Archive for the ‘Hardware’ Category

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It is here and it is beautiful…

April 3, 2010

For weeks now, I like many others have waited for April 3rd, 2010.  On this day the UPS man comes down from on high to deliver the latest gadget from Heaven (okay… Cupertino is nice, but maybe not heavenly).  Today Apple delivers the iPad.  Now I’ve been a gadget-guy my entire life.  I love being an early adopter even when it means dealing with version 1.0 “challenges” (I’ve been trained never to say “problems” from my consulting peers) just so I’m able to have the latest and greatest from the gadget world.  Well, today is no different.  An hour or so ago I received my first, of many (more later), iPad.

My iPad

The iPad is an fascinating device and I’m interested to see how the technology world at large will accept this device.  At an entry point of $499, it’s not a no-brainer decision for most.  Of course it depends on your need.  As a photographer, I see this as a must have piece of technology.  Why?  I get to show my work on a beautiful, portable device, to anyone that wants to look.  Remember, everyone we meet is a potential client.  When I’m sitting in a Starbucks with the iPad drinking a Grande Latte waiting for my son’s preschool to let out and someone asks me about the device, I’m going to show them my photography.  When reading a book on the train to visit a client in Philadelphia and someone asks to see the device, I’m going to show them my photography.  In fact, whenever I have the iPad with me and I have the opportunity to show it to someone, I’m going to show them my photography.  I know this works as I’ve been doing it with my iPhone for years.  In Aperture (or iPhoto) I can rate my images.  My portfolio pieces are the only images that get a five star rating.  When I sync my iPhone (now iPad) to my computer, it syncs all my five star images.  I now have an album of all my portfolio pieces.  I can’t tell you how handy this is while teaching a class or meeting a perspective client.  I know that it has intrigued people enough that I’ve gotten new business from it.  Now, I have a screen that blows the iPhone’s screen away (in size anyway).  I’m really excited to start showing the iPad (i.e. my photography) off to anyone that asks.

Sure, there are a number of other reason this device will change my work-life.  I do a great deal of technology consulting and this device is a fantastic way to keep in touch with email, log on to client computers remotely, browse the web, etc.  For my photography business, this will be a part of my higher end wedding package.  I’m going to include a custom engraved (assuming Apple starts doing this) iPad with some of my wedding packages loaded with all of the proofs and final images selected by the bride and groom.  Talk about a high-tech wedding album!  There are some other things I’m working on too, but you’ll have to wait for that.

Well, back to my iPad.  I haven’t had much time to play with many of the features yet so it’s going to be a fun day.  Let me know your thoughts about the iPad or any other technology that is making a difference in your photography in the comments section.

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Breaking news – Nikon D300s announcement…

July 30, 2009

I guess this really shocks no one.  Nikon releases the D300s.  It’s basically a D300 with 720p movie mode.  Interestingly, it has dual card slots for CF and SD cards.  Also annouced, the D3000, and upgrades to the fabulous 70-200 and 18-200 lenses.

Interesting stuff, but nothing that Earth shattering.  I’m not sure how I personally feel about movie modes being added to SLR cameras.  I’ve never been interested in video,  but that could change with some of these new cameras.  It’s certainly intriguing to use an SLR with fantastic Nikon lenses on the D300s and/or D90.

Thoughts?

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Your mobile portfolio…

March 3, 2009

Okay, I have to admit that the last few trip-posts had me struggling to finish.  While I know some folks enjoy hearing about my travels, I view the last few posts as sitting with your parents as they break out the photo albums – really boring! 🙂  I wanted to make this blog informative and not a bunch of loosely fitting images.  So, I’m getting back to what I originally intended – providing information.  Enough said…

One of my favorite gadgets is my iPhone.  For me, it’s a fantastic tool for communications, business and entertainment.  I’m addicted to the iPhone Store where I’m constantly browsing and looking for new and exciting applications and I won’t hesitate to purchase if they’re below $10.00 (many are).  From Facebook to Scrabble and many, many more, I’m an App Store junkie!

