Digital Lifestyles Media

Set Your DVR: IBM’s Watson on Jeopardy tonight!

After 4 years of hard work, IBM’s Watson is finally scheduled to appear starting tonight on Jeopardy.


Find out more about Watson, visit the IBM Watson webpage.

Nova’s episode about Watson.

(In Houston, set your DVRs to record at 11:30 pm on Local CBS Station KHOU)

Digital Lifestyles Media Photography

Ansel Adams: Analog Photography and the Creative Process Revisited

I recently visited the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, to view an exhibit of Ansel Adams works titled Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light. The show ran from May 29 through November 7, 2010. In total, I made four trips to the museum to see this exhibit.

Ansel Easton Adams was born in early 1902 to parents Charles and Olive Adams in San Francisco, California. As a boy, his family traveled to Yosemite (which had become a national park in 1890) when he was about 14 years old, an experience which provided life-long inspiration. As a young man he studied to become a concert pianist, but was hampered by arthritis in his hands.

Adams first acknowledged photograph is an image dating to 1927. His formative photography years were in a period of photographic innovation;

Digital Lifestyles Gadgets Workflow

HD Flip Into Action

A Review of the Flip Slide HD by Eron Howell

Flip into action, shoot your quick video, flip it up to utube or share with a friend on the easy to use Flip Slide HD, 16 GB, video Camera. Yes, the new Flip HD video camcorder is easy to use, has good HD quality for such a small camera, but has some serious drawbacks.

When shooting your video you have little to no controls, very few settings, so it’s basically a point and shoot camera. It can shoot up to 4 hours of HD quality video. The literature says 4 hours “continuously”, however it often goes into “freeze” mode and stops recording, then loses segments.

Flip support did tell me how to unfreeze the camera by holding the power button for 10 seconds, but they didn’t say I’d lose video and I did. After freezing up several other times, another call to tech support revealed a reset button that you insert a pin into, this worked much better.

With 4 hours of continuous shooting, you’d think the camera would not have to be recharged during that time but, I had to recharge the battery during the middle of shooting.

Digital Lifestyles Gadgets Photography Workflow

Awesome Iphone Real World Application

[vimeo clip_id=”15091562″]

Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.

Video from an iphone attached to a weather balloon that rose into the
upper stratosphere and recorded the blackness of space.

Visit for all the info.

Digital Lifestyles Photography Profiles

Mike Cavaroc’s Top 5 Images of Summer 2010

It’s never easy to narrow down a season’s worth of images to just five, but here are the five that either I liked the best, or that you liked the best, taking Google Analytics stats into account. Most of them came from Grand Teton National Park, with the exception being the grizzly bear with four cubs up in Yellowstone National Park. Now that the crowds are dying down as well, I’m thinking about heading back up there and seeing if I can find them one more time before they head in for the winter. All of these shots were the ones that had both sentimental value for me, as well as creating a striking image that created a great response. Some were simply being in the right place at the right time, others took a bit of extra work to be able to capture properly. I was at more of a disadvantage than normal throughout the course of the season, leaving me struggling to capture all the shots I actually wanted to get.

Digital Lifestyles Photography Workflow

Another sunny day in digital paradise

Ah, the wonderful rays of summer sun falling on beatific scenes. The sweet smell of fragrant flowers, the gentle hum of bees busy about their work. The sudden sound of a camera motor whirring to re-cock the shutter. And perhaps the one I like best… the sound of not having to reload my camera with film. Kind of like the sound of one hand clapping, isn’t it?

Yep, I like digital. I’m thoroughly entrenched in the world of CMOS and CCD, compact flash and lithium ion batteries. Bigger hard drives, better image sensors, faster motor drives, more options.

Ten years ago I was doing this with film. Ugh. Set it up, shoot a Polaroid proof, load film, shoot, unload film, put it in a cooler, repeat.

Last summer I was doing all this digitally, but with an Arca Swiss 6×9 F Line camera delicately connected to a Sinar eMotion 22 megapixel back via a Kapture Group sliding back adapter. Mounted on the front was a Nikkor 65mm view lens, and on the back was a 90 degree Hasselblad prism finder. With my reasonably lightweight tripod, this was a 19.5 pound rig… a serious pain in the… shoulder. (Shoulder 0, gravity 1.)

