Facebook Page for Darby Sawchuk Photography

Let’s skip ahead to the good stuff… Please visit my Facebook page here:

Darby Sawchuk Photography on Facebook

This is one of those things I probably should have done a long time ago. I’m honestly not sure why I never did, but that doesn’t matter now. There’s a page there and that’s what counts!

I plan to add plenty of photos there (both old and new) while also giving some short-and-sweet updates and news bites about travel and photography. Hopefully a few folks will show up and we can chat about where we’ve been, where we’re going, and the photos we love. I don’t want to be ‘that guy’ that floods your feed with a hundred posts a day (that’s just rude!), I just want to show you some great views of the world.

US Parks Charging for Photos

If you’re a professional photographer shooting groups on United States National Park Service land, you now need a permit to do so.

In a move designed to offset the costs of maintenance and security associated with commercial photography on park land, professional photographers will now have to buy a permit costing between $50 and $250 depending on the size of the group being photographed.

So if you plan to have your wedding photos snapped at the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, you have to factor in the cost of the permit.

As a photographer, obviously this is disappointing. But for American photographers, this new system must be particularly aggravating since the land is publicly owned – so even though US citizens own the land, they now have to pay to use it for certain types of photography.

So, WordPress is Pretty Hot

Yeah, I’m seriously regretting using Mambo now. I’ve just been using WordPress for about a half hour now and it is so much more user friendly. I really think I could have the non-gallery portion of my site up and ready to go in no time.

The problem is that pesky Gallery software. I think I could leave it as a standalone, but I would have to do some serious changes to the CSS files. That’s not really a big deal at first glance, but really, without being able to see it in IE, I’m bound to be in for a few surprises considering it’s so bloody hard to get that script to do what you want.

That’s all fine and good. I know how I could do that. One tricky thing though would be to try to get a search block for the images working on the non-gallery pages. Right now I can do that through Mambo (which, by the way, was a total fluke of coding and I still don’t really know what I did). I really don’t think I would have such good luck with WordPress. I really want people to be able to search my images from anywhere on my site, but I don’t know if that’s going to be possible.

RSS: Now With Less Suck!

I spent a little time yesterday making some improvements to the site. First off is a revamping of the RSS feed. Previously, the RSS feed generated by the Mambo CMS (Content Management System) had no real dates attached to the items. But, thanks to this hack, the RSS feed is now actually accurate.

I also added the ability to comment on blog entries and articles. I don’t really know if anyone will be interested in making comments or not, but at least now they have the option!

I would also like to add some kind of trackback or pingback functionality to the blog here, but I am now discovering that Mambo is really a horrible platform for blogging. I’m now kicking myself for using this particular CMS – something like WordPress would probably have suited me just fine. I didn’t necessarily need to have my gallery embedded into the overall CMS and I could have had them working together adequately without all the hassles of Mambo.

If only I were efficient enough to implement a new site CMS in a few days. I would give it a go, but a few things are going to hold me back from that. First off, I don’t have a PC for testing, so I can pretty much forget about it. I also don’t have a lot of time on my hands for this sort of thing. On a related note, the amount of content on this site is escalating every day and porting it over to another CMS would likely take a while. Oh well. I have what I have for now so I’ll see if I can make th best of it.


Do you like being clothed? If so, check out Oddica, a brand new t-shirt site with a good stock of fun designs. They will officially be launching on May 19th, but for now, you can still browse some of the tasty designs you will be able to wrap around your torso.

Something Resembling Normal

I now spend a lot more time in front of a computer than I do behind a lens or in front of some wonderful spectacle. And for now, I have no complaints. By July, my feet may regain their usual itchiness and I will be eager to hit the road once more. But for now, I’m happy to stay off them for a while.

The next couple of months will be spent recharging my batteries after the three months of constant movement, reconnecting with friends in Japan, and making all my pretty pictures that much prettier (and of course, sharing them with you).

So, now that I’m here in Japan and temporarily resuming something akin to a normal life, my travel adventure tales may be a little less frequent. Of course, bizarre sights, sounds and times abound in Japan, so I’m bound to find myself getting into some kind of fun. Already the treasured, ephemeral cherry blossoms have swept through Ichinoseki and are now drifting to the ground like snowflakes, but not before I photographed them and joined a hanami (cherry blossom viewing party) party with friends old and new. The blossoms couldn’t escape me this year! Already I have regained my private rock star status in the city’s best karaoke joint. Already I have been bewildered and enchanted by this strange country and this quaint city that is still so foreign and yet so familiar.

But until I find myself being tackled by kids, climbing a mountain, or appearing on morning TV, I may actually turn this blog of mine into less of a travel journal and more of a… well… blog.

When taking breaks from processing photos, the Internet is of course, my number one distraction, so from time to time, I’ll pass along some of better material that has left me feeling not exceptionally guilty about my procrastination.

