Apple is starting to **** me off again

04:00 am, January 1st, on my final day of edit for a long term project, my production computer decided that it would not be able to face 2016 and summarily offed itself. I mean FOUR HOURS!!! into the year and the gizmo had already lost all hope. Logic board done.

Now, I’ve been up against it for a spell. It’s bad enough that 2015 was a real mofo and was grinding up people I know for dog food. That general malaise led to me not posting on this blog for awhile as I waited to see where all the pebbles would fall on the rice paper. Now, in partial vent mode, I return to the finger dancing arts with a typo-phobic rhumba that no virgin eyes should witness.

I have a stack of 6 dead Powerbooks dating as far back to the Titanium 500 mHz. The problem: Logic boards. Logic board is motherboard in Apple-speak. I’ve had at least 3 desktops bow out with terminal logicboarditis. And replacing a logic board outside of warranty is basically saying “buy a new rig, holmes” because the part itself costs so much. Know an option? Let me know. (The old PC laptop took a dump 2015 also, but that’s not a logic board issue).

It seems that maybe I work these rigs too hard but come on, 9 logic boards? But that’s what’s not getting me. I need to spec out what I can get that runs what I need. The “genius” at the Genius Bar, after taking 1.25 hours to confirm that the logic board was at issue couldn’t tell me the lowest end Mac that can push consumer level 4k. Oh how genius. The fucking site and its award-winning UI makes it a fucking nightmare to find info on the main program that I use a Mac: FINAL CUT PRO X. Ultimately, I type in the “/finalcutpro” or do a click from a search. I’m mean what fuckery is that?!

Apple couldn’t give a flying snot about what I think as they pledge increased diversity in hiring yet exclusivity in product while oversimplifying their product line and their web site. Suck it, Apple. I fucking hate all permutations of Windows but all applications that I run of my Macs run on the PCs, too. Well, not FCP nor Logic. Plus last year for the first time in over a decade, I made all but one of my external drives Mac-only. The quantity of Terabytes that I’d have to transfer to have that data production ready returns me back to my safe word: FUCK!!!! I am a little irritated today as you might have noticed.

I lost a couple of “clients” because losing the computer in such a bad timing (post December expenditures, etc.) crippled what I could immediately do, but honestly, those people wanted the works and don’t pay like they deserve my attention. I’m much better off without them. I need to get the job done and it seems again like Apple wants to make it difficult for me to do that. I should not have to sift through a bunch of BS and a million clicks just to get to the info I want, asshats. “Macs, iCrap, OSX, Apple Software, More iGadgets and shit…” That’s my free UX consultation for you sons of Jobs. The first hit’s free.


“I thought he would cuss a lot more than that. Should I be scared or something?”

Change the style


You’re going to have to work the post because you didn’t work the production.

Last year during Men’s World Cup, I started on working on building my book so that I could make a play towards the Rio Olympics. I laid out this plan of action to cash in on some favors, shoot some pro athletes, upcomers, etc. What happens? I stay injured. 3 broken fingers, achilles, tears here there and everywhere. That slowed my extra shooting down to a crawl. In the interim, I see people whose work I really admire ramping up now for all the gigs that I planned to compete.

I rarely stretch. My son is looking at me. He tells me, “Dad, you’re injured all the time. I’m going to stretch everyday like you’ve been telling me.” About time, little mofo. I’m looking at another week on the DL before I dust off the ligaments, tendons, and flabby brain. I’m going to force myself to take baby steps instead of doing 2 a days. Sure I will. I’ll actually do it right this time. Sure I will.

Last week I set up a test shoot, with models from a sports agency. I debated on the time which was a double-edge sword decision. I knew if I set it too early, my mobility might be compromised but the traffic would be less. I chose the opposite which yielded 2 of the 3 models being late as they were thoroughly caught in the flood of traffic and one food-poison afflicted no-show. (She emailed and called early. Nothing bad I can say about that). Starting later, meant a higher sun and less energy as I waited for people to show. The ladies were good but I didn’t have full command of the cameras as I was fighting the pain. I had exceeded my rations for standing for too long. So, I got adequate and adequate is anathema to me right now. But, I did need to get into a groove. Like I said, I’m going to give myself another week, then test the wheels out again while sticking closer to my new sketches. I’m looking for a stylistic breakthrough and I’m not feeling like it’s going to come through improvisation.

I guess I’m going to have to keep on shooting if I’m going to get there. I wonder if I can stretch vicariously through my son.

