Musings on Photography

PDF size

Posted in PDF, software, web issues by Paul Butzi on January 15, 2010


Yesterday, I got together with my friend Alex, to go over the process of generating a PDF portfolio. We spent a little time exploring the PDF options you get in the Export menu in InDesign.

What we discovered was that changing the settings to downsample the images to 150 dpi and setting the compression level to ‘medium’ dropped the size of the PDF file generated for one of my online PDF portfolios from 23MB to 8MB.

Even better, looking at the two PDF files side by side and flipping back and forth full screen, we couldn’t see a difference.

I guess I will be generating new PDF files for my static website.

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Adobe PDF reader security

Posted in PDF, software by Paul Butzi on January 13, 2010


Those of you who were concerned about the Adobe PDF security issues revealed nearly a month ago (see this post) will be relieved to know that Adobe have finally issued an update to fix the issue.

I used the regular Adobe Update feature in Adobe Reader to pick up the update successfully.

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PDF Security Issues

Posted in software by Paul Butzi on December 16, 2009


Since I’ve been banging the drum for PDF as a great format for online portfolios, etc., I feel obliged to pass on this tidbit:

A Security Advisory has been posted in regards to the Adobe Reader and Acrobat issue discussed in the Adobe PSIRT blog on December 14 (“New Adobe Reader and Acrobat Vulnerability“, CVE-2009-4324). A critical vulnerability exists in Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.2 and earlier for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX operating systems. This vulnerability (CVE-2009-4324) could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. There are reports that this vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild. Customers should refer to the Security Advisory for information on mitigating this vulnerability. The advisory will be updated once a schedule has been determined for releasing a fix.

The problem lies with Javascript. The solution, at least until Adobe gets off their butt and fixes the problem, is to disable Javascript in Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader. This is particularly important if you’re running Windows XP, apparently, as the exploit allows execution of malicious code. On Macs, Vista, and WIndows 7, Adobe Reader just crashes if it’s fed a file that contains the exploit. Or at least, that’s what I’ve heard.


Posted in Adobe InDesign, book design, PDF, software by Paul Butzi on August 21, 2009


Today I finally got my template thing in a state where I could give it a test drive.

I started from the template, with the goal of creating a portfolio from 22 images I’d made in one particular theatre. As a bit of a test, I timed the process. From the time I opened the template to the time I had generated a PDF and saved the InDesign file for the portfolio, it took me about 10 minutes.

In the process, I managed to find two different problems with the template itself – one with the way I was handling vertical images, and one problem I haven’t quite figured out with margins, the gutter, and left and right hand versions of master pages. I will have to go back and fiddle with that some.

The margin problem is forcing my hand, and I guess I will have to make some decisions about whether portfolios intended solely for web viewing should have spreads, or just single pages. I am leaning very slightly toward spreads, but it’s awfully close. Part of my reason for this slight leaning is that in terms of presenting images, it’s useful to have spreads. You can put text on one side and an image on the other, or two related images side by side. Thoughts on this?

The bottom line, here is that although I might not be able to get as much book/portfolio or print/online fusion as I had hoped, the process of having a template all set and ready for you to drop images into it to set up a publication can really, really cut the time it takes to go from a set of images in a directory all the way to the final PDF.

PDF to Blurb

Posted in book design, books, digital printing, Print On Demand, software, Solo Photo Book Month by Paul Butzi on June 24, 2009


Sure, in the past you could load your PDF into Photoshop, crank out jpgs for each page, and then load those jpgs full bleed onto pages in Booksmart, and get a book printed on Blurb that way. I’ve done it – I did it with my SoFoBoMo book last year. It works. I had trouble with loading the jpgs, and had to drag the individual page images into Booksmart one by one, and my hands hurt for two days.

But this looks more interesting. I haven’t even read everything, but it claims to be a way to generate your PDF, and then pass it directly off to Blurb for printing.

I’ll be trying it. If you try it, let me know how it works.

Using InDesign Free Trial

Posted in software, Solo Photo Book Month by Paul Butzi on June 7, 2009


I’m using Adobe InDesign CS3 for my SoFoBoMo book effort. It does the job, although I find it complicated and the UI is somehow contrived so that whenever I work for an extended period of time, I end up with my hands painful and stiff from repetitive motions.

But it has excellent PDF generation capabilties – I have 100+ images in my book (I’m editting it down, yes) right now, and I can crank out a PDF that’s under 15MB with no trouble at all.

And, if you’re still pondering how you’re going to generate the PDF layout for your book, and you’re not averse to learning to use InDesign, Gordon McGregor points out that there’s a free 30 trial version. That’s how he did his book.

Upgrade Progress

Posted in equipment, hp z3100, macintosh, photoshop, software, z3100 by Paul Butzi on February 3, 2009


So today, after puttering away at the upgrade process on the Mac Pro an hour here, and hour there, I finally got it all working. The solution, for those who actually care, was to go through the various upgrade paths offered for Mac OS X 10.5, taking slightly different paths each time, until I got to a path that worked. This required wiping the main hard disk and starting over from scratch several times, which is why it was done in dribs and drabs, an hour or so at a time. Each time I got some part started, I’d go outside, enjoy the nice weather, and play with the dog.

