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NOTE: This article was originally written for the maiden flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in December 2009. I’ve republished it here since the Dreamliner has been in the news quite a bit recently and is now flying commercially as part of the All Nippon Airways fleet. Boeing is now ramping up production to deliver more than 850 of these new aircraft to some 58 global airlines. Here’s a short tale of a harried and hurried reporter.

A few short years ago, the Airbus A380 was the object of an extraordinary amount of excitement. During its years of development the A380 was the talk of the industry.  I recall my first sighting of the whale-like A380. It appeared to float in the sky as it made its first landing at Chicago O’Hare. A few short months afterwards, I watched as the A380 landed in Sydney, Australia after completing the first commercial flight from Singapore. In both cases, I was a lucky camper to be able to capture these moments on digital film.

Fast forward a few years and the object of excitement is changed. On Monday December 14th (2009) I arrive at the office in Grand Rapids about 7AM and open an email message telling me that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is about to make its first flight the next day from Paine Field near Seattle, Washington. During preceding months I had been planning to witness this event, but its date was postponed several times. To put it mildly, I am totally unprepared for Tuesday’s event and start to panic.

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The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show

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It’s time for CES again

04th January 2012

What’s in store for 2012?

The Consumer Electronics Show kicks off again in less than a week.

 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the CES, it’s a huge technology trade show at which the electronic and associated manufacturers showcase their new products. In recent years, CES has attracted more than 120,000 attendees to the Las Vegas Convention Center and surrounding venues.

 
There are literally miles of aisles lined with home theaters, thundering auto audio systems, pulsating illuminated LED signs, massive large-screen televisions, deafening stereo systems and wacky computer game displays. It’s a crowded, noisy affair.

Despite the negatives, CES has been a “must” show for me. In fact, I find it an exciting place to be. So much so that I’ve been to attending this annual event (for a while it was held twice a year) for more than 30 years to learn and write about the new products that are applicable to our businesses. For the first time, the Photographic Marketing Association trade show is being folded into this year’s CES. I suppose this tells us that photographic equipment is now considered part of the consumer electronics realm. Merging of these trade shows into one makes it even more convenient for me to learn about new photo equipment as well.

On the photography side, I expect these will be the trend this year:

  • There will be more offerings of high end interchangeable lens cameras (ILC). This relatively new breed are imirrorless and use real-time electronic viewfinders and are significantly smaller than DSLRs. The Nikon V1 and Sony NEX5 are current examples that have compelling and innovative features
  • It looks like we’ll see big improvements in the video capability of both DLSRs and ILCs. The norm will be 1080p HD video, full-time autofocus amd complete manual control of exposure. These devices are reinventing the way in which video is recorded.
  • Watch for even better images from cellphones. Some models already have large 8MP sensors with builtin flash. There is a striking difference in quality from last year’s models.
  • Slowing sales of compact cameras hasn’t deterred manufacturers from improving image quality. In particular, the trend is towards better low-light performance by using more responsive image sensors and wider aperture lenses. This will most likely continue but at a higher price.
  • Again with compacts the major brands are also competing aggressively on a feature basis. For example the Samsung SH100 has builtin wireless transfer and several company’s have cameras with builtin GPS. I expect that features such as these will become very popular.
  • Last fall in China, I met with several manufacturers who were pushing easy to use, all-weather still and video cameras. This may become a popular category as the younger generation continues the YouTube tradition of recording and producing movies of their varied outdoor activities.

On the technology side I will be looking at these items:

  • I just read that Microsoft will be showing their upcoming Microsoft Flight at the show This is of special interest to me as one of our other businesses sell software for their older Flight Simulator.
  • There are likely to be a slew of new and improved tablet from a variety of manufacturers. Since the launch of the iPad, these devices have made a dramatic shift in mobile computing behavior. With the recent addition of reading devices such as Amazon’s Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet, the market is heating up quickly.
  • Cellphones have made the most impact on consumer behavior in the last few years and I’ll be interested in seeing the new features that are upcoming.
  • For several years, robotic devices have been randomly appearing at CES. For the most part, this promising technology has been confined to a few areas such as floor cleaning devices and children’s toys. I’m hoping to see new and innovative consumer-level robots at the show.

I’ll report back to you about the show soon.

Yes, I’m looking forward to another CES. By the way, I’m also looking forward to a few days away from the cold and snowy weather here in Michigan.

 

 
Written by Arnie Lee


a compact camera comes in handy

Photography isn’t always about planning and capturing images during a photo shoot.

Life “happens” whether you plan for it or not.

If you don’t want to miss the chance to record life as it happens, keep a camera handy. Whether you use a small compact camera or your cellphone camera, it’s fun when you can capture memorable events on “film”.

Life is sometimes about the important and emotional moments. And at other times, it’s about the humorous, the “cute” or the interesting. You may discover that the spontaneous moments are among the most memorable.

Below are a few of the memorable moments that I was able to record by having a camera near at hand.

Food that I adore

Sometimes food overtakes my senses. When this happens, I may snap a photo to remember just how good or different a dish looks and tastes.

Later, I can just look at the picture and recall exactly how it tasted.

Maybe I’m a little obsessed with my taste buds.

Interesting Faces

Several years ago, my son and I were on a cross-country flight that we shared with Mohammed Ali. When he noticed a camera in my hand, he graciously stood up so that we could take this photo.

By having a camera handy, I’ve been able to take dozens more interesting personalities and faces.

Humor

While driving, I spotted these juxtaposed signs that made me smile. I stopped the car and walked to the corner with my compact camera to take this photo.

No matter how serious you are about photography, not all of your subjects have to be serious.

Scenics

For the most part, traveling from one side of the ocean to the other is visually boring. Every once in a while the flight path includes subjects like this one. This is Greenland as seen from about 40,000 feet.

Since I had a small camera with me at the time, I snapped. Now this beautiful scenery serves as a reminder of a place that I’d like to visit sometime.

Children

Here is where cute comes in. Keep a camera ready when the kids are close by and you’ll have ample opportunity to catch them in a variety of poses.

Most of the time we are waiting for them to smile.

But sometimes other looks such as a pouting face are worth remembering too.

There’s no need to make a New Year resolution to record your kids, family, friends and memorable events. By having a small compact or cellphone camera close by, you’ll be prepared when the moment is right.

 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee