The talks at Quexa 1.0 went great as I mentioned, so please – enjoy!
Today was a great day. Aside from the fact that I’m still desperately congested from this stupid head cold, I must say – today was fantastic. What a great opportunity I was offered today. A good friend, David Papp is involved with a new project called ‘Quexa life 1.0′ – a seminar style session of informal 15 minute presentations on the ways we tie work, life, and technology together.
I presented a look at the new abilities we have as a collective society to share photography with our friends, our families and the world. More than a ‘how-to’ – it was a ‘why aren’t you?’. With the number of tools available just by looking for them, you can for little or no cost share digital images with the world or your parents and children.
The event was held at the Overtime Grill downtown as an ‘early-lunch’ session, with a bunch of presentations held in an informal, and fairly dynamic environment. We were punching up slides, wirelessly mic’d and able to move around the room a bit. Truly a unique experience.
Particularly for this cat – who gets nervous talking to an office full of co-workers.
Speaking to a group of people is one of those things that scares most people. We’ll all attend something like this – but to contribute by presenting a slide deck is a potential well beyond terrifying. But it shouldn’t be. I know full well that when I -do- I can be successful, but getting from “should I…” to “I’m doing” can be a big hurdle. Like, incredible hulk big. Kilimanjaro big. Iceberg big.
So – if you think you can do, but need a push, drive yourself. I took the opportunity because I fear presenting. Only by doing will I ever pass that fear and grow. So – I did it. I’m not perfect, I’m not a presenter by nature, but I am social. This became a room full of friends, and I’m glad they were a part of it.
So – Quexa really was about life for me. Technology life, social life, personal life.
If you are visiting because you attended and want to learn more about the topic I presented on – I’m so honoured. Drop me an email at email@example.com (after you leave a comment below!) and I’d be happy to chat with you. Even better, if you are able, a google hangout session is great for face to face over the internet.
David, I appreciate your insistence that I take part. It means the world to me to have these opportunities to share, and to grow. That’s really what Quexa is all about though, isn’t it?
Sign up to learn more about Quexa at www.quexa.ca – perhaps you can take the microphone at the next event!
One of the cool things about my time at EmpireAvenue.com is that I’ve been introduced to dozens of amazing and interesting people.
One of them is David Brin.
I first heard of David when Adriel or Chris (it was some time ago – memory fails) commented that [X] should buy this fresh face because he was “THE” David Brin. I bought as much stock as I was permitted, knowing only that he was a writer.
Having pretended that writing was something I could tackle at some point in my life, I always referred to myself as an outdoor writer (with a small ‘w’) but certainly would never call myself a ‘Writer’. David is – as it turns out – a capital ‘W’ Writer.
Over the course of a few months I saw him reference a novel he was working on. Since I was young, I’ve enjoyed reading, but with the advent of internet I find that I rarely pick up a book anymore. In college I was introduced to a new genre of writing by a high school friend. Cyberpunk and Science Fiction became my passion. Gibson and Stephenson were my bookends to the school day. Neuromancer provided my passion for computing, and inspired my longest living alias – ‘Maasneotek’ (or just ‘neotek’). The internet arrived, and rather than reading it – I was living it.
Netscape became my ono-sendai, the web my Chiba city, and I became Case. The books – well, they fell by the wayside.
While my wife was recovering from the birth of my second son, I started reading epubs on my iPhone. Though cumbersome I pushed my way through a few novels and short stories that have since become only vague memories. But as I got to the 6 month mark, I started reading Orson Scott Card’s ‘Enders game’. A classic of science fiction in it’s own right, I was reminded of the escapism that literature provided. Despite trying to read it on an iPhone – I was enamored with the ability to access books electronically from the Edmonton Public Library, and …other… dubious sources on occasion – but that my friends is another post.
I’ve recently acquired a Kobo – and broken free of the iPhone (or my new Droid phone) as a reading platform. And David Brin was on the menu.
I kept telling David that I was going to get into his writing – partially because I was aware of his genre, and the (im)personal social connection intrigued me. I looked through his work and decided before I move into a series of novels, I needed to read some of his early work. After seeing a few titles that didn’t grab me, I found ‘The Postman’.
Disclosure: until I had completed the book – I’d NEVER drawn any connection with the Kevin Costner film. I quit looking at Costner some time ago (waterworld was the clincher for me) so I’d never really even followed the trailers for it.
