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Month: July 2017

Rockpool Sunrise

Rockpool Sunrise

A spectacular sunrise in Sydney.

The Narrabeen Rockpools are a favourite spot I like to get back to from time-to-time, and although it is a bit of a hike and an early start, it has always paid off.

Rockpool Sunrise
Rockpool Sunrise

View Rockpool Sunrise on 500px | View Rockpool Sunrise on Flickr

Affinity Photo for iOS

This image was shot yesterday (as I write this) and was downloaded from my camera to my iPad. It was processed in Affinity Photo on my iPad Pro, and uploaded to this blog, and to 500px and Flickr using the built in share extensions.

Affinity Photo is an awesomely powerful photo editor, and marks, IMHO, the first real professional grade photo editing app for iPad. I think that I am really going to love this app. Affinity Photo has all the controls and capabilities that I would expect from a powerful imaging app, including HDR merge, panos and even focus stack merging.

I also really enjoy editing on an iPad Pro. The interaction of editing on a touch screen, and using the Pencil makes for a very enjoyable experience.

The downside to the process, at the moment, is that the DAM[1] functionality is provided only by Apple’s Photos app. While a decent app in some areas, it doesn’t allow true organisation and meta-data management. The limitations of Photos is the true limiting factor for serious amateur and professional photographers.

I hope that Affinity Photo or other another app will soon step up to provide DAM functionality.

Other apps are also emerging that position iPad for excellent photo editing. I plan to blog about Plotagraph+ shortly.


  1. DAM=digital asset management.  ↩
The New Star Trek: Discovery trailer

The New Star Trek: Discovery trailer

We’ve watched the trailer for the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery series today. It looks awesome and I am really looking forward to 25 September…

Like the upcoming Dr Who series, it will be interesting to see a sci-fi show that showcases diversity. Star Trek has always done thing, but there are several strong female characters in the series, and the series incorporates the first openly gay characters.

I also like that non-American actors are retaining their native accents (such as Michelle Yeoh who proudly speaks with her native Malaysian English accent).

The story line looks intriguing with early interaction between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.

Effects look good. Great actually.

So, strong characters, great effects and a promising story line.

All the elements for a good series.

Nikon’s Future Mirrorless Line

Nikon’s Future Mirrorless Line

Having been a Nikon SLR user from the film days through a couple of generations and into the dSLR era, I had a substantial investment in Nikon cameras and the awesome Nikkor “f-mount” glass.[1] So the shift into mirrorless for me was not a decision made lightly.

When I heard recently about Nikon pre-announcing a future mirrorless camera range I thought for a moment that maybe I should have kept some of those great lenses, especially when I heard that the Nikon President said that the company aims to “put out a very Nikon-ish mirrorless camera which is superior to rivals in quality

My decision to shift to mirrorless was made not on simply losing the mirror, but instead was about losing bulk and weight for my camera kit. As an underwater, landscape and travel photographer who travels a bit with my gear, any chance to reduce bulk was welcome.[2][3]

In episode 193 of the Peta Pixel Photography Podcast, host Sharky James (once again) expressed the view that Nikon should put out a mirrorless camera that takes f-mount glass.

I get where Sharky is coming from, but I’m not sure that the absence of a mirror will solve many problems. The f-mount lenses are built with a particular ratio of distance from the rear of the lens to the sensor. Keeping the same awesome but bulky lenses won’t have a huge effect on reducing the size of the camera body. And of course, the (large) lens size remains as is.

Since moving to mirrorless (I use the micro four-thirds, or m43, system) I have been impressed with the power of the cameras and the quality range of lenses from Olympus and Panasonic, as well as a host of other makers. And the cameras and lenses are much smaller.

I do hope that Nikon does something, soon, to deliver a quality camera in the mirrorless space. But simply moving to an f-mount mirrorless body may not really be solving any problems for many photographers.

Real mirrorless innovation is more than just removing a mirror.


  1. I really loved a couple lenses in particular — the 12–24 wide angle zoom and the 60mm macro were amazing lenses from which I got a lot of pleasure.  ↩
  2. Particularly in an era when airlines are cracking down on cabin luggage carried.  ↩
  3. The name BalancedLight for this blog is in part based on my preference for light-weight camera gear.  ↩
Testing on Blot

Testing on Blot

Testing Out Blogging on Blot.im

I set up a test blog on Blot, which is effectively a Markdown based blogging platform with which you save your posts to a Dropbox folder, and the system does the rest from there.

Its kind of cool for Micro.blog type usage, and the cool thing is it is a true IndieWeb environment as the files sit in your own Dropbox account.

I had previously played around with a similar service (Scriptogr.am), although when that went away[1] I focused on just my WordPress blog. I have however moved across all the files from the old Scriptogr.am blog, and that content is live on my site.

Today I set up a combination of a Workflow workflow and a Draft action to simultaneously post new micro-posts created in Drafts to both sites.

I will also take a look and see whether I will push all my Markdown files for longform posts to both sites. For this post, for example, I will publish to the WordPress blog from Byword, then move the file to the Blot Dropbox folder.

Whats the advantage of doing this?

  1. Playing around with a new platform is kinda fun.
  2. Backing up my posts in a reusable format.
  3. Somewhere to redirect people if my WordPress site goes down.

Interesting times.


