Where the Heck Have I Been?!?!

DrToni

As you no likely have discovered from the final blog post of last week, I have been out of the country on a long overdue vacation. More to come on that later, so, for today let me catch up on some overdue blog business. First off, the April contest winner for the Backlit Box is none other than DrToni (please email me for instructions on how to get your own Backlit Box)!

DrToni

I do have to say with absolute sincerity though, this was far and away one of the most difficult contests to judge as there were so many good submissions that were in keeping with the “Light” theme. So, a big congratulations to all actually for every single talented submission…the ongoing participation in this series always continues to amaze me with the quality of work! A special thanks also goes out to Faxon Moulder, the owner of www.Backlitbox.com, who approached me about sponsoring one of the giveaways…it was an honor to bring him aboard and expect a review shortly from the product line as well!

Anyway, moving right along, with the April contest closed, and the May contest now open for the Hoodman LoupeTM, the Flickr thread is now open for submissions here. The theme for the Hoodman Loupe contest, as you may recall from Friday, is BLOCK. Here’s the particulars:

A nod goes out to Hoodman for their sponsorship of the May Giveaway too, and yes, a review is forthcoming here as well. Good luck to everyone!

Photo Contest News: Hey, A Hoodman!

Hoodman Loupe

Okay, I know this was supposed to happen earlier this week, but to be honest and finally let the cat out of the bag – I’ve been out of town all week!  Yup, I was on a little vacation to the tropics for a little R&R.  If all goes well, my flight will be in today, and we’ll be back in time for me to make an announcement on Monday with the April contest winner.  That being said though, I didn’t want to delay the May contest news because this month is another doozy of a prize!

Hoodman Loupe

This month the folks at Hoodman have stepped up to contribute one of their patented Loupes to the giveaway series.  I know, I am overdue on several product reviews, including the Backlitbox from last month, and now this Hoodman Loupe, as well as some RadioPoppers that are currently being tested for another review prior to the giveaway!  Since the Hoodman Loupe is next on the agenda, they get the honor of the May giveaway!  Here’s the rules:

1.  One photo per participant

2.  A new wrinkle – the winner must be able to receive the prize at a U.S. address.  With the blog and pocast having an international following, I typically have the vendors ship the prizes direct, but because I have to ship it this time, in order to keep costs down – a U.S. address is required.

3.  Photo must be work-safe/family friendly.

4.  The longest side (either the top/bottom or the left/right) must be no larger than 800px or smaller than 600px.

5.  The photo must be included in the Flickr thread (which I will post up on Monday) with the May 2011 title.

6.  The Flickr photo must be downloadable – we share the winning photo via announcement here on the blog and in newsletters – so I need to get it to do that!

7.  Since the prize for the contest is a Hoodman Loupe – the theme for photos is:  BLOCK (The Loupe blocks stray light…get it? 🙂  You can interpret any way you like, so get creative as that always makes it interesting.

8.  Have fun!  Remember photography is supposed to be fun so keep that in mind as you approach the May giveaway.

9.  Reminder Guidelines and Rules of Engagement links are here for easy reference.  (I’ll also update the link to the contest page on Monday too).

10.  If you don’t follow me on Twitter, do so here, then tweet the following:  “I just posted my photo in the #CanonBlogger Hoodman Giveaway!  http://tinyurl.com/3jlw78x”

Thanks to the generous folks over at Hoodman for their contribution!  Happy shooting and we’ll see you back here on Monday!

Monday Minutia: Memory Management

CF Cards

A post over on This Week in Photography got me thinking about my memory cards and the rituals or practices I take to conserve my image data. As they suggested over at TWIP, I do format my cards in camera prior to using. This in-camera formatting optimizes the data sectors and creates folders to organize image data. However, I also occasionally format my cards on the computer for that exact reason. Since the XT only has an image counter that goes to 100, whenever I pass that 100 mark, it creates a new folder.  If I were to never format the card outside of the camera, those folders would always remain there – and I would wonder if there were images in there not being copied out to my hard drive for backup.

So, I do format my memory cards in the computer. About once a month I’ll insert my cards into the card reader, plug ‘er up, and format away. On the PC, that would be: format E: /fat32 (With “E” being whatever drive letter is assigned to media once you connect it. Having said that though, once the PC format is complete, I will do another format in camera to optimize sectors for the camera prior to shooting.

The last step I take in the format process is to take a picture. My very first picture on each card is a screen shot picture from my monitor. On my monitor, I put together a Word document that gives my contact information (Name, mailing address, phone, and email address), along with a request to return the card to me (see above – naturally, the info there is more accurate, but you get the idea). That way, if I ever lose the card, hopefully some benevolent person will find it and put it in their computer or camera and find that content there. I took the shot with PrintKey (Windows only- if you are on a Mac, use CTRL+SHIFT+4 to grab the area manually yourself), and then opened in PS and saved for web settings to minimize the space it takes up on the CF card (32K). This may seem rather a p.i.t.a., but the step for me is worthwhile just as a safeguard against the possible loss of my CF cards.

One final note, in case anyone is interested, I do have a few suggestions for vendors to use: I like Sandisk and Ridata. Both have been very good to me, and with three 2 Gig cards, I am probably safe with those. Although, I do know of others (like Scott Kelby) that recommend Hoodman. For those of you that are technically inclined, and want to know all the nitty gritty details of write speeds, failure rates, etc., Rob Galbraith also has an excellent page on all that stuff if it is up your alley.

This may be a rather unique approach to memory card maintenance, but it works for me. Maybe this will give others ideas for procedures to use in their own approach to memory card management. What about everyone else though? Any other tips or tricks to suggest for managing your media? Feel free to share those in the comments.