New Equipment

We have added a few more items to our collection.

– Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens
– Rode NTG-1 Condenser Shotgun Microphone with a SM5 Shock Mount and a Deadcat
– Gitzo G2380 Video Head
– Gitzo GM2561T 6X Carbon Fiber Monopod
– Contour Waterproof Housing For Our Contour+ PoV

Until next time…Hang Loose!

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Who’s Getting Sand Kicked In Their Face Now?

© Ryan Pfluger

I have aways been more interested in photographing slim/toned guys, instead of the typical muscle guy. You know the muscle type. The guy that spends all of his free-time in the gym lifting heavy weights, grunting and screaming, to build a totally out of proportion body (my impression) he probably thinks “impresses” the girls…or probably feeds his ego; only speculation on my part. All of my working out is performed at home using free-weights and my body…hence…toned (umm…I have been kind of slacking…umm).

A lot (ok, more than fifty percent) of the muscle guys I meet are stuck on themselves, and think everyone wants to see them…including photographers. But, not me, and I was afraid I was going to start having a hard time finding slim/toned guys that are willing to model. (Calvin Klein, where are your pushing the edge ads? …where is the guy that helped shape me?!)

A couple of days ago, I was thumbing through a stack of my ever growing collection of magazines (I almost caused an avalanche) to see the technics ad photographers use; both past and present. To my surprise, I found an article written by Joshua David Stein (“Out”, May 2010, page 26).

The gist of the story; “mass is out; svelte is in”! Can you see the smile on my face?! The story even went on to say that guys trying to build the muscle rippling body, might as well stop wasting their time, money, and energy.

Unfortunately, as we all know, everything is cyclical. So, I guess (hopefully not in the near future), the whole muscle thing will eventually come back. Case in point; guys were shaving off all of their body hair…now body hair is becoming a popular look.

Just that thought is making my smile turn upside down. But, even though hair is starting to become the “in thing”, at least the guys are still slim/toned. So, I guess I can overlook the hair…just as long as the guys stay svelte!

I am not the norm, as any of my friends will so quickly tell you, so I will keep photographing svelte guys…be damned the tend! The change might be a good thing. It will distinguish me from the “box-full” of follow-the-trend photographers.

Fans listen up (the whole two of you…one is me;)…worry not. In photography, money has never been my motivator. My mind will always stay the same, and it is totally out of the box 😉

Hang loose!

– The photo at the top of this post accompanied the article by Joshua David Stein. The name of the model is unknown 😦

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Here We Grow Again!

In keeping with our commitment to providing our customers with a wide range of options, and the most advanced equipment in the industry, we have again added to our already extensive collection of equipment.

This month, we added the Contour+ PoV HD Camera…for awesome and creative sports videos, both the Rode NTG-1 Condenser Shotgun Microphone and Rode SM5 Ring-Clamp Shock Mount…for superior audio coupled with our Sony HVR-Z5U Professional HDV Camcorder, and the Gitzo Series 2 Aluminum Quick Release Fluid Video Head…to make flawless pan and tilt movements during HD video recordings.

But, it does not end there. In the very near future, we will be adding even more high-tech equipment! We are always researching and purchasing equipment to allow our customers to remain on the cutting edge of technology!

Check back soon to see what new “toys” we have available. Until then, hang loose!

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Just A Quick Update

Only because I was talking about how I geotag my photos, I thought I would update you on my new GPSr.

My new receiver is the Garmin® GPSmap 62s™. After it arrived, I added a PNY® 4GB MicroSD card. I know, I am a SanDisk® man, but that is all that was available at my local store (Welcome to Franklin, WNC!), and I could not wait!

Garmin® recommends you do not go over 4GB. From experience, I know all too well the problems you get if you do. It locks-up your receiver, and you have to CONSTANTLY power cycle it…something you get tired of very quickly!

So that I can also use it for Geocaching, I added the optional Garmin® service “Birdseye™ Satellite Imagery“. The service costs $29.99USD a year. Even if you decide not to renew your subscription after one year, you keep all of the satellite images you downloaded during your active subscription.

It is kind of cool. You can upload to your receiver satellite images using the free Garmin® software “BaseCamp™”. So far, I have only added a couple of satellite images of my area, just to play around. I know, again the geeky side of me shows through!

Not to get away from the receivers use for geotagging, but Garmin® has also released a device called, “Chirp™“. It is used for Geocaching by attaching it to your cache, with a MSRP of $22.99USD. It transmits info about the cache when you get close. The downside, it will only work with a Garmin® GPSr receiver that has wireless abilities. But, shame on you for not having one! 😉

You know me, I have already been placing “dummy” caches to test it. So far, I am very impressed!