I finished the 300ish pages in 4 days, and was taken well and fully by the book. David wove a wonderful tale with beautiful but deeply flawed characters. His characterization of humanity felt all too possible, and his vision of a possible future is chilling. As a reader, I was forced throughout the read to imagine the environment of the novel – to draw my own conclusions about the hardships faced by the community, and the state of the world given the actions of man. Truly a science fiction piece without the science fiction.
You can meet David Brin on EmpireAvenue ticker (e)DAVIDBRIN1
Give “The Postman” a read – available at Amazon
Seems that whenever I try to take a rest from the world of Social Media I am drawn back in. I still don’t get paid for it, but I do see a tangible value to the arena.
Like many others I was introduced to the world of ‘social’ media through facebook. The ability to connect with family and colleagues opened up channels of communication. The ability to socialize over distance, the frequency of contact to rekindle some old friendships, and the ability to converse with friends and colleagues simultaneously in a more ‘functional’ environment than a chat system.
Over the next few years services started to appear that placed value on the social environment. Where MySpace was once a niche social channel, facebook opened up the gates to new and exciting services, and brought life back to others that may have been ahead of their time.
Image sharing through flickr, location sharing through foursquare and gowalla, music through last.fm, soma, or blip.fm (particularly blip.fm for me.) The ‘web 2.0′ trend of the 90′s brought a new user paradigm. Interactivity. This revolution in internet services has changed the face of many modern first world societies. In the 80′s and a priviledged few accessed information on the new ‘internet’ in text through university accounts and what would become the standard for information exchange – email. Through the mid 90′s and into the new millenium, gopher and usenet gave way to ‘mosaic’ and the world wide web, and the unidirectional web has now become not only interactive, but engaging.
For those who do not embrace these technologies, little will be lost to them. Life will go on, the sun will rise and fall, and work will remain, well, work.
Those who engage in this new media will however see the world through different eyes. Introduced by their ‘friends’ in the social spaces of facebook and twitter, or the images of flickr or it’s contemporaries we can see more of the world, and engage in the things that truly interest us.
We are able to seek, form, and contribute to communities that provide an outlet for our interests and passions to grow. Most certainly there are some negative aspects of this space too. The internet does suffer fools gladly. Personal opinion is wielded like the Encyclopedia Brittanica of our youth. Ego is both driven and crushed by the nameless pseudonyms of online bullies, and we have (as users) all found ourselves in positions where we believe to be the recipient of targeted attacks on our intellect.
So when I feel that the effort required to share and engage is getting too high, that the process feels more demanding than rewarding, I look at the services I use, try to sense their value to me personally, professionally, emotionally, and intellectually. Occasionally that means I start thinking of pulling back, closing off a few accounts.
A few days in however, I begin to consider the potential of losing touch with some of the great folks I’ve met as a result of these social systems. The ability to contribute to projects I’m interested in, the enjoyment of engaging in good conversation with unique and skilled contacts, and the potential to engage with some of those ‘famous’ people just to take them back down from the ivory tower we tend to put them atop.
So – for the most part, with the occasional lull, I live social. I blog, I tweet, I foursquare, I tumble, and I facebook the things that are interesting and important to me. Along the way, I learn a lot, and that makes those few moments of question, or attacks on who we are smaller in the grand scheme.
See you out there!
As always – I’m running at 300 miles an hour. No matter, some good things to report.
I’ll be speaking at Quexa 1.0 Life in downtown Edmonton in July, on sharing digital photography with your friends and contacts through social media eyes. (Quexa.ca) Be there or be square!
I’m now happily sharing my portfolio on 500px.com in addition to the sets on flickr. (http://gscratch.500px.com)
My tumblr has been rocking with images (http://anotheritch.tumblr.com)
And I’ve just read two WHOLE books – something I’ve not done on purpose in quite some time. The Kobo is getting a workout. I’ll be talking more about those soon.
Hope you stop by for a visit!
Well – 2011 is starting to shape up a little. The trees in Alberta are budding and green, the grass is returning (except where the dog has destroyed it, and the mice have destroyed it, and the snow mold has destroyed it) and I’m set to mow tonight.
The skies are blue, the clouds are puffy and white, and we’re coming up on weather season.
The camera is running great, the video is solid, and what can I say… The kids are happy to be outside.
Just returned from a trip to BC – and what a trip it was. Got some great photos – and more to post. For now, enjoy a little colour in honour of spring.
