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Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

I’m rebuilding my entire photo library management workflow now that I’m back on the Mac. It is taxing.

Snow dusted culm piles – 50mm • f/11 • 1/320s

Discussing film photography – December 2019

In this episode of Photowalking with Colin I discuss my interest in film photography over the years and that I’m finally taking the plunge into that world.

On the day it was recorded I purchased my first point-and-shoot cameras, took a few photos (some of which I’ve shared here as well), and began my exploration of the world of film photography.

The point-and-shoot cameras I ramble on about are the Canon Snappy EL Macro, Olympus SuperZoom 2800, Olympus Stylus, Vivtar 700 24mm, Kodak pocket Instamatic 10 24mm (which I call magic).

Some of the episode has some audio popping issues. Please stick with it.

Tom Elenbaas in Iceland shot on Google Pixel 2 XL

Tom Elenbaas at Gjáin in Iceland, September 2018

In September 2018, when we visited Iceland, we ran into photographer Tom Elenbaas ankle deep in the waters of Gjáin in the south. I took the above photo of him with my Google Pixel 2 XL.

I hadn’t revisited his site in a while but I stopped by today to see the photo he shot while in these waters.

We had a nice short chat after I took this photo and I ended up emailing it to him a few days later. Be sure to check out his fantastic work on his web site.

55mm f/4 1/1250
Fresh Coyote track
Beaver evidence

A snowy photowalk – December 2019

Another episode that is simply a walk in the snow where I don’t talk about too much but I wanted to publish it anyway. A few tidbits to pull out of this episode are some of the advantages of fresh snow, how snow changes your photography, and making the best of the situation at hand.

Be sure to subscribe to future episodes.

Bought a cable release for a dollar at a thrift store and put it to use last night. It is going to come in very handy.

Downy woodpecker – November 2019

In this episode of the podcast I cover the fact that photo gear really does matter. That doesn’t mean that you can’t start learning photography with any gear you have on hand. It simply means that in certain situations gear can mean getting the shot or not.

I found the above woodpecker picking off the last few berries of this bush just before a snowfall. I included this photo in this post as well.

I’m glad I published this episode to perhaps unjam the backlog I have in podcast episodes. Stay tuned for more!

Business meetings always seem to go a bit better with delicious lattes.

I wish I could post to my blog from my phone as easily as I can tweet. The WordPress app just isn’t as simple. I almost want to build something myself.

Selfie.

I’m thinking of holding 1-on-1 video conferences to help people with their personal photo library back ups. I’d charge $200.00 for a consultation. The result would be that you can have confidence in your workflow and back ups. Contact me to schedule one.

I have a backlog of podcast episodes that will be coming soon. So please stay subscribed. Also, tons of film photos in the coming months. It is going to be an exciting 2020.

My initial reaction to the proposed updates to Twitter’s reply feature are positive. I think the options could be very good for the platform. But we’ll see.

Upon switching back to Mac a few days ago one of the first apps I set up was NetNewsWire. I’ve missed this app. It is so Mac and so, so good.

The Best of 2019 as told by me

At the end of the year I like to sit down and make a rather random list of the “best” things I’ve seen that year. I do this almost entirely from memory but I also peruse my browser history and look through my Unmark archive in order to uncover some of the things I appreciated throughout the year.

You can review previous years: 2008, 2009, 2017, 2018.

At the tail end of December I sat down and made this list and since then I’ve taken some time to cull through it and make the list you’re reading now.

Best Blog: Gurney Journey by James Gurney

James Gurney, who I interviewed for The Watercolor Gallery, has kept a blog for a very long time. This past year wasn’t necessarily a stand-out year for his blog – it has always been very good – but I believe his blog and his YouTube channel deserve recognition this year.

Runners up: Waxy’s links, Kottke as always.

Best (new to me) Blog: AOWS

Since I’ve really been going all-in on my photography this year I’ve stumbled across a lot of photographers. In fact, I’m well over 100 photographers on my private Photography Twitter list (I’m @cdevroe there). I’m very glad to have found AOWS. See also the Instagram account.

Runner up: Chris Sale.

Best place: Kentucky

Jim Beam Distillery

Last year I said that we’d likely return to Kentucky and we did – that must say something about it. We enjoy the entire state, the distilleries, horse farms, and rolling hills. See posts.

Runner up: Cape Cod – This was our first trip to Cape Cod and I enjoyed the whole feeling there. Likely because so many people are either retired or on vacation. I’d like to go back and make more photographs in the future.

Best book: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

I didn’t read nearly as many books as I’d like this year. But I’m trying not to beat myself up when I miss self assigned goals like number of books to read. I did a lot of fishing, photography, and even started a podcast this year. So I need not read books.

Dark Matter was a nice change of pace from other things I’d read this year. I always like a book that has time jumping. And this book sort of did.

