Approaching Grand Central Station in the Rain

My Sprint 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot is Pretty Crappy

So, I was going to either get the Verizon MiFi or this Sprint 4G Mobile Hotspot thing… I needed a fast mobile connection that I could use on the road instead of depending on coffee shops or hotel rooms. I could not decide which one to get, and in the end, I opted for the Sprint one because I thought the 3G would be equal to the MiFi but the 4G would be better where I had coverage. What I’ve learned (briefly):

  • The 4G is better if the area has 4G.  Austin does, so that is nice.
  • I’ve since traveled to Plano, Dallas, and Orlando, none of which could pick up a 4G signal
  • So, instead it connects at 3G – it is glacially slow!
    • It says “3G”, but I think it is lying… because it seems 10x slower than my iPhone alone
    • I have run it on Speedtest.net many times.  Half the time, it is to slow to even load the site, much less measure it!  When it does run, it shows about 0.09 mb/s.  I might as well be on Prodigy
    • Don’t believe anything can be that slow?  See this Speed Screenshot from Speedtest.net!
    • Before, I had used Cali Lewis’ MiFi and it was very fast – must faster than this Sprint black hole of bandwidth
  • It gets very hot.  Very very hot.
  • The battery only lasts about 2 hours.  That is pretty lame, really.  Even when you have it plugged in via USB, it appears to drain faster than it charges.
  • When I use it for a few hours, the Internet stops working…  It requires a reboot of the device.  This has happened to me 4 times now.

Photo-Posting While Travelling Tip

As you know, I put up a new photo every day here on the blog. This is hard both from a processing standpoint, since these can take anywhere from 20 mins to several hours to produce. It’s also hard logistically because I’ve got to get everything uploaded and into its place before posting!

So, I’ve taken to uploading 10-20 photos to SmugMug (see my SmugMug Review) at a time before a trip. I go in an “Hide” the photos. That way, I can just go online and “Unhide” them when I get ready to make the daily post. This seems to be a good solution.

Daily Photo – Approaching Grand Central Station in the Rain

Rainy nights in cities pose a tough problem. Really, in many ways, you have to fight against every natural human instinct to go out into the rain on purpose. It’s so easy just to want to stay inside, make a hot cocoa (or, a think Aztec Drinking Chocolate in my case), watch a movie, be all cozy, etc etc. But the little photographer inside of you also knows how interesting things are out there!

So, I tend to compromise, and force myself to go outside half the time and stay inside half the time. This occasion in New York City was obviously one of the times I went out in the rain.

You can see I am approaching Grand Central Station — and that is the famous Chrysler Building in the background. This was shot with the Nikon 14-24 Lens (See my Nikon 14-24 Review). It’s an expensive lens, so if you are looking for something cheaper that also takes great wide-angle shots, check out the Sigma 10-20mm (Review coming some day when I mysteriously get more time).

HDR-Photo

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New Behind-The-Scenes Video and Manhattan Living

Behind-the-Scenes in New Zealand

I recently edited together and posted this scene from the south island of NZ, when I was out in this beautiful meadow at sunset. I was using a 70-200mm lens, so I used this to add to my Nikon 70-200 Review.

If you’d also like to see the resulting photo, check out the Video on the Valley of Abundance page.

Daily Photo – Manhattan Living

When I was in New York City, I had the good fortune to spend time with Steve Simon. We had breakfast at this great little French place and then went around to do a bit of shooting. We stopped at his place and went up to the roof. Peering over the side, I saw this and thought it was kinda nice… so I grabbed a quick one.

Be sure to visit Steve’s site on the link above. He has amazing work and I am sure you will get a kick out of it!

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The Amazing FAO Schwarz

Shopping in 2010?

Speaking of today’s image, I’ve noticed I have really changed the way I shop!

Now, this doesn’t happen in all shopping situations, but it is happening more and more every month.

On my Trey’s App List, I mention something called RedLaser. When I was in the toy store below, I basically walked around with my iPhone, found cool stuff, scanned in the UPC with RedLaser, chose the best price, and had it sent to my home. Most often, Amazon had the best price. In some ways, this could become the future of retail stores — they become showrooms.

It reminded me a bit of a later trip to B&H Photo. They have an amazingly cool system there where you find the stuff you want on the show floor, and then the boxes are sent to the front from an underground warehouse across a robotic series of conveyor belts overhead. While you shop, the boxes whiz above your head with a gentle buzz… it’s all very cool.

And so, I picture this same sort of thing as I shop in other stores using RedLaser. I imagine the box sliding all around the UPS/Fed-ex World, slowly weaving its way to my home.

Newsletter in next 48 Hours!

At some magical point in the next two days, the Most Beautiful Newsletter Ever will arrive in your email.  You will see how it took a small eternity to put together.

In exchange, I have one simple request.  If you find it pretty, forward to your mom, your kids, or your best friends.  Life is too short for ugly emails.  Besides, you know how everyone else forwards you ugly junk?  Do them a favor and up the ante a little!

