Sunday, December 30, 2012

12 for 2012

Vintage: Once upon a time in the westElleSPostmodern PinupsHeaven's 'BoneTulip Study #2
LostLeeDorothyTrap Door Shoot 3BittersweetCotoneaster in blue vase
12 for 2012, a set on Flickr.
2012 was a year of many firsts for me. Among them were my first: model shoot; studio shoot; workshop attended; themed creative shoot directed by me; solo exhibit of my work; work with professional models, MUAs and stylists; fashion design (post-it notes, posterboard, coat-snaps and braided wire); sale of my mounted work!

This year I fully embraced lighting as an equal part of the photographic process, and studied it deeply. While I concentrated on portraiture and glamour, even my street, live music and landscape shooting hit personal peaks.

These twelve shots are a selection of some of the best from these firsts and peaks.

I'm looking forward to more growth in 2013.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Festive Fester Fish

Fester Fish introduces his human girlfriend to his parents at Christmas. And then things go sideways ...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Jeffrey W. Pike

Jeff Pike by Bruce M Walker
Jeff Pike, a photo by Bruce M Walker on Flickr.

Writer, producer, director. Check out his horror short "Minatory" (2012) on Vimeo.

Minatory

Minatory from Jeffrey W. Pike on Vimeo.

This is an enjoyably creepy short flick by a fellow Mississaugan: Jeffrey W. Pike. He toured it all summer in film fests and now has made it available online. Check it out!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

S

S by Bruce M Walker
S, a photo by Bruce M Walker on Flickr.
A study in black and white.

Model: Katelin Popiel
Makeup: Matty Cameron ModelMayhem 2565582
Photo/Retouch: Bruce Walker ModelMayhem 1440574

Monday, December 03, 2012


A work of art always surprises us; it has worked its effect before we have become conscious of its presence.
— Herbert Read, The Meaning of Art, 2nd Edition

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Party's over

Party's over by Bruce M Walker
Party's over, a photo by Bruce M Walker on Flickr.

No more lazy sails around the lake with Great Gatsby-esque folk standing about on deck sipping champagne.

My view of yacht ownership may be more romantic than realistic. :-)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cotoneaster in blue vase

I've been working on a lot of still-lifes lately. Concentrating on getting the light just so. Here's one from last evening.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Colchicum in water

Colchicum in water by Bruce M Walker
Colchicum in water, a photo by Bruce M Walker on Flickr.

Common name: Autumn Crocus.

It's a fall flowering crocus that was in bloom a couple of weeks ago. I couldn't get a shot of it in situ as the flowers were all flopped under a very scruffy shrub. Louise okay'ed snipping a couple of stems, so I headed into The Studio.

K20D, DA* 16-50/2.8 @ 50mm/f:5.6, ISO 100, 1/160th.
AF540 flash in Fotodiox 24" softbox right, white card left, black
foamcore behind and under.
Cowboy Studios wireless trigger. Lr 4.1, Ps CS5

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sometimes I get the blues


Street musician "Ragtime" John Layton performing with his rare Brazilian Del Vecchio wood resonator guitar on Lakeshore Road in Long Branch, Toronto during Shop the Shore 2012.

Pentax K100D Super, DA 18-55 @ 31mm/f:4.5, 1/1000th sec, ISO 1600
Lightroom 4.1, Silver Efex Pro 2.0, Photoshop CS5


Thursday, September 06, 2012

I gave this three-tune EP a listen today -- very nice electro-pop.



The ABC's of Longboarding


Longboarding with Riyaz
from Louise Peacock on Vimeo.

Louise did a fabulous job with this. That's me asking a couple of questions and trying to keep Riyaz lit with a reflector in the last half.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Looking back at the 2012 Mississauga Independent Film Fest

Matt Campagna,  Festival Co-Founder
My wife and I attended the 2012 Mississauga Independent Film Festival this year and took in a lot of great Canadian short movies and documentaries. Louise talked to the organizers and some of the very talented and creative filmmakers at the event. Read about our experience in her article for Film Annex ... 

(Photos by me.)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fester Fish - Fester Makes Friends

My friend Aaron has released his latest Fester Fish episode, which he finished post-production on yesterday. Aaron is just about to enter his fourth year at animation school, then it's out into The Real World for him. Here's to a great final year, Aaron!

