Sunday, May 18, 2008


So this week I exchanged film via the United States Postal Service with a complete stranger. A guy who saw my photos on Flickr, noticed that I had taken a photo of my spare fridge filled with all my Polaroid film and misc 35mm and 120 films too. Here's the shot: DSC_7340
He proposed a trade - he wanted some of my black and white 120 (medium format) film. I'm much more of a color shooter and I typically find 120 a pain to get developed (no, Costco doesn't do it). After beginning to scan my family's old color slides and seeing the fantastic color, I've been wanting to test the waters with shooting slide film. I asked the guy if he had any color slide film to swap and he did! So we discussed via flickr email what films we had to trade and we came to an agreement over a 12 for 12 trade and presto on Friday my film arrived. I had originally come into the possession of the 120 film for free (bundled with the purchase of a used camera) so basically for the cost of about 5 bucks total to buy the box to ship the film in and pay for postage - I got a dozen rolls of slide film I wanted. Pretty cool. To buy a dozen rolls of 35mm slide film would probably have cost me about $60-$70 bucks. I love that in today's paranoid age, that total strangers can still do something pretty awesome for each other.

Also in the mail I received the two 4mb SD cards I'd ordered from Adorama. Here they are inside their little key chains sandisk included.My biggest SD card before this was a 2gb card, so it will be nice to do a lot more jpeg shooting or be able to do raw and not run out of room.

Lastly, I decided this week to order a Wacom Intuos3 6x8 tablet.
I've had a Wacom Graphire3 for a few years that's a LOT smaller. I originally used it in a photoshop class I took about 3 years ago and then it has just sat unused since then. Now I'm enrolled in a new photoshop class at Samy's and every desk has it's own Wacom. I lucked out and actually got the one large size tablet (I think it's 6x11) on my desk. As soon as I started using it I was really amazed at how much nicer it felt compared to my old Wacom because of the larger size and the nicer pen with a very tactile and soft rubber grip. Also because this new tablet is widescreen like my iMac 24" and each corner of the Wacom directly corresponds to your screen, it's a lot more intuitive to use. I'm constantly having issues with my hands, fingers, and wrists (yes wrists - I'm ambidextrous) due to typing and mostly the mousing, so after using the Wacom at Samy's, I decided to unearth my Wacom to use at home. But my Graphire3 felt so small and hard compared to the Intuos3. My original Wacom cost under a 100 bucks and this new one was $329. Yikes. I'm trying to save up to buy Photoshop CS3 and possibly Lightroom now so the idea of spending another $329 was not good. But, I discovered that not only did Wacom have the tablet I wanted refurbished for only $200, but that by buying the tablet I was eligible for a CS3 upgrade (to the Elements 4 that came bundled) at a reduced price! So instead of CS3 costing $650, I would get $300 off!! And if I buy Lightroom at the same time, Lightroom is discounted $75 dollars. So in this case, spending money on the Intuos3 is actually saving me money on CS3 AND saving my hands at the same time. I know that I can mouse a LOT faster, but it's really killing my hand/wrist/fingers. I think once I get more used to the Wacom that I'll be up to speed, but at this point, I'll sacrifice the speed for hand longevity. What's nice about the Intuos3 6x8 (and the 6x11) is that it has express keys (for key strokes) and touch strips (for zooming and scrolling) on both sides of the tablet. Since I'm ambidextrous, this means I can switch between either side of the tablet depending on whether my right or left hand is free. And this way I can also split up the repetitive tasks between two hands. The only area I'm not 100% ambidextrous is in holding the pen in my left hand. I'm a bit goofier and a little impaired when I do that, but I plan to practice more so I can switch off hands that hold the pen. I just started fooling around with Apple's Inkwell today, so possibly I can start writing stuff out more instead of typing too. You don't have to be a photographer to use the Wacom or any other tablet. Anyone can benefit from it. It really helps cut down on the stress of mousing. But the Wacom does come with a mouse if you want to use one, the only caveat is that it only works on the Wacom tablet (not on your desk or other surface). I prefer my Apple Might Mouse to the Wacom mouse, so I'm still using that too. If you want a tablet but don't want to spend $200 and up, get a Wacom Bamboo, they're very similar to the Intuos3 and the smallest one retails for $79 bucks. The Bamboo is really just a newer version of the Graphire3 I already own but now they've updated it with a scroll wheel and 4 express keys.

I wrote these comments using the Wacom and the bundled Corel Painter Essentials 3

Close up shot of the express keys and touch strip. You use your fingers to touch these, not the Wacom pen.

For more info on the Wacom Intuos3 6x8 go to

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