2TB Drives for $110 (!?!)

If you are doing ANY kind of video shooting on your dSLR, you know that you are going to go through drive space like it was nothing, especially if you are shooting in 1080p.

Saw this in Costco yesterday- it’s a pretty incredible deal: 2TB External hard drive for just over $100. I checked them on Amazon and they have the same drives for about $105. The thing I like about them is that they are “upgradeable” to USB 3.0. I have 3 and a half full 500 GB drives this size, it would be nice to consolidate them. I will be able to fit most of my Crash Course projects on just the one. I also like to start each year with a new portable HD, in the past I was spending about $179 for the 500 GB Western Digital Firewire drives (which are absolutely fantastic BTW). Seagate has a 1.5TB USB 3.0 drive available for $150.

I ended up getting both!

Contract Maker Pro now iPad Native!

As of this afternoon, Contract Maker Pro will now run native on the iPad – CMPro is $4.99, but if you have already purchased it, this update is free in the iTunes store, just make sure you are running the newest iOS for your device.

If you are a Business owner looking to go digital with your custom contracts, releases and receipts, there is absolutely no better App on the market than Contract Maker Pro. With over 50 Placeholders, CMPro can even embed multiple images, change fonts, do multiple page contracts, is completely customizable and has many branding features. More great App stuff coming!

Contract Maker Pro

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 II Tilt-Shift L Lens

I’m finally in a position where I feel the Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 II Tilt-Shift Manual Focus is a good investment for me and will allow me to differentiate my photography look further. There is a lot of competition in the photography world, and something I spend a lot of time on the Photography Business Crash Course DVD are the many ways you can make yourself different and more appealing, instead of copying what everyone else is doing. A Tilt-Shift Lens, which is capable of producing some crazy looks, can become a form of competitive advantage, as long as you are the only one doing it. Something to think about.

Back in 2008, I purchased the original Canon 24mm Tilt Shift and played around with it, but just didn’t know what I wanted to do with it or how to operate it. Being that money was tight and it was so expensive, I returned it.

I have second thought that decision since and wished I would have tried a little harder to figure it out. From what I hear, there is a significant learning curve with tilt shift lenses and this is probably what I experienced. There is no auto-focus, (not an issue for me as I love to manually focus with live view), and you have to train your eye to “tune” it to the look you want. I also understand that some of these tweaks are very subtle. In any event, it is rated extremely high by Bhphoto.com users.

Without going into too much detail, I am primarily interested in this lens for the following reasons:

1. Tilting the DOF (typically DOF runs parallel with the sensor, a TS lens allows you to tilt it- this has many extremely cool applications, such as having running lines (not planes) of focus, with extremely blurry edges. Tilting the DOF also allows you to get seemingly unlimited DOF’s on certain surfaces, such as a dinner table or field when the DOF is tilted parallel to the surface you are shooting.
2. I understand these lenses are very sharp when shooting wide angle shots, very little periphery distortion. Some Landscape shooters prefer these over any other lens.
3. The ability to introduce (or correct) lens distortion.

Some may argue that many of these types of “looks” can be achieved in Photoshop, but I have always been a big believer of getting it right in camera and then tweaking in post-process if needed.

I am also curious about Video shooting applications. If you saw “The Social Network”- the rowing ragatta sequence seems to have been shot with a tilt shift lens. It was my favorite part of the movie, simply because it looked so DANG cool. With the ability to record video in HD on the 5Dii and 7D, I have to try this out a little to see if the look can be matched (or at least close to it). Check it out here:

If Tilt Shift Lenses prove difficult to learn, there is an outside possibility I will make a Crash Course on using them- but in either case I am excited to expand my repertoire and look forward to posting the results.

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 II Tilt-Shift Manual Focus

Canon 100-400 f4.5-5.6 L IS

Tomorrow morning I should be the proud Daddy of a Canon 100-400 f4.5-5.6 L IS Lens and another specialty lens from Bhphoto.com. I have put this purchase off for a very long time, but I am finally in a situation where it justifies the cost.

Just off the shore here in Maui we have a bunch of Humpback Whales breeching (as in jumping out of the water) daily. There are a few different ways to get shots of them, either from the shoreline, hills, or even in a boat, but what it came down to was the Canon 70-200 2.8 IS L and even the Tamron 18-270 did not have enough reach. I also considered Sigma’s 50-500 (AKA the “bigma”) but have never regretted an L lens purchase and occasionally Sigma makes a bad copy, not ripping on them (I love sigma)- just want the best quality glass.

I also want to go down to Jaws where the HUGE waves are, back to Hookipa (Windsurfers) and it would also be my main lens if I ever go out shooting wildlife.

My thinking is this: Slap this bad boy on to Canon 7D orCanon EOS 60D and the maximum focal length jumps up to 640mm due to the 1.6x crop factor. Add a 2x Extender, and now we are in the 1280mm Range. If that’s not going to get me close enough, I’m do not know what would.

One thing you will notice about this lens is that it doesn’t zoom by ring manipulation, it’s more of a sleeve that you manually push or pull, hence the nick name “push pull zoom”. From what I understand it is a relatively HUGE lens, but the reviews on it at Bhphoto.com are stellar.

Looking forward to testing it out, getting some spectacular shots and letting you guys know what I think.