Be Original


Hello all, I’ve been quiet for a while here, for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, I’ve been busy as life has been pushing me in new directions.  My move to Ohio, the new job, and other factors have led to me using my camera less and less.

I want to remain true to the idea behind the blog, which is that as I learn and create new content, I strive to share that education and content here. The danger is regurgitation of others ideas. You start to lose your identity when you try to use the creative works of others to identify yourself.

You may ask why I am choosing now to write and publish this post. The reason is a new ad from Apple:

This is NOT an Apple piece of copy.  They have shamelessly ripped content from another creative and are (I think) trying to pass the idea off as their own.  This was from a movie in the 80s called The Dead Poet’s Society. It starred Robin Williams as a prep school English lit teacher, John Keating, and his character said these words to his students.  The verbiage is fantastic…in context.  But they’ve not even done that – the timing and delivery has been edited down to fit in the more convenient 90 second segment, which I find abhorrent!  That move was meant to inspire people to be original, and to stay true to who they really are – not to sell technology products being made by children in China.

In my own personal opinion, Apple has completely changed the timbre of the message.  They are trying to say that to be unique and creative, you need to use their products to create your own verse – and this is not true!

I am publishing this today, because I suspect that many creative out there are now in a younger generation, and may not have even heard of Dead Poet’s Society.  If you want to be a creative, you simply must rent this from Netflix, YouTube, or where ever, and watch it.  Amazing movie, and I hate seeing Apple desecrate it like this.  Let’s at least give credit where credit is due!

As a final note – if you really want to be inspired, check out some of the photography and videography that comes from this movie!  There are some scenes that really have planted themselves in my mind since I first saw it, including:

1. The bagpiper on the lake.


2.  The cloaked figures running through the trees in a foggy wood


3.  The birds taking flight

birdsAny memorable scenes others have that they’d like to share?  Thoughts on being original versus borrowing from others?  Would love to hear what others think on this subject too!

Thursday Thoughts v2.0

As I jump back in the saddle of topical discussions, I am going to actually share an experience I had with the readership today.  You’ll notice the title of the post today includes a v2.0 – why is that?  Well, because there are many versions of many things out there, and as photographers one of the things that is easy to lose sight of is the versioning of our firmware.

See, cameras, like any other device in todays technologically advanced world, can have flaws that are discovered after it is released to the public.  Most of the time the bigger players like Canon and Nikon keep these to a minimum, but nevertheless, things can happen.  Here is what happened to me.

Thus far my lens collection has consisted of glass that does not have built in image stabilization(or Vibration Reduction if you are a Nikon shooter).  So, when I had a shoot for work this last Tuesday, I thought it might be a good idea to go rent some glass and give it a whirl – to see if I could benefit from it.  Well, the oddest thing happened…whenever I was using the IS lens, I would hear a funny sound in camera.  It’s very hard to describe, but when I swapped lenses out, I didn’t hear the sound anymore.  I stopped using the lens and did the rest of the evening with my kit 18-55 lens.  When I returned the lens to the rental store, the guy told me that there have been reported problems with my particular body (the 40D), and I should check my firmware.

Sure enough, the firmware was at 1.5 or something, and Canon’s website verified that a newer release had been issuedto correct this very problem.  So, I downloaded the firmware and will be updating that for a tutorial next week.  (Make sure you tune in for that, because it’s not like I’ll have a chance to practice for it, and if I mess up, that will make for a funny tutorial!)  The moral here though is that cameras need maintenance too.

As we think about our work flow, we make sure our software is up to date, our operatig system is patched and secured, and hotfixes or system updates are applied…after all, we’re talking about all our work captured and saved on those precious hard disks.

Since Adobe, Microsoft, Apple, and the rest all have ways to automate our updates, that side of things can become rather ubiquitous.  We’ve set things up, and we know it will update itself when it needs to, so we don’t even think about it anymore.  it falls off our radar.  Cameras though, do not have a way of “auto-updating”.  Thus, we can’t let things things fall off our radar.  Letting things slide like that will only result in what happened to me on Tuesday – equipment failure or problems due to lack of current firmware.

As sort of a PSA, I am including here indications of what the latest firmware is for all the EOS cameras that are active in Canon’s line.  Check your firmware in camera and if it matches, you’re good to go.  If not, follow the link to get the latest firmware direct from Canon.  Mac is listed first, Windows is listed second:

Canon 1Ds Mark III – at version 1.1.2, dated 4/30/08

Canon ID Mark III – at version 1.2.3, dated 4/30/08

Canon 5D – at version 1.1.1, dated 3/18/08

Canon 50D – brand new, no version updates available yet

Canon 40D – at version 1.0.8, dated 4/7/08

Canon 30D – at version 1.0.6, dated 3/18/08

Canon XSi – no firmware updates are available for the XSi – but software updates can be obtained too

Canon XTi – at version 1.1.1 dated 12/7/07

Canon XS – no updates are available for this camera on a current platform, but legacy WIn2K has some installers

Canon XT – at version 1.0.3, dated 12/1/07

So, there’s the complete list of all EOS cameras.  Hope you take a moment to check your firmware today.  Happy shooting and watch those apertures (and firmware).  We’ll see you back here tomorrow!

The 40D versus the XT

40d versus XT

We are now in day 5 of the first ever photo contest from Canon Blogger, so keep thinking freedom as you point that lens – it could win you cold hard cash!  Check out the details from the post of July 3rd, here. In new news, I got a good long weekend with family to shoot with the 40D, and after some pretty extensive shooting (over 1500 shots in 48 hours), I’ve had a chance to get at least a good handle on the basics of the 40D.  Granted I do not have the minutia of it down pat like on the XT, but I suspect that will only come with more time behind the lens.

Anyway, I thought now might be as good a time as ever to give you the lowdown on my thoughts of the 40D as they compare to the XT.  It was definitely worth the upgrade!  I put together a short video showing a comparison of some of the benefits of the 40D over the XT, as well as one rather disappointing thing.  I should be back next week with a regular Photoshop tip – just the last few weeks have been rather crazy with prepping the house to be “show ready”.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the 40D versus XT home video I recorded earlier today.  Enjoy and we’l see you tomorrow with the latest edition of “What’s This?”.  Happy shooting and watch those apertures!