I just got mine on Friday and here are my initial thoughts: Take an iPad and make it smaller, thinner and lighter and you’ve got an iPad mini. The experience is really just about identical. OK, 50-sec
Q.Is it as light and thin as you thought it would be? A. Actually, it’s thinner and lighter than I was expecting. If actually feels lighter than my iPhone 5. Once you use it, and then pick up your old iPad, the old one feels like a brick (which it never did to me before, but it sure does now).
Q.What about the lack of Retina display? A. I thought this would bother me, but you really have to be looking for a difference to notice it at this smaller size. Everybody I’ve shown it to was surprised at how good the screen looked after reading about the lack of Retina display. I guess if you put them side-by-side you’d notice.
Q.How about speed? A. Seems really zippy. I’m sure in a bench test it would rate it quite a bit slower, but it doesn’t feel like it.
Q.How do you feel about the price? A. I think they should have come in at $299 to start, or even $249, but the market will determine if it’s actually too high.
Q.Do books and magazines feel too small on that smaller display? A. This is one of the first things I checked, and they actually look great, especially paperback books. The size is right on the money.
Q.What are people’s reactions to it? A. Every single person I’ve shown it to falls instantly in love with the size, thinness and how amazingly light it is. Two said they’re going to sell their larger iPad to get this one. You actually have to see it and hold it to really appreciate it.
Q.What if you already own a different type of small tablet and therefore this review has absolutely nothing to do with you? A. Then you should take this opportunity to attack Apple, the iPad mini, me, and the other stupid people that buy Apple products.
Q.Are you really suggesting that? A. No, but it’s going to happen anyway (sigh).
It’s our biggest issue yet, with lots of awesome lighting tutorials; everything from lighting for weddings; tips for shooting with a beauty dish; lighting home interiors; a very cool location shoot that turns an every day scene into a mystical forest; my Lighting Recipes column, the latest gear news and more.
It’s available now for the iPad on the App store for just $2.99. (By the way: if you download the app (free) you get our launch issue for free as well).
What! Still no Android version?
OK, I got with my team about all this and here’s where it stands. The company that developed our App originally made just a regular ol’ IOS app, but when Apple introduced the Newsstand Concept, so we had to retool the entire magazine for Newsstand. So, we’re now we’re not just converting our ISO app into an Android version; they’re having to reverse-engineer out the Newsstand stuff to get it to work on Android, and so far it’s too buggy to release. So, that’s where it stands right now. When it’s working, we’ll release it on Android, but that will be the only other platform we’re looking at developing for (no desktop versions, no PDF versions, no Web-based versions, etc.).
So, if you have an iPad or iPad mini, go check it out today at the App store (in fact, here’s the link just in case).
My one complaint with my new Retina Display MacBook Pro is that it no longer has a locking hole drilled in the side of the laptop itself, so you can no longer secure your laptop with a Kensington security lock and cable (like you could with other MacBook Pro models). So far, after searching around the only simple solution seems to be this new clear plastic skin from http://www.macLocks.com which lets you attached a cable lock.
Here’s how it works:
You remove five screws from the bottom of your MacBook Pro, then (using the supplied screws and screwdriver) you attach this very lightweight clear, plastic “skin” to the bottom of your laptop (it has ventilation slats), and it has special locking mount in the back right corner (seen in the photo below). I tried it at the Bucs/Chargers game on Sunday and it worked well (and the lock and cable come with the unit).
If you look it it, of course, this plastic skin is not unbeatable (you could break it but it would take some doing and likely trash the computer in the process) but unfortunately that might not be obvious to a thief at first (it looks more breakable than I think it is), so while you might still have your computer at the end of the day, if they seriously tried to break it, your MacBook Pro will probably be fairly damaged as well — so think of it more of a deterrent but certainly not a local version of Fort Knox.
Its Achilles Heel
If the would-be thief has a very small screwdriver, they can just turn your laptop upside down, remove five screws, and just slide the plastic plate off, so when you return you’ll find a still-locked cable attached to a clear plastic plate, and your laptop will be gone. Yikes!
If I could change one thing…
…..it would be that it has a combination lock rather than a key-lock, because if you lose that key you’re really stuck (you do get one back-up key, but you’d better have it on you). Other than that, it seems well-thought out and so far seems to be the best solution out there in the absense of the old Kensington lock with a hole drilled in the body (like before) and so it makes a less-than-ideal situation workable for folks who need to lock down their laptop when they step away.
Lightroom 4 Live Matt Kloskowski is heading north to Toronto on November 26 with his Lightroom 4 Live Tour! Come join Matt for the day as he takes you through all the most powerful and useful features of Lightroom. At the end of the day, you’ll be able to make your images look great and quickly get back behind the camera!
Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It – On A Budget with Hot Shoe Flash
Just starting out with photography and want to add lighting to your shots? Scott Kelby has you covered with his latest Kelby Training class, Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It – On A Budget with Hot Shoe Flash! In this class Scott shows you how you can get started with an affordable lighting rig, what settings to use, and how to process the images in Lightroom and Photoshop. And, as usual, he does all of this in his easy to understand teaching style.
