Amazingly Awesome Disneyland Time-lapse Video

Thanks to my GoPro I've started enjoying making time-lapse videos. I've tried to take time-lapse in Disneyland (I even managed to make one in the car on our way). But with over 30 thousand images and a year in the making, this video really sets the bar high - and provides some pretty awesome inspiration.


CES 2012: GoPro Wi-Fi BacPac + Remote


I am really, really enjoying my GoPro video camera. For $200 to $300 you can get a great 1080p video camera that you can put almost anywhere. It will also take time lapse images which [I've been really enjoying lately][youtu]. At CES this year GoPro announced a really sweet accessory for their cameras.

The Wi-Fi BacPac + Wi-Fi Remote connects your GoPro camera to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch through a Wi-Fi network it creates. Once connected, you can see the live video output of the camera as well as control what it's doing.

It will also connect up to 50 GoPros at a time, giving you the ability to put these small cameras all over a shooting area and control them remotely.

Controlling 50 cameras might not be the use-case of the average person, but putting the camera in a hard to reach place and then controlling it with your iPhone opens up all kinds of possibilities creatively. Imagine putting the camera on your kid's skateboard helmet and then watching what he's doing live from his point of view. Or imagine attaching the camera to the hood of your car and turning it on periodically during long road trips. There is huge potential for cool things to do with it.

The WiFi BacPac will be available March of 2012 for around $100. It will work with the new HD Hero 2 cameras, as well as the HD Hero with limited capabilities (you can control the camera but you won't get live video streaming with the HD Hero).

Check it out at


The 5 Best iPhone Camera Apps (So Far)


Next to email, web browsing and text messaging, the best thing about the iPhone 4 is the camera. (I'd even put it above the iPod and voice calling functions.) It really has invigorated my "real" photography and has me thinking all the time about making something creative with photos in ways I never have before.

My latest posts on Man of the House detail what I think are the five best camera and/or photography apps on the iPhone right now. A few months ago the list would have been different, and I'm sure in a month or two it will be different again.

Camera + is the best picture taking application on the iPhone (that isn't made by Apple). It's got lots of features but doesn't get in the way of getting to taking pictures quickly. A steal at $0.99.

TiltShift Generator
Since I've written this piece, other apps have incorporated "tilt shift" functionality (namely Instagram), but this one is still one of my favorites. Blurring the focus on elements of an image can make your iPhone's camera look like you've got a thousand dollar lens on it.

Plastic Bullet Camera
The best app for making your iPhone's camera look like a crappy camera is Plastic Bullet. Like the the crappy plastic cameras it's very random, and often very awesome. And i's made by people who make insanely expensive professional video cameras, and it shows.

ToonPaint turns your photo into an illustration. Even though I wrote about this app on Modern Day Dad already I had to include it in the top five. It's still lots of fun to use.

I look at Instagram every day, and it's getting to the point where if I take a cool picture, I'm more likely to post it to Instagram than Facebook. I couldn't have imagined that would be true six months ago. It's got a great community, fun filters to put on your photos and lots of inspiring images to look at. And if you're on Instagram too look me up. I'm "thechrisford" in Instagram.

Share the Photos From Your Kid's Camera Instantly


This is such a simple idea, I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't think of it first. I've written about the awesome Eye-Fi memory cards before - the cards that connect to any WiFi hotspot and automatically send the pictures you've taken to wherever you want - Flickr, your home computer - wherever. It's a cool idea (especially for backup) but I never bought one because I like to edit and process my photos before I share them with the world.

So this year Santa brought my oldest daughter (six years old) a camera for Christmas. Not one of those crappy Fisher Price cameras (of which we've had two and one never even worked) but a real point-and-shoot camera from Canon (in pink, of course). I also got her a regular 8GB memory card to go with it. (The bigger card is mostly for the videos, of which she takes a LOT. I blame iCarly.)

Then a couple of days ago I was reading the latest newsletter from Photojojo, which was about how putting an Eye-Fi card into your kid's camera and connecting it to their own Flickr stream

will let them instantly share their images with the world (or your family at the very least). Apparently blogger Jason Kottke is doing this with his three year old son and wrote it up in a blog post that Photojojo found. 

