Monkey’s Fist Keychains

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Started tying a new batch of monkey’s fists. These are great for your car keys, boat key, or just as a gift. They are made out of high quality nylon line and lightweight. It’ll last forever, trust me. I sell ‘em for $10. Contact me if you’re interested, I accept PayPal and ship immediately.

Welcome back to NOLA!

So, Ciera and I have moved back to NOLA… Here is a 10 minute video we made on our way down. Hope yall enjoy it, tell me what you think.

Hub to NOLA

Shot on Canon 5DMK3 and GoPro Hero HD

Shooting Machine: Behind the Scenes

A while back I got a chance to stop by the shop at Shooting Machine. I was able get an up close and personal look at the new “Knuckle Bunny Cine Grip” camera handle before they flew it out to NAB in Vegas (where it debuted at the Sony booth on the new FS700).

The Knuckle Bunny Cine Grip by Shooting Machine, handmade from walnut.

For Sony FS100 and FS700 with Start/Stop REC trigger and  4-Way Controller (for Display options and Expanded Focus control).

The evolution of the Knuckle Bunny. Clay and wood prototype handles. It came a long way over the past few months.

They had already done the wood working by the time I got there (damn),but I got to see most of the assembly and some finishing touches.

Positioning the plate.

Fine tuning the cord length.

Marking out exactly where the plate will fasten.

Mike mounting the plate. No assembly line machine drilling here. All handmade, the old-fashioned way.

I did happen to catch lot of the final electronics work. Soldering the controllers.

Terminating the LEMO socket.

Caleb fine tuning the final firmware with the development team.

"Ciera Holzenthal" "Caleb White"

Content for designer team on a shop napkin. No funny business here.

"Ciera Holzenthal" "Graphic Designer"

Ciera finishing the brochures for NAB.

Done and ready for NAB, the Knuckle Bunny, cheese plate, and Shot Grip get tucked away in a Pelican case.

Shooting Machine makes a bunch of other “smart camera tools” (as they call ‘em), from 8mm rods to 1/4″ 20 clamps.

And it’s not only accessories for the FS100/700, they are constantly fitting more and more cameras (ARRI Alexa, Canon C300/C500, Sony F3) everyday.

Paul and Caleb fitting the Canon C300 for a new product…. Stay tuned to their website for more info

Red Beans & Rice

Red Beans & Rice

Been workin on my red beans recipe for a while. Can’t get pickled pork outside New Orleans, so I substitue boiled ham which I fry up with the trinity. This time also couldn’t get a ham hock, but ham shank seemed to work just as good. Next ima start working on a gumbo recipe.

Jazz Fest 2012

jazzfest

chair fortress

first crawfish bread

roman candy

first jazzfest

tom petty paint

gettin it done

high five

daquiri

coozy

snoballs

lucky shot

iced

karate

take a break

nap time

backlit

Homemade Cold-Brew Iced Coffee

Growing up in New Orleans spoiled me for many things, but none more than for a great cup of iced coffee. During summer months it is absolutely impossible to drink anything else. There is nothing better than grabbing a medium iced from PJ’s, having a smoke, and submitting to the angry heat of the southern sun.

In Boston, admist the cluster of Dunkin and Starbucks, it can be hard to find a quick, cheap cup so I decided to make my own. Back in college,  a couple of friends made their own “cold brew” with a Toddy system, which was damn good but overpriced. I figured that I could do the same thing without buying the $50 kit…

I found some great info online, mainly here, and it’s super easy:

Get a 1lb of coffee you like, ground coarse…

 Mix coffee with 1 gallon filtered room-temp water and wait 8-12 hours…

Get a pitcher and strainer…

Pour!

After the coffee is chilled, your cold-brew coffee concentrate is done. And you’re ready to make an iced coffee.

Iced Coffee Tych

Careful, this stuff is gooood, but strong! I genereally do a 1:1 water/coffee mix.

Fuji X-Pro1 & Pocket Wizards

Figured I’d share the method I use for triggering off-camera flash with my X-Pro1. It was a pain to set up.

The trick is getting the triggers in Basic Trigger Mode.

Here is the process for the MiniTT1/FlexTT5 (Canon).

On you computer via PocketWizard Utility:

MiniTT1 > Misc > Deselect “ForceTTL Master Mode” > Select “Basic Trigger Mode” > Noting the Standard Transmit Channel

FlexTT5 > Deselect “Use ControlTL Channel for Receive Channel” > Misc > Select “Basic Trigger Mode” > Match Standard Receive Channel (with that of the Mini’s Standard Transmit Channel)

Make sure the Mini & Flex are on the corresponding Standard Transmit Channel and Standard Receive Channel, respectively…

In Basic Trigger Mode, your PWs should be good to go on any camera with a compatible hot-shoe. Furthermore, this can be done on C1/C2, leaving a spare config setup for your main TTL system… Just make sure you select the correct Configuration tab in the PocketWizard Utility.

