January 17, 2019

So I got my first endorsement. Sort of.

tl;dr version: 10% off code for supa-fine Moment lenses for iPhone an Android.

Yesterday I got an email from the Moment Lens Co inviting me to join the Moment Ambassador Program. It was a bit of a thrill. Not because the company that produces the best iPhone lenses thought I had influence in the iPhone photography world, but because I was asked to endorse and promote a product I already use pretty much every day attached to the back of my iPhone. I bought my first Moment lens five years ago when they were first released and own all 4 lenses in the original set and (so far) 3 of the 5 lenses in the v2 set (as well as other Moment gear.) Since then I’ve recommended Moment Lenses in this blog and in my book The Crap-Free Guide to iPhone Photography Many of the images on my Instagram and those I have for sale on Twenty20 were shot with Moment lenses, so I feel I qualify as an avid user.

The fine print.

I have a personal policy on endorsement that’s a bit of a reverse on Michael Jordan’s: I’ll only endorse what I use, not use what I endorse. (Or maybe Michael doesn’t even wear Air Jordans.) My method seems an honest way to avoid shilldom. Since I pay full price for all lenses myself, I’ve stopped recommending most other brands for two reasons. First: It’s too costly to keep investing in the stuff that’s proven to be lesser versions of similar lenses. Second (and more importantly): I’d rather steer you to what I’ve found to be the best stuff, since a good lens kit is a big investment and your dollars are as precious as mine.

So what do I get out of this Moment Ambassador deal? I get is a 10% commission. The really nice feature that differs from most other arrangements is that my friends get 10% off Moment products. Moment seldom has sales and most third-party sites jack up the prices on Moment products. So this is definitely win-win.

If you’re not familiar with Moment, they’re a little company in Seattle that’s produced the top-ranked mobile lens attachments from cinema glass since launch five years ago. They have a tele, wide, fish, macro and anamorphic video les. Their stuff is for serious iPhoneographers (did I just commit an oyymoron?) but it seems that most of us since we’re all leaving the big camera behind and depending more on the phone in our pocket to capture the spectacle of life. If you find yourself like me (shooting more and more on your iPhone) and wanting to get a little closer, a little further away, or a different perspective than your dual lenses let allow, Moment is worth investigating.

Enjoy:

Get a 10% off code compliments of me and Moment.

photography
October 20, 2018

Infinite Jets how-to: Repeater.

Works like a delay on the Hologram Infinite Jets Resynthesizer, but rhythmically repeats the sample instead of echoing it. For this effect, set the following:

  • Voice to Glitch A
  • Env Shape to square
  • Env Time to infinity
  • Dimension to 5p
  • Trigger to Mono
  • Dry to @2p

Dimension speeds up the repeat. Choke your strums and the repeats sound like a piano.

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October 20, 2018

Five steps to better aviation with Hologram’s Infinite Jets Pedal.

This amazing granular “resynthesizer” doesn’t get all the love it deserves. I think much of that is the result of players not setting the pedal up for best performance and not completely understanding how it works. Follow these five steps for happier skies with Infinite Jets:

  1. Know what it’s not. It’s not a traditional guitar pedal. Infinite Jets is a synthesizer. It has oscillators (Voice knob) going into a voltage-controller amplifier (Env knobs) through voltage-controlled filters and a delay (Dimension knob). Think of it as three basic synth modules and it’s easier to understand and control. It’s not instantaneous. Like all granular synthesis, Infinite Jets samples your instrument live. So there’s always a lag between sampling and playback. It’s the nature of the beast. It’s not like anything you’ve heard. You may be able to get organ, flute, violin and cliche synth sounds out of IJ, but it’s not designed to imitate anything: The resynthesis process is unique, so it’s designed to create sounds of an unexplored realm.
  2. Do a factory reset. It’s possible between being built and arriving in your hands, your Infinite Jets had the internal parameters tweaked. Doing a factory reset means you’re starting from square one for the best possible behavior. To reset: hold down Footswitch A and B while plugging in the power. The LEDs will do a circle for about a minute and stop when reset.
  3. Use good levels. As with any volume-trigger-based pedal, Infinite Jets is expecting a reasonable level going in: not too hot, not too quiet. For best results in triggering, Infinite Jets should come after compressors and before modulation in your chain.
  4. Calibrate. If you don’t set the sensitivity, your Infinite Jets may not trigger with each note or chord. To calibrate: hold the Bypass and B footswitches for two seconds. After the flash dance, release. Then play the quietest notes you normally play. IJ will do another flash dance when it knows enough about your playing dynamics and you’re set to go.
  5. Read the manual. If your 55-page isn’t worn ragged, you’re not getting the most this pedal has to offer. Each Voice mode is unique in its resynthesis, effects and controls, so each Voice requires a deep dive to get the most out of it. This is probably the most complex pedal you’ll own (and likely most expensive too) so taking the time to learn it will make it more than worth your investment.

There a gazillion other pointers, but I think these are what’s needed to get a good start to proper piloting of your Infinite Jets.


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October 20, 2018

Infinite Jets how-to: Sample-and-hold filter.

In the two Synth modes of the Hologram Infinite Jets Resynthesizer pedal you can craft a classic sample-and-hold filter similar to the original Maestro Sample Hold (created about 1976). This randomly steps the high-Qed low-pass filter, revealing individual overtones. Likely the first use of this effect on record was the Who’s Relay from 1972. Pete Townsend created it originally on an ARP 2600 synthesizer. For this effect, set the following controls:

  • Voice knob to Synth A or Synth B
  • LFO Shape (Footswitch A + Env Shape) to Infinity
  • LFO Freq (Footswitch A + Env Time) to Noon
  • LFO Depth (Footswitch A + Dimension) to 5p
  • Env Shape to Square
  • Env Time to Infinity
  • Trigger to Mono
  • Dimension to 5p
  • Dry to your preference

The LFO Freq controls the speed and length of the hold. Sounds best on sustained chords.

Hear it ▶︎

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October 7, 2018

Crap-Free Guide to iPhone Photography v4.0 is here.

I just finished revising the Crap-Free Guide to iPhone Photography. I do this each year when the new iPhones and new iOS are released, adding the new features and updating advice to make sure the book it’s applicable to the new models. This version incorporates the new Xs, Xs Max and Xr cameras, as well as iOS 12.

There weren’t any notable revisions in the Camera app this time around . The Photos app can now control the focus of your Portrtait mode images shot with the iSight Duo lenses in the Xs and Xs Max. The biggest change is in the new camera: It works incredibly well in low light. As a result of the 32% bigger sensor in the 2mm-wider Wide lens, the optical stabilizer and image processor, I didn’t see much need to cover accessories like tripods or lights anymore. (If you do want the most comprehensive guide to iPhone photography accessories, including lens attachments, check out that post.)

I’ve always felt that know-how is the most valuable accessory you can carry with you. So in this revision I’ve focused on handheld techniques that make the best use of your iPhone camera’s native abilities. You’ll find suggestions on low shooting angles that make the Wide lens seem grander, practical use of digital zoom and hand-held stabilization techniques. It’s a little knowledge that lets you take your camera out of your pocket and just shoot, without worrying about the technicalities. And that’s always been the goal of the iPhone camera, so I’ve tried to make these changes reflect that.

Happy shooting.

If you need to get the book, it’s in the iBook Store Updates are free forever.

photography