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  • Commented on ' redesign'

    Have finally got round to redesigning my site and it's now up and ready... well, for a given value of ready anyway Wink

    If anyone has any comments to make I'd love to hear them.

    Ta muchly!

    words and pictures by benjamin mercer
    • 1 Mar 2010 1:22PM
  • Commented on 'IR Photograpy Help Needed PLease'

    Quote:Having viewed this shot
    I am puzzled to how to acheive this , I have an IR filter , but when I use it tends to be when theres not as much light about , I cant even focus never mind get a white balance measurement through it , does it need to be brilliant sunshine to use it like this ? I just get red pictures which even when I convert to mono seem fairly ordinary..

    I guess I can answer this, as it's my shot!

    You just need to set up a shot of some grass, put the filter on & take the shot - you'll have to guess at the exposure but if you've used the filter before you'll have a rough idea of what it is anyway. Then you just set the camera to use that photo as the custom white balance and away you go, at least that's what I do with my 350D.

    I wouldn't bother shooting IR in RAW mode - most converters only go down to a colour temp of 2000 or so and using the custom white balance will set it much lower than that normally.
    • 6 Jan 2009 8:44AM
  • Commented on 'Another website'

    Thanks Sarah & Lynn for your comments, much appreciated. I did wonder about the text on the about section, but was more concerned at the time with sorting out the galleries - will have another look at it, although the information is in my CV as well.

    Chris - that's a worrying message to get, especially as there's no nudity on there at all :-(

    Neil - although I'd agree with you at almost every other time, for this site I think I can get away with it. After all, a designers personal portfolio site is usually their only chance to play Wink I'm aware it'll suffer exposure-wise but that's not really an issue.

    Thanks everyone for looking.

    • 5 Sep 2006 11:38AM
  • Commented on 'Another website'

    Whoohoo! Thanks Keith - that has to be the best comment on any of my work... ever! I just hope it's good enough to get me a job, fingers crossed anyway.

    • 5 Sep 2006 10:56AM
  • Commented on 'Another website'

    Thanks for taking the time to look steve, I've got to say that I like it when images fade in, rather than just appear - so I guess it's just a personal preference. Thanks for you comments though - very kind Smile

    • 5 Sep 2006 10:47AM
  • Commented on 'Another website'

    Thanks David, very kind of you to say so Smile

    I did think about making the buttons back to the gallery different - but I was feeling lazy at the time & just reused the same button, will add it to my list of things to do though.

    Thanks for looking.

    • 5 Sep 2006 10:36AM
  • Commented on 'Another website'

    It seems traditional for people to announce their websites here, so who am I to be any different!

    This is my first 'personal' site for almost 8 years & I'd be grateful if anyone can have a look & see if I've left in any glaring errors e.g. spelling mistakes etc. that makes me look more of a moron than normal.

    The address is

    Thank you!
    • 5 Sep 2006 10:23AM
  • Commented on 'Not again! - fuel protest / blockade'

    An interesting site I found a little while ago on increasing a cars mpg, just thought people might find it interesting:

    smart gas

    Basically recomends certain oil filters, spark plugs etc and adding a small amount of acetone to the fuel to make the engine burn the fuel more efficiently.

    If I had any knowledge of car engines I'd be tempted to have a go, purely to see what happens.

    • 8 Sep 2005 5:59AM
  • Commented on ''

    I guess it depends on whether they want exclusivity or not. If they do then $30 doesn't seem like much, if they don't then people can just submit the same shots to all the other microsites out there. In which case why would anyone buy from this site as most of the microsites charge just a couple of $ per image?

    I like the fact that if you try to register they ask you to say that you've read & agree with the members agreement... yet the document is nowhere to be found! Very professional...

    • 6 Sep 2005 4:57AM
  • Commented on 'Machine overheating?'

