Set up your own site

Author: Ludwig Keck

Having your own site for sharing photos has many advantages. Not the least is having a site that is all yours, looks and feels the way you want and shows your work in the manner that you choose.

In this article we walk through the details of setting up a WordPress site.

Step 1- Get a WordPress account

The first things are to pick a user name, an address for your site and a name for your site.

A username is a short “handle” that you will use to log in and that may also be seen by visitors to your site. A username cannot have any spaces. Typically it is your name, sometimes with some additional letters or numbers. My username is “ludwigkeck”. You can usually see it at the top or bottom of my posts, A username must be unique. That is not easy if you have a popular name, but with a bit of imagination you can find something. Your username can be a nickname or just a bunch of characters – it is up to you. When you start, WordPress will check to see if it is unique and you can make changes.

Step 2 – Pick a site title

Here you can choose anything you like. This will be just on your site and it does not need to be unique. In fact my site, the one with my name in the address, is called This ‘n That – there are a number of other sites with that exact same title. Here you can be creative.

Step 3- Pick a site address

For a free WordPress site the site address, domain, or URL, will consist of the name you pick followed by “.wordpress.com“. As with the username, the domain also has to be unique. I have a number of sites. Here are three of my addresses: ludwigkeck.wordpress.com, silvercanvas.wordpress.com, 2cameras2views.wordpress.com. As you can see, I used my name for one, the others are just fictious names – and you can use numbers also. When you pick a name that is already in use, WordPress informs you and you can make a change.

So lets get started

Go to wordpress.com – as long as you do not have an account, or are not signed in, this is what you see (of course, it may be somewhat different by now}:

Click on Start your website and the next window lets you set up a WordPress user account. The form asks for your email address, the username you wish to use, and a password. You know all about passwords. They need to be “strong”, not easily guessed, at least eight characters long, and must contain some upper and lowercase letters, some numbers, and some characters.

Be sure to write these items. You will need them from time to time.

There are options to log in with Google or Apple. Don’t. That just ties your WordPress account to another account and will be more trouble than it’s worth.

Click Create your account and you are off! There are the usual steps that you have experienced on other sites to check for uniqueness and all that.

Setting up the site

You will be walked through a number of picks, starting with

This is where you enter your site title. You can chose anything here and change it later, however, the next step uses this as a starting point.

That next step is to pick a domain – that is your website address. It gets just a tad tricky here. If you picked your site title as “Ludwig’s Folly“, for example. the next screen loads that in as your domain name. Sorta like this:

You will see options for the free site which ends in .wordpress.com and also simpler domain names that you can buy. Note the RECOMMENDED flag. That costs money!

The free option may contain a mess of digits. Don’t fret, just go to that shaded area – it really is a text box – and revise what is there. The WordPress system instantly checks the availability of what you types in. Keep at it until you have a domain name you like. Then click the top option for a free site.

Next you get to pick the appearance of your site, the look and feel. There are hundreds of options. You can just pick the first one, because this too can be changed at any time in the future. You may get a font choice also.

You may see options for paid sites – keep picking the free option. It is good forever and provides 3 GB of storage for photos. That is plenty enough. You can always upgrade later.

Your site will be set up and you are ready to start making use of it. I will discuss the details for that in the next article.

Banish Noise

Use high ISO with impunity!

The topic of high ISO noise came up at the “refresh reception” of the PCPC Gallery on October 17, 2020. The discussion was about my entry “Dancing at the Festival“. Later that evening I updated to the latest version of Topaz Labs DeNoise AI . That is an amazing tool and it has helped me with my low light and high ISO photos for quite some time. That made me decide to share a demonstration of what can be done.

That photo, Dancing at the Festival, was taken at the evening concert of the first day of the Peachtree Corners Festival in 2016. The time was around 8:20 pm, just a quarter hour before official sunset, but the trees surrounding the festival stage area had already brought an end to sunshine.

The music was playing and the audience got into the spirit. A number of people were dancing in front of the stage. When they saw me they began to mug for the camera. A lady with the two girls began dancing, which provided my photo. Two shy girls came up and also started posing for the camera. I must have just started to adjust my camera settings for another subject, because the resulting photos were very underexposed.

I was using my Nikon D800 with a Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G lens, my favorite for this kind of shooting. I like to use aperture-preferred mode and used a setting of f/8. That gave me enough depth of field at the long end (about half a foot at six or seven feet from a subject). At the other end of the zoom range, 24 mm, the hyperfocal distance is 8 feet, that means everything from 4 feet to infinity is sharp – no worry about focusing.

I like to set the slowest shutter speed to 1/125 second, and allow auto-ISO so the camera selects the ISO sensitivity. Back in those days I would limit the highest ISO to 6400 as the noise at that setting was all I felt I could tolerate. For reasons I don’t recall the shutter speed for the photo of the two girls was 1/400 sec, hence the bad underexposure in the fading daylight.

Last night I used the latest version of DeNoise. First I converted the image from the RAW file to JPG. I use ON1 Photo RAW 2020 for that as it has a very nice HDR effect tool that brings the shadows up nicely, applies detail contrast and makes the resulting image more natural looking that a straight conversion. Of course, I also has to use the exposure slider to lighten the image. Bringing up the shadows also makes noise on those areas very prominent.

The result was a pleasant photo, but unusable do to excessive noise. Here it is:

As you see it here it might not look too bad. But if you inspect it carefully you’d agree, nope, not usable.

This is where Topaz Labs DeNoise AI comes in. Here is what that app shows:

This is using the “Low Light” mode and the default settings. As you can see in the app, the original on the left, and the corrected image on the right, this tool removes the noise beautifully.

Here are crops from the original and the denoised version:

Notice the eye lashes, the detail in the hair. And, of course, the skin. Fun fact: The noisy original is 43.6 MB, the cleaned up version is 28.3 MB. The difference is noise, 15.3 megabytes of it!

Here is a cropped version of the cleaned up image:

Look at those beautiful little girls, look at the embroidery, look at the eyes. Now this photo does them justice.

Ludwig


Postscript

Here is how the photo shows in Nikon ViewNX-i. The red rectangle shows where I focused. Notice that I missed badly. Nowhere near the eyes. Too much in a hurry. My eyesight at night is pretty bad, being an octogenarian has its downsides. That is why I need the depth of field. The focus distance was 7.77 ft with the DOF ranging from 7.23 – 8.39 ft,

Festival Photography

Festival Photography

Festival are fun – there is food, entertainment, art, and much more. For photographers it is a cornucopia of photo opportunities. Street photography along the midway and the nooks and crannies with visitors, vendors, and performers enjoying their day. Dancers and musicians are great  subjects for interpretive imagery. There is art and food. It just goes on and may seem overwhelming. Continue reading “Festival Photography”