Friday, July 27, 2012

She is deciding my fate

She is deciding my fate by Bruce M Walker
She is deciding my fate, a photo by Bruce M Walker on Flickr.

This is one shot from a set of shots I did while helping my wife Louise on a documentary project she's creating about a local business called the Trap Door Boutique. The owner, Gabrielle Neveu, sells clothing and fashion "for the artistic professional" in the Junction area of Toronto's west end.

This was a guerrilla shoot. We were operating within the boutique during their open hours, working around customers who were mostly bemused by our activity. (I think some even came in because they were nosey and saw the lights.) We were in and out in two and a half hours.

I was providing lighting for Louise to do video footage of our models, Marzi and Julie, getting crazy with the clothing that Gabbi was styling for us. I was sneaking in and shooting stills as best I could. Since this was for video I couldn't use flash, so I opted for a $30 garage work-light, 2 by 250 watt tungsten halogen bulbs on a short stand, that we had bought previously to try. To make this light less harsh and have it come from above rather than casting upward shadows, I added two light stands: one with a 44" silver reflector and the other with a reflective umbrella. I then aimed the two 250 watt heads from the work-light at each of the two reflectors.

When I measured the light with my meter I discovered that 500 reflected watts doesn't actually go far. I was forced to shoot between f:2.8 and f:3.5 at 800 ISO and shutter speeds between 1/30th and 1/60th sec for the entire set. But the resulting light was unique and interesting. It was nice to work with WYSIWYG light: easy to see where shadows would fall and great for focussing.

Tricky to work with the work lights though as they threw light everywhere, so accidental direct light leaks and flare were hard to avoid. I even had trouble with flare in the viewfinder! I just accepted the harsh shadows in some cases as creative accidents. ;-)

Then there's the heat: oh my gawd. Sweat was pouring off me. I also was forced to shoot in close proximity to the light heads because we were in a very confined space between the clothing racks, changing booths and the cash desk.

But despite all the restrictions, my keeper rate was astonishingly high. Louise chose 248 out of 302 shots to graft into her doc footage. I rejected many of those as too soft for me, and narrowed my personal keepers down, but it's still a large number. The seven in this gallery are just the extra-good ones that I've retouched first.

So here's the Flickr gallery. The first seven shots are from this recent shoot (this past Wednesday), and the rest are from an art opening in the same boutique last fall.

More images to come ...

Pentax K20D, DA* 16-50/2.8 SDM, 800 ISO, f:2.8-3.5.
Lr 4.1, Ps 5.5

Model/MUA: Marzi Leszczyk
Model: Julie LoTauro
AD/Videographer/Hair stylist: Louise Peacock
Wardrobe stylist: Gabrielle Neveu
Location: Trap Door Boutique
Clothing: TBD
Lighting/Photographer/Retouch: Bruce Walker

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Creative Split Toning and Lightroom

This tutorial nicely explains split-toning, and demonstrates some fashion/portrait creative uses for it. But it goes far beyond that. Watch what Mark does with some other Lightroom settings to get good use of vignetting and other Lr features.


Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Dragonette - Rocket Ship



This is great tunage. Fun electro-pop that you're bound to love if you dig Dragonette's top-40 hit Let It Go. Bonus! Free download too.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ponytails For Decency


A few weeks after an old lady attacked my bookstore owner friend (Eddie of Dencan Books) with the crumpled-up ball of my work comes word of a fresh complaint.

Stockings and garters and heels -- oh my!
Stockings and garters and heels -- oh my!
A number of my more recent images, printed on canvas and framed, are hung in a store window down on Lakeshore Road in Toronto. When Candi and Jim, the store owners, put them up I warned them about the Bookstore Versus Little Old Lady episode and pointed out that two of the images in their windows were large renditions of my pin-ups. They laughed and said something to the effect that "Oh don't worry: this is the Lakeshore. Anything goes here."

So apparently last Friday a dual-ponytailed young woman, 19 or 20, came into the store and waited patiently to get Candi's attention. She insisted that those pin-up images were inappropriate and should be removed from the window. Candi said "rubbish" and the girl said, "but they are in their underwear -- women and children could see them!"

Candi, displaying her stubborn and mischievous streak, retorted that there's an enormous illuminated billboard down near the Gardiner Expressway (a 6-lane elevated highway that runs right through downtown Toronto) showing a man wearing only his Stanfield undershorts and that if she could get them to remove that, Candi would remove my pin-ups.

