Category Archives: Software

A 100-temple Kannon pilgrimage

The 33 temples of the Bandō Sanjūsankasho (“The Bando 33 Kannon Pilgrimage”) form together with the 33 temples of the Saigoku pilgrimage and the 34 temples of the Chichibu Kannon temple pilgrimage, a 100-temple Kannon pilgrimage.
Now free Android apps for all three of these pilgrimages are available from the Android store.

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Of the three pilgrimages, at a mere length of 100 km, the Chichibu 34 Kannon pilgrimage is best suited for the tourist who can only dedicate a limited amount of time and would like to walk the pilgrimage. And as Chichibu is, undeservedly, still largely undiscovered by the majority of the tourists, you have a chance to enjoy a lovely area of Japan that is less than an hour from Tokyo by train.
See also here.

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The Chichibu Pilgrimage App for Android

The pages describing my experience of walking the Chichibu 34 Kannon temple pilgrimage on this blog remain popular and this makes me happy as that means that a lot of people are looking to get more out of their trips to Japan, decided to get out of the big cities and get a taste of the real Japan. I’m therefore happy to announce that I’ve written a free Android App that works as the perfect travel assistant specific for the Chichibu 34 Kannon Temples pilgrimage.

The Henro App is based on my own experience walking the pilgrimage and it is what I would have liked to have with me when I was doing the pilgrimage. Some of the temples are difficult to find. Even though there are some signs and stone markers guiding the pilgrim, especially in the Yokoze area, I found myself walking with both the books in my hand constantly looking at hand-drawn maps that were put together a long time ago and not always accurate or reading descriptions that were a bit confusing at times. I really felt like I wanted to have all the details of a temple and up-to-date maps easily accessible on my phone or tablet and even have the possibility to use GPS to indicate your current location or use for navigation to a temple.
Well, here it is is, a perfect pilgrim’s assistant and I have packed it with loads of details about other tourist attractions in Chichibu as well; so even if you don’t use it to do the pilgrimage, you’ll get plenty out of it when you visit Chichibu and it comes at a price you cannot beat. Available now in both English and Japanese (日本語版). 🙂
Check out the video on YouTube to see what to expect.

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Reciprocity for Android

A few weeks ago I wrote an Android App that I felt I needed myself when I was out and about in the field photographing. I’m glad that it has now almost 100 more than 220 installs. As you are well aware of, most films do need correcting for reciprocity failure to avoid underexposing your negatives for exposure times of over a second. This really gets important for Large Format or pinhole photography, and also for night photography of course.
Until now I had a folder with a few printed PDFs with tables of exposure correction information for the different films that I regularly use. I kept the folder in my camera bag where I had to replace the prints regularly due to wind, rain and other damage; an App on a phone you’re already carrying is of course easier to use.
As a bonus, in the Reciprocity App I could also include the findings of Howard Bond from his article in the Photo Technique magazine which had been formulated into an easy formula by Patrick Gainer.
It is a simple App, but packed with the reciprocity details of most black and white films currently being sold. Works fine on my Android phone as well as on my Android tablet. All information is contained in the App so no data connection is needed when you’re on a photo shoot abroad, on top of a mountain or in the deep countryside without any connectivity. It’s free, make sure to grab it!

As for an iOS version for Apple devices, I don’t have the possibility to develop an iOS App and you are probably better off with an Android device anyway. 😀

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Scanning Large Format

I really need a better scanner that can handle the large format 4×5 inch negatives that I’m working with now, but at the moment I have no choice but to use my Epson V500 PHOTO.

For the moment I found the following solution: I scan the negative in parts and use the Photomerge feature in an old version of Adobe Photoshop Elements to stitch the parts back together.  Not a great way, probably not recommended, but so far it has done the trick. 🙂

Update: I’ve now obtained an Epson V800 PHOTO scanner and get much better results.

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Spot Removal

Working on a spot removal program, specifically working on the spot detection at the moment and on finding a good algorithm for rubbing out the spots. See the before and after of my first results, so far so good.
Amazing how the digital and the analogue worlds can corroborate

Caffenol-C-L for 70 minutes, 5 minutes presoak and 30 seconds of inversions to startScan-130925-0004-tinyX

The photo below shows the before and after of spot removal in a single image, with the ‘after’ in the red cadre.

Caffenol-C-L for 70 minutes, 5 minutes presoak and 30 seconds of inversions to start

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WordPress images look terrible in Chrome, bypass found

I have been struggling with this for a while and now managed to find a solution: The issue is that an image displayed via WordPress looks bad in Google Chrome while the same page looks fine in other browsers. I discovered that I needed to add -–enable-monitor-profile to the target line of the shortcut I use for Chrome and then all of a sudden the colours are there.
These are images saved in sRGB with a profile embedded.

For all clarity, I am referring here to the full images, I know that WordPress does some resizing of smaller versions of the images and quality can suffer during that step, but this is different.

Note that the same images uploaded to Aminus3.com looks fine in Chrome, so WordPress does something that causes chrome to mess up somehow and therefore I asked the WordPress team to look into why adding this flag is required for WordPress and Chrome.

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EXIF data and scanned images

Since Adobe’s Lightroom and most of the other tools that I use are geared towards DSLRs, I have felt the need to add as much EXIF data to my scanned images as possible. The more photos I add to Lightroom, the more important Smart Collections are getting to me and the less I want to rely on keywords. Things got even more complicated when I started using more than one film camera and wanted to use the standard ways to sort my photos by camera. Besides, I do have a blog and display my photos online, it is rather normal that my visitors want to inspect the EXIF data to understand how I arrived at this particular exposure, what my reasoning was.

Luckily, my Pentax MZ-S and Pentax 645NII cameras record exposure data on the side of the negative, but even if your camera doesn’t do this, it is still worth adding at least the camera information, film information, development information, used ISO, and any other thing that you can remember to the image. I use Vuescan to scan my negatives and it would be a great if this tool could also store all the EXIF you have available, but unfortunately it only stores the minimum EXIF data in the scanned image. I suggested adding EXIF data functionality to the image to Vuescan but I guess that Vuescan is already complicated enough and it never was added.

If you have googled how to update EXIF data in an image, you have probably come across the ExifTool by Phil Harvey. This tool can do everything and more, but in the end it is a Perl script with a command line interface. What was needed was a graphical user interface to the ExifTool and Bogdan Hrastnik has stepped up and developed the ExifToolGUI Windows tool for which you can find all information here. Strongly recommended!

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