iRig Mic HD – Citizen Journalism On A Budget

The folks at iK Multimedia make some great products for the musician: mics, stands, pre-amps and apps, at a very affordable price for high quality recording tools.
Sure, if you are the next Bob Dylan, this is great news.
I’m not.
I’m a curious tourist who like to capture life around me, either in stills or video.
Truly the iPhone 6 is a brilliant device, and capturing and sharing video and photos couldn’t be easier.
But the built-in microphone is not very discerning.
While on the hunt for a directional, quality mic, that, yes, would plug into my iPhone or iPad, I came across the iRig Mic HD.
With specs like any pro mic, this handheld unit will plug directly into your device, and let you monitor via the headphone jack.
Plus my mic flag fits perfectly.
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Now, on the fly, it is a 2 handed deal, yet totally manageable.
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Or, in a sit down interview, use a phone stand to keep the video framed and keep the mic in play.
As a directional mic, it will record what’s in front of it: not on the side, or behind it. Put the viewers attention where you want it.
Now you can use this in a 2 person crew situation, where one person handles the camera, and the interviewer or commentator handles the mic.
You see, if you use a mic attached to the phone/tablet directly by the jack, without a cable, you’ll have to move the unit to get closer with the mic. Not great for the camera work.And if you hold the iPhone in one place, the audio won’t be as specific.

It comes with all you see here:
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Mic, Pouch, Mic Stand adapter, Thunderbolt cable for your iPhone and iPad, and a USB cable to go directly into your computer for podcasts.
It does have a gain control which will light up red of you are too loud, and in danger of distortion.
Due to my use of a flag, it does block the knob, but I have an idea of volume so I set it and forget it.

The big awesome kicker are the available apps. If you want a robust digital recording studio on your smartphone, this is $10 well spent.
And you don’t need to get the full deal.
You can still use the free iRig VocaLive app, or the iRig Recorder, and do some pretty cool stuff.
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Features

•Affordable handheld digital condenser microphone for capturing audio on the go
•Plugs directly into the digital input on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac/PC via its included 1.5m (59”) Lightning and USB cables
•High-quality 24-bit, audiophile-grade A/D converter
•44.1 – 48 kHz sampling rate
•Gain control with multicolor LED indicator (green-good, red – overmodulated)
•Handheld design — also compatible with standard mic stands
•App/software bundle*, mic clip and carry bag included
•iRig Recorder, VocaLive and AmpliTube (iOS & Mac/PC versions) included
•Available in black or silver version
•30-pin cable available separately. Maybe you have a older iPad or iPhone you want to dedicate to this.

So if your a roving reporter, citizen journalist who wants to be ready, or the next Justin Beiber (save us) who needs to post your vocal stylings, this is a well priced, high quality mic for your tool kit. Pick it up at Amazon for about $100.

July 4th Fireworks Photos! A Simple Guide to Cool Images

(This is a previously published article, but the fireworks haven’t changed, so it should all still hold true.)

Living in A Powder Keg and Giving Off Sparks!

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What is it about fireworks that draws us close, cause us to emit uncontrollable ooohs and ahhhhs, and brings a group experience unlike any other? That shared , almost primal feeling of amazement at seeing those colored explosives, bursting in air, and the crescendo of the finale, is an experience like no other.

Here are some tips on creating your own iconic images. And some more. Here too.

Want the basics?

1. Shoot with a tripod
2. No Flash
3. ISO 100 is sufficient
4. Photograph peoples reactions too. You may want to get those ooohhs and ahhhhsss on record. Mass happy reactions! Remember-no flash!
5. Experiment with focal lengths for a new look at the same patterns.
6. Set your focus to infinity
7. Shutter speed should be set to “bulb” or shoot 1-4 secs. Experiment!
OR
Set your point and shoot to “Fireworks” and shoot away. You may not get the best , but you’ll have a memory.