Best service: OneDrive

I can’t believe I’m writing this, but OneDrive – for the most part – holds up very well for my needs. I have nearly half of a terabyte stored there and it isn’t skipping a beat. I use it mostly as a cloud-based backup of all my photos and videos. I also use it to transfer things to/from my computer and phone which worked well when I was on so many different platforms; Android, Windows 10, iOS, and Airdrop wasn’t possible.

Runner up: Disney+ just for The Mandalorian.

Best song for working: Morning of – Colin Stetson

According to Spotify I listened to this song, and the album it comes from, a lot while I was writing code.

Best album: Benton County Relic – Cedric Burnside

Love the old style jazzy/bluesy feel of this album.

Best company: Disney

I wrote a bit about what they’ve done with Lucasfilm since they acquired the company. But, when you look at the scope of Disney – and watch some of their documentaries about how it all came together – they really deserve a round of applause this year.

Runners up: Microsoft is still killing it and I think 2020 looks interesting for them. Apple for finally fixing their laptops.

Best hardware: Canon 400D

Me w/ 400D, recording my podcast

I shot nearly as many photos on this camera as I did on my phones (Pixel 2 XL until October and then iPhone 11 Pro Max) and the camera is 13 years old. It is rugged, has a lot more features than I ever knew it did, and I’m satisfied with the results I’ve been getting.

I have the feeling that next year a film camera may win this category and I’m very excited about that.

Runners up: iPhone 11 Pro Max – the battery life alone deserves an award, iPad Pro – I still use this every single day, in fact I’m writing this post on it right now and I’d say I do greater than 75% of my photo editing on the iPad.

Best desktop app: Firefox

Rather than keeping Firefox in just the browser category, I’m going to give it the best desktop app award. I really, really like Firefox and it has improved greatly this year in terms of speed, privacy, feature set. I simply cannot live without Containers at this point.

Runner up: Lightroom CC.

Best mobile app: Anchor

If it weren’t for how relatively easy it is to create a podcast using Anchor I don’t think I would have done it. Though I am looking forward to my podcast getting a bit better with some desktop-based editing apps. If you have an idea for a podcast I suggest at least giving it a look.

Runners up: VSCO, Twitter, Pocket Casts, Cash.

Best tool: Photoshop CC

Adobe has made very big updates to the entire CC suite of apps. I feel like they deserve a nod as a result of that.

Best podcast: BirdNote

The podcast is just so simple. I love it.

Runners up: ATP. I go back and forth on whether or not I should listen to ATP. Very good information, they were even nice enough to answer one of my questions, but the constant hypercritical (see what I did there?) take on things can sometimes be draining, and so I take long breaks from listening. But that is the entire point of the podcast so I don’t begrudge them of the style. I just always try to look at things positively is all. Also Cal’s Week in Review.

Best YouTube channel: Nick Carver

Nick has easily has the largest impact on my approach to photography this year. His channel is also very entertaining even when he’s discussing very nerdy photography topics.

Special second place: Joe Rogan Experience – I have to cherry pick episodes that I’m interested in, mostly with scientists and outdoorsy people, but the interviews and long form style are refreshing compared to the bit-sized bits we get through TV these days.

I watch a lot of YouTube. Probably too much. Not probably. Actually too much. It is how I learn, am entertained, waste time, etc. In fact, I watch a lot less TV because of YouTube. So this isn’t an easy category to choose.

Runners up: Morten Hilmer, Jack Black, MKBHD, Kevin Nealon, Rainfall Projects, The Lion Whisperer, Zimri Mayfield.

Best Twitter account: Todd Vaziri

Behind-the-scenes and background information on special effects in TV and movies. Fascinating stuff. The amount of work for just a few seconds of video is amazing.

Runner up: Adam Savage.

Best Instagram account: Luke Beard

Luke shares a ton of photos via Stories from his town of Atlanta. It is inspiring the number of photos he’s able to take, process, and publish and has really gained a following in that area. He’s also super gracious in his responses whenever I’ve asked him how he did something.

Special second place: captain.solo – I can always appreciate when someone creates their own style and sticks to it – it isn’t easy to do either of those things. This account has.

You can also follow @cdevroe on Instagram where I frequently share accounts and photos I like via Stories.

Runners up: Dan Rubin, PPP Repairs, Clyde Butcher, Brad Baldwin.

I hope you enjoyed this year’s list. Whenever I sit down to make the list I always under estimate the amount of time it takes to create it. But I’m always glad that I do so that I can look back on it in the future. So this post is more for me than for you.

Brought back my Hire Me page for 2020. If you’re working on anything interesting, get in touch!

It’s 2020 and I’m back on the Mac! 😍

50mm – f/1.8 – 1/4000s – ISO 100
50mm – f/1.8 – 1/1600s – ISO 100

Misc. 50mm – December 2019

I’ll remember these photos for a long time, as they were captured on the day I purchased my first film cameras.

