Full Spectrum CFLs

May 24, 2008

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imageDoing a little more research of CFLs trying to pick some to put in my office for viewing prints. Seems that the important factors are color temperature (which I knew) and the color rendering index rating (which I was unfamiliar with. The higher the color rendering index, or C.R.I. the closer to nature sunlight and the more accurate colors will appear. Without getting into to many details, most CFLs that are considered "Full Spectrum" that I saw had a C.R.I. of 80-86. The BlueMax line put out by the aptly named company Full Spectrum Solutions are described as having a C.R.I. of 96. So, they should be very close to sunlight. They are more expensive than some of the other lights out there, but I figure if their marketing is accurate and they are going to last years like CFLs tend to do, it's worth it. Going to get one to take a look at and then more if it seems like it's as good as advertised.


Dimmable CFL

May 24, 2008

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I switched over most of the lights in my house to compact fluorescent light bulbs a while ago. I've been quite pleased with them though the ones I got do have a touch of a green tint when. There are several lights that I didn't switch over though, because I have dimmer switches installed. Until recently, CFLs didn't work with dimmers, but new ones came out at the end of last year that are designed for dimmers. I haven't tried them yet, but I'm dropping a link to them here to get some. The other thing I'm doing is finally switching out the bulbs in my office to daylight balanced. In case I ever do any printing I can at least be sure that the fact that my colors are off has nothing to do with the lights that I'm under. Just that I'm not very good at color balance.


Bad Ass Graffiti

May 23, 2008

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This is a little shaky to look at, but you get used to it pretty quick. Totally worth a watch. There are some creative-ass people out there.

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.


Photo of Stephanie

May 13, 2008

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Did another photo workshop a few weeks ago. Just now getting to the edit stage. Here's one of the first ones of a model named Stephanie. Stephanie I really need to get back into using photoshop. Touch ups, contrast adjustment and color ballance are taking me forever. If I do much more of this stuff, I'm going to have to actually color balance my monitor too. Right now, I struggle to keep from just saying to hell with it and converting everything to black and white or a sepia tone.


Jim Marshall: Proof

May 12, 2008

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I saw "Jim Marshall: Proof" a year or so ago at Books-a-million and loved it as I flipped though. I'm not a big buyer of books (I prefer the library), but have often regretted not picking up a copy. Checking around on occasion I never saw it again and never really tried to search for it on the net till tonight. Took a little while, but I finally found it in the third slot of the Google results for: photo book music "contact sheets". This is the only book that I can remember that puts forward a photographer's contact sheets. The Amazon review starts out:

To say it's rare for a photographer to publish his proof sheets is an understatement. It's almost unheard of. As Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic Joel Selvin says in his excellent introduction, "Proof sheets are like a look behind the curtain at the Wizard of Oz."

I'd go a step beyond and say having contact sheets out in public is like being caught outside in only your underwear. Not quite naked, but pretty close. To be able to see the frames shot before and after the "hero" shot provides an amazing and intimate opportunity to see a little beyond the single images. If you're not sure what contact sheets are, or you just want to see a few from the book, you can use this link to see a few scans that Amazon provides. The contact sheets are the ones where you see a whole bunch (either 35 or 12) little images on one page. As much as I love the conveniences offered by digital photography seeing proof sheets REALLY makes me want to be in a darkroom.


