Furby David Burren Photography


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January 31, 2009

Back home!

Once any jet lag has been dealt with, we'll be catching up with comms over the coming days.

January 3, 2009

Travelling until start of February

We probably won't have opportunities to update the site (or even read emails) until our return.
In the meantime I hope you and your families are well!

December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

All the best in this season of cheer. Whatever religious or secular celebration you're participating in, I hope you and your families are both safe and happy!

Apart from coping with the usual dramas of things like relatives being shipped off for heart surgery (which they've come through successfully!) we're spending a quiet Christmas with immediate family.
Our next big activity is the upcoming trip to Antarctica and to Easter Island for a month of photography. So we're in the final stages of planning and panicking about that... But at least the new EOS 5D Mark II turned up in time!

November 17, 2008

Back on deck

So I'm back "on deck" and tied to a desk job again for a few weeks (straining an Achilles tendon has reinforced that, but it was going to happen anyway). To give you a hint of what I've been up to in the last few weeks:

It's all too much for some...

We've returned from a visit to our friends at the Big Brother Mouse project in Laos. Big Brother Mouse publishes and distributes books in the Lao language (some are bilingual) with the aim of increasing literacy, even in remote parts of this poor country. While we were there we attended five "book parties", where all the children in a school are given their own book.

You can read about them on the BBM website (and you should consider sponsoring one as a worthwhile act of charity!). Here are a couple of images from the school at Hat Huan (reached by boat down the Nam Ou).

October 31, 2008

Travelling til mid-November

I'll be out of the office (and away from decent Internet) for almost two weeks from today. Email conversations will pick up again then, and once the inevitable spam has been cleared away I'll be able to attend to new messages.

I should have lots of exciting news (and pictures I hope!) when I return.

October 20, 2008

The Rawson Files workshop

Whew! We got back last night from teaching the first The Rawson Files weekend workshop in Gippsland. Jane and I had a great time, and I gather all the students enjoyed themselves as well!
25 students had 5 sessions of digital workflow training spread across almost two and a half days, interspersed with trips to the nearby hills for some outdoor photography.

We talked about the basics of using digital cameras in the field, covered organising and processing photos with Lightroom and Photoshop, through to profiling monitors and printers and exporting files to send to print labs. The practical areas such as cleaning DSLR sensors and things like custom white balance got people away from their laptops and the projector.

Obviously with only a couple of days to cover all that, we didn't go into complete detail. But we did give beginners an overview of what's possible, and there was material for those people who were already using Lightroom and RAW also.
There were several people who were glad when photographing the horsemen on Sunday that they were now shooting in RAW when they realised they were still using the custom WB from the day before...

Thanks to Sue Tanian and Coal Country Camera Club for helping to put the weekend together, and thank you to all the students who helped make it a great weekend!
Plans are already afoot for followup workshops in 2009...

October 9, 2008

ANZANG 2008 results Part 2

On attending the opening tonight of the ANZANG exhibition at the WA Museum in Perth, I found that not only did one of my images win the Animal Portrait section (old news) but two of my other images were rated as Highly Commended!

The print exhibition will on display at the museum in Perth until the 14th of November, after which it will be touring some of the regional outposts of the WA Museum. Details of further displays in 2009 have not yet been announced. In the meantime, the entire exhibition is available in book form from CSIRO Publishing.

It was great to see the prints together on the walls, as well as to meet the organisers and many of the other finalists at the ceremony. Now to get back to work...

October 1, 2008

ANZANG 2008 results

The 2008 winners of the ANZANG Nature and Landscape Photographer of the Year Competition have been announced. I must say the image of the flying Humpback Whale impressed me!

One of my portraits of Henry (a young Southern Elephant Seal) managed to win the Animal Portraits section!

September 3, 2008

Workshop news

dawn photographer

The weekend photography workshop mentioned in the July news has sold out before we even had to advertise it.
We're running it in the Gippsland hills (near Walhalla) in October, and I'll be taking attendees through the ins and outs of photography (especially outdoor photography) with digital cameras. From the use and tweaking of cameras and technique, through ways of keeping your files organised over years of work, processing your photos, to getting reliable output from printers. It's not all indoors digital talk/exercises either: we will be getting outdoors to use our cameras too!
Anyway, there's no need to describe all the details here as there are no more places available on this one.

There are already plans to run similar (but not necessarily identical) workshops again, so stay tuned.


August 26, 2008

Portable image storage

Several years ago I wrote about my Nexto ND2500 backup drive. I recently had to go through the selection of similar new devices, and wrote up my notes. If you're a photographer looking at purchasing a device to back up your photos in the field without having to lug your laptop along, hopefully it'll be useful to you.

