Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Canon hits the mark a third time

Canon continues to release new product on a semi-regular schedule, announcing the Mark III last week, a camera which looks to be the new benchmark for the fastest apparatus yet.

According to a press release, "The Mark III has a ten megapixel APS-H (1.3x FOV crop) CMOS sensor and can shoot at ten frames per second. It features the updated DIGIC III image processor, a new 19 area Auto Focus system, up to ISO 6400 and a 3.0" LCD monitor (with a live view feature). The Mark III should ship in April for US $3999."

I'm most excited about the advances from the new chipset. There looks to be greater latitude with greater crispness up to ISO 3200. That's great news for the next time you have to shoot in a dark alternative art show, a dimly lit high school gym or for spot news during a riot downtown.

And here's a feature that's long been overdue. A new AF button has been incorporated on the camera back, that may seem trivial, but think about all the times you've wanted to switch over to manual focus on the fly but had to flip the camera over to flip a switch on a Nikon or slide a button on a Canon. By the time you've done it all the moment you saw has passed and you're switching back to AF. Well Canon saw fit to finally address this nuisance and added a button they promise will allow you to instantly switch auto focus on or off while keeping the eye on the viewfinder. Sweet! And long overdue. We'll see how well it works, but I love the idea.

Canon also promises a brighter viewfinder. I never noticed any problems with the Mark II N, 20D, or 5D, but brighter is better I guess... but it does make me wonder if it's an electric eye now, I hope not. But the new LCD shooting mode, where you use the LCD screen for a viewfinder, does make me fear the worst.

There's improved metering, a self-cleaning system similar to the one found in the new Rebel and the viewfinder also offers a wider angle of view, so now the boarder you see in the viewfinder will be pretty darn close to the one you see in Photoshop. Although it was never that egregious as it is now.

The specs look impressive on paper.

I'm not sure we need it, but I want it.

Actually I don't want it, but I am glad it's been announced. For one, there should be a price drop on the Mark II N, the camera it replaces, but more important, we'll see some of these new features trickle down to the XXD series cameras.

You know those 10D, 20D, 30D (40D?) cameras that aren't as sexy as the Marks but are just as good and give great results in a small form factor. Sure it's all plastic, but you save a G, so don't complain.

Afterall, it's not the gear, it's the eye behind the gear.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

More proof that I'm better than you

This one is for Jona, but I guess the rest of the internet can read it to.

Last Friday I was on assignment for Oh Dang!, a Hip Hop culture magazine out of San Francisco, where I got to meet DJ Qbert, Casual of Hieroglyphics and hip-hop journalist Adisa Banjoko.

I got to meet more famous people. Haha son!

That adds to my list of: Salma Hayek, Garrett Morris, Jesse Jackson, James Natchwey, Bucky Lasik, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, I Am Ghost, Wentworth Miller, Linda Chavez, Jennifer Finch, David McKenna, John G. Morris, Michelangelo...

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

V-Day slideshow

Just like it sounds, it's a Valentine's Day slideshow produced for the Santa Cruz Sentinel.


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Monday, February 19, 2007

The latest reason why I'm not bloggin'

So I sat down a few hours ago and thought I'd blog some of my latest pearls of wisdom, but wouldn't you know it, the internet had other plans for me.

I've been playing around with Free Rider for the last hour or so and I can't stop. There's been a ton these type of games in the past, so you're probably wondering what's so special. This is what's so special.

Help, I'm addicted!


The elephant seals of Ano Nuevo

A few weeks ago I was afforded the opportunity to travel up the coast and do a story on elephant seals.

I finally got around to working with Ryan and creating some more multimedia content for the web. Just like old times.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I finally went to the beach

After nearly six weeks at the internship in lovely Santa Cruz, I finally made it to the beach, which if you know me is flabbergasting.

I'm the guy my friends know as the one who takes off for the beach when he's bored or wants to clear his head or needs a destination to drive to at 3 a.m. Heck I've surprised myself at how long it's taken me to finally take a trip to the sandy shores. It's almost like I'm a local, just without the six-figure salary or pants with an inordinate amount of zippers running up and down the side.

On Monday I was given an assignment that called for a little trek to a residential coastline in Aptos. There had been a report of tar like balls washing ashore and Wildlife, Fish and Game had been investigating over the previous weekend.

