RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 or 10 – Image Editing – Part 1of2

Which RAID level should I use for image editing?

Going to invest in a Promise Pegasus 4 disk RAID array for the purpose of keeping much of my image editing work away from from my main on board computer hard drive. I would like to also have a large volume where much of my recent work can be kept in order to access it quickly. I currently store job images on my onboard computer HD while editing and processing. This work gets backed up daily to three external hard drives. Two are  kept on site and  eventually archived, with the third kept off site . I also back up my onboard hard drive to a bootable copy. While also backing up other important files to cloud storage.

This has worked as a great backup system for many years until the release of the new Apple Mac Pro. On this computer onboard storage is limited to 1TB maximum. Because of this I very quickly have to move job images onto the external hard drives in order to make room for new work. This is fine although often I need to access the work on the external drives for a quite a long period. Finally it would make sense to have the current active work mirrored, so that if I do have a HD failure I can continue to work, while the failed drive is replaced.

The options for the best RAID levels are a choice 0, 1, 5, 6, or 10. Each provides advantages and disadvantages with respect to performance and security. I am not going to provide an explanation of each. A good explanation of the different RAID levels can be found here by this excellent blog post by Pre pressure.com http://www.prepressure.com/library/technology/raid. or on wikipedia.

So the question is which RAID level would be most suitable to provide performance and security with 4 discs?

Screen Sharing using Apple OSX and Messages

Screen Sharing using Apple Mac is straight forward however both parties wanting to share a screen will need the latest version of OSX, Messages and an apple me.com or icloud email address.

My method is as follows:

First you will need to add your apple email as an AIM account in Messages.

In Messages Goto Preferences > Accounts > Add new account by pressing the plus + lower left of window.

  • Choose ‘other messages account’ from the list.
  • Select AIM as Account Type.
  • Type your apple me.com or icloud.com email username and password and create the new account.

Now that you have an AIM account you will need to add the person you wish to share your screen with as a buddy to this account. To do this goto the menus at the top next to the apple icon make sure your still within the Messages app find Window > select the AIM account you just created.

A new window should appear on screen titled with your AIM account name and should include a a list of online and offline Buddies. From this window you can add a new buddy who is also using an AIM account. Add them using the Plus sign at the bottom left of the window. Once a buddy has been added you can then request a screen share by using the screen share icon at the bottom of this window. It looks like two overlapping rectangles.

 

 

 

Useful ical subscription calendars for location photographers

Here are two great ical subscription calendars useful for location photographers.

sunrise sunset calendar this site also has a weather calendar.

weather calendar from Wunderground.com. Finding the ical link is not obvious. You will need to first search for your weather location and then find the drop down sharing button at top right.

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 website weather london ical link

 

Control click ‘Download ical’ to copy link, then paste this into ical under the New Calendar Subscription: ical> File> New Calendar Subscription.

You can show or hide these calendars as and when you need them.

 

 

Updating Mac OS Lion to Mountain Lion

I previously wrote about upgrading to Mac OS Lion and the process I used for testing before installing on the main hard drive volume. I have now upgraded from Lion to Mountain Lion using the same method of testing before install on the main hard drive. Results on the test volume have been satisfactory with no obvious bugs or problems.

After purchasing and downloading the new OS update for the first time from the App store. Its worth noting that when returning to the App store, it was still asking me to purchase Lion. At first it was not obvious but you can download the update again without purchase by clicking on Purchases in the App Store menu bar. You should see a list of previous purchases and Lion should say Download next to it.

There is a very useful set of articles covering all of this and more from Macworld.

I have included some additional about information about my configuration which might be useful.

 

Hardware Specs:

  • Mac Pro  2008
  • Processor  2.66 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon.
  • Memory  6 GB 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC

Main 3rd party Software:

  • Adobe Lightroom v4
  • Adobe Phtotoshop CS5 v12.0.4
  • Filemaker Pro 12
  • Microsoft Word v12.3.3
  • Superduper v2.7.1

 

Light Weight Wired Tethered Shooting with ipad

I have been searching for a  light weight but portable tethered set up for shooting schedules were a lot of ground needs to be covered. I have a laptop which I can tether and now with the new breed of light weight laptops from Apple this is becoming easier. However as a recent ipad owner I wondered if shooting connected to the ipad would a good solution. Using an ipad3, the apple dock camera connector and USB cable connected to a D3s and shooting Raw Nefs. I have found the system to be adequate but not as streamlined as shooting to a laptop. I don’t know about other manufactures tablet devices and how these differ when it comes to connecting a camera but this is my findings with the ipad3.

If you do not own an ipad or have not yet used the dock camera connector or Camera Connection Kit, I should explain how these work together and you will get an understanding of why this is not quite as good as shooting tethered to a laptop. First of all when you connect a camera the ipad will automatically open up the import dialog. As you shoot, images will appear in the import folder. You then have to select the images you wish to import. I believe you can select all as well as individually. Once files are imported you can view the in the normal way using the ipad photos app.

The disappointment with this  workflow is as follows.

