Field Report:

The Non-Glamorous Side of Photography

What Music Do You Listen to While Processing Photos?

“What Music Do You Listen to While Processing Photos?”

This question was asked on a popular nature photography forum that I frequent. Given the demographic and interests of most nature photographers, I wasn’t surprised to see responses which included bluegrass, Mozart, blues and even silence. A few of the younger photographers cited hard rock and techno music. I responded with “Metallica, Patty Griffin, and The Beatles.”

Obviously, I don’t just listen to just that but it really depends on my mood. I’m more inclined to listen to aggressive stuff like Metallica, Foo Fighters, The Ataris during the day time while I’m more likely to listen to Patty Griffin or the Beatles at night. Coincidence or not, I feel most focused on my work in the evenings when everything is quiet.

This question made me curious as to what I listen to statistically so I pulled this top ten list from my iTunes most played list on my Mac (just one of the methods in which I listen to music):

Little Fire (Feat. Emmylou Harris) – Patty Griffin

Temporary Home – Carrie Underwood

Ball and Chain – Social Distortion

Ticket to Ride – The Beatles

Kill – Jimmy Eat World

Racing in the Street – Bruce Springsteen

Better Man – Pearl Jam

Kite – Patty Griffin

Please Read the Letter – Robert Plant & Allison Krauss

What’s Been Going On – Amos Lee

What music do you listen to while processing photos?

November 12, 2010 Posted by | Digital Workflow, Music | , | 7 Comments

Olympus DS-30 Digital Voice Recorder Review

Pros: Small enough to fit into any pocket. Decent sound quality. “CD-quality” sound for small budgets.

Cons: No belt clip. No wind sock. Lecture recording mode sometimes makes voices sound digital. No recording volume control.

Olympus DS-30 Digital Voice Recorder

Olympus DS-30 Digital Voice Recorder

After having tested the Olympus DS-30 Digital Recorder for several weeks in a variety of photography shooting situations, I have mixed reviews about it for the type of work that I do. Since I mainly photograph outdoors and generally moving around in non-controlled shooting conditions, the limitations are fairly obvious. Without a belt clip, the sensitive microphone picks up a rustling sound every time I move around due to being in my shirt pocket. Since the device is too small for a wind sock, having a belt clip would be useless anyway because wind would be a factor outdoors particularly in coastal areas.

The plus sides are numerous as well. If you are planning on staying at one place for a while then the sound quality is generally excellent for the $100 price tag. The device is really simple to use and uploads the .wmv files onto my PC like an external hard drive.

Overall: I plan to return the Olympus DS-30 before my 30 days are up. If you are a college student, podcaster or a reporter that wants to jot down notes then this would be excellent for you. For a photographer that works in the field, the only option is to go for models that have a belt clip and dedicated wind sock. Unfortunately those models are a little pricier.

Examples: Girls Having Fun, Venice Beach Drum Circle

Griffith Observatory Planetarium, Los Angeles, California

September 25, 2008 Posted by | Music, Product Reviews, Technology | , , , | Leave a comment

Adding Music to Your Photo Slideshows on a Budget

“Like Heaven” Travel Photography Video

The primary reason why I started composing my own soundtracks for my YouTube motion-picture videos is because it’s too difficult if not impossible to license good music on a small budget. So I figured that since I used to write my own tunes for fun when I was playing saxophone in the college jazz program & in grad school, so why not pick it back up again? I rarely play the sax these days, but I still have a cheap guitar or two laying around the house so it made sense to try hacking something out of them.

I used to record with a Shure instrument mic plugged into my PC’s sound card whether I was recording a saxophone, guitar or keyboard track. Since I didn’t know anything about recording techniques and equipment, I found it difficult to record my alto saxophone playing in particular because the sound kept distorting due to extreme volume. But this time around, I had another problem also. My 30W Marshall amp blew up due to an electrical problem at home a few months ago. I wasn’t in the mood to spend another $400 – 500 to replace it, so I looked around Guitar Center’s website for a multi-effects processor with which I could use in substitution for the guitar amp. A major benefit to using one of these devices is that you can plug straight into your USB port and record directly into the computer without worrying about mics and ambient sound conditions. The sound records much cleaner this way.

Another reason why I chose to purchase the $99 DigiTech RP150 multi-effects pedal instead of buying a new amp to record is because I sold my “hard rock” guitar two years ago leaving me only with a $150 Fender Strat. I hate the sound of this guitar because it is too tinny, but I keep using because I like the way that it feels. With an effects processor though, I can create whatever tones I want even with this cheap Strat. An added bonus is that there is a built-in drum machine with this device. Previously, I programmed drum rhythms on my MIDI keyboard.

Keep in mind that you can create music for your slideshows even if you play keyboards or other instruments, you just have to be able to plug a quality recording device into your computer and have recording software. Most keyboards should be able to plug directly into the computer though, so that’s not an issue.

As for the software – I use open source freeware software like Audacity to record and Photostage for the slideshows. But I’ve used Pro Show Gold in the past for slideshows and think that it is a much better program allowing for more creativity.

Essentially I have been producing these YouTube videos with under $300 worth of gear. Now if only getting all the photos could be done on that sort of budget… Perhaps sometime in the future, I will get into the basics of choosing music and editing for photography videos.

July 17, 2008 Posted by | Digital Workflow, Music, software | , , | Leave a comment

   

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