Change of Place

Well I’m finally in Philadelphia! Trip up was rather uneventful. Which is good, I suppose. But Philly has been great! Though it seems the heat has followed me up from Texas.

 

Took a few photos of the surrounding neighborhood, which can be seen on my gallery site. More after the break.

So I’ve been settling in pretty well. I’ve been parking my car out in the free parking areas of South Philly, which is only a 10 or so minute walk.  In other news, I recently had an interview to intern at Outbreak Creative Group, and it went well. Hoping to start there soon.

I much prefer living in the city with public transport and things within walking distance than life in a small town, having to drive for 10 minutes to get anywhere remotely useful. Also I joined a couple of photography meet-up groups, so I’ll be working on my photography a lot too. I’ll be sure to keep it posted here! I guess that is all.

More Nook News

I guess it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I’ve mainly just been keeping up in Android Tablet news.  And it’s not pretty.  I’m really glad I went ahead and went with the Nook Color for $250.  The first official Android Honeycomb, the Motorola Xoom is $800.  Not only that, but it requires a month of service from Verizon just to take home.  So that’s $20 at minimum PLUS a $35 activation fee.

The Notion Ink Adam I was entertaining the idea of seems to be a flop.  Sure it’s okay, but from what I see it has a sub-par LCD screen and the software just isn’t that great.

In news about my Nook Color, CyanogenMod 7 nightlies are out. Which means Android Gingerbread.  I’ve installed it onto my internal memory, and it’s fast.  I can now watch Flash videos on my tablet!

More after the break.

CM7 on the Nook Color

Here’s my video I made for a quick preview of what’s in store.  Basically, Gingerbread and a few extra performance options.  The only thing that’s missing pretty much is video acceleration. This prevents apps like YouTube from working.  But that is being worked on constantly.

Another thing that’s being worked on is porting of the 2.6.32 kernel.  This will allow the dormant Bluetooth chip to be activated. Which will finally mean being able to pair a headset and using various VOIP clients like Skype.  Hopefully I’ll also be able to pair my Bluetooth headphones to listen to music!

And that’s pretty much what I’ve been focused on this past couple of months. I’ve also made a couple of boot animations for both the Honeycomb SDK port and CM7.

Honeycomb
CM7 Boot Animation

2011 is here already?

So 2010 is already gone. Seemed to go by fast. But 2011 is here now, nothing to change that. Hopefully it will be a productive year for me. I’ve had my nook color for a bit now, and it has been very handy. I’ve got SwiftKey installed and it works really well.

I’ve made a new boot animation again, and I think it looks great. You can see it on my youtube channel. I’m also hoping to make my move to Philadelphia pretty soon.

In other news, I’ve been following CES news pretty closely, and I am very excited for Honeycomb. It looks very slick, and I can’t wait for it to be ported to the Nook color. It looks much more suited for tablets, unlike Apple just putting regular iOS onto the iPad.

That’s pretty much it as far as news goes. I would include relavant links to my boot animation and the Honeycomb video, but I’m actually posting this from the road from my nook tethered to my iPhone using MyWi. I’m almost out of 3G though so I guess this wraps things up.

New tablet, new camera impressions

Hmm, it’s 4 days until Christmas, when did that happen?  Anyway! I picked up a new tablet to show off my photography to family and clients (with SmugFolio, on the market.  A MUST buy if you have an Android phone and a SmugMug account!).  It’s the Barnes & Noble Nook Color.  While not a fully fledged tablet computer, out of the box, a dev community has sprung up to root it and turn it into one.  It runs on the Android 2.1 operating system, so it’s not the newest one with Flash.  That doesn’t bother me though, as it proves useful enough on its own.

nook-color-03-500x335

 

It works a lot better than me than an iPad would.  Since I have an iPhone already, it would quickly turn into “Like my phone, but a bigger screen!”  Many Android apps scale quite nicely to the larger screen without pixilation (*coughAHEMcough*), with some being made just for tablets!  All in all, a very great tablet for the price ($250).  However, I would probably not have picked it up without a working root.  The stock B&N options (including a nice HD Pandora!), while nice, aren’t quite enough to fit my needs.

 

I also made a new boot animation for my nook, and shared it with the root dev team so they can use it on the automatic tools:

It’s much smoother on the nook itself, I had to cut down a lot of frames to get it to be a reasonable side. It was very interesting to figure out the process of making a new boot animation, and it is nice to know I have a skill for it now.

