June 21, 2014
by Chris
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Apple iPhone 6

The time is finally here (we think) that the iPhone will finally get a larger screen than the 3.5″ and 4″ we’ve been forced to use for many years. Rumors at this point speculate that the phone will be released in 2 sizes: 4.7″ and 5.5″. There’s also rumors that the 5.5″ will demand a $100 price premium over the smaller version and will have some features above and beyond the 4.7″. I don’t even need to hold both phones to know which one I want. I briefly owned an LG Optimus Pro G for about a week and absolutely loved the 5.5″ screen on it. The only problem was it was Android and I’m not a fan.

I hate to say I have dream specs for something like a phone, however I would like to see the following on the iPhone 6:

  1. 5.5″ screen running @ 1080p
  2. Kill the 16gb option. We’re beyond 16gb. Make them 32gb, 64gb and 128gb. I’ll be on board for the 128gb version.
  3. A8 processor
  4. Fingerprint sensor along with other sensors for tracking things such as pulse, etc.

That’s pretty much it. Make the iPhone 6 have those and I’ll love it. There’s been a lot of mockup images floating around and most of them show the phone being very thin with rounded bezels made out of aluminum. I like it!

The only other request I have is for Magpul (www.magpul.com) to produce their awesome cases for the 6.

If you’d like to stay up to date on iPhone 6 updates (or anything Apple for that matter), visit MacRumors.

December 14, 2013
by Chris
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Geminids Lost

Another year has come and gone and yet again I’ve missed the Geminid meteor shower. I was all set to go out and watch them; I checked the weather and the wind was immediately taken out of my sails… clouds. Since I’ve received my Canon 6D, the sky has pretty much been cloudy. I’ve yet to try it out and I didn’t see meteor one. I take that back, I’ve seen one meteor this year and that was random while out looking one night.

Here’s hoping that the next meteor shower will be graced with better weather.

December 8, 2013
by Chris
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Astronomy Curse

In the amateur astronomy community, there’s a curse that affects anyone who gets a new telescope. What’s the curse? Immediate and prolonged clouds or otherwise unsuitable weather for viewing the sky. Having recently got a new camera lens to take photos of the Milky Way, I’ve been subjected to the same curse. The day the lens came, cloudy. The next day, cloudy. The day after I saw a couple of specs of light in the sky but still cloudy.

Here it is and the weekend is almost over and I still haven’t tried out my lens.

December 6, 2013
by Chris
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Wide Field Astrophotography

What does one do when they either feel bored or out of subjects with terrestrial photography? Turn to the skies. Specifically, the night sky. Wide field astrophotography is gaining popularity due to the relative ease and not having a requirement of knowing anything about astronomy or prime astrophotography.

To get into the practice of taking photos of the night sky, you really only need a digital SLR (or film or even a point and shoot if it has a fast lens and manual settings), a solid tripod and a fast wide angle lens. When choosing a lens, the ideal would be f/2.8 or faster in order to capture more light without the stars trailing. Star trails can be a welcome style if that’s what you desire, but to maintain pinpoints and to gather enough light, you need a fast lens. Fast lenses are typically f/2.8, f/2.0, f/1.8, f/1.4 and f/1.2.

Great lenses on the market these days is made by a Korean company that’s marketed under the names Bower, Rokinon and Pro Optic. Rokinon is the typical brand you’ll find here in the US and they’re much cheaper than Canon or Nikon equivalents and more often than not, produce better results. The Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 allows for very long exposures before stars begin to trail. There’s a rule floating around on the internet and it’s either called the “600″ or “500″ rule. The premise is to determine how long your exposure can be before stars begin to trail, you take 500 divided by the focal length of the lens. For example, if you have the Rokinon 14mm lens, it would be 500 / 14 which gives you 35.71 seconds. Always round down so simply make it a maximum of a 35 second exposure. This rule isn’t exact but for the most part, will work 90% of the time.

Another thing to consider is your sky. Do you live in a light polluted area? If so, then you’d be advised to find the darkest sky around you. To do this, go to this URL (http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/) and find where you live and check the colors. You’ll want to find an area that’s at least green. Blue is better and dark gray to black is the best. If you’re on the east coast, you won’t find much in the way of black (if at all). If you’re in an area that’s yellow/orange/red then your skies are so light polluted, you may not pick up anything but the brightest stars.

One could go on about this subject but the best thing to do is get your gear and head out and try it. Any result is better than no results so don’t get disgusted if your first photo doesn’t turn out perfect.

You can find links to cameras and lenses on the right. The Rokinon 14mm is listed as well.

