Photography Certificate Complete Brings New Self Assignment

Stacey This week concludes my program at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts in Waltham. ScarecrowIt's been an exciting year and half as I pursued the Certificate of Professional Photography, attending class two nights and every other Saturday for the entire duration. The end of my studies brings with it the start of a professional vocation as a photographer, albiet part-time for now. I feel that the program at CDIA fully prepared me for this new path, and I've emerged confident and skillful, and ready to take on new imaging challenges.

Hollywood Glamour - Hi KeyAs I immersed myself in photography technique I owe additional thanks to some "virtual mentors", especially David Hobby ("The Strobist") for his extremely helpful blog entries and DVD tutorial, Joe McNally for his helpful blog and online training, and Zack Arias for his online tutorials as well. (I just started following Ryan Brenizer's blog as a valuable resource, too.)

KimFor the graduation ceremony, to be held in January at CDIA, I will be able to submit 4 framed images for display among all the images from my class. Many students submit work done during their time as students, but I would like to use this opportunity to challenge myself with a new project, specifically for the graduation show.

Patrick, front stepsIn this project, I want to exercise the best of all the strengths that I've gained by producing a collection of 4 environmental portraits done in the style of photographers I wish to emulate such as Joel Grimes and Tim Tadder, such that the portraits have a coherent theme and lighting style to bind them together. I've decided to call this first self assignment: Alchemy: Series One, a series having portraits that integrate the four natural elements, Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. More on this assignment later when its complete.

For now, I spent part of Thanksgiving in the garage practicing the technique and exercising all the moving parts.

Three Light Strobist Practice, on Flickr

The One Light Workshop on DVD

DericEver since I read about Zack Arias on The Strobist blog I've been a fan of his photographic style and I've enjoyed his generous lessons such as the 5-part White Seamless Tutorial. To the right is a photo I took after mastering the inverse square law of light in part 2 of Zack's tutorial. This was shot on white seamless believe it or not. Ok, this was one gridded main light at F22 and two bare bulb strobe heads behind him for rim light, but what the hell, that's my style.

When I learned that Zack has a DVD of his popular workshop for sale, I checked out the site and watched the promo video of the workshop. I'm always looking to learn new photography skills so I ordered the DVD set of One Light Workshop right away.

The DVD just arrived so I can't review it yet, but I have to say that Zack is one hell of a marketer! Included with the 2 Disc DVD set was a handy lighting field book to keep in the gear bag, and some One Light bumper stickers, and a One Light T-Shirt, and a music DVD produced by his wife. That's quite a package.

I'll be completing my photography work at CDIA by the end of this year and will launch a formal small photography business. The 10 hour Strobist DVD set was a treasure chest of speedlight skills which I devoured this past summer, and I expect to fully immerse myself in One Light Workshop (as well as the Joey Lawrence DVD tutorial) very soon.


"People are happier when they're lit" - Love that tag line Zack!

If you're in Boston tomorrow for the Photoshop CS4 for Photographers Tour, I'll see you there!

Problems with configuring CF801 on Mac for System Startup

Two problems with configuring ColdFusion 8.01 on Mac OS X for startup on system boot when using the the utility {cf_root}/bin/ The first issue is that cannot be used again to configure CF for startup on boot after the script is used to unconfigure the service. The second issue is that for Multiserver configuration the script cannot be used to unconfigure CF as a startup service and the items under /Library/StartupItems/ColdFusion8Multi must be removed manually. The ColdFusion Engineering team is actively seeking to correct these issues, but I'm posting for your convenience in case you run into this beforehand.

Issue 1 logged as ColdFusion bug 73548
On Mac, running to install system startup script cannot be done a second time after running uninstall.

The function install_mac() permanently moves the file {cf_root}/bin/cf-standalone-startup to /Library/StartupItems/ under the new name ColdFusion8 as shown here:

view plain print about
1mv -f $CF_DIR/bin/cf-standalone-startup /Library/StartupItems/ColdFusion8/ColdFusion8

Then the uninstall_mac() function in permanently removes that file ColdFusion8 as shown here:

view plain print about
1rm -rf /Library/StartupItems/ColdFusion8

There are no longer any copies of {cf_root}/bin/cf-standalone-startup under any name on the system, so another attempt to configure ColdFusion to start on System Boot cannot be performed.

More details:


Hollywood East comes to Boston... or not

Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray has better things to do... What?!?!

The Boston Globe reported today on the progress of a legislative bill to increase tax breaks for Plymouth Rock Studios, a.k.a. Hollywood East. Former executives from Paramount Pictures have been planning construction of a massive $420 million studio located less than an hour south of Boston, expected to have over 1.2 million square feet with 14 stages AND "50,000 square feet of the world's most advanced Post Production facilities"!!

The Massachusetts House of Representatives discussed the bill this week, and its destined for approval in the state senate next, but according to the Globe, Senator Therese Murray is blocking the additional tax incentive by claiming that its "not at the top of her agenda". The Senate's not even going to think about it.

Taxachusetts, er, Massachusetts has been hemorrhaging residents for years because there's not enough high wage jobs and out of control housing costs (a problem that continues in the area despite the nation-wide housing crisis). Hollywood comes to Boston and wants to drop a huge chunk of change, but now Senator Murray's too busy to help give the state a massive shot in the arm?

The opportunities for creative professionals in film, photography, audio, animation, and other computer specialists would be a boon for the state, and New England. According to Plymouth Rock Studio's website:

Plymouth Rock Studios will employ over 2,000 skilled professionals and generating billions of dollars in direct and indirect economic benefits to the Plymouth area and the Commonwealth.