The Grid – Is There Money in Photography?
Yesterday The Grid was 200% more international with guests Glyn Dewis (from England) and Serge Ramelli (from France)! These gents joined Matt Kloskowski for a discussion on Is There Money in Photography? They had a great talk on the difference between photography as a hobby and photography as a business, plus answered viewer questions on getting started. You can check it out on Kelby TV later today, and check out Glyn and Serge’s work in the meantime!
Running to Raise Money for Hurricane Sandy Relief
Matt Kloskowski’s brother is running the length of the entire state of New Jersey (220 miles) over 3 days to help raise funds and awareness for the relief efforts. Here’s a quick story about it if you’d like to help out.
I have a phrase for it, the Darwin Theory of Photography – Evolve or Perish. While it’s very true that I’m a gear head and one of my greatest pleasures in life is to get a new piece of gear and just sit and inhale the new gear smell, there is most definitely a method behind my madness. I love telling stories and since I can’t draw, dancing is out of the question and my family won’t even let me sing in the shower that leaves me with photography to tell my stories. In 1998 when I first started to shoot digital, I knew then that the means in which I delivered my photographic stories was going to have to change.
It gets complicated for Sharon & me in the fact that we make our livelihood by telling stories with my photographs. The editorial marketplace is where we have worked and grown for the last three decades in part of our own mission to get the word out about our wild heritage. Realizing from the get-go that we couldn’t do it on our own, we needed to enlist every possible photographer in shooting and sharing their stories, so then our editorial requirement grew from our own stories to helping photographers tell theirs as well. This created an even greater need for the editorial marketplace to be healthy and strong.
Over the years digital photography has as you know become more and more powerful as a medium. Its ability to instantly tell a story and the web’s ability to deliver it has in some ways crippled our traditional method of telling stories. Many a magazine and newspaper has succumbed to this new pressure due in part to not following what they don’t know about, my Darwin Theory of Photography. In a nutshell, if you’re a storyteller, you gotta have a way and place to tell your story. And if you’re a storyteller who tells stories with photographs and depends upon magazines for a vehicle and they are disappearing, your ability to tell stories is going to disappear too. And if you have a mission to help others, the pressure is even greater. You gotta push the envelope!
One of the greatest perks of working with all the great folks at NAPP is the constant flow of creativity. I am very fortunate to be able to sit down and talk with Scott or Matt or RC or Moser and discuss the creative and business side of photography and outreach. It was from a conversation with Scott years ago when the iPad was first made known to us though it was not on the market yet that got my wheels turning. It was then that I saw at least in my own mind, a way to push the envelope of photography and the editorial marketplace and deliver content in a very new and exciting way.
Shortly after the iPad’s release, a plug-in became available for InDesign that permits you to take your InDesign document to the iPad. I’m not talking eBook, which is just a glorified PDF. I’m talking a whole new method to deliver content in an exciting and visually more stimulating way, taking advantage of all the unique qualities of the iPad to improve learning. This was the way we could push the envelope and take advantage of our digital photography and the way more and more want to receive their content, how they want to learn. One major, big, giant problem…it was way over my head!
I was sitting at my desk working and our son Brent was down for the weekend from college. Brent has this unbelievable ability to make computers sing with just a glance. He was looking over my shoulder while we were talking and I was doing battle with the program when he asked, “Dad, what are you trying to do?” I explained it to him, kinda and he just said, “I’ve got a minute why don’t you let me try it?” The rest is history now. He had it working within a heartbeat and my blood pressure went back to normal.
Our first goal was to take our 15yr old BT Journal to the iPad. The main thing was to just not “take” it to the iPad but take advantage of the iPad technology. The first thing that came to light is the ability to deliver more photographs and more of their stories. Brent loves the “push dad button” as he started asking for more and more photos for the digital version of the BTJ. This is because he was able to do slideshows, adding 400-500% more images to the content. With the traditional editorial model, you have only so much real estate where you can place images. Such is not the case with the iPad, which not only vastly increases useable real estate but also presents the layout designed both in landscape and portrait format. (And when magazines can use more and more photos and you’re in the business of selling images, this is a good formula!)
But our abilities to present content in more untraditional ways doesn’t stop there. When you go to iPubs, you have the ability to incorporate video content right along with the written and visual. This is very powerful stuff when it comes to teaching and inspiring! One of the first cool videos Brent incorporated was of Upper Yosemite Falls. When you flip the page in the BTJ, folks see the waterfall shot and at first think it’s a still image until after a moment they notice the water is flowing, falling and crashing. The look on folks’ faces when they see their digital magazine “come to life” is great! Being able to include video got Brent to thinking and that’s how the Pg28 Videos came to be. Where on the hard copy Pg28 are just photo captions (which are greatly expanded and attached to the photos in the digital version), in the digital version Pg28 are video Photoshop lessons about photos in the issue. It wasn’t long before we realized there are no limitations! Our latest BTJ issue with an interactive map is an example of this, but wait, there is so much more.