Here’s a bigger version of that little android logo in the corner, it was fun making:

Most of it is compiled from other sources, the book shape came from The Noun Project, and the Android came from Google’s own files.  It’s pretty obvious the Nook Color is B&N’s.  But I still feel a bit proud bringing it all together in the logo and making the little Android hold the book.

 

As for the new camera, I finally got to take it on a proper shoot and it exceeds all expectations.  Here’s an example photo from when my flash failed to fire:

And thanks to the very excellent dynamic range of the sensor in RAW mode, I was able to pull this image out of it:

 

I am very happy with this camera.  I’ll probably clean up that gallery a bit (it’s client-only right now so it has a few that I could cut) and make it public in a few days.

 

And lastly, I plan on moving to Philly in the coming months.  I’ll be staying with my sister, and on the lookout for some photo gigs.  They are too few and far between here in East Texas, and this place stifles any type of creativity and I must escape.  I don’t mind being in an hourly job, but I don’t want that to be all I do.

New camera + new book

After weeks of waiting, I finally got my new camera!  It is everything I ever hoped for.  I also settled on the SB-600 flash since it was going to be a while until the SB-700 came out.

I also made a photo book on blurb.com.  It showcases my best work across various subjects.  You can see a preview of the book below.

It was pretty fun to make, so I hope I can sell a few copies of that.

Back to my new camera.  It is amazing.  The autofocus is quick and quiet, and the CLS is just as good as I had hoped for.  The scene always turns out beautifully if I intend it to.  The SB-600 is the perfect size for a flash unit, it is small and it has a great weight.  The controls aren’t as hard as I had feared, especially since I plan on keeping it in wireless mode.  It had a built in intervalometer, which I used to make the timelapse below.

The camera is great, and has a ton of features.  It’s compact and lightweight, but feels solid.  The controls were very simple to figure out, and I never found myself hunting for a setting or any buttons.  The D7000 is a very great camera and was worth every penny.  I also ordered an older 70-210 f/4 AF lens, which is a good compromise between the heavy expensive 70-200 f/2.8 and the lighter and more cheaply made 70-200 f/4~5.6.  I chose it because it had a constant aperture through the range, which is something I lacked in a telephoto on the Pentax system.

All in all, I am very happy with this camera.  Happier than I ever was in the Pentax system.

SB600 10-2

Switching Systems

Well, I guess it’s time I’ve written another blog entry.  I’ve decided to sell off all my Pentax gear and switch to Nikon.  Why?  Mainly AF performance and the CLS, which is Nikon’s fancy wireless flash technology (it stands for “Creative Lighting System”).  And by “decided to sell off” I mean “already sold off”.  So I’m waiting for the camera I want to get into stock.  The camera I’m considering?

d7000

The Nikon D7000.

Why Nikon?  Well, like I said, better autofocus performance and the CLS. 

First up, autofocus.  With my K-7, it was a great camera, but honestly, it was a huge pain to focus on anything relatively fast.  The D7000 has a brand-new AF sensor for Nikon. While not as fast as their top-end cameras, it comes very close.  The Nikon cameras I’ve played with focus VERY fast, and are very accurate.  Much better than me struggling to find focus on my K-7 with only 11 focus points.  The D7000 has 39 points, so it will be much easier for me to fine-tune my focus.

Next, the Creative Lighting System.  My favorite book I’ve read on Photography has been the Hot Shoe Diaries by Joe McNally.  The images he can make from just a few simple TTL hotshoe flashes are incredible.  And I know 99% of that is the person behind the camera, I feel very limited by the control in wireless TTL flashes that Pentax gives.  And with the K-7, it was very unreliable.  CLS offers complete control wirelessly with the flashes.  I can change the exposure settings and even dial them into manual mode.  In manual mode, I can control the flash’s output from the camera.  With Pentax, I had to walk up to the flash every time I wanted to change a setting.

And of course, there’s the rental sources that comes with choosing a more popular system.  I had only found one place to rent Pentax lenses online.  With Nikon, however, I’ll have as many choices as there are rental companies it seems.

Lens selection and price also plays a role.  Pentax produces very few lenses for its digital cameras, while Nikon has a huge selection. If I wanted an inexpensive prime lens, I’d have to go with an older, manual lens.  For autofocus, there was no “thrifty fifty” 50mm f/1.8 lens.  You had to dole out for the more expensive f/1.4 lens.  A better lens, sure, but not the best thing for budding photographers to have to buy.

