Leica M8 Upgrades

For any of you that may have a Leica M8, you probably already are aware, nut just in case you are not,… Leice is offering two upgrades to the camera. Unfortunately you have to pay for them and they are not cheap! One is for a quieter shutter with less vibration and the other is to replace the LCD cover glass with sapphire glass. To have them both done will set you back $1700! The upgrades won’t be available till August 2008. Maybe by then we can find low interest financing! Find out more here.

Lightroom Killer Tips

I was playing catch-up yesterday on some podcasts that I subscribe to and thought I would pass along my current favorite.

With all of the hardware and software apps that we as photographers have to keep up on, anything that can quickly and concisely assist in that endeavor is always much appreciated.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom has become one of our main workflow apps and although we are pretty adept at it Adobe programs are always so “deep” that it is hard to stay on top of all of the shortcuts, tools, and tricks.

So I have been subscribing to a podcast caller Lightroom Killer Tips. The thing I like about them is that the host (Matt Kloskowski) is clear and concise with very useful tips tools and ideas. Most of the podcasts are in the 5-8 min range so you are not stuck forever watching endless videos. Brevity is Good!

So even if you are very well versed in Lightroom, I would check out these podcasts because you may just walk aways with a great timesaving nugget!

You can find the podcasts AND a lot more, like free presets at their site http://www.lightroomkillertips.com/ and of course you can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes by going to the iTunes Store inside iTunes and doing a search for Lightroom Killer Tips and then clicking Subscribe!

Drobo – Photographic Backup and Archiving

I was talking to a friend / colleague of mine (Ty Milford) yesterday and we got onto the topic of Backup / Archiving our systems. Right now we are both on the method of simply copying to external disk arrays. It works fine but is a bit cumbersome. We have multiple computer systems here and the system we use for imaging is a stand alone and separate from the computer I use on a daily basis. My daily computer I am backing up using Apple’s Time Machine, and specifying an external drive as the destination. So far it has been working fine and thankfully I have not needed to access it! But knowing it is constantly updating on it’s own really gives me peace of mind.

But I really have been thinking about how to migrate to a better system for the imaging computer. With close to 3TB of information, we have a lot to stay on top of! Okay, getting to the point, yesterday Ty told me about this new backup drive system called Drobo. So I went to their web site and checked it out. It really appears to be a great system and in addition works with Time Machine!

Drobo and Time Machine together creates an automatic and secure backup of all of your data. The cool thing is that it is scalable. That is it can grow as your data does. Start out small and just add more or larger hard drives to the self contained system as you need or can afford them. Plus you are only buying bare drives and not having to pay for the fancy casings etc.

Their website has a demonstration video that shows the system, and it works on either Mac or Windows!

Although we have not purchased it quite yet I think it will be the next investment (add it to the list!)

Sagewater Spa

Okay, it’s time for a shameless plug. If you are in the L.A. Area or in Southern California for that matter, or heading this direction and want to take a few days off and just get away, we’ve got the place for you!

Sagewater Spa in Desert Hot Springs. We were there last August to decompress and are itching to go again! It is a small boutique spa with hosts that could not be nicer or more fun to hang out with. It’s design is mid-century modern and clean and simple amenities create a mood of tranquility and relaxation. Customized spa treatments in your room followed by a dip in the spring / mineral water filled pool and a lovely barbeque dinner rounds out what could be a perfect escape. They recently upgraded their water filter/softener and this water softener system has been voted as the best in the country!

So go to their web site, check out their offerings, make a reservation and then just sit back, relax and enjoy!


There is a new service online that is quite innovative and particularly useful for photographers who want to license timely images for the web. It’s called GumGum. It is extremely simple and again a really good way to get your images to content builders on the web. It is just starting out, so it will be interesting to see how well it is used but the business model is great.

As a photographer, you simply open an account, upload images that you want to make available, add keywords, and you’re done. Anyone can license the image for online use and GumGum takes care of that whole process. You simply wait for the money to roll in.

Now although you can upload any kind of images, the ones that will probably reap the biggest rewards in my opinion will be the “timely” images, such as news making events, or (I shudder to even say it) paparazzi images, but I don’t see why any viable image would not have some kind of audience.

And hey, it’s free. You should check out their little video intro on the home page, it explains everything including how the pricing works. And if you are the one that has the shot of Britney in that compromising position (then again who doesn’t) maybe you can make a buck or two….

Capture One Pro Update

Capture One Pro has released an update (v3.7.8) which adds more support for Canon EOS 1Ds Mk III’s which was good to hear. We had hoped that that this would mean we would be able to use it for tethered shooting in OS X 10.5 Leopard, since we lost that functionality with the operating system upgrade. But alas, the release notes indicate that tethered functionality is still not there for “some” Canon cameras. I can tell you from experience, the Mark III is one of “those” cameras! So we are again locked into using the supplied Canon utilities which by the way are vastly improved! That in conjunction with Lightroom really is working just fine for us, so I really doubt that we will be going back to Capture One Pro, even if they get the tethered functionality back on-line.

