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Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Improve your Flickr experience

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Let Derrick Story tell you how:

Many people don’t explore all of the personal settings in their Flickr photo sharing account, and end up using the default controls. But with a little customization, I think you can improve your Flickr experience.

Click here.

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Written by dominiquejames

June 28, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Shoot first, focus later

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Kai Wong of DigitalRev on Lytro:

I don’t feel much excitement about this product at all photography is not just about these technological wonders, it’s primarily about the image. The image quality matters most: whether the lens is good, the processing, the hardware, etc. I couldn’t care less if a car had a good GPS system in it if it drives like diarrhoea and, likewise, if the images that come out of the camera look awful then what’s the point of being able to choose focus after you’ve taken the shot?

And then he asks: What do you think – great invention or dumbing down of photography?

UPDATE: Yes, people all over the world are beginning to take note. Everyone, it seems, is talking about it.

Hip!

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20110621-080839.jpg

Hipstamatic is one of the most popular photo apps on the iPhone for a reason: it’s fun. And it manages to churn out interesting-looking images all the time.

[Photo by Dominique James. Copyright © 2011. All rights reserved.]

Written by dominiquejames

June 21, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Apple’s Final Cut Pro X

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Photography is not just stills anymore. The latest crop of modern DSLRs today can both snap stills and record videos, and the number of hybrid photo and video cameras are growing not only in number and popularity but also in capability, usability and practicality. It would seem that the new Final Cut Pro X from Apple is all the more making that point more obvious.

Jackie Dove of Macworld writes about its availability:

“It’s finally here. Apple has released Final Cut Pro X, a brand new version of its flagship professional non-linear video editing software. First previewed to great fanfare at the NAB 2011 Final Cut Pro Users Group SuperMeet, Final Cut Pro X has been completely rewritten, offering 64-bit support, a revamped interface, and a slate of new features.”

Gary Adcock of Macworld gives you a first look:

“With the release of its hotly anticipated Final Cut Pro X (FCP X), Apple breaks new ground—not just with its flagship video editor’s interface and underlying infrastructure—but with the whole mindset of what it means to be a working professional video editor. Apple has revamped Final Cut Pro’s hands-on user experience in three major areas: Editing, media organization, and post-production workflow.”

Professional photographers, hobbyists and amateurs are now going to have to do it both ways.

Written by dominiquejames

June 21, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Tumbling your pictures out into the net …

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BY DOMINIQUE JAMES

It doesn’t make sense to own and use a digital camera, and not have an online platform or two to share pictures taken with them. Digital pictures yearn to be free. The pictures you take doesn’t mean a thing if they remain stuck in some sort of limbo in an SD or CF card, stored on computer’s internal or external hard disk, or stashed in stacks of optical media, and no one sees them. It’s as if you haven’t taken any pictures at all!

There are a number of excellent websites out there that anyone can sign up to (most of which are free), and post pictures taken with all sorts of digital cameras—from mobile phones to DSLRs. I’ve tried a number of them, and I continue to use many of them—every single day, in fact. Since I constantly take pictures, I just as constantly push them all out into the net.

Of the many online photo sharing sites where I put out my pictures, one of my favorites (and one that I highly recommend) is Tumblr.

I like Tumblr because, over all, it is absolutely fun to use. And it has enabled me to link with communities of very interesting like-minded people from all over the world.

I’ve been using Tumblr for years. My statistics (as of today), will bear this out:

• I’m following 468 people
• I’ve liked 15,859 posts
• I’ve so far made 2,111 posts
• And, I have 246 followers

That’s it, “so far.”

If you’re curious about how my Tumblr called [dj:ny] looks like (where I post at least one photo a day), click here.

But while Tumblr is an excellent photo sharing site, admittedly, it isn’t just a photo sharing site. And although I use it mainly to showcase my photographs (yep, that’s the photographer in me), Tumblr is quite flexible and good for many, many other things.

On their About Tumblr page, it says: “Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from your browser, phone, desktop, email, or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors, to your theme’s HTML.”

In other words, it’s the quick and easy and fast and simple way to put all sort of things out there on the web (specially pictures, if I may say so myself) without being dumbed down and limited by the 140-character restriction or without being intimidated by convoluted long-form blogging platforms. It’s right there safely in the middle. And, did I say it’s fun?

