This video is hilarious. I mean, don't know what they got against Pentax but the video is hilarious.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I just had my very first camera repair experience! Now I've been reading on blogs and forums about other peoples repair experiences with different camera manufactures both good and bad. With the photography work slowing down over the winter (or at least I thought it would but it didn't), I decided that now was a good time to send my Olympus E3 into Olympus Canada for a good cleaning, to replace the rubber eyepiece cup that I lost and to repair an issue I was having where the cable remote would not fire the camera. I had heard that Olympus treated their E3 (their pro body camera) specially and that if one came in for repair it was generally handled promptly, so I was hopeful for a good outcome.
So I called Olympus on November 6th to ask about the process after checking their website. Honestly the website was pretty clear, but I was anxious about dropping my camera in the mail on blind faith. The fellow on the phone in Markham Ontario was super friendly and helpful. I boxed up the camera and mailed it away (insured) on November 9th. It arrived at Olympus on November 12th according to Canada Post's tracking. I didn't hear from them though so on November 17th I called the repair centre. They told me the camera had arrived, was assessed and that a quote for repairs (it was no longer under warranty) was coming. The next day I received an email quote for repairs ($195) and I faxed them back an approval form with a credit card #. The camera was shipped back to me on November 20th and arrived today, the 25th.
So the verdict? It was perfect. Everything works. The camera is obviously cleaned (my E3 is used ruggedly, so I can tell) and I'm a happy customer. I found the people at Olympus friendly, prompt and genuine in doing what they said they would. The remote problem turned out to be with that circuit board which was replaced.
Now, a little Murphy's Law here. I had lost my rubber eye piece cover at an event on November 5th. I noticed in the past that when I put the camera body in my bag the eyepiece often gets bumped up so I had been cautious about it, but upon returning home from the event it was missing. I TORE my bag apart looking for it, but alas it was gone. So when I talked to the guy at Olympus he said they had none in stock so just to order one off the Olympus website. I did and actually because I was figuring it might happen again I ordered two of them. Then the day they both arrived by courier I was digging in my camera bag and found the one I had originally lost (really I did a thorough look before). Now my E3 comes back and they have put a new rubber eyepiece cover on my camera for no apparent charge! I now have two E3's and 5 rubber eyepiece covers. Sigh.
OK, now onto the Black Friday deals, and thanks for hanging in there for all my ramblings (that is what the blog is called you know). I was browsing on New Egg's Canadian website and noticed that they are having a Black Friday sale for us Canadians too! I needed a couple more hard drives for my new Drobo (more on that in a minute) and because I like to browse noticed that the Olympus FL50R flash is on sale for $389.99 Canadian. That is an incredible deal. I don't need another one, but if any of you do, I've never seen it so cheap.
And I'm feeling very Drobo happy right now. I had bought a Drobo (something that had been on my wish list for a while) after finally filling another external hard drive with images. It arrived yesterday and I transferred over about 500 gigabytes of files to it and linked it up to Lightroom. I can't really say too much about it so far as I haven't had it long enough, but I must say it is one bad looking black toaster. Looks pretty cool sitting beside my iMac. Setup was easy though my iMac kept warning me it couldn't read the drive (it wasn't formatted yet) and I kept getting an error message that when ignored didn't cause any issues. It updated itself and is running perfectly. Plus the 'Drobo Dashboard' software that comes with it is pretty cool. I'll give more of an impression at another time once I've had it longer, but at first glance it's all good.
Now just a couple more things. I just tried my first Giclee Water-colour print from Bay Photo (through Smugmug). I had seen these prints as an option for my customers at very premium prices, and I had heard other photographers talking about how they sell these as a premium product so I had to educate myself about them. I ordered one print in both metallic paper and in the giclee. Frankly, I'm not impressed. The metallic was awesome as usual, but the giclee seemed blotchy and while it did have impressive display of dynamic range compared to the metallic print, its water-colour look wasn't all that amazing to me. The most impressive thing about it was the cardboard it was printed on. It is nice to hold a thick print. It feels like a quality piece which is why I suppose it can be sold as one, but to me it just doesn't pop, doesn't help the image, and that should be what it is all about. I just can't recommend this to customers for four times the cost of a lustre or metallic finish. The thick fine art paper though is appealing and one day I would like to purchase my own high end printer to produce images right in my office that are exactly how I want them.
