SXSW 2014: First you have to get the gear there!

My favorite way to travel gear is ThinkTank Airport International. Period.

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On this trip, there was a possible video assignment, so I added an Urban Disguise, with a Canon XF100 video camera already built (mic,light,batt,media cards) and ready to go with a wireless lav set-up in the side pouch, and other misc. goodies.

yes, I may be a bit old school, but find I get great results when shooting video with a…wait for it…video camera!

Think Tank Photo Releases the Redesigned             Urban Disguise® V2.0 Series Shoulder Bags “Carry the Right Gear with Less Fear” SANTA ROSA, CALIF – For photographers operating in urban or dangerous environments, carrying thousands of dollars

Tucked into luggage are various Muji mesh bags with extra cables, and Cocoon platters with battery chargers, back-up readers, power strips. And monopod/tripod.

OK, that gets the gear there. It all  travels on the plane with me. The Airport International has been with me for 4 years and has traveled around the world.

Arrange for early boarding to get that valuable overhead space. Window seats, extra $10. fast track boarding, seats in the rear of the plane, whatever.

Once on location, gear is organized and loaded into a walking/working pack, depending on the time of day, and events occurring.

In the past, an Oakley backpack was the working pack. This trip I committed to a twist and packed daily with great success: The Shape Shifter. It packs into luggage as a 3″ laptop case and expands to 7″ deep when loaded with gear.

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Plus it’s carrying my laptop, batts, cables, card wallets, some energy bars, and assignment sheets. Incredibly comfortable.Check out this video.

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Probably the major shift this year was having the Nikon D800 with 20mm, always in my hand using the Cotton Carrier Hand Strap – with Arca Swiss-compatible mini-plate.
Yep, always.

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This combo Nikon D800 with 20mm 2.8 lens, always in my hand got me photos I never would’ve made. It became that further extension of my hands, with an all day comfort
I even use it with the 70-200mm 2.8, in the pit. The Shape Shifter bag worked fast, and the in and out with lenses, was smooth.

As I walked around the festival,the camera was always ready. Manual, RAW, and custom WB, which I’ll cover in the next post.

In a twist of fate, on Weds. 3/12/14 I had just finished photographing St. Vincent at Stubbs on Red River, in Austin. Moving onto the next spot, The Mohawk, I readjusted my camera settings, and went for some street photographs of the crowds.
The Cotton Carrier kept the camera in my hands.

What I saw next, and what the camera saw, has been kept on the hard drive. A drunk driver, being pursued by police, cut down the blocked off, speeding, as he hit 23 people who were rightfully in the street.

In the last SXSW post, I will show a couple of the images from the tragedy that occurred about 7 ft away from me.
And we can have a discussion.

Adobe Lightroom Launches on iPad – Is it ready for takeoff?

It’s part of the new Holy Grail: How can I work with my images on my faster, stronger, better iPad.

I spent hours at the Apple store trying to figure this out. All the apps, all of the dongles, all of the workarounds to maintain a similar workflow with an iPad were possible but clunky.

Maybe this is the answer. Lightroom Mobile. Part of the $10. a month Creative Cloud.

 Yep, new software included in your monthly fee.

Well, I’ll say that after seeing a demo, this is a 1st gen product, and while on the right path, still will take more iterations to get it to the place we need. But it;s not just the software that has to change; it’s the hardware.

If we can add an external HD to load images on, then it’s a solid working tool. Perhaps when tablets get a large enough hard drive and you can load the files you need, Lightroom Mobile will be ready.

Meanwhile, I may have to get a MacBook air.

and now, for the official word:

Adobe Lightroom Mobile Brings Professional-Class Photo Tools To iPad
Creative Cloud Photography Program Now Includes Photoshop, Lightroom and Lightroom Mobile for $9.99 per Month; Seamlessly Syncs Edits Between Mobile and Desktop

SAN JOSE, Calif. — April 8, 2014 — Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the availability of Lightroom mobile, a companion app to Lightroom desktop software, only available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud. The new Lightroom mobile app brings powerful Lightroom tools to the iPad, delivering photography essentials – such as non-destructive processing of files – and utilizing new Smart Preview technologies to free professional-class photo editing from the confines of the desktop. Lightroom mobile is built on a powerful synchronization architecture, designed specifically for photos, and provides the most efficient way to manage and edit images across desktops, mobile devices and the Web.

Lightroom mobile is available as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photoshop Photography Program. For USD$9.99 per month, photographers have access to Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC on the desktop as well as Lightroom mobile on iPad.

