Monthly Archive for December, 2008

2008 in Photography

January

In January, Chase Jarvis, hosted the Seattle Flickrites at an old aircraft hangar. I was helping to organize, so I didn’t get to shoot a lot, but the little bit that I did do was well worth it
Seattle Flickrites shoot with Chase Jarvis

February

I finally made it to the old abandoned Blakely Harbor mill in February. There was awesome graffiti all over the walls of the structure

March

I started my new job at Sun in March, and headed off to PyCon.
PyCon 2008: Day 1

April

In April I switched camera systems. I am really happy about that choice.
Frame One

May

May was a very busy month photographically. I shot an engagement session for a family wedding
Susan and John
One day I headed out to Fort Worden State Park to hang out with some professional wedding photographers
Fort Worden OSP Trash The Dress Shoot

And May is the month that our daughters’ ballet studio has their big recital

June

Our vacation in June included a trip to Smith Rock State Park in Oregon.
Sunriver June 2008

July

I spent a lot of July on the road. Vilnius, Lithuania
EuroPython 2008
Prague, The Czech Republic

Prague, The Czech Republic

August

In August I made some photographs for the ballet studio
Olympic Performance Group / Bainbridge Ballet T-Shirt Shoot - Outtake

September

I shot my first set of senior portraits in September
Ryan - Class of 2009

October

I haven’t been around a lot this year to shoot with Seattle Flickrites. In October, a few of us took advantage of a local studio
Nathan

November

A number of dancers from the studio were involved with a local production of the Nutcracker. I shot the headshots that were used in the program
Headshot for OPG Nutcracker

December

And I photographed the actual performances once December rolled around
Olympic Performance Group Nutcracker 2008

Book Review: Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure

The folks at O’Reilly sent me a copy of Mikkel Aaland’s Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure. You would think that a book about Lightroom wouldn’t really be necessary, but it turns out to be useful, especially since software doesn’t come with manuals anymore. The number of Lightroom books is also probably a gauge of the demand. In any case, I was interested in the first version of this book, Photoshop Lightroom Adventure because of Aaland’s columns on O’Reilly’s Inside Lightroom blog, and because of an interview that I heard on one of George Jardine’s Lightroom podcasts.

The book is a guide to Lightroom, and is populated with pictures and stories from an adventure trip that Aaland and a number of other distinguished photographers took to Tasmania. In the first edition, they took a trip to Iceland, which has now given me the bug to take a photo trip there someday. I found the book to be very helpful. I learned a bunch of shortcuts which I didn’t previously know, and I got to see examples of how to do the same tasks that I do, but using a different mechanism (a lot of this involved direct manipulation of the histogram in the Develop module).

The chapters on the Develop module are the strongest point of the book, partially because this is the strongest part of Lightroom. There is good introductory material, but there is also good stuff for advanced users, like how to hack the textual representation of develop presets. I added several presets to my repertoire by using this trick. My favorite of the Develop chapters was the one about the recipes from the various photographers on the Adventure. I always find it instructive to see how someone has done the post processing on a particular image. Know how much (or little) someone has done helps when you look at the finished picture, and gives you an idea of how far you’ll be able to take your own images straight out of the camera.

If you’re interested in getting more out of Lightroom, I’d have no problems recommending Photoshop Lightroom 2 Adventure.

On Apple and Macworld

Much is being made of Apple’s decision to leave the Macworld show. You can look at this from several angles:

New Product Announcements

From Apple’s point of view, leaving Macworld is a major win. This unbinds them from the need to pull out all the stops in order to have new products ready for an arbitrary deadline. It also will improve Apple’s holiday sales. No person knowledgeable about Apple would buy anything (unless it was freshly announced) in the 2-3 months before Macworld. You’d be nuts to. Now consumers won’t be able to count on an event to in order to help guide their buying decisions.

