Monthly Archives: October 2008

noooooooooooooo!

A travesty…. I was cleaning out backpacks in prep for the hiking/cabin trip with my parents…and I noticed one of my bags has an old… but already opened package of sour gummy bears.  So essentially, since I don’t know how long they have been there…it’s definately not good to eat anymore. But nooooooooo!! they’ve all died in vain! They haven’t been loved..or eaten..booooooo  Sadly, I must throw them away.  Lame

lameness all around.

Well I have a pretty packed weekend coming up.  I have my friend Eric who is getting married and I’m going to be a groomsman for that wedding.  So I’m trying to head up to LA and travel light.  One camera…one lens…done.  And it occured to me, I have two large camera backpacks, but not a single, small dinky little camera holder.  Arrg…that means I have to go out and buy one tomorrow.  LAME.   At any rate, the wedding will be in LA, and right afterwards, I have to drive home through hellacious LA traffic headed back to O.C. (no doubt from the party goers and drunks headed home from their LA parties), then sleep for a few hrs before headed over to my parents so we can make our way to Sequoia, where we rented a cabin and will do a family chilling/hiking thing.    And of course, I check the weather and haha..we suck.  it’s going to rain, and potentially be snowy.  double LAME.  I totally wanted my dad to see the outdoors and try to smell the fresh breezy non smoggy area of sequoia, and we may be stuck indoors.  ARGgggg.

Oh and when I head back on Monday, I get to do my civic duty and do a 7am Jury duty session.  I hope I don’t get pick.  Remember, I’m a crazy guy that totally believes in the death penalty, and burning crosses…the whole nine yards.  I’ll just have to walk in with that craazy look in my eye and twitch a little.  Maybe that’ll prevent me from being picked for Jury selection.  I’m aready behind in work, and me not being there for 5 days will most likely suck and add more work and stress. Yaay! LAME.

Spotting Fake Sandisk Compact Flash Cards

Ok…now I’m pissed. I purchased a 4 gig extreme III awhile back, and I just made sure it was working after it was purchased. I never really ran it through its paces, and frankly I didn’t think I needed to. Plus I have about 50 or so gigs of CF cards, this one just never got around to being used…until recently.
So I put the card into my sandisk card reader…and it didnt’ recognize it. I thought it was odd and the fault of the reader. Then I tested my other cards, and sure enough, they read fine. A sneaking feeling crept up on me. Maybe, this was a fake card that I purchased. However, I remember reading an article on this awhile back on detecting fake cards.
And it was that article that threw me off because it was outdated. Or only applicable to the ultra II lines. The fakes have gotten better since then….Sort of. And here’s how you tell.
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If you read the original article (link above) pertaining to Sandisk line of cards, it stated on the side view, the ‘real card’ has a serial number and made in China’. And the fake card did not. It was with this information that lead me to believe…that this card was genuine, because when I bought it, the first thing I checked for was a serial number and a made in china label on the side. Surely, it must be real. Well when a certain card fails to be read through my reader 100% of the time I took note of which card it was…and always it was this Extreme III card. I decided to take a closer closer look and compared it to the rest of my extreme line of cards, as well as my ultra 2 lines. Take a look at the pic above. Gee…can anyone spot the fake? Also note the side view here as marked below.
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Ok…so it’s not scientific..I didn’t use a uniform light source, however it doesn’t take a genius to spot that something is clearly wrong. Yes, the color…is not as dark, and you can’t tell here, but the plastic molding is different. (If you click to the original source from my scratch flickr account, and look closely or shoot me an email, I’ll send you the original raws or jpgs).

And lastly, what will really knock your socks off, and I’m pissed I didn’t realize this earlier. Is the front of the cards. Now..I apologize I’m not comparing apples to apples. I’m comparing an extreme IV vs the extreme III…however since I don’t have any other extreme III’s handy…I used the next closest thing, and have verified the findings with the Ultra II lines as well.

