Archive for February, 2007

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More Photography Lessons

February 26, 2007

I shot over 800 pictures on Saturday, and the experience has left me wiser. The 50mm f/1.8 lens is magnificent for portraits, but I had some problems capturing some of the action sequences with it. This was simply because I could not fit enough stuff in the frame, and I could not back up any further due to the ring of people surrounding the area. In other circumstances it might have been great to catch fast action in low light, but not on Saturday. Instead I used the wide-angle 20-35mm f/2.8 lens. It’s not quite as fast, but for most of the day the natural light in the atrium allowed me to get good exposures, even at the 1/500th of a second shutter speeds necessary to freeze people in mid-air.

Here’s an example of the 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Here’s the 20-35mm f/2.8. (But here’s the same lens as the light faded into evening. Ick.)

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DSC_0007

February 26, 2007

can't speak

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More Photos

February 25, 2007

I know my fellow students are dying to see more photos from the Break-A-Thon. Lucky you, I shot 868 of them! What’s even luckier is that about 10% of them are worth looking at! Thus I have made a Flickr photoset of 79 pictures for you to peruse. (I highly recommend doing the slideshow.)

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Thank You!

February 24, 2007

I asked for your help and you gave it. Thanks! I told you i’d break some concrete at the Break-A-Thon if you donated $250. You delivered. You actually gave $295 and I want you to know that I kept my part of the bargain.

But more importantly we raised a lot of money for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. There are real kids with real families who are grateful for your help. I’m told J. K. Lee Black Belt Academy students collectively raised $50,000 for them. And we – you and I – did our part. Team scottfeldstein.net was officially recognized, too. Mr. Chan Lee took the microphone and announced to everyone in the center court of Mayfair mall: Scott Feldstein challenged the readers of his blog, scottfeldstein.net, to donate $250, in exchange for which he would break this concrete brick. And then I did it.

Thanks for doing this, everyone.

(I took over 700 photos throughout the day. A very small, preliminary sample of them is up in my Flickr stream. When I’ve had a chance to go through the rest and edit some of the good ones, I’ll post more.)

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Got Five Bucks?

February 21, 2007

Gimme five bucks and I’ll punch through some concrete. Seriously.

As you know, I and the other students of J. K. Lee Black Belt Academy are raising money to fund cancer research at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. We are holding a “Break-A-Thon” in the Mayfair mall on Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. What will happen there? Plenty. Students are soliciting donations for each board they break: donate $5, $10, $20 per board, for example. Most students break five boards. There will also be martial arts demonstrations every hour. And you can step up and break a board yourself if you want to. We’ll show you how!

Together, we hope to raise $50,000.

That’s where it gets interesting, you see. Because 18 days ago I put up a “Make a Donation” button to receive your Paypal and credit card donations, and on that first day over $100 rolled in. That inspired me. So I issued a challenge: get my donate-o-meter to $250 and I’ll forget about wooden boards – I’ll go for the concrete paving brick.

So here we are at $245, and I say: if you give me five bucks, I’ll break that concrete brick.

For all of you who have donated, thank you! If you haven’t donated yet, there’s still time! Be the one who puts me over the fundraising edge. Click the “Make a Donation” button and let’s do this thing.

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Goodbye iPhoto, Hello Aperture

February 21, 2007

Speaking of stepping up and embracing my photography habit hobby, I recently acquired some new software. Up to now, I’d been using Apple’s free-with-your-Mac program iPhoto. It’s fantastic stuff, really. If you have a Mac and you have a digital camera, you really should be using it. Basically it sucks the photos out of your camera, helps you organize and edit them, then, if you want, helps you export them to various products such as an email, a web site, a mail-order printing service, a photo book or just to your local printer. It’s full-service, end-to-end, photography workflow software.

Problem is, it’s groaning under the weight of my library: 14,000 photos totaling 50 gigabytes of data. Plus, while the editing features are nice for low-cost software, anyone who’s ever used professional editor such as Photoshop will wish for more.

What to do? Get professional-grade photography workflow software, that’s what. And it turns out I have a choice: in this corner, Adobe’s new Lightroom; in the opposite corner, Apple’s Aperture.

Ars Technica has an in-depth comparison, if you’re really curious. Me, I tried them both out for a day or two and found both of them quite adequate. Aperture seems to be heavier on the eye-candy, and thus runs slower, but on the other hand I like the interface better. It’s a horse apiece, I figure. The way I decided was, someone offered me an academic license for Aperture for evaluative purposes. (It’s nice to work in academia sometimes!)

So Aperture it is.

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NAS for Photo Relief

February 21, 2007

I had to do something. My Pictures folder is approaching 50 gigabytes in size. I take lots of photos and have for years. And this is what you get. What to do? After weighing the options I decided to purchase a network attached storage device (NAS).

What does it do? Picture an external hard drive. The kind you plug into your computer for extra storage. The difference is with the NAS you don’t have to plug it into the computer because it’s on your network. Any computer in my apartment can access it from anywhere, even wirelessly. This way I never have to schlep out the drive, plug in the power supply, plug in the USB cable and then access my photos. Instead I simply browse my network. My photos are always online and available.

So I ordered myself a 250-gig LaCie NAS for $110. I’d rather not spend the money, but I have little choice. I have no more room on my laptop and I’m certainly not going to start throwing away existing photos. So there you have it.