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FotoTimer made by Mac About Town, provides a nifty self-timer for your iPhone. In fact, it's better than many of the self-timers built into dedicated digital cameras. You can set the delay for 2, 5, 10, or 20 seconds. This $1.99 program available from the iTunes App Store will help you capture sharp images with the iPhone. Just set it down, set the timer, stand back, and let it record the image. For anyone who enjoys photography with their iPhone, I would consider this app essential.


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I'm moving forward on this geotagging project on two fronts. One task is to geotag everthing I've already shot in 2009. On the second front, I want to use a GPS device to create data while I'm in the field.

For the GPS device, I decided to give the Jobo photoGPS Geo Tagging Flash Shoe a try because of its small size and ability to stay out of the way in the hotshoe of my camera. The Amazon listing, and everywhere else I looked, said that the Mac software would be ready by the end of 2008. So I naively expected it to be in the box with the photoGPS.

What I did find in the box was a link on a CD to a mailing list that would notify me when the Mac software was ready. No timeframe is listed. Just sign up for the list, and we'll let you know. OK, not so great.

I'm going to hold off reviewing this device until I actually incorporate it into my workflow. At the moment, I'm probably going to have to try the Windows version of the bundled software to learn more about it. Note to Jobo: It's 2009.

The second part of the project is going a little better. I've decided to try Maperture for the images already in my Aperture library. This plug-in is free and easy to use. Ubermind provides a nifty screencast to provide a hands-on overview of the product. I'm still getting to know Maperture, and will have more details about it after further testing. But my first impression is good.

I should have another update sometime next week. Once I get everything working to my satisfaction, I'll also record a podcast on geotagging. More soon.


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What a great story! I was reading the Amazing Coverage of U.S. Airways Rescue story on PDN and thinking about how citizen journalism is having an impact on our nation's news reporting. The U.S. Airways Flight 1549 crash and rescue in the Hudson River has to be one of the top stories of 2009, and the iconic image of the rescue was capture with an iPhone. If there ever was an argument for, "the best camera is the one you have with you," this is it.

According to PDN writer Jim Davidson: "The star of the early coverage is a Florida tourist named Janis Krums of Sarasota, Florida, who was on one of the ferry boats in the Hudson River in New York when the plane crashed. Krums posted a photo from his iPhone, Twittered about the crash and did an interview with MSNBC."


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Macworld Magazine just published an article I've been working on for a while, Five Adobe CS4 goodies for photographers. In the piece, I talk about some unexpected helpers found in the bundled Bridge CS4 and Adobe Camera Raw 5. Things like Review Mode, Collections, and the Targeted Adjustment Tool can really make your workflow smoother. This piece is a quick read and provides a nice overview.

On O'Reilly Media, I just published Networked Printers and Speakers with AirPort WiFi that shows how I configured my new WiFi network to accommodate several printers and provide remote-controlled music throughout my 2-story studio. It's a lot of fun if you enjoy network tomfoolery.


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Learn what photographers need to know to organize and edit their images with Photoshop CS4. Take a look at The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers. It fits in your laptop bag and is very easy on your wallet.


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Now that the price of a Ray Flash ring flash adapter has been lowered to $199.95, I thought you might enjoy this video by John Ricard on the Strobist site where John films a model shoot comparing the $200 Ray Flash adapter to a $1,000 ring light. Plus, it's educational to watch how John sets up the model shoot and evaluates the results.


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It all started with iPhoto '09 and "Places." If I was going to teach the application properly in my Lynda.com trainings and in iPhoto The Missing Manual, then I was going to have to get serious about geotagging.

As I researched accessories for my Canon 5D Mark II and the Canon G9, I discovered that there wasn't really an affordable, convenient geotagging solution for these cameras. After much debate, I finally settled on trying the Jobo photoGPS Geo Tagging Flash Shoe device for $175. It is both Mac and PC compatible, and seems to allow a reasonable workflow for adding GPS data to my images, both Raw and Jpeg.

Once I get the device and fine tune the workflow, I'll report back here. In the meantime, if you have any tips, please post a comment.


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You can catch up on most of the photo announcements from CES in one spot: dcviews.com. Recent products from Kodak, Sony, Samsung, Casio, Olympus, Canon and more are listed on the home page. When you want the new blurb, just click on the item and the news box at the top updates. You can get the full story too if you want it.

It's an easy way to catch up if missed the action at CES (like those of us who were at Macworld).


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New Polaroid Digicam that Prints too

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Want your printer and camera to be the same device? Then take a look at Polaroid PoGo Instant Digital Camera. Imaging Resource reports:

"It's not the first time we've featured a digital camera with built-in printer on this news page - in fact, over the years there have been quite a few... with dimensions of 4.7" x 3.0 x 2.0", though, the Polaroid PoGo instant digital camera would certainly rank among the smallest."

Starting in March 2009, you can pick up the camera for around $200 and a pack of film for about $5. Sounds perfect for parties!


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I wasn't surprised that Apple announced iPhoto '09 as part of its $79 iLife '09 suite of applications, but I didn't anticipate some of its new features. Others I did.