The girl left. But will she return with a mob? Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dorothy

Dorothy by Bruce M Walker
Dorothy, a photo by Bruce M Walker on Flickr.
A portrait image from my recent Hollywood Glamour themed shoot. The key light here is a ringlight installed inside an 18" softbox, attached to a monopod and hand-held a few inches above Dorothy by my assistant.

Model: Dorothy Weiss www.dorothyweiss.com/
Photographer: Bruce Walker www.modelmayhem.com/1440574
MUA: Vivian Orgill www.modelmayhem.com/135165
Hair stylist: Ladylyn Gool www.modelmayhem.com/2096721
Photo Assistant: Marzi Leszczyk www.coroflot.com/marzidesign
Location: The Gallery Studio Cafe www.thegallerystudiocafe.ca/

Saturday, June 16, 2012

She takes requests

Keys by Bruce M Walker
Keys, a photo by Bruce M Walker on Flickr.

Another image from the Hollywood Glamour creative shoot I did with Dorothy Weiss at the end of May.

Full description here.

Model: Dorothy Weiss www.dorothyweiss.com/
Photographer/Retoucher: Bruce Walker www.modelmayhem.com/1440574
MUA: Vivian Orgill www.modelmayhem.com/135165
Hair stylist: Ladylyn Gool www.modelmayhem.com/2096721
Photo Assistant: Marzi Leszczyk www.coroflot.com/marzidesign
Location: The Gallery Studio Cafe www.thegallerystudiocafe.ca/

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Flash metering tip: one-button wireless trigger

If you have ever bought one of those inexpensive wireless triggers through Amazon or from eBay, like the great little kits from Cowboy Studio, you may have wondered what to do with the little cable that comes with it. The Cowboy Studio NPT-04 kit ships with one that has a PC sync connector on one end and a 2.5mm micro plug on the other.

That curious little cable

There are actually a few uses for these cables. The manual suggests one: wireless triggering from cameras that lack a hotshoe but have a PC sync outlet; eg medium format film bodies. But also, with a 2.5mm micro jack to 1/4" plug adapter, you can connect the output of one of the receivers to the sync input on a studio strobe or monolight and fire that wirelessly, perhaps at the same time as one or more speedlights in a complex setup.


Now, if only my meter had a hotshoe mount on it ...

Trigger those flashes directly from your light meter

But today I discovered yet another really handy use: connecting a wireless trigger to your light meter and get an instant flash meter reading capability! This will work with any flash meter that has a PC flash sync outlet and a function for doing "cabled" readings. My Shepherd/Polaris meter (Dual 5 aka SPD500) has this capability (select Cabled Flash via the Mode button), and so does the Sekonic L-308 and L-358. I imagine that any decent modern flash meter does.

Doing this simplifies the two-step process of first arming the flash meter then manually triggering the flash(es). Instead, all you do is push the measure/trigger button on the light meter; the flashes fire, and you have your reading.

This works especially well if you have a spare trigger as you can leave it connected and dangling from the light meter. This means not having to worry about forgetting to replace the trigger on top of the camera like I seem to do over and over during a busy shoot where I'm frequently altering the lighting setup and needing to re-measure.

Step by step

So for those of you not used to this, here's what you do. You will setup your lighting arrangement, stands, umbrellas, softboxes, etc., making sure to pop wireless receivers onto the hotshoe feet of all your flashes and turning them on. Set your camera on manual, dial in for example, ISO 100, 1/125th sec shutter and set the flash meter to match those settings. Then when you are ready to measure the light to get the correct aperture, you merely hold the meter near your subject's face with the dome toward the light and press the Measure button. POP! (that's the flashes going off.) Now you will have the correct aperture to use on the meter display.

Aren't you glad you didn't throw that little cable away? You did? Whoops! Well be sure and keep the next one.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Address Book Blues and I Hate Cellphones

Jetty Dreams
Cellphone holder

A little rant for today.

I decided to get a slightly more modern cellphone on the weekend. You need to know that I am one of those curmudgeons who only uses a cell sparingly and only for making actual phone calls--short ones like "I'm going to be late".