Daily Photo – The Amazing FAO Schwarz

While I was in New York City for the big book party, we took some time out for shopping! This is the famous FAO Schwarz, which holds a special place in the hearts of many people. I’m sure at one point, you could call it the greatest toy store in the world. I’m sure other places hold that title now. In fact, I think I heard about FAO going bankrupt or something a few years back? I can’t remember… but, either way, the store was still alive and hopping while we were there!

I figured this is most certainly the kind of place you cannot use a tripod, which made me determined to use a tripod. I quickly set up on the second floor after surveying the whole store for about 30 minutes, looking for the most interesting vantage. I quickly extended the tripod, fired away, and then retracted back into stealth-mode.

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ilili

The Greatness of Yelp

Yelp has really changed the way I go about finding places to eat! I was in the middle of New York and had a craving for some Mediterranean food. A quick trip to Yelp helped me find this place, get ratings and reviews, and then figure out how to get here. It could not have been easier, or a better recommendation!

I also recommend getting the iPhone/Android/iPad version of Yelp… it can come in handy when trying to find some new haunts!

Daily Photo – ilili

I was here alone. You can see my laptop there on the table… I like to take a long time to eat while editing photos and listening to music with my earphones on. Every other patron looks at me kind of like a freak. That’s quite okay!

Luckily, while I was waiting for the food, they let me run around the restaurant with my tripod. This is yet another thing that makes people look at me strangely. They can’t imagine why anyone would bring such a monster setup to do such a thing. Most people assume that the restaurant pays me to do it, but the staff knows that is not the case. At one point, the manager came over to talk to me — not to get mad… just to chat about art and food and life and these sorts of things. And then I ate some amazing food! I had some sort of Lebanese marinated lamb on saffron rice. I need more saffron in my life…

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The Incredible Apple Store

Your Favorite Podcasts?

What are some of your favorite podcasts? I’m curious! I have several that I get on a regular basis. On the video side, I get TED Talks, Diggnation, This Week in Tech, Geekbrief TV, and Macbreak Weekly. On the audio side, I get some things from the BBC, This Week in Photography, and the Economist.

Best TED Talks

Speaking of the TED stuff above, I’ve assembled a collection of the Best TED Talks, at least in my opinion.  There are many more — I just have not had time to link them up yet!

Daily Photo – The Incredible Apple Store

I think it would be cool to be an architect that could design these kind of things. These guys are really talented — I love seeing their crazy concepts come into being. As opposed to concept cars, which never make it into production, even the most outlandish buildings seem possible.

This is one of the Apple Stores in New York City. The entire thing is a dreamy glass cube with a floating white Apple logo right in the middle. The actual store is underground.

I have a policy about getting help at the Apple store. When in doubt, talk to the guy with the beard.

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Central Park in the Fall

HyperMac Review

I have a new HyperMac Review here on the site!  It’s an amazing device, and even if you are not a photographer, you will probably find a reason you need one!

Basically, it is an external battery that you can use to power up your Mac laptop and your iPhone.  I keep running into situations where I am running out of battery power on my iPhone and/or computer, and I just am not near a power outlet.

I bought mine from the Hypershop just recently, and I could not be happier! Maybe the worst thing is that all my friends are always using it to charge up their iPhones too… It’s like I’m the guy at the party that brought the beer!

New Version of Woopra Out

You guys probably know how much I love Woopra… I did a little Woopra Video Review here on the site several months ago. The product is even better now… and you can get the basic version for free. If you want all the cool features, you can upgrade, but that’s up to you! Anyway, I continue to make it part of my web-life… and I am lucky enough to be friends with the clever guy behind it. But, I’d use this thing even if I didn’t know the guy… !!

Edit: A Happy Customer Gets a New Print!

John P from OneMansBlog.com recently released this video… I will let it speak for itself!

Daily Photo – Central Park in the Fall

I had spent the afternoon alone while traveling (as usual, it seems) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the middle of New York City. It sits on the Eastern edge of Central Park. It was a little cold outside, but I decided to walk across the park anyway, just as the sun was setting. As I moved through the trees, I found this little place and thought it would be fun to share.

Central Park in the Fall

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length38mm (38mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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Dramatic Reading of Negative Reviews on Amazon

A Dramatic Reading of Negative Amazon Reviews for “A World in HDR”

I made a little video this evening where I read negative Amazon Reviews for you. This is a one-time only event… I think the regulars here will appreciate it…hehe. Luckily, despite the negative Nancies (actually, I do appreciate constructive criticism), we still were able to sell out on Amazon in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Everything is back in stock now, as I understand!

BTW, I will add this to the video section — visit the Videos area here if you want to see free videos with how-tos, shooting examples, etc.

The book contest is still going on at Abduzeedo

The contest is up to about 450 entries, so if you don’t already have one, pop over there for your chance to win! While there at Abduzeedo, be sure to go look around their site some and discover other great artists. I spend a lot of time there getting inspired!

Daily Photo – Autumn in New York at Sunset

Despite my kind Tweet to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, they would not let me take a tripod on the day I arrived. So, I was forced to do a hand-held HDR shot from the roof at sunset. It was a beautiful night across central park, and I did my best to hold it steady.

