Microsoft one ups Google+ for photos

Just got the latest update for the OneDrive app and saw the new tags section that tries to classify photos automatically based on content. Tags range from #building to #group. It is reasonably accurate too, though I don’t take too kindly to baby photos being tagged #dog & #animal. Either ways, good to see a feature like this make it to an app rather than having a research lab project having its thunder stolen by a competitor’s published app (Hyperlapse from Instagram did pretty much this).

Entomology during a picnic

Some shots of insects that I took during a picnic in Bangalore some time back. Not bad output using a point and shoot camera (a Canon Powershot A630). Notice the excellent camouflage of the grasshopper in the first photo and the praying mantis in the last.

Grasshopper

 

Ant

IMG_2247

Some origami video to start with

Over the last week, I have been thinking about doing some video content creation, specifically some kinds of do it yourself videos. I have a liking for origami, and thought this should be a good starting point. I did have a youtube account, but there were also numerous other similar services.

I was wondering which service would be a good choice, and this is when I came across Andy’s post on his choices of online video services. He has given a nice comparison of some of the services like youtube, viddler and seesmic, finally favouring viddler:

Viddler is just so easy to use. It accepts a whole range of common video formats and will transcode them for you. You can tag your videos – and even better than that, you can add comments and tags at particular points in the video. I can embed the videos on my WP.com blog (which is not possible with Seesmic). It’s easy to find and connect with friends. There are groups. There are excellent stats which show where hits on your videos are coming from, including when a video is played through an embed on your site or another one…

The viddler features seemed quite attractive. So, I signed up for it and uploaded my first video (a flapping bird origami). I also did some digging to see how the Viddler videos could be embedded into a WordPress.com blog, and it seems there is a tag to do this:

At the Viddler site, if you click on Menu in the lower right of a video screen, a row of menu selections appear at the top of the video screen. Select “embed” and then click on the “wordpress.com” button and it will give you the code that will work with [WordPress].com.

Here’s the embedded form of the bird origami video (there’s also a flickr photo set for the step by step photos):

I’ll be creating more origami videos along with corresponding flickr sets (also an origami collection for the sets). The only problem for me right now is the slow upload speed (64 kbps), due to which I am uploading low resolution videos (320×240) without audio. As for the video creation, I used my digicam, a Canon Powershot A630 mounted on a Gorillapod to shoot the video, and VirtualDub to re-edit the video (re-encoding to DivX and removing audio).

Experimenting with the colour accent setting

I was in Bangalore for the last two weeks visiting my parents and attending the Durga Puja festival. During this period I took quite a lot of photos and played around with my Canon Powershot A630. A review of the camera had mentioned the colour accent feature, and I wanted to give this feature a serious try. This mode allows you to choose a colour, and all other colours are grayed out (as in a the above photo which has the colour red selected), kind like in many advertisements.

The mode is quite interesting and makes for some pretty different looking shots. This effect is of course possible by modifying regular photos through image editors as illustrated in this PC World article. You can really make your subject stand out with this effect (though I didn’t really focus on a single subject in most of the photos).

There’s also a colour swap mode that lets you switch one colour for another, but it does not work too well. So, what are your thoughts on such special effects? Have you experimented with them using your camera, or do you prefer to use image editors?