Rocking the Time Lapse
Shooting time lapse video has been made a piece of cake thanks to the DSLR. Here is a quick how-to on how to shoot time lapse video with your DSLR.
Setting up for the timelapse is a surprisingly complicated affair. No – it’s not difficult in the intellectual sense, but it ceratinly is in the “I better remember to do all of these silly things…” sense.
Anything that can impact exposure through the course of the image (as controlled by the camera of course) needs to be considered. My shortlist when setting the camera up (after placing it on a sturdy tripod that is protected from tripping or a breeze:
- Manually Focus Scene as desired, and switch OFF Autofocus.
- Select the White balace for the scene. Do NOT use ‘auto’ as changes to the scene will cause your colour to shift through the timelapse! Select the option that makes the most sense. Daylight, cloud, indoor etc.
- Ensure that if you have an “Auto power off” function that it is set to longer than your frame interval – or off altogether.
- If you CAN, set your “Display” off so that you aren’t paying battery power to display information when you aren’t watching for the next two hours…
- Last but not least, set your image size and quality to just exceed the maximum for HD quality video. 1080p video is 1920 x 1080 pixels, so for most DSLR’s over 10 megapixels, you can use the lowest JPG quality (as long as it’s bigger), in fine or superfine mode. This should allow over 1250 images minimum on a 2gb card.
2. Exposure Control
Now that you’ve got the camera set up – you’ll need to work over your exposure. Over the course of time, your exposure will be subject to change. Clouds, sunlight, shadow, angle – whatever may move in your scene can impact exposure. You’ve got two choices. Let the camera deal with it – which will provide exposure changes from frame to frame, or go manual.
If you are looking for consistency and ‘natural’ appearance, You are best to expose the scene manually, using the metering as a guide. Shoot a frame, and decide if you want to over or underexpose now, for better exposure later. Check the aperture and shutter settings from your favourite shot, and hop into manual mode, setting the exposure to match.
Take another frame, confirming your choice of white balance. You are going to be babysitting this rig for the next few hours without touching – so make sure you’re happy now.
As a side note – if you are looking at shooting a scene with people, animals, or other moving objects, and you’re shooting 6 or 10 frames a minute (or more) consider using a slow shutter speed to blur the motion in the frames just a tad. It will reduce the jerkiness of frame changes (visually anyway) by adding a ‘blurred’ component.
3. Timing exposures
Video for the desktop is produced in one of two formats:
Digital Video at 30 frames per second, or Cinema at just shy of 24 frames per second.
Knowing what style you want to use for your output video, you now need to determine the intervals of your frames. The more frequent the frames are shot, the less time will elapse over the course of your final movie. If you have an idea of what you want to shoot, and how long you want the resulting video to be follow the math to determine what intervals to follow. (Assume we’re outputting digital video at 30 frames / second.
I’d like to shoot 1.5 hours of sunset and have it last 15 seconds on screen.
15 sec of video = 15 x 30 = 900 frames
1.5 hours = 60x60x1.5 = 5400 seconds
5400 / 900 = 6 seconds
In this case, your sunset will require 6 second intervals between shots, for a total of 900 frames, which at 30 frames a second is 15 seconds of video.
Yes. 900 frames.
Shall we say this again? 900 frames.
Why am I beating this point to death? How many exposures do YOUR batteries last? Have some spares handy.
4. Shooting (Timer / Intervalometer Manual
Now the hard or easy or expensive part. How do you trigger the exposures? At a minimum, you’ll be sitting with a watch, clicking a cable release on your intervals. Some SLR’s have the ‘interval’ feature, though they are few and far between. Most manufacturers of serious DSLR’s (Canon, Nikon, Pentax) offer a higher end cable release (like the Canon TC80-N3) which run for around $200-300. Please note – cheaper asian versions exist. Your mileage with these may vary. Wires on mine broke on the first cold night I used it.
For Canon Powershot and 400D users, the latest firmware hacks add this functionality to the camera along with some other cool features. Again – your mileage may vary, but personally I’m thrilled with the hack on my XTi.
5. Creating video from the stills
For Mac and Windows OS’s there are a number of packages that do this job. For Mac, Quicktime Pro will create a full quality MOV file from raw frames of JPG, at one frame per second. Similarly you can use “iMovie HD” by importing photos with a length of 0:01 (0 Minutes, 1 frame) to a project, and exporting it as DV to your movie editor of choice (if that isn’t iMovie HD).
