Holiday Gift Guide 2020 # 1 – WFH Edition

HI-
How are you doing as we go headlong into the holiday season in an unprecedented (yep,I said it!) time?
I’m hoping that the time spent working from home has made you think, or rethink the best ways and tools you need.
We’ll start this years series of gift reccos with items that can help you work better at home.
Laptop stand – MOFT Z
This thing folds flat, is made of fiberglass covered in material, and lightweight enough to move around your home office with you. Stand up desk, perfect angle for vid conference, or just a good angle for general couch work!

Logitech Brio -Best Webcam

If you are tired of being a blurry blob, and want to show you have stepped up your remote video game, this is the webcam to get.

Had been out of stock for awhile( I scored mine on EBAY near the beginning of all this) Put your order in!
Lume cube Mini

And to compliment your new webcam, is a bit of extra light so you don’t look like you are sitting in a cave. Plus it’s a good, soft, light, bi-color, and can be charged as you use it, for those loooooong days of meetings. Now the whole set-up, including the suction mount for your laptop, is about $55.00!

For your audio pleasure, there are a couple of ways to go. Yes, you can you your wireless ear buds. I’m partial to AirPod pros, but any Bluetooth will do.
If you want to go for the full look, this
Jabra Evolve 70 has a ton of bells and whistles.

Optimized for Skype for Business, you can get it with, or without, a charging dock, has 100′ ranges, and has a cool red light they call a busy light, on both earcups that lets’ people know you are on a call. 15 hours of talk time. It comes with a great case, but where am I going?

And next to your laptop, you may want your phone for txts email, stock tips, or gamesA couple of ways to go here: One I’ve tried, and it works, is a double pack of this Anker charging base. It’s simple, 2 of them cost about $40.00, and I can even put my AirPods wireless charging case on them.

 

A more versatile, although not a charging deal. is the new Peak Design mobile system. You can get a case for your phone that will let you attach a slim, and strong folding stand.

Brilliant design, and you can take the stand part off, and the phone will still wireless charge.

OK, only on Kickstarter for now, but keep your eyes peeled, and maybe back em. they have been pretty successful so far!

And an item, I just reviewed, the OWC dock:

 

These items have been tried, used, and proven to be useful.

Where it’s for your, a partner, or a gift, these will make anyone smile when they unwrapped it, and send you a FaceTime thanks!

More Gift Guides on the way!

 

Muscle Up Your Wimpy Laptop

Working from home is where we are at now, and you may have found that the lightweight slim laptop you have from the office was great on the road.
But you’re not on the road these days.
Being able to add some versatility, additional peripherals, is what you need right now.
How about a larger screen, for the interminable remote meetings? Or even streaming a great movie?
OWC has got this handled.
The Thunderbolt 3 Dock   has all you need to plug in your extras, and increase the productivity of your laptop.

As you have discovered, USB C needs extra power than on-board BUS power for older USB plugs.

This unit gives you the power you need, (yes, you have to plug into an outlet) to super charge your basic USB outlets, and gives you additional Thunderbolt 3 ports.

And with media card readers, you now get back the ability to load in Micro-SD (go-pro?) and regular SD cards, back at your fingertips. Plus you can plug in your headphones, or Jabra Type headset. Although most laptops have the headphone port, you could use it for a mic.

I know, you may move around your home office. Is the couch better for you? Maybe a balcony?

This unit has a software feature for an easy disconnect, when you need to leave the extras on a desk, or dining room table, for the comfort of a simpler workspace

Safety first, right?

All in all, this unit has been designed by a trusted manufacturer, gives you 14 ports of usability, solidly built, lets you charge your electronics from one place, and basically lets you take the power inherent in your laptop, and utilize it to max capacity.

Is there a downside? Hmmm…

Well, it’s not cheap, which in a way is a good thing, $250 USD. You know a solid company, with a track record will stand behind the product.

Who knows, watch for some holiday deals and you may catch a break.

It’s already in my home office, and working away.

It’s time to build out your home office, for real.

 

Latest Wireless Charging Mat From Mophie – No More Jiggling!!

