January 10, 2012
Shez Photography took the photographs for the SHAPE Diva Dash on the morning of Janurary 21, 2012. If you have arrived at this page looking for your photos then you are in the right place. As soon as the photos are posted you will find the link to the gallery here in this post.
(Update 22JAN2012) Thanks to everybody who braved the rain and showed up to race. We have thousands of great shots and will be posting them shortly.
(Update24JAN2012) The majority of the photos have been posted. Check out the GALLERY to see your race photos and keep coming back to see more as we continue to upload.
May 22, 2011
As the first of the three alarms I set for myself the night before started beeping, I immediately knew I was going to need coffee and a lot of it. It was 5AM and I was standing in a dark hotel room trying to force my eyes to open. Why do they have to have these events so early in the morning? As I readied myself by dressing and downing a full cup of coffee, Jamie asked if I was going to wear a jacket. “Probably not” was my reply as I looked out the front door just in case. “Ok, yes” was my new answer as I saw it was softly raining. My hotel room was two and a half blocks from the start but I still needed about 5 minutes between getting my bike out of the car and riding down there. I finally get my biking shoes on and head to the car. I had patched the inner tubes on both tires the day before and when I left the bike the night before, both were holding pressure. Both were flat now though. I quickly put 100 PSI in both and hoped for the best. I clipped in and rode down the slick roads to the road block and proceeded to join the group just as the ride began.
If you have ever been in a bike tour, you will know that these things start more with a whimper then with a roar. In other words, more often then not you end up walking your bike across the start because of the traffic and lack of width at the starting line. This day was no exception and it was fine because by the starting line, my front tire had gone from 100 PSI to 1 PSI. I rode anyways carefully around the first corner and to the first clearing of grass on the side of the road. I then proceeded to change my flat inner tube. This let every last person in the pack pass me while I worked to change the tube as quickly as possible. Fortunately the rear held pressure because I only had one tube.
I know I should carry CO2 but I don’t so I could only put about 40 PSI in the front tire. This I did and then I was off. The course was flat with a few slight inclines and then a pretty quick decline to a narrow right hand more than ninety degree turn. I was actually glad I was still back in the thin crowd at this point of the ride. Some more incline and I took a small break. By this time I had passed some riders on the uphills but I wanted to make sure my body had plenty of fuel so I stopped to eat some Honey Stinger Energy Chews. This was one of the best ideas of my life because this fueled me for a long time.
Next the course headed toward the Rose Bowl where it had a large out and back section. This is also where the half marathon runners would split from the full length course. Now bike riders like to ride on the right side of the road for some reason even if the cones tell them otherwise. This led to some confusion but nothing major. Besides the course confusion, this is also where I happened to be when the skies opened up and a torrent of water fell on top of me and the other riders. It had been raining up to this point already but now it was a downpour and to make matters worse, bikes kick up a lot of spray straight up the riders backside. To make matters even worse, my glasses started fogging.
All of these things happened, but I rode on. At least my inner tubes didn’t give me any more headaches. I was up with the main pack by now and passing a good amount of riders on both the uphills and downhills. The second half of the course had some nice big dips in it but it also has some of the straightest and widest streets. This allowed me to pass a lot of people. Some people I passed multiple times because they started cutting the course. I don’t know why you would do that but that is their choice. I chose to ride the whole length and put up with the torrential downpour. Another thing that happened to me is I had to belch a lot. This brought up the smell of the beer I had consumed the day before from Lucky Baldwins. This is the Pub within walking distance of the hotel we stayed in.
The rain slackened slightly before I finally rolled across the finish. Jamie was there to take my photo and I got my finishers medal. Jamie took a few more shots while I was wet and covered in road grime. I proceeded to head back to my room and take a nice hot shower before driving home. It was a fun ride but next year hopefully it does not rain and my tires stay inflated.
April 25, 2011
To see more test shots from the Nikon P500 check out the GALLERY.
Occasionally a company known for quality of build as well as design will unveil a product that is so ill conceived and even more poorly implemented that it casts a shadow on the entire reputation of the company. For Nikon, that product is the Coolpix P500. What follows is born from my time owning this contraption and experiencing first hand just how wrong a product can get.
1)The Nikon Coolpix P500 tries to do everything but does not do anything well. This camera is packed with more features then I care to list. The manual is electronic only, most likely because if they printed it, it wouldn’t fit in the box. The features all sound nice but in reality are almost universally so poorly implemented to be useless.
In conclusion, stay away from the Nikon Coolpix P500 like a medieval peasant would avoid the plague. I know for a fact that Nikon is more than capable of making fine cameras that produce wonderful photos. This is not one of those cameras. I would go so far as to say that this camera is single-handedly destroying Nikon’s reputation around the world and they would be best served by taking it off the market.
Jamie and I dumped this contraption and picked up the Canon T2i instead. This is mostly because we already have a collection of fine Canon lenses. We both love the camera and coincidentally the camera fits in the same case we picked up for the P500. If you can afford the price difference, get that camera instead because you will not regret it.
