Archive for June, 2009

New geek gear!

28Jun09

New hard drivesAfter dealing with the old Seagate 1.5 tb hard drives and their problems I decided to go with some of the very reliable and very fast Western Digital Cavair 1tb “black” hard drives.  The WD1001FALS drive is one of the fastest and has become one of the most reliable 7200 RPM hard drives out in the market, almost as bomber as their server class drives but at consumer level pricing.  Right now they are available for $99 making these a no brainer.  I’m stoked I’m finally replacing my slow old Seagate 1.5 tb drives with these new WesternDigital HD’s.  A fast and reliable hard drive has become more important to me since my entire liveliehood is on these drives.

I already have a RAID 1 system to automatically write data to two hard drives at the same time for an automatic backup which has already saved me a few times with some previous drive failures.  Since then I’d never work without the RAID as it’s saved me from the time in downloading from my web backup or my other backup site.  I’m able to keep working as I just put in a new matching drive and the RAID1 system automatically copies over all the data from the working drive to the new drive.

raid_transfer_time_windowNow I just have to wait for all the data from the old drives to the new drives so I can get going on retiring my other old 500 gb RAID 1array and get back to work.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS 1.5TB Hard Drive review – RUN AWAY!!!

27Jun09

seagateA few months ago these new 1.5 tb hard drives from Seagate (Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS 1.5TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA) and I’m thinking this is going to be awesome!  Lots of space, two of these 1.5 tb hard drives in my RAID array (mirrored backup) can take the place of six total 500 gb drives in my RAID array!  After using these things for the past 3 months, I’m pretty excited to retire them.  There is a pretty big flaw in these drives that make them not play nice in a RAID array, they go to sleep and power down all the time.  The problem with this in a RAID array is a lot of RAID controllers (like mine, the onboard Intel IHC9) think that the drive has failed when it powers down, the powers back up out of sleep mode, causing the RAID controller to start a refresh of the drive it thinks failed.  So basicallly, the RAID controller is rewriting information to one of the drives making it run a lot slower.  Not a nice thing to have going in the middle of an edit when you need all the speed you can get out of your machine!  Supposedly this problem was fixed in a revision of the firmware however I wouldn’t want to mess with it as you really don’t know which version you are going to end up with this drive.

Also, a lot of reviews out there are talking about DOA (dead on arrival) drives out there which is just the last straw to make you want to stay away.  I had one of the drives fail on me, and had to warranty it.  Forutnately for me, I have a RAID 1 setup and it was all backed up automatically.  I wouldn’t reccomend this drive for anything really.  The reason I put up a drive review here on my blog is hard drives are now a part of the endless gear photographers need now.  Getting the right drives that are fast and most importantly, reliable is an important thing these days!

Stay away from these drives.  Seagate has been really good in the past, however this is one you want to avoid at all costs, especially if you run your computer on a RAID array.  Over at www.newegg.com (very reputable place to buy computer gear from btw) the customer reviews are currently giving 26% a 1 star review, which is the worst you can rate this drive at.  Yah, not a good sign.  Check out the bad reviews here

Trigger your Canon DSLR with your iphone!

23Jun09

onOne DSLR Camera Remote for iPhone and iPod TouchThis is one of those things, it’s really cool and amazing as to how far things have come with the development of the iphone software and with digital camera equipment.  A new app for the iphone is out called the onOne DSLR Camera Remote. There are two versions, the full version that allows control of shooting in full teathered mode with mode, shutter speed, aperature, ISO speed adjustment, and image preview, right on the phone for $19.95.  The lite version of this app is $1.99.  Yes, $1.99!  The Nikon version is currently in development.  So here is the catch, and for some it might not really be much of a catch.  You need to have the camera teathered to a wifi enabled computer via USB cord like you’d normally have your teathered setup.  So what’s different?  You can walk around and have all the control like you would at the laptop, on your iphone or ipod touch.  Seriously, what’s next for an iphone app?

