was referred to me by a friend and I have to say this is a very intriguing idea to me. It’s essentially an Ebay of types, with the main differences being:

1. Most of it is marketing, logo, design type services.
2. Most everything costs $5

Granted, there is a lot of silly, nonsensical stuff on here, but there are some truly interesting and useful marketing ideas if you are willing to look around just a little.

Worth Checking

For those interested, this is the winning entry of my ad contest I held on 99 Designs. (Speaking of contests, nominees for my world-wide 2012 Photography Contest will be shown very, very soon!)

Nikon D600 Crash Course Cover Revealed!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, yet another wonderful crash course tutorial training video, this time on the Nikon D600. Why read a long boring manual for weeks when you can sit down and learn 95% of everything you need to know about it in a couple hours. While I am mostly known for shooting with Canon cameras, I have owned many, many Nikons in the past and think they are wonderful cameras.

Let me also say, the D600 is really amazing. I was very, very impressed with it. The highlights:

– Beautiful Full Frame Sensor, not having the same color balance issues as the D3200.
– It has excellent focusing systems, 39 focus points, including 9 cross type
– Built in Flash & Transmitter
– Built in Headphone jack for video
– 5.5 FPS

On paper, many of the arm chair pundits are saying that the upcoming Canon 6D should compete with it. Im not so sure about this, I almost feel that the D600 is more closely competing with the 5Diii, which indeed is a better camera but when one considers the cost savings, the D600 commands a second look.

Im anxious to get my hands on a 6D soon to run them through the hoops.

The download version of the Nikon D600 Crash Course Training Video should be available within the next week or less. We will make an announcement here as soon as it is ready.

Thank you for all your support!

DVD Shipping Notification

Update All orders have now been shipped. If you ordered with USPS, you should have a tracking number now. Thanks!

Just wanted to give everyone a heads up that we have been having some issues with the company that fulfills our orders (they send the physical DVDs out) for me. My understanding is that between the number of Black Friday sales of their other customers and a USPS software glitch, any DVD orders made after Nov 21st will be going out today.

In my opinion, this is totally unacceptable, especially since we have had so little communication from them. We have and are making every effort to try to resolve the situation with Rapid, but I am truly concerned at this point and we are looking at other options at this time.

Downloads are not affected, but I will say, that we should have some solution in place within the next week. UPS & Fed Ex orders seem to be going out no problem.

If any of you have a concern, or immediate need for your dvd, please contact us directly: [email protected] and we will make it right.

Thank you for your patience and support!

99 Designs

Thank you to Tom Moler for this suggestion. is an absolutely incredible resource for getting design work done quickly. I am placing an important ad in a very high traffic, specific for my target market type location and I wanted a very creative, catchy ad made.

I’ve played with the design a little bit, but realized I just didnt have the time to get the look I wanted, so I decided to try out I needed to get the art within 2 days, and after starting my project I had about 56 possibilities. Some of these artists are very talented, and I have narrowed it down to my favorite 7. You can check out, and vote on the finalists here: MIchael The Maven Ninja Banner Ad Designs

Be sure to click on each banner as these are animated! 🙂

You can get all kinds of designs made by an incredible pool of designers. A very highly recommended website!

Photographers Case Study: Manta Ray Night Diving!

Been meaning to post this for a while, but it explains a lot of what my settings were on my Manta Ray Night Diving Images and the problems I was having with low light, backscatter, and many smaller ambient lights. On the video Ill show you the first test shot which was terrible.

One thing I have definitely learned about photography is this: If something isn’t working, systematically start making changes until you find something that works. It is maddening to watch photographers do the same thing over and over again and expect different results!

This situation was tricky because it was low light, my first thought was the strobes, which didn’t work. My second thought was to open up my lens to f2.8, which was also wrong because I wasn’t getting enough DOF, but f4.0 looked good, still not getting enough light.

My next response was to use a slower shutter speed to get more light, but even 1/30 was too slow, as the rays were blurring. It HAD to be 1/60 or faster (such a great rule of thumb for portraits).

My last tweak was to bump it up to 800, which seemed to be good for video. While this may not seem to be a big deal on the surface, thinking /troubleshooting through this 40 feet down, surrounded by chaos of people and 18+ Manta rays breathing off a scuba rig, in a slight current takes some focus. I have almost a solid hour of awesome footage, and many, many stills. I was pretty happy with the results.

Again, for the record, I was shooting with Canon 5DII & Canon 20mm f2.8 Lens in an Ikelite Water Housing, with 2 Ikelite 161 Underwater Strobe / Movie Lights .

Exposure settings were: 1/60, f4.0 ISO 800 for most of the shoot. Many more great still images of the night here: Manta Ray Night Diving