Friday, September 10, 2010

Puerto Vallarta Recap

Not sure that I will get back to Puerto Vallarta for some time, but wanted to note a few places that I found fun while I was there.

  • Cafe Roma is a fun, casual pizza resturant off the main strip. The place has cheap Corona's and very good pizza. After you have been in Mexico for a few days, a change of pace is welcome. The prices were also a relief as the tourist places were surprisingly expensive even in this weak economy.
  • Archie's Wok is another nice find, serving fine Asian cuisine at reasonable prices. Food was very good and service was very friendly. Again not a Mexican food place but a nice change of pace if you are in PV for several days.
  • Porto Bello was an excellent. It was very surprising to be in Mexico and discover such a good Italian restaurant. I highly recommend this place but be warned that it is not cheap.
That wraps up my notes from PV, not sure when I will be back but it a nice beach location with non-stop service from Phoenix. I can also use my frequent flyer miles which makes this a destination one that I will consider again in the future.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Tillman Bridge

On my way to Photoshop World this year in Las Vegas I drove up US 93 through Kingman and then on to the Hoover Dam. Currently, the the Federal Highway Administration, the Arizona Department of Transportation, and Nevada Department of Transportation are coordinating the building of a bypass bridge over the Colorado River. The bridge is being built about a half mile downstream from the dam and is needed to reduce congestion, improve safety and keep the bridge secure from attack. I was happy to hear that the bridge will be named after Pat Tillman, well actually it will be named after two people, the former governer of Nevada Mike O'Callaghan and Pat Tillman. But to me it will just be the Tillman bridge. A new documentary about the tragedy of his death has come out, but I would rather focus on how he lived his life.

The photo above was taken about 18 months ago on a previous trip to Las Vegas. The bridge nearly complete, and is set to open in November of this year.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Photoshop World Las Vegas

I'm back from Photoshop World in Las Vegas that ended on Friday. I'm an enthusiastic amateur photographer and there is no place better to get the latest training and trends in the photographic industry then to attend a PSW. The National Association of Photoshop Professionals puts on two of these events a year, one on the East Coast (usually in Orlando) and one out West (usually in Las Vegas). I haven't been to the event since 2007 and below were the trends that stood out to that previous show.

  • Video with DSLRs. In early 2009, Canon came out with their 5D Mark II, which included the ability to record HD video. I'm told that this was almost an after thought by the Canon engineers thinking that there would be a very small audience that would be interested in the video capabilities, perhaps a handful of photojournalist or wedding photographers might use the feature. Well there has been an explosion of interest and excitement surrounding this capability and there were several classes at PSW that dealt with capturing, editing and creating video with DSLR cameras. Count me as one of the ones who is trying to learn this new skill set and expand my ability to tell stories with it.
  • HDR Photography. High Dynamic Range photography is a complete creation from the digital age, it isn't a process that the old analog darkroom could create. As such, it is fairly controversial in terms of its appeal. Basically the process involves taking several exposures of a scene (usually 3 to 5) and then using software blending these exposures together into one photo. By using the multiple exposures the photo can greatly increase the tonal range of the image. There were several classes on HDR at the show, and while I was there Apple announce that it would include HDR capabilities with the new iOS software.
  • 3D Design. The 3D capabilities came in with a prior version of Photoshop but there seemed to be more interest in it this year. I sat in on one session that went over the capabilities and it was interesting. To me, this is just a starting marker for Photoshop and sometime in the next five years the capabilities of 3D will begin to expand rapidly. For example, loading multiple photos of a subject and then loading them into Photoshop to rotate around it would be very cool and something I think is not to far off, although I am completely speculating here.
Other observations: there were supposedly 3,000 people in attendance which seem strong in this economy, the accompanying trade show seemed much smaller than I remember with less vendor participation. The show itself seemed more diverse, with more women and African-Americans. In the past these shows seem to be a young to middle aged white guy fest. The diversity was a welcome sign.

Well that's all for my notes from PSW Las Vegas. I hope to make it back in a few years to see how things have changed.