Check out the full story I stumbled apon over here – http://www.ppmag.com/web-exclusives/product_reviews/

Action Sports photographers, are you over it with editorial?

22Jun09

Talking with a lot of the action sports photographers out there, a lot of us are tired of doing editorial work.  Tired of working so hard for so little pay.  Tired of fronting their expenses for the season, to hopefully make it back at the end of the summer, 6 months later.  Tired in general.  So what is the solution?  All commercial work?  Sure, it’s an option.  It’s a more financially stable option for yourself.  Commercial work pays better, it is a lot less work for a lot more money.  It’s completely the opposite of editorial that way and while it’s not making me rich, it’s making my life a lot more comfortable than when I was relying on editorial work in my tiny little niche of action sports.

What good is editorial for us as photographers then?  Most of my work has been editorial work until the past 3 years.  Editorial work does a few things for me.  It builds my creativity, it builds my portfolio, it builds my style and in turn, builds my brand as a photographer.  Sure, for those of you out there that are at the point where you just do commercial work and make a shitload of money doing so it is probably pretty good.  You folk are making a great living, especially compared to myself.  Does this come at an expense though?  Are you so focused on someone else’s branding, are you losing your own style, your own branding, your own personal creativity?

I wish I could remember who told me their views on the panel of finalists in the Pro Photographer Showdown at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistler, BC this year…that a lot of the photographers there were jaded by commercial work.  Is this the case or is it just a shift in style?  Does a mass of commercial work make you lose the side of you that focuses on documenting the moments of action, the moments our lifestyles, the moments of our environments?

I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on this.  As much as I want more commercial projects, the editorial assignments I worked on this year pushed me to come up with humor, to find personalities, to convey lifestyles in ways I previously have not.  Would I have done this with commercial projects working with very specific concepts?  Would you have?

Pretty Good – Rage Films Teaser

17Jun09

Pretty Good Teaser by Rage Films from Rage Films on Vimeo.

Most of you guys that are following my blog have already seen this teaser but for those that haven’t, check it out.
This is the 9th ski movie put out by Rage Films – Dan Norkunas, AJ DeSaint Phalle and Hennie Van Jarsfeld.  It’s always great to see what comes together after working with them shooting still photos all season and I’m stoked to check out the whole thing.  The movie features Kyler Cooley, Dylan Natale, Mike Mertion, Ian Cosco, Joe Schuster, Derek Spong, Mark Dvorak, John Strenio, Alex Schlopy, Gus Kenworthy, Giray Dadali, Cody Ling, and Joss Christensen.

Now GOOGLE wants artists to do custom work for free

16Jun09

The tired debate of people doing work for free, for exposure is at it again.  This time the target of this subject is about as large as the companies gets, you may have heard of them.  It’s Google. In a recent New York Times article, they call out Google for asking illustrators to do custom work for free, telling them just the exposure alone is worth it.  They should be getting paid what they are worth, then getting the exposure after a job well done.  Do you think the architects for the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas (sorry first famous building that came to mind, I just watched Ocean’s 11) designed the building for free because they would get a lot of publicity?  Fortunately most of the artists that were asked to do it declined, however some of course did. To those that did do the work for free:

So now one of the largest companies with deep deep pockets got you to work for free…who the hell do you expect to get paid from now that everyone (that uses google.com…..you know just a handful of people right?) knows that you will do custom work for free?  Nice work guys.  You are killing it.

From the New York Times article:

“There’s a lot of concern that newspapers and all of print is becoming a bit of an endangered species,” said Brian Stauffer, an illustrator based in Miami whose work has appeared in publications including Rolling Stone, Esquire and Entertainment Weekly, and who also rejected Google’s offer. “When a company like Google comes out very publicly and expects that the market would just give them free artwork, it sets a very dangerous precedent.”

Google, though rebuffed by more than a dozen illustrators, said in its statement that it had plenty of takers.

