14 posts categorized "Photography"

The additional travel challenges for content creators (i.e. why my backpack is so heavy)

As I got ready for my travel down to New York City this week for the SpeechTEK conference where I spoke and also helped staff Voxeo's booth, I reflected as I packed on all the extra steps I wind up going through when planning to be a "content creator" at the show.  I'm not there only to talk and show our new services... I'm also there to write blog posts, take and upload photos, record video interviews (and maybe audio interviews), to post tweets and respond to tweets, etc., etc.  For multimedia content creation, there's a bit of extra work and gear.


My travel pack of choice these days is a Lowepro Fastpack 250. It fits the gear I need, but also has this great feature where you can unzip the side pocket and pull your DSLR out very quickly.  As you can see by the picture, I travel these days with a Nikon D90 for photos and a small JVC Everio MG-330 hard drive video recorder.  In truth, the D90 can also do video... but it's harder to hold for video than the JVC unit is.  Perhaps I'll eventually do more with it... but for the moment I carry both.  Both have power cords (or battery chargers), naturally.

I also carry a Blue Eyeball (which I reviewed) in case I want to do two-shot video recordings (using my MacBook Pro's camera and the Blue) for an interview.


Add to this, of course, the laptop, and these days the iPad as well... and it's a heavy pack.  I also naturally have my iPhone for photos and quick status updates and such as well.


There are also a series of steps that all this gear adds to travel preparations:

1. Import and delete all the photos off the DSLR memory card (which in my case means importing them all into iPhoto on my Mac).

2. Import and delete all the movies off the video camera (import into iMovie for me).

3. Make sure the battery is fully charged on the DSLR.

4. Make sure the battery is fully charged on the video camera.

5. Make sure that I have all relevant cables needed to copy content off of the cameras and onto my laptop.

It's not a huge number of steps, but it does add up, particularly if I have a lot of photos or movies on the cameras.  Yes, with memory cards being so cheap I certainly could leave the photos on the DSLR, but I'm also paranoid about losing photos... so I want to make sure they are off the camera before I go traveling.

If you are a "content creator" for your organization, what do you bring when you travel?  What steps do you wind up adding to your travel preparations?

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DailyShoot.com passes 15,000 photo milestone (and 931 photographers)

dailyshoot.jpgThose of you following my Twitter stream (or subscribing to my newsletter) will know that ever since entering the DSLR world I've become a big fan of the "DailyShoot" site set up by photographer Duncan Davidson and programmer Mike Clark. I've been a fan of Duncan's work ever since I first met him at, I think, eComm 2008 and then again at eComm 2009 where I wrote about some of the images he took there (and yes, some were of me). I started following Duncan's blog and learned more of his photography (like these shots or this iconic shot). He's shared some great info - like his advice for a $2K camera budget and his view into what it takes to shoot a TED conference. Lately I was following his journeys to the Galapagos Islands and shooting underwater on his Tumblr journal. I greatly appreciate both his sharing of knowledge and his passion for photography.

So when he started up the DailyShoot at the end of last year, I paid attention... and joined in the fun, first with simply my iPhone camera and then with my Nikon D90 once I bought it in early December. The idea behind the dailyshoot is simply this:

Photography is an art and a craft. Getting better at both requires practice—lots of practice. The Daily Shoot is a simple daily routine to motivate and inspire you to practice your photography, and share your results! It’s not a contest and there are no prizes. It's simply about encouraging you to pick up your camera and make photographs.

It's a simple process:

  1. Each day a new "assignment" is posted to dailyshoot.com and tweeted out via @dailyshoot.

  2. You take a photo and upload it to your favorite online photo sharing site. (I post mine to my Flickr account.)

  3. You send a tweet reply to @dailyshoot with the URL of your photo and the hashtag for the assignment (something like "#ds163").

That's it. The Dailyshoot site then takes all the replies and adds them to the stream of photos on the site. There is also a page for each photographer showing the photos they've taken - here's mine.

It's been a fun way to practice photography. I try to do it when I can... as you can see I've only shot 33 of the 164 assignments to date. I find that often I'll take some shots... but then I don't get around to uploading them and tweeting them until sometime later. And while I don't always take the shots, I do enjoy stopping by and looking at the photos that other photographers take... some are truly amazing - and inspiring.

The point of this post, though, is to congratulate Duncan and Mike on crossing over the milestone of having 15,000 photos taken as part of the Dailyshoot site. I saw this on the main page last night:


Cool to see that many people engaging in this fun little exercise. Thanks to Duncan and Mike for keeping it going... and I look forward to continuing to try to get in the practice... (not sure about today's assignment, though... it's a bit more cryptic than some of the other ones)

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Entering the DSLR world... with a Nikon D90

nikond90-1.jpgA few days before Christmas I joined the ranks of DSLR owners with the arrival of a Nikon D90, the kit 18-105mm lens and an additional 50mm/1.8 prime lens. (Shown on right, with the picture taken by my iPhone.) Amazon.com had a great price and I decided that it was the time to make the leap.