My guess is that it has become harder and harder to for Apple to time their announcements for the show. On the computer side, the Macintosh hardware cycle is now irrevocably linked to Intel’s hardware roadmap. Intel has their own schedule about when they ship products, and it overlaps badly with Macworld. Take the Nehalem release as an example. If Apple stays true to form and uses server Nehalem’s in the Mac Pro and laptop Nehalems in the iMac, then there is no reason to believe that there will be significant (non clock speed bump) release of either the Mac Pro or the iMac this January. As far as Intel has said, the Nehalem launch dates simply won’t allow it. On the other hand, Intel is reasonably good about telegraphing the direction of their hardware, so you might be able use these dates as a guide for new computer product launches.

As an individual purchaser of Apple products, I’m not excited about this, because it increases the risk that I’m going to buy something and then be unhappily surprised. But as an Apple stockholder, I think that this will actually be a better move for Apple’s business in the long run.

The Macintosh community

Some people are lamenting the end of the Macworld show (not a forgone conclusion) as a blow to the Macintosh community. I’m not sure that I agree with this. Macworld doesn’t have to die just because Apple is pulling out, and even if Macworld did die, then maybe there would be another event to spring up in it’s place. For me personally, I’m getting more than my fill of Macintosh news, commentary, and other interaction via the Internet. Back when I lived in Boston, I used to attend Macworld, but my attendance was mostly walking the exhibit floor, occasionally talking to a vendor, and then taking off. I actually have much better relationships with Mac developers now. All I have to do is drop them e-mail. Personally, I think it’s pretty clear that there’s something wrong with the traditional trade show / conference model — and I don’t just mean Macworld, here. I’d like to see something different emerge, and I hope that the problems with the economy will force that different thing into existence.

Apple’s succession plan / Steve Jobs is sick

This is perhaps the most troubling angle. People (rightly or wrongly) attribute a large amount of Apple’s success to Steve Jobs. I’ve personally experienced the Steve Jobs effect – he returned to Apple when I was working there. Many of us also remember the train of ineffective CEO’s that preceded Steve’s return. Could Apple continue on its path of success if Jobs were to leave the company? With the right leadership, it could, but it is hard to know if the rest of the team is up to the job. I hope they are.

Book Review: Welcome to Oz:

A while back I finished another Photoshop book, Vincent Versace’s Welcome to Oz: A Cinematic Approach to Digital Still Photography with Photoshop.

This is an advanced Photoshop book, because I consider any book that spends two chapters on how to combine several images (not via HDR) to obtain a single image to be advanced. The first chapter alone was worth it for me. Versace talks about how to control how the viewer’s eye moves around in a photograph and then shows how one might take a photograph and process it so that the viewer would take in the photograph in the desired manner. He introduces the technique of creating image maps which are then used to guide the various post processing steps.

In addition to white and black points, curves, layer blending modes and gaussian blurs, this is the first book that I’ve read that discussed the use of Photoshop’s Lighting Effects filter. Being a lighting guy, I’m not sure how I feel about that, but it was interesting to observe the rationale and effects of this particular filter. I’m not sure that I will ever use Versace’s technique of harvesting several images to obtain a single image, but it was interesting to see the thought process, which might be of use when composing pictures in the viewfinder and assessing the goodness or badness of a shot.

I have yet to actually try Versace’s method on a photograph, but there are many stunning photographs in the book. I’m looking forward to things slowing down enough for me to actually sit down and try my hand at some of the more basic techniques that he described.

CommunityOne 2009 CFP

CommunityOne is not as well known as its older brother, JavaOne. 2008 was the first year that I got to go. The event is going to be a bit bigger in 2009 — in fact, the event will be held both on the west coast and on the east coast. The conference is focused on “open source innovation and implementation”, and this year the conference planners are looking for talks on “cloud computing and virtualization, dynamic languages and scripting (PHP, Ajax, Python, Ruby, JavaScript), databases (MySQL, postgreSQL), web and application servers (GlassFish, Apache), operating systems (OpenSolaris, Linux), mobile development (Java ME, Android, Symbian), and tools (NetBeans, Eclipse, Sun Studio)”.

Here are the details:

CommunityOne East – March 18-19, 2009 – New York City
CommunityOne West – June 1-2, 2009 – San Francisco
Deadline to submit speaking abstracts: Dec. 11, 2008

For more information on these events: <http://developers.sun.com/events/communityone/>

If you are interested in submitting a talk: <http://www.eventreg.com/sun/communityone09/cfp>