Night and Day

I was sent to Washington DC recently for work. This is one of those times I could not take my DSLR and only had my iPhone. I also didn’t have a lot of spare time on the trip. I was able to get out and walk a bit during the day and then again at night. I was glad I got to see the area during the day and again at night. The difference is so dramatic and the area really does take on a whole new look after dark.

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One of the great things about shooting during the day is the ability to have people in your photos. The horse officer patrolling with the Washington Monument in the background. This has to be one of my favorite captures. Not that this is a great photo or that it hasn’t need seen a million times before but it shows the experience of being there.

I try to capture images that are “real” not that perfect magazine photo. Sometimes people make the image special. This is what was happen the day I was there. It’s just a snapshot, not something I’m trying to sell it’s a memory of my time spent in DC.

But I digress… I captured the Lincoln Memorial during the day with a family of ducks. I like it because it shows that even in the city there is nature all around. I think it’s a peaceful setting. Then I shot the memorial at night. I’m really glad I was able to see this during the day and at night. There is such a different feeling you get when you see these memorials at night and in the light of day. I was only able to spend a couple hours there over the course of my visit due to work but I really think it was worth it.

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I also tried my pano feature during the day for a nice capture at the WWII memorial

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In another post I spoke of how I use a lot of my iPhone images with instagram. Here are a few images I posted to instagram. Again I used the editor in that app for all the effects. We use what we have and try to get the most of it. thanks for reading and please follow me on instagram. @PD_Images

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Social Media & My iPhone Camera

This last year I found myself on the road a lot.  I use some social media like facebook to keep up with friends and interests.  Don’t share a lot of images or post my location because it leads to more targeted ads.  I also find it had to take my camera on the road with me.  I already have to take 2 laptops so to pack in a DSLR in my carry on gets to be a bit much.

IMG_1140Still I want to take images on the road.  I decided to make some social media changes.  I changed my Facebook account to only my hobby interest.  I removed most of my personal information.  Deleted posts that were not related to my hobbies.  Moved most of my professional contacts to Linkedin.  Then I decided to use Instagram for my photos.  Since the images I get are mostly from my iPhone I thought this was a good compromise. Plus it is an outlet designed for that purpose.

IMG_1019Now I take my iPhone photos and edit them in the instagram app.  It actually does an OK job.  I use it mainly for snapshots to document where I’ve been or for goofy images.  I do try to post on a regular basis and I also use the instal reel app on my MAC.  I don’t use it for anything other than travel snaps while I am on the road for work.  If I’m working on a photo project of course I use my DSLR and Photoshop.

IMG_1304The biggest disadvantage of my iPhone is the limitations of the lens.
IMG_1070The overall camera is actually decent for a phone.  To give myself a few more options I got the olloclip.  It’s a snap-on lens device that gives me 4 options.  Wide angle, fish-eye and 2 Macro lenses in one small package.  I can easily place this in my backpack and when I have time outside of work to site see I grab it and go.  It has a lanyard that the unit just snaps on and off of.  It really is a nice add-on if a camera phone is your only option.

This little system will never take the place of my DSLR but it will give me some options when it comes to sharing my travel with my friends and family and instagram followers.  There are times I really wish I had my DSLR but when it is just not possible I have my olloclip and iPhone.  The images here are some of my instagram photos.  Taken with my iPhone 6s plus.  I haven’t had the account long but I hope to keep adding images from my travels.  Thanks for the read, follow me on instagram @PD_Images

FitBit Flex

When I started this blog I wanted to do something fun.  I somehow lost interest over time and I sure that happens to everyone.  But I want to do something that I can maintain.  I like new gadgets and love testing them.  I doubt I ever get picked to be a real reviewer or get those free items to review them but that should not stop me. I found a new gadget I really like… No a group of object.  So I am making a new run at keeping this blog going.  I am not just going to review the product but my progress using it.

