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Other Side Drive: Monday

todayApril 15, 2013

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osd_mondayElectric Eye

By: Alex Frank

Episode 9

This episode covers the importance of going on photo walks.

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    Other Side Drive: Monday

Normally I shoot concerts, and on occasion, sports, what I didn’t do up until recently, is go on photo walks. A photo walk is what it sounds like, going for a walk with your camera. The location really doesn’t matter, photo opportunities are everywhere and you never know what you’re going to get. The importance of going on a photo walk, is that it provides an opportunity for you to exercise your eye, and free your mind creatively. Lately, all my photos have kind of looked the same. During concert shoots, I’ve been going through the motions, and getting solid, but uninspired results.  After going on my first photo walk at Stokes Park, new ideas started popping into my head that will add zazz to my future work.

San Marcos is home to a beautiful river, and great opportunities for photo walks. Stokes park is my favorite spot, especially now since the tubers haven’t ruined it yet, but there are waterfalls, dams, and great things to see. We’ve also got the square, which is full of interesting, old architecture, and depending on the hour, some bonkers people walking around.

An essential part of your photo walk is what you bring with you. There are two basic ways to approach your gear selection, as a minimalist, or in a more robust fashion. Photo walks are a great chance to focus on a single lens, especially if it’s new. The first time I went, I just brought my 24-105L lens, and ended up learning most of its idiosyncrasies. It tends to have noticeable barrel distortion, and light fall off at either end of the focal length, I also got a better feel of how to achieve that creamy bokeh, and where it starts to kick in. The minimalist photo walk also eliminates the convenience of having lots of focal lengths, so your equipment becomes a constant, and the only variable is you. The variety of shots will be solely reliant on what you can do, so emphasis will shift even more towards creative composition, using your feet as the zoom if you’re using a prime lens, and pretty much everything else.

On my next walk, I took 3 lenses, my 8mm, 50mm, and the 24-105L, and my flash. This load-out, is the maximum amount of gear I bring to events, give or take a monopod. I brought the flash because my camera doesn’t have a built-in one, and because you really need it in the woods if you’re using the fisheye, and in some cases the 24-105. I also got a wider variety of shots when I took this approach. I didn’t learn as much, but I had more options to achieve more creative shots. On my next outing, I’ll probably also bring my wireless flash setup so I can get creative with lighting, which was my biggest gripe on my walk.

Photo walks are also a great chance to bring a friend along, my photo bag just happens to be the right size for a 6-pack of tall boys, so share the experience. It’s also nice to bounce ideas off each other, and both of you will go home better photographers. Teaching is one of the best ways to hammer knowledge into your long-term memory, and there’s a good chance that you’ll learn something new while teaching. I went with a friend recently, and we had a killer time, we’re at different skill levels, and have vastly different gear, but that made the trip more fruitful in my opinion.

An aspect of photography that I’ve always been interested in, but never actually taken part of, is macro photography. Macro photography, also known as extreme-close-up photography, with the subject being either small, like an insect, or some type of matter with an interesting patter, like wood, or if you’re putting this on instagram, a crack in the sidewalk. The type of lens you’ll need typically has a ratio greater than 1:1 image reproduction. For example, my 24-105L lens has roughly 25%, and would benefit from an extension tube. It’s far from the best macro lens, but it’s the only thing I have that’s even remotely capable. Also, the lens will probably say macro on it, and will also have its minimum focusing distance, which on my macro lens, is 1 and a half feet, so I can get reasonably close.  During my photo walk, I took an interesting picture of a carpenter ant on a tree with protruding bark, that looked like canyons. I hadn’t planned on taking any macro shots, but it just panned out while on my walk.

If you’re feeling like you’re in a creative rut, go on a photo walk, hopefully you’ll be inspired, or learn something new about your equipment. You never know what you’re going to learn after a photo walk, that’s part of the fun!

Tech Talk

By: Colton Matocha

Episode 9

This week in technology news researchers in Tokyo develop a TV that emits smells, and a professional golfer gets a golf themed hovercraft!

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    Other Side Drive: Monday

You may think your new 3D tv is the talk of the town but your tv, and your dreams of beating the johnsons may soon fall from your grasp. This is because researchers at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology have created a TV that uses three of your senses rather than just two! ‘Smell-O-Vision’ as it is called, is a television that emit smells in addition to audio and video. Audiences in theaters and at home have always enjoyed immersing themselves in a good movie. This fact is prevalent in consumers desire to purchase TV’s with better and larger pictures, and to have surround sound or 3D images pop out at you. ‘Smell-O-Vision’ appears to be the next step in that goal. This is not to say that this technology hasn’t existed before in some fashion. In the past movie theaters like I-max have introduced smells into movies by floating odors into the air. This unfortunately would not work well in a home theater because likely you don’t have employees to perform this job. This is where Smell-O-Vision comes into play. The screen is quite a bit more sophisticated than previous attempts because the smell is actually emitting from the screen itself. The experimental screens actually house the smell which is then distributed via four cleverly placed fans. If you’re worried about noise you shouldn’t be. The fans can be set so low that hearing or feeling the air is nearly impossible while still delivering enough power to push out the smell. If Smell-O-Vision is realized it would certainly revolutionize the film and TV industry. The question that is put forward is which smells would be used? Certainly watching the food network would be more appealing, but what about a gory war movie, or worse a ZOMBIE film? Would we really expect to smell rotting bodies? In any case the technology is still a ways away from making it into your homes and hopefully developers will answer many of the fresh and not so fresh questions arising.

Japanese scientists unveil Smell-o-Vision TV
Photo Courtesy of Slash Gear

Why be forced to stick to the golf course roadways when you can simply travel over water hazards and sand traps? That’s just what professional golfer Bubba Watson was thinking, and lucky for him, his friend Oakley was keen on making that dream reality. Oakley has recently given Watson his own hovercraft capable of traveling literally any place on the golf course! While the sport, golf, gets its share of technological innovations the course itself doesn’t see too much. This makes the new hovercraft all the more interesting and impressive. In the past Watson was forced to travel in a golf cart on paths designated for travel. Now with his new golf themed hovercraft he can literally travel anywhere. As mentioned the hovercraft itself is golf themed white, and even includes compartments to hold clubs and a traditional buggy canopy to shade passengers. Will golf ever be the same? Can’t wait to see what other golfers bring to the table!

Oakley gives Bubba Watson a hovercraft to replace his golf cart video
Photo Courtesy of engadget

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