– Having to import image files manually rather than have them auto import is inconveiniant and adds more time to reviewing images. I would hope that in the future images will be auto imported or saved in the same way that happens when shooting tethered to a computer or laptop. Images appear on screen and are saved to memory immediately without any input from the user.

– After images are imported they are stored in 2 folders. The recent import folder and the Photos folder. It would make more sense to select the folder to which files are imported especially as its not possible to quickly batch select images to place in a new folder. This opens another downside to using the ipad as its not possible to flag or organise images into folders especially when viewing the larger single image view. It is possible to select images from the thumbnail view but this screen is not practical for assessing image quality etc.

– After each import from the camera the ipad asks if you want to delete or keep the images on the camera. I would prefer if this could be a choice set in preference rather than after each import as it is time consuming and more importantly could result unnecessary deletion of image files.

– One last point is the choice of file format to import. Shuttersnitch the app which provides wireless import of images to the ipad has the option to import jpg only rather than raw or tiff. This makes a lot of sense as it would speed up transfer time and image review etc.

On the plus side its very easy to mount an ipad to a tripod using a superclamp and compatible tablet holder. This makes the system very portable and quick to set up. I tend to use the system in the same way that polaroids are used for assessing composition/ lighting ect with medium and large format film cameras. This is a huge benefit over the small screen screen when shooting subjects which require accurate composition and positioning of props.

I had hoped that a third party developer may have come up with an app which addresses the above. Unfortunately Apple has not made public the API’s for the Camera Connection Kit. So it looks like that won’t happen until the API is made public or Apple provides an update to streamline image import from the Camera Connection Kit. I’d be grateful if anyone reading this knows of any new developments or apps which could facilitate this.

 

Switching to Mac OS Lion: My experience testing on a separate drive.

For anyone who is contemplating switching to OS Lion and has been delaying this update. Due to the many negative reviews or for fear of losing important software. I have decided to post my experience with testing the new OS on a separate drive. This is by no means meant to be a definitive guide, review or in depth look at the changes to the new OS. I just thought it useful for those that do not know how to test and install on a separate drive or just want to hear a positive reaction to the experience.  I strongly recommend testing the OS first before installing on a mission critical drive.
The steps I took before downloading the new OS were the following:
• Update all software to latest versions
• Create 2 bootable backups of the main volume. (I use SuperDuper which is very easy to use and straight forward)
• I used an external volume lacie 500Gb hard drive. Connected via firewire to test the new OS.
• After creating the clone or bootable backup on the Lacie drive I then restarted the Mac to boot from the Lacie drive.  To do this you just need to hold down the Option key ⌥ while restarting. When prompted I selected the volume I wanted to start up from which was the Lacie clone.
• Once the computer had restarted using the Lacie drive I then used the App store to purchase and download the new OS Lion 10.7.2. I did the download overnight as its about 3gb and would have taken about 3 hours.
• When I returned to the computer there was a window asking me if I wanted to install the new OS. I clicked install and selected the clone Lacie drive to install to. Installation took 30mins.

I could see straight away in the dock software which was no longer going to work (icon covered with no entry symbol) this included:
Dreamwever MX
Epson Scan software for the 3170 model scanner
The following is a list of my  critical software which all appears to be operating well (latest version unless stated);
Filemaker Pro
Photoshop CS5
Lightroom 3
Epson Print Driver for the Stylus Photo 2100
Epson Print CD
Word 2008 v.12.3.0
Expression Media v1.0.3
Omni Focus
Colour Navigator 6

Overall the finder seems snappier and quicker when changing views. Its also less intrusive all icons now seems to be the same colour for folders, buttons etc.
All my settings have remained intact. Although one noticable change is that the sidebar on open finder windows is now reveresed, so that where before I had all my devices listed at the top below my folders and then favourites.  This is now reversed which was little annoying at first. It is possible however to drag devices into the favourites area so actually this is an improvement over the previous design. I also notice that  scrolling up/down using the  wheel on my Wacom mouse and wireless Apple mouse has reversed. Apparently Apple believe that this is more intuitive way to use a mouse. It is possible to change this via System settings > mouse settings.
So far this is as much testing as I have done, but I feel confident that I will not have problems using the new OS. I have also not looked closely at new features.
Drop me a comment if you have any questions or suggestions!

 

Finding the #Hash key on Apple Mac Keyboard (press alt+3)

This post is for anyone who is searching for the hash # key on an apple keyboard.

Hold down the “alt/option” key then press “3” 

If you don’t get a hash appear when you press alt > 3; open the Keyboard Viewer (you will find this on the top right of your screen next to the date and time.) If when you have opened the keyboard viewer you don’t see any other character changing when you press the alt/option key. Try this:

Open system preferences > Keyboard > Select the ‘Modifier Keys’ button at bottom right > you will see a list with the Option key and a drop down list next to it. It should say ‘Option’.If it says ‘No action’ change this to ‘Option’

For anyone who is an avid Twitter user the # hash key is important character.

Free CheatSheet for Mac OS overlays keyboard shortcuts on screen – Via Rob Galbrath

Surrey Photographer Alex Orrow