Light is Everything!

Archive for November, 2013

Go Riders! #GreyCup 2013

20131122-GoRiders-001Rider Pride, Nation Wide. That’s our motto and our mantra. From the moment of conception, all Saskatchewan residents are born Rider Fans. Some more crazy than others. To support our team headed to the 101st Grey Cup on Sunday, I wanted to do a little photo shoot. I had the idea in my mind and wanted to try out some cool lighting that is along the lines of Heisler-esque. I was stoked with how the interplay of colour took place in this image. I’ve included a BTS photo to explain how I made this shot come together.

20131122-BTSRiders-001Well, as you can see, it’s shot in my car hold. It’s a total of 4 lights. Black sheet background clamped onto some cupboard doors. The key light is an SB-600 in a soft box overhead via a C-Stand. It’s got 1/2 CTO on it which really makes this image. Two rim lights behind me on left and right. The camera left rim is pointing up at me and the right is coming down. It really chisels the outline with thick green theatrical gels on 2 LP180s. And the last light was a special for the banjo. The SB-900 was simply put on the floor in an Orbis ring light to circle the drum of the banjo. I couldn’t have made a light mod match a subject better! I had originally set it up as on axis fill but on the ground worked so much better and added to the overall dramatic feel. It was a fun way to spend an hour or so. 😎

So cheer on the Saskatchewan Roughriders to Grey Cup victory on Sunday! Green is the colour, football is the game!


George, Paul, John and Mike

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Way back in October I went to my cousin’s wedding in Saskatoon. My dad was the official photographer on the job. But I became a conscript shooter. No problemo. Because doing the gig got me the chance to use the epic Nikon 24mm f/1.4G. Dad’s friend Ham just happened to not be using this gem and wondered if I could put it to good use. One word: YEP. 😀  It’s near optical perfection. Unbelievable glass. I still love my 16-35 f/4 for events, but this 24 rocked the set. I slapped it on the D800, did a test shot for focus and used it for all the formals and the group work. Coupled with my 70-200 f/4, it was a dynamic duo. So it was a lot of fun from a photographic stand point.

But from a family stand point, it was even better. My cousins are insane! And this party was off the hook! It was a metric tonne of fun. 😎

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Now, as for the Beatles-esque post of the title, it never really hit me until I thought about it later. George was the bride’s last name. Paul was the groom’s last name. John was the groom’s brother. And Mike was the groom. Sorry Ringo, you just got ditched. 😉 So cheers to both Chelsea and Mikey! God grant you many years! It was an honour taking your pics!

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LaCie 2Big Thunderbolt 6TB

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My new LaCie RAID came yesterday. 😀 It’s Thunderbolt in 6TB of madness. But for me, I configured it to RAID 1 so it’s got data backup redundancy. So I’m down to the 3TB for now. Still lots of room to grow. I like this product for two main reasons. 1, it’s Thunderbolt which is awesome. And 2, you can configure it for striped (RAID 0) or mirrored (RAID 1). So depending on your needs, you can have super speed or data back up. Daddy likey. 😎

Why I went with this over a Drobo: Conceptually, I like Drobo. But what I don’t like is that the user is at the mercy of propriety backup technology. Meaning that if your Drobo enclosure dies, your data cannot be recovered unless you get another Drobo enclosure. That doesn’t sit well with me. With the LaCie RAID, if the enclosure dies, simply pop the drive into any other enclosure and recover your data. Easy.

Striped 2BigDiskSpeedTest

Now for speed. Before I reconfigured the RAID, I tested the speed of the striped config. I used Black Magic speed test. Here’s what I found out. In a striped configuration, the LaCie screams. 304.5 MB/s write and 300.4 MB/s read. That’s awesome! If you wanted to use this as a working drive for video, this would rock the set.

MirroredDiskSpeedTest

Now, for the mirrored config, I got a little better than half. 179.5 MB/s write and 176.5 MB/s read.  So you can’t have it all. The cost of redundancy is a substantial speed hit. And yet with that in mind, it’s still loads faster than USB3. I tested a bunch of other drive media just to see how they performed. Here’s the results.

A Touro USB3 drive was 94.9 Write and 95.8 Read. A USB2 drive was 37.7 Write and  37.8 Read. I tested a Lexar Professional 32GB SD 400x speed card (in a USB3 reader) and it was 40.2 Write and 87.9 Read – almost approaching USB 3 read times.  So the LaCie with the Thunderbolt goodness is majorly king of the hill, even in a mirrored config.

PS: Just for kicks – a USB2 thumb drive speed: 6.5 Write and 11.4 Read. USB3 thumb drive: 34.7 Write and 43.5 Read. 🙂

So I’m excited to welcome the LaCie into the workflow. It’s going to significantly increase my quality of life in transferring D800 megapretzels, especially after a long day of wedding shooting! I’ll probably abandon my Aperture 3 JPEG + Matching RAW workflow as it will be just as fast to copy the RAW files to a scratch folder on the LaCie and do the culling from there. I’m sure it will be fantastic!

 

 


Ultimate Photo Editing Computer Setup v.2

In my last post about this, I had heralded a flash based Mac Mini as the ultimate Photo Editor. Whilst I still think there is merit to that setup – and may still be – I went another direction.

