Instagram Posting to Blogger

For you Instagram users out there, some of you may be frustrated that
you can't post to Blogger using the app. There is an easy workaround:
1. Setup your Mail2Blogger posting address in settings on
2. Since Instagram saves a copy of the modified photo in you camera
roll, just hold your finger down on the photo you wish to post to
blogger and hit "copy"
3. Paste into an email to the posting email address you setup above

That's it. The subject of the email will be the title in blogger, and
the body will remain the body of the post.

Just Another F-15 Refueling...

I love interestingly composed pictures and I love fighter jets... so this picture pretty much does it for me. I love how the the sunset (or sunrise) sunlight casts itself over the back of the plane, while the background is a deep navy blue. Although the F-15 may be docking to refuel mid-air (you have to agree this is one of the cooler things in life), it is remarkable how sharp this picture is. Then again, the photo was featured in Boston Globe's "The Big Picture," so the photographer is obviously talented.

Gorgeous Time-Lapse Photography

Most of these clips were made on or near Hwy395 in the California desert. Some in southern Arizona. I'll post some pics of rigs I used when I get a chance.

Intro music is by me and main track is by Dj Scott Stubbs. Some of these clips are long or hyper lapse which is catching on. Here's a clip of the railroad track dolly I used:

Ninja Moxie

So our tabby cat named Moxie absolutely loves her blue string. We've spent probably a hundred dollars on cat toys, but no, she loves this string more than anything. She pulled it out of one of my blue sweatshirts and has been playing with it ever since. In this case, she burrowed herself under our doormat to hide from her enemy/best friend poised in attack position.

Hardly any processing was needed, but I did use Adobe Lightroom 3 to up the contrast and brighten the shadows. After using Lightroom for a couple weeks now, I'm starting to really like it!

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikon 35mm AF-S DX
Focal Length: 35mm
F number: 4
Exposure: 1/60

The biggest problem with the iPhone nobody is talking about

Everyone knows about how awful the newest iPhone's antenna is. Basically you hold the thing in your left hand and you'll see your signal plummet to the point where you can't actually make a call. Now, I haven't had as bad an experience as others - in fact I've found the reception is quite a bit better than the original iPhone (iPhone classic?), iPhone 3G, or even the iPhone 3GS. Apple hasn't really talked up the fact that the phone intelligently picks the best cell tower for your call, rather than prioritizing the cell tower with the strongest signal (techie and hard to market). But I digress, this is the problem nobody is talking about:

The antenna problem is a hardware problem. No software will "fix" the problem due to the fact that the metal antenna is located on the outside of the device. This has never been a problem because nobody has ever stuck the antenna on the OUTSIDE of the phone! Remember the Motorola Startac? It had a telescoping antenna that you could pull outside the device, and I bet if you cupped that thing in your hands, the same exact problem would occur. Still, I digress.

This is the biggest problem. When you hold the antenna directly, you immediately attenuate it's signal. That's a fact - the human body is a fantastic antenna attenuator, unfortunately. Now, when any phone does not have a good signal (think only one out of five bars), it sends more power to the antenna to boost the signal. Have you ever been stranded in the middle of nowhere and you're phone said "Emergency Calls Only" on the screen? What this means is if you need to call 911, the phone will power the antenna to the point where it is dangerous to have by your head, but able to connect to the police/fire department. Did you read that last part? Let me reiterate, it powers the antenna to the point where it is dangerous to hold by your head.

First lets see what Apple says in their iPhone User Guide:

The SAR limit applicable to iPhone set by the FCC is 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg). The SAR limit applicable to iPhone set by the Council of the European Union is 2.0 W/kg. Tests for SAR are conducted using standard operating positions (i.e., at the ear and worn on the body) specified by the FCC and the Council of the European Union, with iPhone transmitting at its highest certified power level in all tested frequency bands. Although SAR is determined at the highest certified power level, the actual SAR level of iPhone while in operation can be well below the maximum value because iPhone adjusts its cellular transmitting power based in part on proximity to the wireless network.

