extremely biased holiday camera gift guide part deux

2011-shotbyjake-com-8508

Camera gear guide part II.

This post will focus mostly on Canon EOS compatible lenses. All of the disclaimers from the last post still apply.

Before I get to the lenses, here are a couple of awesome accessories:

Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote Control– $25ish

canonrc6case

I have the older version of this (RC-1), and love it. This thing is the perfect solution for those botched timer shots. This remote control is compatible with most Canon EOS SLRs, as well as a handful of point and shoot models. It has a setting for a 2 second delay, in case you need to press the button, then hide remote out of the shot.

Intervalometer– $50ish

image

Perfect for nerds. This tool allows photos taken in increments of 1 second to 10 hour, etc.. I have wanted to get one of these forever, to make time lapse films of very slowly occurring things (think of plants growing). Did you ever see that video the guy did of his flight from San Francisco to Paris, with the northern lights? I’m sure that he used something like this.

Manfrotto Pocket Tripod– $30ish

2011-shotbyjake-com-8517

This thing is awesome. It is sturdy enough to hold a metal body SLR with a modestly heavy lens. I use this thing like crazy when I travel. It is seriously perfect for timer (or remote control) shots. It is small enough, that you can leave it mounted to the bottom of your camera with the legs folded in, and it still fits in the bag.

Moving along to lenses– First, here are a couple of prime lenses I like (fixed focal length):

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8– $100ish

canon_50mm_1-8_ii

This lens is a great and inexpensive way to expand your arsenal, if you are looking to get away from that kit zoom lens. This focal length is generally considered to be the “standard” or “normal” focal length. However, if you are working with a cropped sensor, it is good to take into account that a 50mm will effectively be a 70ish mm. In my opinion, prime lenses are awesome. A prime lens forces the photographer to work for the shot (since they can’t just zoom in or out), and pay more attention to composition. This lens is also dope because normally you have to pay the big bucks for an aperture that goes any wider that f/2. Not, here. You can get that super buttery bokeh, and low light shots with this lens.

Sigma 30mm f/1.4– $500ish

i-8d5pm5z-l

Normally I wouldn’t suggest buying a non-canon brand lens. But in this case, I deviate from the norm. This lens is pretty awesome. At 30mms, it gives you a 50ish mm equivalent on a cropped sensor (all Rebel SLRs). This lens was specifically designed with cropped sensor cameras in mind. In fact it vignettes so bad on a full frame, it isn’t even worth using on one. For what you get, I think that it is also pretty affordable. It is about $800 less expensive than the closest Canon brand equivalent. The lens is very well made, and comes with a hood, and padded case. The aperture opens all of the way up to f/1.4 making it awesome in low light. I have found that the AF isn’t quite as tight as with the Canon L-series. But what is? I have had this lens for a few years, knocked it around quite a bit, and it still gives me great images.

Canon 50mm f/1.2L– $1500ish

dsc_6423-rebel

This thing is amazing. Couple Canon’s L-glass with a giant 8 blade aperture and you won’t get any better 50mm lens.

Here are a few zoom lenses for people who are serious about photography, or are starting to get serious about it:

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L– $800ish

cn1740usmg

This is the most inexpensive Canon “L” zoom on the market. Don’t let the low price fool you. It is an awesome lens. I use this thing all of the time. At f/4 it is not the best lens for low light, or shooting indoors w/o flash. But, on a cropped sensor, the wide angle options this lens gives are fantastic. Throw in the L-glass, and get some tack sharp images. This lens comes with a hood.

Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L– $1400ish

canon24-70l-1

Chances are, you already own this zoom. It is probably the most versatile of Canon’s high-end zoom lenses. You get wide and telephoto angles, both with a relatively large aperture. Again, to top it off, you also get that L-glass, making this lens well worth the cash. For those looking to upgrade from a regular EF zoom to a pro-quality lens, this is hands-down the best pick.

[top photo]


View all parts of this series here.

happy friday on a wednesday+ an A train poem

shotbyjake-com-9882

4 day weekends are boss. The weather has turned to crap, and is supposed to remain crap (rainy) for the duration. I’m not worried though. Some of our good friends will be spending the holiday with us, and I’m sure that there will be plenty of good times had. I’m also excited about my good friend Michael Corleone who will be returning from Italy after several years on the lam. Wait, that is a different Michael C.. My friend Micheal C., who is coming home from Italy to visit, didn’t shoot anyone. I’m hoping to be able to kick it with him for a minute or two over the weekend, as well.

Since it is sort of a Friday, I’m going to serve up this A train poem. I thought it was cheesily appropriate for this week since it has a bit of a gratitude theme.

