“What’s in your bag?” seems to be an often asked question.
Typically, this question means “What do you have that I can lust after?” or “What do you have that isn’t as good as what I have?”, but it also has another connotation.
Of course, the gear is important, don’t let anybody ever tell you otherwise, but it’s not about having “the best” camera, lenses or flash equipment, it just means you need the right ones for the task at hand.
But what about the other stuff?
There are so many things that, while not absolutely required, make life a whole lot easier during a shoot, and they’re often ignored when “the question” is asked.
I’m going to compose a series of posts that will attempt to address some of those things. I suppose this could be considered “Part 1”, and I’m going to talk about some of the various ways my iPhone (but it applies equally to Android) has become an essential part of my kit.
This new offering from X-Rite, released in March, looks rather good, though, and it seems it has an API that allows other app developers to add support for the profiles it creates (meaning other software can show your images correctly, too – Hello? Lightroom Mobile? You listening, Adobe?).
In previous years, we’d remained at the venue (as a competing team, not as host) until at least 11pm usually (once past midnight – after which we had to make an hour and a half drive back home) due to waiting for technological hiccups to be overcome so that we could continue, but last year was different.
When the Eye-Fi works so well with the iPad, why would I want to seemingly make life more complicated for myself by adding more hardware into the mix?
Well, transferring to a Linux based machine like the CubieTruck offers me some advantages over the iPad. Some of them I alluded to in my previous post on this topic, but at the time, my primary thought was really just on-site backup (after making the switch from SanDisk Eye-Fi cards to Eye-Fi Pro X2 cards).
No real interaction, no file serving to viewing devices, just straight up copy the images to the CubieTruck, and then copy it all onto my network when I get back home.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.