50 Best of 2014
my digital life
One of the things I do with my commute time is listen to podcasts. I have sampled dozens of podcasts, but these are the ones that I look forward to the most, and that are pretty much a permanent part of my podcast diet. In no particular order:
This American Life
A staple of public radio. You have probably heard about this show, or heard it on the radio, or seen a TV version of it. You have almost certainly heard people talking about the stories. This podcast consistently tells stories that are funny, touching, poignant, and sometimes incredibly sad.
Another public radio gem. The show touches on many subjects, and the interplay of the hosts, Had Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, is a thing of beauty.
Once upon a time, Roman Mars started a podcast about design. And the world became a better place. Have you ever been curious about the origins of those flappy arm inflatable dancing men? Or what it takes to bring the sound of sports to you? Or what makes a good flag? There is a reason this show has had three very successful Kickstarter campaigns. I suggest you just start at Episode 1 and start listening. You will want to hear them all. More than once.
A podcast about crime. But not what you think. As they describe it, “Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.” There are only twelve episodes currently, but look forward to more coming soon.
This podcast from WBEZ in Chicago answers questions submitted by the people of Chicago. Why do busses bunch up? What’s up with the people filling up jugs from that old water pump? Why does Chicago have two Chinatowns? This podcast makes me want to move to Chicago and explore the city myself. Also, why does San Francisco not have something similar, and who wants to help me start one up?
A spinoff of This American Life, Serial tells one story – a true story – each season. They are currently part way through Season One. The story is the story of a murdered student and the 17-year old boyfriend accused of her murder. Every bit as good as the best detective story you have ever read. Start at Episode 1 and become immersed.
Poetry Off the Shelf
This podcast is all over the map, in a good way. They might examine current events through the lens of a poet, they may interview a contemporary poet or play an interview from 60 years ago. While you may not always like every poem they select, you will likely come to appreciate something about the writing or the writing during the episode.
What are your favorite podcasts? Leave a comment!
iOS 8, Apple’s latest mobile operating system, was released this week. One of the features that I was most excited to try was the time lapse functionality that has been added to the Camera app. I tested it out and found that the quality of the video is quite good, but there are no options to control the time lapse other than starting and stopping.
First off, here’s a 24-hour time lapse video made with the Camera app and an iPod Touch running iOS 8:
As you can see, the Camera app has done a good job compensating for the changing light over the course of the day. However, the video moves quite quickly, since 24 hours have been compressed into about 23 seconds.
While there does not appear to be a limit on the length of the time lapse session, it appears that the resulting video is limited to about 23 seconds. In my testing, time lapse sessions longer than about 5 minutes resulted in a 23 second video.
However, there is a workaround to allow time lapse videos with the Camera app that are longer than 23 seconds. Simply make several consecutive time lapse sessions of the same length, and then join the resulting videos together. Unfortunately, there currently is not a way to automate the multiple time lapse sessions, so you will need to set a timer and stop/start the video each time.
Here is the result of two 6-hour time lapse sessions put together:
Time lapse is a great new addition to iOS 8, and it is very easy to use. Hopefully Apple will add some additional options to control the way it works. Give it a try, and see what creative videos you can make!
During 2012, I began shooting the view from the offices I work in every day. The result was the Transamerica View book. During 2013, I continued shooting the view, this time with a vintage Polaroid camera and Impossible Project film. The resulting 215 images are now available in a softcover book and as a PDF.
Back in 2010, I posted 10 tips for shooting neon. Now more and more people are carrying around their iPhone as their primary camera. I thought it was time to post a follow up with tips for shooting neon signs with a iPhone. Many of the same tips for shooting with a DLSR apply to the iPhone as well!
Neon is bright. Especially at night, this brightness can confuse the camera app and the exposure will not be what you want. However, most apps will let you set which spot is used for exposure and focus. For example, to set exposure and focus on the Camera app that comes with the iPhone, just tap on the screen. Holding down will lock the exposure and focus so you can compose the shot. Learning how to make the camera behave the way you want will make sure you can get the shot exposed just how you want it.
There are hundreds and hundreds of photography apps to choose from on the App Store. Knowing what the apps you have will do for an image is key to getting the image you want. Spend some time with each photo app you download, learning what adjustments it can perform and how they affect the image. Knowing this will help you pick the right app to get the look and feel you want.
I like the way the Hipstamatic app combination of John S Lens and Kodot XGrizzled Film work with neon signs.
