Tag Archives: update

Life is Hectic… Summer of 2010

I’ve been awfully quiet on my blogs and social media accounts over the last few weeks — but I’m not just being lazy. Most of you probably don’t give a hoot one way or another, but for those who are interested, here’s what I’ve been up to lately…

At the end of June, my wife took the kids up to North Idaho for their annual “summer vacation with the grandparents” routine. While she was up there, she saw that the house across the street from my parents was for sale. She’s been wanting to move back to that area for some time, so naturally, she pestered me about the house for a solid week. At first, I blew it off and found excuses for not moving back home. Then I found myself rationalizing such a move.

We started talking with the Realtors and banks a few weeks back and life has been hectic since then. Sign this, sign that, answer the phone 15 times a day, jump through flaming hoops while juggling chainsaws, etc, etc. Things have been moving very fast and I’ve been busy for about three weeks straight. But…

We’re buying a house!

The price was right and the location is perfect — I would love to raise my kids where I grew up. We’ll be close to our immediate families again, and I’m hoping we can settle down into a more relaxed lifestyle. For about the last 9 or 10 years, we’ve been living in apartments in college towns and cities in New Jersey and Southern California. Up in Idaho, we’ll be sitting on 5 acres and the neighbors are barely visible.

We’re moving out this Friday and we should be in the new place by Monday or Tuesday. It’s crunch time with the packing and all the other last minute arrangements, so I’ve been hard pressed to get near my computer. Once we get up there and settled in, I’ll be working from home while looking for a new job, so I should have some time to get back into the blogging scene.

I do love San Diego and all that it has to offer, but I love North Idaho more. I’m glad I got to take part in the Southern California scene and I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t experience more of it, but it’s time to move on. I’ll be trading beach towns & street scenes for wilderness & landscape — but I’m fine with new and interesting photographic challenges. Here are a few Idaho photos (mostly from my last visit in the winter 1.5 years ago).

Casting Shadows Reaching Rays Walking on Water Arctic River Best View on Earth Calm Waters

So I’ll post what I can over the next week or two, but life has to come first. So long California, it’s been fun! And I hope to see all my SoCal friends again soon — you guys are great!

I’ve Got a Good One Brewing…

Last week, I asked you guys for some links to lighting tutorials, sites, and resources. The response was great, and I’m working on putting these things together in a comprehensive blog post so they can be shared. This thing is turning out to be a big effort, and I should have it published by Thursday. So if you have any more links to cool lighting stuff, send them my way!

On a side note, I’m not posting the article Wednesday morning because I need to hit the hay early. I’ve got a promotional photo shoot for Green Man T-Shirts in the morning (5am) at DK3 Studiios!!! A local news station, KUSI (channel 9 on cable and channel 51 on dish), will be doing a couple 3 minute live segments in the morning at 6:25 and 6:50am. They’re also doing a teaser at 5:55am, so we’ll need time to set up and get things going by then.

Although the photo shoot on Wednesday is sort of a promotional thing, I’ll still be taking real photos and learning how to work the lighting equipment. This should help out for the real event on Saturday when we shoot all day long with 8 models and a whole pile of eco-friendly t-shirts.

So hang tight — I need to get some sleep so I don’t look like crap on the morning news, and I’ll post that epic lighting roundup soon enough!

Full Feeds FTW!

Last week, I had posted a little something about switching the RSS feed over to a partial. But you guys are so hardcore about your feed preferences, I figure I shouldn’t mess with you. Nearly 50% of the votes were for a very strong dislike of the idea, and the comments backed that up 100%.

Truthfully, it was something I wanted to experiment with, but I now know it’s not worth losing followers over. Not only that, doing a partial feed the way I wanted to (where I decide on the cutoff point) is just not a simple task and I don’t have time to spend on screwing that sort of stuff.

So… full feeds we shall keep! Thanks to everyone who chimed in on the conversation.

The Green Man Shoot is Coming Along!

Just wanted to give a quick update on my previous post where I asked you Southern California folks help out with the model shoot I was asked to do for a local San Diego company: Green Man T-Shirts. When I posted it, I was hoping to have a good response, but maybe the “no pay” thing was a turn-off.

I did get one response from a fellow by the name of Michael Walborn and he’s actually a perfect match for this event! Be sure to check out his ModelMayhem profile and his Flickr photos. Not only does he have experience in the studio and photographing models, but he has experience in the same studio that we’ll be using! This is awesome news and I’m really looking forward to learning the ropes with him.

Definitely check out Michael’s stuff — I owe him a big “thank you” for jumping in to help me out with this thing. I also owe Oscar Medina a “thank you” for referring him to my previous post. You see, Oscar is my local San Diego printer and Michael is a fellow customer/contact of his — we both also have photos listed on two of Oscar’s other websites: San Diego Artists and Artist Direct.


