Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Aperture 2, You Win

Alright, I caved and bought the Aperture 2 upgrade. Was I wrong about the things I said in my previous post? No (for the most part). True, proportional spacing in grid view shouldn't have been dropped in this upgrade and, yes, the jumpy scrolling is annoying as all hell, but there are some pretty awesome changes that actually do outweigh my quibbles.

I will admit that I can understand the advantage of unchecking proportional spacing in grid view in Aperture 2. It's hard to explain without a firsthand demo, but having it unchecked makes things more orderly when organizing pictures, splitting up stacks, creating stacks and all that jazz. It should still be an OPTION, though, not a requirement!

And it seems the "ignore stack groupings" option on smart albums has been replaced by the (surprisingly) more useful "include stack picks only." The way smart albums work in Aperture is a little different than in previous Aperture versions. It's almost like it automatically ignores stack groupings, but still lets you know when an image is part of a stack. It indicates, for example, that both of these images are 5-star, but they are 2 of 5 total images in the stack. It just doesn't show those other 3 images.

As for the jumpy scrolling: That's just straight up stupid. I can't for the life of me figure out why they swapped out the intuitive, logical smooth scrolling of Aperture 1.5 for this jerky ridiculousness. I really hope my dozens of complaints get through for the next update.

Now for the reasons TO upgrade:

- Vignette tool: Incredibly handy
- Smoother straightening: This was a major frustration point for me in 1.5
- Metadata and Projects panels in the HUD: Full-screen mode just got useful
- Retouch tool: Surprisingly effective
- Flip tool: FINALLY
- Interface: I can customize this thing until it's unrecognizable and it makes better use of my screen real estate
- Tether: So easy to do
- Customizable hot keys: I love hot keys even more now
- RAW Processing: WAY better results than in 1.5
- Background export: I can keep working? WHILE images are exporting?! Sweet!
- Faster: Don't ask me how, it just is

Here are some images from my first batch using Aperture 2 - an engagement photo shoot for my awesome friends, Bubba and Lisa. The new adjustment tools made my job much quicker and easier. Thanks Aperture! (queue cheesy 80's high five)

Band Shot Style

Cute Couple

Dusk at the Beach


What'd I do?

P.S. You may notice the large majority of my recent work is all portraiture stuff. Don't fret, nature is still my main game. It's just that summers in Southern California for the nature photographer, shall we say, leave something to be desired. The weather is boring, the heat is relentless, the crowds are ridiculous and the vegetation is...crispy. I'm not a sell-out and I'm not money-motivated (but I do need to, you know, eat). I wouldn't be doing this portraiture work if I wasn't loving it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Storm Drain Shoot

The Tunnel

I did a photo shoot with a friend of mine the other day. We went down to a storm drain in Irvine that has some really awesome graffiti. It was a lot of fun and I'm pretty pleased with the results. Here are some of the final products. Click any to see a larger version.

The Skull



Chillin in a Storm Drain

Blue Eye

Hulk Smash!


Friday, July 25, 2008

Utah: Land of Huge Trains (and hot chicks)

I took a little trip to Utah over the weekend for a family reunion. I wish I could say I had some awesome pictures as a result of this little vaca, but nay. It was only a couple days and my agenda for the weekend was spending some quality time with the extended family. Not the kind of trip where I can venture off into the wilderness for a little one on one time with me and the landscape.

I did, however, get to check out Union Station in Ogden. There are some gigantic trains there. I had no idea how big some of these old-timey trains really are. That picture above - that's my brother next to one of them. He's about 6-foot tall. Driving one of these things must feel like you're driving a building. Especially for when they were made, they must...

Alright, enough about the trains. I'm stalling. There are a ton of hot chicks in Utah. That's what this post is really about. In all the places I've been, Ogden, UT has the highest density of smokin' hot ladies I have ever seen! I live in Orange County. You'd think "the OC" would be the hotspot for hot girls. Not so. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying OC girls, or girls in any other part of the country, are less attractive than Utah girls or that there are fewer. I'm just saying that, per capita, the density of beautiful 20-something to 30-something women in Utah is off the charts. Utah must be the mecca for hot chicks. It seemed like every time I turned around, there was a new gorgeous woman standing there, walking by or taking my order. It was mind-boggling! I couldn't tell you why this is - in fact, I don't really care. But it is true. I even confirmed this observation with 3 other guys.

So my point: No point really, just wanted to give everyone a head's up in case you 20-something bachelors out there pass through Utah. Keep your eyes open.