The real added bonus of course is that I get to join in many utterly fascinating online interactions with the awesome members of the growing Tumblr community. These Tumblerites (what Tumblr users are lovingly called) are certainly an intelligent and cool bunch!

Now, this is the part where I have to say that for all the terrific things that Tumblr is, it isn’t perfect. Many long-time Tumblerites will be able to tell you that there are hiccups (also known as “service interruptions”) that you might encounter when sharing or when looking at post. It can get annoying but it doesn’t really happen all the time. You sometimes even forget that it happens at all.

Tumblr explains these mostly small and minor incidents (although there were a couple of really huge ones), as “inherently” part and parcel of their growing pains, which, if you ask me, is just as inherently understandable. Tumblr has been growing by leaps and bounds these past few months, so it’s almost forgivable when they encounter setbacks. But what’s reassuring is that the people behind Tumblr have come out to the online community and have made public their plans in upgrading their facilities, which, in turn, is designed to hopefully improve their service even as they grow. In any case, as much as they and everyone wants everything to work out well, the occasional hiccups are unavoidable.

Still, despite these, I trust Tumblr. They’ve made good on a lot of their promise to upgrade facilities and improve service. And, as far as I know, there hasn’t been some sort of mass defection. Sure, there has been a lot of loud and noisy complains about Tumblr’s occasional erratic and unpredictable service, but it seems they are holding on pretty well. Their service has, in fact, and as far as I can tell, has improved considerably in recent weeks.

So, if you’re curious about putting out your pictures (and yes, other stuff too) out into the net, consider Tumblr as an excellent platform to do so. To sign up with Tumblr for free, click here.

[Note: I am not in any way affiliated with Tumblr. I’m just one happy Tumblerite. Also, for free professional advise and consultation on advertising and commercial photography and visual media design, send me an email at dominiquejames@mac.com. And, you can view and purchase my fine art photographs online at Zatista’s website. Thanks.]

More on a photographer’s ruminations as an iPhone junkie …

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Is it time to rename the iPhone?

BY DOMINIQUE JAMES

The iPhone 4 Photo Folder 7

The 7th folder with photo apps on iPhone 4.

The iPhone app junkie that I am, today proved to be quite an unusual day.

For the first time ever, the amount of space that is occupied by the apps on my 32 MB iPhone has now exceeded the amount of space that I have for storing songs, videos, photos, audiobooks and other contents. It all started innocently enough. Not too many months ago, I decided that I wanted to make sure most if not all of the apps I’ve downloaded from Apple’s excellent App Store, both free and paid, are conveniently accessible on my iPhone. Of course, with the new iPhone 4 that has 32 MB storage space and the latest iOS, that became very possible.

Lured by the gloss and vigorous promotions of new apps that has been coming out, and the many bright promises of vastly improving the quality of my life, I went on the irreversible path (which turned into a habit) of downloading more and more apps. At first, in order for me to accommodate the new apps on my iPhone, I needed to bump off only a single playlist with a bunch of music that occupied a small file size. It wasn’t really all that painful because the playlist I chucked off contained songs that I really don’t care listening to. But as days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, and as I downloaded more and more apps, I began unchecking and off-synching more and more music playlists.

I already had a very strong suspicion that one day, I might have to allot more space to all the apps than I did with my music collection. Nobody needed to tell me that “that” day was somehow going to come. I knew all along that it will happen. What with more than 350,000 apps in the App Store and counting, it was inevitable. After all, just a couple of weeks ago, Apple counted down with much fanfare its 100th thousand downloaded app. And so I dismissed the prospect as merely a little inconvenience. After all, it was comforting to know that I’m well-covered with the fact that I got quite a few music streaming apps that offer far more musical choices than I wanted to listen to anyway. Still, it’s quite a marvel to think that since the App Store came to being, and many apps turned out to be essential daily things, its use will overtake almost all of the iPhone’s other major functions.

