Get $100 Off Amazon’s Kindle

August 29, 2008

girl reading with a kindleOk, the temptation is mounting. I’ve been thinking about getting a Kindle to satisfy the bookworm in me, and now it’s looking more and more like I’m going to. Why? Because Amazon announced this week that they and Chase have partnered up for a pretty nice offer. Here’s how it is explained on their product page:

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Blogging for your Boss – Part 1

August 27, 2008

As in any office job, I’m required to keep my boss posted on the various projects I have going on. We usually meet up once a week to touch base and for me to get direction on existing projects as well as projects that are down the road a bit.

Sometimes, due to our schedules, one or both of us aren’t able to meet. It’s these weeks that are a little more hectic than others and we find ourselves struggling to stay on track. I considered using the wiki I installed a few years ago to keep us on the same page, but it’s best used for documentation (which is what I use it for!). Then I got to thinking about using a WordPress installation and that seemed to fit the bill much better.

Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking, “What about email?!?” Yes, there’s no doubt an endless volley of emails can keep the ball rolling, but I was more interested in creating a report of sorts… kind of like a, “this is what I’ve been up to this week,” which is exactly what most blogs are anyway!
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Digital Photography Workflow – High Contrast Effect from Start to Finish

August 25, 2008

Your digital photography workflow is important because it’s the process that you employ to create an image. Each step in the workflow is important as it makes each sub-sequent step easier and makes the overall workflow more efficient, allowing you to devote more time and energy to creating great images.

One key to creating great images is starting with a great photo and then enhancing the photo further in Photoshop. In this tutorial, I’ll explain how I setup the lighting and composition for the photo and then used Lightroom and Photoshop to end up with the final image.

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No Flash Photography

August 22, 2008

no flashOften times when you are at a public event, you will hear someone announce, “no flash photography, please.” A lot of people assume that they just can’t use their cameras because their flashes usually fire automatically. This is especially true when you’re indoors with low light.

Last weekend, I enjoyed an acrobatics show on the General Jackson. Before the show began, we were reminded that flash photography was not allowed. I grinned to myself, picked up my camera, and made a few adjustments that I knew would allow me to take great photos without using a flash.
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Why the Sound of Music Sucks Today – Part 2

August 21, 2008

volume knobIn Part 1 we learned that the loudness of music we hear has an effect on how we perceive the way it sounds. More to the point we learned that a louder song sounds like it has more bass and treble and therefore sounds better on most small stereo systems. So what harm can it do for an engineer make their mix sound louder than someone else when the volume limits are set by the playback format and the listener?

Back when music was delivered on phonograph records there was a limit to how much information could be etched into the disc before it cut across the grove and rendered the disc unplayable. On magnetic tape there was a limit to how much magnetic energy the tape could hold before it became distorted. With digital audio there is a limit on how loud you can go when sampling the sound-wave. That limit in digital audio is called 0 db (zero).

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Beginning Photography Tips – Intro to ISO

August 20, 2008

Intro to ISOISO, otherwise known as film speed, is the foundation of the key elements of exposure. Your ISO setting determines how fast your digital sensor reacts to the light that hits it. The settings for both aperture and shutter speed are based on your sensor’s sensitivity to light.

ISO stands for–yep, you guessed it; International Organization for Standardization. Fortunately, we don’t need to remember this. For our purposes, “ISO” is just a short way of referring to film speed.

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Unreadable Disc Error – Xbox 360 DVD Drive

August 18, 2008

Last Wednesday, I decided I would play some GTA IV before the wife got home. So turned on the Xbox, popped in the disc, and got to it. About 20 minutes into my session, I began to hear a horrible noise coming from the DVD drive. After a few seconds of growling, a Xbox blade came across the screen saying the disc was unreadable.

Cursing under my breath, I got up from the couch to give the Xbox and game a close look. Of course, the disc was fine. I put in another game just to be sure, and got the “unreadable disc” error once again. I inserted a movie we had watched over the weekend. No dice. Read more

Off Camera Flash Photography Tips – Quality of Light

August 15, 2008

Quality of LightAs we continue learning more about off-camera lighting, we need to examine the beam of light coming from the light source. How big is it? How close it is? Which angle is it coming from? How much did I pay for it, again?

Let’s first tackle the size of your light. It’s important to keep in mind that you should judge the size of light as it relates to your subject. If you’re shooting full-length portraits of someone, there’s going to be a difference between a “big” light source for that person versus what you’d need if you were taking product shots of cell phones, for example. This boils down to apparent light size; that is, the size of light from the perspective of your subject.

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Midweek Geek Links for 8-14-2008

August 14, 2008

Geek Links
It’s time for this week’s Geek Links!

  • The Orwell Diaries, which were previously unpublished, are being posted online as a blog. The entries begin on August 9, 1938, and are being made available online as each entry reaches the 70-year-old mark. I think this is a really neat idea regardless if you know who George Orwell is (aka Eric Arthur Blair).
  • USB 3.0 is on its way, which when maxed out “will offer ten times the bandwidth of USB 2.0 – 4.8 Gb/s, which translates into a massive bandwidth of 600 MB/s.” That should be useful for external storage and HD Video Cameras.
  • Yet another break-through in the quest for invisibility has been made. This time, scientist say they are able to “cloak” 3 dimensional object with the use of a special “metamaterial.” Probably not recommended for people who loose things easily.
  • Google will help you stay onto of your favorite Olympic games with their new 2008 Summer Games site.
  • A startup company in Texas claims to have made a new battery that has an energy density three times greater than lithium-ion batteries. It seems that they’re taking steps to bringing this technology to mass manufacturing, which could in turn make cheap electric cars a reality.

Photography Advice – From Beginner to Novice

August 13, 2008

Earlier this year, two separate things happened in my life that made me want to learn more about photography. First, my wife dropped the handy point and shoot camera that we’d had for a few years which rendered it useless. Second, this very same wife became pregnant with our first child.

So there I was, camera-less with our first child on the way. I couldn’t stand it. I talked it over with my good friend Bo (the guy who writes all the great photography and Photoshop articles for this site) and decided that I should get a nice digital SLR, a Canon XTi to be exact. That is how it all began; I had a nice camera, a strong motive, and practically no photography experience. I knew that I wanted to take nice photos of our baby girl (it’s a girl!), not to mention all the upcoming family gatherings, but I didn’t really know where to begin. The following is a brief overview of the steps I took to go from an absolute beginner to a novice photographer.
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