Yep, wireless charging for your phone is pretty cool.
Just laying it on top of a pad with no cables does seem like an easier deal. And with multi-use charging pads so you can charge your watch, air pods and phone at once is super useful.
Until you wake up and your phone hasn’t charged. At all!!
Has this ever happened to you? Jiggling your phone till you see the charging symbol, or percentage ring, confirming the right placement, only to find out that it wasn’t quite in place, or moved?
It has happened to me more times than I care to know.
Frustrating at best, causing me to use a cable on an external battery to get the day going,
Mophie has come up with a solution that may seem simple, but works like a champ! The Mophie 4-in-1 Charging Mat

With ridges outlining 2 places for phones, and 2 places for air pods, a dock for your watch (need to add your own charging cable) this unit has been a lifesaver!
It. Always. Works!!!!
They call it the EASY-ALIGN design, and i have been waiting for something like this.

Now, if you work at a company that requires you to use a company phone, and you have a personal phone (keep all of that stuff separate!) this dual charger is what you need.
And maybe it’s a couples thing where you can both charge your devices at once. Only one watch port though. There is an extra USB port on the back if you need to add another charging cable. Or if your other smart watch can lay flat you’re good.

 

This sits on my bed stand and I know, when I wake up, the devices are charged and ready.

Simple, yes? and about $125 .

Time to start your gift lists!

The Affordable Action Cam With ALL Accessories Included!

Truth be told, I don’t ski, skateboard, sail, or bike.
I DO snorkel a coupla times a year.
SO why would I want or need an action cam?
Good question.
And the answers are many: time lapse being a huge one, having a small, quality, capture vid camera for the beach, body mounted cam for documenting the day, a diff kind of webcam. etc..
Basically, a small video camera that can capture life.
Having used everything from the first GoPro to the current DJI Action Cam, there have been some great improvements along the way.
Front and Back screen, and simplified touch screen menus are 2 of the majors upgrades, plus image stabilization.
They may all come from the same factory, so many features are shared, although the apps, and build, are specific to brands.

A new player in the field, Akaso, sent me their new entry into the market to check out. The Brave 7 LE!

4K, waterproof down to 131FT/40M while equipped with the included waterproof housing, water resistant right out of the box.
and the beauty here is that everything you need is INCLUDED!! Continue Reading »

Best Way To Carry Your Audio Gear – Orca Wins!

How are you doing out there?
In NYC, we are starting to get back out into the world of production!
and not just with Zoom! Physically.
2 weeks ago, I was live on set for the first time in months. Whew!
Before the whole shut down happened, I discovered the best way to carry my audio gear. Simple, and a quality set-up.

In the set-up: I’m talking about a MixPre 3ii, with 2 Sanken lavalier mics, my trusty Sony 7506 headphones, batteries, and cables, and some extra goodies.
Sometimes I would switch out the lavs for 2 Shure SM58 mics, when I’m doing a one-on-one interview for a podcast, so throw some cables and small mic stands in the bag. Cloudlifter, as well. Just to boost the gain if needed. Yes, that is the double Cloudlifter, but a single may be more versatile for your needs.

This was all jammed into an Orca-28, and the bag is built just right.

Continue Reading »

Nikon Brings the Z Series to the Next Gen – Time to Order?

So, who out there can shift camera systems whenever a new body comes out?
Yep, thought so.
I was raised on Nikon, and have a ton of amazing lenses, plus bodies, that i’m not sure when/if i’ll ever sell.
Yes, since Sony and Canon have done major releases recently, you have to put a line in the sand.
Who are you going to shoot with? And invest in?
OK, I did move to the Fuji system a few years back, and am very happy I did. My back is very happy. My walkabouts in NYC are less strenuous.
More on that later.
Nw the Z- series was a temping move and i worked with it for a very long time.
Familiar menus, solid build, quality as i knew. Plus it was super easy to balance on a gimbal. For some reason.
Well now, a coupla years later Nikon has update the cameras, and If you haven’t given them a look, you really should.

This is crazy, but the 1st gen only had one card slot, and everyone knows, 2 slots are way better.

Before i post the company line, I do want to let you know that I have a Nikon to Fuji adaptor and still pull out that glass when needed.the 500MM Mirror was a champ this summer.

and here you go!