August 8, 2008

SPOT Messenger

As someone who often travels alone to remote locations, for many years I've carried a personal EPIRB so that if I have an accident I can alert emergency services. This has given my family a bit of peace of mind when I've headed off into the outback on my own.

Changes to the EPIRB system mean that the old 121.5/243 MHz EPIRB beacons will be obsolete in February 2009. The newer digital EPIRBs and PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons) offer lots of advantages, including faster signalling (the old units can take hours before the emergency services are deployed: the new units work within minutes) and better accuracy (units can have internal GPS receivers with accuracies down to 15m, versus 2km for the non-GPS units, and ~20km for the old analog units). They also have unique IDs, so when an alarm is activated they know who's having the problem and can call their nominated contacts immediately.
With all those advantages, upgrading an old EPIRB to a new PLB would be a sensible move even if the old system wasn't being retired. Of course, the fancy new technology is not cheap: a GME MT410 PLB costs ~AU$450, and the MT410G (with GPS) costs ~AU$600. If you can find a Kannad XS2 (no GPS) it costs ~AU$350. Every 5 years or so these units need to be sent in to have their internal batteries replaced (a procedure my old MT310 EPIRB has gone through in the past).


In looking around for something to replace my old EPIRB, I recently came across a different option: the SPOT Messenger. This has an internal GPS, and communicates via GlobalStar satellites. While it has an emergency alert function, that's not all it can do. It has three messages you can send:

  1. Emergency alert ("911") which gets passed to emergency services.
  2. "OK", which will send an email to a list of addresses you've configured via their website. The email basically says "I'm OK, and here's a Google Maps link to show you my current location".
  3. "Help", which again will send an email to a list of addresses you've configured via their website. This can be configured to send a different email than OK (e.g. "Please help") without triggering a response from emergency services.

The SPOT costs US$170 (plus US$108/year for service and US$100,000 of emergency response insurance). It uses standard AA batteries, is waterproof, and it floats. It looks like a really attractive option! However, it's not perfect: it doesn't have quite the worldwide coverage of a PLB (nor quite the reliability constraints) and it's run out of the USA instead of being hooked directly into international emergency response centres (the emergency call will get through, just not as promptly). It's not really a substitute for a real PLB but if it covers your area, the ability to send "I'm OK" messages to family is worth a lot!

According to the published coverage map the coverage of Australia and New Zealand is great. Unfortunately the coverage of many of the international locations I'll be travelling to in the next year is spotty or nonexistent which is a shame: it would be nice to be able to send status reports to the family while we're travelling.
But right now I'm seriously considering purchasing a SPOT. If you're a photographer who has one already (especially if you're in Australia) I'd appreciate hearing from you!

July 25, 2008

July update

I'm going to experiment with a different style of updates for this section of the website.

We're just starting up another semester of teaching at PSC, which does wipe out a lot of each week. At the same time I've got lots of other projects on the go (although my schedule has been dramatically simplified lately!). As well as my consulting work in digital asset management and colour management practices, and the ongoing commercial photography work, there are always more projects in the pipeline.
A recent development is that later in 2008 I'll be conducting a weekend photograpy workshop in the Gippsland hills. This one is being run in collaboration with a photographic group for its members: we're expecting all the places to be filled internally. If there are more places available I'll be announcing it here. It should be fun!

May 4, 2008

"Touch of Nature" - presentation May 18th

Along with Pele Leung and Jenni Horsnell I will be presenting an afternoon showing of our photography. We each specialise in slightly different areas, but it's generally all images of the natural world.

It's at University College in Parkville, Victoria (one of the residential colleges of the University of Melbourne) from 1:15pm til 4:45pm on Sunday the 18th of May 2008.

If you're in town please come along and check it out. And send your family and friends too: we're aiming the presentations at more than just photography enthusiasts. The presentation will consist of projected slideshows, with discussions by the artists of some of their images. Prints, books, and DVDs will be available for sale of course.

For further details head on over to Pele's site.

May 2, 2008

Sensible image metadata

If you're a photographer trying to manage your ever-growing collection of image files, editing the image metadata becomes an important task. Software like Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom makes this easy, but even so there are some common mistakes.

A new article talks about where to put your image captions, and provides an enhancement to Lightroom to help avoid the most common error.

April 5, 2008

Busy, busy!

After a long hiatus of activity here (over the last few months it's been a combination of overwork, illness, and travelling) I'm now working my way through the email backlog again.

Once today's classes are over (Monday's a full day of teaching at the moment) and more email's been ploughed through, we've got a few announcements I hope you'll find interesting. Back soon!

Unless otherwise noted, all text and images on this website are Copyright David Burren Photography 2000-2010 and may not be used for any purpose without prior consent.

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