Note the image below. I’ve marked the differences with a white line. The real card, uses Rights reserve next to the letter ‘e’ in Extreme. I’m eliminating color of print out of the equation due to potential variances during the printing process, not to mention my lame light source.
Also note, the sticker….the entire square sticker mounted on the card. The fake card, if you look at the right side, compared to the left side. The machine (or person) who placed the sticker on top clearly was drunk because it’s not evenly spaced and slightly misaligned. As opposed to the precision placement of the real card, most likely done by an automated process that’s fairly calibrated. And finally, if you note on the top of the card, there’s an ‘extra’ thin silver piece that protrudes. None of my other Sandisk cards have that.

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Shooot…Even the 4.0 font is different! haha… The morale here is, you really can’t tell by itself. But if you compare it to the rest, and look closely. You’ll realize it’s a fake. Now..what’s the big deal you say? We use imitation or cheaper knock offs all the time. Well in this case, I’m dealing with people’s pictures…and potential lawsuits against me. Yes, Murphy’s law applies, What can go wrong, will go wrong. But with a fake card that tries to pass itself off as genuine, I can’t trust it. I can’t go out into the field, and think this will capture the moment and not screw up or give me an error. Chances are it won’t, but I think there’s a higher probability that it will and I’m not taking that risk. Soo…sadly, this card I will leave at home, and chances are it’ll never see the light of day again.

realistate and architecture

So I have a new profound respect for people who do this type of shooting. I now empathize with my friends Neil & Kelli who rents cabins and vacations in mazama at central reservations They have to take pictures of all their cabins to make em look good to rent. You know that retarded saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words?” Well in the business of architecture and selling/renting homes, if your picture sucks, it’ll essentially be like taking those thousand words, and rewriting them down to seven. Which breaks down into two simple sentences. “This place sucks. Do not buy.”

Since I plan to list my place, I figured I’d give it a whirl. Man, I knew it’d be hard, but I didn’t know it would be a pain in the ass hard. Pressed for time, I submitted these, but I think easily one could spend hours on these things. I always laugh at the Craigslist advertisements, looking for people to take pictures of houses for realitors. And it’s like 5 dollars, or up to 14 dollars a house.
Here I am thinking…wow, if the realitor really wants to have those sentences, “This place sucks. Do not buy!” all over their listing, then go right ahead. I think this work can easily fetch $100, $150 a session. If done right, you can command much more. People make a living doing this for crying out loud.

But like anything it takes scouting, a good eye, and just time to soak it all in. Maybe it’ll take two sessions to get it done right. Well for newbies like me, it probably would take a few sessions. But it was somewhat fun and creative. I think it took much more work to do this than say sports.

View from this morning’s sunrise. The moon was still visible..too bad it wasn’t a full moon.
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Back view of the house. Even with a 20mm on a full frame camera, I barely fit the stupid thing in frame. Forget about the front of the house. I gave up trying to take a picture of it. My skillz aren’t that good to capture it. Haha..that’s another euphemism for you’re fugly, and I don’t have the skills to make ya look good.
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The master bedroom. GreenBean and the hippo are usually lounging around on the bed. I had to kick them out for this shot.
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The room where my fish sleep in, and my Transformers get to run around.
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sports essay