THE NEXT CHAPTER OF Z IS HERE: NIKON DELIVERS MORE OF EVERYTHING
WITH THE NEW Z 7II AND Z 6II FULL-FRAME MIRRORLESS CAMERAS

The High-Resolution, High Performance Z 7II and the Versatile, Multimedia Powerhouse Z 6II Offer More Innovation, Power, Speed and Precision to Step into a New Era of Creative Freedom
Continue Reading »

Lume Cube – It’s About The Quality of Light

I’m definitely a problem v. solutions kind of person, and look at gear to make life easier. And make better content.
The new goal/problem was to find a small, powerful source of light, to add onto my Fuji, and be able to get interviews at trade shows.
What was needed was a nice, compact, source of light, battery powered.
After looking around the landscape, Lume Cube, a company that has been leading in the tiny light category has come up with a solution.

Well, they came up with a few, actually. Continue Reading »

Let’s Go For A Walk!

Are we finally seeing some good times in the wild? I mean, our neighborhoods?
In my neighborhood, in NYC, the plywood has come down from the stores, the streets are alive with the outdoor restaurants.
I have been taking the subways, buses, and a coupla taxi’s. The taxi drivers have to remember the mask deal, especially in a closed space.
Mostly, it’s walking. That’s how you see what’s really going. Like always, right?

So, the basic walking kit has been in use, and this is what it consists of:

*Fuji X100F with a lens shade
*Spare batteries for the camera and the phone
*Extra SD cards- I’ve been going either SanDisk or Sony, 128gb, super fast cards.
*LensPen, because you need to keep it all clean.
*A wrist strap, so I have that extra bit of security carrying the camera.
*And it all goes into a Peak Design Sling 10L

*Plus, if you are new to this, you may want to check out the listed book on the 100V

All of it is here in this link.

Why this gear? One main reason is that I have used this setup for years, and it works.

First, the main event ,the camera.
the Fuji 100V has a leaf shutter and can be put into electronic shutter mode, so it can be silent.

The files are beautiful. Plus, you can access all of the Fuji film stocks as algorithms for your JPGs. Things like Provia, Acros, Classic Chrome, Sepia. They are added to JPGs only as you are hopefully shooting RAW and JPG, for editing later. In LightRoom, the FujiFilm film stocks come up as a choice in develop mode so you an get those formulas added to your RAW files, as well.
The small size of the camera is ergonomically right, AND most importantly, I’m not digging into menus to adjust my exposure. A hallmark of Fuji cameras, it gives an analog feel to a sophisticated camera.
I go for the all black version, as it has a more has a discreet presence, and being silent, when using electronic shutter, you can get shots that you may have missed.

The lens shade, allows me to be fast, and not missing the opportunity. With the shade, nothing is hitting the lens, and you grab and go. In jacket weather, I sometimes juts go out with the camera in a jacket pocket.

Always have spare batteries when you are out walking. Nothing hurts worse than having an empty camera when you see the shot.

SD cards can get filled up. Or go bad. Yes, that does happen. I usually pack 2 extra.
LensPen: I have one of these in every camera bag. They just work. cleans the lens, and wipes away and dust. Cheap, and cheerful.
And the wrist strap. EVERY camera I own has a wrist strap. On this smaller camera I use this simple strap.

The more robust, interchangeable lens cameras, get the SpiderHolster spiderlight wrist strap. It’s perfect and after a full day of shooting is still comfortable.

Now the bag.

We all have a bunch perhaps, or have tried a few.
This Peak Design Sling 10L is my perfect walk around bag.
Room for my Fuji x100f, with space to scale up to a X-T4 with a 14mm, a 56mm, and a 55-200 (my crop duster). Or the leave out the 56mm, and add in the 50-140mm.
Straps on the bottom to hold a monopod, tripod, or lately, an umbrella!

Into the front pocket, I slip credentials, biz cards, SSD hard drive, and maybe a protein bar.
There is an inside flap, which has been able to hold an iPad, when that may be needed. Yep, have the keyboard case, and the pencil so things can be edited on the run.
When we can go inside again, this will be more useful.
The shoulder strap is comfortable, and easily adjustable.
There are a couple of design features I especially like:
*The zipper top opens TO the body, as opposed to away. An extra bit of security.

*And the bag itself has a somewhat of a defined shape as opposed to soft, shapeless design.
It allows me to easily slip my camera in and out of the bag.