    MarkyMarc - I think you've got you've got your fan the wrong way round Wink

    As far as I know the whole point of the both the heatsink & the fan is to get heat away from the chip and into the case. If your case is relatively free from obstructions you should have a slight throught draught caused by the PSU fan. Obviously for better cooling you need intake & exhaust case fans to move the air through the case. By reversing the cpu fan all you're doing is blowing the warm air back onto the cpu and away from the case air flow.

    I'd suggest that if anyone is having heat issues with their pc's at the moment then they run a search in google about over clocking - there's a wealth of info about cooling your pc on those sites & any problem you might be having you can rest assured that some game geek somewhere has already suffered it Wink

    • 23 Jun 2005 12:36PM
  • Commented on 'Machine overheating?'

    Lets not jump to conclusions Wink Does sound like a MB problem though...

    It might just be a short circuit - I've had this problem in the past where one of the pins on the back of the mb was just touching part of the case - so double check that.

    Also try resetting your cmos back to default settings etc - should be a jumper setting on the board, your manual will tell you which one it is.

    Lot's of modern MBs have a little light on them that shows they've got power going through - I don't suppose you have one of those on yours do you..?

    • 23 Jun 2005 4:07AM
  • Commented on 'Machine overheating?'

    The thing that is really puzzling me is the fact that your machine isn't going through POST - i.e. you're not getting any beeps at all, either error or post ok beeps.

    The fact that your fans/hard drive etc are all powering on means that your PSU is ok, however...

    ...I'm wondering if your motherboard has power. You should be able to plug a motherboard into the psu and it will still run post with nothing plugged in - if you've got the internal speaker plugged in then it'll give you the beep code for cpu problem.

    Have a good look at your motherboard - check for discoloured or blown capacitors and also check and see if it's touching anything that might cause it to short circuit. If you can't find anything and you're feeling brave I'd suggest you unplug everthing except the power & internal speaker and run the motherboard outside the case...

    • 23 Jun 2005 3:32AM
  • Commented on 'Machine overheating?'

    The sound from the hard drive is most likely the spindle motor starting up.

    If you're not getting the POST ok beep then it does sound like your processor is fried - the first thing POST checks is the power, the second that the cpu is capable of executing instructions....

    Also what bios have you got? Award, AMI etc as their post beeps (or lack of them) are different.

    I'm presuming that the cpu is seated correctly etc...

    • 23 Jun 2005 2:54AM
  • Commented on 'Machine overheating?'

    does it go through POST? If not do you get a beep code?

    • 23 Jun 2005 2:32AM
  • Commented on 'Machine overheating?'

    Does your machine still power up? Or are you refering to it not booting into windows?

    • 23 Jun 2005 2:14AM
  • Commented on 'Machine overheating?'

    How weird, don't have a problem when I view it & there's no dodgy pop ups or anything that I can see that'd snafu your connection...

    Oh well - no water cooled PC goodies for you I'm afraid :-(

    • 23 Jun 2005 1:43AM
  • Commented on 'Machine overheating?'

    Obviously what you really really need is one of these babies!

    water cooling system

    • 23 Jun 2005 1:19AM
  • Commented on 'Machine overheating?'

    Of course the trouble with keeping the cover off is that your PC just turns into one huge statically charged dust magnet... well, mine did anyway!

    Under the desk isn't the greatest place to keep it heat wise - you don't normally get much air flow under there and all the heat blown out by your psu fan tends to lurk around.

    If you're prepared to spend a tenner or so on a couple of fans & an evening poking around in your pc tying away all the loose cables etc. to improve air flow then you should have a nice & cool machine in no time.

    • 22 Jun 2005 1:02PM
  • Commented on 'Machine overheating?'

    Personally I'd be tempted to add a couple of 80mm case fans - one intake, one exhaust, from PC World or where ever. They're not very expensive & the weather's only going to get warmer... well, allegedly!

    Where abouts have you got the case situated? If it's tucked away under a desk then it may well be sitting in a heat pocket.

