Monthly Archives: May 2013

Part 1 – Why Micro Four-Thirds is the System of the Future: Size Matters

May 31, 2013

I confess; I’m a recent convert to the micro four-thirds (m4/3) system. I received the Olympus OM-D EM-5 as a Christmas present, and I’ve built a serious collection of lenses since then. My appreciation of the benefits of the m4/3 platform continues to grow. Originally, I was going to write one post about why I think the m4/3 system is the future of the camera industry, but I realized that a single article would be too long in a blog format. Consequently, this is the first installment of a series about the importance of the m4/3 system to the camera industry. Continue reading

Tips for Shooting a Moonrise

May 28, 2013

Moonrise Over the St. Petersburg Pier

Moonrise Over the St. Petersburg PierMoonrise Over the St. Petersburg PierMoonrise Over the St. Petersburg Pier

The two shots above are of the St Petersburg (FL) Pier last Friday night during a very nice full moonrise. This was nearly the last chance to shoot the illuminated pier since the structure will be closed for good this Friday and demolished later this year. It will be several years before the new pier is likely finished. Continue reading

A Lasting Legacy

Cadle Bill - ca 1941 452 Cadle Pilot trng - 1941 455

Cadle Pilot trng - 1941 453 Cadle Pilot Trng - 1941 450

May 26, 2013

In honor of Memorial Day in the U.S., I salute my great uncle, Bill Cadle. He was killed in a training accident in 1943 as an Air Force instructor pilot during World War II. Few people realize that more than 15,000 aviators were killed in training accidents during WW II. The Army Air Corps lost approximately 7,100 aircraft in training accidents from 1941 to 1945 versus 4,500 aircraft lost in combat in the Pacific theater. The art and science of aviation were very young during WW II and the cost of improving aviation knowledge was dear.

Although I never knew my great uncle, as an Air Force pilot I benefited from the lessons forged in blood by him and others during WW II and subsequent years. The “Greatest Generation” displayed a sense of courage, service, and sacrifice that changed the course of history. This Memorial Day I salute the lasting legacy of Bill Cadle and thousands like him that sacrificed all for future generations.

Note: The pictures posted here are family heirlooms that have been handed down to me from my grandparents.

Review – Phottix Strato II Flash Triggers for m4/3 (Olympus OM-D EM-5)

May 24, 2013

I first published a version of this review as a post for the Digital Photography Review forums.  It seemed to fill an information void for many people, so I have updated it and posted it here.

I recently went to a local meetup event for models and photographers and really enjoyed the experience. I primarily used off-camera flash on my Olympus OM-D with a small Lastolite softbox.  I have 2 Olympus FL-600s and 2 Nikon SB-800s. I used combinations of the flashes set in manual mode with the optical slave function.  The slave function worked great with the flashes, maybe a little too great. The problem was that there were so many other photographers shooting that my flashes were constantly firing. As you can imagine, this used up batteries pretty quickly and slowed the recycle time.

Consequently, I started searching for radio-based flash triggers for the next meetup. Now, if I were buying the triggers for my Nikon DSLR this would not be much of problem. I would just buy Nikon-compatible triggers and be done. Unfortunately, most companies don’t make m4/3 specific accessories yet. Would a Nikon-compatible trigger work on my Olympus camera? Complicating the problem is the fact that I am mixing Olympus and Nikon flash units. Continue reading

Embracing the Crowds Part 3, Form and Flow

A Busy Day at the Eiffel Tower Paris, France

A Busy Day at the Eiffel Tower
Paris, France

May 22, 2013

Today’s picture is one of my favorite travel photos. I like the picture from an artistic standpoint and it also brings back memories of a great trip. I took this image with my very first digital camera (a 5-megapixel Nikon E5700) almost 10 years ago. The picture was one of the winners in an international photo competition at my university a few years ago that was judged by a well-known National Geographic photographer. It also appeared as the cover photo on the university’s calendar that year. Continue reading

Today’s Chasing Light Photo Named Landscape Photo of the Day

Fishing the Merced River Yosemite National Park, California

Fishing the Merced River
Yosemite National Park, California

March 20, 2013

I received a nice notice today that the photo from today’s post, “Fishing the Merced River,” was named Landscape Photo of the Day for the Landscape Community on Google+.  I’m honored that they liked the photo and hopefully some of the 130,000 members from the community will come read the blog post that accompanies the picture.

