Christmas Eve Service makes Front Page Photo

Choir at Candlelight Service A couple weeks ago a friend at the First Parish Photography Club suggested the idea of photographing an outdoor, candlelight service on Christmas Eve in Concord, Massachusetts. As a recent graduate of the Professional Digital Photography program at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University, I embraced the opportunity as a means of practicing real event photography, a genre of its own requiring distinct skills apart from other types of photography.

This event was the first outdoor service in the 300+ year history of the First Parish, due to ongoing renovations this year. Historically as many as four services are held there on Christmas Eve, having as many as 500 attendees per service. This made planning a bit of a challenge because the number of attendees could range anywhere from a hundred to perhaps a thousand.

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How To Filter by File Type in Lightroom 2

One of my favorite blogs, Lightroom Killer Tips, posted an entry today regarding how to filter according to file type in Lightroom 2. The entry is a revision or repost of the same thing for Lightroom 1 posted on that blog 9 months ago.

However, the tiny screenshot of the Metadata Browser used on the updated blog entry was taken from their earlier post about the older version of Lightroom. I'm sure it was an oversight during light holiday blogging.

Since the whole metadata search feature was improved and restructured after Lightroom 1, I wanted to post an updated screenshot of my own showing how to filter by file type in the new version, Lightroom 2. This is useful if you searching just for JPG, TIF, or PSD files specifically, for example.

Click on the photo below to see it on Flickr, or for those not having an account here's a direct link.

Filter by File Type in Lightroom 2

Power Mac G5: The lights are on but no one's home

Power Mac G5 OS X 10.4, 30The recent ice storm that crippled New England and left me looking for other shelter seemed to have killed my 2005 Power Mac G5. The night of the ice storm the lights in the house blinked off, then on, then off again... They stayed off for four days, along with the furnace, until the power company put my town back on line.

A week later, when I attempted to start the G5 in my home office the main power light came on, and stayed on when ever it was plugged in, and the desktop would not begin the boot sequence, nor were any sounds emitted such as the fans starting up.

With lots of other things to take care of I delayed troubleshooting it, but thought that it would eventually require a trip to the Apple Store Genius Bar for a drop off. Today I finally did a search and came up with this little wonder:

How to reset the SMU on a Power Mac G5

The SMU (System Management Unit) is a microcontroller chip on the logic board that controls all power functions for your computer. If your computer is experiencing any issues regarding these functions, resetting the SMU may resolve the issue. The functions controlled by the SMU include:

* It tells the computer when to turn on, turn off, sleep, wake, idle, and so on.
* It handles system resets from various commands.
* It controls the fan.



The guts circuit board did not look the same as in the photo on their article, so I started pushing all the transistors and every little silvery bumps I could find. Close to my RAM memory slots, I finally found a tiny, round, silver button on a small black square base that was in fact slightly pushable.

Upon reassembling the tower's side door and re-inserting all the cables, I was very happy to hear that little whir of the fan as the computer took its first breath after being resuscitated. The prospect of waiting in line at the Apple Store during Christmas week was something I was not looking forward to.

My Application to CDIABU in Retrospect

I was searching through my email for something today, and I came across my application to CDIA where I wrote this in the Personal Objective section almost two years ago.

Why have you chosen to pursue an education in the field of Digital Imaging Arts?
Through achievement, motivation, and serendipity I've been fortunate to have earned an esteemed position as software quality assurance engineer at Adobe Systems. Within this vibrant, professional atmosphere my personal growth as a serious amateur photographer has accelerated significantly.

At this nexus, I wish to seize the opportunity to expand my skills horizontally by bridging my experience in rich internet development with the digital imaging arts and professional photography.


What do you hope to achieve by enrolling in the program at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts?


With the completion of a certificate in Professional Photography I will have formalized a long standing, deep, personal ambition which will allow me to thoroughly exercise my passion with technical excellence.



Further, I strive to achieve a role at Adobe where I can consult with, collaborate with, and guide Adobe customers towards their own creative endeavors and solutions. Knowledgeable in the diverse array of photography, digital imaging, and next generation web application development I will be able to translate my success into the success of my customers, my colleagues, and my company.

To Flex Camp, and Beyond!

A week from today will be the 2nd annual Flex Camp Boston at Bentley University. At a very modest cost, this is a full day event packed with sessions at the intermediate to advanced level given by industry experts. Register for Flex Camp Boston.

For the last year I've been on the Flex SDK team as a Quality Assurance Engineer, and before that I had excellent run of more than 7 years testing and supporting ColdFusion. I know most of the speakers that will be presenting at Flex Camp and can attest to their passion for building the next wave of Rich Internet Applications, so I fully encourage you to attend if you haven't signed up yet to share in the excitement and mingle with your peers.

This will be an unexpected reunion of sorts for me as I suddenly find myself as a customer rather than employee. With the extra time as I seek new employment I'll immerse myself in training with Flex and AIR, and try to produce an application as an online reference to demonstrate as an example. The odd thing about QA'ing a software product is that you are exposed to narrow facets in which you dive very deeply, and don't often get the chance to practice the breadth of the product. My success in ColdFusion QA was largely dependent on the many preceding years where I provided "gold" level support for the product, something which required me to constantly explore and exercise every nook and cranny of the CF app server and language.

My first inclination for a Flex app is to build my own photography business website in Flex to avoid the cost of purchasing one of the reputable but expensive prebuilt websites from places like LiveBooks, BigFolio, or A Photo Folio.

Finally, I'd like to thank everyone from coworkers to customers to local cfug friends for taking a moment to contact me and express their thoughts and show their concern. People have been writing and chatting intensely while offering job tips and advice. As I mentioned on Facebook, I've never before felt the online community to be as tangible and real as I do now. Thank you all, and I hope to see those of you in the area at Flex Camp!

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.

IMG_1737-2

"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!

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!

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.

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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.

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