In Photomatix, I did choose to “Auto-Align” images. It did a pretty good job. I always suggest that you check “Do Not Crop”, so that you can line everything up easier later in Photoshop. When it auto-crops, it resets the 0,0 x/y origin and will mix up the alignment later on for final cleanup.

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The Mysteries of the Boudoir

New Zealand Photowalks and Talks Finalized!

We are looking at Auckland on Feb 19 and Christchurch on Mar 4.  Both events will include a talk, which you are welcome to attend.  I look forward to meeting all you nice Kiwis!  There is more information on the New Zealand page here!

Daily Photo – The Mysteries of the Boudoir

For the photo mystery of the week, what exactly is the photo below?  Be sure you zoom into the big size and poke around for clues….

I found this gem while in New York during the book launch party there.  It’s one of those times when I am happy I carry my camera almost everywhere.  It’s a real pain, especially when I had a major disaster in a tiny robot-bathroom in Tokyo.  That is a story I can’t share on the blog because it’s all too wheels-off.  But, in this circumstance, having a camera worked out well.

Isn’t this the strangest thing in the world?  But it’s so interesting….  I could not stop looking at it!

New Screenshots of Topaz Detail 2

Below is a screenshot I took while helping the define some the details in this photo. You can see more on my Topaz Detail Review here on the site. Sometimes, I find the HDR process can make some lines and contrast wash out, and the eye still likes to latch onto lines… Anyway, a longer story, but there is more info if you are interested.

Topaz Detail 2 - Desat Brush

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Grand Central Station and a Workshop Weekend with Scott Bourne

For Artists and Photographers that want to follow another path

I am going to mention this tomorrow during the workshop with Scott Bourne, but I get inspiration and ideas from a great variety of sources outside of photography. Unfortunately, I find that photographers stay in the bubble too much and keep reading the same sort of thing. I put together “Trey’s Book List” here on the site for you. It’s filled with all types of subject matter from genetics to physics. For example, if I ever run into a fellow artist that also has a passion for Richard Feynman, we always become fast friends!

Another Nice Testimonial for HDR Spotting

I am glad some more people are getting into the private beta of HDRspotting.com – as always, the goal of the site is to showcase interesting HDRs from all over the world to drive more traffic and attention to YOUR website. It’s built on top of something we call an “Attention Generation Engine”. As we tweak all this out and iterate, we hope to open it up to more and more people!

There are invite codes out there – just ask around on Twitter or look in the HDR groups in Flickr or FB — NOTE – I do not give them out – so sorry I can’t help you (by design!).

Here is a nice testimonial from Gaensler (see his latest amazing shot on Flickr)

Since uploading my images on HDR Spotting the attention I get on my work increases tremendous! This encourages me to upload one image every single day, which is a great challenge due to the matter of only sending my best images. So HDR Spotting is pushing me further in my work and the comments I get from the community refuels my creativity!

Daily Photo – Grand Central Station

When I was in NYC a few weeks ago for the book party, I took some time one rainy evening to invade Grand Central Station without a tripod pass. I did not even know I could get such a thing easily, because the process for picking one up requires looking in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’. (tip of the hat to the great Douglas Adams).

But even with my illegal tripod in hand, and in cool and casual defiance of the three-legged police, I strode around Grand Central Station taking photos with reckless aplomb. I really wanted to get on a train and go somewhere! But, I didn’t… I just walked out the exit and right into another amazing photographic situation!

The Grand Central Station

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Grand Central on a Rainy Night During the Holidays

HDR Spotting Testimonial

I started HDRSpotting.com (and see the Editor’s Picks too) with a friend to help bring more attention to other HDR photographers out there. We developed a cutting-edge “attention generation engine”, designed to increase traffic for new and old artists all over the world. The site is still in beta, and thus, invite only. You have to know someone to get an invite (don’t ask me – I don’t hand them out). But you can pick up extra in the HDR group on Facebook, Flickr, and keep searching Twitter for when people have extras to give away.

Here is a testimonial from Brian Matiash:

I was first drawn to HDR Spotting because of the high quality HDR images that were shared by some very talented photographers. Since then, posting my best HDR images to HDR Spotting has become a natural part of my post-processing workflow. When a shot is finalized and ready to share, one of its first stops is at HDR Spotting. Now, most of my images average at least 1,500 views and my Editor’s Choice shots average between 7,000 – 8,500 extra views!! I really am loving this added visibility to my work. Great job with the site, keep up the great work!

Smashing Magazine Book

Do you guys know Smashing Magazine? It’s a great design resource, and they were kind enough to run this controversial piece by me called “10 Easy Steps to Advanced Photography Skills“.

They have a new book out that is doing very well. It’s called the “The Smashing Book“, and if you are a designer or just interested in the subject matter, it’s a great resource!

Daily Photo – Grand Central on a Rainy Night During the Holidays

I took this about the same time I went into Grand Central Station and performed my unique star-pattern maneuver to evade security guards. I described it in detail the next day when I spoke at B&H.

I’ve perfected a panoply of techniques to circumnavigate and befuddle security guards who don’t like tripods. Maybe I will write a little e-book on this some day.

Grand Central on a Rainy Night During the Holidays

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