Make your own “Google” search story! I tried my hand at mine :-)

I am sure you have watched and enjoyed the Google viral video about “Parisian Love“. Now, Google and youtube offer you an ultra easy-to-use online tool to help you create your own “Google search” videos in a few minutes!

All you have to do is make up your own story as a sequence of  “Google searches” and then define what kind of results you want (typical search, maps, images etc.). You can preview the short clip, then select the music and voila! Of course it aims at promoting Google capabilities more than you, but hey! it’s fun!

As a Greek photographer I have made my own 30″ Google Search video to promote my Greece photos! What do you think? 🙂

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Venice and Burano – My photo slideshow

This is a showcase of my Venice photos, shot a few months ago. A full-screen version of the Venice photo slideshow is on my photography website.

See the full Venice gallery … here

Would appreciate your comments or critique at my guestbook, if you liked it!

My own Blurb experience: “Paros, beyond crowded eyes” book

Paros, beyond crowded eyes

 

 

[See a part of the Paros portfolio contained in the Blurb photobook by clicking here… or enjoy the relaxing Paros photoslide with music, by clicking here (last in row)]

 

Back in September 2007, I made my second Blurb book, about Paros island. I named it after my Paros portfolio: “Paros, beyond crowded eyes” to convey a different approach to this fabulous island.

I was keeping a blogpost on this, so I thought I should make it available for public use here…


1.  Preparing the photobook at home…

I selected 60 of my photos from Paros island. I had already installed the Booksmart application (version 1.8.1 back then) to make the layout. Booksmart is provided for free by Blurb and is easy to create a book with templates etc. The most current version is now 1.9.5 , which is much more stable.

It took me almost 3 days (evening work) to make the layout, including photos and captions. The end-result was looking rather good. All photos were imported at full-size 300dpi. It took me almost 40 mins to upload the book and the whole thing was rather easy (full marks here). I should note however, that I have been using a monitor color calibrator for optimal results. If you wish to make a photobook not only with Blurb but indeed with anyone else you should have one of these little gadgets to avoid color wash-out surprises!


2.  Ordering…

I ordered the book on September 15, 2007. Blurb said it would ship on September 25 so I guess I would be having it at around Sept 28 (shipped to Athens, Greece), almost 13 days after ordering. Another full mark here for Blurb.

The shipping costs remained an issue. My hardcover was landscape 10″x8″, 120 pages total, and amounted to €28. Shipping USPS standard costs were at €25! Ι complained. I wrote to them on Saturday 15, 2007 as soon as I saw the charges. They responded early Monday. They said that this is “normal cost”, much reduced since the past. Well, it is better than the past, but still too high. Since then, they have also introduced a cheaper but slower normal mail possibility. Nevertheless, the book went into preparation.


3.  Photobook arrived!

Well my Blurb book arrived on Sept 25,2007, earlier than expected (!). The packaging was good and the book was shrinkwrapped, although not with bubbles. Blurb could do better on that. The packaging is similar to how Amazon.co.uk ships books. Mine came to Greece shipped from the Netherlands.

 

4.  Examining the photobook…

The colour reproduction was faithful and I was amazed by the good quality even though I had some “difficult” sunsets included! The overall setup and purchasing experience was quite improved since my first book (about Santorini island) so I was really happy about it. Stitching was hard made this time, although I kept my fingers crossed. The original Santorini book fell apart as soon as I browsed it. As of today (June 2008 ) almost nine months later, the Paros photobook is as strongly stitched as day one…

 

5.  Samples

I know that no description could match a sample of the real thing. So here are some photos of the book…  (some artifacts or visibe noise on these pictures is due to .jpg compression and not visible on the book)

The cover (at the right of the cover there is a desk-lamp shadow which looks like a bent. It’s not. The book arrived in perfect shape)
 

 
An overall view of the inside:

Another inside view:

Inside detail:

 

A detail of the stitching:

 

Despite the original nagging at my first Santorini photobook which fell apart, this time this photobook is still going strong after so many months of use. Actually I went on to order some 7 or so more copies for friends and clients. A sample of the inside is here in pdf (as produced by Blurb)…

Although I have not yet moved on to produce my most aspiring photobook about Venice, I think summer might be the time due to some spare time after job… An overall positive Blurb experience.

(I should make a note here that I am not directly on indirectly or in any case affiliated to Blurb. I have been in the past very critical about some aspects of their work, but this time I think they are starting to make a difference in the new and promising Printing-On-Demand business)

Your own comments on your Blurb books (plus possible links) would be most welcome, so as to enrich our experiences!

Kaminia Harbor, Hydra – Stories behind photos #4

Kaminia harbor - Yannis Larios Photography

Click here for the photo, found at my Hydra island (Greece) photos portfolio.

I had hoped that the photography magazines that I am subscribing to, would enrich my photography knowledge beyond the aperture and shutter techniques and beyond Photoshop post-processing. And I am glad they do!

You see, I am always seeking those articles which do not just stand at the brink of my camera’s manual or at the edge of Photoshop’s menus. Articles about learning how to chase light certainly do deserve my attention.  And when I was in Hydra island, Greece a couple of years ago, it happened that I was reading one of these, on how to anticipate light when the clouds clear, usually at the afternoons.

We had planned to stay in Hydra island for only a couple of days. So each day was precious. However, an afternoon’s rain and a grey dull sky prevented us from walking leisurely at the island’s perfectly preserved alleys. For the rest of my company it was time for an afternoon rest. For me it was a good moment to test my favorite magazine’s credibility…

I had already planned where to go. The small Kaminia harbor further away did look perfect when previsualised. I took a boat-taxi to drive me to other side of the island under heavy rain. Tourists and locals had already made their choice to empty my photographic scenics. Everything was working according to the article’s words: rain, dull grey sky, afternoon, people inside their homes… The stage was set. We had to wait for the actor now: the sun rays.

The boat-taxi driver that left me at the small harbour, asked me where I would stand under the rain, being there alone. And also, what was that thing that I mysteriously sought after… I could not answer “just the light” ’cause I would add another one to this large group of people that believe that I have pushed my photography passion a step too far. So I just answered “I am searching for my friend’s summer house“… and went on to find my spot.

I did a quick walk around the harbour…. The rain was becoming lighter . Time was passing by. The clouds started to change. The act was on. I sheltered a bit to wait for the skies to open. Opened the tripod legs and selected a Sigma 10-20mm wide angle to fit the whole picture. I would have a bit of distortion but didn’t care. I still regret forgetting to change the ISO setting back to 100. But I guess that’s why I am called a hobbyist…..

Suddenly, as the sun was setting and as if a recipe was being followed religiously, the clouds started to break apart. The first glimpses of sun light would come over the clouds. The rays started colouring the place. I was there in advance, a bit wet but at a good spot. I had the priviledge to see the full act of the sun.. and to capture it.

Three shots, admittedly not with the best settings back then in 2005. But at least I was satisfied… Not only for depicting Kaminia harbour at Hydra island as I wanted… but also because the magazines subscriptions are actually well-worth it!