Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Drilling Into Success by Robert Combden

Book Publication

Drilling Into Success by John BirchMany of you who read my blog may not know but I’ve been employed within the oil industry most of my life. This has included a substantial amount of time working on drilling rigs both offshore and onshore. Many of my photographic opportunities then, have been in and around the drilling locations where I have worked in, and through time I’ve amassed a fair collection of industrial related photographs too.

One of these pictures has been used for a book cover that has just been published. The book is entitled Drilling Into Success which is by Robert Combden. Robert hails from North-eastern, Newfoundland and who like me, has spent most of his life working on drilling rigs. The book details his life as a rig hand and contains anecdotal tales and stories of his life within the oil patch and is written to bring a fuller understanding of the processes of drilling a well and what life is really like on an oil rig.

Robert’s book is available in Chapters, Coles and Indigo stores in Edmonton, Alberta, and Costo, Chapters and Coles in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

As for the picture, well it’s quite an old one, being of late 2004 vintage and around the start of my rekindled interest in serious photography. It was taken with a Konica Minolta DiMAGE A2, which some may remember as an 8 megapixel, fixed lens, bridge camera. It had a 7 times optical zoom  lens with the equivalent of a 28-200mm focal length, an electronic viewfinder and a fold-out rear 1.8-inch rear LCD screen. 8 megapixels was a pretty formidable specification back then, but these days you can get that on a phone. Never-the-less I got achieved some pleasing images with the A2 at the time, although the files were pretty noisy by today's standards. It wasn't long however, before I was smitten by the lure of a Canon 20D and even that seems somewhat old fashioned now.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Apple Announces the iPad 2

New Product

iPAD2_facetimeYesterday Apple announced the imminent arrival of the new iPad 2, scheduled to commence selling at 5.00pm on the 11th March in US Apple stores. A successor to the much hailed original iPad which, when released in April 2010, brought about a paradigm shift in the world of portable computing. Pad devices seem the de rigueur device at present, with seemingly almost every computer manufacturer and then some releasing iPad clones, albeit most running Google’s free and much heralded Android operating system.
It’s is with no doubt then, that the industry must have waited for yesterdays announcement with bated breath to see how far Apple has moved the goal posts. Well, if you listen hard, you can probably hear the Apple iPad competitors let out a huge sigh of relief, as the shift is not that far.

New Specifications

imageThe new iPad is 33% thinner, 15% lighter, comes in a white version as well as the previous black, and has front and rear cameras for Apples FaceTime face to face video calling. Apart from being thinner, It’s the same dimensions however and features the same 9.7-inch LED display and bezel. It does feature a much faster, dual core A5 processor providing Apple say, 9 times faster graphics, and enhanced video processing but still allowing 10 hours battery time. Rather disappointingly it does not come with any increased RAM capacity, with the choice remaining at 16gb, 32gb and 64gb as before. Sadly their are no change to the ports either, still no USB connection or SD card slot. although it does appear the Screen Rotation lock button may be re-enabled after all the fuss when it’s functionality was changed to a mute switch as part of the iOS 4.2 software upgrade.  Apple plan to release a rather nifty Smart Cover which attaches magnetically, wakes up your iPad when opened and even folds back to make a stand; it does however, cost $39, so you can guess it will be near £39 for us Brits. The price of the iPad 2 in the US will remain the same as the original iPad so hopefully the same will hold true when the iPad 2 goes on sale within the UK.

For Photographers

If you’d thought the iPad has no use for the budding photographer, then you’d be wrong. It makes an ideal back-up device in the field and is an ideal RAW file viewer, which clearly put devices like the now defunct Epson P-4000 Multimedia storage view and all alike to some considerable shame. If you’re in any doubt of this please read Doug Chimney's excellent article on The iPad for Photographers here. Doug uses his on all his workshops.
There are already many good photography Apps for the iPad, such as the Photographers Ephemeris, Golden Hour, and several Depth of Field calculators, and some great eBooks from Craft&Vision. However, the vast majority of so-called photography Apps currently available for download , have to be said, tend to be on the gimmicky side. Apple had pre-announced that they would be developing a high-end photography App for the iPad 2 and with the much faster graphics processor on-board this does give significant scope now for developers. Sadly, all Apple announced yesterday was an enhanced version of the fun, comic App, Photo Booth, so hopefully that wasn’t it and we can look forward to seeing some high-end RAW file processors making their way onto the iPad 2 in the near future.

Upgrade or Not?

I love my iPad. It’s a terrific little device, and one I use more than ever for internet browsing and reading, as well as music, movies and videos. It’s great for travel especially if you spend as much time on long haul flights as I do. I have all my PDF camera manuals and many photography eBooks on mine. I also use it for business and note taking.
Will I upgrade. I doubt it. FaceTime may be a big thing for many, but has no appeal for me, and it remains to be seen how good the camera is. More processing power is always welcome, but until I see some Apps using that, then I think many may wait. What I really was hankering after didn’t happen, increased RAM options, and the ability to add memory via an SD or micro SD card. I guess I’ll just have to see what the iPad 3 will bring?

Online Resources

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