Sunday, July 31, 2011

Happy Mistakes... A Panorama of The Gold Gate Bridge

I was recently invited to go watch/photograph the Berkeley Kite Festival with family and was overjoyed, as I was wanting to capture images with bright colors. I also wanted to try capturing some panoramas with kites... However, for some reason, I got turned around and thought the event was happening over in Crissy Field. Yes, I realize the event is called The _Berkeley_ Kite Festival. It was a face palm moment for sure.

However, I'm a big believer in making lemonade out of lemons, and here is my lemonade from my lemon moment:

Golden Gate Bridge - shot from Crissy Field
(click for larger image)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sony Alpha A77 DSLR Rumours...

Just read some rumours from Sony Alpha Rumours:

Of note, for me personally, is that they are rumoured to be dropping the CF card slot in favor of SDHC.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

How To Get Great Shots With The Sony Alpha A700 - Part 0

As most know, I'm a proud owner of the Sony Alpha A700 DSLR. It's a great camera for a variety of subject matter and shooting styles. Over the past few years, I've come to love this camera, as it is, in my mind, unsurpassed in ergonomics and versatility for the price. No, it doesn't have an articulated LCD display, no live view, no full frame sensor, no mirrorless optical path, and no HD video. It is a camera. Digital, but a camera all the same.

This is the first post in a series I will be writing up, which documents how to get the most out of the Sony Alpha A700 DSLR. I'll continue to add to this until I am no longer an owner of said camera. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Look Before You Leap... or Ride The Lion...

I recently purchased the Apple Mac OS X Lion upgrade. I have not installed it yet, just bought and downloaded it. I'm waiting for all of the issues to shake themselves out.

Being a user of Adobe products: Lightroom & PS CS5 w/plugins, I wanted to give the platform time to settle down before plunging ahead. After all, what good is an upgraded OS without working applications?

  • Adobe has put up a support page, detailing some issues that Lion users may experience.
  • Rosetta, the Apple PowerPC emulator is no longer included. So any plugins/applications/etc. that depended on it will now stop working.
  • FotoQuote/Fotobiz has likewise sent out emails detailing compatibility issues with Mac OS X Lion.
  • The Java runtime environment isn't installed by default by Lion, causing issues for users.
  • The swiping/preferences panes/auto-recovery don't work out of the box for third party applications not specifically coded for those features.
  • The ~/username/Library folder is now hidden, causing some issues for people.
  • USB-to-Serial adapter drivers stopped working for some, due to the drivers being 32bit and Lion being 64bit only.
Naturally, folks using Apple's own products, like Aperture, iWork, iPages, etc. won't experience these issues, since they got updates... but that is little comfort for those of us who do use third party applications.

Will be keeping an eye on how things go, but will hold off on upgrading to Lion for the time being on either of my MBP(s). On my other laptop, I have some children's PowerPC Mac games and applications. For them to stop working would cause a pretty serious IT support nightmare at home...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Weakest Link (in your lighting setup)

I was out recently photographing, our apartment's very cool and manager, Julie Anderson:

Julie - Portrait shot for Strobist Boot Camp III - #1
Things were going great until we tried to move to a new location, and I was breaking down my lightstand: the umbrella holder snapped off of the lightstand!

At first, I thought the brass interconnect, lovely called the "brass monkey" by many, had broken. As it turns out, it was an el'cheapo $1.50 1/4" to 3/8" thread converter I had used to marry some disparate parts together, which broke.

Unfortunately, this curtailed our shoot, but thankfully, I was able to get some shots I liked.

Lessons learned:

  • Backups! - ALWAYS have backups.
  • K.I.S.S.  - If I'm hacking together different parts together to save $8 on the correct part, I'm probably setting myself up for some pain down the road. Time to re-evaluate and clean up my setups. 
Thanks to Julie for taking time out of her busy morning to model for me!

~ W.