Adjust Panel Improvements

In the "not too surprised" category, an enhanced Adjust panel was definitely in order. By most standards, iPhoto '08 wasn't providing the editing control that even some novices were looking for. That being said, the iPhoto '09 additions are still rather modest. A new Definition slider that allows us to bump up midtone contrast with a dash of sharpening is indeed welcome. It's one of my favorite sliders in Aperture, as well as its Adobe cousin, Clarity in Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw. I'm not sure people will understand exactly what is going on with Definition, but I think they will like the results they see in their photos.

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Instead of adding a Vibrancy slider, as we have in Aperture, iPhoto '09 instead gives us a checkbox labeled "avoid saturating the skin tones" for the Saturation slider. This is a user-friendly way to introduce the functionality that is essentially Vibrancy in Aperture. What remains to be seen, however, is the underlying algorithm in the iPhoto Saturation slider. Is it the old style "saturate everything evenly" or the more modern "increase the saturation more for less saturated hues" that we find in Vibrancy? If we get the new technology with the simplified slider adjustment, then this is definitely an improvement.

Finally, adding "detect edges" to the Retouch Brush is another nice feature that makes it easier to make corrections with a round brush tip in an angular world. Much thanks!

Faces

At the top of the "surprised" category is Faces. iPhoto uses face detection and face recognition technologies to help us organize our collections by people. It's similar to Events that lets us group by timestamp. We have to help iPhoto by providing confirmation when it groups a series of photos together. As we provide more feedback, it returns more possibilities, and becomes more precise. We can then use these collections in a variety of ways.

This feature looks smart and well thought out. I can't wait to try it to see if it lives up to its potential.

Places

Places is the feature that I'm most excited about. Basically, it lets us organize our shots, and find them, based on location. If you have a GPS-enabled camera, such as an iPhone 3G, then iPhoto will use the coordinates added to the EXIF data to automatically assign the photo to a location. If you don't have such a camera, then you can instruct iPhoto to add the location data after the picture is loaded into the library.

What's nice about Places is that you can easily find images based on their location. You can type an area you're searching for, and all of the corresponding photos appear. Or you can use the new column browser to narrow your search quickly, such as US, California, SF, Moscone Center. Once you see Places in action, I think you'll agree this is truly a useful tool.

Odds and Ends

You can now upload directly to Facebook and Flickr from iPhoto, but you really could before via third party tools. So this is nice, but not ground breaking. The Themed Slideshows are also attractive. And the fact that you can create them in iPhoto and play them on your iPhone is a great idea. And I like the Travel Books feature too, that lets you show your trip on a map using the Places information.

Bottom Line

iPhoto is part of iLife, and you can buy the entire upgrade suite for $79. That's one of the best deals in software. You will need Leopard to run these applications however. Apple is easing that upgrade pain by offering the Mac Box Set for $229, and it includes the new iLife, new iWork, and Leopard Mac OS X. That's 40 percent off the price of them bought individually.

I think iPhoto '09 will be a crowd pleaser. I would upgrade for Places alone, with the other goodies adding to the fun. Apple will begin shipping iLife '09 later this month.

In the meantime, I'm going to start preparing to record an updated video tutorial on iPhoto '09 for Lynda.com later this month, and of course start working on the next iPhoto Missing Manual.


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I received the Canon 5D Mark II yesterday and have had a chance to get to know this latest full-sensor DSLR in Canon's lineup. By now, most folks know about the big changes with the body. The 21-megapixel resolution and HD movie recording are the headliners. But there are some other more subtle improvements that I really like.

Finally, a Real Battery Status Indicator

I've wondered for years why Canon cameras didn't do a better job of reporting on the remaining battery charge. My far less expensive Sony compact told me more about the battery than my expensive DSLR body. But no more!

The 5D Mark II now sports a Battery Info screen that shows me remaining capacity in perecent, shutter count, and recharge performance. It also lists the actual battery model number and where it's located (grip or internal). It's terrific!

Intelligent Auto Rotate

Previously, we only had two options for Auto Rotate. Either you turned it off so you could utilize the entire LCD for verticals, but then had to rotate the images yourself on the computer. Or you could turn it on for rotating on the computer, but then had to look at verticals using the short side of the LCD.

Well, now there's a third option that lets you turn on rotation for the computer only. That way I can see verticals long ways on my camera LCD but have them correctly orientated on the computer. I'm very thankful for this improvement.

Live View Feedback on Kelvin Color Temperature Settings

We've been able to set Kelvin color temperature for some time, but it was always a shot in the dark. Now, thanks to Live View, I can activate my White Balance menu, go to Kelvin, rotate the dial, and get visual feedback on each temperature setting. When it looks right, I stop. This is faster than using Custom White Balance, and a big improvement for working quickly in the field.

Focus Magnification in Live View

When you're in Live View mode, you press the AF-ON button to focus the camera. If you set the AF mode in the menu to Live Mode, then you have the option to increase the magnification of the focus area to 5X or 10X by pressing the magnifying glass icon when focus is activated.

This will help you nail a particular element in your composition. When you're ready to return to normal view, just press the magnifying button again.

Silent Shooting

Another great feature thanks to Live View is Silent Shooting mode. You'll find the option in the Live View set up menu. By using Mode 1 and turning off the "beep" confirmation, you can capture images at a fraction of the noise level that we traditionally endure with DSLR bodies. This is perfect for certain occasions such as wedding vows.

More Features in the Future

I'll continue to pass along tips that I learn using the Canon 5D Mark II in future posts. Happy New Year!


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