As I said, maybe I didn’t get a huge response on the call for photographers because I was asking people to basically work for free. The word “free” has become a bad word among photographers in recent years, mainly because of the various professional photographers and photography blogs preaching that you shouldn’t give anything away for free as a photographer. If you do, you’re devaluing the marketplace and doing a disservice to yourself and your fellow photographers. While most of these discussions have been aimed at licensing of existing photos (which I generally agree with), the idea of not working for free for any reason whatsoever seems to have attached itself by association. This is a bad outlook to have if you ask me.

I’m not going to preach on this topic of working for free under the right circumstances, mostly because other have made much better arguments than I ever could (see the articles from David Hobby and Chase Jarvis).



For this Green Man T-Shirt thing, it’s a no-brainer on my part. The company is a local startup, they’re “green”, they donate 25% of their proceeds to charity, they’re enthusiastic, I’m in a position to learn a great deal from this experience, and I need to get out and shoot more often. I have everything to gain from this except for a few dollars (which I wouldn’t be able to charge anyway because of my inexperience). And the only reason I can do this is because Michael has agreed to help out.

I can’t speak for Michael, but I would guess (and this is only a guess) that he’s also interested in gaining more experience, adding to his portfolio, helping out a local company, and having a good time. Whatever his motives, I’m very grateful that he jumped in and offered his time and experience (and I’m going to repay him by providing whatever exposure I can).

So next time you have an opportunity to “work for free” as a photographer, maybe think twice about it before dismissing the idea. In the long run, you just might gain more than you sacrificed. The end of our story with Green Man T-Shirts here in San Diego has yet to play out, but I’m very enthusiastic about what could come of it. I’ll update you guys after our session this March.

What say you? Is working for “free” a bad thing? Would you ever consider doing it yourself? And under what circumstances?

I’m On Vacation

Just a quick note to everybody who didn’t already know, I’m on vacation in North Idaho with my family. I had planned on keeping up with the blogging, but I figure if I’m on vacation I might as well take a little time off to relax. We’ve been visiting friends and family, taking photos, and trying to stay warm. I’ll be heading up to the ski slopes in a few days and I’m bringing a camera, so I’m pretty stoked about that. I might even take the kids skiing one day… so we’ll see how that goes.

As for the stuff here on the blog, everything is still going to happen — it just might be a little delayed from my original plan. I’ve got the photo backup recap and PDF to publish, the Photoshop Action project results to post, and a few birthday giveaways (yup, we turned 2 on the 12th!). So hang tight — I’ll start posting some of this stuff over the next week once all the family activities die down a little.

Update Your Camera Firmware

Digital cameras need software to operate, and that software can be updated for improved functionality and performance. This software in your camera is called firmware, and it acts much the same as software on your computer. And please, no arguments about the terms firmware and software… that’s not what this article is about.

Updating your camera firmware can improve things like menu navigation, bracketing options, noise reduction, high ISO performance, focusing precision, auto white balance improvements, and more. Updates to firmware can also include proper functionality with new camera accessories such as vertical grips, flash units, and lenses. And, brand new cameras will often have some “bugs” that get resolved through firmware updates (“5D’II black dots” ring any bells?).

So here’s the basic process of updating your camera firmware — it’s not hard, you just have to follow the directions given by the manufacturer. And this stuff should hold true for ALL digital cameras, not just dSLR cameras.

    Every camera has a different way of doing this, but most cameras should have the ability to display the firmware version. Instructions for checking the version can likely be found in your camera manual or through the manufacturer’s support website.
    Once you know which version you have, check the web for the latest version of the firmware. If the latest version isn’t the same as the version you’re using, it’s time to update.
    Navigate to the correct page through your manufacturer’s support website, read everything, and follow the instructions to download the firmware.
    Again, each brand or camera has a different way of actually updating the firmware. Instructions for completing this process can be found on the website you downloaded the firmware. And always update your firmware with a full battery.
    After the update is complete, run through your menus and check that your settings are correct. You may even have some new settings that weren’t there before. After you check your menus, take a few test shots and make sure the camera is working properly.

Here are some of the support websites for the various camera manufacturers. Do note that other websites may be more appropriate for non-US photographers — some camera manufacturers have separate support websites for other countries. DISCLAIMER: I take no responsibility if you mess up your own camera while trying to update the firmware. Do this stuff at your own risk, and read the manufacturer’s instructions VERY CAREFULLY.

So how often do you update your firmware? And do you have any other tips for those who haven’t done this yet?

Social Photography Project Update

Just a quick update on the writing project going on right now. The master of ceremonies (Vivien from InspirationBit) has consulted all those hosting the mini-projects and we’ve decided that a deadline extension is in order.


I’ve had 7 entries for this project on social photography, so there’s plenty of room left to participate! Also remember that there are 10 other hosts putting on similar writing projects for 18 other social networks. If you have ANY experience with those on the list presented at the main project page, don’t hesitate to participate in their projects too!