Nick Carver Photography Blog

Photography Tips, Tutorials, & Videos


New Toys! – Radiopopper Customization

Guess what I got today...

...BOO YA!

That's right, I got my transmitter and 2 receivers from Radiopopper! These things are BADASS. If you've never heard of them before, do yourself a favor and visit I haven't had much of a chance to get some test shots using these newfangled contraptions. I did, however, want to share with you a little customization action I did to them.

Radiopopper recommends you use a piece of gaffer's tape to secure the fiber optic bead over the IR sensor of the slave unit. This is definitely the easiest and best way to mount it, but I hate waste and I don't even have any gaffer's tape, so here is my solution-you might like to try it, too.

First thing I did was cut a 2-inch long piece of the loop side of Velcro brand, uh, velcro. Then I cut a piece of craft foam sheet (get it at craft supply stores) 1 inch by 1 inch. I removed the adhesive backing from the velcro strip and folded 1/4" of each end onto itself so that adhesive met adhesive and I had a piece of loop Velcro that wrapped around on each side. This left a square 1"x1" on the adhesive side to fit the foam onto. I placed the foam onto this patch to create essentially a velcro band that was entirely loop on one side and the other side was a square inch of foam bordered by velcro on each side. I then put small strips of hook velcro on either side of the infrared sensor. So this makes it possible for me to velcro this band over the bead on top of the IR sensor for a secure connection.

I tried to describe this as best I could, but after reviewing what I wrote, I could see how I might appear to make about as much sense as a screen door on a battleship ("now make like a tree and get outta here"). A picture is worth a thousand words, so just check out the following shots and they should make more sense of it.

So that's my custom Radiopopper fiber optic bead infrared sensor attachment majigy. It works great and it's easily removable. Mine is for a Canon 430ex, but the principle applies to any flash. I highly recommend slim Velcro brand velcro. It's strong and incredibly thin. I found mine at Home Depot. Here's the velcro piece in live action.

These things are GREAT inventions. Thank you, Kevin King, for creating this magical contraption. I wuzn't smart enuff to think it up. I will definitely be posting a blog soon about the units themselves and how they work in a real, live photo shoot. So stay tuned.

Beach Photo Shoot

It was overcast and cold all day today (May gray?). I don't often take landscapes in such weather, but I really wanted to get out and get some new pictures. I went down to Laguna Beach (where I got a parking ticket for being parked 5 minutes while I scouted a location!) and found a really awesome cave. It's the biggest coastal cave I've seen in California and I can't wait to go back at low tide to get some more shots of it. I bet I'll be returning there lots of times before I'm through with it. Anyway, here's one of the shots I got today.

Aperture 2 Quibbles

I use Aperture for 99% of my digital workflow. I use it to manage, organize, adjust, decode RAW and pretty much everything except resize and sharpen my images (I use Photoshop with Alien Skin Blow-Up to resize and sharpen). I currently use Aperture 1.5 and I really like it. It's a great program that makes my life much easier. So needless to say, I was pretty excited when I heard about the release of Aperture 2. I was mostly excited about the new RAW decoding engine because Aperture 1.5's decoding has some trouble with images that have the sun in the frame (which I shoot a lot). I downloaded the Aperture 2 trial to make sure it was going to be worth the upgrade and I found some disappointing changes in Aperture 2.

First of all, they did away with the preferences option "Use proportional spacing in grid view." This option when toggled on and off changes how thumbnails are spaced.

I always had this option checked "on" because it spaces verticals and horizontals closer together. It saves screen space and makes my editing much easier. Here is the difference between having this option on or off:



As you can see, when this option is checked on, you can fit more thumbnails into a given space. Might not seem like a big deal to some, but why drop this option? Shouldn't I still be able to choose whether I want to use proportional spacing or not?

Secondly, and this is a deal-breaker for me, scrolling in grid view in Aperture 2 is jumpy. When you use your mouse's scroll wheel, the rows of thumbnails "snap" to the next row. In Aperture 1.5, the scrolling is smooth and fluid, just as if you were on a webpage or the like. This is such a downgrade. I hate how jumpy and disconnected this makes browsing images. This crappy method of scrolling is literally enough for me to forego the upgrade.

Lastly, Apple dropped the "Ignore stack groupings" option on Smart Albums.This is a drag. I use Smart Albums like crazy. They are such a brilliant innovation. On nearly every single one of my Smart Albums, I have this feature turned on. I don't really know how Smart Albums are even that valuable without this option. Why would they even drop this feature?!

So there are my reasons for not upgrading. With the exception of what I stated here, Aperture 2 has so many great new features and changes. If these 3 points were addressed, I'd upgrade in a heartbeat.

I've submitted feedback regarding each one of these points at least twice already. The only reason I'm even posting this blog is so that if you, too, are an Aperture user and you are also disappointed with these changes, please send in feedback about it at Aperture Feedback! The more people complain about it, the more likely they are to change. Apple actually does listen to their customers. Also, if you have any other complaints about the upgrade, let me know in the comments.