Oct 04 2010

i once again have an iPad – do i need it now?


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You may recall that I had a first day iPad and then gave it up because I really needed a new laptop. Now through the kindness of friends we are now a two-iPad family and I have a new iPad to use once more.

The question is do I really need it now?

My biggest activity has been using it as an e-reader. I use both the iBooks and the Kindle apps for reading and I like them both. My reading is done at home so I could very well read the paper versions, but I’m happy with the experiment.

I reported a downside of the original model that it only accessed the internet through a wifi connection. I thought that the added 3G capability would add greater roving functionality. I have 3G on the new model, but to-date I haven’t activated the service. Much of this has to do with traveling less now.

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iPad highlighting the Mail app that needs a junk mail filter - Apple photo

The big advantage of the device is the long battery life. I’ve recently used it at the USC Body Computing Conference and alternated between using it as a live tweeting platform with my laptop. The iPad frees me from being so concerned about my battery charge, but I have many fewer typos with the laptop and I can more easily find websites and shorten the URL’s with my TBUZZ Safari plug in.

The other browser plug in I often use is Evernote. When I find a great website or blog post I now catalog and archive it in my Evernote application. The iPad has the Evernote app, but it does a better job of retrieving the notes than creating them.

In general the iPad is a media-consuming machine and the laptop is a better creating machine.

There are many great features of the iPad and I recommended it to a friend today who doesn’t own a laptop. I love my Pinball HD game, watching videos in bed and I even used it to make a phone call with Truphone. But it still lacks the junk mail filter to keep Spam out of my Mail program that I hoped would be added in the software update.

I’m happy to have an iPad back in my life, but it remains a luxury more than a needed tool. I may be missing the killer app or need to travel more to appreciate the wonders. It might also replace my handmade printed portfolio one day as well.

Let me know what is working – or not working for you.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

4 responses so far

Sep 11 2010

pepperdine waves to a 9/11 memorial

Update 11/13/10: Some people have commented on shooting with an iPhone. I have a longer post on that subject that I wrote last Summer.

On an early morning drive up the coast this morning I ran into a sea of flags on the lawn of Pepperdine University in Malibu. It turned out to be a yearly tribute that the campus College Republicans present to honor those that lost their lives.

A sign on the site explains that the “exhibit displays one flag for each victim..including the flags from other nations died on that fateful day.”

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The Pepperdine Waves this morning was a sea of flags

For a camera I only had my iPhone 4 that now shoots high dynamic range or HDR photos. It works by the camera taking multiple exposures quickly and combining the light and dark frames into one photo. This can work well if the subject matter and camera remains still, or it can create this interesting effect when you have a sea of moving flags.

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A natural special effect created by the HDR feature

The display attracted a number of people stopping with their still and video cameras, and a roadside supporter.

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A Malibu postman shows his supoort for the memorial

Early morning bike riders are also a staple of the beach highway scene and a walk through the flag provided a training break for this rider.

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A rider walks through the flag display

After so much hype in the news about extremists yelling about the location of a community center and threats of burning a Koran, it was good to see a quiet reflection of a tragic day that truly honors the victims.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

5 responses so far

Aug 24 2010

Deliverance turns 40, a look back at an evening with James Dickey

Published by under news,portraits

James Dickey’s break-out novel Deliverance celebrates its 40 publishing anniversary this year. The photo below was taken nine years later when he was visiting Sanibel Island. He’s best known for the novel about the ill-fated canoe trip that was turned into hit movie. Dwight Garner has a wonderful remembrance of the book and his life in today’s New York Times.

I was the resident photo editor at the local Sanibel-Captiva Islander and friends with Fleur Weymouth, a wonderful photographer that taught me the beauty of minimalism in nature photography. Dickey was in town giving a poetry reading and was invited the the after-party at Fleur’s house. (The wood-pecker painting was created by George Weymouth.)

JamesDickey Deliverance turns 40, a look back at an evening with James Dickey

Poet and author James Dickey in the home of Fleur Weymouth on Sanibel Island

Dickey clearly was the center of attention for the evening whether it was on the stage reading or playing guitar – including a bit of the famous dueling banjo theme from the movie.

The biggest treat for me though was his poetry reading. I was never a big poetry fan then or now, but Dickiy’s readings were always a treat. The poems he read that evening were very accessible, entertaining and he was a wonderful story teller. Here’s a short sample of him speaking.