And where is the brand spanking new Massachusetts Creative Economy Director Jason S. Schupbach in all this? He should be in Senator Murray's office tearing her a new lobbying on behalf of Plymouth Rock.

Geeze... Massachusetts, please get a clue!

Creative Economy Director - Massachusetts Economy Focus on the Arts

The Boston Globe newspaper today cited Massachusetts Governor Patrick's administration appointment of a newly created title, Creative Economy Director.

From Boston Globe:

The appointment of Jason S. Schupbach of Boston illustrates the growing role creative sectors play in economic policy as states compete for jobs, companies, and skilled workers. Beyond the direct employment provided by museums, art galleries, and design and other creative firms, the vitality of the local arts and cultural scene is increasingly viewed by development specialists as key to attracting knowledge workers expected to drive 21st century economies...

The creative economy is loosely defined as a variety of nonprofit groups and for-profit firms that center on visual and performing arts, including film, advertising, architecture, and tourism.


In my own experience, I'm a new member of the artist organization at Western Avenue Studios in Lowell, a former textile mill of the industrial age now rejuvenated and converted to an extensive collection of studios. The studios are fantastic but they're run at a loss by philanthropic investors. I hope the state's effort to focus on the local creative industry makes such artists' communities more profitable and more prolific across the region.

2008 Codie Awards: Adobe ColdFusion 8, Captivate, & Connect

Earlier this year the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) announced finalists in the 2008 Codie awards. The SIIA describes itself as "the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry."

Yesterday the winners were announced. As a contributing member of the Adobe ColdFusion 8 QA team, I'm especially proud that ColdFusion 8 won for Best Web Services Solution, a category described as:

Best Web Services Solution
Awards the solution that best connects disparate applications and data across an enterprise or between enterprises using web services standards such as SOAP, XML and WDSL. Includes Web services enabling technologies, infrastructure, middleware, system integration tools, etc.

In addition to comprehensive, across the board regression testing, the specific CF8 features I worked on include testing support for all new RDBMS versions, integrating new JDBC driver versions, LiveCycle Data Services Integration, and CFReport HTML support. I also performed installation testing across J2EE servers such as WebLogic, WebSphere, and JBoss while emphasizing the Linux OS. Currently I'm working on SOAP-based Web Service testing in Flex. Speaking of Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 won the Codie award for the Best Open Source Solution.

More information about the SIIA 2008 Codie Awards can be found at InfoWorld

Smashing Copyright on Stunning Photographs

Smashing Magazine recently published an article, in blog format, titled Really Stunning Pictures and Photos. The article begins with the presentation of text advertisements from Google Adsense in the main column, and a row of image-based advertisements in the menu column. Further on the article begins as a brief introduction that heralds the effort involved in Photography as a craft and a very brief notice that all photographs are copyright of their respective owners.

The publication then seems to flagrantly and egregiously disregard all respect for copyright by actually displaying copies of photographs hosted on their website that have been scraped off well known photo sharing websites such as Flickr and DeviantArt. While it's very flattering to have a magazine or well known person or organization use one's photo, perhaps an ego trip sometimes, we as photographers shouldn't let third parties arbitrarily steal or borrow creative work or intellectual property by using it without consent or without proper credit.


ColdFusion 8.01 64-bit and Supported Linux Distros

The ColdFusion 8.01 System Requirements as shown in the detailed platform support matrix [PDF] indicates that support for 64-bit Linux distributions is limited to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and SuSe Linux Enterprise Server 10.1. This fine print appears to often go overlooked, so I just want to broadcast it a little louder here.

I was contacted today by someone reporting installation problems and mentioned glibc and floating point errors. A bit of Googling turned up this Google Group thread and this blog entry. Apparently, glibc 2.5 is required for the 64-bit binaries used in the ColdFusion 8.01 64-bit server, so RHEL4's glibc 2.4 just won't do.

On a related note, the ColdFusion Installation Support page currently has a broken link to receive free installation support by email. I notified the web team about the broken link, and I found that the new way to enter this type of installation support request is by registering your product and completing a form here.

Bare Knuckle Boxer

Bare Knuckle Boxer

In a recent shoot at CDIA, we were all shooting fashion models in glamour, fashion, and your basic "All-American" type styles. By contrast, one model showed he had a tough, serious side which gave me the idea for a classic boxing shot that you might have seen 30 or 40 years ago.

Using hard, split lighting from two 20 grids mounted on strobes on either side I was able to produce some dramatic light bouncing off his shoulders and cheeks, while a 18" dish above him provided a hair light and kicker. In fact, this was the same light I used on this very different shot here, and yet the results have very different feels.

At the dollar general store across the street, I found a squirt bottle and a roll of sports tape to help prepare the shot. I wrapped the tape around his hands the way boxers do before putting on gloves, pressing it into the knuckles to make it look worn and used. Still the tape didn't have that look and feel of the real thing because it was so white and shiny. Luckily, with a little improvisation, I found some leftover chocolate cake nearby which had a rich brown color, so I convinced the model to let me rub some of it into the tape. Wiping off the excess, it perfectly matched what could have been some dried blood and dirt.


Adobe's Angela Drury, Photographer by Night, on Adobe TV

New on the Photography channel on Adobe TV, Angela Drury, Customer Support Manager at Adobe, share's her story behind her passion for photography, including her experience with the Lightroom team in the 2006 Lightroom Adventure in Iceland. You can follow along with Angela and the Team right now as they're in Tasmania on the latest Adobe Lightroom Adventure 2008.

After Hours at Adobe - Angela Drury
By day, Angela manages a team of product support engineers for Adobe Customer Care. After hours, she's an award winning photographer.

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