My Blog and Soapbox

To help order and sort some of the things in my mind, it often helps me to write them down. And this is the place I do just that. Not always related to photography. Not always in English. Manchmal auch auf Deutsch.
I have recently switched blogging platforms. Here is my new blog:
I have recently switched blogging platforms. Here is my old blog:

Falling in love with a pop filter

CharterOak PF-1

If you record audio, a pop filter is going to be one of your most important secret weapons.

The little pressure waves that you emit when speaking words like party, pop, pepper or platypus hit the membrane of the microphone like little explosions. That's why they are called plosives and you really want to avoid them.

One way to keep them from hitting the membrane is to use a pop filter, which is a contraption covered in two layers of thin mesh that you can put between your mouth and your microphone. When I started out recording, I used a wire coat hanger and pantyhose to build my own.

Unfortunately most commercial pop filters are either bulky, or heavy, or both. You typically attach them to the microphone stand on one side, and then move the other side that's connected via a gooseneck in front of the microphone.

If you're on the road a lot, that will add a lot of bulk.

I am on the road a lot and I don't want to carry more than I need to.

Which is why I spent some time researching pop filters.

And that's when I found about the CharterOak PF-1, a hand-made pop filter that is lightweight, small and very effective. It attaches directly to the microphone with a strap of velcro, so you won't have to worry about carrying a heavy clamp or a gooseneck, and they use the Acoustex fiber mesh by SaatiTech, which I find is very effective in killing the plosives and which seems to leave the sound pretty much uncolored.

I'm not affiliated with CharterOak, but I've fallen in love with their PF-1 pop filter. If you're planning to make your peppers and platypusses sound better, I highly recomment you take a very close look at the CharterOak PF-1.


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Switching Lightroom 4 process version could turn into a lot of work for you

Update: Apparently this is by design and can't be avoided due to the changes between the processing versions. Wow, Lightroom 4 is really off to a less than stellar start if you ask me.

Article:

Doesn't anybody at Adobe work with custom tone curves? That's hard to believe. I have just found a second issue with them.

Issue #1:

Adobe released Lightroom 4 and they pretty much messed up the migration of tone curves when converting the catalog from Lightroom 3 to Lightroom 4. You can read all about it here, the story is still ongoing as of writing this.

I use custom tone curves a lot, so I filed the original bug report right after finding out about this issue.

This is why I'm now part of a group of people alpha testing a fix that should recover the lost tone curves after an upgrade and that will hopefully make it into the full version of Lightroom and into an update for those who already upgraded.

As far as I can tell, Adobe hasn't issued a warning about this to their existing user base and we can only hope that power users with tens of thousands of pictures (and potentially with as many tone curve adjustments) won't get too many nasty surprises due to the bug.

Here comes issue #2:

During testing of the alpha script, I noticed something else, that I find quite disconcerting: I know changing to the new process will change the appearance of pictures, which is why Adobe suggests an A/B preview, but when I had the tone curve open when switching a picture from process version 2010 to 2012, I noticed this:

custom tone curve change

The curve does keep its overall shape, but the quite elegant few points of the curve get replaced by a ton of individual points.

WHAT .. ON .. EARTH .. IS .. THIS?!

Doing a quick change to the mid tones, or to how the shadows are rendered is a simple fix with the original curve. The replacement curve is 100% useless for that.

The only way to make the curve usable again is to start over and re-create it from scratch.

If this is by design, then it means that those of us who use custom tone curves extensively (I'm one of them) won't be able to benefit from the 2012 process for any of their existing images unless they are ready to start from scratch on them. In that case I'd really like a word with the person who made that decision.

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No, I didn't order this concrete

Today I tried to pay for a train ticket online using my credit card. It was rejected. Of course I went online immediately to check my balance and the transactions, but nothing looked weird. So I called my bank to check what was wrong.

Creditcardcement 2
Twitter does have a sense of humor!

Long story short, I ended up on the phone with the credit card company's fraud department. Turns out their system found that me ordering several tons of concrete from a US company was implausible enough to not even let the transaction go through.

Instead they blocked the card and sent a new one my way.

On asking how my card number got into the wrong hands, they said it's pretty much futile to try to find out, likely cause would be a merchant being hacked and even then it's impossible to connect as these things can lie years in the past.

Oh well, let's hope those plausiblity detection systems do their job. And let's also hope that I'll never have to order concrete from a US company.


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