Canon EOS 1 Ds Mark III – Sample

So here is a quick sample from the Canon EOS 1 Ds Mark III

Photograph by Los Angeles Photographer - Dana Hursey Detail Photo by L.A. Pgotographer Dana Hursey

The first is the full image and the second is detail at 100% magnification.

I have been really impressed with color, tonality and clearly, as seen above, the detail.
These are big files, and consequently we have to deal with the storage issue of bigger and bigger files. But I feel the payoff is worth it (until we have to go out and buy that 10 TB back-up array!)

There are a lot of other nice things about this camera, like the bigger LCD and very crisp, clear and large viewfinder. A “Favorites” Menu that you can customize and put all of your favorite functions. Fewer buttons and knobs. More info in the viewfinder.

The big downside as we discussed in an earlier post is the USB connection and subsequent S L O W transfer speed during tethered shooting. It will take a few more shoots to get used to things and work out any bugs. But we think this will overall be a great piece of equipment.

Canon EOS 1 Ds Mark III – Tethered Shooting

The new Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III certainly puts out beautiful large files! But in our first real shoot with the camera we really noticed how quickly those large files can bog down the transfer when shooting tethered! The fact that Canon opted for a USB connection rather than stepping up to a Firewire 800 connection is kind of beyond belief! I would not put it past them to have done it on purpose so as to introduce that in the next camera, forcing us all to upgrade yet again, since we seem to be hitting up against the the maximums of reasonably useable megapixels, they are probably looking for / holding back features so as to secure their revenue stream.

During our shoot once we started to hit up against the camera buffer’s limit we had to simply walk away from the camera and go do something else while it finished the transfer. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a real issue as we head into more shoots.

Canon EOS 1 Ds Mark III – First Thoughts

This weekend we did a small shoot. The first one with the 1Ds Mk III. A colleague of mine had gotten one about a month before I did and had mentioned that he was having to adjust to the “new sound” the camera made in relation to the Mark II. At the time I thought he was overstating the fact for dramatic effect and really just more talking about his new toy.

On Saturday I realized what he was talking about! Wow! The Mark III’s shutter really does sound very different! I have been shooting with the 1Ds and the Mark II’s for over 5 years and for the most part they sound very much like each other (which is why I did not give that much credence to my friends comments). But the new sound made by the Mark III bordered on distracting for me. Not that the sound is “wrong” or “bad” it is just significantly different from what I have been listening to for the past five years.

So if you pick up a Mark III, there is nothing wrong with it and yours is not the only one that sounds like that!

Pay Check


I just got my pay check form the Los Angeles Superior Court for my week of Jury duty! A whopping $118.56 for over a weeks worth of work! That works out to about $2.12 an hour. But hey, I guess I shouldn’t complain, they paid in four days! That in and of itself is amazing!!!


We have used Quickbooks for our accounting, estimating and invoicing since it’s inception. Up until two years ago we were using the Windows version, which had improved and expanded over the years. But then about two years ago we migrated completely over to Mac’s and consequently switched over to the Mac version of Quickbooks.

While still one of the better programs out there, the Mac version is years behind the Windows version in it’s sophistication and bug free operation. While Mac’s are growing exponentially (and rightly so) in their popularity, the user market is still not up to the point where software companies like Intuit put as much time, effort, and quality control into their Mac versions as they do into their Windows versions.

So despite the fact the the current version of Quickbooks Pro for Mac (2007) is VERY buggy and is a few giant step behind it’s Windows counterpart, it still performs the basic tasks we need and allows us to quickly estimate, bill, and keep our books. But we are REALLY looking forward to the next version in hopes that it can come a bit closer to where it should be!

It’s Official

Last night we finished our last video project. Of course, ever since we announced that we were phasing out our film/video production/post-production services we have had nothing but a bunch of requests for that. That is always the way! Probably the universe testing you to see how committed you are to the decisions you make. Well, we are committed on this front.

It feels like a weight has been lifted and now we can get back to what is really important; focusing on photography without any distractions!

Finally Back!

Jury Duty is finally complete! We wrapped up deliberations today shortly before noon. So I am thrilled to be able to get back to business. More frequent posts to come!

Still Waiting for Hasselblad’s New Software

We purchased a Hasselblad H3DII a few months back with the promise that Hasselblad would be releasing new software to accompany it by the end of 2007. Unfortunately that did not happen, and towards the end of December we called in to find out the status and were told that it would very likely be out mid January. Well he we are heading into February and still no software. Very disappointing as the old software is not up to par. Hasselblad’s web site even still indicates an end of 07 release. Obviously they don’t do a lot of web maintenance! Not to be impatient, but, hurry… hurry!!!!

Oh Well….

I got seated on a jury, so I will be sitting in court for the next week! So will try to check in or you can join me for lunch in downtown L.A.!