I'm also really cheap and I hate the ridiculous fees charged by the local incumbent telcos for voice and data plans and refuse to be taken by them. This means that I only buy older tech and use a pay-as-you-go "plan" to keep it configured on their networks. My old Motorola V120c, new in October 2001, likely one of the oldest cellphones in existence still in working order, is holding less battery charge lately. And since the 60 day air-time top-up was due, I figured time for a new one.

I had done my homework: all the pay-as-you-go plans out there rely on you forgetting to top-up and therefore losing your accumulated minutes. "Oh gee, too bad, boo hoo! - say those a-holes at Rogers and Bell.

I had discovered that 7-Eleven sells phones, mostly Nokia, and SIMs that connect to the Rogers network. Their pay-as-you-go plans expire after a full year, so you don't have to remember to top-up so often. Seemed like the least expensive solution. I wanted to be able to sync my Mac's address book to this phone so I made sure to select a model with Bluetooth, the Nokia 2720 Fold, a new model in September 2009.

If you're a well-read Mac person you may be groaning inwardly now. Yeah, I have since discovered that Address Book sync'ing on the Mac is problematic, older phones aren't supported, and the coup de grace: Apple has completely removed syncing suport from Lion, the latest OS.

Luckily, I'm still running Snow Leopard, I was able to figure out how to hack one of the newer phone-plugins to fool iSync into accepting my 2720 and sync to it. if I want to upgrade to Lion, I can get temporary relief by copying iSync.app and my DIY plugin over to it after the install.

But this took all of Sunday and most of today. Plus I've learned one of the critical reasons why Apple sells so many iPhones: the Nokia phone is one of the most exasperating devices ever created. I have become really adept at removing the rear cover and extracting the battery. That's the way you get the phone's attention in a number of use cases.

For example: fire up the FM radio and listen to it for 5 to 10 minutes. The phone's user interface becomes completely unresponsive. Pull battery, wait a few minutes, replace, reboot.

Tinker with Bluetooth software -- pull battery, etc., etc.

Oh. My. Fecking. Gawd.

I've also learned that I'm somewhat clairvoyant. I can see quite clearly that this phone is going to die by being submerged far out in Lake Ontario at some point in the future. Maybe then I'll overcome my extreme frugality and get an iPhone.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Held Over!

Frolic by Bruce M Walker
Frolic, a photo by Bruce M Walker on Flickr.

Why is Marzi so happy, you are wondering? It's because my Postmodern Pinups exhibit is now held-over for the entire month of June, that's why!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dorothy

Dorothy by Bruce M Walker
Dorothy, a photo by Bruce M Walker on Flickr.

Theme of this shoot was Hollywood Glamour ala George Hurrell. Played fast'n'loose with that though. George would have used about 4 or 5 fresnel-lensed hotlights. I used my Pentax portable strobes. The secret sauce though is a ringlight installed inside an 18" softbox, attached to a monopod and hand-held a few inches above Dorothy by my assistant (who is probably nursing sore arms today. Sorry, Marzi!). Other lights in this shot: AF540 in a 42" bounce umbrella camera-left, and a snooted AF540 hairlight well back camera right.

Huge thank-you's to Dorothy, Vivian, Ladylyn and Marzi. You guys rock! And a giant thanks to Derek for letting us crawl all over his Cafe. Go down and catch some jazz, and have a steak while you're there. Tell 'em I sent you. :-)

Model: Dorothy Weiss www.dorothyweiss.com/
Photographer: Bruce Walker www.modelmayhem.com/1440574
MUA: Vivian Orgill www.modelmayhem.com/135165
Hair stylist: Ladylyn Gool www.modelmayhem.com/2096721
Photo Assistant: Marzi Leszczyk www.coroflot.com/marzidesign
Location: The Gallery Studio Cafe www.thegallerystudiocafe.ca/

Monday, May 28, 2012

Dust and Dance


This is quite brilliant. Dancer is dusted with flour, makes athletic leaps while back-lit with strobes. Any direct light paths from strobes to camera are blocked with black cloth. Finished shots from this project are on Flickr ...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Monday, May 07, 2012

Lee


Lee
Lee, a photo by Bruce M Walker on Flickr.

Many would say this couldn't be done: vintage Pentax K100D Super (entry-level DSLR), ISO 800, Pentax DA* 55 wide open at f/1.4. Accident totally waiting to happen.

