Shooting better photos for the web (site)

Shooting better photos for website templates – notes from yesterday’s workshop.

  • Image Size: largest .jpg, closest to 16:9. On my old Nikon D80 this is 3872 x 2592 (closer to 6:4) Not RAW due to our post-processing limitations and workflow.
  • White Balance: Fluorescent (3) – look for off color (esp green) when shooting in fluoro lit labs.
  • ISO: keep the ISO aka ASA close to 100 to avoid grainy images on half frame camera.
  • TRIPOD: mandatory due to low light & ISO constraint above
  • LENS: in the smaller labs yer gunna need a wide angle lens. *paste some AA recommendations for the D80 and Canon D500 here.
  • LIGHTING: our next step is to buy and learn how to use a modest lighting rig.
  • SETUP TIME: take (and book / pre arrange) time to setup each shot
  • ZOOM IN, FOCUS: then half hold button, zoom out to frame shot. Esp. on eyes!
  • BREAK Rule of THIRDS: NO DEAD SPACE in middle of shots for the ultra wide and thin banners. Remember both Left and Right edges will get lost and shot needs to degrade gracefully.
  • ADMIN: pre prepared, have a list with all locations, peoples names, numbers etc. Double check you have each and every name, do the right thing with release forms, exposing shy people online and ethical concerns. If in doubt – DONT take the shot!


  • Top3 from each attendee.
  • Select best image that meet legal, ethical and doing the right thing constraints.
  • Crop to 16×9 (without throwing away any more pixels than necessary) – pick most interesting crop that will lend to further cropping for ultra wide banners on the site (ie no DEAD SPACE in the middle of a wide thin slice)
  • Adjust, tweak each one till it looks great for the site
  • METADATA: keep the name of the file from camera (at end of description). Make punchy title, name the lab and all people in shot. Include keywords to do with the science. (esp related to Research Themes / Challenges).

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Fang – Mike Seyfang


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OSX Keyboard settings making GravityForms in Safari look bad…

Ever had a user of one of your GravityForms say they enter the form but no entries appear?

Before you dismiss their claim, check this out..

Careful checking of one such complaint revealed that the user was TABbing through a gravity form entering data then pressing RETURN. Looking closely I saw that the cursor was not tabbing from the last entered field to the next or the SUBMIT button but to another field elsewhere on the page. That field happened to be a SEARCH field, and pressing ENTER executed a search for nothing but did not send the POST data!!!

After much hair tearing, fecking with TABINDEX settings and some excellent support from the team at RocketGenius (Make sure you invest in the developer version of GravityForms – best hundred bucks I’ve spent in a while) I cornered the issue to Safari browsers on OSX [safari 5.1.10 on OSX 10.6.8 or later].  I went thru all the usual steps to isolate WordPress THEME / Addin conflicts, set the TABINDEX=”1000″ to crazy high values in the shortcode on the page that displays the form and tried this little gem

The form at xyz does have the tabindex attributes, the issue now is a tabindex conflict. Try increasing the tabindex on the form either on the shortcode or using the following:

Now with all other plugins disabled, my theme at twentytwelve I could see the tab indices in my simple test form (single text field, three choice textboxes) but could not TAB into the checkbox field items in Safari on OSX. Then I found THIS little gem:

Change “FUll Keyboard Access:In windows and dialogs, press Tab to move keyboard focus between:”
from Text boxes and lists only to All controls
it works!!

Forms TABindex Safari OSX - badness


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Fang – Mike Seyfang


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Setlists – Bands [Geezers, Industrial Chaplain, and more…]

Shoulda done this a long time ago:

(Thought I had lost my blue ‘Grover Allman’ folder with all the old security blanket setlists, chords and tabs).
Fortunately I hadnt!

Fang – Mike Seyfang

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Upgrading my FrSKY Taranis from OpenTX-r2834 to v2.08

Since I got my Frsky Taranis X9D for Christmas last year, I have been running (happily) on opentx-r2834 firmware (from Dec2013) and using Companion9x v1.52 on two Macs (one osx 10.6 snowleopard, the other osx 10.7 lion).

Why change?