And have a happy and safe 4th!
For all of our friends around the world, keep these tips handy for your country’s celebrations.
Hmmmm…maybe July 14th for our French photographers.

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CE WEEK – A Fast Look at Some Cool New Tech

It’s the halfway mark to CES in Las Vegas, and CE WEEK has come to NYC.
What that means is that a lot of new tech that may be useful for you as a photog, or just tech for your life is getting shown off. Haven’t put into a real world review situation yet, but looks good at first gut reaction.

Here is a quick look at what caught my eye:

The folks at Leef design showed off a flash drive with 16g to 256 gb for your smartphone, giving you tons more storage in your hand.
The cool factor with the iBridge is the design. With a gently curved form, one plugged into your phone, it sits in the natural nook of your palm. Store your media here and use the sweet app it comes with:
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Then, the good folks at Olloclip iPhone lenses (always in my bag)have an action set with a wide angle and telephoto on one mount, PLUS a case to take care of that ” take off,put on case” issue.
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Next up, iRig, who has been a good friend to the musician forever introduced a studio quality mic at a under $200, price point. Connect direct into your iPad, iPhone using their mic room app. AND you can monintor using the headphone jack in the back of the mic.
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They also introduced their mini tripod, iPhone holder (selfie stick if you must) for a compact holder system.
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And if you want to add you own favorite mic, including XLR units, they make a compact pre-amp that’ll take that and even a 1/4 in. plug-in.
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I’m about to work with the handheld digital mic that plus directly into my iPhone for easy walk-around interviews.
Review to come.

OK, I’ve been holding off getting a pen that reads my writing, sends it to my phone, laptop, iPad, is searchable, etc. while, this is the important point: is comfortable in my HAND. I think I’ve found it: the Neo smartpen N2
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MyCharge HubUltra has a mega battery, 12000mAh, in a small package. With built in cables, you need this for the long hauls.
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We must all be dropping our phones, because I saw a bunch of clip systems for your holding security.
One of the easiest to use was the FlyGrip, which attached by 3m Mounting glue to whatever case you like.
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In the audio area, these bluetooth earbuds from JLab,look promising with enough ways to customize a fit, to make it comfortable for you. About time!
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Is the age of douchebaggery over via wearing earpieces for your phone? This company, Clip&Talk is banking on it with a new device that has a spring clip to keep the device at hand, a swing arm to charge, and a micro-sd card holder. Coming soon is a health tech version. We do take all of out temps via the ear, so this device give you some solid info via their app. Health version coming in a few months.
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And if you watch Amy Schumer, they had a skit on her last show that used this next product, Ripples, or something like it: A machine that puts cool designs on your coffee. More of a barrista’s dream, but a funny bit of tech to see.
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And of course one of my fave frames, the Padcaster, got an interview. You’ve seen it used in an Apple commercial so it may look familiar.
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That was the first blush, and I may have forgotten some things but I’ll add them shortly

Real World Review: Nikon D750 – A Lot To Love In A Smaller Package

First of all, I’d like to say that Nikon has totally gotten the Wi-Fi right! The Nikon D750 works like crazy.
After shooting for the day at the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island, I was transferring the photos to my phone while on the subway and posting to social media, immediately.
Right until the subway went underground.
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Just had to open with that as I’m very excited about that feature. (yes, used a bit of Instagram filtration)

Ok, let’s get down to rest of the real world review.
The Nikon D750 has become the choice for photographers everywhere with good reason.
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Smaller form factor than the D810, outstanding auto-focus choices, (I go for the c with a single) and a ton more.

The auto-focus was super fast and dead on. The choices of the grouping of focus points was a fun exercise till I found the right one. Went with a group of 4.
The range of the focus points, while still at 51,like the D810, had a smaller overall coverage on the whole versus the D810.

The new deeper grip,smaller size, and weight made the D750 a very comfortable camera for a day’s walkabout. Felt the difference from the D810 immediately. I have been going with a wrist grip from Cotton Carrier for the street shooting. Always in the hand, and always ready. The lighter weight and smaller footprint help that comfort factor.