  1. Looking at the Scriptogr.am website it appears that some new social media app/tool is coming soon to that domain, with a very similar logo.  ↩
7 Reasons Why Posting on your own blog (first) is better than Medium

7 Reasons Why Posting on your own blog (first) is better than Medium

Over on The Writing Cooperative, a blog hosted on Medium, Anna Sabino writes about 7 Benefits of Writing on Medium over Having Your Own Blog.

In this post, Ms Sabino articulates 7 reasons why posting to Medium have worked for her. I suggest that she is missing an important opportunity—to write first on her own blog, with the post syndicated to Medium, and then on to the group blogs such as The Writing Cooperative.

I’d like to take a look at Ms Sabino’s seven points, and add some thoughts to back up my perspective. My thoughts in italics follow Ms Sabino’s comments in bold.

  1. It’s faster to build a sticky traffic on Medium. The sticky traffic likely comes through the journals (group blogs) on which the original post is being shared, and would be the same with content created on a self-hosted site and syndicated to Medium.[1]
  2. It’s motivating when you see your posts are being read. Undoubtedly true. But having your posts syndicated from your own site out to Medium and potential other places is going to multiply that same effect by taking your content to more audiences, not just the audience that reads Medium.
  3. All the blogs are in one place. I don’t know the stats on how many blogs Medium hosts, and what percentage of the overall number of blogs that comprises. I’d hazzard a guess that it is much less than ‘all’ the blogs, and likely in the single digits.
  4. Medium interface is very clean and pleasing to the eye. And pretty much identical to every other blog on Medium, and you are subject to the possibly changing tides of Medium’s design aesthetic. As John Gruber notes “every Medium site displays an on-screen ‘sharing’ bar that covers the actual content”..
  5. The exposure on Medium, which gets over 30 million visitors a month is huge. Basically the same as point 2.
  6. Medium shows up high in google searches. Yes, and if the syndicated post on Medium links back to your original post, the search engines will find the originalbl post even more quickly. Both copies of the post will be discoverable by readers, not just those that read Medium.
  7. You can start a blog on Medium instantaneously. As can be done with a WordPress blog and in the near future a Micro.blog. Self-hosted WordPress blogs can easily be setup on a range of hosts.

I quite like Medium, and regularly read posts on it. It is in fact how I came to find Ms Sabino’s post. I syndicate many of my posts there. It is a decent source of readership, and to be honest I should submit more articles to journals.

Medium, however, has the inherent problem of being someone else’s playground. They might pack up their toys and go away, taking our content with them. Or they might start putting our content behind a firewall, reducing potential readership. They may even monetise our content without sharing that with us.

Because it is, ulitimately, their platform.

The problem is the same with any other environment that you don’t own (yes, that would include WordPress.com and others).

I personally prefer to maintain my own blog, which is a WordPress blog hosted on independent servers. This blog then syndicates to a couple of places. This is the spirit of POSSE – Post to Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere.

Most long-form posts are syndicated in full to Medium and Tumblr, with the titles of these long-form posts sydicated to Micro.blog and Twitter. Micro-posts just go to Micro.blog and Twitter.[2]

I might (re) add Facebook and/or LinkedIn syndication at some point. These would actually be the biggest multiplier of readership. But I prefer quality over quantity, and the quality of commentary from Micro.blog readers, in particular, is outstanding, while there is a lot of noise from Facebook and LinkedIn (in my experience).

I don’t discount the effectiveness and importance of Medium. I would just advocate owning your content and syndicating to various platforms as being a far more resilient approach.


  1. Ms Sabino herself acknowledges that contributing to The Mission and The Writing Collective are the source of the immediate exposure.  ↩
  2. I treat all my (original) Tweets (i.e. not replies to other Tweets) as micro.posts, which start in Micro.blog and are syndicated to Twitter. If Twitter goes away I still have my original content. At least from when I started doing this. I wish I had downloaded a copy of all my app.net posts…  ↩
App Support for iPad Centric Workflows

App Support for iPad Centric Workflows

Its been some two years since Apple announced iOS 9, complete with iPad split screen and other multitasking functionality.

My iPads Pro are a key part of my writing, productivity and increasingly, photography, workflow. This is even more the case since the announcement of iOS 11, and all the incredible new iPad Pro centric enhancements.

Most of the apps I use on a daily basis to support my workflows have embraced and support iOS multitasking, including the split screen functionality. These apps include:

  • Bear
  • Byword
  • Draftsd
  • iBooks
  • Lightroom
  • Medium
  • Micro.blog[1]
  • OmniFocus[2]
  • ProtonMail
  • Reeder
  • Slack
  • Spark Mail[3]
  • The Photographers Ephemeris
  • Timepage
  • Tweetbot
  • Ulysses
  • V for Wikipedia
  • 500px

The list of apps that have refused to provide support for iPad Pro users is, fortunately, much shorter.

  • Affinity Photo
  • Flickr
  • Kindle
  • Pocket

I can kind of forgive Affinity as its quite a new app, and in the photography editing space which kind of develops a whole screen mentality.

But Kindle and Pocket are core reading/research/writing workflow apps. To be core to these types of workflows, the apps need to support iPad Pro type functionality.

Kindle holds a near monopoly, but Pocket has competition. I can’t help but wonder whats holding them back.

Doing this personal analysis of the core apps in my workflows it is pretty pleasing to see that most apps are well positioned to support the growing importance of iPad in a mobile lifestyle. And it is pretty telling to me that at some point I will need to make a call about apps that don’t support my workflows…


  1. Which was only released today.  ↩
  2. And I am pretty sure most other Omni apps  ↩
  3. And other apps from Readdle  ↩