It's a great idea for a few reasons. Being able to instantly share the images, my daughter will be able to get feedback from her family about what she's doing, which I hope will further encourage her to create new images. Selfishly, I'm excited about it because now I won't have to deal with going through, editing and uploading the pictures she takes. People can drop in on her Flickr feed whenever they want to see the things that she is seeing without any involvement from me. Plus, it will all be backed up. Awesome.

A 4GB Eye-Fi card only costs $39.99 on and the 8GB card costs $79.99. The pro version costs $119.99, but it's still 8GB and is really only for people with cameras that primarily shoot RAW (as opposed to JPEG) files.

$40 and I don't have to go through all my kid's photos on a regular basis? That sounds cheap to me.


Related Posts (written by Chris Ford):

CES 2011: A Mobile WiFi Hotspot in Every Camera with Eye Fi []

iPhone App of the Week: ToonPAINT for iPhone


ToonPAINT is the most fun I've had with a photography iPhone app in a long time. It seems like every photo app I download (which, admittedly is a lot) just takes a picture you've taken with your iPhone and turns it into something that looks like you took it with a crappy camera from the 1970s. It was fun for a while, but honestly I'm bored with it. These apps made more sense when the iPhone camera wasn't that great, but now that the camera has been vastly improved in the iPhone 4, there isn't a need anymore to make your photos look even more hip worse.

ToonPAINT on the other hand takes your image and creates

a monochrome line drawing of it, which you can then color-in. The initial image can be adjusted for the edges, black level and gray level, and sometimes you'll just want to stop there. But if you want to color your photo, you can choose colors from a standard color-picker, the colors you've already chosen, or colors from the original image. The whole thing is really well thought out and very easy to use.

Check out some of the pictures I made above - a few are from images that weren't that great as photos, but suddenly become interesting in ToonPAINT. My kids in particular got a big kick out of using the app. They have used a similar app from Lego that turns a picture into a sort of "Lego" image, but the instant cartoon you get with ToonPAINT looks much cooler.

ToonPAINT is $1.99 (a steal!) in the iOS App Store.

Using a DSLR in Disneyland (or Disney World)


A trip to a Disney theme park with the family is one of those occasions when you know you're going to take a lot of photos. If you don't have a camera that can switch out lenses, then just bring your compact point and shoot and count yourself lucky that there's one less thing you'll have to lug around. But if you want to bring your "big" camera with more than one lens, then there are a couple of things to keep in mind when you're considering which lens (or lenses) to bring.

Walking around the park, you're going to face all sorts of photo moments. Sometimes you're going to want to try to get a wide shot of Sleeping Beauty's castle, and sometimes you're going to want a close-up portrait of your kid on the carousel. So a good, versatile zoom lens is the lens that you'll be using the most at the park. I use a Canon 24-70mm, and with the 1.6x crop factor (due to the sensor size on my camera) I get an effective focal length of 38-112mm which covers a great range of shots. You might be tempted to rent something big and crazy like a  70-200mm lens, which might be fun but is kind of overkill. At Disneyland, and Disney World I'm assuming, there aren't that many moments where you are going to want to take a really long shot. And you'll likely find that 70mm isn't nearly wide enough in many situations (I have enough problems at 24mm).

Fast Glass
"Fast Glass" is just a nerdy thing photography people say to describe a lens that has a wide aperture. A wide aperture lets in more light, and more light means the shutter speed can remain "fast" even in low light situations. At Disneyland, this is essential, especially if you're taking pictures of your kids. You're going to take plenty of pictures outside during the day, but you're also going to take plenty of pictures inside (restaurant, rides etc.) not to mention at night. Having a lens that will allow you to avoid using the pop up flash - or bringing an external flash - is awesome. I always bring my favorite Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens, and when we're watching the parade at night or I want to take pictures of my girls in "It's A Small World," the 50mm always delivers.

