Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Two Christmases ago someone gave me a Raspberry Pi. You know, a full single-board computer which runs Linux and can pretty much do anything for a whopping $35 U.S. dollars. “Hey, I’m a geek, and I hate that Dropbox' free account limits me to only three computers. I have this single-board computer and a 2 TB hard drive lying around. I’ll turn that little board into my own personal cloud server, so I can access my files from anywhere in the world - for free! AND I can configure it to be my own personal Virtual Private Network (VPN) - also for free! Muahahaha!! What could possibly go wrong?”
Saturday, March 20, 2021
My wife and I were watching a cool movie one night entitled “Under an Arctic Sky”, where a bunch of 20-somethings went to Iceland in wintertime to surf. (Pretty amazing cinemaphotography. You can see the trailer for it here). Toward the end of the movie (and the trailer) there’s footage showing them surfing at night, in darkness, with the Northern Lights painting a picturesque backdrop. “That had to have been shot with an A7S!” I exclaimed, thoroughly annoying my wife who hates it when I talk about technical BTS stuff during a movie. “That’s the only camera sensitive enough to shoot useable footage in such low light!!” Sure enough, as the movie progressed you can see them handling the Sony gear, and at the end, you can see that Sony was actually a sponsor. Ever since the original A7S came out, cutting-edge filmmakers have been using it to shooting things previously unshootable. The example that really sticks in my mind is this nighttime drone shot (again, the Aurora Borealis) using the original Sony A7S and a 20mm f/1.4 lens. There's another one called "Moonwalk", also sponsored by Sony. Just amazing.
Saturday, February 13, 2021
My first shooting gig in Boston was a cool venture called Backyartists, a company started by two experienced early childhood educators. Backyartists mostly caters to local families with pre-school aged children, but they also ship out seasonal and holiday boxes of open-ended process art and sensory activities for kids ages 3-9. Today I was taking marketing shots of their Friendship & Love box, for Valentine’s Day.
Friday, January 8, 2021
- Why we moved
- Two new books out! (And two more in the queue!)
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Saturday, September 12, 2020
|Me, doing my best Orson Welles impersonation|
- Articles That Didn't Make it to Cameracraft Magazine
- Sony's new Webcam software - comparison
- Being a Virtual Speaker at your Photo Club
- Giving Back with the Virtual Reading Project
- In the Pipeline
I pitch a lot of ideas for articles for Cameracraft magazine; most get accepted but some do not for various reasons. The subjects still fascinate me, though. Here are a couple that didn't make it (and I wish I had permission to show you some of their examples. But you can click on the links below to see some remarkable works):
- Photographer Esther Honig did a fascinating experiment - she took a picture of a model and sent it to photo retouchers in 27 different countries and asked them to "enhance" the image according to their cultural preferences. Beauty is a subjective thing but it amazes me how entire cultures can buy into a certain ideal.
- Seth Casteel takes pictures of dogs underwater and cats in mid-air. I have no idea how he got the cat shots - they are super sharp (no autofocus works that fast), extraordinarily well-lit, and the cat is often looking directly at the camera. I was hoping to do an article about him to learn how he did it; alas my emails and instagram messages were never answered.
- Haruhiko Kawaguchi is a Japanese photographer who approaches people on the street and convinces them to come to his studio, get naked, get into a vacuum-sealed bag, and have their pictures taken. To me the images are the least interesting part; what's amazing is how he convinces total strangers to do this. (Warning: Probably Not Safe For Work.) (On the other hand, you're probably working from home right now. :-) )
Saturday, August 8, 2020
- Monster Adapter Update
- A Virtual Zoom Lecture for your Photo Club
- In the Pipeline
Topaz AI - As Good as They Claim?
[Editor's note: This is an expanded version of an article which appeared in a recent edition of Cameracraft magazine.]
AI has been the buzzword in the technology industry for the last 30 years. But when Topaz used it as a branding for their latest collection of image enhancement tools, the phrase they should have used is “deep learning”; a technique in which a learning algorithm is trained with thousands of before & after images to allow the computer to slowly learn what a good cleanup looks like. Most people who have spent years learning how to do these things by hand in Lightroom and Photoshop may not think these new tools are anything special; for they can’t possibly improve upon a skilled retoucher. I thought I would spend a few days testing that theory.
Sunday, July 5, 2020
- A new way to stabilize video
- A new Camera Problem-Solving Guide by Mark Galer and Gary Friedman
- Wireless Flash on a camera that doesn't support it
- ZV-1 Discoveries
- In the Pipeline
Let's start with something free. Australian Sony Digital Imaging Ambassador Mark Galer and I have teamed up to create this free Sony Camera Problem-solving Guide, a compilation of all the email queries we get from users trying to find out why their camera is not behaving as expected. You can download this free resource (did I mention it was free?) from Mark's website.
Sunday, June 14, 2020
- He testified before Congress about the dangers Near-Earth Asteroids pose to humanity.
- He was Executive Vice President and director of research for the Space Studies Institute in Princeton, NJ.
- He was Vice President of Publications of the Aerospace and Electronics Systems Society of IEEE.
- He was the chairman of the Planetary Defense Committee of AIAA
- He served as a consultant to the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and the NATO Industrial Advisory Board.
- He was co-founder and 3rd president of the National Council of Systems Engineering.
- He taught graduate-level engineering courses at USC for over 20 years.
- He rubbed elbows with high-profile physicists like Freeman Dyson and Neil DeGras Tyson
- He wrote a Chapter in the seminal work “The High Frontier” by Gerry O’Neil
- He was an elected fellow of the IEEE, INCOSE and IAE engineering societies.
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