This is the basic kit.
I do always throw in a Baggu reusable bag, because while you are out, you may need to pick up some things. Like dinner, or some groceries.

I have added a carabiner to the back handle to hook up a bag to.
Now, one thing that is NOT on the bag is a water bottle holder.

Now, I will toss in the Fuji X-T4, with a 14mm lens, for street when I want to switch up the lensing. I’ll break that more robust kit down in another post.

Stay safe and healthy out there!

A Lot Of Time On A Tiny Balcony

How are you doing today?
Have you zoomed enough? Are tired of looking at a screen?
Well, I am!
So, for a bit of respite, I go out to my tiny balcony and catch up on some reading.

 

Trust me, it’s no big deal, but I have used this lately more in all the years I’ve lived here!
And catching up on my reading. Mainly books about photography, and the odd detective novel thrown in. Walter Mosely is my current fave as he can deliver a visual that sends me to that place!

If you want to skip the post, here is a full list of some starter books that’ll keep adding to.

When I left LA for NYC, I left 95 boxes of books behind. Yeah, I know. I do miss many of them.

There are books that have been next to my bed, and in my NYC bookshelf, that bring me to the great outdoors, currently about 92º, to get inspired, informed, and sometimes, just luxuriate in the images I’ve not gazed at in too long.
Let’s get to it:
For a faster read, there are a couple of books I go to:
Aperture’s Photographer’s Playbook, and PhotoWork: Forty Photographers on Process and Practice.

The Playbook has 1 or 2 page ideas that may spark a personal assignment. Interesting if you’re feeling blocked, or just want to expand.
The PhotoWork book is great because it gives some insight into the photographic mind. The same questions were asked of everyone, and the answers can add up to a better portrait of each photographer.

Then there are the books about photographers like Larry Fink and Mary Ellen Mark. They seem to be taken from classroom events they taught, and although I’ve been making photographs for decades, I get a nugget or 2 from each one that sticks with me. It’s called the Photography Worksop Series from Aperture.

 

Honestly, there is something in the Fink book that jogs my brain, every time I edit and get to selects. Scary.

Then have been diving into the Sally Mann autobiography. If you are familiar with her imagery, this cuts deep. Highly recommend.

One book that I haven’t cracked yet is the Dan Winters book, The Road To Seeing. I have picked it up, and put it down a few times. Big commitment and know I will get there before the end of summer.

The current perfect blend is the Life And Work of Sid Grossman.

 

Beautifully produced, superior printing, and not just a book of photographs, but a great read on his life, and personal conviction.
” A photograph is as personal as a name, a fingerprint, a kiss. It concerns me intimately and passionately. I am not ashamed of that” Sid Grossman

When the sun starts to set, I do head back into the smallish NYC apt, and go through the list of docs on image makers to watch.
More on that list in another post.

And yes, If you purchase from the links provided, we do get a small commission. No price change for you, but it helps support these efforts.

Cheers!

How Are You Doing Today?

I hope you are all staying safe and healthy. Best wishes to you, and your family.
Sure, most communications start with that in these days of covid.

But what can you say, other than to wish your fellow humans the best?
© Damon Webster, 2020. All rights reserved.

And how are you spending your time at home?
If you have been working, chances are you are spending more time in front of screen than ever, and the concept of a 9-5 day (or 8-6), has been blown away.

In NYC we are slowly starting to open up, with restrictions. Heck, even B&H is taking on-site customers!

© Damon Webster, 2020. All rights reserved.

If you are a photographer or videographer, I hope you have been documenting this historic time, as things are moving fast. I look forward to reading what all of the cultural anthropologists will say about this time.

© Damon Webster, 2020. All rights reserved.

© Damon Webster, 2020. All rights reserved.

© Damon Webster, 2020. All rights reserved.

Trying to use my shelter in place as productively as possible, it was time to dig through all of the accumulated gear, and see what was needed, and what needed to be sold!
That was cathartic! And profitable!
Not quite the keeping ” does it spark joy? ” but what is being used, or will be used. Things came out of hiding, lived in the light of day, got evaluated, and either were listed on ebay, given a go, or put away.

Then, of course, was going through all of the archives, and realizing what photo files need better tagging. A ton!
just try looking for a specific image and all it is tagged with is New York, and a date.
Not good enough.

