Photo: The Last Hour

The Last Hour — a striking purple sunset

A beautiful purple sunset from our front yard. I used the kit lens because it’s the closest I have to wide-angle. Enjoy!
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Canon Rebel XTi, EFS 18-55mm, 1/4, F3.5, 18mm, ISO400, 2007-12-21T17:57:55-05, 20071221-225755rxt

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Please credit me as “Photo by Richard Thripp” or something similar.

Monitor Calibration

Monitor calibration in action.

I finally got around to getting a display colorimeter—an old ColorVision Spyder that only works with CRT monitors, which I found on eBay. I was pleased to find that my colors from calibrating by eye were accurate, though I had the brightness up too high. I do have a ViewSonic Q19wb widescreen monitor, but I don’t trust it to photo-editing as its colors are not near the accuracy of an old-fashioned CRT. A reviewer on sums it up well:

“Colors are not truly natural. But if you are looking for a big screen to browse Internet and not a photographer who is really concerned about colors, then this is a good buy.”

Unfortunately, while this one is considered low-end at about $150, the same can be said for most LCD monitors. Even after endlessly fiddling with the settings on my video card and LCD monitor, it still retains a bluish cast and clips the next-to-white colors in calibration charts. For $50, you can pick up a used CRT screen that will serve you better for photo-editing than most $500 LCDs, even in 2007.

Regardless of your monitor, display calibration is very important, because if the colors on your monitor aren’t standard, you can trust that they’ll be noticeably different when printed or displayed on other monitors. All the photos that you’ve carefully edited will have to be fixed once again if your screen was too blue, too bright, or off in some other way. Even if you don’t want to pay for hardware-based calibration, calibrate by eye, as it’s better than nothing.

On Exposure

One thing about digital photography, a short-coming compared to film, is that you can’t recover from over-exposure (except somewhat using RAW format). So be sure to get it right the first time, because you can’t edit the detail back in. Note that in that photo, the white highlights in the sky aren’t actually clipped (if they were “clipped,” they’d be pure white), but if your monitor is too bright, you won’t be able to tell by sight. Same goes for you camera’s LCD screen. This is why you have the histogram (hopefully, anyway; I used to have a Fujifilm A360 camera that completely lacked it). If the bars trail off to the right, you know your photo has pure white areas (over-exposure), and if it continues to the left, you have pure black areas (under-exposure). If it does both, as it often will during mid-day, there is too much contrast in the scene. Usually, clipped shadows, like the ones in the black areas here, are more pleasing than clipped highlights. The sun (below) is an exception, as we expect it to be bright (same goes for the sky, but not in sky-centered photos like sunsets). The photo also has clipped shadows (the flower buds on the left), but it looks nice still. However, I increased the contrast carefully on the computer (the second image is the original); it wouldn’t look that good straight from the camera.

Yellow Sunshine (edited) Yellow Sunshine (source image)

First Entry

Hello all! I’m Richard X. Thripp, and 2007-12-23 marks the day of my first entry on my blog at The reason for the subdomain is so that I may share with friends and family without it being a personal website.

Unfortunately I have crippled hosting through Netfirms, and so all my pages must have “/index.php” in their URIs (2008-11-01 Update: switched hosts long ago). When I switch to a better host (I’m locked in through 2008-07), hopefully I’ll be able to redirect all old links to the new pages without “/index.php”. I was able to get advertising set up through Google Adsense, which may cover hosting costs.

Expect to see a lot of my photography and essays. Check out my about page, which lists me and my family’s websites, and contact information and pricing regarding my photography services (Daytona Beach area, Florida).

Go ahead and post some comments to get the ball rolling. No registration needed, for now at least (2008-11-01 Update: no registration required ever).