March 13, 2011
Hello friends and Facebook fans. Jamie and I are finally posting more photo goodness. We purchased another camera which still has not arrived yet and I will be reviewing it once we have it in our hands. We also have events coming in the next month so look for more frequent updates.
Yesterday Jamie and I somehow dragged ourselves out of bed at a much too early hour for a Saturday and went to the weekly Cars and Coffee™ Irvine event. This gathering is a spectacle of car performance and history that anybody who loves cars will enjoy. The best part of this weekly gathering is that it is free to attend (you don’t even pay for parking) and the only thing being sold is coffee.
On any given Saturday, you will find at least five decades of automobile history covered in addition to seeing multiple supercars and at least a few race cars. Yesterday also got a special visit by the new McLaren MP4-12C. When we arrived, there was a crowd around this car and when we left, there was still a crowd around this car. Another car that carries the supercar status is the Saleen S7. Yes, an example of one of these cars was present as well. My favorite car out of those present would have to be the Lotus Evora because it is a Lotus with back seats.
Along with the production supercars and historical automobiles were of course professionally modified cars as well. Hennessey had about four or five vehicles present including a Camaro and a Ford GT.
Jamie took a lot of photos and you can find full resolution versions of all the photos shown here and more at the GALLERY.
November 25, 2010
Thunder storms off the coast subside to reveal the quiet entrance of thousands of cars. The hustle of packing everything and moving it over the trek to the destination. Kids, chairs, umbrellas, LOTS of cameras. The silence of the morning is contrasted with the obvious drive in everybody to get where they are going. The sun breaks the sky and the Air Show Starts!
The show starts with R/C planes flying off in the distance. There are highly maneuverable and from some of the photos can be confused with the real thing. Our vantage point only allows us glimpses of these planes so we wait and apply sun screen in preparation for the long day. Soon the wait is rewarded with the morning performance of Sean Tucker in the Oracle Challenger III. During this performance Sean will perform tricks that no other performer can replicate. He also pulls the most negative-g maneuvers I have seen. Sean can put the plane in a hover, fly it backwards, do a myriad of other things that boggle the mind. The air show is worth it just to see him perform.
The next aircraft to perform was a stand in since one of the AT-6 planes had mechanical problems. So instead the audience got to see the slowest plane at the air show, an Antonov An-2 biplane. This plane is massive for a single engine aircraft and yet it can take off from distance as short as 170 meters (558 feet). The design is old but it continues to be produced in some countries even today because it is reliable and safe.
The very next powered craft to fly was John Collver in his “Wardog” AT-6 “Texan”. The AT-6 was used as a trainer and so John flies in the smooth and simple maneuvers that pilots would have learned back when this airplane was used. The AT-6 is massive and powerful for a single engine trainer.
The show turns a page and the military exhibitions begin with the afternoon portion of the show. In quick succession the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team take flight along with a whole slew of military aircraft from Cobras to Osprey to Falcons and Hornets. These all fly off and the Golden Knights parachute out while the National Anthem plays. The last jumper has the American Flag flying off of the back of his parachute. Immediately after he lands, the most exciting part of the air show gets under way; MAGTF!
The Marine Air Ground Task Force demonstration shows in quick succession a coordinated air and land effort to take an important strategical asset. AV-8B Harriers do mock strafing runs while F/A 18 F Super Hornets go on mock bombing runs. UH-1 Huey helicopters bring in ground troops to fast rope in and secure the landing zone. MV-22 Osprey fly in using airplane mode for quick arrival and then transition to helicopter mode to drop off their troops. AH-1Z Cobras secure the area for the ground troops while CH-53E Super Stallions air drop light vehicles in the distance. Soon after the armored vehicles arrive including armored personnel carriers and M1A2 Main Battle Tanks. The whole time the ground troops seek cover and cover each other’s movements as they advance. The Hornets and Harriers fly by doing a mock mid-air refueling run. Finally the troops reach the stands and the demonstration is over.
The tanks and the troops travel along the flight line to leave and shake the hands of the audience on the way. That concludes MAGTF! Next up the Super Hornet does a legacy flight with an F4U corsair. After that Sean Tucker performs again is his Oracle Challenger III. Then the audience gets to see a Semi-Truck tractor fitted with a jet engine on the back do afterburner runs down the runway. They call this Shockey’s “ShockWave” Jet Truck. Then the same AV-8B Harrier which was in the MAGTF demonstrates vertical landing and take off.
Second only to the MAGTF demonstration in excitement is the demonstration which comes up next. This is of course the F-22 Raptor; the premier air superiority fighter in the world. The F-22 demonstrates its unclassified maneuvers for the audience like low altitude recovery from a complete stall, flying with a negative air speed (flying backwards), power loops, and turns in a radius that outclasses any other fighter at the show. Because the F-22 has thrust vectoring, it can fly with an angle of attack higher then even the Super Hornet and turn tighter as well as achieve Supercruise speeds of breaking the sound barrier without using afterburners.
While the Raptor stayed in the air it was joined by an F-16 and a P-51 Mustang for a legacy flight. This provided excellent photo opportunities to the crowd below as they all had to fly at the speed of the Mustang.