Crane vs Guillotine

Most recent round of MMA WIP (work in progress)

Most recent round of MMA WIP (work in progress)

On the court yesterday I was asked why I continue to play basketball if I have bad knees. The question came from a dude who looked like he was preparing to water birth an adult panda next week. I imagine that he wouldn’t understand my answer. To be “fair”, my answer is un-understandable anyway. I can make no sense with the best and worst of them.

MMA has become a regular fixture in my life. It’s my son’s second favorite sport/activity so I naturally sought more information and entrance into its world. I recall the closet thing to anything branded as mixed martial arts when I was a kid was Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kun Do. My interest in martial arts was not sport involved. It doesn’t lessen UFC, Bellator, etc. style competition in my mind; It’s just a noticeable difference in intent and approach. It seems that if you only do MMA you miss some of the things that can give you a different base. Eg. There are different steps and allocation of weight and breathing when you do Tai Ji vs Kung Fu vs Karate vs Boxing, etc. But I’m seeing the effectiveness in attacks that I really only had seen prior in Judo.

I initially shot the above shot last year in a park and extended the background. Too boring. Ironically enough, the Megafunk World Ranger was stolen by some misanthrope (My son’s mouthpiece and other materials were minding their own business in the glove compartment.). My between-wheels time gave me the opportunity to take another pass on the shot. I’m still considering it a WIP as many of the elements are FPO (for position only) but I feel better about it thematically and energy-wise.

punch 'em and kick 'em then punch 'em and kick'em again

punch ’em and kick ’em then punch ’em and kick’em again

Cartoon Feet

I was raised by panthers but I'm down to rock Puma.

I was raised by panthers but I’m down to rock Puma.

My feet were hurting. I’d been wearing the same old dogs for quite a long time and not only did they look like I had just gotten off a train with a knapsack slug over my shoulder but the new insoles couldn’t save my arches from hurting. I had seen these shoes sitting at a discount store collecting dust for over a year. For an additional 6 months I went by monthly expecting them to be gone as they had been the only remaining pair for several months. I would talk to the clerk (a new one every time) and point out the dust on the shoes and that they should discount it even further. “No” each time. I relented and bought the damn things but didn’t wear them for several months.

Puma tend to fit well on my feet. They run narrow despite length of my boats. Snug as they are, they take a lot of finger strength to get them on foot. The day I decide to wear them is the same day I decide to retrieve my Ibanez so I can get my chops back. With shoes in the box and guitar in the truck, I break my index finger. The shoes sit for more time because they are a pain is the ass to pull and tie. Anyway, they’ve made a couple of appearances as my finger has gotten stronger and stood under the lens before their debut on the streets of Los Angeles. The final retouched shot will be part of a shoe spread I’m working. The end.

The Florescent Axe

We are all bombarded with entities attempting to get in your pockets, pants, brain, etc. I remind myself that all creative people need an axe and a shovel. Sometimes you have to kill your dead weight and bury the bodies with the nonsense. If you are doing stupid **** instead of progressing, you have too much time on your hands or your greatest interest is in doing stupid ****. Then again, this seems to be the retro return of the me-ist part of the 80s.

Can someone tell me who brought back all this florescent highlighter clothing? The last time I had seen that as quasi-big was around the time of that “Wake me up before you go-go” Wham video. I’m serious. I’m not pop knowledgeable enough to know how to track it. Look at meeeee!!! Ugly.

megafunk visual

Dig yourself out of the hole – Not deeper

That Murphy and His/Her Legal Dept.

lights out

lights out

A shoot scheduled with a young boxer left me with my teeth intact but my schedule blown. Arriving at the location, I see traffic cops getting out of their cars. The street lights are out. It shows how little people know traffic rules (and how incredibly inconsiderate people are) here when you see the variety of violations mount when the lights are dead. Next, it’s street sweeping day but I don’t have to hike too far and I had decided early no extra gear – Just two cameras in hand and one extra lens. At the gym, though I was told by the boxer that he had cleared the shoot, gym management verified that was not true wrong but we worked it out. However the power was not out only on the street lights, it was the entire neighborhood so I prepared for high ISO and slow shutter which means NOISE and motion BLUR.

