Archive for May, 2009


OMG SHINY, originally uploaded by Anthony J. Martinez.

I can haz new computer?!

Seriously, the 24″ iMac is a beast. Burning through a batch of RAW to JPEG is substantially faster than the MacBook Pro. That much is to be expected with about a 700mHz advantage per core, and a front-side bus that’s also twice as fast. I’ve calibrated the screen, so hopefully at least things will look the same on the MacBook Pro as they do on the iMac (I can dream, right?).

The only hitch I’ve encountered so far is the fact that in Adobe’s efforts to prevent piracy, they’ve also prevented me from activating software I actually paid for on the two machines I’m authorized to do so. Apparently when my hard drive started going south in the MacBook Pro, and I backed up and replaced it with a new drive… I created a whole new computer as far as Adobe’s activation system is concerned. Two phone calls to India may have resolved the issue, but I won’t know for 24-48hrs.

Quick Summer Update

Things have been fairly stagnant around here lately, mostly because I’ve been moving about quite a bit in the weeks since I finished finals. Right now I am waiting on acceptance letters from both the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Houston. Neither of them seem to have developed an admissions system that is in any way efficient. There is hardly any point in working quickly on your end. Rest assured they will move as slowly as possible on their end.

I would check things more often, but one of my youngest sister’s friends spilled water on my Macbook Pro. Making life quite a bit more complicated for me than needed. You see, a photographer without a computer on which to process photos can’t do a whole heck of a lot of work. I suppose if I had any film equipment I’d be in the game. Perhaps that’s a good excuse for me to purchase some darkroom equipment, so I can at least shoot B&W 35mm (I do actually have a film EOS body) when my digital world is turned upside-down. At any rate, the MBP appears fixable, and I’ve ordered a 24″ iMac to serve as my main processing machine. I will keep the MBP for mobility, but I’m going to do the majority of my processing at a desk anyway, thus the desktop.

My younger brother Phillip graduated from Louisiana Tech on Saturday, so I drove out there to see that (and to help him and his future wife move to Little Rock).

Longest. Graduation. Ever.

Bobby Jindal was the speaker for the commencement, and gave a pretty good speech. I don’t believe that he’s actually convinced of a single thing he said, but he’s a politician so that’s to be expected. Jindal strikes me very much like a Republican Obama. Pretty words, no substance. A few people in the crowd remarked that Jindal will be our next President. In my lifetime, I’d like to hope there’s potential for an actual “change” instead of this vicious cycle of fail in which we seem to be stuck.

In other news, you know that problem I was having attaching to people I met post-war? Seems to be resolved. I don’t know if it was just time that fixed it, or the meditating, or what. Things aren’t crystal clear where all of that is concerned, I’m just pretty happy to know at least that part of me isn’t “broken” anymore.

Oh, this wouldn’t be complete without noting that I no longer have that T/C Encore in .260 Remington. That rifle has been replaced with a Savage 110 in .270 Winchester. Soon, I will put some glass on it and go zero a 130gr load.

Also, someone feel free to buy me the Canon 5DMK2.

Clamshell Lighting

Sometimes you run into a situation where you a) have very little space, and b) need very soft and even light. If you happen to have two lights, you can make your life very simple. Again this wonderful tidbit originated (for me anyway) with the Strobist blog, but I’ll share it again just in case you’re scared to dive into things there.

The short and skinny is simple. Get two light stands, and two shoot through umbrellas. Raise one of the umbrellas up high and angle it down towards your subjects. Make the bottom of that umbrellas a few inches above where the top of your lens will be. Take your bottom umbrella and put it under the top umbrella, leaving maybe a foot or two of free space, and angle it up some. To do this you’ll need to have the legs on one stand flat and wide, and the other raised up and narrow. Weighing down the top stand is wise if there’s going to be any potential for wind, or people moving about the area. Set your exposure as you normally would, leaving both lights at the same power will give you what almost looks like a giant light bank. You can mess with lighting ratios a bit for a more three dimensional effect, I usually just shoot both strobes at the same power.

The setup looks something like this:

Stack your umbrellas

Stack your umbrellas

The result looks a little like this:

Clamshell Lighting Result

Clamshell Lighting Result

Another Chapter Completed

Yesterday brought to an end yet another chapter of my life. I aced my last final here at Texas State University, ending my second (and final) semester here with 3 As and a B. Leaving is certainly going to be a bittersweet experience for me since I love San Marcos and have a lot of great friends here, but hopefully I can return to the area soon. At the very least I’ll be driving back on as many weekends as I possibly can.

A little news for the night.

Click here for a piece I hope is accurate in its predictions about the direction President Obama is likely to take with his upcoming SCOTUS appointment.

Click here for some politics related to the issue above.

Click here for a glimpse into Justice Souter.

Click here for talk on opening the internet in censorship-heavy nations (Iran, China and others).

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