New Toys

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So I got a few new toys this week. Of the most interest to me were LR5 and Leap Motion.

I’ll start with the Leap Motion. This is the future of computing https://www.leapmotion.com , well, maybe in a generation or two.
When I ordered the Leap Motion, months and months ago, I was envisaging intuitive and natural control of my laptop by waving my hands around. I wasn’t 100%  sure how it would work, but I was sure it would be great. I am a little disappointed. Not much, I just had to remember that this was a technology that was in it’s infancy, and that I was not familar with it. I remember when I first used a mouse, I hated it, couldn’t see the need for it and I thought it was a cop out for lazy people who couldn’t use a keyboard. Now I resent having no use of a mouse. I suspect soon we will have tablets with inbuilt touchless/gesture control, desktops with out mice or keyboards and so on. It would seem that the only thing missing from my vision of the future is fully 3D screens and I don’t mean like the current crop of shitty  gimmicks in stores at the moment. Yes, it will be like in the Minority Report (sans the gloves hopefully).

My desire to see this happen is actually coming from a practical view point. I often spend 50+ hrs a week working in Civil 3D and other AutoCAD products. I draft in entirely x,y,z and have no end of issues with doing so on a flat screen. Sure, I’ve developed methods to avoid most of the common traps, but I can’t wait till drafting in 3D is as natural as sketching on paper with a pencil.
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Lightroom 5 has been interesting. I skipped Lightroom 4 and stuck with my dated copy of LR3.6, so I can’t comment on what exactly is a new feature for the program, only on what is new for me. Firstly, the Heal/Clone Brush=Awesome. Sure, you can do the same thing in PS, but that meant using another piece of software and considering I mainly only used PS for getting rid of things like powerlines, this is of great benefit to me. The tools were a little hard to find, I know they were in the same place, but they worked slightly differently, despite not looking any different and as such, it took me a while (hours) to figure it out. Both the images here have had power poles and lines removed and I have to say that I’m impressed with how well the tool works out of the box. There was mention of some additional functions being added to the Heal/Clone tool, such as feathering, but for now I’m happy enough.
Things like the lay out the sliders makes more sense than what was in LR3. Despite there being a little bit of time required to adjust from the habits of LR3,  I can appreciate the thought that went into modifying the layout and functions. Another boon is the extra control available in Lens Corrections. I do try and shoot in a way that minimises Chromatic Abberation, but you can’t always lose a shot for some shit tech reason like that. LR3 was pretty damn good at fixing CA, but LR5 is miles ahead.
Supposedly, there is several stops of additional Highlight/Shadow Recovery available now, but I can’t say I can see it, though I’ve never had an issue with blacked out shadow or blown out highlights appearing in a photo. Sometimes in the real world, looking at things with your real eyes, there will be black shadows and white highlights in the same scene, so I can’t see what the fuss is about, maybe I’m missing the point? I think at this point, I should point out that in both the above photos, I was using fill flash, from a SB-900 with diffuser, mounted on camera. This was to help balance the very contrasty scene.

The other very exciting feature is the Book tab. I’m not really sure when I will get around to publishing a book. Probably when I can find a coherent theme and also find a printer that will print a small run (several hundred, tops) for a reasonable price, Regardless, this feature is brilliant. I hate, with a passion, book making software. Every company has it’s own shitty in house software and they are all missing features, never the same features and they all have peculiar quirks that are annoying to have to learn. Assuming that most book printers will accept LR5 Book PDF’s, I can’t wait to put it through it’s paces.

Both LR5 and Leap Motion will take some getting used to, learning a new tool while trying to achieve the same work is never straight forward, but both have been fun and useful so far.

About the photos. My partner and I took our youngest horse out for a ride whilst we had lend of a friends float. I was interested in scouting locations for possible shoots in the future and my partner was looking for new places to ride. Whilst this was not the most consistently scenic place, there were a few spots that had potential. A few weeks earlier, we ventured to Kwinana, to the horse beach behind the heavy industrial area. http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokentoyshop/sets/72157634758081259/ This shoot was much more productive, I have a several decent shots still to go up.
I would welcome any suggestions of locations to shoot horse and rider portraits , in and around the Perth Metro area.

My Favourite bit of Tech!

This may come as a surprise to some, but I’m not a tech junkie. In any way, shape or form.

I do like technology, but what ever it is, it has to be more than just the latest release to catch my attention.
Also, before I get started, I’d like to say, I’m not an Apple fanboi.

Now that I have that off of my chest, my favourite bit of tech is not a camera, it’s my trusty iPod Nano Gen3.

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One well used iPod

This is the second iPod I’ve owned, the previous having died in an unfortunate hot car dashboard incident. I’ve never really like the i range of products, they seem over priced and under featured, the marketing is excessive and etc.
The one thing they did well was the iPod nano. The build quality was indestructible (I tested it), the longevity was great and it was really user friendly.

Other than the typical abuses pocket based devices suffer, I did some exceptional things to my iPod, things that should have killed it, and me too.
The one stand out event would be when I accidentally fried it while TIG welding. Suffice to say, I wasn’t wearing my headphones at the time. The accident was pretty simple, an exposed earth lead under my welding bench and the iPod in my pocket was pressing against the wire, then I started welding. When I picked myself up off of the floor, stopped swearing and had a change of jocks, I found that all my music was gone. I thought that was end of it, one very sore leg and a dead iPod, a good result considering what the alternative could have been. When I got home, I was curious to see what would happen if I plugged it in to my computer. iTunes suggested I download the latest software for it, and once that was installed, the iPod worked just fine.

Yup, tested the indestructibility to my limit.

I still travel with this, I did briefly consider buying a new one, but the new gen seems dinky in comparison.

Oh, yeah, what am I listening to? Ms Mr – Second Hand Rapture, James Blake – Overgrown, Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal, The XX – Coexist, Deftones – Diamond Eyes, Birds of Tokyo – March Fires, Bat for Lashes – The Haunted Man, Alt J- An Awesome Wave. There is a few dozen more albums on there, but that is what is getting heavy rotation at the moment.