I was sent out to find some art to go with the story. I walked up and down the secluded beach in search of the black gooey orbs, but to no avail. After asking every jogger, dog walker, pebble skipper and one life guard, nearly 20 people in all, I concluded that I better think of another angle.

Of course there were no tar balls on the beach that anyone had seen, but regardless I still had a story to file.

So I went back to the basics and tried to compose a visually appealing image, and got to stalk a few birds and watch the sunset in the process.

Often times the equation in daily work becomes a balancing act of technique and subject. If the subject is lacking then you better spice it up with technique. If your subject is excellent, don't overdo it in style.

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It's V-Day

Happy Valentines day!

I'm going around re-writing songs and singing 'em at the windows of the lay-dies!

"It's the end of V-day as we know it! And I'm feeling fine!"

then I gotta do the fast part...." 6 'oclock/ out of bed/ brush my head/ wear the shorts instead/ Whose this Ted/ he should be dead/ jump in the car/drive by the bar/ is this a scar/ maps to Zanzibar/ it's getting late/ I've gotta state/ don't be late/ Leonard Tate!/ It's the end of V-day as we know it *SING IT WITH ME! It's the end of V-day as we know it!/ And I'm feeling fine!!!!

Ok... we now return to normal Shaminder.... or whatever passes for normal.

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Will it be two in a row for the Rocky Mountain News?

After winning a Pulitzer prize in 2006 for Final Salute, a brilliant piece that chronicles the travels of Maj. Steve Beck as he travels from family to family informing them that their loved one isn't coming home from the battle on the other side of the world, the Colorado paper looks poised to do it again.

Final Salute put to print an unknown. It was a side of the operations in the Middle East that we had seldom seen to that point, our government was very careful up to this point in keeping images of dead American soldiers out of the frame of a photographer's camera.

This year The Rocky Mountain News is working on another very ambitious and meticulously crafted piece that also hopes to shine light were no one has looked before, and they're doing it with a human touch.

"The Crossing" reflects on a school bus accident that took the lives of 20 children and left 16 others and their bus driver to live on in their absence.

Some cope better than others and a community responds, but the beauty of The Crossing is that it isn't about the accident or about the tragedy, it's about the lives that came from that mutual experience and the people they became. And at 33 chapters, number 20 just went live as I write this, it's multifaceted in a way that is necessary to take such a piece beyond informative to influential.

It's worth a look, and the presentation and in particular the use of audio is an a prime of example of how it can and should be done better.

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Well I guess I have to now

So I never was one for the meme thing, but it looks like it has struck again.

In December Ryan Sholin "tagged" me, I didn't see it right away and figured that the window of obligation had expired, but then wouldn't you know it, my good ole' pal Daniel Sato decided to extend me another invitation.

Thanks pal, as Johnny would say, may your sister be assaulted by a horny yak! Hiii-hooo!

Ok, so let's get on with this trust-fall-walking-on-coals-I-love-you-guys-hippy-festival-of-colors. (Whoo! Triple word score!)

Five things you might not know about me,
but now I’ll tell you and ruin the opportunity
to tell you these stories properly later

1. Before photojournalism I was a writer and wrote movie reviews and video game news.

2. Before that I was majoring in architecture and almost went to Texas A&M where I either would have said the wrong thing to George Bush and had to run away while he looked for a dictionary to decipher "urinal" or at least had a cool story of the time I rode a bull only to lure out the cute girl clown who later would go on to confuse Bush with the word "no."

3. I hate you guys for making me think of things I haven't told you and trying to do this... damn you guys!

4. I've never taken a vacation.

5. I don't hate you guys.

6. I'm not taking this seriously.

Q. I can't count.

Ok... but seriously, what's a meme?!

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I couldn't resist brah

Whoooo! Go Ryan!!!

Ryan Sholin has been testing the multimedia waters with the Santa Cruz Sentinel... and by testing I mean showing people what can be done... and by people I mean editors and writers... and by writers I mean my co-workers... and by co-workers I mean I work there with Ryan.

For a while now, he's been putting up these broadcast style news digests and from the hits I've seen, it's really resonating with the people. It's interesting to see newspapers trying new things.

I may be mistaken, but I believe this is the first time the man behind the lens has stepped out in front... it's true, all directors really want to act. Now how could I resist.

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