Is it Over Yet?


First off, let me apologize to everyone for being so sporadic with the postings lately.  I fell victim to a nasty cold which is still lingering to a degree.  Mix in a dash of holiday festivities, and before you know it, days can go by without posting.  Having said that, and before I forget:

I hope everyone’s Christmas season was merry, and that you maintain the sense of cheer and family as we head into New Year’s weekend!

I say that because before you know it – the season will be over.  For some of us, that can’t happen soon enough! The Holiday season always seems to bring out a frenetic mentality.  People resort to pepper spray to buy items they want to give as gifts.  We whirl through traffic, trying to get to the grocery store for that one last item needed to complete a meal, or that specialty store forone last stocking stuffer.  Screaming for parking spaces, scrambling for gifts, and rushing about in almost a panic – it can certainly be stressful, can’t it?

A mantra I hear quite a bit lately is “Just tell me when the holidays are over!”.  It’s kind of sad too…the holiday season, more than anything else, should be a time of joy and merriment.  After all, you are spending time with the ones who you supposedly care about the most:  family, friends, and loved ones.  Sooner than you know, the  season will be over and it will be back to the daily grind, your work routines, and ever so shortly after that, the mentality will change to “When can I get a vacation form the daily grind?”

You have that vacation from the grind – right now!  Enjoy it while you can, because before you know it – it will be over.

Photo Review: Image Wizards AluminArte!

Image Wizards Print on Display

As you may recall from our monthly giveaway last month, the lucky winner got a print from the folks over at Image Wizards.  These aren’t just prints with metallic ink on specialty papers – these are prints on aluminum!  It’s a pretty amazing process, and the results are equally amazing!  I have been promising the write-up and review for a while now, but with the holidays and a bout with the flu, I was out of commission for a while there.  (As an aside, try to avoid getting sick during the holidays – not fun at all!)

Never fear though, I’ve rebounded, and as promised, here’s the skinny on the prints from Image Wizards.  First off, they aren’t kidding when they ship these prints.  I opted for the lower cost corrugated cardboard, but it was still packed in like a tank. After taking it out and selecting an appropriate place for display, I hung it for a while to make sure it worked in my selected location.  Not only does it work – it works beautifully!

As you can see, the ambient light catches it perfectly, and really draws the eye in.  For this particular print I chose the aluminum brushed satin finish, which is kind of like a matted version so it wouldn’t be too glossy as the print is of the stamens in a flower.  Something like a skyline might call for a more glossy sheen, but that’s really a matter of personal taste.

The aluminum composition really makes it stand out unlike any other print you’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a few, from other sponsors like Nations Photo Lab, and contributor Backlitbox).  As we photographers are always seeking to find a niche market, the folks at Image Wizards have found a perfect market themselves for a very unique product.  Not only is it a high quality print, but it’s built to last for all ages.  The mounting (I chose the frame to edge, or boxed mount, option) and hanging mechanisms are equally impressive too.  A double row of framing and a sturdy wire hanger mounted securely by screws make sure that once you hang it, there’s nothing to worry about as you know it’s not going anywhere.

Image Wizards Framing

Image Wizards Hanger

The caveat to all this is that for a unique, high end print made on aluminum, the cost of entry is not cheap.  The 16×20″ print you see above runs about $200!  You can get estimates done for any custom size you like on their upload page (and yes, the upload process is pretty slick too – upload directly via your web browser)!  You do get what you pay for though, so if you really want to impress your own clients with some eye-popping prints, Image Wizards definitely has a unique look for you!  Check them out when you get a chance!

And for those of you wondering why you didn’t know about the contest last month – another one is underway now…only a little time left before the window closes on the December giveaway, so if you want to try for a chance to win a bunch of photography books, gear and such, stop by the Flickr thread and share your image there soon!

And now an interesting video diversion…

Canon 40D

The idea struck me recently that showing some of the LCD configurations for our EOS and other camera systems might be helpful to many people, with an explanation of what each of these does (since the printed manuals are often lacking).  I set out to seek a way to capture the video and started my Google research and investigations.  Nothing really came up for recording the back of the LCD screen other than taking stills with another camera!  Even the NAPP forums (which is my go-to resource for a plethora of knowledge) came up empty!

That wasn’t really what I wanted though, so I decided to table the project as the holidays were rapidly approaching.  Then earlier tonight, while tucking away some Christmas presents in a place I know Tracy will never go, some video cables zip-tied neatly into a shoe tupperware fell out into my office.  I looked curiously at this one called the Diamond Multimedia VC500.

It had been purchased a while back to help convert some old VHS tapes to digital (circa 1998 and 1999), then put away indefinitely…until tonight.  I then went searching for the video cable to one of my EOS cameras…after all, I am a pack rat!  And sure enough, after ten minutes, found it and started kicking the tires.  With my rudimentary video editing skills, I was able to cobble this together:

This should work pretty much anywhere too…whether you are viewing on a computer, laptop, iPad, or phone…the vid has been made as cross-source supported as possible, so let me know if you can’t see it!  It’s, of course, a very cheesy first attempt, but suggests that there may be more of a library to come in explaining SLR settings to help demystify things!

Not much other news here – a few more projects in the final steps of review to put out this week, including the AluminArte from Image Wizards, another eBook, and a couple other nuggets as we inch closer to the holidays!  (Are you ready yet?)  Stay tuned, and if you have suggestions on how to clean up that video noise at the bottom of this test video, I am all ears!

Last but not least, the Holiday Giveaway Bonanza is getting pretty hefty, and ready for your entries – get a photo in for a chance to win an amazing package of prizes!  Submit your photo today!