Just Because…..Ziggy

David Bowie RIP

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A Jack, a Bowl, a Song and Bamboo Bam!

So I’ve been putting together an all file based audio system. I’ve been searching the internet for interesting tweaks and stuff and came across this post and thought WHAT! So while I await my Ikea cutting boards, I stuck a bamboo cutting board from Bed, Bath and Beyond that I’ve had for years under my external g-technology HD that my digital audio files are streaming from. It’s attached to my MacBook Pro (running OSX 10.10.3, circa 2008) with an Audioquest Forest Firewire 800 cable) and holy crap it changed the sound of the system! Everything seemed more focused with more space between instruments. One of my favorite reference songs is “Sleepy Time Time” from Cream’s Royal Albert Hall concert. It was ripped using the excellent XLD. For the first time I could distincly hear Ginger Baker clearly hitting the bass drum on his kit and Clapton’s higher overtones on his guitar solo. Do yourself a favor and stop by Ikea and for $14 pick up this cutting board and go crazy gypsy….Your ears will be very happy you did.

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Heads Up!

Too many metaphors and too little time ;)! Those of you who have taken classes with Rick Sammon know that he’s a font of photographic knowledge and a great resource for tips and tricks. One of my favorite is “ see the light”, it’s so fundamental and key to making great pictures, but I’d like to add to it with a “heads up”. My daughter grabs me and say’s “have you seen the sky?” I go outside on my porch and look up and there’s a storm a brewing….took this quick shot of the church tower across the street with the stormy sky.

Shot with my iPhone at ISO 100 at f/2.4 and 1/120th of a second.

I then hopped in the car and went down to the Hudson river for a much wider view. The light was cool and the scene very much stormy which was perfect.


Shot with my iPhone at ISO 50 at f/2.4 and 1/6944 of a second.

But the next interesting photo opportunity to incorporate Rick’s “see the light” and my “heads up” occurred at a Demi Lovato concert I took my daughter and her friend to the concert in Philly, Pa. I dreaded it! But it turned out much better then I thought, Demi was quite good. 20,000 screaming teenage girls stood the whole 2 hours Demi was on stage. So…..from my seat when sitting down I noticed how great the lights were and then loved how the girls in front of me were being silhouetted by the stage lights.


I just knew if I waited and watched both the lights and the girls I would get the perfect shot I was looking for. Sure enough with enough patience and a watchful eye, I got it! I just love seeing the girls face, her two friends being both lighted and backlighted at the same time.


Went to a New York Mets game this week and tried out a really cool app called Frameographer that allows you to easily shoot both stop motion and time lapse on your iPhone. It’s made by Studio Neat which also sells a great holder for your iPhone for almost any tripod called the Glif. The Glif works great on either a full scale tripod or on the little Joby tripods. See the time lapse video of the grounds crew getting the infield ready before the game at Citi Field. Again I used my iPhone using Frameographer and just resting the iPhone against the railing in front of our seats. Next, I’m waiting for a wedding at the church across the street and try the time lapse again….should be fun.

Just Because: Pete Townshed and Jack White doing the classic Who song, “the Seeker” in 2006.

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It’s Always a Matter of Perspective, Isn’t it!

Mountain Lion rocks the house! If you haven’t already and your machine meets the minimum requirements, Mountain Lion is a must have upgrade. I’ve included a bunch of links to reference material to help you get the most out of the OSX upgrade. Remember to back up first! Backing up is easy and cheap. Do it. Right now.

David Pogue’s OSX Mountain Lion Missing Manual
Take Control of Upgrading to Mountain Lion eBooks
Hello Tips, Tricks & Secrets
Vimeo Video Sharing in OS X Mountain Lion

Went to see the Allman Brothers and Santana up in Saratoga Springs at SPAC last weekend with my fellows. Fantastic shows. The performing arts center seats 25,000 concert goers both in the indoor open air stage and on the lawn. We sat on the lawn and I shot the below video from my beach chair on my iPhone and used the new Mountain Lion “share to Vimeo” function to upload to show you guys. ABB from the cheap seats!

Shot with Pano and my iPhone.

On my daily walks I pass by this bush that at this point in the summer is over growing the sidewalk and I need to duck it to walk by. Grabbed a shot this morning at my eye level before ducking. Whatever your perspective, there’s always a shot to be had!


And finally check out Dan Chung’s iPhone Photo Blog from the London Olympics……pretty cool.

Just Because: CSNY and Tom Jones! What? Enjoy and see you next time…..dl

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Aperture Priority

Is printing dead? I thought so until this week. Two things changed my mind:

  1. As is my teenager’s way, she left two graduation presents to the day before her friends high school graduation party. Now teenagers rarely print anything anymore, heck they rarely post to Facebook either. For both my 14 and 18 year old girls and their friends (boys and girls) it’s Instagram all the way! So imagine my surprise when my daughter asked me to print out a bunch of 5×7’s of her and her friends over the last 7 years. She was going to make a collage in a frame to give them to take to college. So I fired up my Aperture (Rick’s the Photoshop Lightroom expert!), found every possible combination of my daughter and her two friends, made an album and called her to pick the ones she wanted. Once identified by her I dusted off my favorite Canon Pro 9000 Mark ll and printed out the requested photos after some cropping and adjustments (all within Aperture of course). My daughter put the presents together in a 13”x19” picture frame, wrapped them up and went off to the party. Her friends were so happy to have for their new dorm rooms an “old school” photo frame full of memories……go figure in the age of iPhone and Instagram!
  2. So my dad has Alzheimer’s and is in a facility that has 10 other Alzheimer patients on his floor. I went to see him a few days ago (up in Elmira, NY) and while walking the hallway on his wing I noticed that every room that someone lived in had a bulletin board outside their door. Some were packed with photos some not so much. What was a common thread was how those photos defined who these people and their lives were before they started to fade away with Alzheimer’s. There were old faded b/w photographs from when they were young, work photos and photographs with family and friends throughout their lives. While quite sad to see it was very powerful in helping define the person inside. Of course outside my Dad’s room are photographs I printed over the years using camera’s from a Nikon F2 to my Canon 7D to my iPhone.