One feature of the iPhone that’s helping my business is the ability to show my portfolio.  Let’s face it.  As soon as someone hears you’re a photographer they want to see your photos.  Many times they’ll ask, but if you have to ask, they’re not going to say no.  Out pops my iPhone, I open my images and they’re flipping through the many photos I have stored.  Often, the act of flipping through them is entertaining in and of itself!  Plus, the iPhone’s screen is great for showing photos.  It’s beautiful.

iPhone Galleries

iPhone Photos

iPhone Race

iPhone Flower

If you’re using Aperture or iPhoto, it gets even easier to import your favorites automatically.  With your iPhone connected, select it in iTunes and click the Photos tab.  The first check box allows you to sync photos directly from your Aperture or iPhoto libraries.  In the example below, I only sync with my three star or greater libraries, but you can select Smart Albums and/or individual albums.  It’s up to you.

iTunes

Once I set my iPhone to sync with a Smart Album, everything is automatic.  Whenever I rank a photo three stars or greater during my workflow in Aperture, I know it’s appearing on the iPhone.  At the next sync, the images are copied to the iPhone and you’re ready to impress!

I’m only familiar with the iPhone, but I know many other phones/PDAs can do the same thing.  Check it out.  It’s a fast and convenient way to show your photos!

Coming up!
I have an interesting post coming on a recent pinup workshop.  Besides having two great models to shoot, the instructor, Paul Pruit, led an interesting workshop on lighting.  Stay tuned.  This was a good one!

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Keeping busy…

December 1, 2008

Wow… What an incredibly busy few days.  First, I hope everyone had a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving.  I spent the day with family and had a great dinner prepared by my mother.  There’s nothing better than Mom’s Thanksgiving spread.

Black Friday started of early with some daybreak photography shopping.  Yeah, I was one of the nutcases that got up at an un-Godly hour to go shopping.  There’s a first time for everything and that was my first Black Friday morning.  We’ll see about next year.  I did get a lot of my shopping done.

Later Friday, I had a big photo shoot at a good friend’s house.  She was having family in for Thanksgiving and they stayed until Friday.  There were 20+ people to photograph in large and small groups, individuals, etc.  This was an amazing family, full of life, laughter and music.  Throughout the day someone would start playing keyboard while another person sang.  What an amazing background to the photography.  It was a fantastic opportunity and the photos came out great.  I’ll post an example once I get them to my friend.

In industry news, Nikon has introduced the D3x.  Initially leaked in Nikon’s own pro magazine a few days previous, Nikon made it official this evening.  The D3x sports the same design as the D3, but with a 24.5 megapixel sensor, CMOS, FX frame (full-frame) sensor and an ISO range of 100 – 1600 with push to 6400.  Unlike the D3’s focus on low-light performance, this appears to be strictly a megapixel-buster and the first time that Nikon bests Canon’s top megapixel numbers.  The D3X will sell in December with an estimated price of $8,000. More info here.

While I like the fact that Nikon finally has a high-end camera with serious megapixels (until now they’ve never had anything close to Canon’s megapixel monsters), this isn’t a camera on my radar.  At 12.5 megapixels my D300 has plenty enough for the enlargements and type of work I’m doing.  The serious megapixels are for more commerical photographers – specifically stock and serious nature/landscape folks.  I’m looking at the D700 for it’s amazing low-light performance and compatibility with accessories for my D300.  That’s the next camera for me.

On another note, the website is coming along really well.  I have the fine-art sales portion ready to go live sometime this week.  I’m excited about being able to sell directly through my site instead of needing other sites (ie stock sites).  It’s a great opportunity to get my work out there.

This week I have a few photo shoots scheduled – a child shoot and mother and daughters.  I’m really looking forward to the opportunity and getting some great shots.  Photos from some of these shoots will be posted soon.  I want to make sure my clients get to see them first.

Stay tuned!

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PhotoPlus Expo…

October 24, 2008

The PhotoPlus Expo is a huge show with hundreds of vendors, both big and small.  There are also a number of different educational classes and hands-on labs (for an additional fee) with some of the best photographers in the business presenting.  If you enjoy photography, this New York City show is a must-see.

My plan for tackling the show floor was to make strategic visits to the vendors I was most interested in before exploring the rest of the floor.  Drobo (Data Robotics), Nikon, Epson, Nik Software, B&H Photo and ThinkTank Photo were my first-visit choices.  The big ones, Nikon and Epson, were quick trips to see what was going on and to check out their latest offerings.  Nikon was a huge booth with all types of equipment to check out.  From the D3 to the Coolpix line and 600mm f4s to 10mm fish eyes Nikon’s booth had it all to see.  Since most of their announcements were made a few months back, there was nothing brand new to see.  Epson was the same way (and no paper samples!).  Both were interesting with lots of hands on equipment and short-subject presentations.

