Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mac & Rob : The RAW Files

A photographer friend of mine (Rob Caleffi), and coincidentally the guy that got me into shooting artistic nudes, and his friend (Mac Swift) have been working over the past two years on a very creative project called "The RAW Files".

For starters, both Rob and Mac are amazing photographers. Photographers in general are visual artists, and the good ones have a burning inside their souls that forces them to express themselves. It is not good enough to be a great wedding or portrait photographer, the freedom of expression is too confined that way. Sure you can be creative and original, but you can only go so far because you are still working for the client. True artistic expression has no boundaries, and it can lead to some amazing creativity.

Rob and Mac have found a way to express their creativity by taking one model each and shooting their model over a period of one year at all sorts of different locations. The best part of this project is that the photographers and the models all blog about their experiences. It is a fascinating project and you will find yourself captivated by the words and the images that are presented. I encourage you to have an open mind and visit The RAW Files.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The most amazing day

Today was amazing. After taking the kids to their last class of swimming lessons, we decided to go out and have Celina take some pictures of me (a very rare situation indeed). I really don't have any pictures of myself that are all that good.
Anyways we drove out west a bit and down the Old Banff Coach Road. We came across this huge old tree at the edge of a farmer's field just inside the fence and I thought it would make a nice backdrop for the shoot. I never trespass so this was a great location as we could stay outside the fence and still get a great shot. It was kind of windy and a bit cold so Celina took a few shots and then we headed back to the truck.

Just as I was about to get in the truck, Celina started yelling and pointing back towards the tree. I looked over and there were a bunch of horses that had come over to the tree to see what was going on. I didn't see any horses at all while I was over there, so I have no idea where they appeared from. I decided to head back over to the fence myself to take some shots wondering if the horses would run away or not. Turns out they were really curious. They posed nicely for a few pictures then they ran a bit to the right, then over to the left, then back to the tree jumping and bucking here and there to make sure the pictures were good. I couldn't believe how amazing this was, they seemed to be acting up to give me some nice shots. I was shouting out "nice job" and "great work, thank you" and the horses looked like they were having a great time.

A cyclist rode by on the road and a couple of the horses ran over to the fence to have a look. They were like little kids, curious and wondering what was going on. It was really fun for me and I think I got some decent pix. Unfortunately the sun was coming from behind the horses so the lighting is not perfect, but sometimes you take what you can get.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Auto Show

Every year it comes around and every year I somehow manage to get free tickets, so I go. As a photographer I have brought my camera in the past, but today seemed a little different and I don't know why exactly.

I have been doing a lot of studying in Photography lately. Much more than I typically have done in the past and I realized that I need to push myself more. Too often I try and be fully prepared for every situation, and if I am really a good photographer then I should be able to take a great picture regardless of the situation. So I took my camera, removed the battery grip, and with a single 50mm prime lens headed out. No flash, no tripod, no wide angle or zoom, just the body and my 50mm.

It was more difficult than I anticipated because with all the people crowding around the cars, you can't get far enough away to get much of the vehicle in the shot with a 50mm lens. So I decided that I would have to just make myself focus on the detail and forget about the "big picture". I am REALLY glad I put myself through this exercise because I am very happy about the detail I captured. In fact, I can safely say that this is going to be a much more common process for me. It is amazing what you notice when you are forced to point your attention on the little things in life.

There was an added bonus with the small lens and no battery grip. The camera was much smaller and lighter so my 6-year old, Tony, could use it much easier. In fact he managed to catch the "shutter bug" and kept taking the camera from me and shooting everything. He got a few really cool shots and I am quite impressed with his eye for composition. I guess the apple does not fall that far from the tree.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Digital Life

I only have a couple episodes left of the TWiP podcast and then I will have listened to every single one. One of the things that I have learned on TWiP is that Scott Bourne is a very experienced photographer who is quite technical for an old fella!

Recently Scott has created yet another blog called My Digital Life (found at MYDL.ME). This is, in my humble opinion, an excellent resource for... well lets use Scotts words: "The My Digital Life Podcast & Blog is your destination for information on how to deal with all the electronic stuff you accumulate during your daily life."

Check it out, and be sure to subscribe to the podcasts on iTunes.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Online backup? What an amazing deal!

Ok, so I have been skeptical in the past of online backup solutions because on the front they appear to be a great deal, but when you get down to it... yuck!

Today I was listening to a TWiP podcast and the guys mentioned a solution that they used called BackBlaze I checked it out and ended up signing up right away. Some sites charge by the amount of disk space you use, and others charge by the amount of data transfer. BackBlaze simply charges $5 / month for each computer you want to back up. You get unlimited disk space, which is VERY handy for a photographer like me.

The key point that pushed me over the edge to looking at an online backup solution was Alex Lindsay mentioned his biggest issue would be if someone broke into his studio and stole his Drobo or the place burned down, all his photos would be gone forever. I got to thinking, I do have other backups of some of the older images, but nothing "real time" so that I would be sure not to lose anything. I was previously backing up my Drobo onto external hard drives, but if something happened to cause my Drobo to go bye bye, then it is very likely my external hard drives would be gone too.

Now with my Drobo and my online backup solution, I am very confident that my data is safe... that is... once the 216 hours it will take to copy all my data into "the cloud" has passed.