I’m working with Final Cut Pro X in the coming weeks putting together a video of one of our “International” dinners that I do with eight other families every two months. It’s like a cook club of sorts but it’s a good excuse to get to get together for really good eats and drink. This time we roasted a pig. There’s a great farm nearby in Yorktown that raises all the animals. As fresh as fresh can be. I hauled out my trusty Canon 7D with my Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens and shot some stills and of course all the video. I’ll post some video snip-its soon. In the meantime here’s a sneak peek. That’s Pedro guarding the pig ;).


Just Because: Couldn’t let the Rolling Stones 50th anniversary slide by without a little video. Check out this performance with Muddy Waters at Buddy Guy’s blues club in Chicago in 1981.

Also, having seen the ravishes of Alzheimer’s with my dad it saddens me to hear that Glen Campbell is not able to finish his last tour. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease last year. Here’s a wonderful video for the song “ Better Place”. Filled with photographs.

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Old School

For the past 4 years I have run a golf outing for the Croton-Harmon Booster Club. It’s one of our best fundraisers we do all year. All monies raised go towards scholarships and sport camps for our High School athletes. To both run and market the event there are a few old school apps that I continue to use on my desktop setup.

Filemaker Pro/Filemaker Go: In order to keep track of the entry forms for the outing, to track golfers, create foursomes, on course prizes and gather email addresses I use the venerable Filemaker Pro. Simple, direct, syncs to Filemaker Go on my iPad and generates a great paper sign-in form for the volunteers.


Pixelmator, Illustrator and Photoshop: The posters that publicize the event from the 13”x19” in store posters to the 4’x6’ banners were created and changed in these programs.


Freeway: Create the simple website for the outing


Pages: Create and generate the sign-up and sponsorship forms.


Mac OSX: With it’s built-in .pdf generator. Hit the print command like your going to create a document and instead of printing, hit the save as pdf drop down menu. Viola! You’ve created a .pdf document.


Dropbox: I store all the files in my Dropbox account so that whether on my iPhone, iPad or laptop I have access to the         most up-to-date files.

That’s it…..the one thing that technology nor software can help me to is improve my golf game! ;-). Well not entirely true, Rick and I have an iPhone and iPad Golf Lesson app. Check it out and you can learn the famous “Skip Chip”!

Just Because: Happy Birthday Paul McCartney! by Fiona Apple and the Roots and Paul Weller

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Hit Me With Your Best Shot!

Let’s start it off right and tie it right into the theme of this weeks surgery with Nikki Bluhm and the Gramblers.

Camera apps:
When I first started out in photography, I learned to shoot black and white first. It forced me to look not just at composition but the contrast and brightness of a shot. Film of choice was Tri-X by Kodak.


I came across this great iPhone camera app called “Hueless”. Open the app and everything you shoot is in black and white just like if you loaded your old SLR with Tri-X. There are controls to help focus and set contrast and brightness but there is no color so it’s a fun way to see the photographic world this way and helps you look at tonal gradations once again.

Shot using Hueless.app                                                Shot using iPhone Camera

I had forgotten all about one of the earliest iPhone camera apps and the first one I bought when I got my iPhone 3G, Pano. If I had swung by the Hudson River it might have remained in the “I can’t delete it, but never use it anymore, cause you never know” app on my iPhone. I forgot how much fun a panorama can be. Check it out and go crazy on panoramas!


Hudson River sunset in Croton on Hudson, NY, copyright 2012 David Leveen.

Social app:
The current hot one is called Thumb. In the “old days” the way information about likes and dislikes, what looks good, what tastes good and do you like this shirt/blouse good came about around the water cooler, or on the school bus or out with friends. Now you can do it wherever, whenever and even when alone. Watch the video on their website to see how it works. Create your own groups (your own inner circle so to speak) or use the whole world at large and get instant opinions from real people.

Productivity app:
Holy tomatoes there are so many “to-do” list and “note” apps that have come on and off my iPhone since I had it. But right now, thanks to my friend John Gruber I discovered lta, a quick list app. It’s simple, quick and looks great. Works on both the iPhone and iPad and uses iCloud to keep both in sync. Speaking of iCloud………….

Where oh where has Mobile Me gone?:
Yup it’s going bye-bye and has been creating angst, uncertainty and fear among users. It’s really quite simple to make the transition from Mobile Me to iCloud but BACK-UP, BACKUP AND BACK-UP all you devices. Backup your main machine, sync your iPhone, iTouch and iPad!!!! If you go to http://icloud.com and log-in with your .me email address it will step you through the transition. A BIG CAVEAT! if you have multiple devices that are currently syncing with Mobile Me, you need to make sure that you use the Mobile Me username and password from the device with the most up-to-date contact and calendar info when you first go to http://icloud.com. Then……all the rest of your devices need to have the same username and password in the iCloud setting preference panel if you want them to remain in sync moving forward with iCloud. One more thing to make sure of……if you switch all your devices to use iCloud to sync Calendar and Contacts to your devices, make sure you’re not also syncing those devices Calendar and Contacts in iTunes but letting iCloud do the syncing for those apps.

Just Because: We love Jimmy Fallon!

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