And then the scanning. If you have come to photography in the digital age, you don’t have to worry.
There are nightly sessions with my Epson V850 scanner, making my negs and transparencies into digital files that can be more easily accessed.
Truth be told, even though the scanner can create hi-res files, still doesn’t beat drum scans.
So the flatbed scanners files let me see what I have, and then have judiciously selected images for the expensive drum scans.
Holy Moly! the difference is staggering. the depth on drum scanned images is incredible. I’ve been using Duggal, here in New York for that.

Don’t get me wrong – i have binged a TON of TV, bought too much rice, probably have enough TP to last me for a long while,

© Damon Webster, 2020. All rights reserved.

and have a flock of masks to choose from before walking out the door. And my office clothes have definitely taken a back seat to more comfy options.

The home office has been tricked out with proper lighting, optional green screen, a headset, and some good mic options. Why not, right?

And podcasts are all the rage. Before the shutdown, I was about to start a podcast about exploring your city. Hah! timing, right? With severely limited public events, and venues, now have to rethink this.

How have you been spending your home time? If you have kids, I think I have an idea, and if you are caring for someone at risk, bless you and the service you provide.

If you would like to share your experiences during these days of covid, please contact me @ damon@photoinduced.com, and let’s see what we can do to get it posted.
Looking for image related experiences, and how your photographic life has been affected during all of this.

So stay safe, and stay healthy! look forward to hearing from you!
Wear a mask, and remember to Vote!

© Damon Webster, 2020. All rights reserved.


 

Nikon Inc. + NYC Salt Expand Partnership to Help Amplify Diverse Voices

Thsi is a good thing to see in the midst of all the rest. I personally have donated prints to NYC Salt sales, and encourage you to support them.

Today, Nikon Inc. announced the expansion of the brand’s partnership with NYC Salt, an organization that helps create opportunities in visual arts as well as pathways to college and careers for underserved youth from diverse backgrounds in New York City. This important partnership will expand to include a variety of programs that align with Nikon’s ongoing commitment to supporting the next generation of creators and amplifying diverse and underrepresented voices in the arts.

    Nikon Inc. + NYC Salt Initiatives

Emerging Talent Scholarship: Nikon will establish an annual $10,000 Emerging Talent Scholarship to an eligible student graduating from the NYC Salt program and entering a visual arts field, providing them with a foundation to help follow their dreams and pursue a career in the visual arts.
NYC Salt Camera Locker Equipment Fund: Nikon will support NYC Salt’s camera locker program through an equipment fund which will grant access to the latest Nikon cameras, lenses, and other equipment, enabling students with the necessary tools to advance their photography and videography skills.
Nikon Ambassador Mentorship Program: Nikon is collaborating with its network of world-renowned Ambassadors in the U.S. to coordinate a mentorship program for NYC Salt students, allowing Nikon Ambassadors to interact with the NYC Salt students, share their expansive knowledge and supplement the NYC Salt curriculum for 2020 and beyond.

    Public Print Sale:

Nikon is also working with its Ambassadors to organize an online public print sale of their images, with all proceeds going to NYC Salt to help expand their educational offerings to students. The print sale will take place from now through August 31.

Nikon Adds New FF Mirrorless To The Line-Up

It’s the way things are going: either go smaller with mirrorless, or go big with 100MP medium format. Even today, Canon announced the end of the 5D line.

Nikon has committed to the full frame mirrorless system, and with the new, Z5, has brought the line-up to a sweet affordable price.

Continue Reading »

Best Gimbal Hack I’ve Used!

First of all, do you use a gimbal? great way to get smooth pro video with your DSLR or Mirrorless cameras. After going through a bunch (will be selling the left behind gimbals) I’m partial to the Ronin SC.

Coupled with a Fuji X-T4, and a SmallRig ball joint with a Feelworld monitor (I know, not Small HD, but does the job) this rig has great software, right weight, and responsive. That is a key element. Connects to a sweet app, easy to control through it, and even updates firmware from your phone. Well done!

There is one thing I know you feel if you have gone out with your gimbal rig of late.

The weight! Plus the fact that the configuration is a little unwieldy.

The question comes up as to how to carry, after your arms get a bit wobbly, or you need to tend to swap the camera battery replacement, media card swap., on the fly.

