Archive for April, 2010

Even though I reviewed the app, I still find this app to be absolutely glorious. No, I’m not getting money put into a Swiss account by the developer, I just find the app incredibly useful. Plus, as I mentioned in the review, I’m a big fan of the cross process look.

Since downloading the app in mid-march, I’ve easily added about 400 new photos to my camera roll on my iPhone, and if the trend holds up I’ll either be deleting episodes of Archer from my video library or getting a new phone.

At anyrate here’s more photos from the cross process app:

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But I really enjoy  wildlife photography. You’re at the whim of nature. If a possum wants to walk up to you and act like you’re not there, it’s going to. If Vultures want you to fear for your life and circle above, they’re sure going to do so.

I spent Easter alone with my camera, so I went to Iroquois Wildlife Refuge. The refuge sits about 40 miles east of Buffalo on Rt. 77. The refuge is good stomping grounds for a few dozen species of birds and who knows what else. Here’s a few shots from the voyage:

I’m especially proud of the last shot, the Swallow (I’m pretty sure it’s a Swallow). They fly in unpredictable patterns and can change direction in a split second. Even with my 7d shooting in burst mode it’s very difficult to stay with them. I’m was quite ecstatic when I got back to the office and found that I shot a pretty focused shot of one.

I’m happy with the shots, but they’re nothing compared to a true master of wildlife photography. Moose Peterson is someone I’ve been following online for quite sometime and he is the guy you think of when you think of wildlife photography in the US. I’m sorry to those Norwegian wildlife photographers I may have offended with that statement, I just don’t know your work yet. Check out Moose’s site, it’s an invaluable resource for wildlife photographers.

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As I find myself getting more and more “into” studio lighting, I was looking for a resource for my iPhone to help me with the seemingly overwhelming process. I stumbled upon an app called Strobox, and it’s pretty impressive, yet still hasn’t come into its own. This app is significantly helpful for those who aren’t able to visualize a lighting setup. For me, since I only have a few Canon 580 & 430 Speedlites as well as some constants with softboxes my setups aren’t too tricky, but If I were actually good at lighting I’d be able to map it all out in my head and call it a day. Since I’m a mere mortal I need to see what my setup is going to be before I can actually function in a studio shoot. Strobox allows me to do that.
Strobox allows the user to place several objects on the screen and position them like you would on set. I can talk about what this looks like until I’m blue in the face, but its easier if I demonstrate:
As you can see, I’ve positioned my talent, added a hair light and a snoot and a white seamless. Pretty basic setup and one I easily could have done on the fly, but like anything affiliated with photography it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. You can several elements, pretty much any type of light you’d have in your studio is represented in this app. Everything from a ring flash to reflectors is packed in this free app.
But what fun is this app if you’re not able to share with collegues? Once you save your diagram, Strobox allows you to email it. No other fancy places to upload, just a simple email; and realistically I can’t see much of a need to upload it to one of the hundreds of social network photography sites out there. If that’s what you’re looking for just spend a second to email it to yourself and upload it to your favorite ad supported site.
Right out of the gate the app is pretty useful and powerful, but like everything it’s not perfect. How can the app get better? I’d like to see an update that shows the used the approximate focus of the light, as well as the intensity. For example, lets say I had a setup of nothing but speedlites (such as my next example).
For some this type of setup will likely seem like a mess. Even though in my head I may have my two  backlights at 1/128th power, my key at 1/16 with a 105mm zoom and my main speedlite at 1/32 with a 14mm focus. For anyone looking at my diagram they wouldn’t know any of that information without my explicit instruction. And yes I know that second setup is terrible, but for arguments sake it works. I’d also like to see the ability to put gels on the lights, just for mock up sake I’d imagine this would be useful to those who like stylized gel’d shots. Again, if you’ve been doing lighting for awhile it’s probably easy to visualize a gel’d light in your head, but for us novices it would be helpful to toss it in our diagrams. A third function is simple and missing, yet incredibly useful: notes. Just the ability to jot a quick note without having to leave the app and put your thoughts into the native notes app would help keep you focused on the diagram you’re trying to map out.
All that aside, I think the app is great. Its simple and effective. My proposed changes would still keep it in that genre and not overwhelm newcomers to light. Light is tricky for a lot of us. Most of us aren’t Joe McNally or the one and only Strobist, so we have to do the best we can. This app is, so far, the most useful lighting app for photographers on the iPhone. With just a few tweaks the app can truly become a necessity to any photographer who uses the iPhone for production. And what would make the app better? An iPad version.
Check out Strobox.

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