Get close. Shoot reflections. Get under, behind, and above signs. Use the neon as part of the image, but not the only thing in the image. Use experimental photo apps, and combine the results of different apps. There’s no harm in trying things – pixels are free!
Also check out Doctor Popular’s Appsperiments
There are a lot of people shooting neon with their iPhones. Look at what they are doing. Get inspired! Here are a few to get you started:
Sean Calvey (scalvey)
Sharlynn V (sv1)
Frank Prosnik (innerstate1)
You can see all of my iPhone neon photos on Flickr.
This year, I decided to skip the “best of 2013” list. Instead, I have compiled ten of my most memorable images of 2013. These are images that bring back definite memories of a time and a place. They are images that I have remembered all year, and images that have stuck with me for one reason or another. In no particular order, here are my 10 most memorable images of 2013.
“And When We Kiss, The Sky Is On Fire”
Iceland – March 2013
To be honest, I could have picked 10 images from our trip to Iceland for this post. Travel photography is always memorable, but Iceland is a whole different level. Around every bend are amazing, dramatic, beautiful views. The northern lights are an experience that is impossible to describe. This self-portrait is my favorite of the northern lights images from the trip. All my images from Iceland can be seen in this Flickr set.
“The Very Definition”
Paris, France – June 2013
I went to Paris for work during the summer. I had a chance to get out and shoot while I was there. This image was made along Rue de Rivoli in the late afternoon. When I look at this image, I can feel the warm air and hear the sound of high heels echoing through the walkway. You can see more of my images from Paris on Flickr.
Ogden, Utah – October 2013
My grandmother turned 93 this year, but she can still play the piano beautifully. This is her playing with her great-granddaughter. I regret that I have never been very good at capturing friends and family with the lens. This is a rare exception.
“Everything Stops Eventually, Some Things Sooner Than Others”
Reno, Nevada – January 2013
In January, I made a trip to Reno to spend some time with my parents. My father was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer late in 2012, and they were in Reno for his treatment. It was a difficult time, and this particular image brings back many memories of my short stay there.
MLK Memorial, Atlanta, Georgia – January 2013
We visited Atlanta in 2013, and went to the MLK memorial. To be honest, I didn’t particularly care about seeing it. Once we were there, however, I was surprised by the magnitude of emotion that exists in this place. It is a very powerful monument, and a feeling I will not soon forget.
“Food To Take Home”
Atlanta, Georgia – January 2013
It is difficult to pick a single neon sign from the hundreds that I shot during 2013, but this one in Atlanta stands out. It is a wonderfully preserved example of a classic American diner, welcoming people day and night.
“Ask About What Might Be”
Jill Tracy at Cafe du Nord, San Francisco, California – September 2013
I was pleased to have an opportunity to shoot one of Jill Tracy’s performances at Cafe du Nord this year. Her shows are always memorable, and having the opportunity to capture the performance is something I always appreciate.
“Jessica And The Lamp”
Hotsy Totsy Club, Albany, California – August 2013
Jessica Maria, co-owner of the Hotsy Totsy Club in Albany, was the local winner of a cocktail competition, and was invited to compete in the national contest in Lima, Peru. I was asked to make some images of her in the club for promotional material. This is one of my favorites from the shoot.
“Scott Pavilion Street”
Winnemucca, Nevada – October 2013
This year we took a road trip, driving from San Francisco to Ogden across Interstate 80, and returning on Highway 6 through the middle of Nevada. It was a drive filled with beautiful, desolate spaces, and lots of vintage neon. This particular motel had signs at every freeway exit, pointing travelers to a decent spot to spend a night.
“Everywhere And Nowhere”
Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, Iceland – March 2013
This is a glacial lagoon, formed where a glacier meets the sea. The scenery here changes rapidly, and is never the same twice. Iceland is a remarkable place, and is easily my most memorable photo experience of 2013.
And those are my most memorable images of 2013. Thanks for looking!
Last year, I made an image of the Transamerica building when I got to work. The images were all made with the Hipstamatic app on random settings. I ended up with 256 different images. All of the images from the series can be seen in this Flickr set.
The images are now available in printed form from MagCloud. The printed book includes all 256 images, presented four per page. In addition, selected images have been printed full page. The printed book costs $25.00. You can also order a digital copy for free. To get your book or digital copy, just click on the MagCloud logo below.