Social Connections


I hate upgrading. I know that sounds odd, especially from a techno-junkie. I mean, I love to have the latest and greatest gizmo and gadget, but the upgrading part I could do without. It never goes well, and it always feels like you have to take one step backwards to get your two steps forward. Sometimes those numbers are reversed. With all the sophisticated features and functionality built into the next release, you'd think that someone would come up with a system that simply moves my world forward. Instead, it beckons me onward to the new world...but only if I'm willing to leave my entire old world behind.

Look at the PC upgrade process. I get my machine setup exactly as I want it. My favourites are all configured. My desktop is cluttered (but in that semi-structured way that only I can decode). My applications are all installed. My preferences, and network choices, and peripherals are all operational, exactly as I want them. Then I world is empty again. I have to start from scratch. I have to re-install my apps, re-configure peripherals, and re-clutter my desktop. Why?

It's also a very scary process. Last night I took one of the most user-friendly tech gadgets in recent memory, my iPad, and moved it forward to the next operating system level (iOS 5). I didn't really want to do it. I didn't really need to do it. But some of my apps required it. I held my breath most of the time during the install. My stress level increased. It wasn't pleasant. The downside potential was very real. Several of my friends had turned their lovely tablets and smart phones into high-tech bricks during this process, requiring them to start entirely from scratch. Luckily, my experience was more stable, although no more pleasing. Unfortunately, the corresponding iTunes is now messing with my iPod Touch. ARRGG!

In this industry we have some responsibilities. One is to keep pushing the envelope, and moving technology forward. The other is less well understand and followed....we MUST respect the past and bring it forward into the future. I realize it's a tradeoff. We don't want to be held back by old baggage. But that old baggage contains all my old stuff in it. And I like my stuff.

Think about the process of upgrading when you build your next great product. And try and keep the two steps forward plan without the one step back.



Autumn Leaves

Autumn (or Fall if you prefer) is a very special time for a photographer. It's the time of the year when Mother Nature uses up all the paint she's had throughout the year, before it expires in the Winter. The colours are warm, and rich, and simply fabulous!

Fall (or Autumn if you prefer, I'm fully bilingual) as a season officially lasts one-quarter of the year, but there is only a few weeks where magic happens for us photographers. It varies by location, and by year, so you have to keep your eyes open. I find that my best indicator is to look for reds. In my area, the red leaves tend to come and go very quickly, leaving a more yellow and green palette. While still nice, the reds add some needed pop to a photograph, and shouldn't be missed.

Capturing all this richness isn't as simple as pointing and clicking (it never is). You have to frame your image with a view to balancing the colour, as well as the other physical elements. And if you have a polarizing filter, this is the time to make good use of it. Leaves tend to reflect a lot of light. These reflections only create glare that reduces the contrast in the image and dulls the rich colours you're trying to capture.

If you time it right, and think about colour first, you'll have a wonderful image to keep you going through those long winter months.



A New System Administrator is Born

My older son has a laptop. He bought it with his own money, and he loves it! He has become very proficient at it, and uses it for games, homework assignments (really!), programming tasks, music, social communications, etc. He has developed quite an affinity for it, and is even talking about a career in the industry. I can't say I'm all that upset about it.

Now my younger son wants one too. He doesn't have the same connection with computers, but in all honesty, hasn't been given the same opportunities yet either, so you never know. I don't want to deprive him of the experience. I also don't want to spend my life being his system administrator, cleaning up the mess he makes. I've already had to rebuild the shared system in the kitchen, due to some...uhhh...unfortunate visits to non-safe websites.

The act of buying a computer today is much different than it was a decade ago. There are many subtle choices to be made, but basically every computer that exists today is one hundred times better than anything that existed a decade ago (thanks Mr. Moore), and usually ten times better than what you really need. I mean, how much processing is required to move some numbers around, edit an email, or browse the web?

And the cost is PHENOMENAL! I used to put away $2,000 before I even thought about buying a new machine. Now, a few hundred dollars gets you something with a decent dual-core processor, sufficient disk space, webcam, operating system, wireless connectivity, etc. It's quite the marvel of modern technological advancement.

So, I suppose I'll let him crawl into the often maddening but always exciting world of computer system ownership. Hopefully his brother will share the load of system administration training with me, and together we can teach him a thing or two. Hopefully it's more about the wonders of science and logic than it is about viruses and dark corners of the Internet. Either way, it's bound to be an adventure.

Oh ya...and the best part of it all is....I'll regain the use of my iPad again! That makes it all totally worth it.