Because my shiny new SPORT GPS telemetry sensor reports rubbish data (and no latitude / longitude) to the telemetry screens of my Taranis using an X8R reciever. Did a test with different x6R receivers – same issue. Used a mate’s more recent Taranis (the one that ships with bigger battery, nicer sliders and v2.x firmware) and it worked fine. OK – time to bite the bullet and upgrade to the totally new V2.0 platform which replaces Companion9x with OpenTX companion v2.x

What a bloody nightmare of issues. Lets start with what worked then list the plethora of things that didnt.

WORKED (eventually) with some help from this manual (wish I had found opentx university and THIS differences to OpenTX2.0 reference:

  • Backup models. Make sure you have an .eepe file with all of your models (EEPROM memory to file) before proceeding.
  • Backup firmware. Use OpenTX Companion v2.0.8 on a windows 8.1 PC to Read Firmware from Radio and save it to FirmwareBackupFromRadio.bin on OneDrive. The trick(s):
    • Turn Taranis TX OFF before USB Connect to PC.
    • Check for STM32 BOOTLOADER in windows cpanel device manager (thanks to this and this video) then
    • download the right zadig.exe and run the bizzare driver swap (thanks to this post) to work around DFUUTIL errors when trying to read firmware from radio.
  • Set preferences & download new firmware. OpenTX Companion v2.0.8 has moved preference s to Settings-Settings. It is crucial to ensure Radio Type is OpenTX for FrSky Taranis before proceeding. Then select the Build Options (I chose no heli, have be warned not to add haptic). The build and download firmware buttons have also been helpfully removed. Go to help – check for updates and you will get exactly one chance to download the appropriate opentx-taranis-noheli-en.bin firmware file. Hint: if you change one of the build options you will get ‘no firmware appears to have been downloaded’ and you can download.
  • Update the firmware. Read/Write -> write firmware to radio. That was the easy bit!
  • Panic. Unplug Taranis from USB. Switch on. Greeted with ‘EEPROM WARNING EEprom Data v215’. Hit any key. Converting EEPROM.
  • Phew: conversion finished. All my models are there. The ‘WizardGlider’ model works, test GPS telemetry – now get coordinates! Mission Accomplished.
  • Sort of… Remembering the new ‘3finger salute (two trims inward while power on) to put taranis in USB mode before connect to computer – now my SD card structure with log files etc doesnt show up.
  • Restore custom splash startup image. My fancy FANG skull n cross bones startup image has gone (but the sailors hornpipe custom sound remains). Found FangSPLASH-212×64.bmp on an old drive and away we go.
  • Taranis Bootloader – 2.0.8. I knew about the 3 finger salute (two trims in and power on) to get to USB mode but had no idea what it meant or where to get information on it. Info on understanding bootloaders at OpenTX University.
    • Backup EEPROM to SD card. Long Menu->Radio Setup->4xPage->VErsion -> ENTER long to backup EEPROM to SD. Creates /EEPROMS directory on the SD card in the same drive as /LOGS etc. NOw you can restore a whole .eepe file with all the models etc in the field without a PC.
    • Backup FIRMWARE to sd card. Create /FIRMWARES directory on the same drive as the /EEPROMS and /LOGS directories. Copy in one or more .bin files to enable restore from bootloader (WITHOUT PC / MAC / ZADIG OR ANy o that shite).


  • Trying to get Companion9x v1.5.2 (the last before the big v2.x jump) running on mac osx 10.7. Tried many combinations of installers / downloads none would give me a working v1.5.2. The app would always crash on launch.
  • Trying to read firmware from radio to create a backup of my firmware using companion 9x v1.5.1 on either of my Macs. The ‘Read Flash Memory’ icon would prompt for a file (.bin) to save then exit blindingly fast with no indication of reading from TX and no file written.
  • Trying to  read firmware from radio on the windows 8.1 PC running OpenTX Companion V2.0.8 with the Taranis TX turned ON while connecting to USB. Many circles and loops of dfu-util [Opening DFU capable USB device .. Cannot open device ] errors and zadig.exe insanity here.
  • Having to use a Windows 8.1 shitebox to get from the world of Companion9x 1.5.x to OpenTX Companion v2.x. I guess that’s because my macs are getting long in the tooth. (OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard and OSX 10.7 Lion).
  • Support for old Apple Mac OSX versions (down to OSX 10.5 Leopard). Had to wade through gallons of tripe to find an OSX universal build of OpenTX Companion V2.0.7 from a DropBox of some brave compiling soul who commented on this thread in a github database of OpenTX issues. I like building rockets but I’m not about to start compiling my own builds of OpenSource software just to manage my TX.
  • OSX Universal (OSX 10.5 upwards) download – having found a universal build for 2.0.7 in the dropbox from the comment above, I went looking for a decent source of OSX universal downloads. And there it was, right under my nose [the 2.0.8 OSX .dmg is universal and works on my OSX 10.7.5 Mac.

