Tag Archives: featured

Talks and Presentations

I have been a member of Lancaster Photographic Society for about five years now, ever since my wife and I moved to Lancaster.

Each week throughout autumn and winter we meet, and usually the photographers who come and offer presentations to us are detailing projects and genres that are very personal to them.

They tell some amazing stories, they sometimes go pretty in-depth into the technical aspects of how they do what they do, detail the circumstances that led them to be where they are today, and list some of the challenges they have faced along the way.

Occasionally we have a speaker from our own membership, somebody interesting, worldly, and presenting images the rest of us could only dream of creating.  So when I was first asked to present a talk, I was quite surprised.

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Sekonic L-758DR “Digital Master” Light Meter

In photography, there are many items we would buy if only we could find a viable reason for putting down so much cash.

sekonic_l758drFirst, for me, was the 70-200mm f/2.8VR.  For years, I lusted after one, but didn’t really had a legitimate need for one that would justify dropping £1600+ until about four years ago.

Then there was the 105mm f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor.  As much I would’ve loved to have been able to splurge on one, it was an expense I couldn’t justify until last year.  That was another one that had been on my wishlist for about a decade.

The Sekonic L-758DR falls into that same category.  It’s a handheld light meter that I’ve wanted for years, but with a retail price of £399, it just wasn’t going to happen.  Certainly not when my L-718 has performed so beautifully the last few years.

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TTSOL – Eye-Fi on Location

I’ve talked about some of the pros & cons of the Eye-Fi card before, but on location these days, it’s something I find difficult to live without.

It’s a luxury, not a necessity, but it does allow me to speed up productivity and waste less time on a location shoot wondering whether the image I just shot is adequately sharp, if I’ve hit the correct point of focus (the camera LCD is just too unreliable – especially when you need to manually focus), or just to see the overall composition on a larger screen.

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The CubieTruck has Landed

So, I’m now officially a Trucker.  A CubieTrucker, that is.

It arrived yesterday, sadly about half an hour before I had to go out, so I pretty much just had chance to put the case together (almost), and didn’t really get to play with it properly at all.

But, it’s beautiful, look at it!

a20-cubietruck

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TTSOL – Shooting Tethered On Location

There was one location at which I shot at quite a lot during 2013 (at least 20 times over the amazing few weeks of summer we had last year).  It’s fairly close to Lancaster (about 10 miles out), and it looks absolutely gorgeous, but only up until about noon.

During the morning, shooting upriver, the sun creates a beautiful backlight on the water and your subject.  Pop a flash from the front, and…

DSC_2766

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TTSOL – WiFi On Location

During any given photo shoot, I usually have a few pieces of equipment with me that have WiFi capabilities, and it’s nice when I can get them all talking to each other and serving a useful purpose.

There’s the Nikon WT-3 grip for the D200 (which is a fantastic setup for shooting events where on-site printing is required, although on location shoots I generally just use it for behind-the-scenes shots), the Eye-Fi cards (mostly I shoot D300s bodies, which have dual card slots, one CF and one SD), the iPhones, the iPad, occasionally (but not often), a laptop (which will soon be replaced by a CubieTruck).

In a studio this isn’t an issue, but random locations out in the middle of the Lake District generally don’t offer WiFi facilities, so we have to create our own.

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The Joy of Airplay

When I first heard of AirPlay, I figured “Apple only”, being the proprietary types that they are.  I’d always seen it bandied about with words like “Apple TV“, “iMac” and “Macbook Pro“.

As the only Apple devices I own are iPhones and iPads, I never really looked much further into it.

A few days ago, I started trying to see if I could find an application that would allow me to record my iPhone or iPad display to a video file, for including in a tutorial video I was putting together.

As it turns out, there ain’t an app for that – at least not one that runs on the device itself.

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TTSOL – What the hell does that mean?

TTSOL is going to become a section on the site that I will populate over the coming weeks, months and years.  It stands for “Taking The Studio On Location”, and it’s really just an attempt to make life easier for myself.

Working in a studio environment is great.  It really is.  It’s warm, it’s dry, there’s always coffee available, you have easy access to all your equipment, lights and modifiers, you can shoot tethered to a laptop or desktop and usually you’re not too far from a local pub to grab something good for lunch (or at least have a kitchen and microwave).

But, you see, the thing is, you can’t really create sets that look like this inside a studio.

DSC_4609

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BitTorrent Sync – Making Your Own Cloud

I’ve been using DropBox for probably about 3 years now, and it’s rather good.  Overall, I’ve been quite impressed.  It’s reliable, fairly quick (bandwidth permitting), and fantastic for delivering work to clients and models.

Delivery of final work to clients and models I’ve shot with has been pretty much my sole reason for using DropBox, and it will probably remain that way, at least for the foreseeable future.

I don’t need masses and masses of space for that, but I’ve still never really been all that keen on the idea of keeping things online in “the cloud” (which is basically just a fancy new term for the same old servers we’ve always had) as a form of file backup.

After recently having had a pretty major crash on one of my machines (motherboard died, taking the processor, RAM and a 2TB hard drive along with it), I’ve rebuilt and started looking into other potential backup solutions.

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LS20031 GPS Module

GPS is something I’ve wanted to play with for a long time, but the cost of GPS modules has always put them way out of reach for just for the sake of having a new toy to play with.

At the moment, however, the good folks over at Cool Components are running a January clearance sale, and this is one of the products in that sale.

There are a couple of other GPS modules included in the sale, but with a massive reduction from £50 to £12, ordering the LS20031 GPS module (10Hz version) was really no choice at all.

10hz_ls20031_gps

I haven’t actually used my Arduino for a good few months, and I don’t think I’ve even reinstalled the software since I rebuilt my main PC a couple of months ago, but I think it’s time to pull the Uno out of its box and start having a play.

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