“With the launch of Lightroom mobile, we’ve unlocked professional-class photographic workflows from the confines of the desktop,” said Winston Hendrickson, vice president products, Creative Media Solutions, Adobe. “Lightroom and Photoshop redefined digital photography on the desktop and now, photographers can perfect images, wherever they are and, via Creative Cloud, seamlessly synchronize them back to their desktop catalog.”

Lightroom mobile and the photography optimized synchronization architecture puts the powerful tools from Lightroom 5 at photographer’s fingertips, including:

·         Sync mobile edits, metadata and collection changes back to the Lightroom catalog on a Mac or Windows computer
·         Automatically import images captured on an iPad and sync back to a Lightroom catalog on the desktop
·         Work on images, even when your iPad is offline, for a truly portable experience
·         Sync photos between Lightroom 5 and Lightroom mobile; synced photos can also be viewed from any Web browser

“Adobe Lightroom mobile tranforms the way I am able to work with my photographs because now I can review and process photos when I’m comfortable and creative, and not just when I’m at my computer,” said Jeff Carlson, educator and author of The iPad for Photographers and Adobe Lightroom mobile: Your Lightroom on the Go. “It also works as a malleable photo portfolio on my iPad. As I add or remove images from a collection in Lightroom mobile or on the computer, the changes stay synchronized. When I need to show my work those photos are already set up to be viewed.”

Pricing and Availability
The Photoshop Photography Program (USD$9.99 per month) includes Lightroom 5, Photoshop CC, Lightroom mobile and a public portfolio site through Behance. Any members of Creative Cloud complete plan or Photoshop Photography Program automatically receive access to Adobe Lightroom mobile. Lightroom mobile is immediately available for iPad 2 or later running iOS 7, from the Apple App Store and requires Lightroom 5.4 for Mac or Windows.

For information about product features, upgrade policies, pricing and language versions, please visit: www.adobe.com/go/lrmobile.

About Creative Cloud
Creative Cloud is a rethinking of the entire creative process and an industry-defining shift in creative expression and inspiration, where members can explore, create, publish and share their work across devices, the desktop and the Web. With Creative Cloud membership, users also have access to: a vibrant global creative community; publishing services to deliver apps and websites; cloud storage and the ability to sync to virtually any device; and new products and exclusive updates as they’re developed. Membership plans start from as little as $9.99 per month.


















SXSW 2014 – Austin’s Cultural Festival did it again!

A combination of Interactive, Film and Music make the SXSW Festival in Austin the best blend of pop culture events you can attend in a ten day period.

When you arrive they give you 3 muslin bags with designs signifying each portion of the festival and a guidebook for each. Welcome to Austin!

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What does all of that mean? In the Interactive portion, has a series of seminars, panels and speakers gathering to discuss the state of our digital lives, and a possible look to where it may be going, you walk away with a few more tools in your toolbox in understanding. Plus get a chance to mingle with some of the smartest people in the room. And sometimes controversial like Julian Assange, below, who appeared via SKYPE, from a safe haven in London:

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The Film portion not only premieres major motion pictures, but has become a staple of the film festival circuit while also adding smaller screen offerings into the mix.

Kevin Bacon showed up to discuss 6º of Kevin Bacon, and everyone became 1º

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The cast from Mike Judge’s new HBO show “Silicon Valley” premiered 2 episodes and cracked everyone up.

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And Music has been the anchor for this festival it’s beginning in 1987. From relative newcomers like St. Vincent, below

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to classics like Neil Young

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to the new bands like B. Roddy and the Business:

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Yes, there are specific seminars for the photographer, but I’m going to talk about the festival from a photographers point of view.

After 6 years of shooting this conglomeration of shooting situations, each year there is a little tweak. Could be some gear switches or additions, workflow revelations, schedule tips.

Here was this years work station. details to follow.

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After all, you are covering a multi-day event with speakers on a stage, performing musicians and their light shows, premieres, parties, and the general festival goer giving the flavor to the whole event.

Oh, yeah, Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York fame, came a spoke about his street technique:

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The next post will cover the list of gear, why it was brought, and the way it was carried. Some things helped me sleep longer, somethings never got used.

I do want to thank the organizers of SXSW for their support and cooperation all of these years. This year hit a new high in smooth operation and , honestly, great value for every festival pass holder. With a plethora of great events offered, no one was left wanting.

There was a dark event at the festival this year. I was unfortunately within feet of the tragedy, and will cover this in the final posting on SXSW 2014.