Well, it’s official. I’m not really fit to be a sports photographer. So far I’ve tried Soccer, and now, tada. it’s High School Football. But alas, out of 1126 photos shot, I only semi liked and am delivering 171 of them. That’s me being generous. If it were really up to me and i was an editor of sports illustrated, I’d maybe select 1..or 2, at best. Next sport I want to try to shoot would be gymnastics.
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But thus far, I’m delivering a dismal < 10%. Well, out of all the ones, nighttime high school football is allegedly the toughest, due to abysmal lighting conditions.
I’ve decided sports photographers in general at real football games must truly love their jobs, because I think shooting conditions won’t be that great. In a real game, you’re clamoring for field position, a bunch of other photographers the team members, security. There’s a whole bunch of people on the sidelines!
Please read this fascinating article on the sports illustrated workflow for a superbowl game to show that their life must be a living hell. My favorite quote is, “After 15,000 pieces of crap, we got a cover.”
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Tonight I went with a 1D3 with a 70-200IS, and a and a 1D2 with a 300 4.0 and a flash. Had a monopod on standby in case the lights were totally weak sauce. Turns out at the new high school, lighting wasn’t too bad. However, after awhile I totally ditched the 300mm, and ploped on the 85L. I’m doing away with flash photography. Icky.
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Anyways back to how they sports photographers must love their job, because I personally think it’s pointing, and shooting, and hoping you lucked out a cool action shot. The editors must have a field day too, because I’m just 1 photographer. Imagine dealing with a team of them, and having to pour through 10,000 shots and selecting 1 or 2 for the cover. sheesh.
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My friend Juan Lara asked me if I wanted to volunteer to shoot some shots for their upcoming sports brochure thingyamagig that they’re trying to sell to raise funds.
I guess the funny thing is I never once attended my high school football games. Though lets face it, the people I hung out with didn’t exactly fit in with the popular football crowd. They were too cool for us, and heh, we were clearly too cool for them =) But I don’t think I’ll make a habit of shooting sports, I’m more of a portrait/wedding guy. Well, truth be told, I’m starting to get weary of weddings. They’re just too taxing on body and post process/album design just sucks away your soul. hehe. However, I did feel quite old. It did bring back some memories of high school though. As sucky as they were at the time, I do have many fond moments at Saddleback High. sshhh, don’t tell anyone I said that!

W00t! I thought this up years ago, and now someone has invented it!

Ever shoot 40-60 gigs of photos? Tired of putting memory card by painful memory card into your reader and copy them into your hard-drive one at a time? Well, your pain and suffering have now ended. Meet the image farm. Vuela! The image farm Though, I do question the throughput and actual time saved, as there is still only one USB 2.0 pipe going to your drive, and even if they were in parallel, the weakest link would be limited by the IO on your hard-disks. But that’s besides the point. You can plop 4 cards at a time and copy them directly to your hard drive. Sounds like a dream come true huh? Well, till I saw the price tag. It was 130 dollars. For that I could buy three more seperate sandisk card readers (granted you don’t have the space savings of the single USB 2.0 cable). Oh well….Perhaps I’m cheap. (well, yes I am pretty frugal), but I think they missed the boat. If they priced this puppy at around 60 dollars, I would of purchased it. But heh, $130? give me a break.

um can I vote for Optimus Prime? and Woo a new show

Ok so I don’t want to invalidate my entire vote.  I have signed up for the absentee ballot and, and I’ve never done it before.  There’s one ballot for the state assembly, and he’s a republican.  So, it’s either the republican dude for assemblyman, or…the write in of Optimus Prime.   Seeing as, I’d clearly rather see the leader of the autobots take charge, than some republican bloke, I’m going to write in Optimus Prime.  Or GreenBean.  Either way, it suits me fine.   So the question remainds… do they allow write-ins for anyone else?  Like I can put GreenBean for assemblyman.   My current research indicates that yes I can write anybody in.  It pretty much counts as a no-vote.  But you never know! Those silly Californians don’t know how to take a joke.

In other news, I’ve finally taking a liking to a new show.  “True Blood” from HBO.  It has pretty much all the ingredients.  Anna Paquin.  Vampires. Psychics.  Blood.  Sex.  Drugs. More Blood. Violence.  Murder. Mystery.   Pretty much a clear winner.  The show in a way reminds me of the X-Men.  Where it tackles issues of racism and homophobia.  though in this case bigots in this small town don’t stand for anything that’s different.  In one ballsy scene, these idiots were in a bar, and since one of the cooks was gay,  Mr. Redneck A,  sent back the hamburger and said he didn’t want to have his hamburger with AIDS.  To which, the short order cook promptly walks out and beats the crap out of all three of them.   I love the real life aspect of it.  It’s gritty and doesn’t pull any punches.  There’s no ‘turn the other cheek’ in this show.  Plus what’s fantastic is, just like the Sopranos, they really have no qualms about whacking characters.   Too bad some of the annoying ones are still alive, but hopefully they’ll rectify that.    Here’s a youtube link to the  opening credits.  Very cool, I like the visual effects, and the song rocks.  Kinda reminds me of Chris Isaak. But is sung by Jace Everett.