Once it’s built, I want to be able to easily use it, without breaking it down, and rebuilding, and remain mobile. So it was time to figure out a shoulder strap solution.

It started with perusing my new favorite accessory site, SmallRig. Well made, well thought out, additions for just about any gear you own.

After looking at a ring to fit the Ronin SC with 1/4-20 holes to add things like a mic, light, etc. I came upon this set-up.

Now the idea of having a safe and secure ring to add a strap to the gimbal, and not only be able to sling it on my shoulder when not in use, BUT also be able to help set it against my body for controlled moves, is a huge winner in my opinion. Especially if you are out and about these days, covering events, you have to be on the move.

The strap was the next consideration. Peak Design has been my favorite currently, as the ability to adjust the length, and lock up fast is critical.

Plus the comfort factor. The interchangeability of the strap for different gear, using the anchors, is key. It comes with 4 anchors and a 1/2-20 clip, usually to put on the bottom of your camera.

Yes, SmallRig has a strap, but since I already owned one, a bit of savings. The design is more to my liking in it’s ability to adjust and lock the strap to the preferred length.

I did add on these 2 small bits, to ensure the right spacing for the anchor cords.

 

So that is one way to give you some more gimbal transport freedom.

Another way is to connect one end of the strap to the ring, and the other end to the bottom of the gimbal, giving you a different weight distribution situation. Using another piece included with the Peak Design strap, and attaching that to the bottom of the gimbal. The same anchors that you have on the strap can then be attached to the bottom. Different balance situation

You can also spread the detachable tripod part of the gimbal, and use your body to help stabilize the gimbal even more, letting the legs spread on your body, while the rig is secured on your shoulder, and you further stabilize the shot, with your hands on the stem of the rig.

Basically this whole addition to your Ronin SC (or perhaps other gimbals as well) will make your rig a more portable, fast action, and comfortable tool to work with.

Check out SmallRig, Peak Design, and as always, BH is my top shop for gear.

Stay Healthy, Everyone!

Your Stand Up Desk Just Got Portable!

WFH is the order of the day now, and a return to an office seems to be a ways off.
So now you are spending even more time in front of your screen, than ever before. Intently concentrating, making sure you are engaged, or looking like you are, forces you to stay on that keyboard!
If you have been feeling the strain on your body, you are not alone.
One of the best ways to help out the pinches, aches, and overall discomfort is to make the move to a stand-up desk.
And I’ve done the research. Most solutions are way too big, and being in an NYC apt, space is at a premium.

Check this out:
The Moft Z


Continue Reading »

The Best Way to Top Off Your New Camera

There is a 20% sale on if you’d like to get one of these!

I have always skipped generations on cameras as I feel that I’ll get the life out of my current bodies before I’ll see enough upgrades. Glass is forever, but the little computers we hold in our hands (ok, sensor upgrades) will keep getting better.

Having just done the research on the new Fuji X-T4, it was time. So many reasons for the upgrade from X-T2, but prime ones: in body IBIS, flippy screen, headphone jack, separate stills/video switch. 

Wish the headphone jack didn’t need a separate dongle, but have just dedicated a 3.5 mm headset to the dongle. Not a big deal. Working on a bluetooth solution. Concerned about latency.

But I digress.

The first thing is with new/new to you is the camera unboxing. Making sure all of the parts are there, get that hand feel on the body, to see what the physical updates are, and of course, charging the battery. Full charge, remember!

By staying with one line of cameras, the menu systems are usually familiar, and you can start to see any changes to that, which could affect your way of shooting. Usually not huge. And I’ll admit I do scour manufacture sites to see what the they call out as new.

So…..battery was charged, menu set and buttons customized to your preferred way of shooting, and now what?

My final bit of getting the camera ready for it’s first shoot comes with the addition of the SpiderLight Hand Strap. This is my absolute favorite hand strap, and sits on all of my cameras. The Lite version, as opposed to Pro, sits better for me on mirrorless. Pro adds another safety strap, if you like, for security more on the larger DSLRs.

Here is the main process of getting it installed. It’s easy, and I always feel secure and comfortable, even on a long day hold.

Continue Reading »

I See The Light: Packs small, Plays BIG!

