July 10, 2011

Porch fun!

So I finally got around to buying Joe McNally’s book The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes and have been reading it religiously (that is to say, not often enough). Joe’s got a lot of experience, a great sense of humor, and tons of practical tips (if you’re lucky enough to be a Nikon user, that is). If you own a Nikon DSLR and a speedlight, buy his book today.Read More

May 23, 2011

Review: Battery Grip for Nikon D3100

UPDATED! See here.

For those who don’t know, Nikon doesn’t make battery grips for its lower-end DSLRs. The advantage to this? The pricetag is a lot lower on a third-party grip. The problem? Well, there are a few issues one wouldn’t expect with an official product from Nikon.

I got my “professional vertical battery grip” through Amazon here. There are a handful of different sellers, and I can’t vouch for any of them besides New Harbor (though at that time, the shipment was fulfilled through Amazon when I ordered). I bought mine for around $25. Interestingly enough, while it was advertised as being made by Neewer, the packaging and product itself is labeled Meike.

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May 20, 2011

Fuji’s Super CCD can produce 12-megapixel images when shooting in RAW format with the S2

Okay, so this test comparison might have been even more flawed than I thought. I just discovered something interesting about the S2. Apparently, because of its “Super CCD” it can actually record image data that will result in a 12-megapixel final image. Weird since it’s only a 6-megapixel camera.Read More

May 18, 2011

Camera Comparison Test


Lately, I’ve been messing around with a new camera I was given (thanks Susie!) that has some interesting features, despite being a few years older than my other cameras. Behold! The Fujifilm Finepix S2 Pro! It’s a beastly thing (though not as gargantuan as my D90 with the MD-80), but it’s still got that Nikon look since it was modeled after one of the later Nikon SLRs. And lucky me, it’s got a Nikon F mount so I can share all of my lens with it.

What’s more, since it is older and a more prosumer camera than my newer D3100, it can use ALL my lenses, not just the ones with the autofocus motors built in. Anyway, on to the test…

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May 13, 2011

Lens Review: Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8

Here’s a portion of my review of Tokina’s 11-16 mm f 2.8 AT-X 116 Pro DX Autofocus lens for Nikon DX-Format DSLRs that was recently posted on B&H Photo Video:

I had originally bought this for an upcoming trip to Copenhagen, but I can’t believe how much I’ve used it already. It’s a great lens for group shots and came in handy at a few weddings.Read More

March 15, 2011

Sell yourself!

So, it was recently suggested that I should put some of my photos up for sale on the site. Of course, I’m thinking, “Who else would want to buy prints of my photos besides me?”

Well, you never know, so I might as well get started now.

Coming soon: Photos for sale!

March 3, 2011

Saying goodbye

Me and Grandma

I had to say goodbye to someone very dear to me this past week, and I was saddened to discover how few photos I have of her left.

Note to self: never stop taking photos. You can never have too many of someone you love because you never know when that’ll be all you have left. Memories are questionable at best and fade over time, but photos are always there to help bring them back when you need them.

UPDATE: Good news! We found a shoebox full of old slides while cleaning out her house. Literally hundreds if not thousands of memories just waiting to be rediscovered!

Anyone have a slide scanner?

February 22, 2011

Bidding F4rewell

A few milestone events in my life over the past weekend, one of which was my teary-eyed farewell to the film format.

Okay, I do still have a holga in my trunk, but that’s already been promised to someone else and shouldn’t really count.

My days of shooting and (eek!) developing film are now a thing of the past. I just sold my Nikon F4 to a nice young photography student who will no doubt get many more miles out of her.

So here’s to a new era! It’s all digital now (and no turning back!).

February 8, 2011

Review of the Nikon D3100

Nikon's new D3100. Get yours today!
Nikon's new D3100

Here’s my review of the new Nikon D3100 on B&H’s website:

Great value for a fraction of the D7000

By Magellan from Houston, TX on 2/6/2011
  • Ease of Operation: 8
  • Pros: Easy To Use, Fast / Accurate Auto-Focus, Fast Shutter Speed, Good Image Quality, Good Image Stabilization, High ISO Performance, Quiet
  • Cons: Low-res LCD
  • Best Uses: Family Photos, Indoors/Low Light, Weddings/Events
  • Describe Yourself: Semi-pro Photographer
  • Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Read More

February 6, 2011

Heart Truth Fashion Show

Just finished editing photos taken at the George Bush Library on Friday for the Red Dress Fashion Show sponsored by The Heart Truth, a campaign for women about heart disease.

It was a lot of fun for a great cause and I got to hang out with a bunch of photographers, both amateur and professional. The show went off without a hitch and I got to pretend like I was paparazzi for the night. Not bad for a volunteer gig!

January 10, 2011

88 Miles West

88 Miles West
(click me. you know you want to.)

Just got back from Vegas and had an excellent time catching up with old friends (and making new ones!). The weather was great, we won a little money, In-N-Out was amazing (animal style!), we lost a little (a lot of) money, the AEE was in town, we drank a bit (of a lot of things), wore fake mustaches, we lost some more money, and had a grand time.

