Posts Tagged with “tools”

It’s Not The Gear

Robert Moses Beach iPhone

Lately, I’ve been hit with the photography bug. It usually happens to me once a year. It goes something like this: I get the bug, I research cameras for a week, I buy an expensive camera, I use it non-stop for a few months, the bug goes away, I sell the camera.

I’m a gear head, so when I become obsessed with something I immediately try to find all the best gear that I can get my hands on. It’s good because I get to learn and experience new things, but it’s also bad on my wallet. And when it comes to photo gear, there’s no stopping me.

Until recently.

After countless cameras, and years of searching for the perfect camera that would push my photos to the next level, I’m now a firm believer that the best camera is the camera that you have with you. Yes, a Hasselblad H4D-60 will blow any other camera away, but you don’t see many people in street with a $42,000 camera hanging from their necks.

I hated lugging around a big ass body, with a big ass lens and a hood attached to it. That was the primary reason why I would stop shooting: I didn’t want to carry around all that stuff. I used to carry around a Hasselblad 503, with a prism and metal hood. The damn thing weighted a ton—and it sure captured some amazing photos—but after a few hours of carrying it, I wanted to throw it in the garbage. I hated that feeling because it ruined the moment and eventually led me to feel unmotivated. The tool was getting in the way of my creativity.

Now I just shoot with my iPhone 4. I already carry it around, and the built-in camera is pretty damn good. When I see an interesting shot, I just pull it out and snap a photo. The joy and spontaneity of shooting is instantly back. I would love it if Apple added some advanced features to the camera app—like shutter and aperture control—and I do miss me some depth of field, but overall the phone produces some fine images.

I think I’ve achieved some good results with this little camera. I took the photo to the left with my iPhone. This guy did a fashion shoot with an iPhone 3GS. Granted, he used a great lighting system, but the images are still impressive. Check out these folks who took a great looking shot with a Canon Powershot SD630 and some basic lighting. Professional fashion photographer Terry Richardson does entire shoots with a Yashica T4 point and shoot and the photos look great.

Don’t get me wrong, it is much easier to produce a great photo with high-end camera. That’s why it’s even more impressive when a great photo is taken with a lower-end one. The talent truly shines in that case.

My point is, in any creative field, the tool isn’t important. It’s what’s behind the tool that counts. So, don’t stress about getting a Canon 1Ds Mark III or the latest version of Photoshop. Just create.      

Lipsumlet Bookmarklet

lipsumlet.jpg

An essential element for any graphic designer, be it print or online, is a block of Lorem Ipsum text. I know for me personally, I can’t function without “Lipsum”, especially since I work in advertising and actually copy isn’t written and approved until long after the design process has begun.

For the last few years, I’ve been using www.lipsum.com for all my Lorem Ipsum needs. The site has some nice features like the ability to select the amount of words, paragraphs, bytes or lists to copy as well as provides a little bit of history on the subject. It’s a nice tool but I really don’t need all those features and to have to load the page each time, highlight the text and copy it can get tiresome.

So I was ecstatic when Matt McInerney emailed me about a sweet little bookmarklet that he’d developed called Lipsumlet. Just drag the bookmarklet into your bookmarks and when you click it, it will spawn a small window with a block of lipsum, automatically copy it to your clipboard and then close the window, all in a matter of 3 seconds. Simple, fast and easy.

And for those of you using Safari (not sure if this works in FireFox), if you drop the bookmarklet into your bookmarks bar, you can quickly access it by pressing the assigned keyboard shortcut. So if you have Lipsumlet as the first bookmark in the bar, you can access it by pressing COMMAND + 1. This makes it even more accessible and saves time.        

Introducing The Grid System

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So as many of you already know, I’m freakin’ obsessed with grids. A lot of designers either don’t want to be bothered with grids or just don’t understand them, so I wanted to spread the love a little.

So I created The Grid System.

It’s basically an ever-growing resource site on the topic of grid systems and anything associated to it, like the golden ratio and baseline grids. My goal for the site is to be a one stop shop for all designers to learn about grid systems, how to design them and how to use them.

The site features links to articles, tools, books as well as templates and other goodies. I’ve also added the ability to show the grid that the site was built on, this way visitors can learn about the structure and how it was applied to the design. Let me tell you, it was a pain to get everything to sit on the grid and baselines and to stay consistent across multiple browsers. As of now, the site lines up perfectly with the grid in Safari and Firefox on a Mac. I assume it would be the same on the PC but I haven’t had the time or a computer to test it. I do plan on making it work in all major browsers on both platforms, even the dreadful IE.

I’ve also partnered up with YouWorkForThem to bring a great collection of books to the site. Over time the site will grow in content (I have a backlog of articles and tools to post) as well as features. I plan to add a forum where people can chat about grid systems and design in general, and other small things like wallpapers. Additionally, I’ve created a Flickr group as an extension of the site.

Check it out and let me know what you hate and what you love. I’d love to know what you think.