The rain magnifies everything on the A train. The humidity on the platform, once bearable, reaches levels normally reserved for swamps and saunas. That subtle stench of urine/body-odor/halitosis becomes much less subtle. On rainy days, nose-deaf strap hangers are counted as fortunate. When it rains, the slight annoyance felt toward the person who keeps bumping your leg on the A train, becomes tangible as their wet umbrella soaks your slacks and drips onto your brogues. On the A train when it’s raining, that feeling of relief to finally be headed home goes beyond relief, and breaches the threshold of gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

[photo: Rush hour on the West Side Highway from the Vesey St. foot bridge]

audio goodness– the dø

the-do

If you read Boooooom, then you already saw these guys once this week. Yeah, that is where I discovered The Dø. And I’m so glad that I did. There are elements in their tracks of all of the female vocalists that I adore. Plus the dude sort of looks like a young Johnny Depp. This track is called “The Calendar.” Check it.

For those who were wondering, Ear Full of Gold is now two posts deep. I can’t say that I have had the privilege of penning either of them. Which actually bodes well for those who read EFOG, because Joe’s prose is much more meaningful than the the tripe that I’m banging out on this fancy bamboo keyboard of mine.

[img]

hola, wednesday. stoked to see you.

2011-shotbyjake-com-3865

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I’m going to say that it feels like it has already been kind of a long week. I had a bit of a reprieve last night as I attended an event at the BLK Denim Store in SoHo, NYC. The space is absolutely dope (above). Not to brag about my lineage, but if it is Scandinavian, you know it’s good. I wound up with a new pair of jeans. I rarely wear jeans, so I have never been able to justify buying a new pair. All of the jeans that I owned before last night are spill over from the late 90’s/early 2000’s. They don’t really fly for going to social events. Anyway, I love my new BLKs. Here are a few more shots that I liked from last night.

2011-shotbyjake-com-3877 2011-shotbyjake-com-3886

what i’m working with these days

2011-shotbyjake-com-9864

The tower that I built 5ish years ago finally died when we were out of town over the weekend. I never shut it down. I have fixed it/upgraded it on more occasions than I would like to admit. When I say that it died, I mean that the mother board is toast. At first I thought it was an HD issue. But when I tried to reset the BIOS, and change the boot order, so that I could attempt to restore the windows installation, I was getting gibberish on the BIOS screen. Not awesome.

Redeeming factor: I was planning on buying a new comp this week anyway. I have had it picked out for a few weeks. Just waiting for some overdue funding to come through. In the mean time, I’m using the lappy on the bamboo keyboard setup. If I could just get a pair of bamboo monitors (as Kari and Rae suggested), I would be good for another 5 to 10.

On days like this, I just have to remind myself that there are plenty of people out there who are starving, let alone under-computered. I can deal.

short week

img-20111110-00034

It is always nice to have a Friday on Thursday. This evening we are jumping a flight for Charlotte, to attend a wedding. It should be a pretty nice time. In addition to being excited about the actual wedding and ancillary events, it is going to be really cool to catch up with so many friends that we haven’t see for several years. I’m taking my small computer with me, and hoping to be able to drop in a couple of posts along the way. Have a great weekend!

[the photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post]

bamboo in the house

2011-shotbyjake-com-9326

So stoked about this new keyboard/mouse combo. I came across the setup last week, and immediate ordered 2 sets. They arrived today. I immediately swapped out the oem parts at my work desk for the bamboo goods and thoroughly test drove the bamboo for the rest of the afternoon. I have been very pleased, so far.

2011-shotbyjake-com-9303

The tricky thing about seeing something that looks really awesome online, is that there is always a risk it won’t be as awesome as it looks in the photos, when it actually arrives. I’m very pleased to report that there were no such unpleasant surprises, here. The quality appears to be pretty top notch. The only thing that I would change about the keyboard, is that it doesn’t have the little flip-down feet underneath. I’m sure that If I really needed to angle the keyboard, I could rig something up.

2011-shotbyjake-com-9300

The mouse actually had an added bonus. The scroll wheel is back-lit by a blue LED. I love that detail. It has some small metal glide plates on the bottom. They slide perfectly on my formica desk at work. But I may have to get a mouse pad at home. The wood surface of my keyboard tray isn’t quite as smooth. Anyway, for the price, I think that this combo is totally a value. I would definitely recommend picking one up, to anyone who is considering it. You can order them over here, and they ship from California. I also might be giving one away in the near future or offering a promo code (or both). I’ll get back to you as soon as I work out the details. More images below.

photohunt- my nasty kitchen sink

In a lot of first world areas, people have in house appliances called dish washers. In NYC (which can be pretty 3rd world at times), dishwashers and disposals are the exception, not the norm. It’s because of antiquated and ailing infrastructure. Until not too many years ago, NYC sewers could not support such newfangled devices.  Anyway, here is a shot of my dishwasher. There are 5 differences… go!