Yes, the portable battery powered LED light market offers sooooo many options. You can honestly get the perfect light for what you require to illuminate.

Top of mind for me right now is small, portable, bi-color, with a decent battery life.

LumeCube has been a player in what I’d call the action LED light market. I own a few, and whenever I snorkel, this is on my action cam.

Bulletproof product, in my opinion.

When they introduced the lite panel last year, I was all over it! Looking for an event/trade show interview light, ticked a lot of the boxes, but had one main problem for me:

You couldn’t ramp it down enough. The quality of the light was great, but it was way too intense for the interviewee. I had to add some additional diffusion just to take it down a few notches. They did fix that issue and came out with the Lite Panel GO. I still wanted to get something that was even MORE compact.

The folks at Lume Cube heard this from a few folks, and went to work.

The new Panel Mini has so many cool features, and has an awesome battery life And not just by making it it smaller.

Well, it is smaller, but some of the best features is the fact that you can ramp down the output to 1%, select your color temp, and it’s about the size of a business card!

Continue Reading »

Battery Power For Every Situation. Like Outdoors!

OK, now that things are opening up, you can probably leave your house and get some air! Whew! Do it smart and safe, please!

Part of that is making sure you carry your own power for your phone. I think it’ll be awhile till you can plug in at the local restaurant or pub. And of course of you are on a trail, or beach, you’ll need a solid option as well.

And if you are powering things like a Sound Devices MixPre 3ii, or a Rodecaster Pro mixing deck for your podcast, you’ll want to show up contained, with no need to rely on power outlets. (Yes, pretty specific, but these will be covered in future posts. Best podcasting tools)

Here are some solid options for you from Mophie (big sale right now!) and MyCharge.

This first one is in my bag for all walk around: fast charge, small footprint no extra cables needed, fully contained. The MyCharge Turbo.

Continue Reading »

For a Little Peace, Listen to This

When you’ve done the Zoom calls, binged on all the recco TV shows, perhaps it’s time to take some solace in a good music listen.

I’m not talking about a podcast. Nope. Takes too much of your attention.

Talking about some of your favorite music. Filtered through more than your ear buds. Over ear. Some quality. Luxuriate in that. On the couch, on the porch, by the pool (if you are so lucky!)

There are a few solid choices that fit into the same price range. About $300.

Of course, the Sony WH1000MX3 are a lot of folks go-to blue tooth headphones. To be honest, it does help to get through the clutter of all the brand choices, with a known brand that all of your friends have. Good choice.

As we move through the choices, one of my faves is the Focal Listen. They are a high end company concentrating on the headset category, and while they do make the $3000. headset, these are 1/10 the price, less than $300, and separate the tracks of a high end recording to give you that distinct aural pleasure of hearing a track, like the first time.

And new to this group, is the BeyerDynamic Lagoon ANC Traveller offering. Admittedly, this unit gives a crisper, more defined separation of the tracks, than the Focal Listen BT headset. You will hear the nuance of instruments, and the mix is closer to what the original recording engineers intended. I will say that it was a slightly bit quieter than the Focal.

Bose has always had a solid footing here, and have consistently upped their game. And the price. About $350. Used to be the gold standard. And this new rig has Alexa Voice Control

When I’m home , and wired, the BeyerDynamic dt770 has always been my go to, coupled with a small DAC or amp to boost up the juice, and give a listening experience like no other. Under $200 for the headset, but you will need that external tiny DAC. That will run you about $75.

When we do start flying again, or if you need to connect to a TV, via blue tooth, I’d highly recommend the Twelve South AirFly Pro BT transmitter. It’s my plane travel companion, so it’s getting a bit less use now. Or even if you have 2 people that want to listen to the same thing at once. Also avail through Apple

So there you have it. When you’d like to shut out the rest of the world, enjoy high quality audio, and hear music more the way it was meant to be heard, you win with any of these options. Add Airfly to connect with a friend to watch a movie.

And if you really want to get the best in your listening, check out HD Tracks. From Jazz, Classical, and Billie Eilish (her brother is a good producer) you will no doubt find something to your taste.

On a personal note, Beats are not quite the audiophile headsets you want. Move on.