 

 

Nikon & Black Rapid enter into a partnership w/ 2 New Straps

pic_140225_03_01It’s not often that Nikon partners up. With the wide acceptance of the Black Rapid strap as the gear of choice for a lot of workers,now you can show your yellow and black colors proudly, while saving your neck and shoulders.
These new designs will fit the Heavier DSLRS as well as a modified version for the lighter weight Nikon 1 series.
As I pack for the next assignment, the BlackRapids are already in the bag.

Specialized quick-draw strap developed in cooperation with BlackRapid, Nikon releases the Quick-Draw Strap and Quick-Draw Strap S

 

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The Quick-Draw Strap and Quick-Draw Strap S were developed based on quick-draw straps invented by photographer and BlackRapid founder, Ron Henry, and popular throughout the market for their incredible convenience. The straps have been further refined to offer even greater convenience.

Along with the great mobility offered by BlackRapid products through specifications that enable on-the-go shooting with a mechanism that allows the camera to slide diagonally up and down the shoulder strap, a system that utilizes the camera’s tripod socket so that the camera hangs upside down for a smooth grip, a shoulder pad that effectively distributes weight for less burden, and an under-arm tether that holds the strap firmly in place, these two new straps offer an even greater sense of security with a safety strap that prevents the camera from falling in the unlikely event the fastener comes loose, and a cover that prevents the carabiner that connects the strap to the camera from scratching the camera body.

The Quick-Draw Strap, with a wider shoulder pad, is suited to use with digital SLR cameras. The Quick-Draw Strap S, with a narrower shoulder pad, is suited to use with Nikon 1 advanced cameras with interchangeable lenses and Nikon COOLPIX compact digital cameras.

Nikon D4s Flagship gets a long awaited update with 409,600 ISO!!

Today, Nikon announces the coming of the new D4s, the professionals choice for years, and gets an update.
Oh yeah, that 409,600 ISO is not a misprint.

Not the biggest secret out there. It was due.
But make no mistake: this is a camera for the pros. This is the top of the line Nikon camera; built like a tank, utilizing the best technology available in a workhorse package.

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What’s new?
Besides the new Expeed 4 Sensor, you can do SPOT white Balance. In camera spot fixing can save you post time.
11 FPS auto focus, and you can define 5 AF group areas.
And face detection for spot exposure for the face alone.

For the pro who needs to shoot RAW, but fills up cards like crazy, there is a new smaller size RAW file. About half the size.
Video capabilities same as the D800, with simultaneous output to a hard drive, uncompressed.
The rest of the classic D4 features return, with some minor improvements.

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Announced today, the new Nikon D4S establishes itself as the premier HD-SLR available to professionals; unrivaled with its combination of incredible speed, accuracy, low-light performance and exceptional image fidelity. Designed for the most demanding photographers and multimedia professionals in the world, the Nikon D4S improves upon the revered D4 to give users enhanced image and video quality, improved autofocus (AF), faster performance during and after capture in addition to an astonishing ISO range.

Nikon’s D series of flagship cameras continues to push the boundaries of professional image quality, speed and features. The newly developed 16.2-megapixel FX-format sensor works in conjunction with the new EXPEED 4 image processing engine to deliver new levels of still and HD video quality and performance. A new Group AF function and overall improvements build upon Nikon’s proven 51-point AF system, while the camera breaks convention with an ISO range that goes to an incredible 409,600 ISO (Hi-4) for maximum versatility in nearly any lighting condition. Overall speed and response is also enhanced, capturing full resolution at an astounding 11 frames-per-second (fps) with auto focus and auto exposure (AE), while benefiting from an overall 30% increase in processing power.

“By announcing the development of the new Nikon D4S earlier this year, Nikon has been able to work openly with professional photographers in the field to hone the cameras’ core capabilities into an unparalleled tool that makes otherwise impossible images a reality,” said Masahiro Horie, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc. “The challenges of today’s professional multimedia photographer go beyond simply capturing amazing content. After the shutter clicks, the workflow enhancements that the D4S provides will give Nikon users an obvious edge in the stands, the studio, on the sidelines or in the field.”

Extreme Speed and Accuracy Give the Edge in the Field

Whether shooting extreme action sports or elusive wildlife, the Nikon D4S has been engineered to be the ultimate combination of speed and accuracy, giving photographers the power to capture even the fastest moving, unpredictable subjects with confidence and control. The proven Multi-CAM 3500 FX AF sensor module’s thoroughly recalibrated AF algorithms quickly zero in on its intended target— no matter how near, far, or abruptly a subject appears in the frame. Additionally, the D4S includes a new innovative Group AF mode. When selected, this mode utilizes five AF points to provide increased stability while tracking subjects, and enhanced accuracy by reducing instances of background focus. In situations where the background is bright with strong contrasting colors, photographers can now feel more confident, knowing that small, distant and fast-moving objects can be rendered sharper, faster and more frequently. Nikon’s AF Lock-on technology is also upgraded, shortening time in reverting from focus interruptions, such as a referee running into the frame.