At Data Robotics I really enjoyed speaking to Mark Fuccio, the VP of Sales.  Mark is an interesting guy.  A true engineer at heart, Mark’s sense of the market and how to grow Drobo’s was an interesting discussion.  Drobo has made fantastic inroads in the photography market.  It’s simple to set up, easy to use and provides data protection and expandability that any photographer, or anyone with substantial data storage needs, would find useful.  With the introduction of Drobo-specific applications (for instance limiting the amount of space Time Machine uses) and the introduction of cheaper and larger hard disks, this company is in a great position to take off.

Nik Software is the company behind great products like Viveza, Color Efex Pro and Capture NX.  I won’t go into detail on all their products – you can go to their website for that.  I’ve looked at their software and played with the demos for some time and was interested in seeing what show specials they offered.  While certainly not “must-have” software for the casual photographer, the “extra touch” their products provide make your images really stand out.  Sure enough, there was a “new” collection for Aperture – a complete collection of all their products as plug ins for Aperture.  With very little hesitation, I made the jump.  I’m very anxious to use these products.  I’ll be sure to post my thoughts as I use each tool.

ThinkTank is another company with fantastic products.  They’re known for their great line of bags and their belt system that allows you to attach various pouches and storage pieces to store lenses, extra batteries, filters, etc.  It allows a photographer to walk around with a number of extra pieces while keeping their hands free to take pictures.  Again, see their website for a list of all the attachments.  Of course there was another show special – a set of five attachments and a free belt.  Yep, I made the jump.  I can’t wait to use them!

I’ll talk about the classes in another post.  I’m very pleased with my choices and the information I’ve learned.  Tomorrow, I’m meeting with Derrick Story for an interview for Inside Aperture.  I’m excited.

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Mac OS X and VMWare Fusion V2.0…

September 18, 2008

While I want to dedicate this blog to photography and building a photography business, I am a technologist at heart and believe this is applies to the photography crowd.

A couple months ago I decided to buy my first Mac since the late 80s.  Having recently purchased an iPhone 3G, I was interested in writing iPhone applications.  Off to the Apple Store and local retailers I went looking for the cheapest way to re-enter the Mac world. Instead of boring you on the details, I found a demo 20″ iMac at a local store with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo and 250 GB hard disk for $749!  An extra $100 got me to 4 GB of RAM.  I Was a happy camper!

I have to tell you, I really like Microsoft Mojave… I mean, Vista.  It works much better than ANY Windows OS I’ve used. Your mileage may vary, but even the initial versions worked well for me.  I figured, I’d continue to use my Vista laptop as my primary machine, while using the Mac for iPhone development.  Hmmmm… not so much.

The iMac and Mac OS X have converted me back to a “Mac-head” (or whatever Mac folks are called these days.  While I still use my Vista machine on the go (tucking the iMac under my arm didn’t work out) or log in through Remote Desktop to use Internet Explorer on some sites, most everything else is done on the iMac.  It simply works better.

I know, as an engineer “simply works better” is a terrible argument.  Where’s the proof?  Well, the iMac is rebooted only a couple time in the last couple months mainly for OS upgrades.  The Vista machine… lots more.  Plus, I just like looking at the OS X.  I have an external 20″ monitor I share with the iMac and laptop and looking at OS X is really nice.  I know… nothing concrete.  Just look at them.

I’m not advocating you dropping Windows and running for OS X (a brisk walk will do!).  In fact, I’m still doing my photo editing over on Vista, mostly for the portability of the machine.  I’m sure I’ll catch a lot of flack on the ANPW, especially during the Aperture training.  In fact Aperture will most likely be the reason I move photo editing and cataloging to the Mac.

For the odd application that hasn’t been developed for OS X I use VMWare Fusion.  This application allows you to build a virtual environment for other operating systems from Windows to Linux right on your Mac.  Basically, you’re running another machine INSIDE your Mac!  I’m no stranger to virtual machines, but Fusion is really nice.  The Unity mode of Fusion makes it look like the Windows application is running on the Mac.  It’s very impressive.

The inital point of this post was to let everyone know that VMWare has just released version 2.0 of Fusion.  Best of all, it’s a free upgrade to all Fusion 1.x users.  Nice.  I’m about to install, but wanted to give you the heads up.

I’ll continue to use my Vista machine for classic development (I’ve yet to find anything as good as Microsoft’s development tools), but will eventually move all other tasks to OS X.  To my IT and development friends, I’m still drinking the KoolAide.  It’s just a different flavor!