Windows Movie maker also supports the import of stills at 1 frame per image. You’ll need to be comfortable with your video package, but my quess is – you are or you wouldn’t be looking at this How-To.
Import – edit – do your worst – then, share it!
6. Sharing your output.
Only a short bit here – share your work! The more you share and get comments on, the better you’ll get at this technique. Practice it – use it – and most of all, add it to you bag of tricks for when you’ve just gotta have something cool in your video.
You can share on a number of sources. YouTube.com, Vimeo.com, Facebook, Flickr – there are dozens of options.
Just do it!
Like Charlie Sheen says: “Nike’s slogan isn’t ‘Just Try It’….”
If you use this tutorial, and want to share your sucesses (or failures) just drop me a comment!
So – with my recent (ok, lifelong but only recently realized) interest in Astronomy, astrophotography, and video of course, I’ve come to find that there are a few limitations to my ‘getting long in the tooth’ EOS Rebel XTi.
I’ve had a few things that really bug me about the camera.
Coming from a background of photography with 35mm SLR’s, I found that the move to digital with the rebel left me cold for ISO choices. Sure – I could select 100 to 1600 iso – but where was the 3200, or 6400 choices? I had those in the silver world with specialty films, or specialty processing. DSLR? Nope. Was it the CMOS that was limited? Well, in part.
So – why with the joy of CMOS and software – am I limited to a 30 second exposure? More specifically, why am I limited to having to buy a $100 or $300 remote cord?
With the incredible control over exposure offered by the metering systems in the new DSLRs – why is there no ability to use the centre spot for exposure control? Spot metering can be a very valuable option. Where is it?
All this in mind, and being the software geek that I am, I wondered if anyone had ‘hacked’ the DSLR. Boy was I shocked. One key item that I found? Number of times the shutter has fired on my Rebel.
Yep – Over 16,000 Exposures on this camera. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Important URLS to have handy:
Firmware updates from Canon JP: http://web.canon.jp/imaging/eosdigital3/e4kr3_firmware-e.html#T4
Making Hack Cards – With a Mac:
Now – I’m not going to give you a guide to this tool. That would be foolhardy. The process can mess you up – but I can tell you with comfort, on my XTi (400d) I was able, with my Mac – to do the full install in under 10 minutes, by following the 400plus guide at code.google.com (the ‘Hack installation’ url above.)
Features I now have?
- 100 to 3200 ISO in 1/3 step increments (as opposed to full step 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 – I now have access to 100, 125, 160, 200, 280, 320, 400, etc…etc…etc..
- Intervalometer – Unlimited exposures with 1-101 second pauses. (With 1 button to kick it off)
- Self timer custom from 3-10 seconds
- Auto bracketed exposures (up to 7 either side, by AV or EV methods – EV being IDEAL for full range HDR photography…mmmm…)
- A FUNCTIONAL Spot meter (spot based on lens used of course)
- Exposure compensation up to 6 stops, flash comp to 6 stops.
Worth it? So far.
This has been a hell of a year. We started on a crappy foot, with little and big ones starting to get sick around January 5th.
It’s now March, and we’ve collectively not been healthy yet. We are however on the mend, and looking toward March, April, and Spring just around the bend.
Which brings me to my plan. Yes. I has one.
With Alex heading off to the warmer climes of Kelowna, I’ve now got to shoot of my own volition. I don’t have any excuses, or anyone to prod me along. So… plan 1: Shoot more.
Yes, I know I spray a number of bullets around during the year, but not many photos of late. I will change this. Somehow. And more importantly, I’m going to shoot more real photos – not just pictures of my monkeys. (Not that I’ll stop taking pictures of them… just more not of them… you get me?)
Plan 2. With all the health misery, it’s high time I set a goal to fit-up a bit. John and I talked, and we’re going to tackle Mt. Temple in August / September. It will be summit two for him, and while it’s a ‘tourist scramble’ for most – it’s 11,000 feet to me. It will be an amazing view, and to do it – I have to push myself. Hard. I need to drop 35/40 pounds in the next 7 months, and get myself to a point where an 8 hour hike with a 30lb pack is easily accomplished. What do ya think? Have I got it in me?
I hope so. I’m on a mission to take photos up there.
See Mt. Temple here.
We’ll be taking the tourist route, a class I alpine scramble route up the East slopes.
See other climbs at Temple at Canadian Rockies Alpine Guide.