Where My Photography Lives

My portfolio site has examples of both my Landscape and Commercial Architecture work. For those fascinated by Iceland, that spectacular rock in the North Atlantic, there are two portfolios. Also, for those interested in visiting  Iceland, there is a section on “Camping in Iceland.” Camping is remarkably easy and inexpensive in Iceland. This was a 2006 trip but still serves as an practical introduction to the much traveled Ring Road.

If you are interested in  a print or three of my work visit Crated.

William Smithey

The Holuhraun (aka Bárðarbunga) Eruption Ends…

Holuhraun 3rd September 2014. Photo: Richard Yeo.From Icelandic Met Office

 After six months, the volcanic eruption in Holuhraun has stopped. The eruption began August 31, 2014 and ended February 27, 2015 – 181 days total duration. The resulting lava field measures 85 square kilometers.

Even as the lava flow has ceased there are concerns about a sub-glacial eruption at the volcano Bárðarbunga. The last sub-glacial eruption at Eyjafjallajökull caused air traffic delays and cancellations affecting millions of people. The potential for flooding and increased gas pollution continue even as the flow of lava has stopped.

Two Images

I travel from California to Iceland as often as time and funds allow. I have been enough times (5) and spent enough days (nearly 100) to have favorite places. One of the places I return to is Ásbyrgi (Canyon).

Ásbyrgi is a horseshoe shaped canyon carved by a titanic glacial burst or, according to other geologists, repeated, big enough glacial bursts. The canyon walls are vertical lava. Midway down the canyon is an outcrop. I’ve set with a camera aimed at this outcrop on three of the trips. I spent years as a 4×5 inch film photographer so I know how to sit and wait. But no mater how good and eye or how great a subject, the quality of the light will separate good images from little more than records.

My visits in 2006 and 2014 Ásbyrgi were sunny and relatively warm. I get annoyed with sunny Iceland days. The light on sunny days reminds me of Winter light in the Southwest Deserts of the US. Great light at the beginning and end of each day with hard work in between. In 2014 the late in-the-day clouds are a great help.



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Bárðarbunga – Images of the Eruption

Bárðarbunga has put on a show. Follows are some of my favorite still and video images of the Holuhraun Eruption.


The Bárðarbunga Volcano

As someone who is interested and visits Iceland I’ve been watching the progress of the Bárðarbunga (Bardarbunga) Volcano with great interest. As of this post, and after a false report, the Volcano is not yet erupting. Follows are some links to keep up with the eruption – if there is one.

(early September) The eruption started in Holuhraun lava field, north of Vatnajökull (ice cap) along a dyke that is fed by the same magma chamber as the Bárðarbunga volcano. Bárðarbunga lies under the central ice cap. Thus far the eruption has been along the dyke and adjacent to the Ice cap. A sub-glacial eruption would cause flooding and ash production as seen in at Eyjafjallajökull.

(October 17, 2014) Iceland Review now has their coverage neatly in one place.

Earlier coverage:

For a pretty constant stream of information try the Icelandic Met Office


The Patent System is Officially Broken

Software, pharmaceutical and some molecular biology patents have strained our current patent system. Many have argued that it may be too broken to fix. It was my impression, wrong it would seem, that more traditional patentents; those based on novel ideas, implentaitons or inventions and involving no algorithms or cell lines were still working. Turns out I was wrong.

From Photography Bay:

Amazon Technologies, Inc. (a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc.) has legitimately patented studio the common studio photography method of photographing subjects on a seamless white background using a cyclorama and the USPTO actually granted the patent.

Photography bay includes the Patent illustration of the technique. Amazon has, somehow, patented the standard way that photographers have set up lights for a photo with a bright white background – millions of catalogue images have been shot using exatcly this technique.

This is pure silliness.

Due Diligance

Trolls and the legitimately ignorant…

The New Mac Pro (20113) is not:

  • An overpriced game machine
  • A fail because you can’t stuff it with spinning hard drives.
  • Just a round PC
  • A trash can with a fan or a beer keg or…
  • Typically closed Apple hardware
  • Will, unlike the pre-2013 Mac Pro, spawn a sea of cables and clutter
  • To be compared with a Hackintosh, a Chrome book or a, wait for it, MS Surface
  • The next Cube or the NEXT cube
  • More expensive than truly comparable HP or Dell hardware.


