Archive for the 'Photography' Category

Mac & Stuff ~ Picks of 2007

There’s an old saying “the more things change the more they stay the same” and when it comes to technology where the “next big thing” seems to defy that saying, it comes down to a few basic principals. For years we have heard a steady stream of rhetoric regarding the “endless possibilities ” of our technologies. In fact though, we only need them to do what is required to get our work done. It is true that the possibilities are endless but that can be part of the problem because most people don’t explore those endless possibilities, it’s a little daunting and possibly not fruitful, so people want stuff that works.

I’ve bookmarked an awful lot of those simplify your life, unclutter your life kind of sites this past year and with good reason, beyond the fact that I have a big family. Clutter invades every area of our life and that includes our Computers, Cell Phones, and other electronic gadgets. While we have access to so many good pieces of hardware and software, we simply don’t need all of it. In fact we don’t need most of it. CUT TO THE CHASE: there are too many options and we need a way to simplify our digital life to the essential tools necessary to get work done. To do this we must develop a plan to deal with all the other “infinitely possible and totally cool stuff” that comes our way via ads, email and the web. Before you download it, clip it, snip it or buy it plan how you will use, read or otherwise benefit from it. This of course leads to the larger plan of how you spend your time, energy, money, and so on.

Not the complete list but here are a few picks from 2007 that you might find useful; of course your milage may vary. There are exceptions to every rule and if you are a Macgyver with a geek factor of ten you may well assemble your own kit of parts that will melt silicon for a half mile radius but for us mere mortals my recommendations are in the safe zone.

Apple Inc. – Although not without it’s problems, the company and it’s hardware and software continue to provide the best user experience via OSX 10.4.xx and beyond. Pound for pound they put more points on the board than any other system out there, in my opinion of course.

Cameras – Lots of fine makers of digital cameras but you will be hard pressed to go wrong with Canon or Nikon. I own both and use both; if I take a bad shot it’s usually because I flubbed the shot.

Photo EditingPhotoshop CS3 and Elements again are both solid and the ones that most people refer to when the subject of photo editing comes up. I’ve tried other editors but they all have their own quirks and tutorials are not as plentiful as with PS. CS3 is expensive but you can get much of the same functionality with PS Elements for about a hundred dollars. If you are looking for tips, how-to’s and training, hop on over to Photoshopusertv.com and that will link you into many good resources for both photography and Photoshop.

Photo ManagementAperture [Apple] or Lightroom [Adobe]. Aperture is a complete suite of tools for managing your photos with an eye mostly to the professional photographer. Lightroom is faster and geared more to the Photo Enthusiast and since it comes from Adobe plays nice with Photoshop for any round trip editing.

Text Editing – There are many good ones and you may find one that suits your style better than another one, however I use Textmate and is apt for just about anything you want to throw at it, from blog posts to coding or websites Textmate is quite extensible and should meet your needs.

Wiki Creation – Creating a wiki in an easy straightforward manner I use Voodoo Pad; funny name but it does what it’s supposed to do, create a wiki. If you aren’t familiar with Wikis then click over to what else, wikipedia.com for all the details.

Google – It’s hard to imagine how much this company has grown and in the areas it has pursued. Beside being the No. 1 search engine the online giant hosts many other services including email all for the price of setting up an account. If you haven’t taken the full tour I suggest you take a closer look; features such as Google Docs and Gmail can be a great tool if you are on the go and not always with your computer.

Graphic Design – Lots of great sites of design nature out there, some broad and meandering and other highly specialized. My favorite, can count on every time to have great content presented in the most clear way is Chuck Green’s ideabook.com His books tips and tutorials reveal the process of design better than anyone I know of.

More Picks of 2007 to come; stay tuned!! Also look for my Macworld Keynote predictions in the next few days.

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Batteries Not Included… [ Found On Web ]

#3 —One fact of life these days is that so many of the toys for young and old rely on batteries. This will become even more apparent when those gadgets get unwrapped during the upcoming holiday season. I am no battery expert but a company called Eneloop has some great features and might be worth consideration. Read the review and see if it works for you! In my “Found On Web” series please note that I do not have any relationship with these companies nor do I receive any compensation. Hope you find the information useful and if you do please leave a comment.