2011-shotbyjake-com_ 2011-shotbyjake-com-edit

i want this– ducati 1199

ducati-11-99-panigale-xl

Even though in the world of GP, Ducati has struggled for the past year, I think that it is probably still my favorite brand of sport bikes. It’s distinctive L-twin growl appeals to me in a way that no other sport bike ever has. So, I was incredibly stoked to see this thing today on Uncrate, today. I’m imagining that the GP bike that Ducati has been developing for next season’s factory team riders (which is going back to the 1 Litre threshold of displacement) may have inspired some design aspects of the new 1199. Here is what Uncrate had to say:

Powered by what the company is calling “the most powerful twin-cylinder production engine on the planet,” the Ducati 1199 Panigale Superbike ($18,000-$28,000) promises uncompromising speed — and it delivers in spades. At its heart is the aforementioned Superquadro engine producing 195hp, which thanks to tremendous frame and engine integration resides in a bike with a dry weight of just 164kg — that’s roughly 362 lbs — along with class-leading tech like a sporty ABS system, traction control, Ducati’s Electronic Suspension, quick-shift, Engine Brake Control, and Ride-by-Wire systems, and a TFT display that changes to suit your environment. Not that you’ll have time to notice

Now I just need to raise $28k so that I can pick one up. Hehe.

audio goodness– efog

untitled-1

Today, instead of sharing some music that I like. I’m introducing the unofficial launch of the idea that I have talked about on various occasions in the past. Yes, I’m referring to ear full of gold. It was an idea that my friend Joe and I came up with, about a year ago. Joe has been putting together the design for a while, and we just got something up and live, last week. Very, very soon, there will be discussion of music on there. For now, just check out QWAOBWSTT.

more marathon hooplah

I just wanted to share two more things that I came across, yesterday as I was flipping through all of the marathon related media coverage. The first item, is this video from MTA Bridge and Tunnel crew. It is a time lapse of the start of the race, on the Verazzano Bridge. This year they added some new camera angles.

The next items came from Laughing Squid. It is a story about an illustrator Christoph Niemann, who illustrated at various points along the race course as he was running, then tweeted his drawings/paintings. I seriously love this kind of stuff.

The caption of this one is “Bottom of the Willis Ave. Bridge”

adlzaxfcmaevtgs

This one is “To of the Willis Ave. Bridge” Hahahaha

adlzqgscaaap9q6

And here is crossing the finish line.

admkk0rcqaau-h6

Check out the full photo story, starting at @abstractsunday, which became locked up and eventually moved to @abstractsunday1.

 

NY Marathon 2011

garminmara

Oh man, I love this race. There has been so much going on in my personal life lately that I never really had a chance to get excited about the race this year. In fact, I even considered sitting it out, especially after the crazy weather the previous weekend. Thanks to some good friends’ motivational pep talks, I showed up yesterday morning with my running sneaks on. I’m so glad that I did.

I rode down to the SI ferry with my same friends that I ran Chicago with. There was some drama with the car service. But that was really the only setback of the morning. By the time we arrived in Staten Island and boarded the buses for Verazzano Bridge, the sun was already coming over the horizon, and I could tell the weather was going to be phenomenal.

My friend Becca agreed to run with me. Which was very gracious of her, considering that She tends to totally crush the NY Marathon. She PR-ed in it a few years ago with a faster time than I have had at any marathon, which is super impressive for such a difficult course. Anyway, it was so great to have her there, to chat with her in the staging area, because it gets so boring waiting and waiting for gun time.

It is always so exciting when you finally get up onto the bridge and can see the start line. Bloomberg gives his little good luck speech, and the cannon goes off. There is suddenly a sea of bouncing heads that begins pouring onto the bridge toward Brooklyn. It is the most amazing sight, ever. On my way across the Verazzano, there was a Coast Guard Black Hawk on my left side, along with a TV news helicopter. On my right hand side was an NYPD helicopter. They would fly right up next to the bridge. Coast Guard was waving through the open side door. I waved back, of course. Hehe.

Becca and I kept a nice comfortable pace just under 8 minute miles through all of Brooklyn and Queens. We even tackled the Queensboro Bridge with a pretty good pace (mostly thanks to Becca). Once we made it into Manhattan and started to charge up 1st Avenue, I began to struggle. Thankfully, Becca was really good about not letting me slow down much (even though I really wanted to). By mile 17, I was really wishing that I had brought some energy gels with me. Thankfully at mile 18 they were handing them out. But, by the 20k mark, I was really losing steam and thankfully Becca didn’t let me slow her down anymore. I watch her fade into the crowd of runners in front of me. Around mile 20 the energy gel started to kick in, and I was feeling a little bit spry again.

