Gizmo of the day

The gizmo of the day is this Photoflex bracket:

Photoflex dual flash bracket

Photoflex dual flash bracket

Intended mainly to put two small flashes in a softbox. For which it works well. Adjustable just like it should be.

But I have another use for it.

You see, I am a speedlighter. I use small flashes. And pocketwizards, when I am not using TTL. So I am always looking for ways to mount those flashes and Pocketwizards, and no-one has yet come up with any good ways to do it.

So that’s where this bracket comes in. I use it to put one flash and one Pocketwizard onto a light stand. I mount it on a ball head, which I put on the light stand.

In order to do so, I had to use a metal saw to remove the little tag that sticks out: you can see it on the very top, sticking out next to the screw. I am not sure why they put that there: much better without.

But that done, I now have a bracket that allows me to securely, safely and sturdily mount two flashes, or a flash and a pocketwizard, for use on a light stand.

Michael’s Quick Judgment: recommended, provided you have a saw.

Nature close up

Nature can be beautiful, as in the snap I made in downtown Toronto yesterday afternoon:

Bird, Fountain and Flowers (Toronto, 29 August) - photo by Michael Willems

Bird, Fountain and Flowers (Toronto, 29 August)

Sometimes, as in this example, nature is best seen close up; sometimes better using wide angles.

That is the kind of thing we will be going over in the upcoming full-day Nature Walk workshop, which, take note, has now been brought forward to 11 September. It is also one of the subjects I go through in the Henry’s “Creative Urban Photography” half day walkaround I do in Oakville.

Choosing the right angle is a very important part of making (not “taking”!) a photo, and it is one of many subjects covered.

Oh, the photo? A 70-200mm f/2.8L lens, set to f/4 (I wanted the bird to be sharp, and these birds never sit still for more than a moment). At 200 ISO, that gave me 1/250th second. I used the Canon 7D camera, because its 1/6 crop factor gave me a longer reach (the 200mm effectively became 320m).

iPad Sort Tip

Do you use Lightroom on a Mac? And have an iPad? And want to sort the images you see on your iPad?

Perish the thought.  Unless you also want to use iPhoto in parallel to Lightroom (which makes little sense), that is difficult.

But it is possible.

And you do it as follows. If you are an advanced user, that is!

  1. Install EXIFTOOL (Google it. It’s a great little command line tool that you will need for this).
  2. In Lightroom, make a collection, add your selected photos to that, and sort them any way you like.
  3. Now click the A-Z icon at the bottom to reverse the sort order. (Apple sorts the images in reverse order for some odd reason!)
  4. Export to a folder (While we are at it, use the maximum file size the iPad accepts, 2304 x 1536 pixels)
  5. In the export dialog, change the filename to a number, instead, e.g. a number from 00 to 99. You can select this (rename file) in the export dialog.
  6. Now open a command window, go to that folder.
  7. In that folder, type something like exiftool -alldates=”2010:08:22 13:00:00″ *.jpg
  8. Delete the *-original” files from that folder
  9. Now move that folder to the place where you have told iTunes to sync photos to your iPad (if you tell iTunes such a folder, all folders and photos you put within that folder will be synchronized with the iPad.)

That is all.

That is all? You need to be a computer scientist for this?

Yes, it is a little involved – that’s thanks to Apple mandating that no sorting must be done unless it’s by creation time. or unless you use iPhoto so you manage your photos twice. Or give up using Lightroom, which is what Apple really wants you to do, I suspect.

But at least you now know there is a workaround. And it works like a charm.