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Fang – Mike Seyfang


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iPhone 4s Personal Hotspot Amaysim (Optus)

My AMAYSIM sim card in my iPhone4s running iOS 6.0 has served me well for many years. Especially using the Personal Hotspot over WiFi while travelling. But recently it stopped working (To enable Personal Hotspot on this account, contact OPTUS error message):


and the network name at the top left of screen has changed from Amaysim to YES OPTUS. Dug around the FAQ and google to no avail – too many possible options and old information that is very confusing. Called 567 Amaysm support (2-4-5) and got thru in less than 10min. Turns out my personal hotspot had been disabled their end and was easily re-enabled. Within about 1 minute I got a txt message “Hi Mike, good news – tethering is now enabled on your amaysim mobile service. Happy surfing!”.

All good: personal hotspot (tethering) now works as expected in settings->Mobile Data->Personal Hotspot

Then the penny dropped – Tether ing is what they call personal hotspot. Things I could (should) have tried before calling:

    • Personal Hotspot: txt ‘Tether’ to 568 and wait for confirmation message that setup is complete. This fixes “To enable Personal Hotspot on this account, contact OPTUS” error while trying to setup Personal Hotspot in Settings->General->Personal Hotspot as per AMAYSIM documentation.

  • If that didnt work I could have logged on to and resolved via text chat.
  • The support person said that to fix the ‘YES OPTUS’ network name back to ‘Amaysim’ I would have to do a full sync with iTunes. Maybe later.

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Fang – Mike Seyfang


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WAMP – quick/dirty way to enable remote MySQL queries to Windows PC wordpress database tables

Having installed a bitnami Windows Apache MySQL PHP (WAMP) stack on my PC, I was surprised to find how tricky it was to enable remote access to the WordPress Database Tables from my mac. Turns out that MyPHPadmin is only accessible from localhost by default and rather fiddly to allow access (best thru SSH tunnel).

What I ended up doing* was enabling RemoteSQL access to my Windows ‘server’ from MySQLworkbench by:

  • Open Port 3306 (TCP) in Windows Firewall
  • Granting some privileges from a SQL console.
  • For browser access to the wordpress blog: Windows (8.1) Firewall Configuration: add rule “Open port 80” (TCP) to computers from my IP address range. [one of my WiFi networks is ‘private’ the other ‘public’ so I had to add rules for both public and private network profiles. [tested thanks to this excellent article on windows firewall logging].

*Notes taken out of my gDoc “MySQL Learnings”:

*best to keep phpmyadmin to local and use SSH tunnel
Not trivial to configre remote access and setup users *do this later
[ ] turn off windows firewall [until I figure out how to open port 3306
– Add new inbound rule: TCP, Port 3306, domain & private profiles
  1. Comment [mySQL config ini file] out bind-address =
  2. Grant user access
From the bitnami docs: [native installers section]
You can enable external connections for the MySQL database.
$ /installdir/mysql/bin/mysql -u root -p -e “grant all privileges on *.* to ‘root’@’%’ identified by ‘your_root_password’ with grant option”;
In recent versions, MySQL specifies the following option in the “/installdir/msyql/my.cnf” or “/installdir/mysql/my.ini” file:
bind-address =

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Fang – Mike Seyfang


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Overlay text on movie – QuicktimePRO quick-n-dirty

Turns out that quicktimePro (which Liv has) can do the trick:

– Save desired text as a .PNG with dimensions of movie (say 1920×1080) and transparency.

– Open .PNG with quicktime player, select all, copy

– Choose a section of the target movie (in/out points) and

– Edit add to selection and scale

– Open Properties windows and play with the visual settings of the pasted .PNG video track

– Adjust Transparency (bottom left dropdown) to Straight Alpha

– repeat for as many tracks as needed.


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Fang – Mike Seyfang


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