Other Disney DSLR Things To Consider
Don't bother trying to bring a tripod unless you really want to lug that thing around all day. You can try a beanbag or something like that, but honestly there aren't many places you're going to want to use one. I don't even bother with my Joby Gorillapod - it's just too annoying. If you're concerned about getting pictures of the whole family (including you) avail yourself of the many Disney Photo Pass photographers. They know how to handle your camera - just be smarter than I was and make sure auto focus is turned on.

Get a good camera strap that is comfortable and ditch that strap that came with your camera. Those straps are uncomfortable and all they do is advertise to thieves that you're walking around with an expensive camera. I've used affordable, normal straps from Op/Tech and like them, and now I'm using a shoulder strap from Black Rapid that I really, really love.

Use the smallest camera bag possible, but still bring a bag. I use an older version of this bag from Tamrac. It fits my camera body with my zoom lens attached, and there's enough room at the bottom for my 50mm. I also bought a water bottle attachment for the side, and I ditched the water bottle and use the attachment to hold my drink, my kid's water or whatever else I need to throw in there in a pinch.

Oh, and make sure you bring twice the memory cards you'll think you'll need (on the trip, not necessarily to the park) and a backup battery. Trust me. The real work comes when you get home and have to go through all the pictures you've taken.


RELATED POSTS (from Chris Ford):

Tips for Surviving a Weekend at Disney (with the Kids) [Man of the]

4 Camera Tips for New Dads

Right now you've pretty much got a blank check. But what kind of camera is right for you, and right for taking pictures of babies? I've got a few things you should keep in mind when considering this purchase.


Trying to figure out what kind of camera to buy can be kind of confusing these days, especially for new Dads. My latest post on Man of the House was written for expecting fathers, but is really for anyone thinking about upgrading their camera.

Back Up Your Digital Life - New Post on Man of the House

Try to think about everything on your computer right now. Think about the pictures of the kids when they were babies, think about all of the music you've amassed over the years, think about the home videos you've taken. Think about all of the documents you've created - like your tax information, important presentations for work and household finance information.

Now think about this. ALL HARD DRIVES FAIL.


My most recent post on Man of the House is also my diatribe on backing up your data. If I've cornered you at a party and given you this speech while drunk on wine, I apologize in advance.

Father and Son Send A Camera Into Outer Space

This might be the coolest father/son project I've ever seen in my life. A Dad and his son in Brooklyn decided that they were going to take a video camera, attach it to a helium balloon and send it into outer space. As you can see from the video, they put a lot of thought and planning into it and achieved some amazing success. So if you're looking for something to demonstrate to your kids that hard work can pay off, check this out.

(Oh. And they're not done. You can support their next project at Brooklyn Space Program.)

[vimeo w=560&h=315]


Modern Day Dad At CES 2010. Oh. And Lady Gaga Too.


Well, I did the quick calculation this morning, and this is officially the 7th CES I've been to, and while some were fun (the first few) and some were really underwhelming (last year), this year's is proving to be a little better, if only for the fact that I pretty much kicked it off by going to a Lady Gaga press conference at the Polaroid Booth.

You see, she's now a Creative Director at Polaroid for a special line of New Imaging Products or something. In the conference she made it very clear (while she tried her best to hide her face with her bizarre hair-hat), that this wasn't a typical endorsement deal, and that she and "The Haus of Gaga" (I couldn't make that up if I tried) were going to be very involved with new products.

Hey, that's great I suppose, and I know that Polaroid who haven't had anything exciting going on with them in about, oh, twenty years or so, are probably thrilled with the association. But all that stuck out to me during the whole thing was, there's a guy who works for Polaroid, one of the last great brands in photography, up on a platform saying "Lady Gaga" as if it were the most normal thing anyone ever uttered. Maybe I'm old or something, but it was kind of funny to me.

So anyway, if you're interested in my posts about stuff I'm seeing at CES this year, check out my posts over at's product blog, Droolicious.

Tauntaun Sleeping Bag, Boy-rettes and a Pink Plastic Octomom Sculpture


Even though last week was my kid's spring break from school, I've managed to write about some pretty interesting stuff over at Babble in the last month or so. Some of my favorites are:

The Tauntaun Sleeping Bag. The Empire Strikes Back's favorite beast of burden made into a kid's sleeping bag. And I thought they felt cozy on the outside.

