Island in the Net

A personal blog by Khürt Williams, full of imagery, and inchoate ramblings on coffee, and geekery.

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Tag: allergies (page 1 of 2)

Cherry blossom macro portraits with olloclip and a makeshift desktop studio

Around the last year of graduate school I came down with the “sniffles”. For weeks I had itchy, watery eyes, a stuffy nose and I sneezed almost incessantly. It was impacting my school work and my friend insisted I take a trip to the school’s medical center. I was shocked to when she told me that I had seasonal allergies. I grew up in the West Indies. I never heard of anyone who had allergies to anything.

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Every I get the sneezing, nasal itch and drooling, itchy eye watering, “sniffly” allergies. I love the Spring but hate my bodies reaction to it. That doesn’t stop me from doing what I love. Walking outdoors enjoying nature coming to life after many months of dreary grey. Of course I pay for it later.

The building grounds crew were clipping off low hanging branches from the trees right outside the entrance. I asked and they cut off a small bunch for me to take.

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I set up a small “desktop studio” using two sheets of 11×14″ paper. One sheet was laid flat on the desk and the other was set against the wall of the cubicle. The branch was placed on the paper and illuminated from directly above the fluorescent light installed at the desk.

I had a lot of trouble securing the iPhone. I wanted to make sure focusing was as sharp as possible. This was challenging giving the shallow depth of field of the macro lenses. I didn’t have a tripod so I improvised. I stuck a bent business card into the slot in my Kenu car iPhone holder. After a great deal of trial and error I was able to get the setup stabalized. I used the digital zoom feature of Camera+ to check that my focus was as sharp as possible. Just to be sure, I used the 5 second shutter timer on Camera+ to reduce any possible camera shake when I tapped the on-screen shutter release.

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The following set of images were taken with the Olloclip 10X and 15X macro lens attachments for the iPhone 5. The images were exported to the iOS camera roll1 and then imported into Photogene to remove a scratch on my iPhone lens2. Once the scratch was removed, the images were exported to Flickr. This was to ensure I had a backup of the images before moving on. I then did another export to the iOS camera roll and imported images into Mextures.

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In Mextures I applied some of the formulas from the Summer Formula’s pack to create the final result. What do you think of the results?


  1. I realised later that I could have exported the images directly from Camera+ to Photogene. 
  2. The scratch shows up as a purple dot in every photo. Quite annoying but easy to remove with the “Heal” tool in Photogene. 

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April 26, 2011 : Who am I and who do I want to be?

April 26, 2011 : Who am I and who do I want to be?, D40 20110426 7234 920x611

I love spring but I have severe allergies to certiain North American plants. I say that specifically because I keep tropical plants in my home and at my desk at work. I’m not allergic to any of those. Just oak, birch etc.

Despite the allergies — the itchy eyes, the runny nose, the incessant sneezing — I love spring. It’s one of my favourite times of the year. I love the fresh smell of a spring morning just after the rains have stopped. The air is crisp and the it feels as though all the dirt and wear has been washed away. Spring feels new and invigorating. Spring means renewal and change.

I often wish my job was like that. It used to be. It used to be that I would jump out of bed in the morning eager and ready to put my talents to work solving some new business technology problems.

But it’s less like that now. Each day I feel trapped. The joy — the creativity and the innovation — have been outsourced and what’s left is … well just a job. Like spring, maybe it’s time for a change.

April 5, 2011 : 7:50 PM

April 5, 2011 : 7:50 PM, untitled 20110405 7073 920x611
I had a rough day with allergies yesterday. Despite the rain the allergen count was high enough to cause some adult onset asthma. I was having a tough time breathing so my wife insisted that I use the nebulizer.