The afternoon show finished out with a demo by the Red Bull Helo which can fly upside down in loops and the Canadian Snow Birds which do just about every formation flying trick that the Blue Angels do. The last performers of the afternoon were of course the Blue Angels who make their flights always appear completely effortless while flying in ridiculously close proximity to each other. All in all it was a good day and worth it if you can ever make it out.
To see more photos from the 2010 Miramar Air Show check out our Zenfolio Gallery. http://shezphoto.zenfolio.com/p289669307
August 28, 2010
Sensor Cleaning for Interchangeable Lens Cameras
It would be nice if camera bodies with interchangeable lenses sealed themselves during lens changes. Since they do not yet do this, there is always some dust or fibers which may sneak into the camera body during a lens change. The dust and fibers are then attracted to your sensor like a magnet because of the charge the sensor carries when it captures light. Dust which is not on the focal plane is usually not noticeable in photographs. So for instance a little dust on the end of your lens or dust in the camera body but not on the sensor will not be noticeable. However as soon as that dust or fiber sticks to your sensor then it will for sure show up on your photos as a dark spot.
This is a solved problem right?
The short answer is no. Many new cameras incorporate either a system to shake the sensor or to electrically push the dust off the sensor. The dust and fibers however are still in your camera body where they can re-attach at a later time.
How do I know if I have dust on the sensor?
You might already know you do have dust but if you want to find out for sure then take a photo of the clear blue sky. Then download the photo and zoom in to 50-100%. If you see dark spots where there should be none, then you have dust on your sensor.
What do I need to do now?
These instructions are specific to the Canon 5D Mark II but can be used on any DSLR or even any camera with an interchangeable lens. However you will need to read your cameras manual to find out how to put it in “cleaning mode” and follow the instructions for that mode. Make sure your battery is fully charged before doing this.
What tools do I need?
You will need at least three things and a few more optional items. The three mandatory items are:
1) A good blower
I like the Giotto Rocket Air Blower which you can pick up for about $15 including shipping. Note: do not use canned air as it has propellant which can leave residue. Also be wary of CO2 as some canisters have lubricant.
2) Photographic Solutions Sensor Swabs for your sensor size. This is the most expensive part at $35-40 per 12-pack.
3) Eclipse Optic Cleaning System Cleaning Fluid Note: This stuff is extremely flammable so you can only buy it in person in the store. If you don’t live in New York then you’ll have to find it at a local camera store. One bottle lasts a long time.
4) Optional: Sensor scope or magnifying loupe. These can get pricey and this one is $75. It does help in visualizing the problem though so you know where to concentrate the blower.
A Primer on sensors
It does not matter if you have a CCD or a CMOS sensor. The sensor always has a protective glass over it and it is this glass that you will be cleaning. Canon incorporates a low-pass filter in this as well to remove infrared light. Other manufacturers don’t do this. However the cleaning method remains the same regardless. While the glass is not delicate, it can be scratched so that is why care needs to be taken to prevent contamination anytime you will be physically contacting the sensor glass. Since it rests on the focal plane, any markings will be visible. If your sensor glass is damaged already, it is possible to repair although it is expensive. Contact the service department for your specific manufacturer to find out your options.
Let’s get started already!
The first thing I will say about this process is that it is best done in a clean room. If you take your camera to the manufacturers service center then this is what they do. Since most people I know don’t own clean rooms then a closed off room will have to do. If you have an air filter, turn it on high for about an hour ahead of time and then turn it off right before to let the air calm and the dust settle. If you have pets, kick them out. The last thing you need is your dog wagging his tail and some fur flying into your camera body.
1) Detach your lens and cap the end and temporarily put your body cap on the camera. Then put your camera in “Cleaning Mode”. Note: This is different from “clean the sensor now”. Like I mentioned before, every camera is different but to see how to do it for the Canon 5D Mark II just watch the video below. Lastly take off the body cap. You should notice that the mirror is now out of the way (if your camera has a mirror).
2) Grab your blower and proceed with blowing any dust and fibers out of the camera body. It is possible that you can clean the sensor only using the blower but if you cannot, it is still a good step to include. Blow as much out as you can while being careful not to touch the blower tip to anything in the camera including the sensor or the mirror.
3) Take one sensor swab and the sensor fluid and place it next to the camera. Now carefully open the sensor swab making sure not to touch the end with the swab on it. Apply a drop of liquid on each side of the sensor swab. Now firmly but gently swipe the swab from the left to the right of the sensor glass. Then make one swipe from the right to the left using the clean side of the swab. Now the swab is used and cannot be used again so just put it down anywhere. Once you put the body cap or your lens back on then you can take your camera out of “cleaning mode”.
Time to test the results
Place a wide angle lens on the camera if you have one and go outside. Aim at a clear blue sky up at about 75 degrees and opposite from the sun. Take several photos at the widest angle and then download them and look at them between 50-100%. You should not notice any dust but if you do you can repeat the steps. Sometimes just using the blower again can fix the problem.
Use your newly cleaned camera often. It may get dirty again but you now know how to clean it. This should lead to a much more enjoyable experience. If you end up with an impossibly to clean sensor then you might want to take it to the manufacturers service center.