And without further ado, the talked about story of the weekend is Steven Colbert’s appearance at the White House Correspondents dinner. Dishing out scathing and hilarious commentary on George Bush is one thing. Doing it to his face is another. And for that, Mr. Colbert gets my official Big Cajones of the Day Award.

Video of the roasting is available in three parts through YouTube:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Nikon D200

Nikon has just announced the D200. This camera is meant to be the successor to the D100 and from the spec sheet, it sounds like a fine addition to the camera bag. A couple highlights include: 10.2 megapixel sensor and five frames per second continuous shooting.

For more information, check out the announcement and preview on

Apple Aperture

Apple today announced a new RAW file processing application called Aperture. Check out some of the videos on the site – it looks impressive.

If it’s as speedy as Apple claims it to be and with some of its sexy features, it could end up being my new tool of choice for RAW processing. Tools like the loupe tool, the project management and the dust removal all within one single application could potentially make it find a place into my workflow.

The New Face of Stock

Graphic Design USA has a feature here detailing the results of their 19th Annual Stock Visual Survey.

Apple Switches to Intel Processors

Well, the rumour sites were right and Steve Jobs announced today at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference that Apple will be making the switch to Intel processors. See the keynote speech here and read the Apple press release here.

At its Worldwide Developer Conference today, Apple announced plans to deliver models of its Macintosh computers using Intel microprocessors by this time next year, and to transition all of its Macs to using Intel microprocessors by the end of 2007. Apple previewed a version of its critically acclaimed operating system, Mac OS X Tiger, running on an Intel-based Mac to the over 3,800 developers attending CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote address. Apple also announced the availability of a Developer Transition Kit, consisting of an Intel-based Mac development system along with preview versions of Apple’s software, which will allow developers to prepare versions of their applications which will run on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs…

Free E-Book on B&W Photography

For all the black and white film enthusiasts out there, wander over to for a free e-book copy of ‘Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual.’

Open RAW File Format

The digital camera industry is very young; less than 10 years old. Because of this each camera maker has developed their own RAW formats. And, as their ability to improve the way in which information from the camera’s sensor is recorded improves, these manufacturers have changed their formats continuously, usually with each new camera model.

How many RAW formats are there? Believe it or not, as of mid-2005 there are more than 100 different RAW formats in existence.

This alone is cause for concern. Companies come and go, and even those that persist often orphan old formats. There are in fact RAW formats in existence for which no manufacturer’s software is currently available. And that’s after less than 10 years.

The above is from an article from OpenRAW and The Luminous Landscape. It advocates the development of an open standard for the RAW file format so that photographers don’t have to worry about being unable to access their own photos in the future. Probably a good idea.

Read more here.

Adobe Buys Macromedia

Adobe Systems Incorporated has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Macromedia in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $3.4 billion.

Read more from Adobe and Macromedia.

I just hope some company steps up to the plate to provide some competition to this ever-more enormous corporation.


Friday, April 29: Tiger will be available.

Virtual Sightseeing

With the advent of the satellite images implemented in the super-sexy Google maps application comes a blog devoted to virtual sightseeing. See some famous landmarks from miles above.

New DSLRs from Nikon

According to a couple sites, Nikon has accidentally leaked user manuals for unanounced cameras. The manual for a new entry-level DSLR called the D50 was briefly posted to one of Nikon’s websites. According to this story from the camera’s existence has been confirmed by the official Nikon spokesperson.

At the same time, Rob Galbraith is reportting that another manual for a camera called the D70s has also been leaked/accidentally posted. Nikon has not confirmed the existence of this camera.

In any case, new toys are fun!

Speed Up Firefox

This is old-ish news, but new to me, so I thought I would share. This page has a couple of effective ways of speeding up Firefox page rendering. They work too!

Now, if you don’t know what Firefox is, you’re probably using Internet Explorer as a browser. You really should stop doing that. It’s not very good. Firefox is much better. Just try it for yourself and you’ll see it has much more awesomeness than IE and you’ll be making my life easier while I write the code for this site. Or you could buy a Mac and use Safari. That works too.

This concludes my highly-scientific evaluation of browser options.

The Future of Apple Innovations

Business 2.0 has published this article detailing the possible innovations Apple may have in store for consumers. Wireless iPods, portable video displays, home entertainment networking, iPhones and car-stereo/iPod integration are the major speculations here. Worth a look for the Apple fanboys in the house.

Playstation Portable

I’m not even that into these kinds of video games, but the new Playstation Portable sounds pretty cool according to this article.

While I wouldn’t complain, I think I would still rather receive an iPod Photo for my birthday (or just as a random present since my birthday isn’t until June). You know, just in case anyone was wondering…