Ok, enough rambeling…especially with info that is not totally photography related.

Until next time, Hang Loose!

The GPSmap™ 62s and Chirp™:

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Yes, Mpix Is My Friend!

I have had several people ask me how I print my projects. Well, here is my little secret. I don’t print them myself. Why? I don’t know how to calibrate my printer…hehe.

So to keep from making myself look like a total idiot, I use the online company Mpix. They are experts when it comes to printing gorgous prints. They give you several choices of paper, and based on the size of your file, give you many, many different print sizes.

You take your pictures during the day, upload them to Mpix that same night, and they have them printed and out the door the next day. What service! In the beginning I was surprised with the ease of use, and the quick turn-around-time, but now I automatically expect it…and I have never been disappointed.

So, that is way I use their service. Believe it or not, I did not get any type of compensation for telling you this.

Until next time, Hang Loose!

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Part Two…Geotagging – The Digitized Optics Way

In an earlier post, I talked about geotagging photos. I also mentioned how geotagging can be surprising simple…well, maybe to the tech minded.

Several years back, well, actually, many years back, I purchased my first GPSr (Global Positioning System Receiver). I know, it is common for the masses to say GPS, but that stands for Global Positioning System…the name of the entire system made up of base stations, antennas, and the satellites flying overhead. The equipment you use in your car, or in your handheld units for hiking and/or geocaching, are receivers. So, to be really cool, and to make your friends feel stupid, you can say…GPSr.

OK, back to my receiver(s). My first was the Garmin eTrex Legend® (a blue transparent case). It worked great, and still does. I had fun using it mainly for geocaching…like most people out there. After delving deep into the ins-and-outs of the whole GPS system, I decided it was only fitting to upgrade. I went for the Garmin GPSMAP® 60CSx.

By the way, I should mention that both of these units have been discontinued. But, they have been replaced with updated versions (hmm…I might just have another idea for another upcoming post..hehe). I have had even GREATER luck with the GPSMAP® 60CSx receiver. It contains the SiRF Star III chipset and a external Quad-Helix antenna that is very sensitive to receiving the signals from the satellites (also know as “birds”). I could write an entire post about these units and the GPS system, but you get the gist. This is the unit I currently use to geotag my photos.

I take all of my pictures with the Canon EOS 7D…even on my professional jobs. While geotagging, I attach to the bottom of the EOS 7D camera body the Canon WFT-E5A Wireless File Transmitter (an optional accessory). It is a little on the pricy side, but you know me, and my “geeky” side, I had to have it…money be damed!

With the transmitter attached, teathered to the GPSr via the cable that comes included with the Garmin receiver, I am able to have the latitude and longitude (lat/long…abbreviated) automatically included in the EXIF file automatically as I take pictures. It is a great little system.

So, in a nut shell, there you go. Very quick, and probably not the easiest for most of you to understand, and fully understandable, but it sounds more complicated than it actually is. If you would like to do the same, and have any questions or problems, do not hesitate to fire-off an email. I will give you step-by-step instructions.

Below I have a picture that shows you the entire set-up, and the camera’s screen showing you the lat/long that was recored in the EXIF of the picture just taken.

Until next time – Hang Loose!

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Soaring Through The Clouds!

Yesterday, despite tropical storm Lee creating a crappy day, I decided to go with my parents on a hiking/picnic outing. I was kind of in the mood to take some pictures, so I thought I would take advantage.

We live in Western North Carolina, so we are very close to the Appalachian Trail; know locally as the “AT”. Our first stop was the fire tower located on the top of Alberts Mountain (35.052579° N, 83.477426° W). The AT runs right along the base of the tower. You are able to climb up the tower’s steps, but you are greeted by a locked wooden hatch keeping you from actually getting into the building on top. Still, you are able to get a 360 degree view from a mile above sea level.

After walking down the AT to the parking lot, we decided to make our picnic a tailgate “party” and ate lunch out of the back of the SUV. Next, we drove to a popular lookout spot called Pickens Nose (35.022393° N, 83.458305° W). It is a large rock jetting out over a valley.

There is a path that leads from the parking lot to the rock. After about an hour walking the path (I stopped several times to take pictures…of course), we finally came to Pickens Nose. The storm had caused us to walk right into the clouds. It was actually very interesting. So interesting, that I used the video feature on my 7D to take a small clip of the clouds passing up the valley and around us.

Because the clouds totally obscured our view of the valley, we are going to have to make another visit. But, that is fine with me. I can think of a lot of pictures I would like to take of the area.

Until next time, Hang Loose!

Here is a copy of the video;

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