One-Picture-Promise

Rick Sammon, in a piece for Peta Pixel on Seeing, describes the One-Picture-Promise:

When you are in a situation, imagine you only have one frame remaining on your memory card, and you can take only one picture. If you think like this, I make you this promise: You will have a more creative photograph. What’s more, during a photo outing, you will have a higher percentage of creative photographs and fewer outtakes.

Great advice. I chat about this topic of taking few frames as opposed to shooting many repeatedly in my podcast.

I believe there is a balance. If you approach photography as Sammon does you’ll slow down, compose far more purposefully, be sure of your camera settings, and likely create fewer but more accurate photographs. On the other hand, digital tools and processes have afforded the photographer the luxury of capturing many attempts to get an interesting photo at little to no more cost than capturing a single image. There is balance somewhere in the middle.

The subject of the photograph also should be taken into account. If you’re photographing humming birds, for instance, you’d likely need to fire off far more captures than if you were photographing a tree in a meadow.

This topic will resurface a lot in 2020 in my podcast as I will be shooting a lot of film – yes, film – in the new year. I’m super excited about it and I can’t wait to share that part of my photographic journey.

Star Wars – Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker 👍👍

Dingle Bay, Loch Caragh, Co. Kerry, Ireland – October 2011

Had the opportunity to finally edit these photos from our trip to Ireland 9 years ago. No drones then, all feet.

Over two years in with using Firefox Containers and I cannot see how I could live without them on a desktop browser. If you haven’t tried Firefox on desktop for a while, give it a spin.

Unmark 2.0 is now running the hosted site. Tags with autocomplete! Don’t forget, it is free to sign up and use indefinitely. Just pay to support the project and unlock bookmark search, import/export, etc.

There hasn’t been a new episode of the podcast in a little while. This is because the subject I’m attempting to photograph is not cooperating with my schedule. But more are coming!

Looks like my site’s stats plugin stopped working sometime at the end of last month. I’m debating my need to even have it. I do like to know if my site was mentioned or linked to though.

Looking back on Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm

On the cusp of the release of Star Wars Episode IX, I revisited a post I wrote in 2012 regarding Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm from George Lucas.

In it I postulated that Lucasfilm was worth far more than the $4B purchase price but that Lucas structured the deal to make up for that over the long term growth of the combined companies.

It is worth going back and reading that post to see what many were thinking that Disney would do and compare it to what they’ve done so far. I’d say they’ve executed the playbook beautifully.

So how did old George do on this deal?

I haven’t followed along too much to know if he’s done any large sell-offs of his Disney stock or anything. But, remember, he put a cool $2B in cash in his pocket with a single signature on the day the deal finalized. The other $2B was taken in Disney stock – which at the time was trading at around $50/share.

Today the stock is trading at around $150/share.

Assuming he’s sold zero shares, his $2B in Disney stock has nearly tripled in worth already.

But the decision wasn’t all about the money of course. George wasn’t exactly starving at the time this sale went down. How has Disney done in managing the Star Wars franchise and the companies? From my seat, very, very well. It is likely a big reason why Bob Iger is Time’s Businessperson of the Year this year.

The new films in the Star Wars Skylwalker saga has taken their licks – but no worse than in the prequel era. I’d say the sequels have been better reviewed than the prequels by a long shot. The spinoff films of Solo and Rogue One are very good. And The Mandalorian is excellent. Not to mention the Star Wars-related additions to Disneyland and Disney World that are getting rave reviews as well. Oh and the books and toys and comics and everything else. So from a creative stand-point, I think Star Wars has been stewarded better than Lucas could have done on his own.

ILM, Lucas Arts, etc. have all had award winning projects that shipped. There are too many to name but if you look up each company and what they’ve done since 2012, they’ve really done some amazing work and the hits just keep on coming.

Acquisitions rarely go well. In fact, in the tech industry acquisitions almost always go poorly for one reason or another. Disney has proven they can do enormous acquisitions like Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel and create a better result than the sum of their parts. All while George counts his money while eating his popcorn at the movies.

Tonight at 6PM Eastern I’ll be going live on Instagram to discuss behind-the-scenes of some of these photo prints. Join me!

Vincent Laforet reviews the new Mac Pro

Vincent Laforet:

This was the closest I’ve come to feel to seeing my digital work look like Color Slide film – think Fujichrome, Kodachrome and Cibachrome prints. At times, it felt like I was seeing my footage for the first time. It sounds trite I’m sure – but it’s true.

This bit was specifically about Apple’s XDR display – which compares to displays 3 or 4 times its cost.

You’ll be seeing headlines that say this computer costs $50,000+ and tons of reviews that talk about terabytes and gigabytes and cores and nits and wheels… Read Laforet’s whole review to see how the new Mac Pro can make working easier and more fun for the people that really need one of these. And at a fraction of the cost (or comparable in some cases) of other solutions.

Made a few inexpensive prints just for fun.

Speaking of mixed reality experiences, a company that hasn’t delivered yet is Magic Leap. Coming up on 9 years and $2.6B in funding.