Pogoplug: Now This is Useful AND Cool

Pogoplug: Now This is Useful AND Cool

I just set up my Pogoplug.

I plugged it in, turned it on, set it up and went to work

Took about 2 minutes. Tops.

Wait… you may not know what a Pogoplug is.

Now this thing is cool. Think of it as a network drive / personal cloud sort of thing. With a very cool set of tools that let you actually USE the thing. Keep your photographs on there securely, and pull them up as a slideshow from your iOS or Android. Keep your music on a drive and access it to play from any device. Share files with clients and family. Automatically backup your files or photos.

Amazing.

And they have an online cloud for additional, easy storage.

The device is very small, taking nearly no space at all. And that is a big deal for me. My router is in the living room and having too many devices taking up too much room can create wifely harrassment.

The device hooks into your router, and you hook a hard drive mechanism to the device in one of many ways. In fact, you can hook multiple devices up to the Pogoplug and have different ways to store and share files.

You can see the footprint here as well as the USB drive in position next to my router and Network Drive. These things make working away from home or office a far less painful experience.

You can use a 2.5″ HD, a USB HD, a Flash Card, or any kind of memory that can hook into a device. I chose a 500GB USB Drive that I had for backing up my music. It has lots of room left, so I hooked it into my Pogoplug and started moving files around. I first set it to automatically copy over my iPhone/iPad files and images so I don’t have to even think about it.

Cool.

I then downloaded the iPad/iPhone apps and logged in. Don’t worry, they are free. The files then began downloading to my Pogoplug. I can play my music from my devices, or my laptop, or use the Pogoplug for sharing files with clients that may be too large for email.

And… it worked right out of the box, right away. Simple, easy and totally simple application. (Well done, Pogoplug guys…)

I have a couple of extra Pogoplug units for you, the readers of this blog. I haven’t decided yet how we will give them away. I am sure some sort of contest will be forthcoming, so watch for it.

I am thrilled with this thing, and some of the cool things I have already identified some important business uses for it.

You can see more at their website, and they also have a cloud storage system for those who only want to use it online. The Pogoplug device is the tool for sharing, backing up, and more.

Watch for the contest coming next week. Win one of these things and have a blast with it.


Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts
Shooting Shiny Stuff at P52

Shooting Shiny Stuff at P52

Sometimes photographers have to shoot shiny stuff. Lighting works very differently on things that are shiny compared to how light works on more diffused subject matter. The shinier the object, the more it will be reflecting the light sources – both main and secondary.

Controlling these ‘specular’ parts of the light – as it is reflected from the subject – can be the greatest challenge.

Highlights give clues to our subjects. They tell us if the surface is smooth or not, and they can aid in showing us the dimension and shape of the object or subject.

The P52′ers had a blast with a “Shoot Something Shiny” assignment, and here is what they came up with.

Cup
Rui Bandeira (And featured image above)

Reflective action
Jorge R

Honey spoons [Explored]
Rasmus Hald

p52 shinny-3053 composite.jpg
Gerry DAc

301/365 Shiny
David Travis

shiny handmade mercury glass coral vase
Virginia Smith

Faucet
Cindy Kopp

Shiny
Unfounded Stu

Bogle Petite Sirah
Irene Liebler

something shiney
Dan Berry

Shiny Knife
Bryan Lawler

Pen on Typewriter
Arni Freidling

Project 52: Shiny Object
Lily Dale

p52-2012-assignment39
Tim Lester

The Veins of my Heart
Grey Gibbs

Glass Clock_MG_7639-2
Photoartel

Red Vase
Barbara Tozier

Lots of ‘behind the scenes’ setup shots at the Flickr Page.

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts
OT Sunday: Eliot Carter, American Composer

OT Sunday: Eliot Carter, American Composer

Eliot Carter was my favorite contemporary composer. It was his first and second string quartets that opened my mind to the possibilities of linear melody/rhythm and the transformative nature of time. I discovered his music in my second year of music school and have listened to something of his every week since.

Eliot Carter passed last Monday, November 5, 2012. He was 103 years old.

From the New York Times:

Elliott Carter, the American composer whose kaleidoscopic, rigorously organized works established him as one of the most important and enduring voices in contemporary music, died on Monday in Manhattan. He was 103 and had continued to compose into his 11th decade, completing his last piece in August.