On the plane back I was sitting next to two chaps from Beaumont who run a little site called 88 Miles West (http://www.88mileswest.com) that specializes in concert and event photography. I talked shop for awhile with Chad and David and I realized you can do great things with a D90 and some moxy (I’m halfway there!). David even let me look over his shoulder as they went through some shots from the (ahem) convention. Two very nice guys and I wish them luck in the future. Hopefully our paths will cross again sometime soon.

In the meantime, you should be their friend on Facebook (all the cool kids are doing it).

January 1, 2011

A new year

Self Portrait, 2011

Been wanting to post on this for some time now, but as usual I’m dragging my heels. I am looking forward to the new year as a time of discovery and adventure. I’ve got my new site up and running and I have the motivation to get back to work on a lot of projects I’ve let fall by the wayside over the past few years. It’s gearing up to be a fun year and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Here’s to a new year.

Photography assistant: Maisie. Tattoo by J with the Black Pearl Tattoo Parlor. Shirt by Black Lab.

April 7, 2009

An achievement in animation and Blu-ray

The Tale of Despereaux
The Tale of Despereaux

Just finished watching The Tale of Despereaux on Blu-ray and I have to say I’m fairly impressed with the quality of the animation, the depth of the characters, and the presentation on Blu-ray.

CG animation has always impressed me on Blu, notably TMNT and the recent Watchmen animated comic, but Despereaux brings my appreciation for CG animation to a new level. This is due in no small part to the detailed texture work and the incredible lighting, both of which lend the film a painting-like quality.

Finishing off an animation double-header, Despereaux blows Disney’s Bolt right out of the water. Don’t get me wrong, Bolt was enjoyable and had its moments of creativity, but all in all it was hampered by the same flaws shared by the majority of Disney’s animated flicks: too much sap and characters and storylines that are too shallow at times. Countless critics have lambasted Despereaux for not being kid-friendly enough and for being too high-minded. Disney either doesn’t give their audiences enough credit or they’ve become too large and unwieldy to deliver a product with a singular vision more than once a year (case in point: the spectacularly perfect Wall•E floating amidst a sea of direct-to-DVD animated drivel). Disney is a commercially-motivated machine, and no one can blame them for cashing in on a formula and presentation that works for them.

And this has become a rant…

Anyway, Bolt good, Despereaux better. Probably the best animated film I’ve seen since last years Wall•E.

April 5, 2009

iTunes: Mac vs. PC

Let me preface today’s post by saying, “No, I’m not writing,” and “Yes, I know I should be.”

There, now that that’s out of the way… I spent a good deal of time today copying CDs into iTunes (which can be quite a laborious process if you’re anal like me and have to have everything organized and neat with the correct covers and all that). My latest experiment has been getting my iTunes library mobile on a tiny 1.8″ external hard drive. Pretty easy given iTunes’ built-in ability to choose what library you want it to run from, so no problems there.

However, the problems popped up when I decided I wanted to share my music library between my personal laptop (which happens to be a PowerBook G4) and my work laptop (which happens to be a Dell). I read up on how to go about doing this on a bunch of online forums and, as of iTunes version 8.1, there is no fast and easy way to do this. Because of some difference in the way Mac and PC utilize the iTunes xml library file, it has to be rebuilt every time I switch platforms (which, sad to say, takes a helluva lot longer on the Mac).

That’s okay, though. I’m a patient guy. I think I can live with that until Apple addresses the problem (whether or not they plan to, I have no idea). Screw that. Waiting is a pain in the ass.

Second problem: Windows NTFS file format is slightly retarded. It gets confused with long file names and long folder names. Its solution? Truncate the hell out of them. Whatever, so now my library functions perfectly on the PC. Bravo Windows. The problem is, when I connect the hard drive back to the Mac, start up iTunes, and rebuild my library.xml file, I end up with hundreds (maybe even thousands) of songs that can’t be found because either the names of the actual files have been truncated, the names of their folders have been truncated, or both. The “songs” that populate the iTunes library are like shortcuts/aliases.

So now I’m pretty much screwed and have to go through all the “lost” files relinking them one by one. Blow.

April 4, 2009

Harbinger gets opted by Paramount

As you may or may not know/care, the rights to Harbinger, a comic title by Valiant, were recently (not so recently now) purchased by Paramount Pictures. It was rumored at the time that the project was to make its way into the hands of Brett Ratner, though now its future seems much less certain.

Since I’ve been a fan of the series since it came out and have always wanted to write a screenplay, I began to do just that. It’s been a cumbersome project, being my first foray into screenwriting. Having a background in English lit has probably hindered more than helped, as well.

Anyway, lately I’ve begun feeling the motivation fading. Whether this is a product of my own insecurities or what, I can’t be sure. So I decided to start this blog (woo hoo! welcome to two minutes ago!) to just get the writing going–any writing. Hopefully that helps. Plus, I’ve always wanted to start a blog but never felt like I had much to talk about.

So, if there are any fans of Harbinger or other Valiant titles out there, I invite you to leave comments about the screenplay idea or whatever else you care to discuss. Maybe it will help get the creative juices flowing again.