THIS summer… however… I’m traveling a little lighter (over 6 pounds lighter!) and shooting the new Nikon flagship D3X with the Nikkor 24mm Tilt/Shift. The key phrase here is lighter, folks, not light. When I pick up the tripod and sling it over my shoulder, I still know it is there and there is a small anvil on the end, but I have significantly decreased the size of the anvil. (Shoulder 1, gravity 1.)

Surely, you say, I can’t expect to get those great architectural images with a mere SLR? You must use a view camera for that!

Well, I have to say that I am very favorably impressed with the D3X. It is a pretty smart camera (lucky for me), and the sensor is where all the money is. That jump from my D3 (which I still love) to the D3X was tremendous. Image quality is fabulous. Color balance and rendering of the buildings I shoot is superb. And FAST. I’ve spoken before in previous articles about shooting quickly on site. This is commercial photography, not art… time is money. Shooting quicker gives more opportunities to shoot more views in a day. More views in a day can translate into getting my traveling done quicker. Getting the traveling done quicker can mean that I get to go home sooner and spend time with my vaguely neurotic cat.

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I don’t shoot the D3X handheld much – probably less than 10% of the shots so far with it were not on a tripod. Pretty reversed from the D3, which I shoot over 80% of the time handheld. Of course, I’m shooting at ISO 100 on the D3X and ISO 200 on the D3, so that helps a little. Probably the real difference is that I’m shooting mostly with the shift lenses on the D3X, and I’m just not able to shoot a shift lens straight when it is shifted unless the camera is firmly locked down to something. When I do, I seem to feel drunk, nothing is straight.

OK, so I can’t reverse the effects of gravity. Lightening my load is an important consideration now for me, with knee ailments getting in the way of easy mobility. But weight is only one consideration… a second is that I can work faster in the field. Finally, a solution from Nikon for the professional architectural photographer – the D3X with the appropriate tilt/shift lens is the package for me!

Postscript: Since I finished this article, I got lucky at a tradeshow this week and picked up a carbon fiber tripod. The legs weigh 3 lbs 7 oz. Sweet. I put an older Bogen 410 head (all geared for us picky architectural shooters). With this setup and the D3X and 24mm T/S lens, the whole package comes in at 11 pounds 11 ounces. (Shoulder 2, Gravity 1. Big smile on the face of the guy who has to lug it.)

Digital Lifestyles Gadgets Photography

Review: Lens Baby 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 was to inform me that he had just dropped my name to the Marketing Manager of the Lensbaby company to suggest that I might enjoy reviewing one of their specialty lenses. He knew me too well; of course I would enjoy it.

Gadgets Software Workflow

Enjoy Your HD Media on Your Iphone and Computer with Libox

Ran across a new app for both your computer and iPhone that will allow you to share and experience all high quality media for free! That means: no price tags and no limits on how much HD media users can share with friends and family. I love this, as many of my media sharing apps put limits on how much I can upload and how large my files can be. Freedom is great, especially when it’s free!

Digital Lifestyles Gadgets

iBroadway App for the iPhone

Broadway Goes Mobile!

Wicked, Chicago, Lion King, Mamma Mia! Whether you live in the city or just visiting, we’re all suckers for a little Broadway action! I’ve been amazed at seeing the mile long lines just waiting to get discounted tickets to one of these shows. Now, you can get reviews, showtimes, dates, ticket prices and even discounts in seconds with this handy app.  Check out the following press release for details and a link to your copy of iBroadway.

Zumobi Launches The iBroadway App for the iPhone and iPod Touch

Zumobi, in a partnership with Art Meets Commerce (AMC), a leading producer of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, to launch the iBroadway App for the iPhone and iPod touch. With the hit Broadway musical, FELA! as a launch sponsor, the iBroadway App expands the famed theater district’s reach and provides exposure for Broadway’s premium sponsors across the mobile platform. The iBroadway app promotes the music and drama of Broadway while engaging with fans everywhere at anytime.

iBroadway, users now have information about new and favorite Broadway shows at their fingertips.

Art Commentary ArtWorks Digital Lifestyles Headline Photography

What Makes a Photographer?