Helpful link:

http://www.pocketwizard.com/…ns/tutorials/basic_trigger_mode_tutorial_vide/

Fuji X-Pro1 Review

I’ve had my X-Pro1, along with the XF 35mm & 18mm lenses, for a little over a week now. I’ve taken it though the preliminary testing through a full day’s pro shoot (more on that later)… So let’s just get this out of the way: THIS THING ROCKS.

In order to afford this puppy, I sold my bread ‘n butter 5DMKII rendering an entire kit of L-glass useless. I also got rid of my Fuji X100, which left me without an axe. Needless to say, I was quite anxious for the 2+ months between the CES announcement and US release of the X-Pro1.

During this time I read LOTS of foreign reviews, pre-production tests, and bogus reactions from bloggers and forum trolls. Of these reviews the results were generally positive noting the fantastic image quality, amazing high ISO performance, and build quality. Trending negatives were often focused on price, auto/manual focus, and aperture chatter.

When I finally got the cam and lenses (the 60mm is still backordered) I had a list of things I wanted to confirm, debunk, or return the camera. First I had to charge the battery, OK, I cheated here and stuck in the spare I bought to begin testing! But hell, they’re LI-ion not the old Ni ones that actually have a “memory” anyways. But I digress, back to da bidness…

Aperture Chatter: NON-ISSUE
People have been making a lot of noise over a very subtle, insignificant clicking sound in changing lighting conditions. It is impossible to hear outside, and only audible for the shooter in the quietest situations.

Auto-Focus: Fine / Manual Focus: Bad
Like I said earlier, my two previous cameras were the 5DMKII and the X100, so obviously I’m not shooting sports.  I guess I’m just not very demanding of my AF performance, because a lot of folks are nuts about this. I tend to shoot slowly and deliberately. That said, I’m a pro and require professional results, reliability and speed.

The X-Pro1 & 18mm is much faster than the X100, but the 35mm is only slightly faster. The X-Pro1 tends to be about even with my 5DMKII, which was prone to hunt in low light, but is definitely NOT as fast as the 7D.

The X-Pro1 really looses respect when it comes to manual focus. That said, fly-by-wire isn’t the whole problem. The Canon 85mm f/1.2L is fly-by-wire, and that’s one of the best lenses ever made. The X-Pro1 fails because there is no turning speed/focus throw relationship (let alone adjustment). It’s a crap shoot every time you try to use it. Sometimes it takes 5-7 turns, but others a slight turn will make it jump.

I find MF useful only for macro (of stationary subjects) and for minute zone-focus tweaks (major adjustments made with at AF/AE button).

Price: Whatever
People may scoff at this, but it’s true. Who cares what it costs if it: Does the job? Helps make better photos? Gets out of the way while you concentrate? Everyone answers these differently, but for me the X-Pro1 does it all.

ISO Performance: Best Ever!
Much better at 6400 than the 5DMKII… Hands down. Low light? Bring it on, even without a flash!

AUTO ISO has two major flaws: The user needs to be able to set the Minimum Shutter Speed, and it should go up to 6400 instead of just 3200… Listen up Fuji!

Image Quality: Awesome
I am blown away buy the power of this sensor. The files take whatever I throw at them in post. I am no pixel peeping scientist, but I think the AA filter is a thing of the past. I haven’t seen a trace a moiré. I haven’t gotten much of chance to edit RAW files yet. Adobe doesn’t support the X-Pro1 RAW format yet and SilkyPix is garbage…

Ok, enough of the spec nonsense. This camera is great. Its snappy and discrete. Great for shooting events of any kind. People just don’t react to this cam like a DSLR. Most don’t even know its there. A couple people have even thought I was shooting film. Film is cool, but dead, sorry hipsters…

X-Pro1 as A-Camera: Standing up to the Pressure
Last week I shot PAX East for a big-time game developer. I intended to use the 7D and maybe play with the X-Pro1 a bit after I got the shots I really needed. No way, after an hour of using the Canon, I switched to the Fuji and the 7D hung out in the bag (killing my shoulder) for the rest of the day. The X-Pro1 was perfect in the crowds and no one even batted an eye when I stuck it right in there face. I never realized how intimidating the DSLR w/ zoom lens is until I saw people’s [non] reaction to this camera.