The iPhone 4 has poor signal, nobody can deny that. Now, if the iPhone operates in the same way as pretty much every other phone on the market, the lack of proper signal could actually be really dangerous to people. Yes, the FCC mandates that phones do not exceed a certain level of radiation (1.6W/kg) as it states above, and the iPhone 4 did pass this requirement in order to be available on the market. This maximum radiation level (SAR level) is not for continued use, rather, only for times when the device needs to power the antenna to its highest level for emergency calls. What worries me is that if the iPhone is constantly adding power to the antenna, the SAR level is closer to the maximum, which is not safe to have near your body over a long period of time. The barrage of tests that have occurred since the release of the iPhone 4 have only been testing signal strength with a focus on dropped calls, not SAR level. I'd like to see these test done and I think I'm going to use my bluetooth headset a lot more often (Go buy a Motorola one, please).

Here is an explanation by an electrical engineer I worked with at Motorola:

The RF circuitry basically transmits at a power level based on the communication it has with the cell tower. The RF amplifier has a power table that is dynamic. So if the signal coming from the cell tower becomes weak, the amplifier emits more power so that it could obtain a signal. The radiation, like you said, is increased as the power is amplified. The iPhone 4G's issue is the degradation of the antenna due to poor human effect antenna design. That is why they are suggesting the bumpers so that there is a buffer that is non conductive and gives the RF energy an area to flow outside of the human body.

We'll see what Apple announces today. I'm betting it's free bumpers so that the antenna doesn't get attenuated by the human body. I hate cases - why destroy the gorgeous design with a stupid plastic case? Still, I'll choose the POS case over liquifying my brains.

Off the SD Card: Rainbowlt

I know, I know. Last "Photo of the Day" was a shot of the city, but I just couldn't resist. We've had a couple monster storms come through Chicago over the past week, and the last one really provided some amazing scenes. As crazy as this photo is, you really had to be there. Imagine hearing a tornado siren (think off-tune nuclear siren - really spooky), watching a full double-rainbow appear, and seeing the sky light up with multiple lightening bolts - all at once!

*UPDATE: Insane HD video of this storm... must see!

Bonus picture and photo description after the break:

Off the SD Card: Night Clouds in Chicago

Back in February, I snapped this photo from our balcony just before sunrise. The color in the sky was a gorgeous blue and the moon was crisply visible. I knew the cloud definition and colors would be enhanced if I took a multiple exposure shot and post-processed as an HDR, so I flipped my D90 to bracket mode and took three shots. Even though there was a fair amount of light, I decided to use my tripod to avoid any movement between the three pictures. Each one turned out great, but combining them into a singular HDR image really captured that moment well.

Date Taken: February 11th, 2010
Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: 18-200 VR
Focal Length: 18
F number: 3.5
Exposure: 1/10

Off the SD Card: Thunderbird

Yikes - long time since the last post. Here's a photo I took from last year's Chicago Air and Water Show. This picture has been featured here before, but I retouched it using Photomatix HDR software. I think it adds depth to the clouds and makes the image more interesting. Here are the photo's stats:

  • Camera: Nikon D90

  • Lens: Nikkon VR 18-200mm f/5.6

  • Focal Length: 200

  • F Number: 5.6

  • Exposure: 1/1,250

Next Generation iPhone

Now that the next generation iPhone is out in the wild, what are we to make of it? First of all, I really like the new design. I never really liked the rounded-back that the iPhone 3G and 3GS had. Aside from the two-tone back, the original iPhone I think had the best design, and I think the latest ID really pays tribute to the original.

Personally, I think the model Gizmodo got their hands on is 100% real, but head over there to read more...

Off the SD Card: March Sunrise in Chicago

The only thing that rivals the beauty of a brilliant sunset is a gorgeous sunrise. It must have been a pretty calm night in the Windy City for Lake Michigan to be as placid as it was. Paying the extra dough for a West-facing apartment is definitely worth it!

Not much was done to this photo - only slight boosts in saturation and sharpness. I'm thinking the photo could benefit from slight vignetting - what do you think?

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikon 18-200mm VR
Focal Length: 18mm
F number: 9
Exposure: 1/13
Taken March 24th, 2010