I recently had the opportunity to photograph the Southwest High School Swim Team at a few swim meets. Photographing swimmers is quite challenging… well, for me it is. Often it is a dimly lit indoor pool with not a lot of space to move around to “get the shot”. There are parents watching and not interested in me getting in their view of their swimmer. There are other swimmers from the swim teams spread out and gathered into groups often cheering on their teammates. Then there is there is the risk of pool water splashed up onto your camera or lens… or worse yet, getting bumped into the pool. Now lets consider the fact once the swimmers are in the pool… most of their body (the subject) is concealed by the water.
Lets revisit the fact that the area is dimly lit and it is a sporting event with fast swimmers, thus requiring a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. This is a bad combination, in order to freeze the action with a fast shutter speed, you need lots of light or a lens with a small aperture like F/2.8. Being that I am not a professional at this and have a family with 3 kids and one in college, my budget does not allow for the great zoom lens with low aperture of F/2.8. So… I am forced to use a really high ISO number (as high as 5000 some times) and the camera’s ability to digitally overexpose the image to get enough light. This works, it does the job, but you pay for it in a grainy or pixelated images that is not always bright, crisp and clear.
But some of the fun or challenge is capturing something more then a hand or arm out of the water. Some swim strokes are easier or better to photograph then others, like Butterfly or Breast stroke. Good timing is needed to capture the image without the arm blocking the view of the face, or the splash of water in the way. Then there is the post shoot processing, adjust the light, saturation, crop the image, etc. Enough of me rambling, here are some highlights from this year, click on an image to see it larger.
My recent job change brought with it many new systems, processes, and technologies changes… including changing from Team Foundation Server (TFS) as a Version Control System (VCS), to using GIT for version control. GIT is, as advertised, a distributed revision control system that was created for speed, data integrity and to support distributed or non-linear workflows.
As a VCS it is similar… but terminology, commands and user interface is quite different. In Visual Studio I no longer connect to a TFS server but instead a GIT server. The GIT server could be hosted internally to the company or it can be hosed externally by a service provider. We use Visual Studio Online (VSO) and host our source code, Agile / SCRUM Features, PBI’s, Tasks, etc… can all be accessed via VS or the web browser UI. With all this hosted with VSO, working from home becomes much easier… no need for VPN connection to access your sprint board, tasks, source code etc. Code reviews are also done online through the browser remotely with other developers through what GIT calls a PULL request. Reviewers can comment on concerns or issues with the source code changes and the developer can make and publish additional changes for the reviewer to sign off on.
Here is a comparison of GIT commands to TFS commands.
|TFS Version Control ||GIT|
|Workspace ||Repository (aka “Repo”|
|Get Latest (First Time) ||Clone|
|Get Latest (After first time) ||Pull|
|Check In ||Commit + Push|
|Check Out ||(just start typing)|
|Code Review ||Pull Request|
I now drive 3.5 times more then I used to. Primarily because my drive to work went form 5 to 7 minutes up to 22 to 25 minutes. Now I drive a 2011 Ford Explorer it has the ability to connect via Bluetooth to my phone so I can do hands free calling and it can even notify me of a TXT and read it to me. But what if the message my phone received was not TXT, what about Google Hangouts messages, Whatsapp or some other messaging application? My car wont read those to me. What if it was important and I needed or wanted to respond, I would need to manually with my fingers stop (or minimize) my navigation app (Waze), tap on the notification or launch the app and respond.
Introducing ReadItToMe, an Android application (sorry iPhone users ) that can connect to your car via Bluetooth, ask you by voice (through my car speakers as if it was a phone call) if you want the message read to you, then read the message to you and ask if you want to respond, you speak the response and it repeats it back to you to make sure it has it correct and prompts you by voice to send. OH… and it works with nearly any application that sends/receives messages. ReadItToMe can be launched in the background when your phone connects to a Bluetooth device…. any Bluetooth device… wireless speaker at home, Bluetooth headset, etc.
There are other apps that can read messages to you and allow you to respond via voice, only through the phone speaker / mic, NOT via Bluetooth through my car speakers. When Android Auto includes Waze and reading via Bluetooth through my car speakers… I may need to switch.
If this interest you, you should check it out. There is a free trial version for 14 days, but the purchase price isn’t too much, at least it wasn’t when I bought it.