I accidentally shot half the day on RAW only (instead of RAW+JPEG) so I was forced to use the Silkypix RAW converter that comes bundled. This could have been horrible, but I just exported the files as uncompressed TIFFs and finished them off in Lightroom, which actually worked well.

When it came time to work with the JPEGs I noticed the red had gone to an overexposed pinkish, fuchsia hue. This must be due to the in-camera JPEG conversion because the reds were red in the RAW converted TIFFs. Anyways, this seems like an easy firmware fix. I have provided an example, but not a great one (sorry). It is very apparent sometimes, but I’m at work and dont have access to my stuff… *SEE UPDATE BELOW*

 

 

Conclusion
I love it, but its not going to cut it on all shoots. I will still be getting a 5DMKIII (when the issues get worked out and when my funds recover). The DSLR is just too fast, too reliable, to versatile to die this easily. Also, the X-Pro1 won’t play nice with zooms and doesn’t have a great flash equivalent to the 580EX, making it hard to use in a photojournalistic way. For weddings I can see it being more appropriate, but again these gigs are usually too important to fool around and the Fuji can slow you down.

But that is EXACTLY what the X-Pro1 is great at: slowing you down to rethink things, and plan it all out instead of just smashing frames at the situation. It’s definitely a niche camera and that’s a good thing. If you are completely happy lugging the DSLR kit around, then great. But it’s nice to just grab a small bag and be done with it without sacrificing quality. My next step is to get a EF-20 flash unit and see what it can do. Maybe then the big boy kit will get even more dusty between big boy gigs.

*UPDATE*

I mentioned originally that I thought the reds were being terrorized in JPEG conversion and that this might be a firmware bug.

Adam, a faithful reader, brought up the fact that I was using ProNegS and suggested trying Standard/Provia. I did a test for all Film Simulation Modes and compared them together and against a RAW file converted (without editing) in SilkyPix…

What I found is that ProNegS does tend to turn your reds a bit pink, BUT Standard/Provia seems to as well (with a bit of additional saturation & contrast). So, I happily retract my claim that there may be a “bug”…

ProNegH seems to be the winner, with Astia in close second. But all-in-all I just hate shooting JPEG and can’t wait for Adobe to release RAW support!

Thanks, Adam for pointing this out.

Fuji X-Pro1: First 24 Hours

Finally got my new cam… So pumped! It’s a really great camera. So satisfying to use, and just “gets outta the way”, letting you do your thing.

Not even gonna talk about the good and the bad. Leave it to the Queen. Here are some shots from a couple hours of shooting before, after and a few during work today….

spring

bloomin

city feed

four car garage

new car smell

makin' groceries

cuttin in up

Martha’s Vineyard Wedding Magazine Spread

Jacques-Imo’s

Jacques-Imo's

One of New Orleans’ best restaurants sits inconspicuously on Oak St. Just look for the painted truck…

Gameday…

Who Dat

Wake up. Find jersey. Get booze. Who Dat?

Taceaux Loceaux

Taceaux Loceaux

A great spot to grab some tacos in NOLA. You can generally catch this food truck uptown across from Whole Foods on Magazine St.

T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S2

T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S2

With a Little Help from my Friend

Mac Garage Ressurection

So, this past weekend while I was in Maine, where I lived as a child, I went rooting through my grandmother’s storage. What I happened to find was my first computer: a Macintosh Plus, which in 1986 cost a mere $2599 and had 1MB of memory (expandable to 4MB). The Mac Plus was an “affordable” all-in-one personal computer that needed only power, its included keyboard and mouse (a la the iMac). It was a revolution in personal computers. So I decided to get it runnin…

After I found all the parts, untangled the endless phone cord style mouse and keyboard, found an outlet and plugged her in, I flipped the switch. Sure enough the damn thing made its start up sound (not the new chime that everyone has come to know so well, but the crude “beeeeep” of old.

Alas, there was no picture… So I said, ”Oh well, she’s been stored for 14 years in an unheated garage. This things a fossil”.

After getting stubborn, I gave her a whack, which seems to fix everything, and boom the screen flickered. Laid her down and but some pressure on it and sure enough, I got the monitor to stay on.

Pops tells me to let her sit for a bit, so after a smoke I come back and try again. This time I set her upright and flipped the switch. BOOM! There it was, the good ole “sad mac face”. So I found my System 6 disk and tried again. After 3 or 4 attempts I finally got the thing to boot to the System 6 desktop.

After all that, one mouse click would cause the old “system bomb”… But hell, I call that a successful resurrection.

Thanks, Steve!