The remainder of the Summer would be a great time to catch-up, or re-read the novel or see the movie. For me the anniversary is a great reminder of a memorable evening. Do you have memories of the movie, the book or a personal connection to share?

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

2 responses so far

Jun 22 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth?

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A cluster of Mickey Mouse balloons are smiling at Disneyworld. What about the guests?

That famous Disney advertising line set expectations very high for a visit to Disneyworld – perhaps too high for most visits to the park. (I have the secret of visiting below.) With summer in full swing and many families looking for local vacations. Disney World could be a prime destination.

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In-flight entertainment with Dumbo The Flying Elephant

My agenda was different than most though. Visiting the park for me was an opportunity to do some street shooting and document a bit of Americana. When I’m in New York City or Paris I walk the streets looking for photos. In Orlando, I visit the parks.

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Even grown adults can relive youthful joy on the Mad Tea Party ride

So I wasn’t a normal visitor looking to enjoy the shows and experience the rides. I was there to document the experience. Part of that experience is the heat. This is Florida in the middle of summer. The temperature and humidity are both in the 90’s and there is lots of standing and walking in the sun. Most visitors to the park are there for a one-day visit and that can create a great deal of pressure to see everything.

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I love watching the interactions with the costumed characters. There is an unexpected mix of joy and fear

I didn’t have to navigate long lines. I could stop and rest whenever I wanted. And I didn’t have to negotiate with intricate family dynamics over what to see next or where to eat. Concerns about the special needs of Grandma or the toddler belonged to others. Too often these negotiations led to heated exchanges that were less than happy.

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There was more than normal family stress at work with this young rider

Later in the day I learned secret to visiting from a family that looked happy. They shared that they were staying in a Disney Hotel and had a multi-day pass. They would get up early and visit the park before the crowds and heat would build. They then ride the monorail back to their hotel and break for lunch, a nap and pool time for the kids.

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Take a break and return to the park for the evening firework show

After the afternoon shower, the heat and crowd dissipate and everyone is refreshed to dive back into the park and to have fun up to the evening fireworks show.

If you plan on visiting any of the parks give yourself enough time to do it in a way that reduces stress and creates that Disney happiness.

What are your secrets to visiting Disney World or amusement parks in general? Share them in the comment section below.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

5 responses so far

May 09 2010

Why I dumped my iPad and bought a new MacBook Pro instead

Published by under process,technique,Tools


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First off I have to admit that my iPad was the wonderful shiny new toy that others are raving about. As an iPhone owner the new device was intuitive to operate and a delight to behold.

I was even an early adopter. I made a cross-country reservation to pick my 1st-day release iPad up in Arlington, VA after taking a red-eye from LAX to Dulles.

ipad hero 201004031 Why I dumped my iPad and bought a new MacBook Pro instead

The one that got away

The first issue was that I was taking on a new work assignment where I didn’t have a wifi network set-up in either my place of work or living arrangement. It was like being all dressed-up with nowhere to go.

I managed to impress some customers at my local Starbucks and the iPad was great for taking notes at a new media conference.

I loved playing games on Labyrinth HD Lite, The Pinball HD and the 10-hour battery life was impressive. I downloaded the Kindle app and Chris Brogan’s “Social Media 101” and enjoyed the true interactive reading experience between reading words like they were on a page and jumping to the web references.

I enjoyed the New York Times app and applaud Time Magazine’s reinvention of the news-magazine.

There were three things missing for me to be a hit though. Even after I set up my wifi network, I saw the real value of the iPad was as a road-warrior traveling companion. I wanted to use the wonderful Google map application while I was driving and connect to email and Twitter even when I couldn’t get a wifi connection.

I also recently discovered the value of Evernote to organize the new media information I’ve been collecting.  The iPad has a good Evernote app, but I wanted to send new information from Safari to Evernote like I could on my laptop or MacPro.

Clearly the 3G version would be more useful for travel. The other drawback is not having the junk mail filter as part of the built-in Mail program. By having a very public email address for years, I get way too many offers for Viagra, and unclaimed funds from Nigerian princes that I needed to delete before reading the important emails.

The biggest reason that I offered my iPad up to my friend Martin Trailer was not having a compelling need for the device. What I needed was a new laptop.

My old laptop was one of the original Intel chip machines that I used mainly for downloading photos in the field and web browsing and email when I was on the road.

