External Hard Drives – WARNING

I am a BIG advocate of using external hard drives to store your images and data. This is of course in addition to other back-up sources. Things such as DVD’s, extra external hard drives and additional computers.

External Hard Drives

New Drive

Recently I went out and bought another external hard drive. Picked up a Lacie to transfer all my nature pictures to. That way I would have them in one place and be able to take it with me when I am on the road without taking other files. Spent a Saturday night and part of Sunday transferring and organizing the new drive. I have several other Lacie drives as back-ups and have had no problems to date. Then I took the to the studio to download the files there.

I plugged the drive into one of the studio computers and watched as it said “New Drive Detected”, “Installing Hardware”, “New Device is now ready to use”. Then I clicked on My Computer to find that the device is not there. Tried a second computer then a third, all with the same results.

External Hard Drive
External Hard Drive

That not good

I was finally able to locate the drive through a couple of backdoor routes and found that the drive was running. But after a lot of research I found that even with the computer recognizing the drive it was not accessible. After looking into it I found out that it is the way the drive was set-up from the factory.

So a word of warning, if you have an external drive that you are using make sure that it is readable on other computers! You should do this ASAP!!! I would actually try several computers to make sure if your computer should die, or be upgraded, that the external drive is accessible.

Check your drives NOW!!!

Again as a word of warning, if you have an external drive check it on another computer ASAP to make sure that it can be read, before you need the drive to work and it doesn’t. This is one of those issues that if you find out when you have a computer problem it is too late!!!

Lethbridge Journal Article

Lethbridge Journal Article

A number of years ago The Lethbridge Journal did an article on my teaching. Click here for a large size to read.

I am always amazed at how many people are shocked to know they can take a course on photography. Years ago the only place that you could get a course was at a university or a college. I was the first private teacher in southern Alberta. A couple of my students said that I was the only one they knew about in western Canada. It seems strange looking at the teachers of today, everyone is a teacher. If a photographer has shot a couple images they will offer to teach. When I started I was so nervous as I did not know what I would teach. Back then I taught how to shoot film and two hours was a lot of time. Now two hours can barely touch even a simple digital camera.

Lethbridge Journal Article
Lethbridge Journal Article

About my courses

Just Google it!

I hear so often about people that put all their faith in what Google tells them.  If something is wrong they Google it. If they want to know how to do something they Google it. I do the same thing when I am stuck I do it with a lot of caution.  It is not just Google that can be an issue it is any place that offers free information. Or FREE courses and classes.

The other day I listened to a guest on the radio tell about the pitfalls of listening to on-line results about medical diagnoses. He was saying how much someone can be messed up by the results.  If you want to know how bad it is just Google something like “Red bump on arm” and see the results. Anything from a cancerous growth, to a steph infection, to a poisonous spider bite when all it was was a mosquito bite.

Read moreJust Google it!

Photo Course, Workshop, Photo Tours, Photo Expeditions, Photo Safaris

Getting that amazing shot - Waterton Photo Course
Photo Course in Waterton = Secrets to getting that amazing shot

Photo Course, Workshop, Photo Tours, Photo Expeditions, Photo Safaris

So before I start let me say I think EVERYONE should take a Photo Course, Tour, Expedition or Safari from me – because I am such a nice guy. But what if you want to go someplace that I do not go and you want to hire someone to help with your photography, what should you look for?

First what is the difference in the above terms (unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule for what the terms mean) but here is what I generally find:

Read morePhoto Course, Workshop, Photo Tours, Photo Expeditions, Photo Safaris

Camera Advice – Beware

I am sure that I have written this camera advice before but I guess it is time again.

I have had a couple people come in with camera issues in the past two months.  One person actually sent his camera and lens back to Canon (3 times) as they were not working correctly and Canon could not fix it and another person was just plain frustrated and ready to give up.

What had happened?

Both people either took a course or listened on-line to a “Expert” tell them how they should be shooting. They then made changes to their cameras following this advice and did not understand why they did it or how to undo the changes.

One person was told that “on the lens you should NEVER use the AF setting”, unfortunately they never explained that if you use the MF setting you need to manually focus the lens.  He was getting all out of focus pictures (okay a couple were in focus just by the fact that if your lens is set to 20′ sometime your subject will be at 20′). This was an easy fix (put lens back on AF) but I had to argue with him for 20 minutes that it would make his pictures better.  Once done he was so happy but confused how a “professional” would mislead him, I had to tell him that it was one person’s preference on how to shoot a specific situation and he only got a part of the information.

The second person was told that he should change a number of his custom settings, SO he did!  I understand why the teacher said to do that (again it was for a specific shooting situation and was not to be used for ALL photography), but with a novice photographer all he did was to confuse him, the changes were made and he could not get the camera back to the correct settings.  After changing the custom settings he was not able to get his camera to correctly focus or to get an exposure close to what it should be.  He sent his lens and camera back to Canon 3 times and each time was told it was fine (it was as long as you knew that it was no longer focusing using the shutter button, that the mirror lock up was on and a number of other changes were made).  In his case I reset of all the camera settings and he was back to having a great camera and lens.

PLEASE – before you make any changes to your camera, lens, or menus make a note of the changes (what and how) and if it doesn’t make it better set it back.  If someone tells you to make changes make sure that you understand why before you do so.

Black & White Printing

Black & White Printing

Well some things I miss from the olden days (food that tasted like real food, being able to talk to someone without them texting, etc, etc.), some things I do not miss (having to find a pay phone to call home when on assignment, dial up Internet, etc).  One BIG thing that I do not miss is darkrooms.  Sure there was some fun in getting a perfect print after a lot of experimentation, but it was a lot of work to mix chemicals, wash prints and hang them to dry.  One thing that I have heard from many people was that they could not get a good Black & White print with digital.  Well no more!!!  Last year I did a lot of testing with our new printer and have come up with some amazing b&w settings and media.  I found a high gloss media that makes amazing b&w’s.  True blacks (no yellow or blues mixed in), GREAT contrast and details so amazing that I do think they pass the quality of old darkroom prints.  If you want to see some samples stop by the Lethbridge studio, I have a couple printed and am working on some more samples.