The String Quartets, of which there are five, are some of my earliest loves. The first time I heard String Quartet #1 was in the music building at Arizona State University. The room was quite cool, and the musicians were there to share their new repertoire, and some works that had been commissioned for them.

They decided to share the first movement of the first quartet, and I was simply blown away. I can only compare it to the first time I heard Coltrane… and my life changed forever.

Many of the other music students there were aghast… where was the ‘melody’, why was the music so jarring. For the life of me, I had no idea what they had heard… but it wasn’t what I had heard.

I have nearly every recording made of the quartets, including a couple of imports. I even have the scores to both the first and second quartet.

Photography and music are two drivers of who I am. The polytonality and rhythmic challenges of Carter’s pieces fed my brain its much needed challenges, and it led to other discoveries, both in my music and my photography.

Mr. Carter’s music is not easy to listen to at first, especially for those who are not aware of the 20th century musical progression. But it is a challenge worth taking, in my opinion. Although, the meters and extreme difficulty of the performance of many of his mid-period works led to lots of angst among those who decided to take up that challenge, those who did found themselves quite transformed.

Listen:

String Quartet, First Movement

A Symphony for Three Orchestras

Variations for Orchestra

The Last Interview with Alisa Weilerstein

 

I performed his piece, Eight Pieces for Four Tympani, and it left me exhausted. And, exhilarated. The tempos ‘modulate’ through time as though it were a flexible substance rather than a temporal imperative. Damned difficult, and no, I could not play it today… heh.

Shifting meters, rhythm that was both polyphonic and amorphous, melodies that stretched over others with seemingly no relation… it was demanding stuff. And it made demands on the listeners that some were not willing to do. His music was not something most people would leave the theater humming to themselves.

Also from the NYT:

As Mr. Carter’s centenary neared, the frequency with which his music could be heard only increased, making it clear that for at least two generations of young performers, even his thorniest works held little terror. In the summer of 2008, for example, the entire Festival of Contemporary Music at the Tanglewood Music Center was devoted to Mr. Carter’s work, with performances of dozens of pieces from every stage of his career (including several premieres). Mr. Carter attended most of the concerts. There were many such tributes that year, and the attention unnerved him, he said.

“It’s a little bit frightening, because I’m not used to being appreciated,” he said in an onstage interview at Zankel Hall the night after a celebration with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. “So when I am, I think I’ve made a mistake.” 

From the Guardian:

Eventually Carter realised that all the accumulated baggage of his music – the neoclassicism, the madrigalian references, the Greek texts, the Americana – would have to go. In the Piano Sonata of 1945, written the year he moved with his wife into the brownstone apartment he would live in for the rest of his life, Carter retains the massive rhetoric of the American sublime. But the cyclic form, the startling use of piano resonances and rhythmic flexibility mark a huge step forward. The Cello Sonata of 1948 is another leap towards a really radical conception of form. The piece at the end seems to loop back to its opening, in a way that recalls Stéphane Mallarmé’s conception of a book that one can begin at any point. At the beginning, a strict metronomic “ticking” in the piano is combined with a rhapsodically unfolding line in the cello. Nothing quite like this joining of two radically opposed worlds moving at different speeds had been heard in music before.

But it was in the First String Quartet of 1951 that Carter’s new conception of independent musical layers, sometimes co-operating, sometimes clashing in purposeful disunity, came fully into focus. To achieve it, Carter cut himself off from his usual surroundings and moved to the Arizona desert for several months. What survives from his old manner is a heroic rhetoric of wide intervals, as if the American sublime has been sublimated and purged of anything local.”

This music, so utterly grounded in a complex, and for me, an almost visual experience, made my journey into music both a fascinating and joyful adventure, and a disquieting and elusively disconnected vision of what I wanted to do. Both with music and photography.

It is that air of conundrum that drives me today as well.

From the Boston Globe:

“In many ways, Carter was cut from the same cloth as the Founders. Crossing back and forth across the Atlantic with his father, a lace importer, Carter spoke French before he spoke English. At Harvard, he initially spurned music, opting instead for Greek and mathematics and philosophy. He recapitulated some of the background of the aristocrats who founded the United States: a classical education with a French flair. He was a modernist equipped with the intellectual tool kit of the Enlightenment.