The Mac Pro (2013) is:

  • Made of server level components (Intel Xeon processors, PCIe- based flash storage, 4-channel DDR3 memory controller EEC memory)
  • The Fastest Mac ever produced
  • Capable of running 6 Thunderbolt displays or 3 4K displays
  • Equipped with dual AMD FirePro graphics cards
  • Darth Vader Black
  • Double the floating point performance compared to the previous Mac Pro
  • Remarkable industrial design which can be moved without two teamsters doing the lifting

The New Mac Pro is a workstation. It will typically be tethered to a RAID system and one or two monitors. Many if us use an NAS for additional storage. It is true that Apple, by limiting the internal storage capacity has pushed some of the cost of the New Mac Pro downhill to the consumer. That said, most of the target audience were using RAID (5 or better I’d wager.) USB 3.0 RAIDs, FW800 RAIDs and with a breakout box, eSATA RAIDs are welcome. You will eventually want a Thunderbolt RAID and they are currently selling at a premium.

Importantly if you don’t want or can not afford a Workstation (or, as some comments suggest, don’t have a clue what a workstation class compter is or does) then you have three choices:

  • Buy an iMac. Fully spec’d at less than $4,000. Starts at less than $2000
  • Buy a Mac Mini. Capable but limited
  • Don’t buy anything Apple. Go away and quite trolling.

On The Death of Everpix

Memo to: Apple

Re: Everpix Shuts Down

I am but a small blog in a sea of bigger and smaller ones. I am a professional photographer that uses Macs and iOS devices (nice job on the 5s camera by the way) along with a collection of digital cameras to make a living.

But, and this matters, I don’t post “real” images on social sites. Hoisting any image on the internet is no different than being willing to give it away. I make a living and devote my working life to taking images that have value. Zero is not value. Other Pro photographers have a different view and have gained (sometimes) deserved accolades by using Social media to get the word out; to show the world what they can do.

I have tens of thousands of photographs – more than would fit on my iPhone or iPad. Photo Stream works, after a fashion, but I need access to my photo library, the entire photo library, when I’m meeting with a client or traveling or…

For the past year or so I’ve had just that, universal access to my images, with Everpix. I gladly paid their subscription price and I gained access to my entire image collection, curated in Aperture and loaded onto Everpix servers. That is ending as Everpix, a great service, failed to gain enough subscribers to keep the servers running and the lights on.

In many ways, Everpix has become what Aperture and iPhoto should be but are not. What appears to be a very sad day for the folks at Everpix and for people like myself, should look like an opportunity to Apple. These folks have dug the trenches and laid the pipe and I’m running out of metaphor here. Buy Everpix, expose millions of people to the idea of “all your images, anywhere” and offer to back up those pictures of Brandon’s or Ella’s or Isabel’s or Mathew’s first steps, High school graduation and candids at their weddings. iPhones have become our casual cameras but we use others. We need a drawer to toss the images in, for the more organized, an album to arrange and annotate them. Everpix was this and iPhoto / Aperture with Photo Stream are clearly not. Hard drives die, phones don’t float and iCloud is not yet up to the task of backing up every important image that we need not to lose.


P.S. Everyday Everpix, with my permission, sent me a few images from the past. The images were arranged by year. This was genius. My Wife and I on vacation, my favorite dog, past and present, a wedding, a commercial shoot or some giant home remodel that isn’t quite finished yet, these are evocative and effective reminders of the passage of time. And they showed up in my inbox everyday.

Updating the Fuji X100 (not the X100s): It’s a big deal.

I’ve written about the Fuji X100. I use the Fuji X100. I may have mentioned, as have others, that it is a flawed masterpiece.

This past week it became a bit less flawed. The X100 was announced at Photokina in 2010; I took custody of mine in early May, 2011. Despite it’s considerable age (in digital terms anyway) Fuji has not forgot about the camera and issued a major firmware upgrade. Focus speed is faster, it focuses closer, AF focus selection finally makes sense and some real effort has gone into making manual focus a viable way to use the camera (it really wasn’t prior to this update.) Focus Peak Highlight, a huge help in manual mode, has made it’s way from the X100s to it’s predecessor.

Good stuff and rare to see such extensive support for a camera long out of production.