In the end the path that worked consisted of doing a clean install on the drive, using the ‘migrate’ feature at the end of the install to move all the apps and files (but NOT system settings, etc.) and then use software update to update EVERYTHING POSSIBLE. Then I ran the HP installer, added the printer, and it all worked. There was a moment of fear when I ran Photoshop and it went through the registration, but to my utter amazement the registration WORKED.

Whew. The whole thing felt a lot like cleanup after a big storm. Well, except I got to play with the dog a lot. I highly recommend enlisting the help of a dog in defusing the stress induced by such an upgrade. Without Kodak’s help, I’d be a basket case.

The Trailing Edge

Posted in equipment, hardware, software by Paul Butzi on January 21, 2009


There was a time when I lived on the leading edge, or as some would put it, the bleeding edge. For reasons that mostly had to do with making money, I spent a lot of time running software that was not only not shipped product, nor beta versions, but software that was not even ready for alpha status. Same thing, really, for hardware – I had a lot of bleeding edge hardware. Fast computers – among the fastest available – I had’em.

Somewhere along the line, though, I lost the taste for it. I just wanted things to work. And so I relaxed a bit, feathered away from the leading edge. I still had fast computers, but they were no longer the fastest possible. I didn’t run beta software, just the current versions.

And today, somehow, I find myself on the trailing edge. I’m not running on the latest hardware (although everything got an upgrade when we switched to Macs). And I’m not running the latest software.

Apple is making noises about releasing OS X 10.6. We have six Macs (Oh, god. Don’t ask why so many. Just don’t. It’s an addiction.) and only four of them are running 10.5, the current version. Two of them (two of the most heavily used, in fact) are still running 10.4. And I’m running Adobe Creative Suite CS3, one version back.

My main camera (a Canon EOS 5d) is one generation back. My handy camera (a Canon G9) is one generation back. My favorite lens is so old, it’s not even a USM lens. That’s old, and although I’m often tempted to sample the current version, I’m afraid it won’t live up to the excellence of the one I’ve got.

Somewhere along the way, computers got fast enough, and operating systems got powerful enough, and the constant urge to have the latest and greatest drained out of my body. Somewhere along the way, the cameras got good enough, and lenses got good enough.

I still upgrade stuff, to avoid that ugliness that you get when you fall off the trailing edge. But, I have to say, life is a whole lot less stress when you’re not constantly banging your head against leading edge problems.

Image Ingester Pro Version 3

Posted in software by Paul Butzi on October 16, 2008

I use ImageIngester Pro to copy raw files off the CF and SD cards I put in camera and onto either my laptop or my main Mac Pro. I like it. It’s easily adjusted to conform to MY idea of where the files should go, renames them according to MY ideas of how the files should be renamed, it’s fast, and it works. And it wasn’t expensive.

All that said, I’ve been eyeing the newest version of ImageIngester, version 3. It has a bunch of appealing features, and a much simplified interface that makes much more sense to me. The only thing keeping me from jumping on the bandwagon was that the new version was still in beta test.

Then I was browsing the author’s website, and reading all about Version 3, and in the comments at the end of this blog post I read the words ”

Marc, I’ve been looking forward to integrating II into my workflow (I’m a DAM Book/ExpressionMedia user). When will version 3 be out of the beta stage? Seems like it would be better to start off with that once it’s out. Any thoughts? –Cassie
Comment by Cassandra Chambliss — September 8, 2008 @ 6:33 pm

It’s stable enough… I just haven’t changed the maturity indicator. You can go ahead and use it.


Comment by marc — September 8, 2008 @ 7:50 pm

Sweet news, indeed. I have already downloaded and installed the new version. Seems nice. I am happy.

iPhone wishes

Posted in software by Paul Butzi on July 22, 2008

When the very first very Palm Pilot came out, I bought one. I’m a big believer in ubiquitous, easily portable computing.

So it’s probably no surprise that I have an iPhone. Not the new, gee-whizzy iPhone 3G, at least not yet. Just a plain old iPhone, which suits me fine. It’s a nice, convenient portable computer, especially since I upgraded the software to version 2.0. I got a lot of free software for it from the iTunes store. I bought some software for it from the iTunes store, too, including a clever app that turns the iPhone into a guitar tuner. Who’d have thunk it?

So, just in case someone is sitting around and asking herself “I wonder what software I should write for the iPhone. I wish I knew what that clever Butzi fellow was wanting, because if I knew, I’d write that!” I’ll list my desires.

First, I’d like a solar calculator. No, not solar-powered calculator. I want one that will tell me where, on any given date and at any given time, the sun will appear in the sky. Or, conversely, if I ask it “On what days will the Sun be near this position in the sky?” it would give me dates and times. Same thing, perhaps, for the moon.

Second, I’d like a tide calculator – just a version of the tide software I’ve used in the past. On Windows, I used “Tides and Currents”, which was expensive and slow but pretty much worked. I have a similar app for the Mac, the name of which I don’t recall, which doesn’t do the current calculations. I’m not a sailor so I don’t care about currents, but for photography on the beach, it’s important to know where the tides will be at any given time.

Simple, eh?