My 2011 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide is Here!

 

That's right it's my guide to help you with you holiday shopping for the gadget lover (freak) on your list. The way this thing started was each year towards the holiday season all my friends started asking me and emailing about what my picks were in various categories and of course the answers were usually the same. So I decided to compile a list and just email it to the folks that asked.

Once again I've put together a Holiday Gadget Gift Guide to help you pick out gifts for the techies and gadget lovers on your gift list. I've chosen Amazon.com simply because they are the one online retailer with not only the largest presence, but also the one that carries 99% of the items I recommend. Another advantage is that I can continue to add things that come up all the way up to the final days of the holiday season. In previous years I would always find some cool gadgets after the static gift guide was published. Now because they don't carry every single item on my recommendation list, you can check for some Extras at the bottom of this post.

 

How did you pick the items that you recommend?

Simple! If it's in my guide it's because I either use it now, have used it in the past or one of my close friends or colleagues use it and I trust their opinion. Now in some cases there may be an item in the guide that is NEWER than the one I use and I had to list that one because my model is no longer available. Unless I've used it or know someone who has, it doesn't get in PERIOD.

 

How does the gift guide work?

The guide is broken out by Category so that you can shop accordingly. This way you can pick your gift by the kind of person you're shopping for. I know that sometimes you have to buy a gift based on a certain dollar amount or budget (like gifts for co-workers), so I've given you a couple of dollar amount categories too. Happy shopping and in case I don't see you later, Happy Holidays to you and your family! You can go straight to my 2011 Holiday Gift Guide here.

 

 

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How to Publish Your Photos From Lightroom Directly to Google+

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5viFc6MwA4

 

In this episode of the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast I'll show you How to Publish Your Photos from Lightroom Directly To Google+. Special thanks goes out to Tom Roper for leading me to this tip. 

Get the Lightroom Picasa Plug-in here.

Add me on Google+ Here.

See the resulting Google+ "Recent Work" gallery here.

Also don't forget that Lightroom 3 is currently ON SALE for HALF OFF here.

See more of my Adobe Creative Suite Videos on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and get the App here. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see. This episode has a BONUS CLIP that is available only in the App:

Learn Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White - Wizzard Media

PS. My iOS App just got an update that fixes the iOS 5 video playback problem and adds the following features:

  • Retina Display Graphics
  • A new tab bar interface
  • Swiping to the left and right from the episode detail page will go to the next or previous episode
  • UI enhancements
  • Faster show loading
  • Minor bug fixes

 



Lightroom 3 on Sale for 50% once again!

If you missed out on the last 50% off sale on Lightroom, here's your chance to snag it at half off. You can grab it here Windows/Mac in the same box for $149.99.



How to Use Lightroom 3’s Smart Collections in Publish Services

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41Oy6vV17Hs

 

In this episode of the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast I'll show you how to combine the use of Smart Collections and the Publish Services in Lightroom 3 to publish and maintain the same collection of photos on multiple social networking sites such as Flickr, Facebook and Smugmug.

See more of my Adobe Creative Suite Videos on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and get the App here. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see. This episode has a BONUS CLIP that is available only in the App:

Learn Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White - Wizzard Media

PS. My iOS App just got an update that fixes the iOS 5 video playback problem and adds the following features:

  • Retina Display Graphics
  • A new tab bar interface
  • Swiping to the left and right from the episode detail page will go to the next or previous episode
  • UI enhancements
  • Faster show loading
  • Minor bug fixes

 



My Desert Fashion Shoot

 

You might remember my photographic adventure from a couple of years ago where I visited Page AZ to shoot the slot canyons and Horseshoe Bend. During that trip I knew that I wanted to go back and some day do a fashion shoot there.

 

The funny thing about this is that you would think this would be an everyday event for photographers, but really it's not. You can find tons of images of Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, but very rarely do you ever see images with models in them (unless they've been composited in afterwards). 

 

 

Having been there once before I kinda know why this is rare. First of all this area is kinda in the middle of no where! So if you're wanting to shoot a model in this location you're most likely going to have to bring one in. 

 

The second problem is that it's not that easy to get to. While there are small airports in the area, most of them don't have the major airlines. This means flying into Phoenix and driving for 4-5 hours to get there. (BTW: She's freezing her butt off, but she'd never let it show!)

 

Luckily I was already on the west coast doing the HOW Interactive Design Conference in San Francisco, so all I had to do was fly from San Fran to Phoenix and meet the model there for the drive to Page on Saturday. I chose my favorite model, Kandice Lynn for this trip because there's one thing that I realized about Kandice. Not only do I get great shots when I work with her, she's also not a "diva". LOL

 

Kandice accepted the challenge of extreme temperatures, hiking in the desert, making quick wardrobe changes, hair and makeup. 

 

What I learned…

The best times to vist this area are April and October. Due to our schedules we couldn't go until November. You would think that a few weeks wouldn't make that big of a difference in climate and light, but it does! It was FREEZING! As soon as we got out of Phoenix and started heading north we were shocked to see snow on the ground!!! Pretty, yes, but it would kill the shoot. We called ahead to see if there was snow on the ground in Page and luckily there wasn't (YET). 

 

The next thing I learned was that while the slot canyons are BEAUTIFUL and you can have wonderful rays of light coming in. The time of year also affects this. I knew from doing a little reading that we would NOT have the rays of light due to the fact that the sun would be in a different postion.