When I started working on my professional communication project for the American Diabetes Association I was using my laptop as my main computer.  The old machine just couldn’t keep up with my increased demands and I saw the opportunity to essentially trade-in my iPad and get one of the new 15” MacBook Pro machines.

overview gallery3 20090828 Why I dumped my iPad and bought a new MacBook Pro instead

What I'm using instead

It too has the advantage of a much longer lasting battery compared to my old laptop, and it’s the tool I need now instead of the experimental toy that the iPad represents.

Six months from now, with new killer apps and junk-mail filtering activated, I may get one of the new 3G machines, but for now I’m happy with my new MacBook Pro.

What has your experience with your iPad been? Are you still a true believer or did you trade-up to a 3G model? How have you used the iPad as a tool? Or is it still a great toy that is well worth the price?

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

3 responses so far

Mar 30 2010

I’ll take an emergency any day

I’ll even stage one if needed.

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A racing gurney and looks of concern make me happy

I’ve been fortunate to have done most of my healthcare photography at major medical institutions. Mostly at University of California, Los Angeles and recently at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. These are major trauma and research centers. The places you want to go when you have a major health issue like a heart attack.

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An EKG and exam in the emergency room

This series was shot to illustrate an integrated team approach to handling a heart attack from the arrival and evaluation in the ER and the examination and potential intervention in the angiogram suite.

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Opening a blocked blood vessel in the angiogram suite

Even though this case was a simulated heart attack I always enjoy the challenge of making the cases look realistic. They need to pass “the hallway test” of colleagues who will see the photos when this “Report to the Community 2010″ is printed.

As fun as it is for me to shoot these emergent situations. An often overlooked part of healthcare is preventing problems in the first place. This could be teaching healthy eating practices in an elementary school.

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Eating fruit and yogurt at a nutrition lesson

Or having a trusted relationship with your primary care doctor.

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Personal interaction builds a bond of trust between patient and doctor

In real life, patient areas don’t have that refined TV look that you find on “House“, nor are research labs as stylish as they are on “Bones” and the “CSI” shows.

The first challenge is always to understand what’s going on in the lab and determine how to communicate that unique story. In this case the researcher is doing an advanced DNA screening of an individual patient to calculate the respond to an expensive chemotherapy medication. This is an early stage of personalized medicine.

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DNA screening to match effective treatment for a chemotherapy drug

Having cancer is about more than how your DNA reacts to treatment, it’s also about how you deal with the emotional aspect of the disease.

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A cancer survivor volunteers to hear patient's concerns

Prevention, bonding, research and emotional health are important part of care. I love showing it all.

But that still doesn’t beat sending a trauma team racing down the hall.

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Trauma team racing down a hallway

All these photos were taken for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and were published in their “Report to the Community 2010“. A great interactive version of the report was created by the Doyle/Logan Company as well.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

Long on Twitter:

@HarmelPhoto

@MarkHarmel

Now on Facebook

2 responses so far

Feb 25 2010

documentary photograph & photoshop

Update: New York Time tech writer David Pogue raised the question of Photoshop and Photography: When is it Real? The subject came up when two winners in Popular Photography’s annual Reader’s Photos Contest had two winners that clearly were Photoshop compositions.

The question is when does manipulation take an image beyond a photograph? Next year the magazine handles the issue by having a separate category for Photoshop creations?

What do you think about that and the questions raised by my examples below?

One way that I describe the way I work is that I’m a documentary photographer that both knows how to find and see great light, and knows how to make it great when its not.

When I doing a commercial job part of the process is going into a real situation and making it look better. If that involves doing a head transplant from one frame to another or cleaning up a distracting background in Photoshop – that’s just part of the service that’s offered.

But what about when I head back out into the streets? What sort of alteration is fair game? Most serious journalistic publications only allow what could be traditionally done in a darkroom. Perhaps there is a vigorous discussion that is raging in the fine arts world about this issue that I’m not following.

What do you think is fair game from the two examples below and an earlier post about a Moulin Rouge photo?

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An altered documentary photo of an Upper Eastside socialite walking her poodle

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The grate was behind her foot and the sprinkler sign was removed

This Upper Eastside photo of a society women taking her poodle out for a walk was only slightly altered. The red sign above the fire-hose plug and the sidewalk grate were removed to cut down on the visual distraction. I personally only have a slight problem with this one. Would it be better if the alterations were indicated similar to what I did with these photos?

