Thursday, February 22, 2007

Visiting UCLA

The Future Mrs. & I visited UCLA today. It was a fairly nice day and we had
fun walking around seeing how much the place has changed.

Didn't get to shoot as much as I'd like (constuction) plus there was
student group using Janss Steps so I couldn't shoot that. Mostly hung
out at Ackerman & Royce Hall.

But I got a new hat and some nice interesting shots. Nice time I'll
bring more lenses.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Cleveland 114, LA Lakers 108

My company organized a function at the Laker game last night. I was excited to go, since I've never been to a Laker game at the Staples Center before. I'd been to half a dozen Kings games at Staples, but never a Laker's game.

The Future Mrs. & I arrived a little late but as we walked in the door of the banquet room, we were handed raffle tickets. It seems the Lakers were giving away prizes and we are the last to get tickets. Well you know where this story is going so I'll just cut to the chase. The Future Mrs. won a very nice Laker polo shirt. I'm sure it'll look good on me. As for me, well I just won a basketball; an autographed basketball; an autographed by the entire Laker team basketball that has a letter to authenticity.

It's pretty cool and looks really nice. I was pretty darn tired by the time I got home but I quickly took this photo of it before going to bed.

The Laker's lost but the Future Mrs. & I made out like bandits.

Old review - Wolverine 80GB MVP Multimedia player

I wrote a review a while back on another site re: my Wolverine 80GB MVP multimedia player.

I'm posting it here because its still pertinent and it an easy spot to reference.

I have a Wolverine 80GB MVP Multimedia player. It's the lower cost competitor to the Epson units.

I took it to Europe with me and it worked like a charm. Downloaded 16GB of photos and still had all my music available to listen to when I wanted. One nice thing about it is if you take the video cable with you on vacation, you can share your photos on a TV with friends, relatives etc. I have the optional AA battery case, which allows me to recharge/run the MVP from AA batteries without a AC charger. Very convenient when in foreign countries since you don't need power adapters.

Lately I've been using it in my car to listen to podcasts during my hour commute. This thing really is the the Swiss army knife of storage devices.

Here's what I wrote about it in April '06...

I recently bought the Wolverine MVP 80GB Portable Multimedia unit from
Costco. All in all, I think this device is a great jack of all
trades. Although it does a decent job as an MP3 player and video
player, it really shines for photographers out in the field. Think of
it as a Video Ipod with a built in card reader and fast transfer
rates. Bye bye laptop, hello Wolverine.

First things first. The thing is bright orange/red and quite a bit
larger than an Ipod. Once you get past that you can get down to
enjoying the main features of the MVP. The MVP comes with an 80GB
standard 2.5" laptop drive in the unit along with a 2.5" color display
screen. It has a 7 in 1 card reader interface, reads RAW files from
almost any manufacturer and is a USB2 plug & play portable drive ready
to plug into almost any computer. In my limited testing I found it
downloaded a 1GB High Speed SD card in about 4 1/2 minutes. The MVP
allows you to read your JPEG or RAW files from either the media card
or hard drive. Its not blazing fast with 2 second delay between
photos when viewing 10mb RAW files, but it gets the job done. The
screen is sharp and the colors reproduced are of good quality. You
can zoom into your photos, read the EXIF information and start a
slideshow from the built in menus. It lets you chimp on the road and
even delete any offending photos.

The built in OS is simple and easy to use. The buttons/interface and
not going to win any awards but they get the job done with minimal
fuss. I've read the battery lasts for 6 hours of consistant use but I
think this is misleading as under normal usage you'd find it lasts
longer. When using the unit, it often powers down the hard drive and
loads items into RAM to conserve energy. While playing music it will
likewise power down the screen for the same purpose. Recharging the
unit is simple with its AC charger or via a USB cable. There is an
additional car charger and battery pack you can buy for it if you need.

Overall the unit is a pretty good idea and pretty good execution. I'm
happy with it and recommend it to anyone who needs portable storage
space but doesn't want to haul a laptop around (think weekend trips or

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day

The Future Mrs. & I spent a nice quiet evening at home on Valentine's Day.

We did the whole candles, flowers & homemade dinner thing. I'm not much of a Hallmark holiday guy (mostly because I feel coerced) but I have to admit it was really relaxing and I got a good night's sleep for a change.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Queen Mary & the Getty

I've posted some pics from the QM (my first time) and the Getty (far from my first time) at the usual spot:

The last 11 photos are the new ones.

QM thoughts: I was testing the Gorillapod so I didn't bring a tripod. Next time I'll bring a proper tripod. I had many "almost" shots that didn't quite make it. I do like the Gorillapod but if you are going to be using a tripod for every shot its not the best means of accomplishing your task.
My favorite of the bunch:

Getty thoughts: I brought my 70-200 to the Getty for the first time and didn't really think I'd find much use for it. Ironically I used it like 75% of the trip. I decided to stay outside the art galleries all day and focus mostly on people shots. Not all my shots turned out the way I hoped but I'm still a little rusty so maybe in a week or two they'll improve.
Favorite of the bunch:

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Lowepro Squared

So today I picked up a couple of Lowepro bags. One new, one preowned but both Lowepro.

For a little bit now I've been thinking that my current bags weren't quite meeting my needs the way I'd like them too. I got tired of living with compromises and decided I've had enough.

My daily bag couldn't quite hold my K10D body with the grip & lens on while in my bag. Plus trying to squeeze my 70-200 2.8 into the bag posed problems in of itself. While I have really enjoyed using my Canon Gadget 10EG bag for a couple of years, the time has come to part ways.

At home I have a large backpack that I've been using to store my inventory of photo equipment. I have a second goal for this bag too. I occasionally use it when I need a large amount of gear on location. Although it holds lots of gear, using it around the house to hold gear & using it on location weren't quite what I had in mind. I finally decided I needed something that was more convenient both at home & on location.

After doing some research (read as lots of research) I settled on getting a Lowepro Pro Roller bag. It looks like luggage but seems to be the best option for what I need in a home storage solution. I especially like that it can be leaned back onto itself and you can work from the bag without having to lay it down. I found a good deal on the Pro Roller 2 on ebay and took the plunge. It should arrive in the next week or so.

Finding a storage bag was difficult but deciding on a daily all purpose camera bag was near impossible. It seemed like I had a set of features I wanted that couldn't co-exist in a single bag. After a couple of weeks I settled on the Lowepro Stealth Reporter series. It seemed like the one bag that could nearly do it all. I originally thought the D200 model would hold enough for my purpose and if not the D300 certainly would. But after doing some quick math I determined that if I wanted my 70-200 2.8 to fit properly I'd have to bump up to the D400. Luckily the D400 is only $20 more than the D300. The couple extra inches of room it gives though are worth much more than that. The bag holds everything I want it to with some room to spare. I just have to remember not to pack it to the brim since it'll be too heavy to carry.

I was able to find the D400 locally at Canoga Camera. If you're in the market for a bag I highly recommend them. The pricing is decent but what really makes the difference is they allow you to bring your old camera bag full of equipment in and test out their models to make sure it fits/works the way you want it. Several other stores I've been to have you check your bag at the door before going in. I don't know about you but I'd rather stuff a new bag full of my lenses, camera & batteries to make sure it fits than guess on a model and hoping it fits when you finally get home.

Today was a good day for me. Two problems solved which really means 2 less things to think about. I'll be selling my two old bags in the next couple of days. If anyone's interested in either bag, just let me know.