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Adam Ottke
Los Gatos, CA

Articles written by Adam Ottke

Castrol's VR Campaign Blurs the Lines Between Virtual and Reality

Castrol's VR Campaign Blurs the Lines Between Virtual and Reality

Whether your business is in photography, videography, or the evolving field virtual reality (VR), your job is to create a visual experience for your clients. As VR grows in popularity and in quality, its potential to create more immersive experiences in relation to more traditional media types increases immensely. The effect that systems like Oculus Rift can have ultimately depend, however, on how realistic one can make not only the imagery, but also the user feedback. Castrol EDGE's custom VR solution pushes the limit between what you can expect from a VR setup as it pits two race car drivers on different real-world tracks against each other in the same virtual world.

Vincent Laforet's 'AIR' Book Strikes a Balance Between Serene Cityscapes and Visual Overload

Vincent Laforet's 'AIR' Book Strikes a Balance Between Serene Cityscapes and Visual Overload

I have been following and reporting on Vincent Laforet's "AIR" series since its first round was released. I came across an early printing of the book itself in the waiting area of San Francisco's Storehouse startup while I was about to take on another interview. I knew Storehouse and Laforet had a good working relationship, and I knew the images so well. But I didn't have time to look inside -- not that I felt I had to, however, since I knew the work inside and out. So when Laforet offered me a copy of the book to review, I simply had to say, "Of course," even if it was with mixed feelings. What could I, objectively speaking, really get out of it? Hadn't I seen it all?

World's First Drone Light Painting Rings In the Holidays with Style

World's First Drone Light Painting Rings In the Holidays with Style

Leave it to a German drone company to create the world's first light painting by drone with a fully programmed flight path, all to create one fantastic holiday time-lapse of Santa Claus delivering presents. Perhaps the most unique part of the project isn't the world-first of programming a drone to complete a multi-colored light painting, but is instead the reimagining of Santa Claus' method of delivery, as something more similar to that of your neighborhood newspaper boy with perfect accuracy.

Lily Announces Delivery Delay of Drone Pre-Orders Amidst Issues During Testing

Lily Announces Delivery Delay of Drone Pre-Orders Amidst Issues During Testing

Today's airspace is more and more crowded with drones that, for the most part, all do the same thing. This lack of product diversity is the reason Lily, with its unique combination of features including landing and taking off in water or on your hand, awed thousands when its promo video launched. Its incredibly good pre-order deal undoubtedly helped spread it further at a low price of $499. The best part: this wasn't a crowd-funding campaign. Lily had financing. This was happening. Until it wasn't.

Adobe's Explosive Profit Boost Could Help It Give Creatives the Leg Up They've Been Begging For

Adobe's Explosive Profit Boost Could Help It Give Creatives the Leg Up They've Been Begging For

Adobe’s last quarter results are out, and they’re better than ever. Adobe’s Creative Cloud and media business rose 35 percent thanks to a 23 percent beat on subscriber expectations, while the company’s overall net income more than doubled from $88.1 million to a staggering $222 million. Adobe’s fourth-quarter earnings report shot its stock to all-time highs. On one hand, that’s good business. But what does this mean for creatives who have felt an increasingly rocky relationship with the software giant?

Sigma's New WR Ceramic Protector Might Actually Protect Your Front Element

Sigma's New WR Ceramic Protector Might Actually Protect Your Front Element

Landscape photographers use polarizing, neutral density, and graduated filters of all types for effects they would consider pivotal to their work. Meanwhile, however, the Internet has been beating up UV and other clear types of filters, bringing to light that "UV filters protect your lens" is a falsehood. While even the best UV filters might shatter in an impact, Sigma has developed a brand new filter type called the "WR Ceramic Protector," which is actually supposed to absorb, bend with, and mitigate shock from an impact.

Miniaturized Hydrogen Fuel Cells Promise Six-Fold Increase in Drone Flight Times

Miniaturized Hydrogen Fuel Cells Promise Six-Fold Increase in Drone Flight Times

The Verge reported Tuesday that British hydrogen fuel cell technology company Intelligent Energy has been successfully testing a miniaturized version of a hydrogen fuel cell as part of a drone system with the intent to increase flight times. Through such hydrogen fuel cell technology, drones could start flying for up to and over two hours, which would be a six-fold increase over the current industry-standard 20-minute flight time for many drones.

Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art Special: Astronomy Review

Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art Special: Astronomy Review

Not long ago, I released a review of Sigma's newest Art-series lens, the 20mm f/1.4 Art. Unfortunately, Northern California skies have had bit of a tough time clearing up despite numerous requests from astrophotographers below, patiently waiting for news of this lens' nighttime, Milky Way performance. Last night, although far from perfect, areas of the sky did clear up enough to get a small consensus on how this lens fares when pointed toward the stars.

MacPhun's New All-in-One Aurora HDR Software Explained by Trey Ratcliff

MacPhun's New All-in-One Aurora HDR Software Explained by Trey Ratcliff

MacPhun released Aurora HDR just a few weeks ago and touts it as the most advanced high dynamic range (HDR) software in the world. Certainly, veteran users of Photoshop and Lightroom might be skeptical. But if your sole purpose is to create HDR photos on the Mac, Aurora HDR might be the best option out there, seeing as it was created with the close consultation of HDR photographer Trey Ratcliff. In this video, Ratcliff dives deep in a first-hand look into how to get the most from Aurora HDR.

