Tuesday 20 July 2010

Drobo update

Firstly thank you for all of the input and comments

It seems talking about storage is a sure fire way to stir up a debate

What have I learned?

Server seems the way to go, just a matter of the money....all in good time

Until then.....

Drobo in the USA called me and a very helpful lady called Valorie talked me through a few procedures and she did confirm there was an issue with my Drobo Pro and has arranged to send me a brand new unit from the USA

Bloody irritating that the Drobo Pro has had a problem but I cannot fault their customer care

So lets see how this one goes

Will give you an update

Thank You all again

Monday 19 July 2010

Drobo Pro - My New full time job with the time Vampire

Last year filing for my 20 years of photographs was very chaotic

With my library being spread over many different Lacie hard drives of many shapes, sizes and capacities

Lost and failing power supplies were the bain of my life so I took the plunge and bought a Drobo

Which was just fine, apart from the fact it only took 4x HDD of a maximum capacity of 2TB each, so I soon ran out of space

So I bought the Drobo Pro

Over the last 6 months this has degenerated into something of a full time job

I am now on my third

Yes, you did read right, my third

One failed power supply and one directory failure which meant I had Terabytes and Terabytes of space but though I could read the files I could no longer write to the drive

The units were swapped out speedily by Drobo

The real hell is transferring all your data over which takes DAYS, AND DAYS AND DAYS if you have had to reset (erase the drives)

But now

After a busy weekend at the seaside with my daughter I returned to my office

Woke my iMac up which was in sleep mode, after a few seconds the OS sent me the warning that I had removed the Drobo Pro before ejecting it

Which I had not

The Drobo Dashboard software reported that I had used only 55gb of the 12TB space

Infact I had only 3 Tb free

Upon first inspection I see I have 'lost' months of photos from my filing system

See below

Just where are the missing months?????????

I would be having a breakdown if they had 'gone'

But thankfully I have those years backed up in 2 other locations, one on a Drobo (assuming it still works!) and on my old Lacie's

But imagine....just imagine, it does not bear thinking about

And when the fix comes which surely it will,as their service is pretty good, I will have to spend an age working out what is and what isn't missing before beginning the restore process which could take days

The Drobo Pro has been nothing but a time vampire for me, no one should have to face this problem repeatedly

And before anyone chips in from Drobo it is primarily used on 2 computers, my Mac Pro and my iMac

Is there anyone else out there who has similar experiences?

Better still can anyone suggest an alternative to this unsatisfactory situation?

Story Boarding your video OR stills project

Since the Manfrotto school of Excellence Webinar 'Still in Motion' I have received a few requests to talk about storyboarding

As it says Wikipedia says 'Storyboards are graphic organizers such as a series of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion pictureanimationmotion graphic or interactive media sequence

Interestingly it also says that Disney came up with the idea in its current form in the 1930's

Well here goes, but before any of you out there think this is all about moving images think again

Storyboarding in my opinion is just a fancy expression for putting your ideas down on paper as part of the creative process, which importantly helps you not to take lots of shots you DON'T need while missing the ones you DO

I first began storyboarding some 3 years ago for my 'Bridge of Doom' project

I wanted to tell the story of how the intrepid spy lands in enemy territory on a secret mission to recover a map but was struggling to come up with just how the story would work in pictures

That is when I stumbled upon the storyboard template in Apple's Pages software, part of the iWork suite

It is in essence just a simple template which you drag and drop content, such as images, onto the template and there you go, just add notes such as props lighting etc

It looks so professional too, which DOES count when you are sharing your ideas and concepts with others

Here is an early draft of the storyboard which went on to change quite a bit but you get the idea

And this is how it worked out

Without a storyboard I would have struggled for a sequence of events

So fast forward to the present and when I started to get into moving images I discovered that storyboarding was even more important

Here is a screen grab of the 'Resplect' storyboard, which was drawn by Katherine Holley.

It served its purpose but imagine how it would have looked in Apples 'Pages' template

And look how closely the end product looked compared to the sketches in the storyboard

You can take it further by hiring a pro artist, or better still a friend who really CAN draw, and then importing their work into the great free (in basic form) Google app 'SketchUp'

It allows you to plan in a 3D every camera and light position

Impressive but a little beyond me at the moment

You can spend a long time preparing storyboards and believe me it is time well worth spending, just watch your ideas evolve, change and blossom

Friday 9 July 2010

Hurricane Alex by Diego Huerta

I was putting the finishing touches to my Manfrotto 'Still in Motion' webinar, when I received this email a few moments ago

Hi Drew, 

You don't know me but I know you, and admire you. My name is Diego, I’m a photographer from Monterrey, México. 

My city was destroyed by Hurricane "Alex".

There is not enough news about it. 

The photographs were taken between Saturday and the morning of today. I can assure you that conditions have not changed since I took them.

If you can show or talk something in your blog about it I would appreciate it.

Any other information you want from me, or other photographs let me know. 