You might have noticed I like to take pictures of planes. For awhile now, I’ve been trying to get you excited about playing with planes. Just like with wildlife photography, I’ve been putting out information on how to improve your aviation photography and wanted to put it all in one place for folks, what we traditionally call a book. Well, no one wanted to publish a book on aviation photography, “no market” was the response. Publishing a book is expensive, distribution is tricky and marketing is everything and this all takes time. Brent & I put our heads together and decided we were going to push the envelope again and produced the world’s first iBook, Taking Flight.
Taking Flight took one month to write, lay out, assemble and put on the market. Taking Flight is an iBook that has hundreds of photographs, web links, videos and the best thing, is updatable! That’s right! Our iBook (only $14.99) includes free updates, which we have already done in the form of additional photos and more videos since its release. If you want a new edition of a traditional book, what do you have to do, buy a new book right? This is not the case with an iBook. The worldwide response has been so amazing that we’re working on our next iBook, and it will be FREE!! We don’t stop pushing the envelope around here.
But what does this all have to do with you? I know one of the first comments below will be, “I don’t have an iPad or will it be coming out on Android?” which to me is no different than, “I don’t have $29.95 to buy a book.” And I’m sure each producer of a new means of communication since the printing press has heard the same basic comment for their day at the introduction of their product. That brings us back to the Darwin Theory of Photography. And this is not for those books you want to curl up with next to a fire on a snowy afternoon. What we’re talking about here is increasing the marketplace, the means to tell our visual stories in a changing editorial world, which we need to support if we want it to support us!
Our traditional model of delivering content is fading with newspapers, magazines, and books slowly disappearing from our visual landscape. If you are like me and tell your stories visually through the editorial medium, this means you’re going to lose if nothing else, income. If you not only need that income but also have a burning desire to share your photographs (which you all should have!), then you need to push the envelope and be part of how we develop the next generation of magazines and books. You can do that by subscribing to all the magazines now available on the iPad and buying those iBooks that might interest you. At the same time, think creatively how you can add content to these mediums and get more involved in sharing your photographs.
Evolve or perish…be it a new body, lens, technique or passion, it is at the heart of my photography. And I hope now I’ve planted the seed that becomes the heart of yours. When Brad pinged me to write about how Brent & I went to the iPad with content, I scratched my head how the story might be of service to you. And in a long winded way, I came back to really basics illustrated with a high ended story. Pushing ourselves and more importantly our photography is what all great photographers have done since the dawning of the medium, which is how we got where we are today. It is now up to us to push past camera brands and megapixels and focus on telling the story of our days by using the mediums now available to us. Don’t settle, share your photographs and change the world, knowing that in part you do it by pushing the envelope!
On Friday I did a series of promo shots for Performance Compound, a training facility where a lot of pro athletes train, everyone from NFL players to Major League Baseball, and did about 14 portraits that day assisted by Brad Moore and crew (that’s Third Baseman Sean Buckley above) and I thought I’d share a couple of finals here, along with the behind-the-scenes photos and the post-processed and unprocessed images.
This entire process is the same as what I showed on my Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it tour, with the addition of one extra back light on the subject (as you’ll see in a moment). Here goes:
1.Above: here’s the shot as it came out of the camera. I used a Grid on the beauty dish above his head to get a quick fall-off on the light. My main concern here is the side lighting from the back, and that part looks good. His face is supposed to be darker.
2.Above: Here’s the shot with some simple, quick adjustments in Lightroom’s Basic Panel (if you don’t have Lightroom, it would be exactly the same settings in Photoshop’s Camera Raw). The settings are below.
3.Above: I wasn’t kidding about simple adjustments: Just increased the Whites a bit, plus lots of Clarity and I lowered the Vibrance a bit to desaturate his skin. I also took the Adjustment Brush, increased the Exposure slider a little bit (dragging to the right) and painted over his face to brighten it (It’s supposed to be a lot darker than the sides, but I thought it was a bit too dark). The white balance was set to Auto in my camera and look fine in this case.
4.Above: Here’s a behind-the-scenes shot of the lighting set-up: 17″ beauty dish with a grid: two strip banks in back on the sides with fabric grids. We have a tiny bit of light on the white background to make it a very light gray (if we turned the power up, it would turn solid white). Production photo by Brad Moore.
5.Above: Here’s a composite from the exact shot you see in #4. The two backgrounds (here and at the top) are from an awesome company called “Photo Art Streetscapes” (link). Their stuff costs a bit more, but it’s totally worth it.
As for matching him to his surroundings: I showed the techniques of how to match the overall color and tone of the composited image on my live “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch It” tour, and in my “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it “ book as well (Amazon or Barnes & Noble), and Matt covers all of this in his Compositing Secrets book, too! (Amazon or Barnes & Noble).
Well, there ya have it —- short and sweet. Hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday! :-)