Review: Disc Cover by BeLight Software

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Even though CD's are becoming less used, DVDs for data storage are still going strong, and personal projects such as iMovie and iPhoto still have a strong usage of labeling  for stored material. Disc Cover 3 is a delightful software that allows you to print DVD labels and covers and case booklets for music, archives, and anything you are saving to disc.  Jewel case inserts can be made easily and cleanly from a tremendous number of pre-designed templates with layouts and art importable from … [Read more...]

Review: Lens Baby Control Freak

Lensbaby - Control Freak

"Serendipity" is the way to describe a recent interaction between myself and a colleague of mine. It produced several interesting photographic days for me. You know: ser·en·dip·i·ty [ser-uhn-dip-i-tee] n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: a fortunate stroke of serendipity | a series of small serendipities. I had just written to Britt Stokes to comment upon the Lensbaby article that he had written and his response … [Read more...]

Lensbaby Fisheye Optic

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A long time ago, in a world that only used film, a lens was developed to see the whole sky. Cloud studies for meteorological use prompted the invention of the fisheye lens. It wasn’t long until the keen eye of the “art” photographer saw one and decided to use it to make images that could not otherwise be made. Fisheye images aren’t like rectilinear images, where straight lines mostly stay straight... fisheye lenses give you a convex rendering with curved straight lines, and encompass a huge area … [Read more...]

Lensbaby New Soft Focus Lens Optic

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Want a great lens with the look of a $1,000 Rodenstock Imagon for your digital SLR? Look no further than the newest lens addition to the Lensbaby line. Lensbaby, the brain child of photographer and inventor Craig Strong, brought soft focus and skewed focus planes to cameras that normally produce sharp results. The current generation lenses offer interchangeable elements, and that is where this article comes in. I recently obtained a Lensbaby Soft Focus element, and wow, is it cool! My 3 part … [Read more...]

The Accidental iPad and How I Use It

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When Steve Jobs announced the iPad a few months ago I didn't think "Wow, I gotta have me one of those...". Though I was intrigued by the form factor and slightly motivated by Steve Jobs' demonstration of the device, it didn't scream out at me as something I needed. I was actually more amused with all the criticism surrounding the choice of iPad as the name for the device. I yawned and went on with my life. Nearly a month ago I walked in to our local Apple store with my family. We weren't … [Read more...]

Macs and Failing Hard Disks – an early detection tool

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The other day I was sitting at my desk when I started to hear a faint clicking sound. I pushed the noise out of my mind for a while and continued to work on the task at hand. Before long the clicking started to get louder and louder; it was clearly a consistent mechanical noise and was coming from under my desk, right where my Mac Pro is parked. I popped my head down there and sure enough, it sounded like one of my 4 hard drives was starting to go. Usually if you hear a clicking sound coming … [Read more...]

Analog to Digital Part 2: Interview with Craig Strong, Inventor of the Lensbaby

In the beginning, there was light, and we captured it with film. Next came digital cameras, and then came the Lensbaby. Created by professional photographer Craig Strong, the Lensbaby has had an impact on photographers, and their ideas and images. Craig is a photographer turned inventor... his love for photography started at an early age, and after college he went pro, working as a photojournalist. He also had a steady business shooting weddings and portraits. I recently had a chance to … [Read more...]

Analog to Digital: Exclusive Interview with Photographer Craig Strong, Inventor of the Lensbaby

In the beginning, there was light, and we captured it with film. Next came digital cameras, and then came the Lensbaby. Created by professional photographer Craig Strong, the Lensbaby has had an impact on photographers, and their ideas and images. Craig is a photographer turned inventor... his love for photography started at an early age, and after college he went pro, working as a photojournalist. He also had a steady business shooting weddings and portraits. I recently had a chance to … [Read more...]

Need to shorten URLs? Give Bit.ly a try

I always ignored URL shortening services in the past; what was the point? My e-mail systems always seemed to handle URLs automatically, forums that I frequented usually shortened the URLs for me and more often than not if I needed a URL in a blog post I created a hyperlink. It wasn't until I started using Twitter quite a bit that I started to appreciate a really small URL. When you have 140 characters to express your thoughts and you are as verbose as I am, every single character counts.Not long … [Read more...]

Lensbaby Composer: A Selective Focus SLR Camera Lens (pt 3)

A Three Part Series  Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Pt. 3 of 3: Be My Lens, Baby...always Another improvement over my Lensbaby 2.0 is the lens cap - the 2.0 shipped with a nice, heavy solid metal lens cap that screwed in place... unfortunately, it was kind of slippery and difficult to get off sometimes. The Composer ships with a new squeeze-type lens cap (the style that lets your fingers get inside a lens hood, hmm, what a handy accessory that would be?). Easy on and easy off, but not so … [Read more...]

Lensbaby Composer: Selective Focus SLR Camera Lens (pt 2)

A Three Part Series Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Pt. 2 of 3:  Be My Lens, Baby...again Remember our fun with the Sima? The Lensbaby Composer (and all the Lensbaby line, since they use interchangeable elements) is 50mm in focal length compared with the Sima's 100mm. That gets into the usable range for many landscape opportunities, and makes a decent average focal length for portraits and details. Need wider? They can do that... it's that system concept I love so much. Offered as … [Read more...]

Lensbaby Composer: A Selective Focus SLR Camera Lens (pt 1)

A Three Part Series Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Pt. 1 of 3:  Be My Lens, Baby! Soon after receiving my first 35mm camera, I found that photography was a little more difficult than it had first looked. Ok, it was a lot more difficult. After mastering the learning curve on how make a sharp, well-exposed photo, I saw some photography by David Hamilton and Robert Farber. I was back to square one. Suddenly, I wanted to shoot soft focus images. But, how to do it? Shortly after graduating … [Read more...]