I got an interesting e-mail today… a promotion e-mail from an architectural photographer named Dan Poyourow (

Dan is based in Maryland, and his work is well worth looking at. At the bottom of his e-mail, he included this tidbit…

“Photography thought for the week:

Contrary to what some creatives may tell you; shooting digital and reading a book on Adobe Photoshop does not make someone a professional photographer. There is still no substitute for experience, proper lighting techniques, good composition and all the other skills pro photographers use/used when shooting film. Digital is simply a new way to record the image; not an end in itself.”

Featured Gadgets Media Software

Ironman Central by Zumobi

Have a little thing for the “Man in Red”? Wait no longer, die hard Marvel fans, with a little help from Zumobi, there’s an APP for that!

Although there are members of my household, dying to get their hands on this bad boy, I have not yet had the pleasure of testing it out. However, I was able to get a little sneak peak into the highly anticipated game and we are definitely looking forward to it’s release. Here’s what Zumobi has to say about it…

Marvel Launches Iron Man Central, the New iPhone and iPod Touch Application on The Zumobi Network

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Zumobi, a leading mobile media company, and Marvel Entertainment recently announced the launch of Iron Man Central, the official Iron Man application for the iPhone and iPod touch. In anticipation of the biggest movie release of the year, IRON MAN 2, the Iron Man Central app provides fans new and old with an immersive experience into the world of the Super Hero everyone’s talking about.

“The first IRON MAN film was extremely successful due to the incredibly loyal and passionate fan base. In anticipation of IRON MAN 2, we wanted to bring additional content to Iron Man fans and moviegoers, and could think of no better way than to bring it to a mobile app,” said Ira Rubenstein, Executive Vice President of Marvel’s Global Digital Media Group. “We believe this app gives users an even more complete Iron Man experience by delivering news, videos and exclusive wallpapers, as well as special character profiles. And if you want to find show times for IRON MAN 2, this app will do that for you, as well.”

Using Iron Man Central, fans have access to all things Iron Man from his origin, to current news, exclusive wallpapers, video content, direct links to Iron Man content on iTunes and more. With a stunning user interface modeled after the hologram interface inside Iron Man’s suit, fans discovering Iron Man Central will be blown away by ease of use and navigation. The app also allows fans to purchase movie tickets through the app itself, so no fan misses a single showing of IRON MAN 2. The app also arrives with two free wallpapers and additional wallpapers are $.99.

Iron Man Central seamlessly integrates with users’ e-mail, Twitter and Facebook accounts, allowing them to share exciting new Iron Man content with friends and family.

“Marvel is a forward-looking organization that is well positioned to take advantage of the amazing new possibilities available in the mobile channel,” said Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi. “By combining Marvel’s bold and unique visuals with the iconic character of Iron Man and Zumobi’s content-rich app format, we have the opportunity to offer moviegoers and fans an extension of the film experience. We’re thrilled to expand the Zumobi Network’s entertainment channel with this highly valuable property.”

Iron Man Central is available for free on Apple’s App Store and as a part of The Zumobi Network, the leading publishing partner for top media companies. It can be downloaded HERE.

Featured Gadgets Photography

Digital Camera Infrared Conversion- Part 2

I recently wrote about my newly converted Nikon D200 body. I have since been on a trip to Acapulco, Mexico, and have shot over 1,500 images with the new body. Here are my impressions so far.

First, this conversion by Isaac Szabo uses an excellent filter (the infrared filter replaces the high-pass filter over the sensor inside the camera). The infrared images are wonderful, far better than any I got with my previously converted SLR. There is more color in evident in some of the images. With Isaac’s provided Photoshop action, the red and blue channels are swapped making very interesting images that retain the infrared look, but with more conventional looking skies in many cases. The action also has provided an excellent black and white conversion as well, you just have to activate the layer.

Skin tones are rendered very nicely. I shot a lot of candid portraits that look great. I shot most of my images at ISO 200 and got hand-holdable exposures, where I almost always had to shoot at ISO 500 to ISO 800 on my old conversion. The D200 has great characteristics to start with, and its current price point on the used market makes it a perfect infrared conversion choice… 10 megapixels makes a great 13×19 or larger print!

I recommend Isaac’s conversion… look at my images, and the images on his website. Then, decide which camera you want to convert, and start making infrared images!

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Want to see these images bigger?  Click here. Its worth the bandwidth…