Monthly Archive for December, 2007

2007 – The year in photography

Here’s a round up of the highlights of my photographic year.

January

A trip to San Francisco gave me the chance to hang out with the San Francisco Flickr group – one of my favorite things to do in San Francisco – that is when the stars align.

SFlickr Meetup 20070111

February

I was the official photographer for Bainbridge Island’s second annual Chinese New Year Festival. I got the gig because my pictures of the previous year’s event showed up in the top 5 results for the search “Bainbridge Island chinese new year”.

Bainbridge Island Chinese New Year 2007: Lion Dance

March

A trip to the Seattle Aquarium:

Seattle Aquarium - Mar 2007

April

I attended Zack Arias’ amazing One Light Workshop. Shortly thereafter I bought some PocketWizards and started my journey to the lit side.

Seattle One Light Workshop

Seattle One Light Workshop

May

24 Hours of Flickr

June

July

The Kitsap Sun bought this picture and ran it in the Bainbridge Islander (the local local paper).

BI Rotary Auction 2007

August

I attended my first Seattle Flickr Strobist event, and finally connected with some local camera nuts.

Also in August I got to meet David Hobby in person at the Seattle Strobist Seminar.

Seattle Strobist Seminar

I confirmed my status a a photography nut by staying up to photograph the lunar eclipse:

Today's lunar eclipse at totality

September

I finally got around to making some Strobist style grid spots

Grid Mania

Which I promptly put to use during my first studio shoot with the Seattle Flickr Strobists.

I also did a Strobist architectural shoot:

October

I practiced my lighting and people shooting skills

November

I framed my first picture in order to display it in the November Seattle Flickrites photo show

My photo at the November Seattle Flickrites Photoshow

I also covered ApacheCon, as I have in previous years.

Opening Plenary

This year I also put my new skills to use by shooting a bunch of headshots for ASF folks. Average time per person: 5 minutes

Aaron Farr

December

Another Seattle Flickr Strobist shoot (including video) gets featured on Strobist.com.

It’s been a great year of learning and improving. Thanks to all the people (and there are a lot) who have helped me out along the way!

Photo thoughts

There have been a few photo related blog posts and twitter conversations that I wanted to comment on.

First, buying digital SLR’s. Tim Bray commented on Dave Sifry’s Beginners Digital SLR buying guide, and ranted on the insanity of buying a camera based on the number of megapixels, which is a very common metric. Buying a digital SLR is a sizable task — I wrote about it last year. I didn’t recommend specific cameras, but I did try to point out a bunch of things that I wish someone had told me, in addition to the initial purchase of the camera. One thing that I would note is that there’s a lot more to taking photos than just the camera. Technology people tend to get obsessed with the specifications and features of the gear, but the most important piece of photographic equipment is between your ears. People think that having a good camera will automatically result in good pictures, but that just doesn’t make any sense. It’s like saying the buying really good paintbrushes will make one a painter, or that buying really good pots and pans will make one a chef. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a nicer/newer camera, just be aware that you aren’t going to turn into Ansel Adams when it arrives.

Second, post processing software. This one is a result of a late night Twitter storm between Stephen O’Grady, Tim Bray, and to a lesser extent, me. Steven wanted to know about choosing between iPhoto, Adobe Lightroom, and Apple’s Aperture. People on a Macintosh probably have iPhoto lying around, and it is decently competent for people are not photography enthusiasts. The cost of trying it is pretty minimal, since it is bundled with Mac OS X, although if you have an older Mac and haven’t upgraded iLife recently, it’s probably worth it to do that after giving it a try. iPhoto leverages OS X’s system wide RAW conversion, so it can even handle RAW files from DSLR’s and high end point and shoots.

That leaves Lightroom and Aperture. I was an early fan and adopter of Aperture, and I was pretty happy with it until recently. Since October, I’ve stopped running Lightroom and Aperture side by side and am only using Lightroom. I’ve now had a chance to really work with the Photoshop integration, which works decently well – I wish there was a way to go back and re-edit a Photoshopped version instead of Lightroom creating another copy, but you can work around this by opening the Photoshopped version with Photoshop directly — Lightroom correctly updates once you save the file. The Lightroom API’s have started to show, although not as quickly as I thought they would. Right now you can mostly get export plugins, which means there is now a way to publish to Flickr directly with Lightroom, although none of the plugins (or Flickr’s on Uploadr 3.0) is anywhere near a match for Frasier Speirs’ FlickrExport, which doesn’t have a Lightroom version.

More importantly, I’ve really lost a lot of faith in Apple in terms of the future of Aperture. I thought for sure that there would be an Aperture 2.0 when Leopard was released. We might still see it at MacWorld or PMA in late January, but it doesn’t build my confidence that Aperture is an important product. When I got Lightroom, on the other hand, it was at version 1.1 and is now up to version 1.3.1. Adobe was very public about Lightroom/Leopard issues, and has been relatively quick to address them. Apple, on the other hand, is following its usual tight lipped policy. Both of these programs are first versions, and each needs additional development. Apple is leaving me with a reasonable amount of doubt as to whether they are really committed to Aperture.

Seattle photography scene

The Seattle amateur photography scene is exploding. Here’s some video that shows what we’ve been up to recently.

My favorite picture from the event:

Maybe now David Hobby will move to Seattle