"It'll be uselessly noisy!" ... "It'll all be way too soft!" ... "6 megapixels isn't enough!"

You be the judge.

At a posing and direction workshop held by my friend Neeto da Silva. I was kind of a guest participant, and I got this in the chill-out area while Lee and I were waiting our turns on-set.


Model: Lee Riley - ModelMayhem 1847806
MUA: Christine Chan
Photo/Retouch: Bruce Walker - ModelMayhem 1440574

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Flash Success


I've read a fair bit of negative chit-chat on lists and forums regarding Pentax flashes, so here's just a bit of positive news: once a Pentax AF540-FGZ flash is repaired, it works well and hard.

A few months ago I blew up one of my two 540's, for the 2nd time. This time time I learned the hard way that if you have it powered on while inserting it into a metal cold shoe and you manage to short the contacts, it will try to fire multiple times rapidly and expires in the attempt. I left it out of my kit for quite a while until one day I realized I'd need it for an outdoor shoot I was to be part of.

I drove it over to Pentax Canada, they fixed it, charged me 200 bills (ouch!) and I drove it home a week later.

It didn't work! Same symptoms: faint ticking sound inside, the red charged light never comes on. So I contacted Pentax, the service manager apologized and asked me to try a few tests, failing which to bring it in. So I did, drove it over again (now my car knows the way), and the tech proceeded to demonstrate it working perfectly on his K-5 body. Aaaargh!

But I left it with them for observation, they ran all the tests they could think of and called me to pick it up a few days later. This time I brought fresh batteries with me and tested it in the lobby before accepting it. Drove it home, fired it up ... and it worked fine. And 100% fine ever since.

Last Thursday I did a creative fashion shoot using an Elinchrom softbox feathered to light the model's fronts and my two 540's lighting up the background (rough, unpainted concrete) with two coloured gels from a good distance back left & right of the models. I fired those suckers over 500 times, at full power, including a fresh battery change, over about 4 hours. When we finally wrapped and I got them down off their stands, the flashes were very warm and the batteries were hot to the touch.

So, summary: AF540's may be electrically a bit fragile, and kinda pricey, but they are friggen' workhorses, and will stand up to heavy use. They lit up a concrete wall 12 feet high over an area at least 12 feet across, bright enough to be seen nicely at f/8, ISO 100.

Here's one of my proof of concept lighting shots:

It's the "Accidental Tulips" setup with a feathered softbox, then the black foamcore background was lit from right and left by gelled, snooted (or gridded) and gobo'ed AF540-FGZ flashes. The criss-crossing shadows create the cool coloured patterns.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Accidental Tulips




Happy accident, really.


I have a Pentax AF160 macro ring flash that, honestly, doesn't see much use. Flower macros, obviously, but I've not been doing those lately. I tried using it for portraiture, but the geometry is wrong for that (its diameter is too small).

I recently picked up an el-cheapo wireless flash trigger kit from Cowboy Studios for 32 bucks: one trigger and two receivers. Works fabulously with my two Pentax AF540 flashes. I'm a happy camper ... except: the AF540 no longer fits in my 18" softbox with the receiver attached -- the combo is too tall. In addition, I'm trying to set up more complex lighting needing more flashes. Damn! Where can I get another flash from? Without, you know, spending money. And how can I regain use of my softbox?

So yesterday I was idly staring at the softbox perched on its stand, empty, and I somehow thought of my ringflash sitting in the drawer, useless.

Bing!

I threaded the ringflash head around the metal brackets in the softbox, dangling the control box on its cable below, attached one of the wireless receivers to the controller, pointed the softbox at some handy cut flowers and ... TADA! Brand new enablement.

Above is one of the first shots I got with it.

The undefeatable 3 minute idle power-off in the ring flash is a pain in the ass, but that's life. At least the flash retains its configuration when you power-cycle it to wake it up as they are all set by switches.