“We don’t feel comfortable releasing the names of artists who are participating in the project before it launches,” stated the company, which also declined to give a date when artwork from the program would appear on Google Chrome. “However, we are currently working with dozens of artists who are excited about the opportunity to be involved in this project.”

Check out the entire article here, it’s a really good read:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/15/business/media/15illo.html?_r=4&hp

Meet Sidney, AKA Satan’s Little Helper with wings

12Jun09

Sidney, Lurking as usualAhoy!  Meet Sidney, my roomate Max Kuszaj’s evil, crazy (should be on Xanax or something), poop filled pet parrot.  I like to also refer to her as Satan’s little helper.    She hates people, especially me.  She like lurking, squawking, biting the shit out of everyone (especially me), pooping everywhere, doing one clawed chinups,  sliding flat down cage rails, pooping more, failed flight attempts with clipped wings and squawking a lot more.  These were a few more photos in a series of test shots with the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 LD XR Di SP lens with my backup Nikon D300 body.  I love the close focusing and the ability to still get a blown out depth of field at f8.

Sidney, squawking.  Big supriseSidney, contemplating how to escape the cage and bite the shit out of meSidney, now realizing I'm not letting her out of the cage, being nice and not squawking or trying to bite me.Sidney, looking for a place to do some one clawwed chinupsSid, realizing she is in a cage.  Back to squawking.

Another rainy day

11Jun09

Taken with the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 LD XR Di SP

Salt Lake City, Utah is the new Seattle.  At least for the last few weeks.  I’ve been wanting to move back home to Seattle for the Summer months in order to escape the blazing heat of the usual Utah Spring and Summers.  This year however, it’s been like Seattle, which has been great.  It’s been pretty nice even though there has been a lack of golf for me due to the non-stop rain!  This cool, rainy pattern has been also been a good thing for me, forcing me to finish my work in front of my computer with the weather keeping me in my cave, working more.  Here’s a few random photos of the dreary Pacific Northwest type day.

Taken with the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 LD XR Di SP

Today I got a chance to play around with an old lens I used to have, the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 LD XR Di SP. I used to own this lens lastyear when I was using Canon gear, however since the switch to Nikon, I hadn’t gotten around to getting one again.  In fact I hadTaken with the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 LD planned to not get it, thinking the Nikon equivelent would do.  I had missed this lens a lot.  It’s not fast, in fact the AF is ungodly slow but the macro capabilities is what I missed.

Rainy Day

The close focusing and being able to really blow out the depth of field is awesome, especially with the wedding season apon me.  For the money you can’t get any better at about $350 new.  It’s really sharp, my copy is as sharp as my Nikon 28-80 f2.8 AF-S lens, smaller, lighter, and did I mention it is $350 new?   Austin Holt bought this lens a while back after my recomendation to him, but decided to get rid of it, opting for the faster AF of the Nikon AF-S version.  Fortunately for me, it works out as I got to test the lens to make sure I had a sharp copy before buying it. The photos above are a few test shots around the house with the Tamron.   Thanks Austin!

US Customs proof of ownership form for travelling internationally with your camera gear

08Jun09

US Customs Form 4457 - Certificate of registration for personal effects taken abroadI’ve run across the problem a few times coming back home from Canada with US Customs withproof of ownership.  Almost every time I go to Canada, some customs officer decides that I must have bought all my camera gear in Canada and am trying to bring it back over the border, duty free.  I finally got sick of this and went to my local customs office at the Salt Lake City International Airport and registered all my gear with them.

US Customs Form 4457 is the one you want.  It’s pretty simple, you go in with your gear, write them down on the form with serial numbers and have a customs officer verify it on your gear then stamp the form and you are good to go.  You can laminate them as well so they don’t get all torn up in travel.  I’ve since had a customs officer question ownership when coming back into the country, I showed them the form and it was good to go.  It’s quick and painless, and can potentially save you a lot of headaches.  It’s definatley worth the 10 minutes I spent at the customs office filling out forms so I thought I’d share it here to anyone reading this.




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