Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nikon D700 Video hack! D300, D3 video next?!

Looks like Olivier Giroux has grabbed the Nikon SDK and been able to figure out how to get video out of the Nikon D700. Nice job Olivier! You can read his blog post above on the 'smart person' link. I would assume the Nikon D300 and D3 would be next! Awesome to see. My assumptions and wishes were correct when I assumed it could be done. Now, Nikon just needs to figure out how to be a progressive SOFTWARE company and officially add the feature and charge some $$ for it. Just like I mentioned in September 2008!!! Come on Nikon!!! I won't buy a Nikon D400 or a Nikon D800 just for video. Sell me a software upgrade.

Keep shooting!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Back from Yosemite and the Aperture Nature Photography Workshop Contest!!

I made it back finally on Monday night from the Aperture Nature Photography Contest. 4 days, 4 pros, 4 amateurs including me! I stayed around for a few extra days to shoot in Yosemite.

How was it?!! It was a fantastic experience. Great people, Great place, Great instruction, Fun times!! Was it all good!?! The food wasn't the best - but that didn't matter one bit! The blue lackluster skies just meant hunting for incredible photo ops elsewhere. That makes shooting even that much more challenging! I came away with some good images - but I will let you be the judge of that. I can't wait to finish some images and then start firing up that Epson 9800 and making some big canvas prints! (If you would like to place a pre-order for Canvas Gallery Wrap images, please drop me a note!)

It was really a great experience to shoot with Steve Simon, Jennifer Wu, Scott Bourne and Gary Hamburgh. Each really brought a different element and gave me different ideas to explore. Steve helped bring ideas around telling a story and focusing on a theme. Jennifer really has a fantastic eye and way that she is able to convey and teach ideas worked very well for me. "Fill the Frame!" "Work a spot" If you see something just keep moving around until it comes together. I also learned how to use that Nikon 24mm PC-E Tilt Shift from Jennifer - even though she is one of those 'Canon People' she was able to figure it out :-)

More details later as I am back to my day job working tons at Symantec. Lots of interesting stuff around Drive-by downloads and over scary web threats going on.

If you have any questions in the meantime, drop me a note. I can't wait to get back to Yosemite!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Another article published on my Aperture Nature Photography Workshop win

Looks like Associated Content picked up my story. Too bad that they didn't contact me to get the real image I shot and used a stock photo image of El Capitan! Oh well. I am glad that they picked it up!

Just wrapping up here for the contest workshop with APNW but will be staying in Yosemite to shoot a few more days. Lots of snow on the ground, but the snow is melting each day.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Finished Shooting a Full Day Here in Yosemite with the Aperture Nature Photography Workshop Contest

We had a packed day today shooting in Yosemite! You will have to wait on images as I haven't had much time to go through them yet. I am posting one nice image I took today - Horsetail Falls with a rainbow on it this morning.

There are 4 Pro Photographers and 4 Amateurs. We shot sunrise to sunset. It was COLD this morning before the sun came up. A couple feet of snow still on the valley floor. The waterfalls are just flowing a little right now. I shot with Jennifer Wu and Scott Bourne today. Shooting with Steve Simon tomorrow!

Back to working on images! Enjoy John

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Top 10 iPhone & iPod Touch Apps for Preschool and Kindergarten Age Kids

A friend of mine with similar age kids and I were chatting about which iPhone apps our kids like. I decided to write it up as a good blog post. So this isn't a highly scientific study or anything like that... it is just an official report on the top applications my kids like to play! YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary)

Every night when I get home, one of my wonderful kids steals my iPhone for a few minutes. My son is 3 and is currently in preschool, and my daughter is 6 and is in Kindergarten. My son will even take the iPhone into the bathroom while he is sitting on the toilet (don't tell him I told you.) I don't condone kids playing games on the iPhone, but it has been interesting watching their interaction with it. I think there are some really good learning games. I am pretty amazed at what they can do with the iPhone!

One note - If kids are to use an iPhone, I think there needs to be some 'kids user mode' that can turn off my email, browser and Dad's bad games that the kids don't need to be touching. Who would have thought... user modes for an iPhone. I also don't take any responsibility if you try one of these games and your kids throws your iPhone through the wall.

So here is the official list of the Top 10 iPhone and iPod Touch Applications for Preschool and Kindergarten Age Kids.

1) Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart3D - My daughter really likes this game and was able to figure it out in 60 seconds. Being able to turn the iPhone and have it steer works for her. My son isn't able to handle it quite as well. At $5.99 it is worth it (and I like it too!) I won't put a link to their website since that really sucks and they don't even list the iPhone as a platform. Buy it via iTunes.

2) Jelly Car -My son absolutely LOVES this game. I don't think he knows it is a 3D physics model simulation game (maybe he does?!) He does love running the car off into the middle of nowhere, or having the little car get squished over and over. The music is cute and he gets the car into spots I have never seen! Best of all... it is FREE so give it a try. Here is a video that you can see it at.

