Archives for December 3, 2012

NASA offers “Earth As Art”


It’s striking to recall that the space age began before I was born — or even more so, that it was just 65 years from the Wright Bros. first flight to the moon landing. And it was in 1960 that the United States put its first Earth-observing environmental satellite into orbit around the planet.

Over the decades, NASA says, “these satellites have provided invaluable information, and the vantage point of space has provided new perspectives on Earth.”

Now a new free e-book “celebrates Earth’s aesthetic beauty in the patterns, shapes, colors, and textures of the land, oceans, ice, and atmosphere.” Earth as Art features 75 images from the five satellites, with sensors that measure light outside of the visible range, “so the images show more than what is visible to the naked eye. The images are intended for viewing enjoyment rather than scientific interpretation. The beauty of Earth is clear, and the artistry ranges from the surreal to the sublime,” NASA says.

The iPad version also features time-lapse satellite images of locations on Earth undergoing significant change over decades, linking to NASA’s Earth Observatory website, Apple adds.

The PDF and iPad app are here.


Shopping Guide for photo accessory gifts


“There are accessories that photographers covet,” says TechHive in its interesting guide, “and then there are accessories they need. Happily, this list of hand-picked photo goodies should satisfy in both cases.”

The suggestions include straps, clamps, tripods, triggers, cases, and light modifiers — a strap with which “Like a gun slinger from the old West, you’ll never miss a shot,” a case for when you are “tired of holding one lens under your armpit while you attach the other,” and flash triggers that “communicate around corners.”


onOne perfects effects, features full free version


Imaging developer onOne Software updated its Perfect Effects 4 library of photographic effects and tools for image enhancement and creative stylization. The latest version has new blending modes, paint-in brush effects, and an edge-detecting brush that smoothly applies or removes adjustments to specific areas without going “outside the lines,” onOne says.

You can combine and stack effects on top of each other, “resulting in unique looks, just like stacking filters on a camera lens,” onOne says. The software can be used as a standalone application, or with apps like Aperture, Lightroom, and Photoshop.

The $100 full Premium edition has more than 400 effects in 40 categories, such as HDR, Movie Looks, and Vintage. The Free edition provides 70 effects, “maintaining core functionality and usage without restrictions of a traditional 30-day timed trial, or the addition of watermarks to images,” the company says.

More information is here.


Facebook syncs to share photos faster


Maybe you’re like me: I take a lot of photos; I read friends’ posts on Facebook often; I hardly ever even think of posting a new photo there when I take it.

And maybe the new photo sync will prompt both of us to start sharing more shots, as it automates the uploading — when you take a photo on your phone in the mobile app, it’s sent to the site — and stores your images until you post ’em on your page.

“We’re excited to roll out photo sync, which makes it easier to share photos,” Facebook says. “With this feature, photos from your phone sync automatically to a private album on the web. When you want to share these photos, just pick and post your favorites.”

The company began testing photo sync in August, it says, but is now rolling it out more widely in its Facebook app for Android or iPhone.

When you turn on photo syncing, Facebook says, your mobile photos will be saved to a private section of your Facebook Photos. Only you can see the photos you’ve synced from your phone. When you later view your synced photos, you can choose shots to send in a private message, or share your on your timeline from desktop, mobile, or another device.

When you’re on a cellular network, Facebook will upload shrunken version of photos (around 100K each, it says), “so they’re unlikely to use much of your data plan.” However, it warns, “Please keep in mind that uploading over a cellular network will use your data plan and may cost you money.” [It can be set to upload only over a WiFi connection.]

Facebook’s billion members have uploaded more than 219 billion photos, at a current rate of about 300 million photos every day. The mobile apps however reportedly have less than 250 million users.


Pogo Connects to Photoshop Touch on iPad


Editing photos on an iPad’s touchscreen can be fun, or it can make you curse your big clumsy fingers. But the $80 Pogo Connect stylus offers full pressure sensitivity, and the patent-pending technology in its Crescendo Sensor makes the stylus tip highly responsive to pressure, recognizing even the slightest touch.

“With zero grams of activation force, Crescendo Sensor works at all angles and requires absolutely no calibration, providing hundreds of levels of pressure,” says developer Ten One Design.

The stylus supports the updated Adobe Photoshop Touch app for drawing atop a photo, and pairs with the iPad over Bluetooth 4.