photography club

I signed up to join the local club a few months back thinking it would be a good way to meet a few people with similar interests, maybe make a few friends etc, and by and large, I was right. The second Tuesday of every month an ever larger band of people attend Rockingham Photography Club to hear about latest camera gear, tips and tricks, techniques, look at other photographer’s work, enter competitions etc.

I’ve met some nice folk, learned a thing or two and even entered a few pics myself and done rather well so far. Last night there was a small technical issue and my batch of photos wasn’t included (along with a few others) but I didn’t really care – it was nice to see what other people had done without the pressure of my own stuff being judged. The standard of work submitted is quite good – there are some very good photographers who obviously work hard and have a good eye and then there are some others who are still learning.

Kingsley, the club founder and the guy who does the most organising and presenting was talking about backing up digital files last night and what he said made a lot of sense.

He suggested organising photos in folders by year then by month and then by date taken (I do this, just not the month, they are in the folder name of date taken) and then once that month is done, to simply back it up onto a DVD for long term archiving.

Unless you shoot more than 4.7G a month (which is possible with todays large files, however blu-ray will sort that out with 25G disks) it’s such a simple and inexpensive way to back up data in addition to the normal external hard drive method which most people do (I hope) The most it will cost you is 12 DVD’s a year plus cases and somewhere to store them.

So thanks Kingsley – a great idea – I use Time Machine, a second external drive and I shall also start doing this and keep the disks somewhere separate from the computers in case of fire or something.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, my entries for the monthly theme of “looking down” were:

spiralroadurban motion

2 weeks with the mac

well, its been a few weeks with the MacBook Pro now, so I thought I’d offer my thoughts!

Speed. I have the slower of the 2 MacBook Pro 15″ models, but its more than quick enough, even for serious photo editing. Lightroom and PhotoShop CS3 run fast and without any problems, as does Open Office. Actually, thats probably the most noticeable speed increase. Everything else tilts along just nicely.

OS X. The OS is ok, its fast, stable, does most things you want really. I find “Finder” – the equivalent of Windows Explorer – to be a bit limiting and frustrating, but I’m getting used to it and I suspect there are other free utilities that I can use to replace it in time. Its a pain with images – browsing is not as simple – Windows works better in that regard. Everything else though, the Mac is just fine. It goes to sleep when I want it to, wakes up with no fuss. Excellent.

Applications: It comes with most of the things you need really – have to download updated itunes which was a little disappointing, but no big deal. Downloaded Open Office, but could have bought IWork with the machine which I guess would have done pretty much the same thing. The only gotcha is playing video files. Windows was better at all the various codecs and players needed to play all the files I’ve collected over the years – the codecs are available for Mac, but I’ve only found pay ones so far.

Physical. Its very shiny and aluminiumy. The screen is excellent, but it does go very dim in low light with its ambient light sensor – has me peering at the screen sometimes. I got a glossy screen and its fine where I use it – not too many reflections and it displays images well and pretty much true to colour too. The single click track pad is a work of genius – gestures work really well, although I have a tendency to pinch, which enshrinkens the running application, mostly firefox – so the font goes teeny. I just need to adjust my technique. I particularly like the one, two, three finger gestures – they’re very intuitive. The only negative is the lack of USB ports (only 2) but there is an ESATA and Firewire port too, so its just a matter of getting peripherals that don’t rely on USB. Oh, and the keyboard is quite a long way back on the base in order to accommodate the large trackpad. Means my wrists get a bit sore from being bent up in piano playing stylee. The aluminium chassis is not comfortable to rest your arms on, so “normal” use isn’t really possible. I’ll get used to it though. They keyboard is lovely to use though, keys are nicely spaced and well weighted. And its really quiet.

Battery. Not 7 hours as claimed, but easily 5. Good. How well it lasts remains to be seen.

All in all – very pleased with it. Happy to have made the switch.

new toys

Its been one of those weeks. My laptop died a few weeks back and despite updating it to Windows 7, repeated surgery for new drivers, disk defragmentation, memory parity checks and so on, it just kept freezing.

So I had to buy a new one.

The big debate then – another PC or go the Apple Mac route.

Well, Jay’s Dell has been plagued with issues from Windows Vista, my Sony was the same, so I decided to spend a few dollars more and get a MacBook Pro.  15 inch screen.

macbook pro

macbook pro

and very shiny it is too.  I’m not totally sold on the large clickable touchpad and there are some things the operating system does that I still need to get my head around, but apart from that- it just works.  No crashes, freezes, complaints or anything.  It goes to sleep when asked and wakes up on cue.  And the battery lasts forever.   A few hours of surfing and stuff only used 25% of the battery.  Very impressive.

So it gets my vote for the time being.