3) Animal Match- The sounds in this one are GREAT! This is just perfect for my son at preschool age. My daughter is able to whip through this fairly easily. It REALLY amazes me just how good their memories are and can remember where those animals are hiding!! Poor old Dad must just be losing it!

4) Preschool Adventure - My son loves this one. The simple learning exercises and games are great! Right on the money with colors, sounds, matching and shapes. I didn't know you could move the head of a pig and put it on a fox or a croc. Too funny! It is really simple and easy to use. It is $.99 at the iTunes store, but worth the price.

5) Ocarina - My kids BOTH love this! Music on an iPhone! They love blowing into the iPhone and tapping their fingers away. They both love music and this is really cool. They have made sounds and music out of this I didn't know was possible! Luckily there is a volume on the iPhone. Since there is no microphone on the iPod Touch, you are out of luck unless you have a Gen2 with a headset mic. Hearing what other people are playing in the world seems to amaze all of us as well. $.99 seems a value deal for this app.

6 ) Moosentration - Lite - A good but harder matching game. Perfect for the Kindergarten age kids.

7) MotionX-Dice. Another simple one that both my kids like. All the different dice patterns are fun with them, but being able to shake it up really gets them going. I really seems to be a good learning tool to count with visual objects.

8) Lightsaber - My kids have never seen StarWars, but they really like pulling out the Lightsaber complete with sounds. This HAS to be the scariest game for me to watch as they swings my iPhone around. For some reason I don't trust my 3 year old swinging my $xxx iPhone around. I think I will be taking it off! Luckily they don't play with it much any more.

9) Tap Tap Revenge. Both my kids really enjoy this one. I don't know if they understand it but they sure enjoy taping on the screen! I think I need to find some new music as the standard easy songs get annoying to the parents after a while.

10) Cannon Challenge. This is one my son plays every now and then. I think he just likes the sounds it makes - BOOM! He can't figure out the controls but he sure knows how to fire it! Interesting this is made by the discovery channel.

If you have other suggestions, want to add apps that your kids like, or want to send me iTunes dollars to try purchased apps, please send an email or post them in the comments below! P.s . feel free to check out my photography as well at John Harrison Photography.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Shooting Things That Move with Scott Bourne

I had the pleasure of shooting with pro photographer Scott Bourne today while he was in the area after MacWorld! Scott is the main person behind "This Week in Photography" (TWIP) that is leading the Aperture Nature Photography Workshop contest that I won and will soon be shooting with in Yosemite!

it was just a quick outing to the Palo Alto Baylands, but that is quite the bird mecca! Scott commented that he would shoot here every day of the year if he lived here. It is quite nice to have soo many species around.

For those of you who know me, my photography is primarily landscape photography and some kids/family portraits - I generally dont' shoot things that move! Scott gave me some great tips on lighting and composition that really helped point me in the right direction (which is 180 degrees opposite to what I normally do for landscape photography!). Totally front lit and a few side lit portraits of the Coots, Mallard ducks and a few other species whose names I will remember or learn soon! The learning is what I love about being outdoors to shoot! I also learned a great new tip to get my Nikon D300 to shoot 8fps instead of the normal 6fps (frames per second!) not using an external battery grip.

Look for more images of things that move in the future! If you want to check out the other images from this day at the Palo Alto Baylands (where the Palo Alto Camera Club meets) than click on this link.

Time to keep getting ready to go to Yosemite!


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Printing Big with "The Beast Printer"!!! Now Printing on a 44" Wide Epson 9800

One of my biggest and most important customers (my Mother) called after receiving a 20" x 30" canvas giclee' print. She stated it was VERY nice, but too small! She wants a bigger print! So I went out and helped to personally jump start the economy by purchasing a beast of a printer - The Epson Stylus Pro 9800! It prints up to 44" wide so I can make some gigantic canvas prints. You can see one of them on the wall and one that is being prepared (that print in my hands will only make a 20" x 30" canvas with gallery wrapped edges).

The canvas Gallery wrapped images REALLY look fantatic! It is a totally different look since it just goes on the wall without a frame. The color just jumps off the canvas though and you get a really nice image. I will include another blog post on the process coming up.

I am starting to pack for Yosemite and get all of the gear ready! Unfortunately, it looks like it will be WARM up there and no snow :-( Maybe the falls will start flowing really nicely! I probably jinxed it by borrowing snow shoes.

Thanks again for ALL the fantastic notes from the articles - I heard KGO radio ran the story as well! Wow!

Enjoy and keep shooting!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Full Page Story on my Yosemite Photography in the Sunnyvale Sun

Wahoo! I am pretty excited, Cody Kraatz over at the Sunnyvale Sun wrote a fantastic article that appeared in yesterday's Sunnyvale Sun. It was just a few pages inside the front cover and a full page!!! It is a VERY well written article as well. I really enjoyed doing the interview and talking with Cody - he really was able to translate all talking and what excites me about making pictures! Thanks for all the supportive emails so far... I haven't had time to reply to everyone, but I will make time.

The Mercury News also picked it up and ran it on the front page of the MercuryNews online site!

If you read the story, drop me a note via email at john at or leave a comment!