Wacom has had a long-standing history of providing professional-level graphics tablets and pen displays to the creative community. Often with professional tools, there is a professional price tag attached. Wacom products have never been referred to as “cheap.” Reliable, yes. Quality, yes. Great features, yes. But not cheap. That’s all well and good if you work for a design shop and a company is buying them for you. If you’re self-employed or just starting out then the Wacom Cintiq (professional level pen display) probably was out of the question.
I’ve had several Wacom tablets over the years. I use them almost exclusively when I retouch photos and if I ever dabble in creating art. I love my 27″ Cintiq QHD display tablet. However, when I need to take a tablet with me on the go I’ve always preferred carrying a Wacom Intuos Pro Small. With that said, I stopped carrying my previous version. While it was “small” it was still bulky enough to take up more space and weight in my bag than I wanted. My backpack is always heavy. I decided to remove some things to lighten the load. Every ounce matters. I figured I could just use my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil as a tablet if I really needed to. While this solution did work, it just wasn’t the same as a Wacom graphics tablet. Wacom has been refining their pen/tablet technology for years! The newer tablets have a pen that offers 8,192 levels of pressure. This level of precision is amazing. The pen also has configurable buttons on the side and the top can be used as an eraser. Apple Pencil is great, but it just can’t do as many things as you can with a Wacom pen.
The NEW Wacom Intuos Pro Small makes its way back into my life and my backpack!
Apple’s AirPower was supposed to be the only wireless charger you would need. One charging mat that lets you charge an iPhone (or Android), Apple Watch and AirPods. Apple decided to cancel the AirPower before it ever shipped. They sited quality/technical difficulties. I can only imagine that this was because you would have been able to put your phone, watch or AirPods anywhere on the mat. Since the Apple Watch doesn’t use a standard Qi charger I’m sure it was hard to make it work when placed anywhere on the mat.
There are lots of Qi wireless chargers on the market. Some are designed just to charge a phone while other bigger mats are designed to charge two to three devices. I originally went with the Nomad Wireless Charger as it was one of the first to have an integrated Apple Watch charger. The Nomad solution works fine, but what I didn’t like about it was that it was one configuration. You lay your phone on it either vertically or horizontally and you put your watch on the dedicated spot. If you want to charge a third device then you put the phone vertically in the middle. What I don’t like about this is that you have to put the phone on it just right (not to far forward and not too far towards the front) or it won’t be on one of the three charging coils and therefore it won’t charge. I have woke up on occasion only to realize that my phone didn’t charge because it wasn’t sitting on it just right.
SliceCharge Pro offers six high speed charging coils instead of three or four
Thanks to Amazon’s new Influencer Program, I can now put all my gadget and photography recommendations in one place. This is the most complete guide that I’ve ever had simply because Amazon carries so many products. Does this mean that I don’t shop or recommend places like B&H Photo anymore? Absolutely not. I love B&H and quite honestly I will continue to buy my big ticket photography gear and electronics from there. However, there are so many things that I recommend that B&H just doesn’t carry. That’s why I’m stoked to have the opportunity to have my own spot on Amazon. There isn’t anything here that I haven’t used personally. The only possible exception would be a newer version of a gadget or piece of tech that I use that is no longer available.
They are nicely organized by category. You can see my recommendations here.
I’ve been carrying a laptop Mac pretty much since the category was created. Although they have become thinner, lighter and much more powerful than the early days, mobile devices are just easier to bring along. I always have my iPhone with me and in most cases I have my iPad Pro 10.5” with me. The iPad is becoming more and more useful as a potential MacBook Pro replacement. As a matter of fact I’m on a plane as I write this post on my iPad Pro.
When I do a photo shoot on location I either shoot with my Nikon D850 DSLR or my iPhone X. When shooting with the D850 I’m usually anxious to see what I got and share a couple on social media. I rarely share an image right out of the camera. This means that I usually apply a few edits in Lightroom CC on mobile first. While there is a mobile app for Nikon that allows me to wirelessly transfer images to my iOS devices right from the camera, as it stands today it can only transfer JPEGs. This means that I would either need to shoot RAW+JPG or convert individual images into JPG and then transfer them.
There’s a better, safer way
Live streaming has become a big part of my life. So much so that it’s actually a major part of my day job. I stream live Adobe tutorials regularly to YouTube and Facebook. Since this is what I do for a living I wanted to have high production values.
Therefore I setup a dedicated live streaming studio in my home. Being a photographer I’ve setup a few photography studios and no matter how you equip your studio you can always find more gear that you want and ways to improve it. I’ve been building out this live streaming studio since May 2016. I have everything I “need” to do my streams, but I’m always looking out for ways to improve upon what I have.
Like a photography studio, your streaming setup can be very basic or very elaborate
Often when you choose a case for for your smartphone you usually choose between a nice thick case that offers more protection for drops and other mishaps or you choose a case that is thin and protects against scratches. I tend to go for thinner cases as I rarely drop my iPhone. I would go without a case at all if they were scratch proof or less slippery. The thin iPhone X case by totallee is hands down the thinnest case I’ve ever used.
The pros and cons of a thin case
As a portrait photographer I shoot in studio most of the time. One of the side benefits of shooting in a controlled environment like a studio is that you can also shoot tethered to your computer. I’ve been shooting tethered into Lightroom Classic CC for years. While every DSLR out there has a USB port (usually on the side) for image transfer, they are rarely designed for having the cable attached 100% of the time. This is to say that when you’re moving around the cable itself can get pulled and stress the port that it’s plugged into. Unfortunately that stress over time can actually break the connection inside the camera resulting in an expensive repair. Back when I was shooting a D700 I had to have it repaired twice. Just recently I had to have my Nikon D810 repaired. That repair was the most expensive to the tune of a few hundred dollars because it involves having to replace the logic board in the camera.
Reduce the stress and save the port with a TetherBlock
Amazon sells four (five if you count the new “Look”) versions of the Amazon Echo. Three of them, the Echo, the Echo Tap and the Echo Dot are really geared towards obeying your voice commands and playing music. The Echo and Tap have decent built-in speakers, but the Echo Dot is really an Echo with a much smaller speaker. Of course this means that Dot can be sold at a much more attractive $49 price point (currently on sale for $39) and that makes it a no brainer for people look to add Alexa to other rooms. Yes the Dot does have a speaker, but this speaker is really not great for music playback. While you can attach any speaker via the AUX out jack or Bluetooth, it means that it will take up more space having two devices instead of one. Luckily there is a really good speaker that has been designed to be a perfect match for the Echo Dot.
The VAUX is a perfect match to your Echo Dot
I finally got a chance to put my new Lightroom USB Backlit Keyboard to use. Editors Keys has been making dedicated application keyboards and keyboard covers for years. I typically go for the keyboard covers for my MacBook Pro, but when I’m at my desk I had been using a full size Apple USB keyboard. The Apple keyboard is not backlit. I use Lightroom everyday. So if there was a application keyboard to choose for me it would be Lightroom (or Photoshop).