Hundredths of a second can make the difference when capturing the decisive shot that graces the front page, the double-truck spread, or the client’s mantel. With this in mind, the Nikon D4S also improves tracking on high-speed continuous shooting at a blazing fast 11 fps, with continuous AF/AE. Because missing the shot is just not an option, Nikon’s EXPEED 4 plays an integral role in the D4S’ seemingly instantaneous response and swift performance, while enhancing energy efficiency. The camera now features a processing time that is a full 30% faster, in addition to a 200-shot buffer (JPEG) at full resolution at the maximum continuous mode.

As a proven flagship for the world’s most demanding photographers, the D4S retains the features that made its predecessor the professional’s choice in the first place. The Nikon D4S HD-SLR aligns 15 cross-type sensors in the center to detect contrast data in both vertical and horizontal planes. In addition to detecting each AF-NIKKOR lens with an aperture of f/5.6 or lower, the camera also utilizes nine cross-type sensors that are fully functional when using compatible NIKKOR lenses and a teleconverter with a combined aperture value up to f/8, a great advantage to those photographing sports and wildlife from extreme distances.

The Advantage of Superior Image Quality

At the core of the Nikon D4S is a newly developed 16.2-megapixel FX-format CMOS Sensor (36 x 23.9mm), engineered to deliver an immersive dynamic range, with exceptionally low noise. This newly developed image sensor works in tandem with the latest generation of Nikon’s powerful image processing engine, dubbed EXPEED 4, to bolster image quality, color and sharpness in both stills and video. The benefits of EXPEED 4 go well beyond high-speed image processing to provide evolved real time noise reduction, along with depth and clarity gradation rendering. The resulting images exhibit a wide tonal range, with true and faithful colors.

Thanks in part to the new EXPEED 4 processing engine, the Nikon D4S now shatters the perception of what’s possible with available light photography, giving users a native ISO range from 100-25,600 expandable from 50 ISO (Lo-1) to a staggering 409,600 ISO (Hi-4). This amazing ISO range rewrites the rulebook for available-light shooting, and is especially useful for professional sports shooters, photojournalists, as well as military and law enforcement agencies. The powerful EXPEED 4 image-processing engine incorporates an entirely new algorithm for even higher ISO noise reduction and color fidelity, resulting in an enhanced overall sharpness and clarity without sacrificing subtle textures and luminous details. The enhanced ISO is also a major advantage for other professionals including wedding and portrait photographers, who can now confidently capture the darkest reception, a candlelit ceremony, or create crisp studio portraits with flawless fidelity.

Other advanced Nikon technologies also contribute to the superior image quality of the Nikon D4S, including a new enhanced standard Picture Control tone curve that gives greater depth and clearer color rendition, especially on skin tones. For additional versatility, users have the ability to toggle Face Detect AF on or off while shooting through the viewfinder, and white balance calculation has been further refined for accuracy, while spot white balance is employed for easier presetting with more options.

Nikon’s exclusive 91,000-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering III system returns on the D4S to help capture true-to-life colors while solving the most challenging exposures, from sun-lit snow to stadium lighting. The system works by meticulously analyzing the variables within each scene and recognizing factors such as color and brightness values with unprecedented exactness. This data is then interpreted and compared against the camera’s on-board database to implement various settings, resulting in vibrant images with faithful color reproduction and balanced exposure.

Faster Workflow During and After Capture

While shooting speed and response matter in the moment, workflow speed has become increasingly important in a more competitive landscape. The D4S delivers upon the need for that speed with features that are engineered for today’s professional:
• New RAW SIZE S files: In addition to shooting JPEG, full size RAW (NEF) and TIFF files, the Nikon D4S also has a new file setting to enhance workflow, RAW SIZE S. This setting allows for shooting 12-bit uncompressed Nikon NEF files that are approximately half the size (2464 x 1640) of standard uncompressed RAW files and are more easily manageable—speeding up the entire workflow process.
• Faster transfer rate: When connected via LAN, users can now transmit files using Gigabit Ethernet (1000 Base-T LAN). This significant decrease in transfer times means more time to shoot, and less time transmitting files.
• Improved battery life: Despite its processing power, the D4S is remarkably power-efficient. With the addition of a new EN-EL18a Lithium-Ion battery, the D4S can easily outlast the action with up 3,020 (CIPA rating) shots in single mode and 5,960 shots (Nikon testing) in continuous mode.
• Dual card slots: The D4S uses both CF cards as well as the super-fast XQD card format to achieve the fastest possible transfer and write times.