And one additional note. The better the headset, the more the quality of the recording is revealed. Tried some classic tracks from the 70’s and 80’s . and a lot of the rock then was not done very well.

Stay Healthy!

Time To Add To Your Photo Library

While we are spending a bit more time in our homes, you may be thinking ” Gee, I’ve looked through all of my photo books, twice, and maybe it’s time to get some fresh perspectives”

Aperture to the rescue with a fantastic 50% sale!

With books broken up into categories:

And if you want an expert to help you redo your photo book collection, they have even curated collections:

Enjoy, have fun looking, get inspired, and treat yourself to some new work!

I’ll be honest, I have just gone through the Larry Fink workshop book, and it has made a change in my photography. It was one concept that makes me look at my own images different. (this one is not 50% off, but still discounted!)

Magnum Is Back with the Square Print Sale!

You should be indoors, and perhaps looking at your walls, wondering what you could do to spruce them up!

Magnum has the answer, and signed or estate stamped prints by photographic masters will do just what you need!

I have 3 in my home and love them! Each one strategically placed so I see them as I move through the apt..

Please remember: they are 6″ x6″, so when framed, they fit almost anywhere in your home, without overwhelming the space.


California, USA. 1956. © Elliot Erwitt / Magnum Photos /Estate Stamped
“In life’s saddest winter moments, when you’ve been under a cloud for weeks, suddenly a glimpse of something wonderful can change the whole complexion of things, your entire feeling.”
Elliot Erwitt
 California. 1956.

Over 100 international photographers looked over their personal archives in search of images relating to, or capturing events that changed the course of history, society, a life, or a practice.
Their museum-quality signed and estate-stamped 6×6” prints are available for $100 through Sunday, April 12 on www.magnumphotos.com/shop
Magnum photographers will be donating 50% of their proceeds from the sale to Médecins Sans Frontières’s COVID-19 emergency response. These donations will be matched by a private charitable donor, up to a figure of $500,000.


Route 12, Wisconsin, 1963 © Danny Lyon / Magnum Photos
“Skip Richheimer and I, both bikeriders, both photographers, were heading out of town to the scrambles at Elkhorn Wisconsin, Skip driving a VW Beetle. Five bikeriders approached us from behind, I’m sure heading to the races at Elkhorn as they passed around the car, like a swarm of bees. The bikers reached an overpass, lifting them up off the ground as they rose up before us. One of the bikers leaning to the side to speed past another. The great body language of motorcycles. That spring I showed the pictures I made at Elkhorn to Hugh Edwards, then curator at the Art Institute of Chicago. On May 8, 1963, he sent me a letter. “How I wish I had some influence in the world so that there might be a book of them, with a glorifying text by someone like William Burroughs, James Jones or John Dos Passos, the reproductions done by a great firm like Conzett and Huber in Zurich or Pizzi in Milan.” Three of the greatest living writers and the two greatest reproduction houses in the world. I was twenty-one. The letter changed my life forever.”
Danny Lyon

Bob Dylan. Woodstock, NY. 1968. Taken with Kodak Ektachrome Infrared Film. © Elliott Landy / Magnum Photos
“To capture a flickering moment of joyous experience and share it with others—that was the reason I began photographing in the first place, and that is still the reason I take pictures today.

One of the things I like to see most when I look at a photograph I’ve just taken is something I’ve never seen before. Therefore, I’ve always enjoyed experimenting. This was the fuel behind my exploring the use of Kodak infrared color film in the late 60s. It was impossible to know what the resulting photographs would look like because the colors of the image were dependent on infrared light which is not visible to human eyes.

When I used infrared film I tried a variety of color filters. So, this image was a complete surprise to me. In fact, neither Bob nor I realized its power and beauty when we looked at it with a slide projector but passed it by in our quest to find a photograph for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. I don’t recall either one of us commenting on this picture.

This image seems to reflect the otherworldliness of his music—different than anything before.”
Elliott Landy
 

And a pluson this is the charitable donation that is made with every sale.

They have joined up with a few other organizations in this, Aperture and The Everyday Projects Org. Plus Aperture has a crazy good book sale right now!

And due to the current world situation, there may be delays in delivery, but they are great communicators. so don’t worry!

Light Em Up!! Photographing Fireworks Guide

Living in A Powder Keg and Giving Off Sparks!


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