The iPhone XS and XS Max Review on The Sweet Setup

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

iPhone XS Max

The iPhone XS and XS Max are the first iPhones that showcase the iPhone’s new, extra long lifespan.

I’m slowly catching up here. A few weeks back, I went through the paces on the latest iPhone XS Max for The Sweet Setup. This was an interesting review, to say the least.

In short, I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so ambivalent on an upgrade plan for the iPhone. Must-have-the-latest-gadget folks will be happy with the iPhone XS and XS Max, in that it boosts speeds, provides a large new screen type, and has a great camera.

That great camera is absolutely fundamental to the iPhone XS and XS Max’s persona. The new larger sensor is great at gathering more light and provides way (way!) more detail in low light, but it’s crazy how much detail is being smoothed out in the boosted Portrait Mode.

Aside from the camera though, it’s clear the iPhone is going the way of the automobile. Annual upgrades are probably overkill at this point, with the majority of iPhone users tending toward 24-month or 36-month upgrade cycles. With that in mind, iPhone 8 and iPhone X users can probably steer clear, while iPhone 6 users are in for a delight. Plus, the iPhone XS and XS Max are sure to be high-powered for many years to come, especially if iOS 15 and beyond continue to support older iPhones.

Head over to The Sweet Setup for the full review. I was particularly proud of this one — my views weren’t entirely unique at this point, but I felt (at least) that my voice was.

Supported By

Canmore, Alberta

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Canmore Late Night

Canmore, Alberta, in Alberta’s Bow Valley and at the footsteps of the Canadian Rockies.

Located just 80 kilometres from Calgary and at the footsteps of the Canadian Rockies, you might be surprised to learn Canmore grew its roots as a mining town. Lining Canmore’s 150 year-old Main Street are modern bicycle paths, walking paths, and the makings of a modern city, encouraging tourists to breathe in the fresh mountain air and to set up camp at the base of the mountains. It’s tremendously refreshing.

It’s this modernity which caught our attention during an extra-long weekend stay. Through some of the harshest Canadian winters and enduring through the largest dumpings of snow, one of Bow Valley’s hearts puts its modern foot forward. Roads and walking paths are clean and pothole-free. Elevation Place glistens with its floor-to-sky glass walls. The Three Sisters loom over the city. And the Nordic Center just up the hill has been recycled as a national team practice facility following its use in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.

Perhaps it’s telling that a majority of the local service providers and employees speak in non-Canadian-English accents. The attractiveness of the region and energy in the town must be thoroughly enticing for foreigners looking to experience the best of Canada during a lengthy stay. Many Canadians know Easterners who retire in Canmore and environs, while Commonwealth travellers increasingly call the city home. It makes a lot of sense, really.

So while we experienced the tease and luring toward the region, we can also rest easy knowing the jump-off city is in good hands. Knowing this is in our Canadian backyard is pride-inducing. We have the great oceans at the East and West, the rocky backbone Canadian Shield in the middle, and the never-ending and abundant Canadian Prairies ushering travellers into the majestic Canadian Rockies.

We have it all. Right here. Ready for you to jump into.


Photos shot with the Fujifilm X-T2, XF 23mm f/2, XF 35mm f/2, and XF 16mm f/1.4 lenses.


On Sam Nute’s “Rare September Thunderstorm in the Valley”

Monday, October 01, 2018

Sam Nute is a photographer I discovered through Rebecca Lily’s Pro Set V pack of Lightroom presets. However, it’s his recent work on Instagram that has caught my attention over and over.

Sam’s recent work — like this shot at Yosemite National Park — has taken my breath away. But it’s this photo, also at Yosemite, that sent me down an all-new rabbit hole. (You can find an enlarged version of that photo right here on Sam’s personal site.)

I asked some friends what their thoughts were regarding Sam’s editing process and how he was able to gather the “look”. The answer that led to a rabbit hole were the words “split toning”.

I’d heard these words before but wasn’t quite sure of the editing process.

(I’m also not implying Sam used split toning. It was just the answer I was given as a potential method for creating such an incredible colour in the photograph.)

In short, split toning adds certain colours to the highlights and certain colours to the shadows in order to provide an overall veneer to your photograph. Experienced photographers will understand this far better than I could ever explain, but hopefully this provides an accurate foundation.

After digging into Lightroom, I specifically looked at this photo to see if I could grab any sort of “look”. Here’s the original:

And here’s that same photo, but with some split toning applied:

I read somewhere in my research that contrasting colours work best with one another when split toning (reds with greens, blues with oranges, etc.), so this photo has some orange highlights and some blue shadows. Everything is heavily skewed towards the highlights in order to give it a more golden look.

I tried hard to replicate the look of Sam’s first photo from Yosemite National Park. However, if there’s one lesson here, it’s simple: There is no substitute for great light before you edit. You can create a golden hour look by split toning and applying other edits, but it’ll always be easy to pick those who faked it and those who woke up early to shoot that brilliant early morning light.

This was a fun experiment and one I hope to continue to hone over time.

I love the long-run learning curve of photography.

How Tiger Woods Finally Put It All Together Again

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Josh Planos writing for FiveThirtyEight:

By strokes gained, a metric that measures each shot a player takes based on how much it reduces his expected score on a given hole relative to the field average, Woods gained 4.07 total strokes on the field and 2.97 strokes with the putter on Saturday alone. For his career, he had taken a 54-hole lead of at least three strokes 23 times. He had never squandered it. That streak continued.

I really wish I could have watched on Sunday. Nothing better for the game of golf than Tiger winning in Tiger Red.

Matt Birchler’s Thoughts on the Apple Watch Series 4 Sizing

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Matt’s Apple Watch Series 4 impressions have me extra annoyed that mine didn’t arrive on Friday.

His thoughts on the new sizes:

I got all hyped up by a few watch people who had me convinced the difference between 42mm and 44mm watches was significant. Maybe for some people it is, but I personally don’t find the 44mm watch to feel any bigger on my wrist than the old 42mm ones. Yes, it looks a bit different, but I find the new shape to be far more noticeable than the extra 2mm in vertical height. I waffled back and forth about whether to get the 40 or 44mm models this year, and I’m supremely happy to have gone with the bigger one again.

Be sure to head through to see Matt’s comparison photos. I’ve talked to some people who are on the fence about which size to get, but it appears the decision comes down to almost the same considerations as the prior three Apple Watch generations.

A Review of the Peak Design Everyday Messenger

Thursday, September 20, 2018

I’ve had the Peak Design Everyday Messenger for a little while now, and it’s my favourite camera bag ever. It has about a thousand little tricks up its sleeve, the best dividers in the business, and actually looks surprisingly great as well (usually camera bags are ugly).

I’ve wanted to review this bag for quite some time, but the launch latest mobile photography course on The Sweet Setup was a good excuse to hash it out. Needless to say, the bag is a recommendation within the course, and this bag is responsible for my camera bag wishlist encompassing the Everyday Backpack and Sling.

Head over to The Sweet Setup for the full review. It’s actually a little long — sorry about that! (You’re welcome?)