It’s on episode 7 now, and they pretty much leave you on cliff-hangers every episode.  I give it two thumbs up.   Just don’t watch it with yer kids, it may give them nightmares.

foozball and Photography Lessons

woo well I volunteered to shoot a game of nighttime foolball this thur.  I suspect this will technically suck in terms of conditions for shooting.  Unlike the pro stadiums, high school football stadiums are notoriously dim.  However, it is a newer school, so hopefully it won’t be ‘that’ bad.    I’ve never done nighttime football before.  All research indicates that a monopod is a must, and iso 3200 or above is not at all uncommon.   I’ll be bringing along a flash, and a off shoe cord just in case.  From all that I’ve seen thus far, if you keep the flash mounted, you’ll get the lovely ‘white ghost eye, or red eye’, so I’m going to ghetto rig a low hanging flash that hangs on the bottom of the monopod.  I’m going to copy this bloke’s setup.
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But I’m not too fond of the deer in headlights look of flash.  Especially since it’s outdoors so there’s nothing much to bounce off of.  Oh well, I’ll post the results sometime past thur.

Ooh and guess what?!  For the first time, I’m going to be teaching! Well, sorta.  It’s more private lessons.   I put up a posting on Craigslist awhile back on photography and photoshop lessons for $30 bucks an hour.  Well I got a ‘student’ wanting to learn! yaay.  I guess the day before I’ll figure out a lesson plan and implement it.  It would be unfair to them if I just walked in there ‘winging’ it.    Hopefully if all goes well, I can get a 2hr lesson in, and hopefully more ‘advanced’ lessons to come. bruahah.  Yeah right.  Though that would be totally cool.   If I can get a small group.  Say of 4-5 people.   At 30 bucks a pop, that’s like $150 bucks an hour!   Well, I guess that would be cheap considering there are workshops and seminars that go for like 500 dollars or more a pop. Psssh, clearly they are a  ripoff!

The ‘B’ conundrum

So I was reading this article in one of my trade photography magazines on the trend that portrait/wedding photographers are starting to add boudoir sessions in their arsenal.  The notion is that people want to give their boyfriend/girlfriend hubs n misses tasteful cool shots of themselves.   Or brides to be want to give their hubs a cool wedding present.  Then, a big white light bulb flashed right above my head.  Egags! What a  brilliant idea!  Well, I may have to charge more for guys ..simply because it may be a tad more painful for me.  However, “dinero is dinero”…that’s what I always say.

However, I ran into a little problem with the whole idea.  The whole discrete nature of this area of photography (If I were hiring someone I’d want those photos hush/hush and not have my exposed pics all over the internet)  seems a tad limiting.  It’s kinda like that phrase,  “you can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job”.   It’s not like I can say, yes I’ve done this before, here are my previous clients.  Therefore no one will hire me, nor can I command decent rates based on no prior body of work, and since I wish to remain discrete, the body of work shall remain a mystery.   I’d guess my same fee of $150 an hr will still apply.  Though the article stated these puppies go on avg. for 500 dollars or more per session.

Though haha I can imagine my interview process.

Me:  soo um, who are these pictures for exactly?

narcissist client: oooh no one..just like to look at myself.

Me: um…yeah, you’re strange… I’ll call ya.

see I’ll find it weird if it’s just pics of themselves just for the heck of it.   Creepy actually….though who am I kidding, I’m a money whore!  If it pays!  I’ll take pics of your 200lb tush any day of the week (That’s 90.7 kilos to my European clientele).    I’ll just up my fees and we’ll call it even steven!

reason #2 to sell house

The santa ana winds SUCK.  You can’t sleep due to the house shaking, and you worry the windows are going to break.  heh, next house I get, it’s going to be an underground bunker.  That way, theres no weeds to whack, no lawns to mow.  Just a nice little bunker.  No Santa Ana winds!  During the summer, it’ll be insulated, and the winter…psssh…  Thermal energy baby.    I don’t know why more people don’t want to live in undeground bunkers?