He came to be a composer in deliberate fashion; he was well into his 30s before he wrote music he thought worth keeping. It would be another decade before he began to realize his own style. The decisive break came in his first two string quartets, dating from 1951 and 1959, where the four players become strikingly individual characters, with their own motives, articulations, and even tempi, an intricately managed clash of temperaments. Almost all of his subsequent music would similarly straddle the line Thomas Paine drew between society and government: “The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions.” Carter’s goal was to give every instrument in the ensemble its own individuality within the piece’s entirety. ‘‘This seems to me a very dramatic thing in a democratic society,’’ he said. In honor of the American Bicentennial, Elliott Carter even split the orchestra asunder, composing “A Symphony for Three Orchestras,” a work that, indeed, divides that ensemble into three distinct and often disputatious groups. It might have been only a coincidence that the onetime revolutionaries who assembled for the Constitutional Convention in 1787 came up with a similar model for the federal government.”

From the Washington Post:

“Mr. Carter experimented most notably with meter, or rhythm, and challenged audiences to follow multiple instruments that played simultaneously to different beats.

“A piano accelerates to a flickering tremolo as a harpsichord slows to silence,” wrote composer and musicologist David Schiff, describing Mr. Carter’s music. “Second violin and viola, half of a quartet, sound cold, mechanical pulses, while first violin and cello, the remaining duo, play with intense expressive passion. Two, three or four orchestras superimpose clashing, unrelated sounds. A bass lyrically declaims classical Greek against a mezzo-soprano’s American patter.”

Mr. Carter said that his music presented society as he hoped it would be: “A lot of individuals dealing with each other, sensitive to each other, cooperating and yet not losing their own individuality.””

Yes… controlled cacophony. Distilled life sounds played out in a chamber or orchestral setting. Music to live by, think by… create by. Rhythms that seem disconnected from each other are found to have deep relationships after careful listening.

And this music is made for careful listening. It is not Mozart for background string melodies. Nor is it the driving, pulsating, deeply spiritual John Coltrane.

It is music for listening to as an action in itself, for involving ones self within each bar and linear melody. It is for “active” engagement, not background filler.

Perhaps that is what I found so totally and honestly engaging about Carter’s music. It demanded that you listen to it, not daydream or dance or plan the next vacation while it was on. LISTEN to each sound and melody and rhythm – and feel the complexity slide away to reveal simple, intimate truths.

Individuality of spirit is ensconced deeply into his works, and that wondrous spirit was a gift to us all.

If we take the time to listen for it.

I wondered how I would feel when I heard of his death. I know now.

I wish I didn’t.

From Alex Ross:

“The American master, seemingly inextinguishable, died this afternoon, at the age of 103. An entire world of culture dies with him — a landscape of memory that included Stravinsky, Nadia Boulanger, Ives, Gershwin, even Gustav Holst.”

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts
An Open Letter to a New “Photography” Blogger

An Open Letter to a New “Photography” Blogger

(from a recent forum post where a new blogger was talking about ‘getting out there and doing it… going pro.)

Hi,

I just looked at your blog and I have a few questions.

Who are you trying to reach with the blog?

Clients?

Or other photographers?

Clients would be a good focus, as they will actually hire you. Clients will want to get in touch for a photograph if you inspire them.

Other photographers maybe not so much.

Alright, never.

Other photographers are never gonna pay you for your photography.

Posting about gear is photographer centric stuff that your clients do not care about. Posting that you are just starting out is great for other photographers to ‘share in the adventure’ – but as a client, I don’t really want to be a part of that early, uncharted course.

I’ll wait until you are sure of what you are doing.

Posting that you are running out of money means you are not a pro, or someone that someone else is hiring, and I am not having any of it.

The people who may be interested in this information, ie; other photographers thinking about making the jump, will never ever be a part of your bottom line.

“Hi.
I’m new.
I am not sure how to proceed.
I have cool stuff.
I am in serious financial straights.
Please hire me before I drown in debt and my kids hate me.”

This is not, I repeat NOT a marketing strategy. It will shut you down before you even stand up.

