Move to Arca Swiss

Lately, I’ve been wanting to move to Arca Swiss plates for my camera/tripod. Currently I have Manfrotto RC2 plates for my Manfrotto tripod and monopod. If I want to take a portrait orientation image right after taking a landscape orientation photo, I have to loosen the ballhead, move the camera, make sure it’s level, then tighten the ballhead. With Arca Swiss, I can use an L bracket to go from portrait to landscape and back without moving the ballhead.
I’m debating between spending $1,700 on a new Really Right Stuff tripod and ballhead and L Bracket, or swap out the mounting plate on the top of my current tripod. The benefit to going with the RRS tripod is I’ll have higher reach.  Right now, I have to lean over slightly to look through the viewfinder (I don’t like raising the center column on my tripod as it makes it less stable).

Giving Lightroom Another Try

A little over a month ago, I compared Lightroom and Aperture and decided to use Aperture.  Since then, I’ve been watching several videos on YouTube, which has helped me understand Lightroom a bit more, so I decided to try Lightroom one more time.
To start out, I exported the images out of Aperture to a new folder. While importing them into Lightroom, it was then that I noticed that most photos were missing the keywords I had tagged them with in Aperture. After do some research online, I learned that JPEGs and TIFFs need to have the metadata embedded in the files while RAW files would have the metadata in XMP sidecar files. After re-exporting the JPEGs and TIFFs with the metadata embedded, I re-imported those files and the keywords were there but I still lost the hierarchy I had established in Aperture. I did have to re-tag the TIFF files as there was an error when exporting them from Aperture with the metadata embedded. Luckily, the TIFF files are only family photos I scanned to preserve so that task wasn’t so bad.
I’ll continue to use them both side-by-side since I prefer Aperture’s integration into the OS and also like that there is more training, plug-ins, and presets available to Lr. Even though I’m still testing out Lightroom, I decided to sign up for the photography package from Adobe for $10/month which gets me access to Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as the new Lightroom mobile for iPad.

Aperture

After I started loading all my photos into iPhoto on my new Mac, I started looking into Lightroom and Aperture. I downloaded the trial for Lightroom but didn’t like how it was laid out. It may be because I got used to iPhoto having one catalog for all photos and I could put photos into separate projects/albums within that catalog. Lightroom seems to want each project into it’s own catalog. Because of this, I started leaning towards Aperture but Apple no longer offers a trial version. After searching online, I was able to find the last trial version available from Apple and tried to install it on my Mac but because I’m running Mavericks (OS X 10.9) it wasn’t compatible. During the install, I was forwarded to the App Store where the latest version of Aperture is offered. I was then able to download that version for free.

I’ve been using Aperture for a couple months now and if/when Apple releases v4 of Aperture, I will definitely pay for the upgrade since I’m used to the functionality of the program. The way Apple is going though, the next version may be free to everyone anyway (Mavericks was a free upgrade, iLife and iWork apps are free, etc).

365 Project

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to participate in a photography project, either one photo every day or at least one photo each week. To at least try to keep this resolution, I signed up for 365 Project on New Year’s Day. The goal is to take a photo every day. For those days where I am too busy to take a photo, I’ve taken additional photos on other days so that by the end of the year I’ll have 365 photos. It started out fairly easily because I took interesting photos around the house. After a while I’ve started running out of ideas.

My First DSLR

After playing around in iPhoto for the last couple weeks, and being on the fence for a few years about buying one, I decided to purchase a base level DSLR. Since I had a Canon SLR film camera (AE-1 Program) growing up, I decided to go with a Canon DSLR. I went to Canon’s website and purchased a refurbished EOS Rebel T3 kit (with 18-55mm lens) as well as a refurbished Canon 75-300mm lens for less than what a brand new EOS Rebel T3 kits would cost ($429). Unfortunately, I ordered it too late to bring it with me on a vacation we were taking to Arizona so I brought my point-and-shoot Canon A590IS to take photos. Once I get a decent camera bag and get used to taking photos with the T3, I’ll start taking that on trips instead of the A590IS.