Hi, I’m Khürt L. Williams, information security professional, Apple geek, web developer and photographer. I’m also an ale & coffee drinker..
Islands in the Net is a novel written in 1988 by science fiction author, Bruce Sterling. It is a story of “data pirates, mercenaries, nanotechnology, weaponry, and post-millennial voodoo”. It represents a future where people can use the Internet to topple governments, change lives and make history. I love science fiction especially cyberpunk and Japanese animation and super hero graphic novels. I like that technology empowers human beings to do the most incredible things but hate it when it is used to enslave or limit.
This web log is where I share my incoherent and random thoughts and rants about technology, photography, coffee, diabetes and life.
I graduated from the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School with a degree in Electrical Engineering. For a while I worked in the multimedia lab at Sarnoff Corporation. From 2000 through 2003 I was the principal of a web development and information systems consulting practice called Williams Interactive, Inc. In that role I applied my knowledge of software engineering techniques in web application development. I’ve done web development on Linux and UNIX using open source languages and software. I’m a fan of object-oriented programming, dynamic languages, and client side applications.
In 2003 I took a full-time position with a former client (a large pharmaceutical firm in the Princeton, NJ area) in their information security department as an information security manager. I spend most of my time advising information management about security risk and help set security strategy (cloud computing).
In the past I have been a heavy Linux user but recently have found myself in love with OS X. It was the UNIX nature of OS X that made me curious. I have my UNIX and a beautiful and well designed user interface.
My background includes multimedia research and development, IT security, and consulting. I’ve worked for many firms, large and small. I began computing on a Commodore VIC20. In addition to “toy computers” I have worked with many systems from the mid 80s on: PCs, Macs, and the major UNIX players. Along the way I’ve been a Web Developer, Web Master, Technical Lead, Project Manager, Service Delivery Manger and Systems Security Manager.
I spend most of my free time increasing my knowledge of photography and learning about social media. I take a camera with me everywhere but I spend way too much time on the web. I’m a Mac geek ( President of the Princeton MacIntosh Users’s Group) with a social media habit.
I take photos on a regular basis both for my self and for others. I do almost all of my editing and exporting from my iMac. As far as gear goes, I use two different cameras: my iPhone and my Nikon D5100. I use my Nikon for fine art and professional photography of landscapes, families, clients and my kids. I use a variety of different lenses. My main lenses are my AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR and my AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX. They aren’t super expensive lenses but they’re extremely versatile when it comes to general photography. Probably 90% of the photos I take are with one of these two lenses. I also own a AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G DX which I am considering selling. The AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX is my low light lens and moving my body just a few feet gets me with focal range of the AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G DX. The AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G DX also overlaps the focal range of the AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR.
I spend almost as much time shooting photos with my iPhone. I enjoy this kind of casual photography, snapping things and sharing them with my friends and family, and playing around with various filters and editing apps. I use VSCO Cam by default on my iPhone but I also use Camera+. I love the Lightbox on Camera+, it helps me curate my photos before they save to my ever increasing camera roll. It also uses iCloud sync, so I can pretty quickly look at the shots on my iPad, and tweak them there if I desire.
I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to import and manage my image catalog. I shoot in RAW and import in Lightroom as DNG for photo management and first round of editing. For every session that I import into Lightroom, I add tags, location if appropriate, and create smart collections. For HDR images, I use Photomatix Pro by HDRsoft and HDR Efex Pro. I prefer shooting with prime lenses. My 35mm and 50mm are the lenses I use most of the time except when shooting landscapes. I originally had plans to buy more lenses including the Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.4G, and Nikkor AF-S Micro 40mm f/2.8G DX. However, after a conversation I had with a friend while on a photo-walk, I think it might be prudent to save my money for a new camera body with a full frame sensor – perhaps the Nikon D600. I would sell all my lenses and buy just two lenses – the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED and the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II.
My least favorite part of photography is the curating process, but Lightroom makes it bearable. I go through every photo and either mark it as rejected or give it a star value. Next, I mass-delete everything that’s been rejected and create a smart collection for all photos with 4+ stars. I go through every photo in this collection and flag the best ones and create a smart collection of the flagged images. Once I’ve narrowed it down to the best of the best, I do some basic editing and masking if needed. If more work is needed, I export to Photoshop and do more detailed editing.
I work with light and have three Canon 530ex speedlights, an AlienBees 800W strobe, an AlienBees Ringflash ABR800, a bunch of softboxes of varying sizes and some reflectors too. I trigger lights with three PocketWizard PlusX. Although, on most shoots I only bring one Canon 530ex speedlight, one small foldable softbox, a stand, two Pocketwizards, the 24mm and the monopod. I get up at 5am on Saturday and sometimes Sunday mornings and shoot for a couple of hours before it gets to hot (I live in Florida).
New Jersey Photography Bloggers that I follow:
I am active on Twitter and Google+. I am active in the Princeton area’s social media community and now serve as President of the Princeton Macintosh Users’ Group. You can sometimes find me sitting with my iPad drinking coffee in one of Princeton’s café.
Coffee and Beer
I love hefe-weisse ales (Schneider & Sohn Weisse is my favorite) and African coffees, especially Ethipian Harrar. I get my coffee locally from Rocky Hill Buy the Cup and I am often found sipping an ice-cold latte from Thomas Sweet.