RED's New $9,950 SCARLET-W and SCARLET-W Monochrome: 5K at 60fps, 2K ProRes on DRAGON Sensor

RED's New $9,950 SCARLET-W and SCARLET-W Monochrome: 5K at 60fps, 2K ProRes on DRAGON Sensor

RED's been busy again, this time bringing its most loved sensor to its most affordable DRAGON configuration yet. Utilizing a portion of that 6K sensor, the SCARLET-W shoots 5K at 60fps, 4K at 150fps, and 2K at 300fps with REDCODE RAW and will shoot RAW plus scaled 2K ProRes HQ at 60fps. Additionally, it comes with the built-in wireless, 3D LUTs, and same system compatibility of the rest of the DSMC² lineup.

Sigma's 20mm f/1.4 Art Is Pure Heaven with No Competition (Unless You Shoot Nikon)

Sigma's 20mm f/1.4 Art Is Pure Heaven with No Competition (Unless You Shoot Nikon)

If you don't know Sigma's Art series lenses yet, you're missing out. Their well established 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and zoom options in the Art lineup shine, but it's hard to believe it took this long for a wide-angle 20mm f/1.4 Art to make it out into the real world. But the moment I began shooting with this beauty is the moment of the past didn't matter anymore. We're in a new world: there's a 20mm to die for; and this is it.

Pixel-Peeping Reviews of Nikon's 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR Leave Room for Sigma to Kill

Pixel-Peeping Reviews of Nikon's 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR Leave Room for Sigma to Kill

Nikon upset and confused some customers when they moved the overall size and filter thread of their 24-70mm f/2.8 follow-up to 82mm (up from the standard 77mm). While this would mean that those wanting the latest upgrade for their mid-range zoom would need to invest in new filters and lift heavier weights at the gym, the change allowed Nikon to introduce unprecedented image quality and, of course, vibration reduction. But what if that image quality wasn't unprecedented? What if it wasn't even better? What if, God forbid, it was worse?

Storehouse Finally Brings Photo and Story Layout App to Android

Storehouse Finally Brings Photo and Story Layout App to Android

Storehouse launched with much fanfare on iOS, eventually moving onto Storehouse 2.0 and Storehouse on the new Apple TV. Android users have had to be incredibly patient to get access to what is easily the best and easiest way to lay out your content into a well-designed, easily digestible format. Today, Android users can download the app via the Google Play store for free and explore every feature Storehouse's iOS users have enjoyed for the last several months.

Adobe Updates Professional Video, Audio, and Photography CC Desktop Applications with New Features

Adobe Updates Professional Video, Audio, and Photography CC Desktop Applications with New Features

As announced at Adobe MAX 2015, Adobe released new updates to its professional Creative Cloud suite of applications. Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC, Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, Audition CC, Dreamweaver CC, Photoshop CC, Fuse CC (Preview), Adobe Stock, and more have been updated. You can download the new versions from the Adobe Creative Cloud app.

Comprehensive Guide to Shooting and Editing Astrophotography Time-Lapse Videos

Comprehensive Guide to Shooting and Editing Astrophotography Time-Lapse Videos

The Syrp Genie caught everyone's attention with its contemporary design and advanced automation features that made it a time-lapse photographer's best tool in the field. Today, photographer Mark Gee shares tips on how to set up and use the Genie while offering a few great suggestions that apply to all methods of landscape photography, from what apps he uses on his phone to help him plan every shot to how to edit for final output. Need to shoot a time-lapse soon? Whether you're experienced or just starting, there's undoubtedly something in here for you.

Black Friday Deals: Gear, Business Services, and Other Helpful Stuff

Black Friday Deals: Gear, Business Services, and Other Helpful Stuff

Happy Thanksgiving! Of course, the die-hard dealmakers are busy planning for their Black Friday shopping lists, trying to find the best last-minute deals that less money can buy. From deals on prominent gear and photography business services, to those on accessories and computer equipment, we have a few deals rounded up from around the Internet for you. Take it or leave it, this is some of the best stuff you'll find tomorrow (and in some cases, through the weekend and Cyber Monday).

Hands-On with the Everyday Messenger: The Bag That Raised Nearly $5 Million

Hands-On with the Everyday Messenger: The Bag That Raised Nearly $5 Million

While running a Kickstarter campaign might be a bit easier for veteran company Peak Design, there’s something to be said for raising over $4.8 million of excitement over a messenger bag. What is so special about this bag that merits this reaction? After reaching out to Peak Design, they sent a just-finished version of the Everyday Messenger — the "Trey Ratcliff bag" — for review so I could answer some of those questions.

Reuters' Ban on Raw Files Only Sort Of Makes Sense

Reuters' Ban on Raw Files Only Sort Of Makes Sense

In a move to help speed up the company's workflow and to supposedly stamp out severe editing, Reuters now not only requests only JPEG images, but even mandates that images not be originally altered from a raw file. How they can verify this is unclear (metadata and other types of data about the photo might give experts better hints), but the move is supposed to also help maintain ethical photojournalism practices by reducing one's ability to alter a photograph so much that it would change its meaning.

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