    • 22 Jun 2005 8:05AM
  • Commented on 'Machine overheating?'

    I used to overclock my PC a few years ago (cpu, graphics card etc.) to squeeze out a few more fps on whatever game I was playing at the time & over heating was obviously a big concern!

    As far as I can remember your cpu fan is set up correctly - the heat sink & fan are designed to get the heat away from the chip - so will be blowing away from the cpu. I suspect what your problem is actually to do with the average temp within the case.

    You mention a cpu fan & a psu fan - do you have any case fans? Generally what you want is a stream of cool air going through the case from front to back so the hot air from cpu, graphics chip etc. is vented out the back & replaced with (hopefully) cooler air from the front.

    I'd suggest you go into your bios/cmos set up & check the temp, most modern motherboards have a chip & case temp monitors on them. Then open up the case & make sure you haven't got any loose cables (especially ide ribbon cables) blocking airflow. Whilst you're in there switch the machine on & see if it's more stable with the case off, also have a listen to your cpu fan - usually it's the bearings that go first & they make a fairly distinctive rattling noise.

    Should point out I'm no expert on this - your milage may vary but it should give you a place to start. A search on google for overclocking will give you more info overheating & how to deal with it...

    Hope this helps.

    • 22 Jun 2005 7:47AM
  • Commented on 'sRGB and Soft-Proof Monitor'

    Right, think I've found the problem and the solution (hopefully!).

    I was sort of wrong & kind of right with what I said about how PS converts the colours when you save for web..

    If you are in a different colour space, e.g. Adobe 1998 etc, then I'm 99% sure that PS uses 'preserve colour numbers' when it converts it to srgb - I can't find anything definate on the web about this, but there're no settings that I can find in PS to change.


    If you go to image > mode > convert to profile and select srgIEC61966-2.1 then pick your rendering intent & apply it then your image *should* look exactly the same when you save for web as it's already in the correct colour space & doesn't need to be converted.

    Does that make sense? Let's hope so 'cause it's Friday afternoon and I'm now off home.... hurrah!

    • 17 Jun 2005 9:01AM
  • Commented on 'sRGB and Soft-Proof Monitor'


    I think I may know why you're not seeing the change when you soft proof it in srgb

    When you save for web PS doesn't use a rendering intent, instead it uses 'preserve colour numbers'. To correctly soft proof what it will look like select srgb & tick the 'preserve colour numbers' box - should give an accurate proof.

    Incidentally, as far as I know all modern monitors have a native gamma of between 2 & 2.5 ish - the 1.8 gamma for Apple Macs comes from the old b&w monitors and the menus are still set up for that. At least that's what I've read anyway....

    hope this helps.

    • 15 Jun 2005 3:56AM
  • Commented on 'Maybe They'll use Windows next :-}'

    Sigh... even on a photographic site the 'My Mac is better than your PC' issue raises it's ugly head.

    Chris has got the right of it: What software does it run? A computer and it's software are just tools designed to perform a task.

    Quote:so if you are going to title yourself a "web designer" then at least learn something about computers and the operating system that controls it..

    As for this pearl of wisdom... A designer designs, all you need to understand are the concepts of design and how to use the software to realise your design - an understanding of how the computer actually works is not required.

    For the record I use Macs and Windows at work and used unix extensively at university. In my experience they're all as bad as each other...

    • 8 Jun 2005 12:43AM
  • Commented on 'Pete - two ideas for EPZ...'

    I can recommend the Lacie electron22 blue series of monitors, we upgraded to them about a year ago - very nice indeed and when used with the blue eye calibrator it allows you to do a hardware calibration of the monitor (by adjusting the electron guns) rather than a software one.

    Having said that, I've still got my old Iiyama running as a second monitor for my palettes etc. - looking a little bit soft and blurry now but still going strong. Iilyamas are like the VW Polos of the monitor world - they might start to look a bit rough looking after a few years but they just never seem to die!