Shameless Plug ~Photos on “boomspeak”

Hello,

Just a quick note to let everyone know I am now featured on a site called boomspeak which is a site dedicated to those of the “baby boom” generation. They selected ten of my photos and are up on were posted on the gallery.

I have learned a tremendous amount and been challenged to do more with photography thanks to the talented folks on flickr.

Pixelmator Goes Live

This just in. Pixelmator goes live! What is that you may ask. It’s another way to edit your images besides PS. I haven’t put it through all the tests yet but it feels stable; it’s a 1.0 release and is about 400 dollars cheaper than photoshop. I will weigh in here later when I’ve done the full road test. Note: it’s designed to take advantage of the newer Macs and uses gpu acceleration. So give it a try at Pixelmator.

Red; in the wings [the waiting continues]

The Red™ story continues as the Red team gets another oportunity to demonstrate the now shipping “Red One” digital cinema camera to the attendees of IBC in Amsterdam this week. For a round up of what is happening there you can check the forums at reduser.net for all the latest. Of particular interest besides the early test results of the Red One is whether there is any news on the “professional pocket camera” alas not much more than those three words. I can’t believe that telling us whether it is a movie or still camera, or both would be a deal breaker.

Thus far it seems that Red is the logical evolution of the digital photography industry and is bent on being the first to really deliver the digital promise to what has been traditionally a film based industry –Movies. What is remarkable is the way they are doing it, at a low price point and with an inexpensive way to deal with post production using Apple Inc’s popular Final Cut Pro Studio software. This tight integration is the clincher since movies are really made in the editing room; it’s the assembly of the artwork. Without a tool that is in the grasp of independent filmmaker it would give them only one of the two tools they need, a good camera and an editing suite.

Red One, and beyond

Only two days left till Red™ ships the first twenty five of the most talked about cameras to hit the streets in a long time. If you’re not a cinematographer it may be a little hard to get your head around all the excitement since it requires a certain level of camera knowledge and understanding of digital video. In layman’s terms the Red One™ is a direct competitor with cameras costing tens of thousands more while delivering a 4k image; thats 4520×2540 pixels which is like ultra HD. Probably more accurate and more important though is the fact that the digital image is considered to be as good as film and some say it’s better than film due in part to it’s greater rendering of the highlights. Although digital photography has become widely accepted, the use of digital for major motion pictures has been eschewed in favor of the warmer images created by film. With the Red One™ it looks as if that is about to change.

In the future we may being seeing a lot more of this logo:

shotonredweb500.jpg

More and more film professionals are weighing in on Red™ and those who have seen the full 4k image have reported stunning images. If you watch the clip “Crossing The Line” from the gallery on Red’s website you have to take into consideration that it’s only 1/4 of the final resolution. In order to see a 4k image you need a 4k projector like the ones Sony make. Red™ has announced plans to make their own 4k projector as well as a display all this in addition to a “professional pocket camera”. No details as of yet but it is likely that we will learn more at NAB in April of 2008.

No doubt this weekend we will begin to see the first signs of this new born wonder referred to by many as simply “the red camera”. To view a glimpse of what Red can do you will have to stay tuned to YouTube and Reduser.net to find links to what the early adopters put up. Although we don’t know who the first twenty five Red owners are it is the hope and plea that they will put up some great clips as well as their own first hand experience of what it was like to shoot and edit their first 4k images in Redcode.

For those who wish to delve into all of this in depth simply visit Red.com or Reduser the online portal for all those reservation ordered and enthusiasts discuss every aspect of all things Red.

Links outside this blog: [reviews and video]

Stay tuned!!

The Red Era begins…

This morning Red announced that the first shipment of Red One digital cinema cameras will go out the door on the 31st of August. This is a major milestone for the company but what will be far more intriguing to this writer is what it will produce in terms of movie output. Will it spawn a new crop of filmmakers by putting these new tools at their disposal. It will be interesting to see. None the less many are waiting like anxious children on Christmas morning awaiting what bright new shiny things they can discover. In this case footage turning up on “YouTube” in the form of examples of “look at what we did”.

Peter Jackson has already made a 15 minute movie with the Red company’s alpha prototypes “Boris and Natasha” and a recent screening of it in Hollywood was received with great reviews.

I suppose you could say the Red era began in 1999 when the company was formed but perhaps it goes back further than that. Nowadays finding the Genesis of something is a little more difficult.