Last thing, and that is a revisit of Scott Kelby's Lightroom 2 book for Digital Photographers. Now this isn't something I should probably throw out in the blog universe, but I will anyway. You see, I'm a bathroom reader. I read while using the er, um .... facilities and while taking warm bubble baths. I'm man enough to admit I like bubble baths OK? Anyway, there has been a drought of good bathroom reading lately in the house. I like nice short chapter books, particularly those about zombies or baseball (my two non-photographic interests) and I'm all out of the good stuff and my Amazon wish list is empty. So I was looking at my Scott Kelby books which I keep right beside my computer and thought "I wonder how well I really know Lightroom." I've been using it for a long time now. I love it, and I've used the Kelby books very often as a pull down reference for when I have a question. But I've never read it front to back. WELL, this is I tell you the PERFECT bathroom book! You see, my bathroom is six steps from my office and I've been reading through it (front to back) and it turns out that yes I do know Lightroom very very well (hey Scott I'm no dummy), but it does turn out that there is plenty I didn't know. I now have a custom studio header instead of the Adobe one. I've cleaned up all those unused keywords and I'm considering (though not really sure) dumping the star ratings I use for his flagging method. So I understand if you don't want to borrow my copy of the book, but if you do have this book lying around collecting dust beside your computer may I suggest you ever so gently place it on the toilet tank. You just never know what you might find out. (Scott your CS4 book is next).
OK, OK just one last little thingy..... Thom Hogan put out his 2010 predictions recently and they are very very interesting. And, Jeff Ascough did a real world wedding photography review of the new Canon 1DMkIV which has left me drooling and considering how slowly my savings for that camera is building. Finally, David Hobby has destroyed my wallet just as I had settled on the idea of replacing my cheap Ebay strobes with Alien Bees instead of the Profoto Lights I craved. He has written about his longing and desire for Profoto lights too. Thanks David and thanks for reading!
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 8:30 PM
Monday, November 23, 2009
Have you ever done an image for a client and kind of sat on the fence yourself about it, not sure if you like it, and then they pick it as their favorite and use it again and again and print it large? The more you keep seeing it the more you just wish it would go away and you end up hating it. Happened with me a while ago. I just don't know what I was thinking about when I did my post. The client loves it. I kind of wish I had held it back. Sigh. Then again client satisfaction is the ultimate goal right? And on the other side of the coin I had been doing a treatment to some of my family portraits that I really enjoyed, but wasn't really getting the nice reception to it that I was going for. I was about to stop doing it but the third family I showed that treatment to loved it, and ordered it in a huge print. Very rewarding feeling having someone love an image that you worked hard on and took a chance on. It pays to go with your own feeling sometimes instead of the safe sellers or post looks that are traditionally appealing.
I spent some time last weekend out shooting some black and white landscapes which is something I never get a chance to do. Took my E3 and wide angle lens out along with a graduated ND filter I had bought but had never used. Turns out it was a very even exposure day between the sky and water where I shot meaning striaght ND might have worked better. Have the right tools to solve an exposure problem and of course you finally get perfect light. I enjoyed myself though having a quiet couple of hours with my camera doing a type of photography that I normally don't do. Sample in this post.
I recently blogged about my purchase of the complete historical collection of National Geographic Magazines on DVD. I've been enjoying it, and was inspired to purchase the new book, the National Geographic Image Collection. You can see a link to it in the Amazon ad on this page. The images are stunning in this large book. Something I'm proud to have on my coffee table. One thing I'm noticing about the National Geographic 'style' is that the images are not always crisp, not usually grain free and yet really awesome. I'm convinced that the hallmark of this point in time for digital photography is going to be clean crisp noise free images, but I'm starting to understand too that that is not always the most desirable outcome. Sometimes a bit of grain, etc can be a really appealing trait to an image.
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 1:24 PM
Sunday, November 15, 2009
As I take a break from wedding photography in the slow season, I've kept myself busy with portraits, events and football. Yesterday a national newspaper hired me to photograph the 2009 Canadian Bowl Championship game which was pretty fun. Lots of action, had a player yell at me and managed to say warm on a cold rainy day. I don't do a lot of sports, but I can see how players go off on sports photographers so regularly. I was grabbing images of the losing teams reactions (the crying, the yelling etc) and one of the players took exception to that and got in my face before a coach intervened. Honestly, it was a crushing defeat, emotions were high, and while I was just doing my job I totally empathize with the player that was upset with me. Having said that, if you want to play in a league that draws media attention, you'd better put on your big boy panties and get used to it. At least he didn't cross the line and get physical.
There is a wedding photography related video floating around the net right now that I wanted to share. It is harsh, full of cursing and generally in poor taste, but it is also really funny and partly true. Here it is:
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 11:31 AM
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Well, I was taking a break from editing some portraits from a shoot last weekend and was updating the firmware on my latest Olympus E3 (yes I bought another one), when I got bored and distracted and resorted to taking a portrait of my cat. Now I'm not a pet photographer. I love my big fat black cat Virgil, but I've always thought pet photography was really boring. So why did I do it? Boredom I tell you. Plus, as I contemplate going over to the dark side and getting a Canon 1D MkIV I wanted to shoot the E3 up to 3200 ISO and I did. Natural light, hand held. Grainy? Yes. But hey, it's a black cat and it seems to work.
