Updates on Life, Photography, and Such

Oh dear, Brian. It’s been forever since you’ve posted. Forever indeed. How embarrassing. Gone are the twice-a-week updates, apparently.

I have reasons for this, however, I assure you. I haven’t just gotten lazy. Okay, maybe I have. But not THAT lazy.

Let’s start with the photography updates first, since that’s what most of you come here for. I’ve been busy Busy BUSY with my photography. In particular, I picked up the latest Rebel in the Canon line, the Rebel T3i (thank you, Air Miles!). It’s a great body at a solid price point, so if you don’t have the 8600 Air Miles kickin’ around, it’s still a good price.

I also picked up…drum roll, please…the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 OS. This $1,600 monster is such a dream to shoot with. It’s fast, crisp and is $1,200 cheaper than its Canon counterpart. The bokeh is like butter on this lens, and this particular style has been commonly labeled one of the “essential lenses” in any serious photographer’s kit.

So, here’s some galleries from the new body and lens (well, the MODS album is the 70-200 f/2.8; the other ones are on the 18-55 IS). You’ll notice these are now hosted on Flickr and not locally. I’m still undecided which one I’m going to stick with, but I’m sure Flickr will give me some better publicity. I have some shots here from a MODS game my team played in (I was out with a sore ankle), a party I went to, and a swing dance workshop.

In other news, my work term at Ceridian finished in April, but I was hired on over the summer as a part-time contractor, working when I’m not in class. It’s nice to have money again!

Finally, I have a number of projects on the go. First is a Minecraft server (yes, I caved and bought it. Yes, I’m addicted), which is play-by-donation. If you’re interested, drop me a line. I’m also working on a character Generator for Call of Cthulhu with a few friends (check out the Github here). Finally, I’m working on a heartbeat monitor for Minecraft servers to keep in-line with my current addiction. That project will be closed source, but many of my other ones will be open from now on.

On a closing note, I bought the domain brianturchyn.net, which will be used as a professional portfolio. The blog will remain here, but my main content will be on the former site. This domain name I feel simply isn’t professional, and it’s time to develop that aspect of things.

Photography Update: New Years 2010

Welcome to 2011 everybody. It’s been a couple weeks since posting, mostly due to a bad case of the social life, new job, and UMSwing prep. More updates on that later.

In the mean time, I have some photos from my new years party that I went to with a couple friends. I had a great time, met some new people, and took a few decent shots. All the best in 2011!

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Give Credit Where It’s Due

Update: After talking with some people, I realized that all of this was worded pretty harshly. It was intended only to be a request for what I wanted people to do when they use my photos. My apologies to everybody.

Recently, I’ve noticed on more than one occasion people using my photos for their profile pictures on various social media websites. I think that’s great; it’s good publicity for myself and it shows that the photos are liked. Unfortunately, I’ve seen the growing trend of some photos getting cropped, removing the URL from the image. Most of the time this is unintentional. If this happens, don’t worry; just give me credit in the photo description.

Here’s my requests for my photo use:

  • Feel free to use the photos on any social website, provided that you give me credit. This can be either by:
    • Leaving the original URL watermark in tact, or
    • Giving credit in the description or caption, using both my name and website URL
  • Unless I give specific permission, I would not like my photos used for derivative works. Chances are just asking will result in a “yes”; I simply want to know where my photos are being used.

I believe that credit should be given where it’s due (not to mention that it’s a copyright violation). If you want to use my photos, just give me credit. Hopefully I won’t have to put watermarks in more obstructive locations in the future.

Hopefully that clears things up a bit. Again, for those that read this before the update, sorry about how harsh it came across. I guess that’s what Mondays do to me.

The New Battery Grip

I just bought a battery grip for my Canon Rebel XTi a few weeks ago, and so far, I absolutely love it. It’s a great addition considering how little I paid for it.

Those of you now looking at the price of said battery grip on your favorite photography website will probably see a price around $250 – not exactly a cheap investment for the photographer on a budget. Thankfully, if you’re cheap like me, you can find 3rd party brands on bargain sites or eBay. I did the latter, and got a grip and two new batteries for $50, including shipping.

The grip serves a few purposes. First, because it has button duplicates on it’s side, it’s great for portraits. No more twisting your arm uncomfortably to get the camera aligned! Secondly, they typically hold two batteries instead of just one. With good enough batteries, I’ve heard of a few people getting up to 2400 shots off of the grip between chargings. As an extra ‘bonus’, people will instantly think your camera is much better than it actually is!

With the additional battery and mass on the bottom of the camera, there is the side effect of the extra weight; expect about a 500g increase. While it doesn’t sound like much, you’ll notice. Although some people may look at this as a burden, I look at it as an improvement. That extra weight increases the camera’s inertia, helping to steady your shot and get sharper shots.

The other feature I like about the grip is the extra AA battery cartridge included with it. Say, for example, that you’re out on a photo shoot and forgot to charge your batteries. All you do is put 6 AA batteries in the supplied cartridge, put it in your camera, and away you go! Granted, they won’t last for long, but it’s a great backup when you’re in a pinch.

I think it’s definitely something that every serious SLR photographer should pick up. The combined worth of the grip and batteries is far more than what I paid for them.

Camera and Grip
Camera and Grip, shot by my iPhone

The Gentlemen — Live At The King’s Head Pub

I got the opportunity to see a few old friends this weekend. They happen to be in a band, and I needed an excuse to pull out the camera and get some use out of it. I shot 175 photos that night, and here’s a selection of 37 of them (1:5 ratio ain’t bad!). I’m pretty happy with how these turned out. I normally hate shooting in dark rooms, but a 430 EX II with a poor man’s flash reflector (ie. a white sheet of paper with an elastic band to hold it on) does wonders when you’re that close to your subject.

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I’m Back; Photography Updates To Get Back In The Groove

After a period of almost five months of no blog posts, I’m finally getting going on these again. In a moment of inspiration, I decided to dust off the lenses and flashes and start honing the photography skills again, as well as working on the previously-regular rhythm of bi-weekly blog updates. A post will come later (hopefully by the end of this week) about what I’ve been up to over the past months. In the meantime, here’s a few photos I took this past weekend. They’re not much, but it’s definitely a start!

The wooden bowls are all made by my father, who over the past couple years has become obsessed with lathes, wood turning, pen making, and bowl making. The surface underneath is an old chest that was made by my great (great?) grandparents, and was recently refinished by my mother. I thought the combination of the two together would work nicely.

It’s always nice to hear from other people about the photos I put up. If you like what you see, take 30 seconds of your time and leave a comment. Let’s be honest: chances are you’re either slacking off in class, procrastinating over some work, or surfing between this and <insert social media site here>. I’m sure you can spare 30 seconds. :)

Without further ado, here’s the photos. Next week I’ll throw up some photos of the work I have recently done on my new car, some of which I’m quite proud of.

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