Inspired by Strobist

As I've posted in the past, I recently picked up photography as a hobby. Thanks to some great suggestions I started reading the Strobist website and this weekend I was inspired to have some fun with my flash (a Nikon SB-800).

These pictures were taken mid-day. There was a bright sun, but I reduced the ambient light by speeding up the shutter and closing down the aperture. Then I added a flash to highlight Nora's face. In some of the later pictures I also convinced my wife to hold a makeshift reflector to serve as a fill light. Since I am shooting with a Nikon D40 I have to use the SU-4 remote mode on the SB-800 to trigger it remotely. In this mode the flash triggers whenever is 'sees' another flash fire. So I set the D40 to manual, setup my shutter and aperture, and turned the flash on manual to its lowest setting (1/32 power). This allows the camera to trigger the SB-800 without imacting the exposure too much. It took a while to tweak all the settings manually but I'm pretty happy with what I ended up with. The whole point of this exercise is to get the flash 'off camera' without exensive cameras or adapters.

You can check out all the pictures here (SmugMug).

I'm also working to utilize post processing (I shoot RAW) to improve my photographs. For this one I explored shifting to grayscale. You can see the original color in the above link.

Tim Russert dies at age 58

Tim Russert died today of a heart attack at age 58. Sunday mornings will never be the same.

Meet the Press has been part of my weekly routine for the entire time I've followed politics, and Tim Russert was at the helm for that entire period. There was no one I enjoyed watching more. He will be missed.

GMail Mobile using Google Apps

I recently migrated my email over to Google Apps, and after a few weeks everything is still running smoothly. The only issue I had was accessing the Google Apps Gmail account from my Treo.

For the rest of the world, you simply need to go to and install it. However, it is not supported on the Palm OS. However, if you do have a JVM installed, you can install the app using the following URL:

Or the long version:

Thanks to GoogleSystem for the info.

The application works on my Treo 755p but isn't perfect. The font seems too big for the background layout. I'm not sure it is really much better than the pure web version though.

Money and Open Source

Erik van Oosten wrote a post on Open Source and money: "Do Not Offer Money". He quotes my post about experience with JES 2.0 and the JBoss Email server. It is an interesting topic and he provides a nice anecdote about Christmas dinner.

The point is well made though. There are different 'modes' and expectations when you are doing it for 'fun (insert any non-financial motivation)' versus for pay.

I also want to be careful to not overstate the switch. I've continued some work on JES as well as other projects since then (iTunesExport). But the immediate impact on THAT project (JES 2) was significant.