Speaking of black, the new Olympus EP-2 is black. Man it looks cool. Someone let me know when the price comes down to earth and I'll sell my LX3 for one.
And why did I buy another Olympus E3? Well my other one is into Olympus for a slow season tune-up. I lost my rubber eye-piece thingy on a job last week when I carelessly stored the camera like a dummy. It needed a sensor cleaning and the remote cable release wasn't working (not sure if it is the cable or the E3 so I sent both). And of course, the day after I ship it in a national newspaper calls to hire me for a big football game on short notice. Cool, but it is going to rain like crazy and my L1 just doesn't cut it in wet weather or honestly for action. So I made the snap decision to sell the L1 (and I did) and buy another E3 as I have a fair amount of good Olympus lenses and the camera is awesome for outdoor rainy days. Plus, I don't have the cash ready for the Canon 1D MkIV and lens investment yet and as I hope many of you are doing, I don't buy anything on credit in this economy. The E3 was on clearance at London Drugs so I couldn't resist. (also it doesn't help that the Canon isn't even on the market for another month).
Whew...what a lot of blabbering. Sorry about that. So to make it up to you I want to point everyone to Ned Bunnel's blog where he has this hilarious video posted of these guys making fun of the pixel peeper in all of us. Ned is the president of Pentax btw.
And speaking of Pentax, while I was buying the E3 a customer came into London Drugs to buy a new beginner dslr. She mentioned to the salesperson that she had a Pentax point and shoot she liked and was comfortable with (and a Fuji she didn't like) but was looking for an upgrade. The salesperson immediately pulled out one of the lower end Nikon dslr's. I took interest and suggested the lady consider the new Pentax Kx as it had in body image stabilization and was cheaper, had better noise control etc. The salesperson was clearly annoyed with me. I'm not sure what spiff's Nikon gives but honestly have we come to a point when nothing named Nikon or Canon can be considered? The lady said she was comfortable with Pentax. Sheesh. Anyway, I think the cold salesperson and my admitted over excitement about chatting cameras scared the lady away. She said she had to think about it. In my defence I did say the Nikon was excellent, but that for my dollar the Pentax would be a better choice. And I won't even get into how unenthusiastic the salesperson was about selling me my E3. It was like she was handling a box of hippo poop. Honestly.
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 7:30 PM
Friday, November 6, 2009
I would say that I just bought it for the articles, but I'd be lying. I bought it because:
- It was cool
- I wanted to browse 100+ years of photos
What is it? Every National Geographic issue since 1888. Yup, all of them. On DVD that is, as we are trying to save some trees you know. You can find a link to it on the right hand side of the blog at Amazon. Honestly, it was in impulse buy, but I love it and want to spend hours looking at it. Lets face it, National Geographic has had the best photography going for pretty much forever.
Before I go, wanted to mention that Olympus has announced their successor to the EP-1, the (originally named) EP-2. I'm digging the black, and just might want to buy one now that it comes with a viewfinder. I'll be sending my E3 in for service this week as it is getting to be the slow winter season, and I have to admit that I'm a bit disappointed I'm not looking at a new shiny E4 on my desk right now. It is looking more and more like the Canon 1d MkIV is coming to a photographer near you. Or um, near me. OK, to me. What does this all have to do with dirty hands as pictured in this post? Nothing. :)
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 7:06 PM
Sunday, November 1, 2009
First up, is my daughter who this year and last decided to forgo the girly princess costumes and dress a bit more.....aggressively. I love it! This year she was a ninja.
Secondly, October 31st has come and gone and Olympus has not announced a replacement, as rumored, for my beloved E3. What does this mean? Nothing in particular except that it firms up my plan to buy a different brand of professional camera. I have decided on a Canon, but after playing with the 7D (too noisy, not enough of an improvement over my E3) and 5D MkII (too slow in every way as compared to my E3) I find myself having dreams of the newly announced 1D Mk IV. It gets released in December and I'm pretty close to saving the cash to buy it. It is fast, has great high ISO results and plenty of megapixels for me. Plus it is much more robust and professionally built than the other two Canon's, much more in line with my rugged Olympus. Will I get it? I don't know, but I hope so. And if Olympus releases the E4 before I buy a Canon, I will certainly consider it of course!
Lastly I saw this new offering which is a DVD tutorial called Sessions with Joey L. It is on sale until the end of today for $250 US, and I want it really badly. I have a couple of hours to decide I suppose, but if anyone else buys it can I borrow it!??! :)
Posted by Neil Gaudet at 10:07 AM