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A subway mime preparing for her performance

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One frame has the great reflection in the mirror.....and the other has the reaction of the passengers

The subway mime is more of a stretch. Instead of just cleaning up stray distractions this is a blend of two moments where the charm comes from actually being there and capturing the moment. I could say that I indeed captured the moment and the convergence just happened a different times. In my heart I feel its cheating. But is a much better photo as the combination than either one is alone.

What do you think? Where would you draw the line?

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

14 responses so far

Feb 16 2010

something went up today

Published by under news,portraits,press,technique,worklife

Update: From today’s New York Times – “Should the United States hire Elon Musk, at a cost of a few billion dollars, to run a taxi service for American astronauts?”

A real version of the SpaceX rocket pictured below successfully launched today (9/29/2008) from the Kwajalein Atol – which you all know is 2,500 southwest of Hawaii.

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Elon Musk with a model of his SpaceX Rocket

There was liquid fuel in the rocket and the project was powered by space, electric sports car and solar power entrepreneur Elon Musk. I took his photo is the El Segundo headquarters for the Wharton Business School alumni magazine back in 2004 when we were all still using color gels in our science photos.

Would you bet your (or our) money on his rocket?

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

No responses yet

Feb 08 2010

Eric Roth Receives 2010 Scripter Literary Achievement Award

Published by under EricRoth

A break from my normal posts to share some real class with you. This is an opportunity to perform a public service by sharing the acceptance speech of Eric Roth.

Eric Roth received the 2010 Scripter Literary Achievement Award from screenwriter Steve Zaillian. The Oscar-winning screenwriter has earned critical acclaim for his adaptations of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Insider, Forrest Gump and Munich.

“The idea that words matter is what brings us all together here tonight,” said Roth, before recognizing the achievements of every finalist for this year’s Scripter Award. He spoke in particular about the inspiration he draws from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. “Not only is it the greatest novel in our language, but it’s a philosophy book, a book of sorrow…and a cinematic book, the movie inside Melville’s head. I discovered Moby Dick in the library, which was my home away from home when I was a pimply teen…Every day I discovered another treasure.”

Trailer from Forest Gump

Eric loves this old screen writing program that allows him to hear the sound of an old typewriter as he writes. Some may think it’s old fashioned, but if I thought it could make me write as well as Eric I would use it too. You can view Eric Roth’s Scripter speech at this link.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

One response so far

Feb 06 2010

don rickles as the superbowl flower voice

Published by under diabetes,news,portraits

Update: Trailers for the Toy Story 3 movie have been released today. You can hear Don as Mr. Potato Head in the clips.

The battle for your attention has begun. It’s Superbowl ad season, and only one ad has caught my attention so far. It has a talking flower and more importantly the voice of Don Rickles.

Watch the behind the scenes video teaser that has too many flowers and not enough of Don. But it’s worth look for the quips from Don anyway.

Behind the scenes video

A nice touch is the playing of Don’s bull fight theme

Like many, I grew up knowing Don as wacky characters in the Annette & Frankie beach movies and his appearances on the Tonight Show. He fell off my radar until a couple of years ago when he became a patient of my wife and agreed to be involved in her Conquering Diabetes book.

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"Diabetes can be controlled, provided you don't pass out every-time you prick your finger."

This gave me the opportunity to meet him in person and visit his house for a portrait session. After his initial joke where he asked the guard at the gate to turn me away, I discovered the secret to how he gets away with all of his insults. Deep down he’s a warm and loving guy.

When he’s not voicing a flower or Mr. Potato Head, Don still actively performs on stage where he is aggressively engages with his audience. (He’s in Vegas on Feb. 20 & 21st). What’s fascinating is how much he can get away with while bringing up the hot button issues of race and religion. He can insult people and make both the audience and the individual laugh. Balancing on that fine line of insult and compassion is what I think is his real talent.

It’s still a treat to pick up the home office phone and unexpectedly have Don on the other end of the line. He’s not always joking, but he is always kind. I honor my collection of memorabilia from his 80th birthday party and I look forward to Don and Barbara’s 45th wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks.

Rickles don rickles as the superbowl flower voice

Memorabilia from Don Rickles' 80th birthday party

I hope that Teleflora will be sending plenty of flowers to their anniversary party. And with Valentine’s Day coming up: Get up order some flowers you Hockey Puck! Keep Don famous so that he can keep us laughing for another 80 years.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

6 responses so far

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