At this point, spending a whole lot of time with Apple’s handset doing a myriad of things other than using its subscription-based cellular service (making phone calls and texting) or listening to music and watching video on the iPod, or even browsing the web via Safari, the name iPhone, while proper in describing this handset, seems to be no longer appropriate. In fact, calling it an Internet phone or smartphone doesn’t really make sense anymore since we’ve all come around to doing something more and more with it that doesn’t involve the actual use of the mechanism with which we know qualifies as making traditional phone calls.

Most of the time, we are fiddling with one of its apps, in multitasking sort of ways, for anything and everything other than. I understand why we have to call it a “phone” still, because there’s nothing else in place to appropriately describe it that will make it easily understandable and differentiable for what it is. But perhaps now, with its ubiquity, more than ever, is the perfect time to give it its new unique identity—and no longer just the kind of name that references a particular previous technology. The first motorized vehicles that rolled on the streets were called horseless carriages until it was eventually and properly called a car.

I don’t presume to know what it should be called, but, for all intents and purposes, it has now become its own class of “touch-based interactive information and communication mobile device.” Such a descriptive name wouldn’t fly off as a replacement for the name “iPhone,” specially considering that it has to be identified against the iPod Touch and the iPad, which performs majority of things in a very similar way (after all, it’s all rooted from the same iOS), but I sense there might be soon a need to call the iPhone by some other name.

In the past, Apple has changed its company name and the name of one of its operating systems to keep up with the times. But Apple is very secretive. We can’t really tell what they are up to unless they make an official announcement of it. Still, I will not be surprised if one of these days, the iPhone will be similarly renamed, perhaps when the next hardware update is introduced.

For now, I am personally marking this day when the apps on my iPhone now occupy more space than my music collection. I’m sure if things continue to be like this, one day soon, I’ll eventually have no more music stored on my iPhone’s iPod app, and all I’ll really have on it are the apps, some information, and my iPhone photos. Will the iPod turn into a cloud service by then? Will my photos even be on a cloud service? Will the next iPhone hardware have bigger internal flash storage capacity?

Well, those days are yet to come, and I’ll definitely cross the bridge when I get to each of those days, just as I did today, when there are now, for the first time, more apps than music in my iPhone.

Written by dominiquejames

February 4, 2011 at 2:08 PM

My top 10 favorite iPhone photo apps

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BY DOMINIQUE JAMES

Since Apple’s iPhone first came out in 2007, I’ve been shooting with its built-in camera. Through the years, a whole lot of excitement has happened in iPhone photography, or “iphoneography” as it is now generally called.

Because I shoot so many iPhone pictures, and I shoot every day now, I started an iPhone-photo-a-day blog. I thought of doing it only for a year, but habits die hard. And so, to this day, I continue to post and share online one iPhone photo a day. (Every now and then, I post more than one picture a day.)

The most common feedback I get from those who see my iPhone photos is: “I can’t believe you took that with only the iPhone’s camera!”

The only reply I can give is to assure them that indeed I took the pictures only with the iPhone’s camera, and then say “thank you” with a smile.

The second most common feedback I get is: “How’d you do that?”

The answer, of course, is that I use the amazing third-party photo apps for the iPhone (which I got from Apple’s app store) to refine and enhance the pictures.

Based on almost 4 years of shooting with the iPhone’s camera (2G, 3G, 3Gs and 4) and from using almost a hundred different iPhone photography apps, this is my top 10 favorite, most used, and highly recommended iPhone photography apps (in no particular order):

  • Adobe Photoshop Express
  • PhotoForge
  • Best Camera
  • CameraBag
  • Lo-Mob
  • GorillaCam
  • Hipstamatic
  • ShakeItPhoto
  • PictureShow
  • Infinicam

Bonus:

  • PerfectlyClear
  • Instagram
  • Diptic
  • Camera Plus Pro
  • 360 Panorama
  • Dash Of Color

Many of the apps in this list are my standard favorites, which I’ve been using for a very, very long time; and some are new additions that have dramatically improved my iPhone photography.

How about you, what are your favorite iPhone apps?

[Note: Check out my one-a-day iPhone photos here. Also, check out my collection of fine art photographs over at Zatista. Thanks!]

Written by dominiquejames

January 1, 2011 at 3:47 PM

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