Tulip Study

Pentax K20D, DA* 16-50/2.8 @ 50mm f/8, 160th sec, ISO 200.
AF-160FC macro ring flash, Westcott Mini Apollo 18" softbox, Cowboy Studios NPT-04 wireless trigger and receiver.
Post-processing in Lr 3.6 and Ps CS5.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Postmodern Pinups exhibit in Toronto's Junction

Postmodern Pinups Photography by Bruce Walker

I'm installing a small exhibit of my photography for the entire month of May in Toronto's historic Junction area. Here are the details:


Postmodern Pinups
Photography by Bruce Walker
at the Junction Chiropractic & Wellness Centre
3093 Dundas St West (just west of Quebec Ave.)
May 2 - June 4, 2012


Opening Reception Wednesday May 9
6:30PM - 10:00PM
Special Guests - Refreshments

I'm expecting many of my talented co-creators to come, and the makeup artist and one model are planning to come in 1950's dress.

If you're in or near Toronto on May 9th, I'd love for you to drop by to the opening reception and say Hi!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Panl in the news

"The Artist"

Panl Updates Cloud Monitoring Service


We put the final flourishes on an update to the Panl service, and the details of it went out on the news wires yesterday. Read all about our great changes here ... 









Picture Credits

Model/HS: Denise Stellar
MUA/Wardrobe: Chantelle Krupka
Artistic Director/Retoucher/Photographer: Bruce Walker

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Workshop

Workshop

If you want to improve your photography measurably and quickly, you are focussed and determined and ready for some hard but exhilarating work, I can recommend nothing better than to attend a hands-on workshop with a good teacher and other enthusiastic students. I recently attended such a workshop given by Neeto da Silva, a Toronto fashion and commercial photographer, and it was an absolutely wonderful experience. The workshop was tailored specifically to the students' needs, in this case how to direct and pose models to get great looks and expressions, and all the necessary studio gear was provided. We started at 10:00 AM and other than taking a few minutes to grab a quick bite to eat I didn't stop studying and shooting until 5:00 PM.

If you happen to be in the Toronto area and you're interested, drop me a line and I'll hook you up. All you need to bring is your camera, some suitable lenses, and your model release. In return you are going to have new skills, contacts and a much improved portfolio.

Monday, March 19, 2012

You code it, we'll monitor it

I can't reveal all yet, but the staff at Panl are busy adding new features to an already great service.

More to come ...





















Model/HS: Denise Steller
MUA/Wardrobe: Chantelle Krupka
AD/Photo/Retouch: Bruce Walker - ModelMayhem 1440574


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wireless tethering simplified (and cheap)

Elle
Why Tether?

In tricky lighting situations, or when you're experimenting with new lighting designs, it's great to be able to see previews of what you're shooting to get feedback on whether you've got good light coverage, see that the shadows are deep enough (or maybe too deep), and so on. But inspecting that teensy image on the camera's rear LCD screen is not very useful. The contrast is poor and it's just too darned small to see much detail. You can zoom in, but navigating is awkward and you lose the overall viewpoint.

What you'd like is to be able to take a shot and immediately view the results on a reasonable size screen, like a large desktop monitor, or a notebook display. That is, you'd like to tether.

Cameras meant for studio use, like medium format bodies with digital backs, are easy to tether as they have ethernet or FireWire interfaces for the purpose. You can shoot and your full-rez image is transferred right into Lightroom for viewing. That's fine for full-time pros with high-end budgets, but what about us part-timers? And while many semi-pro cameras (many Canon and Nikon bodies) can be wire-tethered using an inexpensive USB cable, my Pentax body (K20D) cannot.

So, am I stuck? No!

Wireless Tethering

My answer to the lack of wired tethering ability is to use an Eye-Fi wireless SDHC card and my PowerBook running Mac OS X. In order to make my solution portable, I could have bought an iPad and software (ShutterSnitch), but my old Apple PowerBook that was just lying around has a great screen, so I decided to use that as my preview device.

When I press the shutter, the RAW image stays on the SDHC card but a copy of the low-resolution JPEG is transferred via WiFi to the PowerBook where an Automator script sees it and sends it to the Preview app for immediate display.

End-to-end, my solution has these parts then:

Here's how you configure the bits and pieces.

Camera. Configure your camera to generate RAW and JPEG images. Configure JPEG images to be the lowest possible quality and pixel dimensions. On my K20D this means one-star for Quality and 2M for Recorded Pixels. This will speed-up the preview process and easily gives you a large enough image to see how you shot looks. I also configure my K20D to generate RAW images only by default and RAW+ (ie both RAW and JPEG) when I press the RAW button on the body. That way I'll only get previews when I specifically call for one.