If you’d like to see some great resources on the subject, visit David Kingham’s site at http://www.davidkinghamphotography.com/

December 6, 2013
by Chris
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Canon 6D

Well, I’ve gotten back into the photography swing of things. I just bought a Canon 6D and a Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lens to start taking wide field shots of the Milky Way. One thing I’ve noticed this holiday shopping season, prices are dropping a lot. When I got the 6D it was $1599, then it dropped to $1500, now I’ve seen it advertised for $1415.

If you’re in the market for a new camera body, now is definitely the time to get one.

Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only)

July 8, 2013
by Chris
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July Updates

As I sit here and look at the date of my last post, I realize that I need to post more. I suppose it’s because I don’t have a lot to say however there’s definitely a lot happening. One funny thing to note is the fact I was using Adbrite for attempting to generate revenue. I logged in one day to see I didn’t have any ads so I went to my Adbrite control panel to see what was going on and the page was 404… “Ok” I thought to myself so I tried going to the homepage and also 404. Come to find out the idiots went out of business and didn’t inform anyone. Not to mention I had a tiny amount of money in the account which is also now gone. Live and learn.

On our anniversary, my wife and I went to Martin Vineyards in Knotts Island, NC to pick peaches. It’s a neat place as they have a small winery and orchards with fruit such as Concord grapes, peaches, apples, blackberries, etc. You can go to pick different things depending on the time of year. I also did a wine tasting there and bought a bottle of their Merlot and Pomegranate wine. The pomegranate was really sweet, almost syrup but it tastes good. We’re going back in a couple weeks to get some Concord grapes. You basically pay them, they give you a bag and you go to the orchard/vineyard and fill the bag.

On the photography side of the house, I haven’t done squat lately. I keep up with new hardware coming out but I haven’t taken any photos with my Canon in months. That’s going to change come fall as I’m in the mood to hit up Williamsburg again. Canon recently announced the 70D and based on the specs, I want to pick one of those up. I realized one thing when it comes to camera bodies; I don’t need the best or fastest as the type of photography I enjoy can be done with lesser DSLR bodies. Lesser not in that they’re incapable of doing what I want, they’re just cheaper and have less features (that I don’t really need). That being said, I’ve been yearning for something like a 5D Mark III but I just don’t need it. A Canon 70D will do everything I could possibly ever want to do for a lot less money.

October 3, 2012
by Chris
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I’m slacking

This evening, I realized I haven’t posted to my blog since February. It’s not for a lack of wanting to, but more due to the fact that I’ve been super busy with work and side work. I haven’t had the opportunity to take any photographs or buy new camera gear.

Anyways, I’m planning on taking pics of the fall leaves coming up so hopefully that will add some content.

January 27, 2012
by Chris
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Williamsburg Restaurants

Recently, I’ve been going to more and more of the various restaurants in the Williamsburg area so I wanted to make a list of them. I’m only putting restaurants in the list that are good so if it’s there, you can trust that the food’s good (not that I’m a restaurant critic).

Doraldo’s
http://www.doraldosrestaurant.com/

Maurizio’s
http://mauriziositalianrestaurant.com/

Carrabba’s
http://www.carrabbas.com/restaurant/locations/VA/Williamsburg/Williamsburg/

The Library Tavern
http://www.allmenus.com/va/williamsburg/55512-the-library-tavern/menu/

Buon Amici
http://www.buonamiciwilliamsburg.com/

Green Leafe
http://www.greenleafe.com
If you love cheese sticks, then you have to go to Green Leafe. They have the best (and largest) cheese sticks I’ve ever had.

Black Angus Grille
http://www.blackangusgrille.com/

Pierce’s BBQ
http://www.pierces.com/

I’ll be updating this post as I find new ones to list.

December 24, 2011
by Chris
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Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 2012 is going to be an exciting year!

September 14, 2011
by Chris
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Windows 8

I’ve been excited to see how the new iteration of Windows will look. Now that I’ve seen it on Youtube, I must admit that I’m disappointed. I don’t think making an operating system built around tablets/touch screens for the mainstream PC market makes any sense. Yes, on a tablet device, what I’ve seen of Windows 8 so far would be great, but I don’t want that interface on my PC. It’s been decades of using the Start menu and I like that. Microsoft is saying Windows 8 allows you to personalize your experience — I don’t want to be forced to personalize it. I can do all the personalization I want in Windows 7 and it’s still usable as an operating system.

I was hoping Windows 8 was even more visual than Windows 7 while staying within the boundaries we’re accustomed to in the OS. As a designer, I need an OS that’s easy to use and Windows 8 doesn’t appear to be it. I’m also a Mac user and I love what they’ve done with OS X Lion. If future versions of Windows is going down the path of Windows 8, I’ll be switching exclusively to OS X.

At the very least, Microsoft should give users the option of turning off the new “experience” and be able to use Windows traditionally. If that function doesn’t exist, I’ll be skipping Windows 8.