Target Display Mode: Using an iMac as a 2nd monitor for a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air

I have a mid-2011 27″ iMac as a home computer, a 13″ MacBook Air as a travel computer, and recently got a 13″ MacBook Pro Retina as a work machine. I was thinking about getting a second monitor for using the MacBook Pro at home, but it turns out I can just use my 27″ iMac as a second monitor. The secret? Target Display Mode and a Thunderbolt cable.

Thunderbolt Cable
If you’re using a MacBook Pro as your main computer, but still have one of the iMac models below, Target Display Mode will help you breathe new life into your old machine. All you need is either a Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt cable. This makes an older iMac a great backup computer that doubles as a second monitor.

iMac (27-inch Late 2009) Mini DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt
iMac (27-inch Mid 2010) Mini DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt
iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2011) Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt Thunderbolt
iMac (27-inch, Mid 2011) Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt Thunderbolt
iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2012) Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt Thunderbolt
iMac (27-inch, Late 2012) Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt Thunderbolt

To use your iMac as a second monitor:

  1. Turn on both machines
  2. Connect the cable
  3. Press Command-F2 on the keyboard of your iMac
    *If you’re using F1, F2, as standard function keys, then use Command-Fn-F2
    *
    Some older keyboards may not activate Target Display Mode. I’m using a newer standard Mac wired keyboard and it works great.

To exit Target Display Mode, just hit Command-F2 again or detach the cable. If one of the computers goes into sleep mode, that will also exit Target Display Mode.

360 Night Panorama: Abandoned Houses in Desert Center

Abandoned Houses in Desert Center

Abandoned Houses in Desert Center

This 360 degree night panorama of the abandoned houses in Desert Center, California, was shot under a full moon. Use your mouse to explore the interactive version below. The red dot will take you to a 360 pano of the dead palm trees just to the west of these houses. There’s also a 360 HDR night pano of the old abandoned gas station just down the road.

Walking All of Geary Street in San Francisco Redux

Five years ago, we walked all of Geary Street in San Francisco. Yesterday, we did it again. Market Street, the Tenderloin, Western Addition, Japantown, and out through the Richmond District. This time we used a GPS app, and logged the trip as 8 miles, including the walk down the beach to get on the N Judah for the return trip downtown.

 

Dead Palm Trees at Desert Center: 360 Night Panorama

360 night panorama of dead palm trees at Desert Center

360 night panorama of dead palm trees at Desert Center

These dead palm trees alongside Highway 10 in Desert Center were planted in 1990 by Stanley Ragsdale. He said he always wanted a “tree-ring circus.” Stanley died in 1999, and it’s amazing the trees are still standing after 14 years without being watered. Desert Magazine has an excellent story about Stanley’s father, who was known as Desert Steve Ragsdale. Desert Steve founded Desert Center in 1921. Use your mouse to have a look around the interactive version below — the button on the bottom right will take you full screen.

Technical Details: Canon EOS 60D with 8-15mm f/4L fisheye at 9mm. The optimal lens setting would have been 10mm but I bumped the lens ring. 6 shots around, 1 up, and 1 down. Each exposure was 60 seconds at f/8, ISO 800. I used a Really Right Stuff PG-02 pano head on a Nodal Ninja rotator.

Stitching the panorama was difficult due to the fast moving clouds. I used the masking feature in PTGui Pro to optimize the blend areas. The layered files were exported, and blended in Photoshop. The standard blending engine in PTGui doesn’t do a good job with sand and gravel. Using Photoshop or Smartblend to blend the images creates a crisper ground area. The interactive version was created in Pano2VR.

Demolition Video: CSU East Bay Warren Hall Building Implosion


Built in 1971, the 13-story Warren Hall Building on the CSU East Bay campus was right on top of the Hayward Fault. Due to seismic safety concerns, Warren Hall was imploded yesterday at 9 a.m. using 1,100 charges.

I got stuck in traffic and was running late getting to the demolition. Realizing there was no way I’d make it to the recommended viewing spot at the Kmart parking lot in time, I pulled into a strip mall and parked in front of a donut shop and cash for gold store. With only minutes to spare, I put my Sony RX100 on a Nodal Ninja carbon fiber pole, pressed record, and stood on the corner with a crowd of onlookers.

Technical Details: I shot the video at 60p on the RX100, which becomes 30p in an editing program. The 60p setting is best for slow motion, and the shutter should be set to 1/60. For regular footage, the 60i setting has a lot more data. This is somewhat unintuitive because 60p is 28mbps and 60i is 24mbps. Run Gun Shoot has a great post about the RX100 video settings.

For a quick lo-fi edit, I took the MTS (AVCHD) video file and created a 720p mp4 using HandBrake. I dropped the mp4 into iMovie, and sped up the beginning and end of the footage 4x’s. The demolition itself was slowed down to half speed. I mixed in some music by Gong, and kept the native audio at 50% volume.

Voilà – 53 seconds of gongs, screeching, and a building falling down in slow motion.