf Bathke as well as Rainer Mirau and we did discuss several software tools and of course camera bags ;-).

So if you are speak or understand german I would like to invite you over to the recorded video over on YouTube or on Google+ and have a look.

Mountain Sketches – The iBook

It was just a few weeks ago I that I wrote about my planned re-design of my e-books after playing a bit with Apple’s iBooks Author application. The chance of getting closer tho what I indented my books to be in the first place, seemed to be worth the effort spending a few hours of doing that work.

My original intent was to start with the re-modeling my first e-book, Cornwall – A Photographic Journey, and as you can see from the screenshot in that post I already started to work on it. But, as so often the case, things come in different as planned around here, and today I would like to announce the 2.0 version if you will, of my second e-book Mountain Sketches.

Aside the obvious format change (PDF to iBooks) I have added an audio commentary, did some (minor) adjustments to the overall design and both the gallery and the exif data are kind-of interactive now [1]. In fact I didn’t add much to the original design, as I found it after another revision actually rather pleasing.

The Process

Producing this book was in fact a rather easy task as iBooks Author is a fairly easy to use tool. Being already rather familiar with Pages or Keynote, the iBooks Author app feels like the lovechild of these two and is very easy to get along with. Aside a few more tools, widgets for interactive and multimedia content come to mind, the controls and the workflow are essentially the same as in aforementioned applications. The familiarity with these two and the newly introduced multimedia widgets made the creation of the galleries and in fact the whole book a breeze. The content naturally was ready before and I merely needed to worry a bit on the design of the book and add the audio commentary.

If you are not owning an iPad, you are of course not left out and you can find the same audio comment of course also on the Mountain Sketches project page.

Creating the audio commentary was a somewhat lengthy, yet amusing task. The commentary, roughly 3 min in length, created many times that much worth in out-takes filled with obscure noises and yet to be invented words. For the sake of everyone’s mental health these will be stored in a password protected, encrypted hard-drive and buried in a secret place.

Overall I am rather satisfied with the resulting book considered that iBooks Author is, as you probably know, not targeted to produce text-books rather than photo-books like this one. But with some creativity and compromises one can get around so some of its limitations. I hope that with upcoming releases of the software Apple losens up a bit and opens the software with tools going beyond the creation of textbooks.

Coming up next:

In the end I chose to publish this one first, as I wanted to use the re-issue of the Cornwall e-book to also do some fresh (re-)processing of the images and do some fixing where necessary. Also the production of the video which I plan to include will take some more time. I will keep you posted once that’s done, most likely some time after Lightroom 4 is officially released.

But now I would like you invite over to my e-book page and download the iBook version of my Mountain Sketches e-book (or is it now iBooks?) for free from this page. I hope you do enjoy it.

  1. I have to admit that the exif-solution is a bit cumbersome, but I couldn’t find a decent solution I was satisfied with.  ↩

e-Book-Updates Ahead

If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you might be already familiar with the two e-books that I have made and released over the last two years. The first one, Cornwall – A Photographic Journey I have put together (trying to avoid the term written here) shortly after I received my iPad 1 and the second one, Mountain Sketches, just during last spring.

While I was, and still am, satisfied with the result, I couldn’t quite get together what I had in mind. It simply wasn’t quite matching my vision. Somehow the only solution getting done what I had in mind already then, would have been the production of a real app instead. Considered that everything that I do around here is out of pure passion and completely do-it-yourself, learning to code a decent app is quite a challenge and simply is too big of a task.

For my second e-book Mountain Sketches I tried to make the overall experience more pleasing, but didn’t really change the format. Releasing it in e-pub format, even though technically easy, didn’t seem useful then as I wasn’t really pleased with the way I could implement the images. In short I had no chance to get closer to my original idea and went again with the PDF-file format.

I started working on the iBook version of my e-book already and so far it looks promising.

That is until iBooks Author got released just the other week. I’m pretty sure that many of you have been following the introduction of, or are at least familiar with the release, of Apple’s application just recently.

I haven’t been working with it much, but even after a few minutes of work in the app, it was obvious that with this tool, I can get much closer to what I was envisioning in the first place. More interactive and fun to use. Just like this website of mine.

