I’ve been building out my smart home since 2016. I use all three leading smart home platforms: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Home and while each one has its advantages, Apple HomeKit is my platform of choice as it does the most. While just about any device can be controlled via an app, what makes a smart home really smart is when you can control multiple devices with a single voice command, scene or automation. With HomeKit I have automations setup like “Going Upstairs” which locks the entry doors, turns off the patio fans, turns off the family room lights and fan, turns on the hallway lights, changes colors of the Hue lights in the bedroom, makes sure the garage doors are closed, arms the alarm “home”, closes the blinds and turns off the TV downstairs. There is no other platform besides HomeKit that would let me do all of those things using devices from so many different manufacturers, with one command.
I wanted to create this video last year and then the pandemic hit and I decided to postpone it. I finally sat down to create it and here it is:
Although I put the links to everything in the video description, there is a character limit and I couldn’t go into much detail. Therefore I’ve also put the descriptions and links to each product below:
As we look to the end of the pandemic I’m happy with the prospect of traveling again for business and pleasure. However, live streaming will still be a big part of my day job. I live stream multiple times per week as part of my job at Adobe. I stream live Adobe tutorials regularly to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Behance as well. Since this is what I do for a living I’m always looking to improve my production values.
I have been tweaking my dedicated live streaming studio since 2016. Being a photographer I’ve set up 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 or make it easier to do my streams.
As with a photography studio, your streaming setup can be very basic or very elaborate
I’m fortunate that I get to use great Macs and PCs for work. Usually, the longest I have to wait for a work upgrade is three years unless there is a compelling case to upgrade sooner. Also, companies like HP will often even send me a new laptop to show off the latest capabilities with our latest apps at work. That’s all fine and good for my work systems, but what about my “personal computer?”
My personal computer choice is a MacBook Air
I’ve always liked the MacBook Air for my personal needs, mainly because of its size and weight (or lack thereof). When I do personal travel, I want to take a computer that weighs next to nothing but still gets the job done. My last MacBook Air was the 2012 Core i7 model with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. While this system still works nine years later, it’s starting to show its age when you put the latest operating system on it and the latest applications. I knew it was time to upgrade, and luckily Apple had just introduced Macs with Apple’s new chips. The M1 chip is Apple’s first microprocessor to power a Mac.
This is not the first time Apple has switched Mac processor suppliers.
Photographing a subject straight down from the camera’s point of view can be harder than it sounds. Tripods and ballheads are designed to allow you a capture nice steady shot in either portrait or landscape view. With a ballhead you can easily swivel the attached camera 360° while tilting it up, down and sideways. Even if your ballhead allows you to point the camera straight down you’re likely to see the legs of the tripod in your shot.
Arkon solved this problem for DSLRs, Mirrorless, Smartphones and Tablets
The NEW Clamp Stand for DSLR Camera, Tablet, or Phone is an arm that attaches to a table or desk and let’s you shoot straight down without the actual stand being in your shot. Arkon has several mounts and arms for smartphones and tablets, but most of those aren’t suitable for bigger cameras due to the weight of a DSLR/Mirrorless and the attached lenses.
This new Clamp Stand for DSLRs is designed from the ground up to hold bigger devices. It extends up to 29.5″ tall (from the clamp on the table) and extends out to 27.75″. This gives you plenty of clearance to photograph your subject without the stand being in the way.
On the end of the arm there is a standard 1/4-20 screw/mount which is found on the bottom of just about all cameras. They also include a phone holder and tablet holder for mobile applications.
Hello everyone, I just wanted to take a moment and share an amazing site for finding COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments in Your State. I recently became eligible here in Georgia to get mine, but it seemed that every government site was either not up and running yet or all the appointments were always booked. My cousin turned me on to this amazing site and I was able to schedule my appointment immediately with a choice of locations.
P.S. If you’re against vaccines, just close this post/email now and have a nice day. I’m not here to debate you or hear about your reasons for not getting one. I’m simply here to help those that do want one.
It’s been a busy month and I couldn’t let it end without sharing some updates to some of my favorite applications and technologies.
Adobe Camera Raw 13.2
The first update is to Adobe Camera Raw (13.2). Adobe Camera Raw is the technology accessed from either Photoshop or Adobe Bridge to allow you to process your raw images (and JPGs) non-destructively. Normally it would be just support for new cameras and lenses, but this time there’s more. Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) has gained a great new feature called “Super Resolution” that allows you to double the resolution of your photo without losing quality. Also for people shooting in Raw on the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max will be happy to see the new “Apple ProRAW” Profile.
Check out these features here:
What’s New in Lightroom Classic and Lightroom?
There were a few minor, but important updates to both Lightroom Classic and Lightroom.
I started to take my fitness and health more seriously by going to the gym multiple times a week. Then the pandemic hit and I thought it best to not go. Planet Fitness ultimately did the right thing and closed their locations for a while. Once they opened back up I still didn’t feel comfortable going back. I really missed my routine. I have an elliptical machine at home and I started doing daily walks in my neighborhood, but it just wasn’t enough. I decided to get a Peloton Bike in July 2020. There was a wait of just over a month. As you can imagine, I wasn’t the only one that decided to buy exercise equipment due to the pandemic and being home more. I got the Bike at the end of July and I was pretty much hooked.
Why is the Peloton Bike so different than any other piece of exercise equipment I’ve ever used?
Clubhouse is an audio only social network. It’s currently invite only and currently only on iPhone (Android is in the works). Here’s the official description:
Clubhouse is a new type of network based on voice. When you open the app you can see “rooms” full of people talking—all open so you can hop in and out, exploring different conversations. You enter each room as an audience member, but if you want to talk you just raise your hand, and the speakers can choose to invite you up. Or you can create a room of your own. It’s a place to meet with friends and with new people around the world—to tell stories, ask questions, debate, learn, and have impromptu conversations on thousands of different topics.
I was surprised
I’ll admit that I wasn’t extremely excited to see a non-visual network start to get popular. After all, I’m a visual communicator and photographer. Everything I have done over the past 25 years has been visual. However, there are definitely some advantages to an audio-only platform. For one, you don’t have to get dressed up for it. You don’t have to worry about your lighting and background. Since it’s an iPhone app, you can do it anywhere you have WiFi or great cell service. Also since it’s audio-only there are no visuals to prepare. No demo to break. It’s just talking and actually, that’s a refreshing change.
It’s Free! Today I will be in studio and doing a LIVE shoot to contribute images for sale on Adobe Stock. I’ll walk you through the steps from start to finish to get your images online for sale and to potentially make money from your photography while you sleep.
I have been on a quest to find the ultimate wireless iPhone charger for my nightstand. After upgrading to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, I added MagSafe to my list of requirements:
Has to charge an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods case simultaneously
It should come with the Apple Watch charger already built-in and not require me to use my existing Apple Watch charger.
It should have one cable and one power supply
While the Apple Watch is charging it should be easy to see at night in Nightstand Mode
MagSafe Charging (if you have an iPhone 12 series)
No annoying LED status lights
The Apple Watch charger has to accommodate bands that don’t open!
There are several wireless chargers out there. The problem is that most of them get the design wrong. I’ve gone through a few models and all but the last two I tried were complete disappointments. Again, this is mostly due to bad design. Also, it seems harder to find ones that will charge all 3 devices. Many will charge the iPhone and Apple Watch or the iPhone and AirPods case.