So I purchased a FitBit Flex and FitBit WiFi scale. First I wan to talk about the FitBit Flex activity band.  I found it easy to use.  It comes with a USB charger, 2 bands and the USB wireless dongle.  You simply chard the device, install the sync software and then create your online profile.  The flex is easy to use because you jus put it on and you are ready to go.  Tap it twice to get your current status.  Tap it quickly for about 2 seconds to put it in and out of sleep mode.

You can at any time sync it to your PC/MAC using the wireless sync adapter or your smart phone. The software sends your info to the online profile you create and give you the current stats.  It tracks these daily so you can see where you are.  It tracks your steps, distance and sleep.  I have to say it is not always accurate just typing this I am most likely getting some steps in according to my flex but I think overall it will motivate the user to get up and move.  It should also be noted that you can get different color bands for your flex.

The FitBit scale is the second gadget.  It links through your WiFi Network and transmits your weight and body fat to your online profile.  It will allow up to 8 different users.  The operation is simple and is a great addition to your flex band.  The scale is sleek and clean looking in black or white. The online profile allows you to add friends and share info with them.  You can share the number of steps, sleep, weight ect.  The system has a dashboard that you can customize with different tiles.  You set goals and you are awarded badges for meeting and exceeding your goals.  In addition to the dashboard you have a log for food, sleep, activities, blood pressure, glucose levels and journal entries.  This allows you to track your entire fitness goals in one simple program.

 

One thing many people want is a support system or a buddy to workout with.  This is like a social media app and allows you to invite friends.  You can congratulate your friends when the get badges or taunt them as you beat their goals.  It creates a completive buddy system online or support system depending on how you use it.   There are also groups you can join on this site so there are a lot of support systems in place to help you be more successful in your goals.  The software is very user friendly overall.

So….no I am not a fitness person.  In fact I have been told by my doc to loose weight, exercise and eat better.  As a diabetic I struggle with this so I bought this to help me.  So far in the month I have had this device I’ve kept on track.  In fact I have gotten several badges for exceeding my goals.  So this device is helping me a lot.  I have decided to share some results this next year to help me keep going and may to get me to use my blog a bit more.  So if you get a fitbit friend me and help me do better!
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DXG-5F9VK HD 1080p 3D Camcorder

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A 3D camcorder for under $200 US, are you kidding? Yes this is a sub $200 3D camcorder. I first saw this when I was looking for a pro model camcorder to do stock videos with. I dismissed it as I really needed a camera with a high quality lens and sound recording ability. Later I decided to revisit the possibility of 3D video just for fun. The price was right so knowing it was just a fun toy I took a chance on it.

The camera is light weight and I’m sure for most this will be a good thing. I like my cameras to be a bit heavier as the weight helps to steady the camera. The controls are simple as is the menu. It stores video on SD media, I used a class 10 16gig scandisk for my testing. It has an almost instant on. Just flip the lens then open the view screen. The view screen is in 3D, no need for 3D glasses. The only issue is when the lens is open you can’t tilt the screen too much.

The camera has really good image quality. It may be a bit awkward at first because of the stereo lens but that isn’t too bad. Video is sharp and crisp with very nice color and contrast. I was shocked to see what this camera could do. The only real issue I had was a choppy zoom. I really wish the zoom was smooth but for the price and the image quality I can deal with the slightly jerky zoom.

The microphone is stereo and located in the front part of the monitor door. This does well as long as the sound that is right in front of the user. If there was one thing that would really make this camera sell better that would be the addition of an external microphone, but they did not add the plug. Since I did buy this camera to just play around, for me that missing feature was not a big deal.

So here are the pros
· Good image quality
· Light Weight
· Simple Operation
· Live 3D viewer
· Good Color

Here are the Cons
· Choppy Zoom
· No external Microphone jack
· Limited viewer tilt
· Average to poor images in low light

Conclusion – If you want a fun little camera to create 3D video with this is the camera for you. It has a low price and great image quality. I really enjoy using this camera. If you need features like an external microphone and smooth zooming then you may want to look at some other cameras. Again I would recommend this to users who want a fun camera or those who want to dabble in 3D. It would be hard to beat the quality at the price of this camera.

