Onwards to the Far East of Antarctica

I am lucky to be able to continue my journey around Antarctica. On saturday, I head back to Australia to join the Kapitan Khlebnikov for a ‘never to be repeated’ last voyage in Antarctica:

Far East

I will of course be posting a gallery of my images upon my return.

Happy Holidays, see you on the other side!

The inevitable hard drive crash, and the rescue of lost photos

Well, I think I am pretty good at backing up my files onto an external hard drive, and then making a back up of my back up. I follow the ‘rules’. One thing I just learned is that maybe I don’t follow the rules regularly enough to prevent small scale emergencies from happening. The death of my external hard drive drove this home yesterday. The sad part is, I was plugging the drive in to do my ‘back up of my back up’, and discovered that it had given up on its spinning career. I Google’d all the forums, asking the futile question “what to do if my hard drive won’t spin??’ and reading all the well meaning but ineffective ways to resuscitate my little black rectangular beeping friend. ‘Buy another identical hard drive and replace the circuit board’. “Put your hard drive in the freezer”. And so on.

Luckily, my 6-month old backup wasn’t too out of date, save for the 2600 or so photos that I took all summer. I could give up on the photos, but there are those fun times with Negar, the last few photos of my cat Jersey before she went to kitty heaven, the new kitten photos, the building of my garage… I need to get the photos back.

Luckily, I am a faithful user of Lightroom, and this software makes preview images of your photo library. I hadn’t given much thought to this 14 GB file on my hard drive until now, when it occurred to me that I could probably extract the preview images from Lightroom’s cache. I went through all the forums, and all the code altering pathways, the free plugins that don’t work very well, and settled up File Juicer, an $18 shareware package (Mac only), that made it a breeze to extract the Lightroom previews and rescue my photos. I highly recommend File Juicer: http://echoone.com/filejuicer/

It works just like it says it will. The only downside is that it extracts all the previews (thumbnails, medium sized, large, and 1:1 sizes), so you end up with 6 files for every image. It also gives each preview a filename of a long string of numbers and characters, so there will be a fair amount of image and filename wrangling to get things back to the way they should be.

Oh well, it is the price we pay for tardiness in backing up our stuff. It certainly could be worse. Thank you, whoever made this program!

4 iPhone cases for photographers

Many photographers that have embraced iPhone photography. And why shouldn’t we embrace it? We always have our phones with us, they are lightweight, easy to use, and there are countless excellent apps to extend and bend our visions. The iPhone 4 has a great 5MP camera, and the iPhone 5 is rumored to have an 8MP camera, so quality of images is totally acceptable for most uses.

When it comes to iPhone cases, there are some cool ways to protect and house our phones. Not just for fashion, we can really extend the functionality of our iPhones for photography.

Here is an article about iPhone cases for photographers. (via Mashable)


Wondering how to choose a camera?

When I am working my photo booth at markets, I am often approached by people who are interested in getting a new camera, and ask my advice. There are many websites that I a peruse to stay up to date, so I thought I would share a few with you here:

1) Snapsort.com is a great way to compare different models of cameras, and the site gives you the lowdown in plain english that most people can understand. Great site, very clean, and gives you the details that you need. It also gives recommendations. A website with an opinion!

2) DPReview.com is for the more serious user who wants all the nitty gritty: in-depth tests, complete feature lists, etc. It can be a bit overwhelming for the average user to go through the review, but it is a good site to peruse to see what is new and interesting.

3) Zite: this is a news aggregator app for iPad, not specific to photography, but it has a photography ‘channel’. Lots of really interesting stuff here.

4) B&H: if you want to get a sense of ‘market’ pricing for anything to do with photography, video, audio, etc., then this is (literally) a one-stop shop for you. If you are in New York, the actual store is a veritable playground for gadget-heads. Shipping to Canada involves some hefty taxes and duties, but as of this year, the B&H website calculates these for you. As a result, there are no scary surprises when your order arrives at the door. I strongly suggest that you surf to the B&H ‘In-depth’ section to get primers on everything related to photography.

5) eBay and Craigslist: these sites are great for getting a sense of market value (and availability) for the used market. There are risks associated with buying used anything, so make sure you are comfortable with these risks before you buy.

A few minutes on these sites will keep you up to date on the state of the camera market. Once you have settled on a few options, search the net for some sample images to check the quality. Lastly, head on down to the bricks-and-mortar to hold some cameras in your hands to see which is the best fit (Think ergonomics, weight, location of buttons, ease of menu navigation).

Happy shopping!

Link to some great Lightroom 3 tips

Just a quick link to Tom Bourdon’s website for some excellent photo editing tips for Adobe Lightroom users. Check it out!

Whistler Farmers Market

Hi folks,

this summer I will be selling my photography at the Whistler Farmers Market! My first day is this Sunday: June 26th. To learn more about the WFM, check here:

Whistler Farmers Market

I will be at the WFM on the following 2011 dates:

June 26th
July 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st
August 7th
September 4th
October 9th

Kite Aerial Photography

I spent an afternoon in Oregon a few months ago trying to hook up my GoPro camera to a box kite to get some sweet aerial footage. In short, it was pretty much a failure because the extra weight of the camera de-stabilized the box kite and it oscillated wildly until it crashed. I still plan to work more on getting good aerial footage from a kite, and this process will be aided by the help of this website:


Check it out!

Antarctica Timelapse

During my last few trips to Antarctica, I focused most of my photographic energy towards capturing timelapse images of the many things that we do onboard the ships. This is from my last ‘Crossing the Antarctic Circle’ voyage on the Akademik Sergey Vavilov. Fun times! Created with a GoPro Helmet Hero

Music is ‘First Ride’ by one of my favorite guitar players, Don Ross

I’m off to Epic Antarctica

My latest expedition will take me aboard the Kapitan Khlebnikov, a Russian icebreaker. This voyage goes so much farther beyond where I have been before in Antarctica, it really is an epic journey. Highlights will include McMurdo Station, Emperor penguins, the Ross Sea, MacQuarie Island, helicopter trips to the ice shelf, the Bay of Whales, and so on. 32 days of excitement! Here is a map of our journey:

Map of Voyage

A link to the itinerary can be found here

To make it even more exciting, there will be a BBC film crew aboard, filming for the upcoming series “Frozen Planet”, which is the next in the excellent BBC nature series (you may have heard of, I don’t know, Planet Earth?).

Not sure if I will be able to post anything until I get back, but the photo opportunities should be spectacular.

iMovie ’11 gives greater control over audio


To anyone using Apple’s iMovie to edit video with, you will be excited to hear that with the release of iLife ’11, iMovie now offers much better control over audio levels. I’ve been using iMovie on and off since iMovie HD (version 6). When Apple redesigned iMovie in 2008, they severely crippled the access to audio editing functions. iMovie ’09 was marginally better, but we are almost back to where we started with this new release.

The main improvements include:
- audio waveforms are plainly visible now, so you can see how well your clips match up, and where they may be distorting.
- keyframing ‘aka rubberbanding’ allows targeted control over whole clips/music files. You can raise and lower levels visually right where you need to.

You are still limited to a small number of concurrent audio clips, but this takes users that much closer to getting their videos to sound (and look) like they want. I personally opt for Final Cut Pro when I edit my own videos, but we use iMovie to teach film classes with. I am so impressed with how functional iMovie is, given that comes free with Mac computers.

I think the new audio capabilities are worth the price of upgrade, which I think is around $49 or so.

Check out the upgrade here: iLife ’11