Mobile Strategies, Part 2
In my last tech post, I outlined some of the key strategies we are developing in preparation for our mobile workflow during the upcoming LensWork Roadshow. I suppose it's not too obvious of a confession that part of the motivation for going on the roadshow is so that I can get out of the office and spend more time photographing. Here are a few notes about that part of our preparations.
In the past, I've been particularly frustrated with laptop computers because of their in adequate display screens. On several occasions, I've posted images while on the road only to find, after my return, that those great looking images on my laptop were awful on my calibrated monitor in the office. Color shifts, contrast issues, images too dark or too light, and even JPEG artifacts have plagued me. To make fieldwork effective, resolving mobile monitor issues were at the top of my priority list.
To this end, I've purchased a new Dell laptop that has a much more capable display screen. It is a 17.3" FHD Wide View, Anti-Glare with PremierColor, a "color technology sub-brand from Dell, which encapsulates the key attributes of color such as precise color accuracy, compatibility with industry color standard, internal color space selection, as well as amazing color gamut and depth." It includes assignable, predefined color spaces, such as ProPhoto, Adobe® RGB, sRGB and NTSC to deliver accurate image color data on an application-by-application bases. For example, the display automatically switches to sRGB when I'm using my web browser. Or, I can manually switch the display between ProPhoto and Adobe RGB (1998) when working in Lightroom. Very handy.
I've hardware calibrated this new display using my Spyder Pro puck and it is a perfect match for my calibrated desktop monitor. No more surprises when I return home.
Another problem that I've observed with consistency with laptop monitors is that the appearance of images on the screen changes dramatically depending on the angle of view. Open the laptop lid a bit too far and the images get too dark very quickly. Open the lid not enough and they are too light. Arrrgggh! This new laptop resolves this issue by employing a wide angle view LCD. I can still make the images change with extreme angle changes, but it takes an unrealistically steep angle to make the image tonalities change. I have confidence this is no longer an issue I'll be struggling with.
BTW, if you are interested in the specs, my new laptop is a Dell M6700.
In addition to spending more time photographing, I'm also anticipating having additional time to work on projects that are in development. Being away from home and office for four months will allow me to focus my energies in the evenings and weekends when I hope to complete a number of projects that are in mid-development. In order to do this, however, I need to have all my production tools including my entire image library. Fortunately, portable storage continues to evolve more and more affordably. I'll have my complete photographic library with me in the form of a couple of Western Digital My Passport 2 terabyte hard drives. Who would've thought that a 2 TB hard drive would be available for less than $140?
I'm looking forward to the time I'll be able to devote to writing, image editing, layout and design, and finishing several new projects I've had on the back burners.
And speaking of writing, as many of you know I don't actually spend much time writing. Blank pieces of paper intimidate me and the idea of deciphering my penmanship is enough to cause nightmares. Writing for me is almost exclusively dictating, followed by extensive editing, organizing, rewriting, and frequent trips to the thesaurus. Since I'll be away from my desktop audio studio, I'm reverting to dictating the old-fashioned way — but with a slightly modern twist. Years ago — no, decades ago — I use a dictation machine with a hand-held controller.
They've updated these devices so the controllers are now USB plug-ins that allow dictation control in certain controller-savvy applications. For years I've used a wonderful software from NCH called Express Dictate to which I have added the Olympus DR-1200 dictation controller for use with my new laptop.
I am thrilled and delighted to report that I will not be taking any new camera equipment with me on this trip. My existing cameras, lenses, and various accoutrements have proven themselves on numerous trips both domestic and overseas. That I will be able to use these now-trusted friends without needing to endure new learning curves is a joy I cannot adequately express.