Example

Yesterday, I had grand plans to take the Audi R8 from TopSpeed Motorsports out in the golden hours of the sunrise to take some warm setting pictures. Then…the rain moved in and ruined those plans. Instead I burned up a spot that I had been waiting to shoot my own car at later. It is a gloomy looking parking deck with a very unique rear wall. In retrospect, this location was probably much better suited for the R8 anyway as it pops off the background a lot better than my matte silver Subaru would have.

Yesterday when I got back, Jenn was not feeling all that well and Daniel had to go down for a nap. This gave me a couple of hours to really work on these two photos. This was the first time that I really sat down and worried about every single pixel in the frame. Normally I get impatient with the editing process and leave it at just good enough or just stop when I run out of talent in frustration. I know this about myself so I generally try to compose during the shot in a way that requires the least amount of final editing.

I used these particular shots as an exercise in trying to get better at producing a better final result regardless of how long it took. There are still things that I look at in these images that need some work but this was a lot more time and effort than I normally put in and it shows in the results. Luckily, I have some photographer friends of mine that are far more talented than I am that put up with my constant texting of questions. That conversation really helped get these to where they are now and is a fun part of the creative process that gets to the final image.

The Before and After Shots of the R8

before-after

As you can see by these comparison shots (you can click on the image for a hi-res), a lot of work went into removing the poles, the fence, parking lines and other distractions from the background/setting of the location. As much as I like red cars, they can be a bitch to shoot because the reflections come off as magenta, so a lot of color correction in spots had to be done to return things to red. There was also some work on cleaning up the reflections on the car itself to make things look cleaner and to remove the reflections of elements I removed in the scene.

The technique I used in Photoshop is not really the way to do this. I did all of the editing within the image itself instead of using layers like you really should. Why? Because I suck at layers and that is something I really need to work harder on learning or find some kind of class to take. I have a feeling it would drastically cut down on editing time and get me to a better final result faster.

Overall, I am pretty happy with the final results. Those that know photography can probably see the areas that need more work or a better way to compose the image…but when I look at shots I took this time last year…I can see some progression in my own work which is pretty cool to see. I really just need to keep on doing mental exercises like this to try to keep pushing myself even if I feel like I really don’t know what I am doing.

The Final Shots

Here are the final shots of the car that I ended up using in the end. One is a 3/4 shot and the other is the profile as you can see in the comparison shots above.

Audi R8 6 speed red

Audi R8 6 speed red

The Audi R8

The Audi R8 really is a special car…especially in a 6 speed configuration. For the life of me, I can not figure out why someone would buy a Lamborghini Gallardo over an R8. The interior is nicer, it rides better, it is just as fast and it looks better in my opinion. I guess the only real thing it doesn’t have is that “hey look I am in a Lambo” attention grabber. Other than that, you basically get the same package in a much more refined final product.

6-speed

There is just something about hearing the shifter run through the metal great that is addicting. Ironically, I will probably be showing my son pictures of the way we used to shift cars as most brands are abandoning manual gear boxes completely in favor of new dual clutch designs. We’ll be telling our kids “remember when there used to be 3 pedals?”.

If there was one car I could have right now that is still in the realm of “reasonable”…this would be it. There will always be the pipe dream of a McLaren, Ferrari 599 GTO (w/twin turbos!) or Porsche Carrera GT though…

I am a sucker for incredible footage. This sequence by Michael Shainblum in breathtaking. There is something about time lapse that makes you fall away into the scene and really captures what it feels like to be at a place over time. While the star scenes are incredible, I personally like the tops of the clouds and the city scenes the best. The tops of the clouds remind me of water and those huge, colorful tarps you used to throw balls into at gym class when I was a kid (I don’t even know if they still do that anymore).

Anyway, sit back and enjoy the next 6 minutes. It is worth every second.

Its been almost a year since i started my journey into time-lapse photography. This project has been an ongoing process for about 4 months. There was a lot of trial and error, there were also many sleepless nights in many different unexpected places. This film has taught me about patience and what it really takes to achieve the shot that you dream about in your head. The gear isn’t as important as the passion you put within your work.

This short video is called EXISTENCE. The video is a statement not only about time and progression, but also a statement about the world we have created for ourselves. The videos contrasts the two extremes of life itself. The urban metropolis and the beauty outside the city. I love to stargaze, watching the milky way float across the sky is one of the most therapeutic experiences i have felt. If you havent, then i strongly recommend taking the time to do so.” – Michael Shainblum

Example

I post a lot of pictures on Facebook of my kid…A LOT. The funny part is I always try to catch him doing something interesting. Whether that is smiling, frowning or just being silly, the pictures are of a split second in time when he is exposing some emotion he is feeling at the time.

Continue reading What it really takes to get a smiling baby picture.

Example

First and foremost, let me start off with a working definition of a private cloud. A private cloud (also known as an enterprise cloud) is “a cloud computing infrastructure created by an organization for its own internal use.” Organizations may develop such a private cloud instead of using other infrastructures, this is a convenient way for an organization to store sensitive data and host internal information. You can identify a private cloud verses a public cloud mainly by their use of an independent server and network infrastructure with internal data centers that are set up within a firewall.

Within the different forms of cloud computing, there are different deployment methods whether it is public, private or a hybrid, private clouds have been able to address the disadvantages of public cloud computing. It is my goal throughout this entry to give a brief overview of the strengths and weaknesses of hosting on a managed private cloud and what you need to know.

Strengths of Hosting on a Managed Private Cloud

One great thing about hosting on a private cloud is the available control. These clouds may also be called on premises clouds being that they are hosted on site rather than by a separate vendor. Organizations using a private cloud have a large amount of control of the software used to create the cloud, implementation of its security, the network set-up and the available operating systems. Organizations therefore also have full control of their data and information. Maintaining their own data gives them complete responsibility. Using someone else’s infrastructure, or public cloud, one loses that amount of control that is available when hosting from a private cloud.

Location is another strong advantage of a private cloud verse public clouds. Having direct access to the server makes it easier to move data in or out of the cloud. Locations to the server, keeps your information tangible and close at hand and reduces the need for outsourced IT support. The internal location also increases the performance and transfer rates. As the private cloud functions within a firewall, it allows for these higher transfer rates.

A third strength of hosting on a private cloud would be security. Assuming the network is closed to outside, it is a great deal easier to secure. Going back to the control issue, you are able to control the network’s security with your own judgment.

Weaknesses of Hosting on a Managed Private Cloud

The largest weakness to hosting on an enterprise cloud is the work put into creating and maintaining the cloud. As building a cloud is an intricate process, it may be easier to use a different, pre-existing, infrastructure.

Another weakness would be the shear cost of hosting on a managed private cloud. There are hidden costs involved in complying to regulations, IT support, backing up data, recovery or restoration, and troubleshooting. With the new technology, these costs may fluctuate while the practice gets perfected.

Hopefully I have addressed your issues with a private cloud and have left you with a clearer knowledge of the topic. If you are interested in private clouds but are concerned more of its weaknesses, I encourage you to look further into hybrid clouds as they have been designed to address the weaknesses of both public and private clouds.

This article was written by Sebastian Brown, a technology veteran and hosting expert. For all your hosting needs, check out Rackspace.com. Rackspace is a company that delivers enterprise-level hosting services to businesses of all sizes. Check out Rackspace by clicking here.

Cloud image by unifiedphoto