500px

For anyone enjoying my photography, I’m maintaining my favorite photos on 500px.

Posted in Photography | Comments Off

Silk Sun

Silk Sun SM

Posted in Photography | Comments Off

Tone Mapping Your Photography with Topaz Simplify

Forest Oasis SM

Lately I’ve been writing articles about Topaz Simplify, and some of the things you can do with it. Most people think tools like Simplify are only useful for creating mosaics or other types of artful interpretations of a photograph, but they’re actually much more powerful than that. Today, I’ll show you how to tone the colors of your image using Simplify. The resulting photo will look realistic, but have an oil painting color depth to it. This technique is different from the previous technique I wrote about, as it maps colors without losing any of the detail from the original photo.

Continue reading

Posted in Photography | Comments Off

Augmenting Surrealistic HDRs with Topaz Simplify

Disturbed

This is a very small post-processing trick I’ve picked up that can help take the edge off of an HDR or other type of photo that just needs a touch of surrealistic contrast. Here, I’m using a product called Topaz Simplify to accomplish this. First, lets have a look at our pre-Topaz processed HDR image.

Continue reading

Posted in Photography | Comments Off

Evening Silk

Evening SilkBar Harbor, Maine has one of the earliest sunrises on the eastern seaboard. Which is exactly why I decided to sleep in, and find some good sunset locations instead. I did, actually, find some good sunrise locations (a few hundred yards to the left of Thunder Hole in Acadia, there’s a great little trail down to a boulder beach with tidal pools), however none of them compared to this sunset location at the very edge of Bass Harbor. The Bass Harbor Lighthouse can only be found if you’re looking for it, as it’s tucked away along rural roads at the southern edge of Mount Desert Island. I spent an evening shooting alongside a couple other folks vacationing in the area and talking shop. It’s nice to exchange ideas with other photographers once in a while.

Continue reading

Posted in Photography | Comments Off

Celebrating Hackers in Portrait and Journalism

Hackers are often engaged in the arts, as we’re creative people. I’m a hacker, a purveyor of funky bass guitar, a Greek nerd, and a photographer (as well as a number of other things). As a photographer, one of my passions is environmental portraiture / photo-journalism. I love telling a story, whether it’s a landscape, or (and especially) people. There are so many incredible humans behind all of the projects that benefit the community. Everyone has a fantastic story to tell of how they got there, or who they are, and what drives them. Everyone has projects that touch so many different areas of technology. I’d like to celebrate you, the hacker. I’d like to do a two-or-three page spread on you, and make it available for anyone to read about you online (and who knows, maybe someday in print). Lets talk about who you are as a human, your passions, and get to really know you – the human, as well as what you’re doing that’s touching tech, as well as the things you see as vital to this community, or even to this world. I’d also like to make some great, well lit, professional quality portraits of you, both on a studio backdrop, but also in your native hacker space; whether it’s the cube you work in, a trashy apartment (please don’t clean up first), a dingy garage, a park bench, or a luxury high-rise. Wherever you do your best work is where I want to photograph you. I don’t need your real name (but you may give it), just your alias. If you need to protect your identity, lets find creative ways to do that too. It is my hope that we will get to know not just the white hats, but hackers of all kinds. If your office is a prison cell, I’m still game. This isn’t about politics. This is about hackers.

Continue reading

Posted in Photography | Comments Off

The Better Your “Workflow”, the More Your Photos Need Help

Lately, I’ve seen countless budding photographers offer video courses (for a hefty price) that teach people about workflow; how to make your photos dazzle and look just like their photos. The kind of “retouch ’till you’re blue in the face” kind of dazzle. Even some of the mainstream authors these days are writing about workflow, and treating the other 5% as “camera go click”.  I’ll get to my point short and sweet: stop wasting your money. Wasting? Yes. If you’re paying to learn workflow, then you’ve already conceded that the photos you’ve taken aren’t very good, and you need massive amounts of workflow to make them good. If they were great photos, you wouldn’t need so much workflow to make them look any better. I’ve been here. In some ways, I still am. To spend more than maybe 5% of your time on advanced workflows is admitting you’ve already failed. I’ve cut myself loose from spending any significant time on workflow, and instead am spending a lot of time becoming a better photographer. Let me explain the difference.

Continue reading

Posted in Photography | Comments Off

Icy Pond

Icy Stream 2 S

Posted in Photography | Comments Off

My Talk at HOPE X

I’ll be speaking at the HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) big X conference this year, July 18-20 in NYC. Below is a summary of my talk. It’s based on this published journal paper. Hope to see you there!

Identifying Back Doors, Attack Points, and Surveillance Mechanisms in iOS Devices

The iOS operating system has long been a subject of interest among the forensics and law enforcement communities. With a large base of interest among consumers, it has become the target of many hackers and criminals alike, with many celebrity thefts of data raising awareness of personal privacy. Recent revelations exposed the use (or abuse) of operating system features in the surveillance of targeted individuals by the NSA, of whom some subjects appear to be American citizens. This talk identifies the most probable techniques that were used, based on the descriptions provided by the media, as well as today’s possible techniques that could be exploited in the future, based on what may be back doors, bypass switches, general weaknesses, or surveillance mechanisms intended for enterprise use in current release versions of iOS. More importantly, several services and mechanisms will be identified that can be abused by a government agency or malicious party to extract intelligence on a subject, including services that may, in fact, be back doors introduced by the manufacturer. A number of techniques will also be examined in order to harden the operating system against attempted espionage, including counter-forensics techniques.
Speakers: Jonathan Zdziarski

Posted in Forensics, iPhone, Security | Comments Off

Shooting Water Features: Rain is Your Friend

Forest Oasis
Up near the Canadian border, in Colebrook, NH, lives a little-known waterfall nestled in the forest. The town itself is a quaint, little New England town with a cute restaurant and coffee shop, hardware store, and a few other local necessities. The town itself isn’t built around this water feature; in fact, you have to go out of your way to find it. Some of the locals I chat with from time to time weren’t even aware of the falls. I’ve only been up this way a few times, but this time through, there happened to be a thunderstorm passing and so I took the opportunity to take some pictures. Colebrook isn’t exactly a tourist hub, so this local place is often empty, or at the most occupied only by a few local families going for a hike.

Continue reading

Posted in Photography | Comments Off

Professional Looking Portraits in a Rush

5SMOn the way back from Martha’s Vineyard, Jess and I stopped at a restaurant near Cedarville, MA named the Rye Tavern. It’s up near the Miles Standish forest. In fact, the restaurant itself is in the middle of a forest, and is probably one of the area’s best kept secrets. After chasing Siri around for some food for an hour, and discussing that we wanted it put on our headstones, “Here lies Jonathan and Jessica. They died searching for food. Thanks Siri.”, we finally found a place that was both good and open. The trek to get there was rough. Imagine being starving and your GPS leads you down dirt roads covered with grass, wondering if anyone would ever find your body if you died here. At the end of the road, in the middle of nowhere, Rye Tavern became our oasis. The food was absolutely delicious. Locally sourced, grass fed beef, goat cheese scallop potatoes, onion-pepper jelly, and even Broccolini (my favorite!). We had the best burger in the universe, and a fantastic steak. The Bison Ragu also made a great starter. We liked the food so much, in fact, that we offered to do the executive chef’s portrait for him.

Continue reading

Posted in Photography | Comments Off