See the picture in the ‘Inspiration’ category here: Google+ Lansdcape Photo of the Day

Embracing the Crowds Part 2, Isolation and Gesture

Fishing the Merced River Yosemite National Park, California

Fishing the Merced River
Yosemite National Park, California

May 20, 2013

Like “Sunbeam Girl,” the above photo shows another classic scene from an iconic American landscape. In this case, I’d seen the view hundreds (maybe thousands) of times in photos before I gazed upon it in person. It appears to be deep in the backcountry, (spoiler alert for those that haven’t yet been to Yosemite) but actually it is right off a parking lot and picnic area in Yosemite. Continue reading

Embracing the Crowds

Sunbeam Girl Antelope Canyon Page, Arizona
Sunbeam Girl
Antelope Canyon
Page, Arizona

May 17, 2013

Enough talk about Adobe and technology…  Let’s talk photography.

I recently saw a spectacular photo by Trey Ratcliff of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. It was a rare and glorious morning in Beijing without pollution. It was also a rare and glorious morning for him in that he was granted access before the site opened to the public. I was in Beijing about the same time he took his photo, and all I saw was gray, polluted skies and big crowds. I don’t know how he negotiated this solitary time at one of the most popular sites in Beijing, but I definitely envy his industriousness to gain access. So what does that story have to do with the photo above?  Today, I’m going to talk about embracing crowds in iconic locations rather than avoiding them. It’s really the only way to approach photography at some of these landmark locations for the rest of us. Continue reading

Where is the Next Innovation in Photographic Software Likely to Originate?

May 16, 2013

In my last two posts I’ve argued that Adobe Photoshop is a mature product that isn’t likely to see many new and radical innovations in the future. The most radical innovation coming from Adobe in the last few years was probably Lightroom in 2006/7. This is not surprising.  Large, established players in an industry tend to protect their turf and this often precludes thinking ‘outside the box.’ New innovations alter the shape of markets and industries to the detriment of existing players. The Austrian economist, Joseph Schumpeter, famously called this process “creative destruction.” Continue reading

Adobe’s Empty Promise of Innovation

May 14, 2013

Adobe has consistently touted a particular benefit of its move to the cloud — engineers will be able to distribute new innovations quickly to cloud customers.  Instead of waiting for a new major release, the company will be free to add new features when they are ready.

There’s a big problem with this “benefit” for customers. When was the last time Adobe introduced a truly innovative feature?  Certainly Photoshop has improved with every new version, but most of the improvements over the past few years have been incremental. The program has become more “content aware,” and there have been a few tweaks to other tools. As I mentioned in my last post, I recently upgraded from CS3 (first released in 2007) to CC.  I didn’t see a whole lot of difference.  Here is one of the “new features” for CS6 listed in a 2012 PC Magazine review: “The new UI uses a dark gray background, the darkness/lightness of which is customizable.” Let’s face it, Photoshop, like Microsoft Word, is a mature product. At this point in the product lifecycle, no one is clamoring for a new feature for MS Word or Photoshop.

The Boston Consulting Group developed a name for products like Photoshop in the 1970s: cash cows. Cash cows are mature products with significant market share in low growth industries.  Consultants advise companies with cash cows to milk them for profits for as long as possible and not to invest significant funds for R&D on these products in the firm’s portfolio. Uh oh, do you think Adobe will follow this strategy when they have a steady revenue stream and no exit option for consumers?  I do.

Next:  Where is the innovation in photography software likely to come from?