In the “learn something new” department, I ran across an interesting discovery today.
First, some setup. I woke up before dawn to catch the sunrise in the Columbia River Gorge, and for some reason my camera’s battery didn’t last very long—I think it was the combination of the cold weather, composing my shots using Live View, and transferring the images from my Eye-Fi card to my iPad. With a full day of shooting ahead, and only one extra battery available, I was in trouble.
Jump ahead a few hours, I want to transfer my newest photos to the iPad but not kill the spare battery in the camera. So, I attach my iPad Camera Connection SD adapter to copy the photos directly. The problem is that connecting the SD card to the iPad using the adapter means I need to import the raw versions of my photos in addition to the JPEGs. (I’m shooting raw+JPEG so I can edit better-quality photos on the iPad than the previews generated by the camera.) What I want to do is import into ShutterSnitch which includes an option to copy only JPEG images.
That brings me to the surprise: I opened ShutterSnitch to see if it could import directly from the adapter (it can’t; Apple blocks access to the sync port, I believe), but suddenly the photos started importing anyway. The trick is that I’m using an Eye-Fi card. And when the card is connected to the iPad using the camera adapter, the iPad is also supplying the card with power, which in turn activates the Eye-Fi’s wireless hotspot.
So even though the card is physically connected to the iPad, it’s transferring images via Wi-Fi! Pretty cool when you don’t want to tax your camera battery and bypass the Camera Roll.
I’m at a photo workshop in Oregon and putting my iPad photography skills to work in the field. As I type this, I’m sitting in a van driving down the freeway from our last shoot, the Cedar Creek Grist Mill. Despite a lot of rain, I had a blast shooting this old structure and the water that runs alongside it. (Others in the group saw a few large salmon jumping up the falls, but I never spied one.)
But as we’re traveling, I took the opportunity to import my photos from my camera’s Eye-Fi wireless card onto my iPad (using ShutterSnitch), review them, and edit a couple in Apple’s iPhoto app. I’ll do more processing on the raw files later on my computer, but this gives me a chance to not only see what I captured, but also perform some basic edits and share a couple shots with friends… and write this post.
Are you thinking about taking just an iPad on a trip? How about a driving adventure through Asia in an absurdly small car? Ben Long undertook the Mongol Rally and writes about his choice to bring only an iPad to work with his photos of the excursion: “Putting the iPad Photo Workflow to the Test: The Mongol Rally.”
Broken exhausts, punctured tires, lack of a good histogram—these are the kinds of problems an iPad-based photographer faces on an event such as the Mongol Rally, a charity road rally that I have been participating in for the last nineteen days.
I’m a fan of Ben’s work, and this article is excellent.
DPReview compares two wireless SD cards, the Eye-Fi Pro X2 16 GB and the Transcend 32 GB Wi-Fi: Battle of the Wi-Fi Cards: Eye-Fi vs. Transcend. Although the Transcend offers more storage and costs less, the reviewer found that the Eye-Fi trounces it in performance, range, and software features. (The article doesn’t include the Eye-Fi Mobi card, which makes it easier to connect to a tablet or smartphone.)
But perhaps the biggest disadvantage of the Transcend card is its inability to easily transfer files to a laptop or desktop. Technically it can do it, but it’s a painstaking process and one that I wouldn’t consider practical. Basically, the card uses a computer to achieve the same thing it can do on a mobile device, only with twice the steps. Users must find the Transcend Wi-Fi card’s network from the computer. Next, the user launches a browser and enters a lengthy IP address into the url bar. At that point I was better off just plugging the card into the good old card reader. By comparison, the Eye-Fi can connect to a laptop in a matter of seconds and upload images and videos in real time.
[If you're thinking of purchasing an Eye-Fi, please consider buying it using these Amazon links, which helps support my work. Thanks!]
Hopefully you’re not sick of my voice yet: Chris. Breen invited me to talk iPad and photography on this week’s Macworld Podcast. We also went into some detail about capturing photos with the iPad and iPhone, and looked at the state of the current tech related to photographers using iPads (with speculation of what could come in the future).
I’ve had the great pleasure to do several podcasts and interviews about The iPad for Photographers, Second Edition. Last week I talked to the wonderful David Sparks and Katie Floyd for their Mac Power Users Podcast (listen to the episode here). In it, we talk about all sorts of iPad photography topics, but mostly I’m sure David just wanted some great advice before he left on vacation. (He admits to it several times.) It’s a fun conversation, and I hope you enjoy it!
It’s getting hard to escape it. This weekend, I visited the Ballard Locks and in the below-ground viewing area for the fish ladder (a series of “gates” the Army Corps of Engineers created to enable salmon to safely pass through the locks and spawn in fresh water) a tourist was taking photos of the fish…using an iPad. What used to be a weird anomaly is now turning into a regular occurrence.
At first, I ridiculed the idea—mostly because the camera-equipped iPad at the time was the iPad 2, which had a ridiculously bad camera. Fortunately, the cameras in later models have improved dramatically, and the form factor of the iPad mini makes it feel less like you’re holding a lunch tray in front of your face.
All this is to mention that I wrote a short article for Peachpit’s Web site that looks at the possibilities for using your iPad as a camera, including other software that improves the results: Take Great Photos with Your iPad.
Summer isn’t over yet, and my latest Seattle Times Practical Mac column looks at options for capturing GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) location data to record where your photos are taken. I talk about using an iPhone or other GPS-enabled smartphone to grab locations by shooting reference photos alongside the shots you take with a digital camera, as well as recording tracklogs that keep up with your location and then merging that data with your photos later. Link: Tagging your summer travel photos with GPS location info.
BorrowLenses.com just released a neat reference for iPad-toting photographers: The BL Lighting Cookbook. The cookbook is a free iPad-only app that includes several common off-camera lighting situations with examples and behind-the-scenes diagrams for achieving the effects. Of course, there are also links to the gear being used to get the shots to encourage you to rent equipment from the company. (I’ve used them for lens rentals in the past and was very happy with the service.) The company has more to say on their blog.
HyperDrive has released an update to its iUSBport app that drives the iUSBportCamera wireless device. The iUSBportCamera connects to your DSLR’s USB port and enables you to control the camera from your iPad.
According to the (minimal) release notes, the new app adds HDR and Time Lapse capture modes, background downloading, and updated firmware for the iUSBportCamera device.
I wasn’t able to include much information in the book about the iUSBportCamera due to time constraints—I didn’t receive a review unit until the book was sent to the printer—but its functions are very similar to the CameraMator described in Chapter 3. That’s because originally they were the same device: HyperDrive distributed the CameraMator until it and the original CameraMator design had a falling out. Now, the iUSBportCamera and the CameraMator share the same hardware. HyperDrive developed the iUSBportCamera and the designer is working on a new device called the CamNexus.