Boy-rettes. Alterna-hipster boys with long hair need something cool to keep their long hair out of their eyes. And while I know I shouldn't have a problem with this, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a part of me that this didn't rub the wrong way.

The Kata 3N1 Camera Bag. Easily the best camera bag for parents I've ever tried. If you've got a DSLR and kids then you need one.

The Snuglette. It's the Snuggie - the blanket with arm holes - for kids. With an equally bizarre television commercial.

Octomom Scultpture (pictured). This is just nuts. And creepy. And funny. And art?

Photo Projects For Kids From Photojojo


Photojojo is one of my favorite photography resources on the Internet. Every now and then I get a great email from them with a cool idea for photographic projects, tips or general inspiration. And one of the more recent emails was all about photo projects for kids.

Face it, if your kid has a cell phone, then chances are he or she has a camera too (and if they don't, then they almost certainly have on one their cell phone). The photo ideas for kids from Photojojo include playing with perspective (as pictured) and my favorite, create a kind of photo time capsule for yourself.

Anyway, it's pretty cool. Check it out at

Five Father's Day Gift Ideas from Modern Day Dad

Looking for some very last minute gift ideas for Father's Day? Here is a quick list of the top things I think that will be perfect for the dad in your life.

  1. Flipvideo_mino Flip Video Camera - The Flip Video Camera is ultra-portable, ultra compact, takes great looking 640x480 resolution video and is under $200. Way under $200 actually. Check out what I wrote about the newest version (the Flip Video Mino) over at, or buy the Mino (for $179.99) or the Flip Video Ultra (for $118) at
  2. Xbox360The XBOX 360 is a perfect Father's Day gift. Because not only will Dad love to play video games on it, but you can also stream photos, music and videos to it as well. Check out my post about it here, and buy one at

  3. Canon Digital Rebel XSi Canon Digital Rebel XSi - Let me guess. The new baby has arrived (or is arriving soon) and you've been considering a new digital camera, but you're unsure if you need a full-on Digital SLR camera. Well, trust me, you do. The images you'll get out of a great camera, even with little knowledge of what you're doing, will be way better than most point and shoots. Plus, your baby is only going to be a baby for a short time, so invest in a good camera. The Canon Rebel XSi is 12 mega-pixels of awesomeness, and should last you for a while. And trust me, after getting your first few good images from it by accident, you're going to want to learn more about your camera. It's well worth the investment.
  4. 50MM Canon Lens 50MM Lens for your Digital SLR Camera - OK. So you've taken my advice and bought a DSLR camera, or you've already bought one, then the next thing you absolutely need is a 50mm lens. Called a "prime" lens because it has no zoom, the 50mm lens is considered the closest lens to what the human eye sees. And on a DSLR camera it's perfect for portraits. All of this adds up to a lens that is great for taking pictures of kids because it's great in low light situations (because of the wide aperture) and it takes pictures very quickly (again, because of the wide aperture). You can get a great one with auto focus for a Canon camera for $325 (my recommendation, pictured) but you can get a really good one with manual focus for just $89.74. Either way, you'll be happy you did. (And if you shoot Nikon instead of Canon, check out this 50MM lens).
  5. Diaper_dude Diaper Bag just for Dad - Back when I was a new dad, there were almost no choices for good diaper bags for dads. These days, there are tons of options. You can choose from the Diaper Dude (pictured), a Dad Backpack from Dadgear and even a wearable Diaper Vest from Dadgear. All will probably work just fine and when picking, a lot of it comes down to personal taste.
  6. Giftcard A gift card for Father's Day - I know, I know. I promised five. But this sixth one is kind of a cheat anyway. If you can't think of the perfect gift for your Dad (or your kid's dad) this Father's Day, you can always get him a gift card from your favorite store. And if you get him from an online store like Amazon, you can literally get it at the last second and print it out. The card however you'll have to run down to the grocery store for.