In addition, you call it a “Photographic Diary” and yet there are no photographs, it has no visual identity, and the information is more about the business you do not have rather than talking about the cool stuff you do. In addition, the theme you have chosen is, well, boring and not interesting at all to look at.

We are in the visual business, and something boring is NOT gonna let people know how good you are with visuals… right? Get a new theme and make it something interesting to see.

Then do these things…

1. Talk to your clients. Blog stuff that makes seniors want to shoot with you or brides just die to meet you (or whatever your niche is). Talk about how you solved this challenge or how much fun it was to shoot with that subject, or how you find locations… stuff to make clients take notice.
NOTE: They do not give a crock of shit about how fast your zoom is.

2. Photographs on every post. Post about photographs, not photography. Posts on subjects, not lenses. Make people think that all you ever do is make photographs. Cool photographs. Even, ahem, ‘awesome’ photographs.

3. Become an expert in what you do, in the language of who you do it for instead of your competition. Don’t speak photographer speak, use real people speak. The real people that may think you make great pictures cause of your cool camera speak. They are not the enemy, nor clueless idiots, they are your clients. LOVE them.

For instance:
“I love working with people of all ages, and can take a few years off your portrait if you would like…”

versus

“I use layers in Photoshop to soften the separate channels of color and texture, and then blend them back in with masks to make the lines around the eyes softer.”

Trust me. Telling a forty year old woman how you are gonna use all that technical wizardry to make her look younger is not of any interest to her. That you CAN make her look a shade over 34 IS.

And lastly… never never never complain. Complaining sounds suspiciously like whining to a lot of people. When things are down, show your most lively photographs. Look more busy than you really are, and convey the fact that you are really busy because people love your work and wouldn’t it be cool if the reader could have an opportunity to have such a blast with you and get some incredible photographs.

You didn’t ask for a critique, and I broke my rule about never doing it without being asked, but since I am waiting for the mac to do some video rendering I felt… oh what the hell, why not.

The advice is worth exactly what you paid for it, but I would ask you to consider my concerns as I have a real affinity for people who actually DO shit over those who stand on the sidelines throwing stones.

Good for you for getting out there.

And great luck in all your endeavors.

- wizwow.

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts
The Fabulous Sandwich: Some Examples

The Fabulous Sandwich: Some Examples

Some shining examples of food shooting and shooting to layout from the Project 52 group.

The assignment:
Your assignment is to do a very interesting sandwich shot that fairly reeks of “high end cuisine sandwich” – and for this you will have a layout. The designer has already created two other brochures for the client, so the placement is pretty much set. He hired a photographer to do it, but unfortunately that photographer had never worked on any of the Project 52 stuff (probably didn’t have my book either) and totally, unconditionally failed to deliver the image.

Heh…

Anyway – you guys are up next. What will you do to make this shot so freeking awesome that people will want, no – NEED to buy a sandwich from his restaurant – and make the designer and client ecstatic.

The layout was given to them as a layered PSD, and these are terrific examples of what the photographers did with it.

Our cover shot is by Cindy Kopp

Untitled | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Stephen Collins

P52: Assignment40-Sandwich
Bob Knill

308/365 The Amazing, Incredible Sandwich
David Travis

sandwich
Anna Gunn

P52 Sandwich Assignment #1

P52 Sandwich Assignment #2
John McAllister (2)

proj52_assign_40_sandwich-1

proj52_assign_40_sandwich-4
Nikki Weidner (2)

sandwhich-assign_flickr.jpg
Mike Audleman

icecream sandwich
Dan Fenwick

Sandwich P52
Grey Gibbs

Sandwich1-vivid
Rob Worth

The Amazing Chicken Dilly Sandwich Layout
Bryan Lawler

p52-2012-assignment40
Tim Lester

P52-40 Sandwich
Irene Liebler

sandwhich-assign
David Moore

sandwich assignment
Virginia Smith

2012 P52 Week 40 - Sandwich
David Price

BLT Sandwich in Layout
Arni Freidling

The Incredible Sandwich
Stu

sandwhich-assign
Flora Cusi

Sandwich
Cindy Kopp

AdiTalwar_Sandwhich1
Adi Talwar

Sandwich Product Shot
Jerry OConnor

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts