Wow, it’s hard to believe this shoot was six months ago. This was really where the recent changes in my photographic style began. We’d casually fooled around less-than-clothed with the camera before, but this time Dani wanted to put in real effort and see where this kind of shooting might lead us. After picking and scouting a location that afternoon, we raced the setting sun through the abandoned desert facility to capture this set. It was my first time shooting the person as the main subject. It was her first time playing model. She was nervous. I was nervous. We both set that aside, knowing the minimal risks—snapping a few photos you aren’t required to share—would be well worth the potential rewards…… One
Geeking-out with a ground-up build. – As you can see above, I have a pet Dalek that handles all my color calibration needs. Ok, not really, but “CALIBRATE! CALIBRATE!” was the first thing that popped into mind when I set about taking the newly-calibrated workstation for it’s first edit run after an absurdly long, four-monitor calibration process. But, I’m getting ahead of myself… Many of you know I’ve done photo edit for a certain premium magazine for the last few years. Unfortunately, due to some recent eye-health concerns, I need full control over my environment (especially lighting) to get any significant amount of time at a computer—a difficult feat in an office space shared with a half-dozen other employees. I had access to a fairly decent workstation on-site, but it had three fatal flaws: The iMac’s built-in monitor is notoriously difficult to properly calibrate. Note: none of the Apple displays offer wide gamut or accurate color reproduction. The Mac OS, from Lion to Mavericks, is horribly bug-ridden and inefficient (Yosemite isn’t half bad). It wasn’t mine, so I couldn’t exactly move it to a dark cave during edit sessions. My creative consulting business picked up around the same time, and as generously accommodating as the magazine was: working for Client B while on-site at Client A’s facility is just plain awkward. A home studio was the answer, and that new studio naturally needed a new workstation at the center of it. Some of HP’s latest offerings sounded enticing, but a $5,000 investment before approaching the specs I wanted did not…time to go custom. Things haven’t changed much since I last built. Things have change a lot since I last built. The last time I did a chassis-up build AGP was the standard for performance graphics. Other than my custom notebook—which was really just a matter of swapping drives, memory, and wireless cards—my last custom build was over a decade ago. That’s a lot of time for old technologies to die off, and new complexities to be invented. Fortunately, the new hardware is more forgiving of incompatibilities, and there are great sites like PC Part Picker to help minimize such issues before purchase. The best change I’ve noticed? It’s easy to find blacked-out hardware and components. Here’s the PCP Build Sheet, but in a nutshell: Liquid-cooled Intel Core i7 4790K 4.0GHz quad-core processor (running at 4.4GHz) 32GB of DDR3-1600 memory Twin EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti “For The Win” Edition (I couldn’t resist) video cards 250GB M.2 Samsung 850 SSD for boot and apps… Workstation
High-output, low amperage peripheral lighting – I’ve been wanting flood lights to either side since buying the vehicle. The front windows are tinted, which is a godsend during an Arizona summer day, but can make navigating tight trails in the dark a bit cumbersome. Having had great results with years of ordering smaller, inexpensive lights from Superbrightleds.com, I decided to try them out with something a little more expensive: high-output floods. I couldn’t be happier with the result. The LEDs have about the same output as a halogen flood, they’re exactly the color they’re supposed to be (identical to the forward firing 5000k HIDs), and the beam pattern is just right for filling in the nighttime blind spots. They are also submersible, waterproof to IP68 standards. The lights tuck in nice and safe between the roof and rack. Update: August 2014 The LEDs continue to perform flawlessly, though I’ve had to remove them due to the addition of a new awning. One set remains on the back to augment the reverse lights. I’ll have to come up with a new way to light up the sides, but at least the wiring is already done for forward and rear lights.… LED Floodlamps