Where do you stash your CompactFlash cards or other digital
media while shooting? Lately, I've been using Lightware's
Digital Wallet, keeping it attached to my camera bag strap
with 2GB of cards inside. Need more stuff? Get a Lightware
Digital Notebook. It's bigger, but it holds lots
more digital media.
Photos © 2003, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved
Lucy Van Pelt: "If
you have Aviophobia, you're afraid of flying." Charlie Brown:
The following is a true story.
Some names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Last year, I found myself in a large metropolitan airport with a friend;
let's call him "Steve." As befits the editor of a
fine arts publication, he was traveling with a battle-scarred Leica
M3 and a few rolls of film. Me? I had my trusty Minolta DiMAGE Xt. Steve's
troubles began when he handed a clear plastic bag full of 35mm film,
some exposed, some not, to a representative of that government agency
that's supposed to protect us from "bad things happening."
I blew through security without a hiccup or even dropping my laptop
on the floor, which I am prone to do. (I can never figure out why x-rays
can't see through a fabric case.) But Steve was not so lucky.
The government representative removed each film can from its plastic
container (Steve's first mistake, I think in hindsight) and ran
them through several chemical swab tests--twice. Both times they
At this point, the attractive lady with colorful fingernails was replaced
by a bureaucrat, let's call him Frank Burns, who informed Steve
that because the film tested "positive for explosives" he'd
have to wait until "the dogs" sniffed the film. Sensing
a cool photo op as well as an illustration for this column, I asked,
"Can I take pictures?" and Frank gave me a look that would
shatter marble. As we quietly waited for the sniffers, the animal lover
in me wondered, what kind of doggie it would be? Could it be a beagle,
like Snoopy? Then I asked Frank, "If the dogs say the film is
positive will you just keep the film or detain my friend?" At
that point he looked at Steve, not me, and said, "Tell your friend
if he doesn't stop talking, I'll have him arrested."
And then in imitation of another celebrity dog, it was time for me to
"Exit, stage right."
I've written about 3D-Album before but 3D-Album Commercial
Suite takes the art and craft of creating presentations
and screen savers to a whole new level. Not inexpensive,
but well worth it as a promotional tool or a service that
pros can offer their clients.
As I was boarding the flight, I saw Steve running down the hall with his
carryon bag. The pooches never arrived, so he appealed to Frank and his
supervisor, Henry Blake, to let him head back to colorful Colorado and
they finally agreed. Is this far-fetched? Well, I watched it happen, and
my wife and other photogs around the country have reported similar experiences
no matter what federal regulations say about hand inspection of film.
The airport is unfortunately a place where geopolitics and imaging collide
and the winners will be those photographers who don't mind missing
a flight or two or those "shooting digital." I'm not
saying his experience was right or wrong, but while Steve did make the
flight, he could have been detained simply for the crime of using film.
Where Do You Keep Your
I have tried all kinds of devices to store my CompactFlash cards: Hard-shelled
cases, soft-fabric cases, my socks, you name it, but the most elegant
solution I've found yet is the Digital Wallet from Lightware (www.lightwareinc.com).
The Digital Wallet is an exquisitely assembled zip-open pouch that slips
through your belt or touch fastens around your camera strap and has two
sets of CompactFlash card pockets. One set is black mesh; the other is
white so you can color code the "shot" cards from the "not
shot" ones. I use many different brands of cards so it's usually
easy for me to tell them apart, but some people are more organized and
might prefer a color code system. Best of all, the Digital Wallet costs
$23.95. Need more storage space than just four cards? Try Lightware's
Digital Notebook, a bigger container that holds scads of media and costs
just $6 more.
One of the most painless ways to sell your prints on the
Internet is to have a Smugmug.com professional account.
They take the order, pay credit card processing fees, drop-ship
the prints to your customer, and provide customer support
and real-time sales reporting.
Request Line: Playing
One of the questions I get a lot is, "What's the best way
to sell photographs on the Internet?" Geez, there are lots of ways.
Some photographers I've spoken with are making $1000 a month or
more selling fine art 8x10s on eBay, while others prefer to sell prints
on their own websites. Since creating an e-commerce website is not that
simple or inexpensive and negotiating eBay can be intimidating for the
newcomer, various websites have sprung up that help sell images, mostly
for events such as weddings.
introduced a new service for professional photographers that lets them
create custom photographic galleries and individually price and sell their
images online. For event coverage, Smugmug's ShareGroups lets you
create private galleries and control which clients have access to them.
A Private search feature enables clients to search their portfolios, including
hidden keywords that you can add to the images. A professional lab with
a color-managed workflow makes the prints while Smugmug takes the order,
pays the credit card processing fee, drop-ships the prints to your customer,
and provides customer support and real-time sales reporting. They mail
checks to account holders once a month when sales are over $500, or once
a quarter for amounts under $500.
Another question I get asked is about making on-screen slide shows and
what tools I prefer. The biggest number of products is only available
for Microsoft Windows, so despite my best efforts to toss my 2.2GHz XP
machine into the trash, it's still here. It's been resurrected,
in part, due to the recent purchase and aggressive use of Norton's
that has breathed life into the beast.
of the coolest, least expensive ways to produce slide shows
you can transfer to CD or DVD is with Magix's PhotoStory
on CD & DVD. For less than $40 it's a great package
that is, alas Mac OS users, only available for Microsoft
3D-Album Commercial Suite (www.3d-album.com)
is an impressive digital imaging solution for distributing DVDs, albums,
catalogs, screen savers, and even your own customized browsers or portfolios.
You can even design your own games. You can specify a particular area
of an image to be engaged to take an action, such as playing sound or
video, displaying information, opening another document, or linking to
3D-Album Commercial Suite includes more than 100 templates for weddings,
graduations, yearbooks, reunions, new babies, parties, and other occasions
and new styles are constantly being added for free download. The capabilities
of this product are truly stunning, but so is its $299 price tag.
If you have less grand ambitions, a smaller budget, and are happy with
a more traditional approach to slide shows, Magix's PhotoStory on
CD & DVD (www.magix.com)
looks like just what you need. Yes, it is yet another Windows-only product
that looks very promising and uses an interface that users of Apple Computer's
iMovie might find familiar but delivers the functionality of their iDVD.
While lacking the ease of use of iMovie, PhotoStory also lacks the somewhat
overwhelming feature-laden interface of 3D-Album Commercial Suite, albeit
with much fewer capabilities.
Using PhotoStory, I was able to drag and drop images from a folder on
my hard drive and grab some of the few built-in generic library tunes
that are bundled with software. You can add special effect transitions,
and while they may be rudimentary when judged by state of the art desktop
presentation software, keep in mind that this is just a $39.95 program.
It supports DVD or CD burners and lets you create an on-screen menu that
looks as good as any similar program I've tested. PhotoStory is
fun to use and, indeed, is almost as addictive as a game. In fact, it's
better than most computer games, and much more useful.