Another added feature is the U1 and U2 choices for setting your customized settings depending on the situation. Easy to get to and very handy in a rush.

Some photogs have even been posting their settings for landscapes and portraits for you to emulate, but it’ll tag the images with their metadata if you go that way.

Find you own way on this front. Experiment and customize to your specific needs.

Another asked for and answered feature is the variable angle LCD.
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get all artsy and shoot the ground.
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Finally! The real deal vari-angle LCD on a full frame Nikon camera. Great addition for the street photography side as well. My favorite use is shooting above a crowd, in what call the Hail Mary shot.

The megapixel wars rages on, but this unit sits at a very comfortable 24mp. That is your first difference with the D810. 36mp vs. 24mp. What you need, depends on what you shoot. Are you in the studio? Landscapes? Still lifes? More MP is always good, but you’ll pay and extra $1000. for that. Maybe use that money towards good glass.

Here is a shot right out of the camera. No post.
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And a blowup from that frame:
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Photo details:
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The 24MP could be all you are looking for.

The advantage of the Nikon system is also the legacy of the developed tech.
You will get an outstanding video camera in the d750, and many of the same features in the D810 are present.

Like the D810, the D750 can output uncompressed video to an external recorder and simultaneously record compressed video to one of the SD cards. The camera has built in stereo microphones but also features a 3.5mm jack for an external microphone or headphone. I’m a fan of the flat pass ( kinda like video RAW)
Remember, you’ll have to get you post production chops honed if you want to use the flat pass, which need to be color corrected to the best advantage. A skill you can learn that will give you a better image, in my eyes. Or go with the color from the camera, which is still awesome.

And another word about the Wi-Fi: no more Nikon dongles!
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The app worked flawlessly, and the connection from the camera to my iPhone was fast. I was able to review over 1000 images pretty quick and post appropriately. Admittedly, it was Instagram and Facebook, but that what we do.
And not a clunky proprietary site that made a transfer hard. They smoothed out the rough edges. As you can see, it loaded the JPGs and NEFs. I always shoot both, so I can post a smaller file fast. Last year, The Guardian in the UK contacted me 10 minutes after I posted an Instagram shot asking to use it, with credit. Heck yeah!

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2 SD card slots, so the death of the CF card seems all but assured in the consumer world.

You do get some scene choices and I’m always a fan of the “miniature” selection but it works best from a rooftop, or anywhere you can back off enough to have a spatial differential.
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A strange choice on the inputs was to go with USB 2 instead of USB 3, or another faster transfer technology.
Yes, there is a mic input, and yes, just use it as a guide track for your real external mic.Of, course a headphone jack.

So……
*24 MP
*Smaller body
*Full Frame
*Variable angle LCD
*Built in Wi-Fi
*Shutter life of 150,000 actuations
*6.5fps (15 RAW at this speed)

Other features include Zebra patterning to indicate overexposed highlights on the screen when shooting video, but I wish it had Zebra focusing, OK,maybe in a software upgrade.

It is a perfect upgrade from a D700, and $1000 less expensive than a D810.

You will use this camera for a good long time. Pick up the Nikon D750 at BH with a whole bunch of extras thrown in, for about $2000 USD.

Wyatt Neumann : Last Notes From The Road

please see note at bottom of post.

First posted this in May, 2009, Wyatt Neumann, photographer, has recently become a cause célèbre for his photographs of his children posted online. A loving, devoted,father, this series has become a polarizing discussion of artist rights.
But he’s a good photographer. Have a look at some of his work before the controversy.The Flickr link is working. Forget the madness.

We met this guy over cocktails in the south of France and knew from his incredible energy, he had a definite point of view of the world. A very intense one.
In the night heat of the June coast of the Riviera, you could easily sense that this photographer/director, was just about to burst out of his skin, in a good way. He was going to tell you things you may not have heard. Or wanted to hear. Some random, Hunter Thompson moment was probably not that far off in the future.

