Creative Photography – Class 1

Last night was my session of the Creative Photography class at Camosun. It was … interesting. Too soon to tell if I will get a lot from the class, but I will get something.

Last night was the intro, talking about the outline, and how the class was going to go. Camera’s in class are necessary.

Throughout the 2.5 hour class we would take 10 minutes to go shoot a small assignment. Before hand there would be something said or done to get the class thinking, then he would send us on our way to shoot.

I did take some tidbits away. Sometimes you need to think the photograph, feel the photograph, or see the photo. Explore the box, break out of it. Shoot something you are not comfortable with. Less is more (especially with negative space). Look for randomness or look for order.

My shots from the class are here.

Unfortunately I will be missing next weeks class, but I will resume on Oct 4.

Neil Hodge is the instructor for this course too. When I have a little more time I will spend some of it exploring his work.

Shredder Stereo

The good and bad from last weekend.

Good: new shredder from Costco. We burned out our last $20 shredder, so we upgraded to a cross cut. Very nice to have a shredder back in use.

Bad: I noticed that the LCD backlight on my stereo has gone kaput. This means I can’t see what track is playing any more. Can’t complain too much though, that stereo has served me well since 1991 (approx), and has travelled around the city numerous times. Some day I will get a replacement.

Band Remix

I love this story. It is about a band that likes their fans, and wants to leverage their fans. The band is the Bare Naked Ladies. Their put their songs on the internet and let the fans remix them. The 5 best remixes go on special CD release with proceeds going to charity. The best fan designed t-shirts get some prizes. The best fan playalong’s get to appear in an upcoming video. That is a way to show appreciation for the fans. Don’t sue them!

via BoingBoing

Armour Wrong

Armour how I love thee. You have save my shins, knees, and elbows countless times while mountain biking.

Then I read about some camera armour on Gizmodo. My first reaction was cool, some weatherproofing for my camera. Then I followed the link to LetsGoDigital and read the following:

Camera Skins
Made offers gasketed polycarbonate LCD and viewfinder lenses that keep dust and fingerprints away while providing a shatterproof coverage. Each case is sized to be skin tight for the camera it protects, and allows the user to take photos and access all features, change batteries, memory cards, etc without removing the camera from the case. It is protection that never gets left behind.

Errm. No thanks, I will save my money. Adding extra gaskets, hatches, and doors to get at things like batteries and cards just increases the risk of something going wrong. I’d rather just have a weather proofing system.

There I just saved some big bucks today by not getting this nor the Zigview!

ZigView Solution

I love my camera a lot but I do miss the LCD preview of shots sometimes. Low-down shots, and overhead shots DSLR’s are a little finicky. My solution has always been to snap a few pics in the hopes that I will like one of them. With the LCD preview (and especially the swivel out LCD’s on many digi-cams), this is not a problem.

Well, ZigView has a solution to this. They have this gadget that snaps over the viewfinder and produces the LCD preview. I have read about two different models on Engadget (model 1 and model 2), and by all accounts it sounds like an interesting idea, but I definitely won’t be in the market for one.

My reasoning is simple. Most of my overhead shots, or low level shots, are impulsive, spur-of-the-moment shots. I couldn’t fathom this thing being attached to the camera permanently, so that means I would snap it on as needed, and this definitely doesn’t work for impulse shots. Also, how firmly attached is the ZigView? If it is firmly attached, then snapping it on an off is a problem, and if it is all loosey-goosey, why would I want it?

Another issue is in reality, is the tiny LCD going to be enough to give the user an accurate idea of exposure? That really is one benefit of an LCD on digital camera’s. The only way the ZigView could do that would be if it communicated with the camera. Not going to happen.

Admittedly, a comment I read somewhere said that the S2 version could be useful in some instances since it can be used remotely. The example this person gave (I can’t find where the comment was), was setting up a camera to watch a bird’s nest, and being able to take pictures using the remote. Interesting, but very niche.

Overall, I think this is interesting, but not too useful for me. If I were given one to review I would try to put it through it’s paces, but I certainly won’t be shelling out cash for one.

Next up, camera armour?