Video Features Fit for the Modern Production Environment

With an increase in potent processing power, the D4S ups the ante when it comes to multimedia workflow and content capture. A versatile tool on location or on set, the D4S offers enhanced video quality and video-friendly features, in a compact and lightweight HD-SLR form factor. In addition to the innovative video attributes from the D4, the D4S offers the following new features:
• Full HD video in variable frame rates: Users have the choice of various resolutions and frame rates, including a new 1080/60p option for increased flexibility in post. Users can also shoot at 1080 30p or a cinematic 24p, as well as various other NTSC and PAL frame rates and resolutions. By utilizing the B-Frame data compression method, users can record H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC format video with unmatched integrity for up to 29:59 minutes per clip.
• Selectable image area: Users now have the ability to select an image area in Live View mode to match the glass or shooting style. To best suit the scene, FX, DX (1.5x) and 2.7x cropping is available.
• Expanded ISO range for video and auto ISO control: D4S’ FX-format image sensor and EXPEED 4 work hand-in-hand to render a natural transition between bright and dark scenes, all while delivering rich tones, sharp edges and minimized noise, even at high ISOs. The D-Movie mode has a wide standard ISO range — from 200 to 25,600 to shoot in nearly any lighting. Furthermore, the ISO can be pushed up to an ISO 409,600 (Hi-4) equivalent. Additionally, D4S lets you maintain manual exposure for controlled shutter speeds and aperture settings while the camera automatically dictates the ISO maximum sensitivity from 400 to Hi-4. For assignments with dramatic shifts in lighting, this can be a remarkably useful tool.
• Uncompressed 1080 60p: For the purest video quality, the D4S allows direct output of uncompressed files via HDMI. Output can be recorded to an optional outboard digital video recorder, making for an efficient editing workflow.
• Manual control: Like the D4 HD-SLR, D4S offers full manual control when shooting video for maximum creative versatility.
• Simultaneous recording: When recording to an external digital recorder via HDMI, the D4S can now simultaneously write to the CF or XQD card. This function is ideal for creating backups and recording while live-streaming content.
• Improved sound: The range of audio frequency is now selectable, with options such as Wide Range and Voice Range. Wind noise reduction and audio levels can be changed during recording.
• Smoother exposure transition during time-lapse and interval-time shooting: Creating breathtaking time-lapse movies is even easier with the D4S. The camera renders exposure transitions with unprecedented smoothness. Such scenes have been difficult to capture in manual or auto exposure mode, but now users can apply an auto exposure to achieve professional-grade time-lapse and interval-time shooting.
• NIKKOR lens compatibility: The highest caliber optics are vital to creating HD images and Nikon is the world leader in optics manufacturing with a legacy spanning more than 80 years. Nikon has a vast NIKKOR lens system, with more than 80 lenses including 65 FX-format lenses with a variety of focal lengths and features, including VR vibration reduction.

Pro Grade Construction and Controls
As a flagship camera for professionals, the D4S is engineered to excel in the world’s toughest environments, while giving pros the features needed to get the shot. The shutter has been tested to 400,000 cycles, and the camera chassis is constructed of lightweight and durable magnesium alloy. Additionally, the camera is sealed and gasketed from moisture, dust and electromagnetic interference to resist the elements.

While shooting, users will appreciate a slightly modified control layout and ergonomics for faster and more comfortable shooting. Subtle changes increase grip and comfort, making the camera easier to hold for a wider range of hand sizes and more comfortable during prolonged use. Photographers will also benefit from composing through a bright viewfinder with 100% coverage. The D4S also features a newly designed mirror-moving mechanism, which uniformly and effectively absorbs mirror slap to minimize viewfinder blackout time. Even at 11 fps, this innovation makes it easier to track a fast subject through the optical viewfinder.

The wide and bright high-resolution 921k dot, 3.2-inch LCD screen of the Nikon D4S lets users easily change menu settings, compose and review images. Photographers have the ability to customize the color of the LCD monitor to better match studio monitors or personal preference. Additionally, the LCD monitor retains its auto-brightness function that automatically adjusts the brightness of the monitor to increase visibility and conserve battery life.

Price and Availability
The Nikon D4S HD-SLR will be available March 6, 2014 for a suggested retail price* (SRP) of $6499.95*.