However, what I didn't think about was that on an overcast Fall day that the canyons would be just that much darker. While this isn't a problem shooting long exposures on a tripod, it becomes a challenge shooting a live subject due to the fact that no human being can stand perfectly still that long. This means either shooting at a higher ISO or introducing lights. They kinda frown upon flash photography in the canyons. Therefore I had to make the best of the combination of finding the right spots and working at higher ISOs. Lastly the light isn't as warm on the walls as it is in April and October, so you have to really look for the bright vibrant colors that would normally be everywhere!

 

Of course shooting in the desert there are no restrictions on bringing speed lights. I used my Gitzo tripod as a light stand to hold my SB800 and FlashBender.

 

Once again there's Kandice being a trooper laying on the cold hard desert terrain to get the shot!

 

Yeah I know the cropping is a bit tight at the bottom of this shot, but it's the one she really liked best.

 

The gratuitous car shot :)

 

Photo by iPhone photographer Kandice Lynn

 

All in all it was a fun trip and as always I'm learning more and more about this whole photography thing.



Apple TV Update Sneaks in a New Photo Wall Screen Saver

I use Apple TV's and HDTV's throughout my studio to display my photography. When I did my last update to Apple TV for some reason it forced a factory reset and while it was no big deal to set it up again, I discovered that there were a couple new choices in the Slideshow/Screensaver area. One of them is called Photo Wall.  I love this one because not only does it frame your images in a variety of nice frames that float by, it adds nice touches like mattes and a 3D spin when it hits the corner of the virtual room. It's like you're walking along a wall of photos and you get to the corner and turn to walk down the next wall. Nicely done!

You can get an Apple TV 2nd Gen here for $99.



Review: Looxcie LX2 Wearable Video Camera

Have you ever had one of those moments that you wished you had a video camera in your glasses? If so it was probably because what you were witnessing you knew no one would believe you. :) While I don't quite have a video camera in my glasses just yet (or a heads up display either), I do find the Looxcie LX2 to be a viable alternative. At first glance it looks like one of the early (fairly large and obnoxious) bluetooth headsets that people used to wear. You know the ones with the big flashing blue light that everyone else but you could see? However, what we have here is a very capable video camera that captures up to 480p video and audio to a built-in 2GB memory chip. Oh by the way, it's also a bluetooth headset (sans the blue flashing light too). I've seen and used small video recorders disguised  as other things before. Typically while they worked, the resulting video quality was poor. That's not the case with the Looxcie LX2. I was actually quite impressed with the quality of the video considering the relatively small form factor and low cost. Yes it would be nice if it were 720p HD, but for the most common use cases for this kind of camera the 480p quality is usually more than enough.

 

How well does it work?

The Looxcie LX2 comes with a USB cable and various ear gels and over the ear clips for you to get the right size. You can charge it via USB and of course connect it to your computer to access the video files. You turn it on/off via a switch on the inner side of the unit. Once it's on you can start and stop recordings with a dedicated button as well as answer calls/hang up on a second dedicated button. There is a green status light so that you know if it's on and a red light on the front to indicate recording.

Rather Borgish, but hey, it works. Once you record your clips, just plug it into your Mac/PC to retrieve them. They are in .MP4 format. There is no zoom or any other manual controls on the device itself. It does autofocus. 

 

It gets so much better with the Looxcie Mobile Apps

While the device works as advertised and as I've indicated above, it's soooo much better if you have an iOS or Android device. You can download their FREE mobile Apps that not only allow you to control the camera via bluetooth, but also serve as a LIVE LCD Viewfinder so that you can see on your device what the camera sees in real-time (not the same quality of course). Very Mission Impossible like. You can even edit and share the footage you just captured right from your phone. Sweet!

You can get the LooxcieCAM (basic recording functions) for free here from the iTunes or here from the Android Market

You can get the LooxcieMoments (capture, editing, sharing) for free here from theiTunes or here from the Android Market

 

 

Here's a 1st attempt at doing a quick recording walking around the yard

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C27x_QJXTdY

 

The Bottom Line

This is a really cool gadget! I can think of a few good uses for it. While ti could also be used for evil, so can most gadgets. I'd like to see it get down to about half the current size. Perhaps in the LX3 some day. You can get the Looxcie LX2 here for about $149.



How to Create Scrolling Content for your Digital Tablet Publication in InDesign CS 5.5

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gsl85KSbwug

 

One of the questions that came up during my New Class at Photoshop World on creating Digital Portfolios for your tablet was "how do I create scrolling content?" There was always a way to do it with the DPS tools for InDesign, but it just got a whole lot simpler with the latest update to the DPS tools. In this video I show you just how easy it is now.

See more of my Adobe Creative Suite Videos on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and get the App here. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see. This episode has a BONUS CLIP that is available only in the App:

Learn Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White - Wizzard Media

PS. My iOS App just got an update that fixes the iOS 5 video playback problem and adds the following features:

  • Retina Display Graphics
  • A new tab bar interface
  • Swiping to the left and right from the episode detail page will go to the next or previous episode
  • UI enhancements
  • Faster show loading
  • Minor bug fixes

 



iHome iW1 AirPlay Speaker – Video Review

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6M_HvgoRiM

Not long ago I did a post on the "State of AirPlay" speakers and at the time I couldn't get my hands on the long awaited iHome iW1 AirPlay Speaker. While this speaker is stil in short supply I was able to snag one at my local Apple Store. Rather than write a review I decided to record a short video on why this speaker rocks!

As of the writing of this post, most places are still out of stock. However, you can check this link for availability. List price is $299.99



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