Eneloop batteries

May 11, 2008

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Eneloop Recheageable BatteriesBack in October, I wrote an entry about better rechargeable batteries I had recently discovered. At that time, I hadn't bought any, but I finally got some before the wedding I shot back at the start of March. There are a few different brands out there. The ones I got are from Sanyo. The brand name is Eneloop, and they rock. After living with them for a few months, I'm happy to report that they work as advertised. The key feature that makes them valuable is their low "self-discharge" rate. The previous sets of rechargeable batteries I've used apparently had a much higher rate. Basically, what this meant is that if you charged the old type batteries and then didn't use the for a little while (say a week or two), they would have lost a lot of their juice. When you put them in, say, a flash to do some photography, you could easily be in trouble. So, in order to make sure they were ready to work with, you effectively have to charge them the night before you want to use them to make sure they were topped off. These newer versions with their low/slow self-discharge hold onto their power much longer. Their marketing state that if you are simply storing them, they will maintain 90% of their charge for 6 months and 85% over a year. I haven't had them long enough to figure that out, and frankly I'm not really going to try to test it. What I'm interested in is if they ready to go when I need them. I can deal with charging them if I know I've got a lot of shotting to do the next day, but it's when I haven't shot for a few weeks and I just want to fire off a few shots that is the real test. I just put a set that was charged three or four weeks ago in a strobe and it charged as if a completely fresh set was in them. I highly recommend these for everything except smoke alarms (just in case). The more batteries we can keep out of land fills the better off we'll all be. You can purchase them from Amazon (link) and I'm sure other places have them as well. The batteries come in at least two flavors: "800 mAh" and "2,000 mAh". Make sure when you're getting yours you get the highest "mAh" available at the time (currently the 2,000 version). Especially if you are going to use them in a flash or digital camera. While this rating isn't as high as some of the other rechargeable batteries out there, the fact that they hang onto that charge for a long time is more than an even trade off. You don't have to worry about the mAh difference that much unless you are really an intense user. For example, I shot an entire wedding (roughly 1,500 frames) and only used two sets of the eneloops in my main flash which was shooting into a lumiQuest most of the time. So, they work great from that perspective as well. As a final note, if you want to get a better charger than one of the basic ones, the La Crosse Technology BC-900 is expensive, but very nice. Advantages include the fact that it allows you to charge batteries at different rates (to help them last longer), "recondition" them if they are behaving badly, and also reports when the batteries are fully charged so you don't have to guess. Most folks probably don't need those features, but it's certainly handy.


Reusable bags

May 11, 2008

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ACME Workhourse 1500 bagIn college, I took a seminar course on environmental studies. In addition to the overall theoretical education, a fair amount of practical advice was provided as well. One key point that always stuck with me was that we should reuse bags when we shop instead of carrying stuff home in the store provided bags only to thrown them away after they are unpacked. The specific recommendation from the course was to use one bigger cloth bag, like a small laundry bag, for transport. I've tried this a few times and it never really worked out. The volume was simply to big for the job at hand. The bag could get too heavy very quickly and without some ability to separate things, it was inevitable that a 2 liter bottle would crush any loafs of bread. Enter reusablebags.com. I heard about these guys a few months back and was excited to check them out. They sell a wide variety of bags for reuse. Most of them are geared toward women with various designs and images on them, but thankfully there is at least one that won't make guys fell uncomfortable: the ACME Bags - Workhorse Style 1500. The base price is about $8 per, but if you get 4 or more that price drops to $7 per. Also, the have a a href=-"http://www.reusablebags.com/store/acme-bags%E2%84%A2-workhorse-style-1500-special-p-258.html">buy 3 get one free special right now. The price is a little higher than I really like. Especially when I've seen some similar type bags for sale in grocery stores for just a few dollars each. What sold me on the ACME bags was the fact that they were a little bigger and didn't have logos all over them. Since I plan on having these for a long time, I'm willing to pay a premium to not have company logos and slogans on them. Originally, I got 4 bags, but I'm happy to report that after using them for a little while, I'm getting four more. Each bag holds probably twice as much as a standard plastic shopping bag. I know they will hold four 2-liter soda bottles easily. I don't necessarily recommend having them packed like that. The bag doesn't have a problem with the weight, but it's a bit heavy leaning over to pull them out of the car. I'm pretty sure that I'm currently one of a very few people using these type bags in my area. Every time I had them to a bagger and explain I want to use them in lieu of their standard ones, the have that look like they aren't really sure what's going on. It still takes me some getting used to as well. I've taken to always throwing them back in my car when I unpack them so they are always there. Much easier for me than trying to remember to grab them before I make a run to the store. I hope that other folks who see me using these bags decided to get a set for themselves. I encourage everyone do to the same. To add one more note about the cost, the good feeling that I get every time I use them makes the price seem even more reasonable.


IronMan, Worth the price of admission

May 10, 2008

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Saw Ironman last weekend. Even at $9.50 FL movie prices, it's worth seeing on the big screen. Saw a preview for the new Indian Jones too. Gotta say, the trailer actually made it look pretty good. Of course, that doesn't mean anything, but I'm at least hopeful. Also saw a preview for The Dark Knight. Totally looking forward to that one. High probability I'll be seeing that one opening weekend.


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