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Digital Lifestyles

Traveling Europe with a 13” Macbook

I just came home from a 24 day trip across France and Spain. My trusty white 13” Intel Macbook has a lot more miles on it… but worked like a champ. My AC adapter for power and charging was 100-240 volt compatible, so I didn’t have to worry about a voltage converter, just a plug adapter for the European style sockets. Wifi is strong on this older Macbook, and I got good performance in most hotels I stayed in. The size of this smaller Macbook is perfect for lugging around on the road – and much lighter than my 17” Macbook Pro.

Before the trip I upgrade this machine with a new battery, new 500 gig hard drive, and installed the latest Mac OS X 10.6.7 and Lightroom 3. I stored over 300 gig of images on the laptop hard drive, backed up with an external 500 gig hard drive, and kept the shot memory cards for almost all of my images. My mentor Dr. Michael Roach had a horrible wreck on his way back from a long trip to Morocco, and many disks of his two sets DVD backups of images were damaged – but luckily he was able to use unbroken disks between the two sets that he had in different pieces of luggage, and he didn’t lose any images. So for this trip, I decided in advance to take enough memory cards to not have to format and re-use cards, plus backups on two different hard drives.

I carried the Macbook in my photo backpack by Crumpler – a unique design that opens from the strap-side of the pack. It would be next to impossible to steal anything from this pack with it on my back, a feature I really like. The laptop sleeve is removable, so I was able to take that weight out of it when I reached a town that I would be in for several days.

Lightroom was usable with the max 2 gig of RAM, but I made one big mistake – I took along a card reader that would read both memory cards I was using on the trip (Compactflash and SDHC)… on the surface this seemed like a good idea, but in use this particular model turned out to be incredibly slow in reading either memory type. I was daily downloading anywhere from 400 to 1,000 images for me and another photographer, so I wasted a lot of European hours in the hotel downloading images. My next upgrade for this kit is a “faster-than-USB 2.0” Firewire 400 reader.

All in all though, a great trip, made better with my Macbook. Now all I have to do is pay all the bills… and download my Lightroom catalogs into my Mac Pro at the house.

{click for larger image}

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Books Reviews Workflow

Review- Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3: A Photographer’s Handbook

I recently received a review copy of Rocky Nook’s Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3: A Photographer’s Handbook by Stephen Laskevitch. I always enjoy receiving a book from Rocky Nook to review because they print their books on acid-free paper and the reproduction quality is as outstanding as the content.

As a workshop teacher I am always interested in another teacher’s approach and quite admire the methodical, logical, and easily-understood approach that Stephen Laskevitch uses in Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3: A Photographer’s Handbook.

Steven Laskevitch is an Adobe Certified Instructor who uses his comprehensive knowledge of Photoshop and Lightroom to introduce the two as a working pair rather than use the more usual approach of dealing with each application seperately. This approach caused me to rearrange my computer room while reviewing this book (more on that in a moment).

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Commerce Digital Lifestyles Hardware Photography Workflow

The Nikon D3

I was always an F kind of guy. My first Nikon pro camera was the original F – a 1971 black body FTN. It supplemented my FM2 and I had it until just a couple of years ago when I sold it to a close friend, who bought it with the understanding that I might occasionally need to fondle it… call it conjugal visits.

A few years later I found a really nice F2 that I still have… I skipped the F3 and F4 entirely