    • 8 Jun 2005 12:01AM
  • Commented on 'CMYK! PS or PSP...'

    What are your plans being produced in? If they're done in a CAD program you should be able to export them as an EPS file - then you can convert them to cmyk in illustrator / freehand etc. Will give you a lot more control as you'll be able to pick the exact cmyk colour you want to replace a rgb colour with, plus, as it's still a vector graphic you'll get a much sharper print.

    • 7 Jun 2005 2:32AM
  • Commented on 'Another calibration question .....'

    Just read through the thread & thought I'd share a comment one of our printers made the other day - he was having a good laugh about several photographers who'd had some work printed up on litho.

    They were insistant that the printers not touch their files, which they had adjusted to perfection using their colour calibrated monitors. The printers tried to tell them that the results would not be quite what they expected as they haden't calibrated to THEIR litho printers but they were adament that their files were correct. Needless to say they were not happy with the result at all.

    Always remember that you calibrate to what you're outputting to...

    Just thought this might help.

    • 1 Jun 2005 3:30AM
  • Commented on 'Memory for macs.'

    It depends on the Mac, generally speaking you just need to get the right type & speed that the motherboard supports - same as a PC. I'd suggest you spend a few minutes looking through apples website to find your mac (and the correct version of the mac) then look at the tech specs for it.

    My G4 is running quite happily with 100 Mhz SDRAM from PC World. However a word of warning - some versions of OS X are VERY picky about the ram you have in there - I upgraded my laptop to Panther and it had a complete hissy fit about the 512 Mb ram upgrade which I had to remove to get it stable. Needless to say the ram upgrade was supplied by Apple.... tsk.

    • 1 Jun 2005 2:13AM
  • Commented on 'Presentation with frames.'

    I'm going to have to mostly agree with Malcolm, despite being guilty myself of adding a border on occasion. Sometimes a shot needs a frame/border to hold it together, but a large number of the ones you see overpower the photo, in my opinion. Then again, horses for courses etc. everyone's got a differnt view on it...

    • 28 Apr 2005 7:44AM
  • Commented on 'Creating a web site'

    Very true Doug but you hit the nail on the head with

    Quote:However, it's obviously going to be up to the individual how much importance they assign to the issue, and how much extra time and trouble they're prepared to take

    Sometimes it's just not worth the extra money fixing a site for perhaps 4% of your *potential* visitors.

    Which is why I'd recommend testing everything with lynx - if it works in a text only browser then it'll work on most things...

    • 26 Apr 2005 6:58AM
  • Commented on 'Creating a web site'

    Ummm.... as a web designer I'm not entirely sure I want to get draged into this... but what the hell.

    The trouble with WC3 & standards is that they're usually at least 18 months behind what's happening NOW... and a lot of clients etc. want the latest shiny wonder to be on their website...

    Don't get me wrong, if there was a magic wand that would make everything render & display html the same then I'd be waving it most energetically!

    However, I think it's unfair to single IE out - it's always been a lovely browser when compared to the unholy mess that was Netscape Navigator, especially version 4... *shudder* Basically every browser & OS has it's quirks about how it displays things.

    If you want your site to work pretty much correctly everything then put it together using CSS. Personally I use a mix of table/CSS design, purely because CSS has some positioning flaws/quirks that are a lot more hassle to sort out than they're worth, so tables can still be useful. Saying that 'the big boys' have x/y/z browsers/machines/testing is correct... but also incorrect. There's nothing stopping you from downloading different browsers for testing purposes, although different OS's can be a problem.

    The secret is getting a website that degrades gracefully - i.e. doesn't actually break. In my experience if you can get your site to display ok in a text only browser (e.g. lynx) then you are 'usually' ok.

    Unless you're developing for a fixed platform multimedia design is always about compromise. Sometimes it's just not worth or too expensive to get a site working for a minority browser - sad but true.

    • 26 Apr 2005 6:11AM