Ad-hoc network. You need to be able to push preview images to the notebook as they are created, so this and the WiFi card need to be networked together. If you are working in your home or other controlled environment you can use the standard method of connecting to the local available network. But if you expect to be working in some random place, like a rented studio or outdoors, then you must connect via an "ad-hoc" network. This requires you to create an ad-hoc network on your notebook first, then configure the Eye-Fi card to see it. For a Windows or Mac OS X notebook, follow these directions.

Eye-Fi card. Having configured the notebook you should plug the Eye-Fi Pro card into the notebook and configure it to connect to your notebook's custom ad-hoc network. Follow these instructions on the Eye-Fi support site.

Eye-Fi Software. When the preview JPEGs arrive on the PowerBook I want to see them popup on the screen immediately for viewing. To accomplish this I arranged to have an Automator script, a "Folder-Action", connected to the image-drop folder. The Automator script wakes up when an image arrives and sends it to Preview.app. You configure the image-drop folder in Eye-Fi Card Settings. Open Eye-Fi Center, click on the little gear icon to the right of the Eye-Fi card under DEVICES. Then in the Photos tab, click Enable, and choose a folder under "Manage - Upload photos to:". Under Subfolder options select "Do not create date-based subfolders." Also disable uploading of RAW files in the RAW tab.

The drop-folder I use is /Users/{my-home}/Pictures/Eye-Fi but you can put them anywhere you have write permissions to.

Folder-Action. The exact way you create a Folder-Action and attach it to a folder varies depending on what version of Mac OS X you are running. My PowerBook is running 10.5.8 so I'll describe that ...

  1. Launch Automator.app
  2. Choose a Custom workflow
  3. under Library - Files & Folders double-click on Open Finder Items
  4. select Open with: Preview.app
  5. under File menu choose Save As Plug-in
  6. in the drop-down menu choose Plug-in For: Folder Actions
  7. select Attach to Folder: Other ... and select the image-drop folder you configured above.
  8. enter a name in the Save Plug-In As: field
  9. tick the Enable Folder Actions checkbox and click Save
Steve Harley has written up how to do this for newer Automators (10.7 Lion) and also in Applescript. (Thanks Steve!)

If you are running Linux, take a look at incrond to watch for the images landing in the drop-box folder.

If you are running Windows you're on your own at this point -- sorry! -- but I would guess that something similar to Automator.app is available in the OS or as a freeware or shareware application.

Test it out

Now the whole thing should work, so test it by installing the Eye-Fi card in your camera and take a shot. Make sure that you have JPEG creation enabled (RAW+). A few seconds after you press the shutter you should see the Eye-Fi Helper app's icon flash a small preview image and then you'll see the large sized preview popup in Preview.app.


References
  1. Jimmy Shoots Blog, "How To Wirelessly Tether Your Camera To Your iPad Using Eyefi and ShutterSnitch"
  2. Eye-Fi Pro X2
  3. Ad Hoc Network Setup Instructions
  4. Connect card to an Ad Hoc network
  5. folder action & Eye-Fi tethering workflow

Picture Credits

Friday, February 10, 2012

Keeping an eye on RADIUS using PyPanl

I wrote up a tutorial on using my company's monitoring service to keep track of your company's internal services. If this sounds like something you wrestle with, read on ...

The problem we're going to solve today is a common but important one: how can we keep a watch on a critical authorization server and be notified quickly if it stops answering queries?
I'm going to show you how to create a Panl "Custom Monitor" and use a server-side timed script to send updates to it. If the updates report "down" or the updates themselves fail then the Panl monitor will send an appropriate alert to the admin's mobile device or email.
Read the full article here ... 

Eye-Candy Friday: "Elle"

It's been a while since my last restful image, so here's one ...



I took this shot recently at a collaborative photo shoot with two models, a makeup/hair artist and three other photogs.

The foggy/hazy glow effect is not Photoshopped! That comes courtesy of a flukey lighting setup error. Cooling vents on the two large softboxes illuminating the model from both sides were open and allowing direct light from the 400 watt-second strobes to hit the inside surface of the lens-hood on my camera. Pixel-peeping reveals a distinct fabric-like pattern, and I figure that the light was reflecting off the (normally) light-absorbing black felt lining.

Before I closed the vents to fix the problem I took a few shots like that and really loved the ethereal, mystical softness it imparted to Elle.