Thursday, May 28, 2009

Back in Business!

With 10 minutes to spare, my gear is home, safe and sound and upgraded... according to Canon at least... "It was found that the adjustment to the AF assembly was incorrect the auto focus did not operate properly. Electrical Adjustments were carried out on the AF assembly." I'm really hoping that means it's fixed! I'll be playing with the autofocus over the next few days just to be sure. Maybe I'll be able to actually take some sharp images now... wouldn't that be novel!

So.... CPS gets an D- for communication and an A+ for speed. Grade for accuracy is pending... Now, out the door before the dog bursts from repressed excitement, his walk is WAY overdue at this point. Poor Milo!


A call to the Irvine service center went straight to voice mail but 45 minutes later I received a phone call from a very pleasant rep who told me that all of my gear is finished and was sent back to me via Fed Ex last night and should be at my door before 3PM today.... it's 1:50 pm now...

I've had a bad history with Fed Ex just leaving door tags and not ringing the door bell or knocking so... I'm going to go sit by the front door until they show up... I can't wait to have everything back in my hands! Heading down to the Baylands tonight if it all arrives in time! Hummmm probubly better not to count my stilts before they've hatched.... waiting is painful.

Waiting is painful

It's been 6 days since I've had a camera in my hand. I forgot that this past weekend was a holiday weekend... silly me. And so Friday, I packed up my long lenses and my camera bodies and shipped them off to Canon for cleaning, calibration and minor tweaks that have been long neglected. I had been counting on having a full week for these repairs but I didn't count on everyone being closed down for Memorial Day. One day lost.

Thanks to UPS tracking, I know that my gear arrived safe and sound in the Canon Repair Center in Irvine, CA at 9:05 AM Tuesday morning but that is all I know. Not one peep from Canon about having received them, an estimate, a time table... nothing.

This is my first time using my new status as a CPS member and I really have to say I am not in the least bit impressed. I leave on Sunday for a photo trip to Montana... it's not going to be much of a trip if I have no camera or lens to use... I'm hoping that BorrowLenses.com will be able to bail me out at the last minute if Canon fails to come through.

It's so rare that I have a solid week without anything to photograph and even now, I am jonesing to get out there and shoot. I know where several black-neck stilt chicks are testing their tiny wings, I've seen sparrows galore, the tides are great for landscapes.... the photos are calling me but I have no equipment to answer with.... I hope it comes back to me soon.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

California Photo Forum

I'm currently exploring a new forum I've found that specifically targets California based Photographers of all styles and genre's. So far so good... there seem to be a lot of active people, more each day in fact as they are in a giant membership push at the moment... and they feature "What the Duck"!! So... check them out and see if they are a good fit for you... you just might find a new shooting buddy or a few new locations you didn't know about.

California Photo Forum

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Adventure

I've recently begun a new adventure in my photographic career: People. I've rented a studio space with a friend of mine, Enrique Aguirre, in a building full of artists... painters, sculptures, wood workers and welders... you name the art medium and I'm certain there is someone in the building to fit the bill. I'm still meeting everyone and learning what they do but already two of the artists really stand out, Eric Joyner and Rebecca Fox (and not just because she is named Rebecca!). Check out their work when you get a chance! I'm sure you will be as impressed as I am.

But on to my PEOPLE! For the longest time I have avoided photographing people... in snapshots they always look away at the last second, close one eye, tuck their chin or squint... you name it... I can make the most gorgeous person in the world look horrible in a snap shot! In my work with animals I have found that shooting captive animals is actually harder than true wildlife. I think the reason is just in the fact that expectations are so much higher in captive shoots. If you have a willing wildlife model and you don't get the PERFECT SHOT, well..... you've failed. Whereas if you have a wild critter people will forgive a few misplaced twigs or a bit of shadow int he wrong spot. I thought it would be just as hard for "captive" people. I couldn't have been more wrong. For people it's all about the light and the rapport. If you can make people laugh just a bit, they loosen up and relax and eventually they stop being so conscious of the camera.

My wonderful cousin and his fiancee were so kind as to be my first studio guinea pigs. Practicing with people I know and love took a lot of the pressure off. We spent the entire day, made costume changes and backdrop changes... played with the lights and really had a fun time.

Next, I got brave at my salon and asked one of the girls working there if she would mind coming in and spending a couple hours in exchange for some prints. She brought her boyfriend along and they were both such good sports!

It's really beginning to gel and I am having a ball with it. I can't wait to sucker... I mean... convince more people to come in for sessions. So many ideas rattling around in my brain - this is a whole new world of opportunity! Don't worry, I'm not abandoning the wildlife! Just to prove it... I was in Elkhorn Slough this past Sunday working with Otters and Birds! You can see more about this outing at the CalNature Blog.