Note:
By the time of this writing books made in iBook Author are neither cross-platform or can even be read on a Mac. Surely this not optimal but it would be the same though if the book would be released as an app. An iTunes-ish cross-plattform desktop reader could solve some issues here, as not everyone who owns an iPad also uses a Mac. But then again, there’s always the chance to also release it additionally as a PDF or in e-pub format.
I will refrain from further diving into the discussion about proprietary file formats and TOS and leave this to other, more competent bloggers. As usual there’s quite some buzz about both. On the TOS the digest though seems to be that a free publication outside the iBookstore is legal, but once one wants to sell the book he/she is tied to the iBookstore. Actually it’s no different than the appstore, at least the way I see this.

Which this brings me to the 2.0, or more mature, version of my e-books if you will.

One thing that is for sure is, that I will have a few coffee and have some fun with updating my e-books Cornwall – A Photographic Journey and Mountain Sketches especially for the iBook format. Some text will be re-written and added, new and more images will follow (still thinking about re-prossesing some of them in the LR4 beta as well) and I will try include some video and audio content. In short, I will make them as beautiful as possible and hope they will be a fun and enjoyable read.

Also I have plans to finally finish and release the already written draft of my Finnmark write up. I will publish it first here on the blog and then as well as an e-Book (PDF) and in an iBook format. Just as I did with my previous e-books.

I am sure that we will see a lot photobooks and materials in the very near future appearing all over the internet as with this tool it’s easy to produce more compelling products.

I might post every now and then a little update here on the blog and write a bit about my experiences with the production of the book. And of course it will be a free download here. And who knows, one day, I might be trying to publish an e-book in the iBookstore. But before that happens, I will have to live up to my own standards. So until then, I hope you will be enjoying my current e-books and the upcoming re-releases.

I hope to have the first one ready in by the end of next month. Feel free to keep an eye on the blog or Twitter for updates.

Merry Christmas

Today I would like to wish all of you who take their time to visit my site a Merry Christmas. This year surely was an eventful one and with the change of year approaching rapidly I’m looking forward to the next one.

I would like to thank all of you for your support, for visiting my site every now and then and for following my work here and on all the other social media sites.

But now I don’t want to take more of your time and would like to wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and should I not have a fresh post ready in time, a Happy New Year.

A Very Much Belated Anniversary Post

So, there you go. I missed it. For the first time in now four years I missed the anniversary of this little blog of mine. It passed by un-noticed, that is until now of course, but without noticing the anniversary, I did though give it a little facelift and roughly just in time.

I wanted to take more advantage of some of newly introduced features here on WordPress and with the help of this recently released theme I will be able to present the posts like I envision them. I plan to bring text and photography together in a beautiful and exciting way.

I have some ideas on how to use some of its features to present my work in a cleaner and fresher and modern way, while at the same time have a consistent experience. It starts with finally having my galleries under the same roof as my main site. Something that I have been wanting to do in just this way, with a simple, stylish and responsive theme, for now more than one year already.

In order to get everything done right (finally I hope to say), I’m currently in the process of updating several of the older posts to make it more fun to visit overall more beautiful (seriously, don’t you just love this font or the new carousel in the galleries) and hopefully more of an experience. Looking at for example this or this post will give you an idea what to expect.

Additionally I will finally edit the galleries (still on the to-do list) and the images in it will be more carefully selected. Something that I felt to be overdue already. On the other side more and bigger images will be added to post’s on the blog and tagged for easier browsing. And then there’s the re-installment of the landing page, but that’s still on a bit on hold, until the inspiration strikes me.

For those of you waiting for fresh posts, which are admittedly amiss at the moment, I can asure there’s lot’s to come, I’m just way behind. But to start things off, here’s already one fresh image from a recent shooting from a familiar location.

Guest Blog on Kwerfeldein

Every now and then I have the honour to write an article for another blog and today I’m happy to announce that my article “Mountain Sketches: Eine Projektvorstellung has been published on the famous German photography blog Kwerfeldein.

As you might guess already it’s written in German language, something that I do less and less these days and in it I introduce my Mountain Sketches project. So, if you read german I would like to invite you over to Kwerfeldein and have a look at the article.

Thanks again to Martin Gommel for giving me the opportunity and honour to contribute to his magazine.

A Quick Note to My RSS-Subscribers

I’m running this website now for a couple of years and it has been evolving ever since and now it’s about time for some more improvements and adjustments.

I don’t want to bore you with details, but to take full advantages of some of the more advanced features of this theme I will need to re-post or re-write some of my previously released content.

While I hope most of this to happen in the background, it might though lead to frequent updates in the RSS-feed. I try to aviod the latter as much as possible, but some things are beyond my control here.

Feel free to drop by at any moment to see what has happened here.