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Apple didn’t update the Mac Mini in the last big system update. I thought for sure they would but they didn’t. Instead, they rather secretly released a new iMac as indicated in this fstoppers article, back in September. I looked at the new specs but have been waiting for the new Mac Mini. However, my old iMac crashed a very slow and horrible death. I didn’t lose any data thanks to my gong show JBOD backup system. But I’m safe for now. I’ve been operating of a Macbook Air (painfully) for editing photos and other work related activities. So I decided that I can’t wait any longer and pulled the trigger on a new iMac.

Here’s the specs of what I got and why. I basically got the identical setup recommended in the fstoppers article. 27″ screen and I got the 3.5Ghz i7 with a 256 SSD. I got 8GB of factory RAM but have since ordered a 32GB upgrade from Amazon for less than half price of Apple’s factory installed $600 magical RAM made of unicorn horns.  And, I upgraded the GPU and got the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5. I’m not sold that Lightroom will actually make use of this. Photoshop will and Aperture 3 will. But Lightroom currently won’t. Perhaps in the future the program architecture will make more use of it. But I thought I would get it just in case. But by maxing the processor and the RAM I think I will see more gains from Lightroom.

So essentially that’s that. Fastest available everything and it should smoke! But the missing component is still the storage/backup solution. I have decided to once again pass on Drobo. I’m sure they make great products. But their proprietary beyond-RAID thing bothers me. If the enclosure ever dies, you have to get another to resurrect your data. That has never set well with me. So, I went with a 6TB LaCie 2Big Thunderbolt drive enclosure. I’m going to RAID 1 that puppy for redundancy. The best thing ever is that it’s super fast to copy data and, if a drive ever calves I can go get another from a local store and rebuild the RAID. Or, take the remaining drive and copy the data from it to some other drive in the interim. Not so with Drobo. So the LaCie seems to be a good solution for my needs. I’m going to store all my photos on it and maybe even edit from it as the connection bandwidth should be more than capable.

So that’s that. I’ll post an update on this article in the future to let you know how it all performs. Sometime next week I should be receiving the goods. More to come. 😎


Malloween

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We had to be in Calgary for a church workers conference over Halloween. I know. I know. Who schedules a conference over Halloween!!?  Lutherans who love the Reformation, that’s who! hehehehe…. 😉 The family came too to visit Auntie Hailey. We threw their costumes in as well. Parrot. Skunk. Lamb. And instead of trucking around Calgary’s mean streets, we went on over to the Market Mall. Boo ya! Walking from store to store, nabbing the mad treats and it was warm! And dry! It felt . . . like cheating! 😀 I remember being in a parka under my costumes forever as a kid. But this was pretty darn choice. I posted a few images here but there’s a whole set on flickr you can check out. It was the best Mall-o-ween ever! 😎

 


My Take on The Nikon Df Camera

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I don’t usually post stuff like this. However, I feel compelled to. 😎  Call me a hipster, a wanna be retro mofo. I don’t care. I like nostalgia. I like buttons and tactile dials. I like the link to the past. The inter web has become a flurry of controversy over Nikon’s latest offering. The Df. The name is kind of goofy. DF: Doesn’t Focus, Darn Fugly, etc. But it’s an intentional throw back to the film cameras of legend. It’s a “Digital Fusion” camera.  It means it incorporates the feel and look of the old with new technology. I instantly liked it. I like the look and style. I like the fact that you get a D4 sensor for less than 3 grand. I like what this camera is designed for. But that is the key. One must understand it as such. If you go into this camera comparing it other DSLRs designed for different purposes then you will be disappointed and drinking a big ol’ glass of hater-aid.  Like this article from stoppers.  The biggest complaint I see from the blog critics is that it doesn’t shoot video. So flippin’ what?! It’s not designed for DSLR video. If you wanna shoot video, get a 610 or an 800. Honestly. “It doesn’t shoot video.” Every six year old kid has an iPhone that shoots great video. Use that for crying out loud. Not every camera needs to shoot video. It’s a still camera made for still photography. I have a D800 and I’ve never used it for video. If this camera had come out before the D800, I’d have bought it instead.

To me this Df camera is a beautiful mix of form and function. It’s a perfect prime lens camera and an awesome travel camera. And, it can use all the old school Nikon glass sitting in your dresser collecting dust. That’s cool.  I could see using this camera with a 24mm, 50mm, 85mm and 105mm. I could see using this camera as a wedding machine. The low light capability is fantastic. Strap a 24 on it and you’ve got a your ultralight wide angle madness. Use a 70-200 on another body and you’re golden as an event photographer. I’m digging this camera. The only thing stopping me from picking it up is the yet to be released XPro-2. Fuji is the bomb and they’ve been rocking the retro now for quite some time.  We’ll see.

Is Nikon just trying to liquidate their D4 sensor stock because an update is coming? Probably. But I think they are really after the heart of still photography with this camera. I’m a firm believer that the camera you use makes you shoot photos differently. I’ve experienced that first hand with my Fuji X100s. It made me into more of a range finder type photographer. I get closer to things than I normally would. I’m thinking that Nikon is onto something special with this camera and I predict that those who buy it for the right reasons will love it a lot. Plus, Joe McNally likes it. What more do you need. Get the credit card out. 🙂