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And now, he’s told us about his intense love of life, and that perspective, through his first time exhibit of photographs called “Elephants and Boa Constrictors”.
Some of you may know the reference to “The Little Prince” from the first page of that classic childrens book by Antoine de Saint-Exupry.

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Now here is the thing about this show: it consisted of 427 photos printed 3.5″x3.5″ and hung linearly in random order. It was up for one night, only.
We missed it.
But now it lives on Flickr

We watched it in a slide show version from Flickr, which is what we recommend .

Darn it, got ahead of ourselves for a second. Where were we…..?

Oh right. The images.

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The imagery is of a world that Wyatt has traveled, seen, experienced, and shares with us, not in a Robert Frank way, but in what we imagine a Jack Keroac way would be. It’s a bit more personal, more poetic, and in your face, as the artist himself is.
There is no denying the intensity of the images, or the original. The people in his path across the US, and the constants in his life appear periodically through the random stream of images, which together, get you on a journey, very hand crafted by Mr. Neumann.

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The vignetting of each image, focuses your eye to the main story, and frames the subjects with a certain respect. Not a raw, harsh, reality yet still authentic and true.
And there are tender moments. The lighting belies those, as they become a respite, and help the viewer move through the series with a balanced life.
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Wyatt has brought his emotions to the surface here, and there is little between you and the image to buffer it.

Did the small print images get the viewer closer to review the images in person, to make it more intimate ?
Or does the slide show on Flickr give you time to breath in and experience each image on it’s own?
Your call, but it was a great use of our time to watch the random linear tales unfold on the screen.

It’s a rich trip you can take right from your desktop. Enjoy the ride.
And safe travels.

3452794359_d3fce45515 © Wyatt Neumann

Last week we lost a friend, Wyatt Neumann.
While riding his motorcycle he suffered a brain aneurysm, and lost control of his bike. He tragically died on Friday, leaving his wife, and 2 very young children.
He lived life to the fullest, and doted on his children.
This is a guy who set up a gallery sale and auction of photographs, to help out out the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Maybe we can return the generosity he showed.
If you feel you can, please donate to this fund for his family.

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Upcoming Events

  • Photoshopworld
  • August 10-13, 2015
  • Mandalay Bay Hotel
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • N1-800-201-7323

Is there an event we should know about?
Let us know on twitter.

Current Exhibitions

  • Clampart
  • Lindsay Morris | You Are You
  • Through Aug. 21st 20th, 2015
  • 531 W 25th St
  • New York,NY 10001
  • Tel: 212-414-0370
  • Getty Center
  • Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography
  • April 14th – September 6th, 2015
  • 1200 Getty Center Drive
  • Los Angeles, CA. 90049
  • Tel: 310-440-7300
  • Yossi Milo Gallery
  • Jacob Aue Sobol
    Arrivals and Departures
  • July 16–August 28, 2015
  • 245 Tenth Avenue
  • New York,NY 10001
  • Tel: 212-414-0370
  • Howard Greenberg Gallery
  • Land Lines
  • Through September 4th, 2015
  • 41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406
  • New York,NY 10022
  • Tel: 212-334-0100
  • Staley-Wise Gallery
  • BERT STERN: FROM THE ARCHIVES OF BERT STERN: Part II
  • Through Auguts 28th, 2015
  • 560 Broadway
  • New York,NY
  • 10012
  • Phone: 1-212-966-6223
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola
  • Through Oct. 4th,, 2015
  • 11 West 53rd Street
  • NYC,NY
  • 10019-5497
  • (212) 708-9400
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Fatal Attraction
    Piotr Uklański Photographs
  • Through August 16th, 2015
  • 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street)
  • New York, NY 10028
  • Phone: 212-535-7710

Is there an exhibition we’re missing? Let us know on twitter.

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