July 19th, 2010   0158

I've spent most of the day and most of the evening experimenting Xrite's Color Checker Passport.  So far I've very impressed with this tool and I'll be using it in all my potrait and landscape workshops in the future.  It will make getting the correct skin tones simple and fast and very easy for everybody.

In the past I've used and taught similiar tools, Kodak grey and white and black cards, and more depending on if we were outdoors or in the studio.  The Passport excels in all envirornments.  I'm damn impressed!  I hope in the future I'll be bringing you a solid tutorial with models and examples.

I've also received my NEC SVII wide-gamut calibrated Xrite puck.  It 'looks' identical to my tried and true Xrite 1di2 I've used for years, and if you've been through one of my workshops you know which device I'm taking about and how to use it.  NEC's SVII software manual says both are "certified" for use with their wide-gamut displays and I'd agree.  I think for a closed system you'll see no difference, so if you run a closed color system (capture to printing in house) and have the older 1di2 Xrite device there is no need to upgrade.  However, if you run two identical monitors side by side the new NEC Xrite wide-gamut calibrated device makes matching the monitors very easy and is well worth the expense. 

I'm glad to have two.  Four really.  I have the original Xrite my son uses at his home, a Spyder 3 I use for my HDTV (and I could use it on my main monitors as it's an "approved device" as well), a standard Xrite 1di2 colorimeter, and the newly delivered NEX Xrite wide-gamut calibrated colorimter which is just enough more accurate and consistent (which used with wide-gamut monitors) to make the matching of two identical monitors that much easier..

We have the new Sony NEX-5 16mm F2.8 lens on the way, and more hardware items being shipped not to mention plenty of new software products I'm doing my best to properly test and review.  Looking forward to a great week!

 

July 17th, 2010    2049

The new content is up for the week.  May I recommend"Through Matthew's Eyes" and my first ever Thailand Photo Story titled "When Did You Become a Geek?"

 

July 14, 2010   2120

I gave it another shot.. usually five years later I can do a lot more with a set of images, especially HDR exposure bracketing sets.  This time I think the changes are small and not necessarily better.  You be the judge.

People ask "why do you share your failures?"  A few reasons.  First, with photography there is no perfect photographer or even a photographer who gets it right 'most' of the time.  Wedding web sites include 50-100 of the photographers best examples over his entire career!  Often several decades of the best pictures are represented by 50 images on a website or portfolio.  Someone shooting a magazine cover might shoot up to 2000 frames to get that perfect one.  The Sports Illustrated summer edition, each model is shot over a period of 4-10 days and thousands of frames.  Multiply that by 40-50 models vying for that Sports Illustrated Bikini cover!    How about the Super Bowl.. hundreds of photographers wifi'ing their images as fast as they can take them to the "control trailer" where a dozen editors flip through their images as 3-4 a second.. looking for that special image that they'll send out via Getty or AP..  That's the way it works.  Even National Geographic photographers spends weeks in the field and go through tons of film or digital for that 4-5 page special.

So when I share these two images, slightly different renditions.. they might be better to some, worse to others, but the real fun was in the trying.  I tried new software on these raw files I iddn't have before, new techniques, and it was fun.  I hope I shared some of that with you.

 

Canon 1ds Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm  F16 1.6secs 15mm   ISO 100

 

Canon 1ds Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm  F16 1.6secs 24mm   ISO 100

 

July 14th, 2010    2006

Today was my first visit to the new Thai immigration building.  It was a bit of a drive but not bad, perhaps better than the old location because the traffic getting there is less.  The building is nice, the air conditioning works, and low and behold when I used the toilet there were 12 urinals and 6 stalls and they were all clean and operational!!!  Get the picture yet?  This place appears to be every bit as nice, and in some areas nicer, than the US Embassy visa section.

But I was there to review my retirement visa so the real test was how that went.  I was in/out in 15 minutes or less with the new visa stamp!  I bought my income verification affadavit from the US Embassy (who now charges $50 for the damn thing, but at least they're efficient and let you make appointments on-line), 1 2x2 inch picture with white background, the right form downloaded and filled in via Word (I use the same form every year, just change the dates and print out a new one), copies of my passport front and visa pages, and baht 1900.  That was it, in/out in less than 15 minutes!

Unfortunately I decided that since things were going so well I'd also renew my 90 day reporting a week early.. I was there after all.  The reporting took an unnecessary 45-60 minutes.  Not nearly as well organized as the visa department and no smiles either.

Overall a great experieince.  Usually this is a day I dread and plan the entire day to complete these tasks.  It always puts me in a terrible mood.  Not today!  I was in/out in record time and left in a great mood with a spring in my step.  Wonderful!

 

July 14th, 2010  0915

Don't forget JTG will take on all cultural questions in our Cultural Corner.  Do you have a question about language, how to take a Thai's photo, how to approach a girl to pose for you, any cultural question.. she's ready and willing to answer.  ASK THE PROFESSOR!!! What an opportunity!