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Click for moreSep 7, 2010 - The iPad - My Thoughts After 3 Months

Truthfully, the following posts have been in progress since I got the iPad, but with each passing day I find new apps and things to do and so it's been difficult to nail down my thoughts.

In this 3-part blog series, I explain how I use the iPad, show some of the apps I use on a daily basis, and conclude with some pros and cons as well as some hopes for the future.

This is a photography blog, and these articles don't exactly pertain to the photographer's use of an iPad, which is a whole topic for another blog post. I'll write that up sometime soon but needless to say there are some excellent apps out there for photographers!

The 3 blog articles are as follows:

1. Fun & Useful Features

2. Professional Purposes

3. General Findings, Pros/Cons

Feb 4, 2010 - Fish in HD

I haven't yet shot any falcons in HD but eventually will. In the meantime, here's a video of some aquarium fish.

I'm currently testing different ways of encoding video for the web, this is 720P HD through YouTube.

If you followed the falcon blog ( in January 2009, I mentioned my fish had offspring. This year they did it again, so there are now 3 generations of fish in the tank. Big Blue is still the king of the tank and he likes to flaunt it.

Click for moreMay 18, 2009 - In the Bushes Flashing Birds

In the ideal photography world, your subject would always be posed on something interesting, unobstructed, sidelit by the morning sun, in front of a glorious background, and you'd be shooting with an f/1.8 aperture at all focal lengths.

Generally speaking, I loathe on-camera flash. If you're looking for a deer-in-the-headlight look complete with red-eye and shadows in the background, it's all good.

Yesterday's bird outing was a struggle to shoot birds in dark ground cover, or hidden in the shade of leaves. The only way to do this was to use high ISO and open the lens up, a sacrifice of quality on two levels.

Today I decided to put my "Wannabe Better Beamer" into action. Reading about the Better Beamer product, I was intrigued. Not wanting to order online and await delivery, I just had to build myself one. Using a cut 8x10 reading magnifier, a stapler, and some velcro, I soon had my first flash extender, for less than 10 dollars.

I returned to Toronto's High Park to see if I could find the warblers that eluded me yesterday.

The purpose of a flash extender is no surprise, to extend the throw distance of your flash. It's intended to provide fill, rather than completely lighting up the scene. It also helps project the light beyond a long telephoto lens, which would otherwise get in the way.

While I'm still not crazy about using flash for nature shooting, in shady situations it's a very useful tool to have at your disposal. Using this tool you're able to keep your ISO settings down, avoid noise, and lighten up your subject even if it's 100 feet away. I used it today with the flash exposure dialed down 1.5-2 stops to keep it less pronounced.

I still wouldn't use flash as my first choice, but when trying to shoot very small birds in the shade, the options are limited. This solution can also be useful on dark days.

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