I had been debating for probably a good 8-9 months as the prices kept getting better and better. My big dilemma was, of course, the almost religious divide between:

Canon vs. Nikon

And, of course, the issue is that you are not just buying a single camera... you are buying into a system. Lenses, batteries... all of that is unique to a brand. The lenses are the biggest issue, because you naturally accumulate more as you do more with photography. I also realized that as a family, we'd probably soon be a multiple-DSLR family and so the decision was for more than just me.

I didn't have a particular historical bias between Canon and Nikon. For most of probably 20 years I shot very large amounts of slide film with my trusty Olympus OM-10, but I put that down probably a decade ago when I started to play with digital point-and-shoot cameras. I looked at the Olympus digital cameras but wasn't impressed... and still have a lingering dislike of Olympus for their proprietary xD cards that were a pain with an Olympus point-and-shoot we owned.

So in my typical Dan-dives-deep style, I consumed huge amounts of online reviews, including all the incredibly detailed ones at DPReview.com... I read Duncan Davidson's "Advice for the $2K camera budget"... I spoke with large numbers of friends... I asked on Twitter... I asked on Facebook... I spoke with colleagues at work... I tried out cameras from friends and colleagues...

I couldn't decide.

You see... all of the folks around me came down pretty evenly on both sides of the divide. Good friends who take incredible pictures and whose opinions I trust used Canon... and other friends shot pictures of the same caliber with Nikon. So in the end I was debating about the Canon Rebel T1i, the Nikon D5000, the Canon EOS 50D and the Nikon D90. The reality that became clear was:

Any of these cameras will take outstanding pictures.

For the typical hobby/home photographer, it's hard to lose with whatever choice you make... you just have to make the choice. As a colleague in Germany said to me in a Skype chat:

But the most important thing is: Don't look forever. Buy now, whatever the choice is today. And go shooting :)

So in the end, I chose a Nikon D90. Why? Two primary reasons:

  1. When I tried it out, the D90 just "felt good in my hands". A purely subjective reason. The controls all worked well for me. I just liked the feel versus the Canon models I tried.

  2. A number of colleagues at work all have D90s and so I have a local pool of D90 users to talk to and learn from.

winter-nikon-1.jpgThat was my choice of what worked for me. And I've been VERY pleased with the results... as has my wife... so much so that we have a Nikon D5000 arriving soon as well. :-)

Now that I've made the leap to a DSLR, I find the quality of the shots so far ahead of my point-and-shoot camera that I don't know that I'll be going back much at all! The DSLRs are now also so incredibly easy to use. It's also great just to have the feel of a SLR-size camera back in my hands and to be able to tweak the settings of a shot and experiment and play with photograpy.

I'm having fun... taking a ton of shots... some smaller number of which I'll start adding to my Flickr account once I finish a writing project this week that is consuming all my outside-work time.

Have you made the leap yet? Are you in DSLR land? What was your choice?


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My Canon SD1000 camera dies... "Lens error, restart camera"

UPDATE: My camera did return to life. Based on something I saw on some web forum, I popped the battery in and out several times, after which it mystically returned to normal operations. It still makes me rather concerned... but I'm just glad to have it back!

UPDATE #2 - April 5, 2010 - I wrote this post back in 2007 and have actually switched this year over to using a Nikon D90 as my main camera. However, judging by the comments this post continues to receive, the Canon SD1000 still has this issue, and... many people seem to solve the problem by simply giving the camera a good solid whack on a hard surface or blowing compressed air on it.  I didn't have to do that, but others did.  Read through the comments for various suggestions and links... and obviously use your own discretion with regard to the risk you want to take (or not take) with your equipment. (i.e. the responsibility and choice is entirely yours if you whack your camera too hard and break it...)

200710300803Woke up this morning to find that my Canon SD1000 point-and-shoot camera that I carry with me all the time at conferences seems to have died. When I start it up, I hear 6 beeps and then get this error "Lens error, restart camera". Yikes! Switched out the battery. Switched out the memory card. Tried various incantations. Still dead.

Judging from comments I see in online forums here and here, this is indeed a bad thing. I'm not getting the "E18" error that people mention, but I'm getting the "Lens error, restart camera" error.

Suggestions are welcome if anyone reading this has had the issue and figured out how to fix it (outside of bringing it back to the store... which isn't an option for me until next week when I'm back in VT).

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