We need help 



Consider if you will for a moment the words

'My city has been destroyed' 

It may be Monterrey in Mexico but it could be your city or mine

Diego Huerta has shot this great and very personal set of images of HIS city

What for me is very special about this set of pictures is the sheer spirit and determination of ordinary people fighting together for THEIR city

Not just rolling over but working together to clear the terrible mess

These people are victims but they certainly are not behaving like victims

I think we should perhaps all have to go through something like this to shake us from our sleep of everyday life

I have to say it moved me, and reminded me how lucky I was to be sitting in my flat and not in a pile of rubble

Spread the word guys


Tuesday 6 July 2010

In answer to David Hobby's question....

Last month I attended the London workshop that David Hobby held in London

During one of the question and answer sessions he asked me what my favourite photo book was.

Now if you are anything like me your favourite book, like your favourite movie changes from day to day

Readers of this blog may know of two of the books which set me on the photographic highway 30 years ago

Shooter  by David Kennerly

What it means to live, breathe and BE a photojournalist, a book which shaped my career


Pictures on a Page by Harold Evans

A book from a now dead age but contains so much which is still relevant and inspirational, a book I often refer back to

But when David put me on the spot I went for neither of these

I instead chose not one but two books by Joe McNally

Of all the photo books in the world why did I plump for these two?

Well firstly I went for them both as I was torn between which was my favourite so both got the nod in the end

These books are about what it really means to be a working photographer, not just taking a neat picture because we feel like it but how we respond when we HAVE to take or make a photograph with sparkle and panache, as part of a commission.

That is where true class shines through, which as anyone who is familiar with Joe and his work will be aware he has in spades, with a ton of soul too.

Not only are there some great stories from the road, there is a ton of technique and field craft, along with his philosophy

Ladies and Gentlemen, if you care one jot about photography and you have hear and soul, which I believe you do, otherwise you would not be reading this right now.

Go and get one or both of these books for the holidays, they will inspire you like no others.

I asked David Hobby if he would ever do a similar book?

He replied ' I'm not sure I could put together anything as good as Joe has'

Praise indeed

Friday 2 July 2010

My latest Acquisition...Sharp!

There was only one remaining lens in my bag which was not Canon 'L' series glassware

And that was my trusty and sharp Canon EF 100mm 2.8 Macro Lens

Now I was totally happy with it and even following the announcement of the Canon 'L' Series 100mm F2.8 Macro lens with its fancy new Hybrid IS (Image stabilisation) which according to Canon.......

'is able to correct lens shift movement as well as the angular movement that most IS systems can correct. This provides 2-stops of correction during 1.0x magnification, increasing to 3-stops at 0.5x magnification and 4-stops during normal shooting'

I had no plans whatsoever to replace it with the new glass

I mean, the spending has to stop somewhere, right?

After all, how many lenses does a man need?

And then I used one

Curse those people at Canon, they have managed to make another lens which I simply could not do without.


Now, my 'old' 100mm was sharp, I never had a single complaint about sharpness.

But this I think is the sharpest 35mm DSLR lens I have used


This lens is so sharp it bites, perhaps it is down to the Ultra Low Dispersion glass they use in its construction?

Have I not done a back to back test with the old lens but to me it seems always markedly sharper

I have managed to use the word 'Sharp' in the previous 5 lines...and I did not mean to, so you get the idea.

Witness the samples bellow, shot for part of a high concept ad campaign when I first borrowed the lens

Firstly a screen shot of the entire image...

                                 Shot at  F11 on a Canon 5d MkII rated at 100 ISO

The detail area.....................

                        The feather detail....WOW! (output as a high res JPG in Capture One Pro 5)

Here is the very minimal degree of sharpening I applied in Capture One Pro 5

So there you have it Canon users, another way to spend your money.....but my goodness what a lens!

It has just been put to great use shooting a new book for the Michelin starred 'The Star Inn' in Harome, North Yorkshire, titled 'Loose Birds and Game'

Watch out for more posts as the book comes nearer to launch later this year, I will be interested to know what you think

All shot by myself and my very finest photo friends.

A finer lens for behind the scenes work in a busy kitchen I could not imagine, the Image Stabilisation was VERY effective

Watch out for more posts as the book comes nearer to launch later this year, I will be interested to know what you think

It was a blast

Thursday 1 July 2010

What I'm Listening to right now.....

I was lucky enough to get to see Natalie Merchant again at the Hammersmith Apollo last month

A great gig, by an intelligent Woman who in addition to being a superlative Singer and Songwriter, is interested in the wider world, history and photography too I suspect, as she spoke about both throughout the gig

She has a new album

 'Leave Your Sleep'

It is an Album of 19th and 20th Century American and British poetry put to music

A rather ambitious project to say the least

Yes, I thought that this could be a 'bridge too far' for Natalie Merchant, I was not sure just how she would pull it off

But she did, with panache

 It is a very good album, truly a skilfully woven tapestry of many genres

Here is a flavour of the Album, my favourite track 'The Man in the Wilderness'

Very beautiful, some great reviews too

Go treat yourself and get the album, you will not be disappointed