As I was coming off of the bridge into the Bronx, without warning, my left hamstring cramped up really hard. Like, so hard, I was worried that my race might be over. I hobbled over to the sidewalk (without tripping anyone, thk gdnss), and stretched it out for a few minutes. It ended up costing me. That mile was a 12 minute mile, hahaha. From then on, I knew that I wasn’t going to get any sort of amazing time, so I just settled in at a 10 minute mile and enjoyed the home stretch. It was almost existential. I stopped looking at the pace clocks, and my watch, and just enjoyed the crowd. I crossed the finish line at the same time as Jack Waitz, husband of the late Grete Waitz.

Thank you so much to everyone who provided encouragement to me about this race. Also thanks to everyone who tracked me, and came out to cheer.  It was pretty awesome. Can’t wait to do it again next year. Here is a link to my Garmin stats.

movember

movembervid

One of my favorite blogs, the 189, posted this video today. About the video:

Australian studio Urchin Associates released this series in collaboration with Movember titled “Craft and Pride” which looks into the life of different moustached fellows. Particularly pinpointing those with craft and pride within what they do and their stories, this one I picked out below is episode 1 and it features a man named blake who likes to fly fish. He guides us through his technique, why he likes doing it and how he got started, I have to say the filming is absolutely stunning.

I am a huge fan of fishing. I grew up fishing with my father, and in fact used to tie my own flies, when I was a young whipper snapper. I totally dig this video and the whole idea behind Movember. Check it–

Movember 2011 Craft and Pride Series Episode 01 from Urchin Associates on Vimeo.

happy friday!

2011-shotbyjake-com-3547

I’ll start with the bad news. I have no A-train poem to share today. I have been relatively uncreative (not that the previous poems were anything major), for the past little while. But I do feel like I’m somewhat getting my mojo back. Which brings us to the good news. Above is a nice little shot of ?uestlove, who was DJing at the party I attended last night.

For the weekend? Wellah, I plan on attending a Halloween party on Saturday night. Then running a race Sunday morning. Not sure how all of that will work out. But I’m being hopeful. Speaking of running, there are only nine short days left until the NY Marathon. I’m trying not to sweat it. I’m going to be forced to run a few times between now and then, because I just bought some new sneaks and I need to break them in before the race (or else suffer massive blisters). I retired the sneaks that I used in Chicago, by leaving them in the trash can of the hotel room. Hahaha.

Which brings me to my next topic: weather. It is supposed to snow this weekend. Not cool. I’m not a good cold weather runner. In fact, I’m not a cold weather runner at all. I stay inside and get fat during the cold weather. Fingers crossed for 50+ degree weather on November 6th. Have a great weekend!

other good that i have been up to

2011-shotbyjake-com-2406

Friday eve, I shot some of the latest and greatest WeSC stuff at the Bowery Hotel for Rad Collector. It was a great way to wind down after a crazy week. Here are a few more of my faves from the Friday night shoot–

2011-shotbyjake-com-2582 2011-shotbyjake-com-2899 2011-shotbyjake-com-3136crop

 

audio goodness– fever ray

Style:

Remember The Knife? Yeah– that Swedish brother and sister electronica outfit. Well, we were at a party in the West Village weekend before last and met a super cool group of Swedish girls. One of them was dressed in a jump suit, and was apparently going to be shooting Mary J. Blige the following Monday for some British publication, hahahaha. One of the first things that I asked these Swedish ladies, is if they were into The Knife. Their response was basically a polite “duh.” Anyway, the “sister” component of the duo that comprises The Knife, calls herself Fever Ray (real name– Karin Dreijer Andersson). She is totally bad a$$. I feel like some of Fever Ray‘s tracks definitely have a menacing lining to them. So, what better artist to share the week before Halloween? PS, that image above is one of her tamer ones. I’m telling you, she is hardcore (do a google image search). Anyway, I really like this track. It’s called “I’m not done.” Check it.

[img]

marco simoncelli

ftc_mal_simoncelli_02

Today was a very sad day for me. As I was starting to settle into my Sunday ritual of watching MotoGP, I watched one of my favorite Italian riders die on the track. I never really understood the whole idea of mourning people that you have never met, until today. When Michael Jackson died, I specifically remember thinking how ridiculous it was, seeing all of the footage of fans crying their eyes out, etc.. I guess now, I sort of get it. I never had the pleasure of personally meeting Marco Simoncelli. In fact, there were a few times where I was a bit annoyed by his riding style that I thought could be a bit reckless. Ultimately I have a lot of respect for his tenacity and potential. He was a rookie who always pushed things to the edge. Even if the only thing that I have in common with the man is the love of riding motorcycles fast, It was enough of a connection to put me in shock and break my heart when heard that he had passed away after the gruesome wreck that I watched on TV. Godspeed, Signore Simoncelli. Today– I mourn with the rest of your fans, friends, and family.

[img]