 

nikon35

That’s the AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G.  Not a “thrifty fifty” exactly, but on a crop camera (meaning the sensor is smaller than 35mm film would be), it pretty much turns into one.  It’s a good focal length since it comes closely to what the human eye can see.  I’m pretty much giving up every other lens for this, but I think it’s a good start. I already ordered mine for $160 refurbished straight from Nikon, USA.

 

sb700a

Finally, I plan on eventually getting the SB-700 flash when it becomes available.  It’s Nikon’s newer mid-range flash, offering very easy to use controls and many features.  I plan on getting it over the older SB-600 simply because of the easier controls, even though it’s not really as strong as the SB-600.  It pretty much just came out, so it’ll be a few weeks before I’ll be able to get my hands on one.  It runs about $100 more, but I think it’s worth it to be able to use it as a commander for CLS (where it dictates the other flashes how to behave) and also simply for the easier controls and interface.

Oh, I almost forgot.  The D7000 has a fully manual video mode, with up to 1080p at 24 frames per second.  The main reason I’m choosing the D7000 over the older D90 is because the D7000 includes a mic-in jack, which I need for video recording.  Onboard audio is a big no-no for video.

 

So there you have it, I’m switching systems.  In other non-photography news, I’ll probably be moving to Philadelphia soon to find work.  It will be easier to start there since my sister lives here and I will be more comfortable with family there than on my own in some other city.  From looking at jobs, it should hopefully be easier to find a job in my field, whereas here I’d be a “Floor Technician” or a “Sales Clerk”.  I’m sorry, but I actually want to do what I want with my life instead of resigning myself to a job I hate for the rest of my life.  Life is too short to do that.

 

PS, don’t forget to check out kit.im and Kit F Photo!

Star Wars in 3D

 

Okay, I’m a sucker, I’ll go see them.  All of them. Even the boring prequels. But I made a trailer that I think assesses how they’ll turn out.  Here it is, get your 3D Glasses!  It’s in YouTube 3D and I actually took the time to make it work in 3D.  However, if you have no glasses You can see it here in boring 2D

I just wish the first two had anything to do with the overall plot at all.  However, it seems that all three prequels were made without even thinking about what was in the original.  It was like someone who had never seen Star Wars wrote it using only things he picked up from general knowledge.  Like Vader = Luke’s Father, and Obi Wan was Anakin’s teacher.  Also throw Yoda in there, and nothing else really ties together coherently.  Unfortunately I’m still a huge nerd and I won’t miss a chance to go nerd out to see the movies in 3D, and hopefully there won’t be too many necessary changes made again.  Hopefully.

After Effects

So I got a new hobby! Been practicing video editing and effects in After Effects.  Really got started in it for my last project in school.  I’ve been developing a demo reel and here it is so far:

Kit F Demo Reel from Kit F on Vimeo.

New page for my After Effects info can be found here. So other than that, I haven’t been up to much. I’ve taken a few self portraits.  Those are up over on Kit F Photo, so go check them out!  Links open in new tab, so go ahead and click!

Some changes around here!

If you haven’t noticed, I have several new domains:

  • This blog is now DefectiveBlog.com
  • My image site, DefectiveImages.com
  • And finally, Kit.im

Kit.im is my portal site, a short url that links to every aspect of my sites.  I also have a new homepage for DefectiveWatermelons.com to also act as a sort of portal to all my sites, though Kit.im being the main and minimalistic one.  I’ll also be using Kit.im as a url shortener, seeing how bit.ly doesn’t shorten as much as it used to these days.

In other news, I graduated from college with an Associates in Media Communication and Information.  Other than that, nothing else new to report, I still need to work on building my photo and video portfolio.  I’ve also been working on rebuilding my star wars legos:

I also redesigned the front page to KitFPhoto.com, so the front page isn’t so cluttered.

Guys, guys!

Something is happening on television again!

I’m so glad that one of, if not my favorite show ever is coming back.  I made this in Adobe Premiere CS5.  I took the original footage from the episode (Bender Should Not Be Allowed on Television) and replaced the news report with the opening title.  I also added a video effect over the title with Adobe After Effects CS5.  At the end, I took another scene from the same bit and redubbed him with his “I’m Back Baby”, while also replacing the image on the TV.  Good practice.  Also glad that my show is bck!