Released Plastic

I headed off to A&B Sound today to get some new CD’s that were released yesterday. I grabbed the new Barenaked Ladies, and the new Papa Roach. There was a third CD I looked into that was released a while ago. The CD was Two by Earshot.

A&B Sound still doesn’t get it somtimes. BNL and Papa Roach were $9.99 and $10.99. To me those are reasonable prices for a hunk of plastic. The total for those two albums was $23.71.

The Earshot CD sticker said $29.49. Lame. As soon as I saw the price that CD went back on the shelf. There is absolutely no way I will pay that for a CD (unless it is a limited edition, and I am a huge fan of the band).

In this economy, with how easy it is to download the music you want, with how easy it is to find good and legally free music, and with how record companies treat their customers, no CD should be priced like that.

The Earshot CD will stay on my wishlist for a while longer I guess.

iTunes Information

iTunes 7 was released today. I use iTunes to manage my mp3’s, and transfer files to my iPod’s. Well, a new feature of iTunes 7 is a long, loooong, overdue ability to download album art from the iTunes store. After installing the update, and letting iTunes fix my library for gapless playback, I set about turning on the album art feature.

I found the setting, but iTunes said I had to be logged in to the iTunes store to be able to use it. I don’t know why they need me to be logged in to download some images. That is more than a little weird, but I have an Apple ID, so I started to log in to the store. I started to log in, but quickly I was stopped. It wanted my credit card information. I don’t plan to buy any music off iTunes, so why do they need my credit card information? I don’t tend to just hand this info out. I should be able to (IMO) login to the iTunes store and when they need my payment info, provide it then (or be given the option of storing it on their servers).

Another consideration is that I don’t know how they are going to transfer this info to their servers. Is it transported securely or not? iTunes says they will transport it securely, but the only way I can confirm that is to start up wireshark (previously ethereal) and watch the traffic being sent to and from the Apple servers.

In the end I am not willing to hand over my credit card info just for this feature. I will stick to third party apps.

Motorbike Hunt

Last night there was something strange going on in our neighbourhood. Minutes before midnight I was awoken by a very loud motorbike (not Harley loud, but fast street bike loud) screaming up Lampson St. About 30 seconds after a cop car came whipping by lights on and siren going. Great. Thanks guys.

Sox and I sort of held our breath to see what would happen with Sprout, and sure enough, a soft cry emanated from his room. Sox got up to feed him while I stayed in bed.

For the next 20 minutes or so, the ‘hood was crawling with cop cars doing all sorts of weird things. Some were driving quickly, some slowly, all had lights going, some had sirens, more had a partial siren that was stopped and started at random, and one peeled out around the corner onto Lampson from Bewdley. At one point I heard a car go by and inside I heard a dog barking. They were on the hunt for someone, and they sure seemed serious.

This all turned Yoshi into a basketcase. He burst through the gate at the bottom of the stairs, was quite whiny, curled up in the bedroom on my clothes that were on the floor, and generally was quite stressed.

And as quickly as it all started it ended. I put Yoshi back downstairs, Sprout fell asleep again, and Sox and I hopped back into our bed for some more shut eye. I still really want to know what the hell was going on. Nothing on the news sites this morning, but maybe later today there will be something. I might even watch the news to see if there is anything there about a late night chase.

Reconnection Season

A common theme in recent blog posts I have read is that Labour Day feels like the beginning of a new year. This rings true with me. I alway used to feel that when I was in school. Everything began anew in September. Reconnection with friends, new clothes, new routines, new grade. Why isn’t this the beginning of the year?

It took a few years of full time work before these feelings abated. I still think about it when September rolls around, but I no longer feel it is the start of a new year.

Something still occurs around Labour Day though. It still marks the change of the season. Soon after Labour Day I noticed the leaves on the apple tree had started to change. Fall has begun. I can feel it in the air during my morning commute. A cool crisp feeling that isn’t cold (just yet). Fall is here. I’m going to have to start checking out the local parks for changing colors.

I love this time of year too. Fall is my favorite time of year. Mountain biking is best now, photography is excellent, and I love seeing the big change in the scenery. I can still get out of the house and enjoy nature before the real rains set in. There are still plenty of sunny warm days left in this season, and enjoying them is always a challenge. There are too many things to do.