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Wow…Been a While!!

Sometimes we have the very best intentions and then it goes terribly wrong…. I’m not sure what happened I just one day stopped blogging and forget it was even here until I got my renewal notice. That was just sad on my part. I know I don’t have many followers if any but still I should at least try to keep this current. I mean you never know when the Zombie Apocalypse will happen and there should be some history of what life was like. That being said I’m not sure my history will do much beside cure insomnia.

Ok, this being a technology blog lets think about what is next. I am toying with the idea of working on 3D video. After all I just upgraded to a new 3D TV so I should have some video to go with. I am currently looking at the Go Pro 3D and this off brand camera. If I do the Go Pro I have other uses as I currently have ½ of what I need. But this system doesn’t shoot in real 3D it is the red and green. I’m still checking to see if Adobe Premier or Finalcut Pro could use it to do real 3D. Getting mixed answers. The other camera shoots in the real 3D format. The drawback is I could only use it for 3D. Decisions, Decisions… So stay tune for my decision, samples and reviews.

Nikon Coolpix AW100

A while back I wrote about the GoPro camera.  I have used my GoPro for many things and intended to use it for some underwater shots while on vacation.  After reading reviews I found it was limited on quality underwater.  Further research lead me to the Nikon Coolpix AW100.  Water proof up to 33ft and shock proof up to 5 feet.  This camera was made for mild sports action yet still remains stylish.

The camera looks like a simple point and shoot. Many of the features you would find on most with a couple differences. First the button for the shutter and video are separate. Each has a unique texture so you can feel what is what. Next the batter and memory card door had a rubber seal but also uses a double lock to be more secure from accidental opening. Next the camera has a built in GPS allowing you to GEO tag your images or use it as a functional ground GPS. Finally you will find a underwater setting in the presets for diving.

Dolphin Flight – Discovery Cove, Orlando FL

Going through the presets and doing some tests I found the “simple” mode to be annoying.  I switch it over to “auto” for playing.  During vacation I used several presets like “underwater”, “Beach” and “Night Portrait”.  These are easy to change using the scene mode button on the back of the camera.  All in all I found the scenes to be quite adequate for most of my images.  Remember this is a point and shoot.  The zoom range work well for most situations.  The one drawback was the speed between shots.  The manual boasts 2.5 frames per second but even with my extreme 30MB/s SD card I could not get shots that quickly.

The image quality during daylight was above average to outstanding in the point and shoot category.  I think the color and contrast in the daylight images were spot on.  I also could not see any real issues with noise in these images.  I was a little disappointed in the night images.  They seemed to have a lot of noise and took time to fix in photoshop.  I would say a 5X7 would be the largest you could get a usable print from using night settings.   Overall for a point and shoot the camera performance was above average.  ** note I tested the zoom lens but did not use the digital zoom feature.

Video was also handled very well with this little camera.  It takes 1080p HD video with great color and contrast.  I also took several night videos and amazingly the quality of night video was much better than the photos.  I was able to snorkel taking video and stills again with great results.  The camera was easy to manage underwater.  I did notice one difference here that should be noted.  Using the underwater mode the still images look nice, corrected color but to me look a bit dull.  The video looks great, especially compared to the GoPro but the color looks off a bit.  I have included a video shot entirely using the AW100. (stills and video use the Coolpix AW100, Edited in Final Cut X Pro)

My overall opinion of the Nikon AW100:  If you need a camera that can take some light abuse and for all weather situations I would recommend you check this camera out.  The image and video quality are excellent in most situations.  The controls are simple to use and it has safety locks keeping the camera weather tight.  The drawbacks are minimal unless you plan to do lots of low-light images.  For under $300 (USD) this camera is well worth a look.

Thanks for reading!