I attempted angles to keep the other boxers out of frame or caught in a mush of bokeh. Boxing was the first sport that had caught my eye as a child but this was the first time I had shot anything boxing related. Every athlete to me is a kid now but they had several kids (early teens) to mid-20s dudes training. What struck me since my last fight was just how expensive it has gotten but I guess I’m somewhat trapped in pony express retro-thought. In those pioneer days, a couple of parks had rings and low to no-cost training. There was always an old man a couple of blocks away that would train you, so it seemed. Anyway, it was a well-equipped straight forward gym that would have needed some a little extra lighting to add more drama to the shots. But that wasn’t going to happen anyway given the tenuous standing of my shooting there and my available light decision.

box_MG_1037-web-2I left thinking I needed to be somewhere by 3 but was of course was not informed until well after leaving that things had been pushed back. This year has been consistently weird like that. Scheduling, casting, resources… It all gets a bit weird without a break or a bit of effort to divert the ill momentum. That’s the horror and the reality of being a creative professional. In this case, it was the lone effort to fight Murphy’s law and come out with useable images. I won on points.

APA Portfolio Review 10/2013

Earlier this month at Tchiat-Day’s Playa del Rey location APA had the 2nd of its yearly portfolio reviews. I think there were 9 reviewers (maybe seven) from a decent cross section of the commercial field with one editorial and a fine art person. I go because I’m a volunteer and it’s one of the best ways to get me out of the house to meet these people. I don’t believe that I travel in the same circles where I would casually run into any of these people and you know a direct cold call is a likely candidate for voice mail.

This event seems less hectic than most of the other reviews given the organization and the calm environment of tbwa. At least, this is what I overheard. Admittedly, I was armed with fatigue from the prior day’s documentary shoot that ran long and a knowledge that I didn’t want anyone’s critique. I tried to get the reviewers to talk mostly about themselves since I know enough about me. For the most part there was enough give and take. I do have to admit to the humor of being the constant anomaly is wearing thin.

Kevin Steele was there again (one of my favorite action photographers) and it’s always interesting for me to see the far more established cats like him there. He knew all of the reviewers already so he was there for a refresh. That’s a reminder to those who think they can drop the mic after the first verse: the beat goes on.

Given that Heidi & Anthony had to leave early, Cesar (the other volunteer) and I packed up the joint then split. On the drive back to the laboratory I pondered the place between futility and progression. One of the reviewers said length of time that you’ve been shooting doesn’t matter and I’ve seen that to be true. How you pursue your opportunities while generating imagery that moves your target is paramount.

And that is part of the conflict for me in my lifelong battle of intrinsic reward versus get gigs. I had one reviewer earlier (who I had met in the past but didn’t have this time) in passing ask me the question similar to asking an actor “what restaurant do you work at?” It wasn’t meant that way but it was. That’s what a lot of entrenched people think given photography’s democratization in these transitional times.

This week I’ve been working on spec commercials, composites and data mining. Maybe next week I’ll take that lady’s order. Maybe next week she’ll be taking mine.


Blown away

Sometimes I require a reminder why I do this <stuff>. My first recollection of commercial photography that attracted my eye was the old Maxell “blown away” ad. That was not uncommon. Simple idea executed precisely: I’m still working on that concision.

maxell ad campaign

Steve Steigman’s photo for Maxell’s “Blown Away”

This shot is like the blues or an old folk song. It’s spartan and to the point without missing the beat. The UK variant of this shot seems a bit more whimsical/cheeky but I like the shadows and the geometry.

UK Version

I’m digging the VitaminWater series with the guitar player, athlete, and the dancers, etc. The angle, the interplay with the color strip adds a sense of dimension and kinetic energy. The black & white contrasts with the mono tonal color to help with a clean graphic burst.

Vitaminwater (no I didn’t shoot any of these ads. BAH!)

Absolut and Camel ads in the late 80s/early 90s were frequently thematic and very ornate. Those images really motivated me (though not enough to keep diving through this futile search engine safari right now). I would go to Hollywood in front of Gazzarri’s and make certain that I picked up a copy of BAM magazine to get those ads. I think Camel had bought the inside cover and Absolut had the outside back. Camel had a pulp thing going on for awhile that drove me up a wall in a good way (I can’t find any on-line at the moment). Adventure, sci-fi, etc. I was doing film more so back then so integrating some of that feel into my cinematography was accidental but I came to see it later on reflected into my photography.

I don’t recall when this one came out, but it is lighting me up all over again.

In terms of recent things, there are many and I need to push on with the day. Metro L.A. had a campaign a few years back with a carload of Elvis impersonators that would make me laugh. I had it on a point and shoot that walked away from me and thus far I haven’t been able to track it down. The luchadore shot was humorous.

mucha Lucha libre is always a good time

The Subway ad with the Avocardo and “Have I introduced you to my first born son, Avocado?” is killing me but my favorite now is still Playstation’s “Greatness”. When I first saw it, I hated it instantaneously. I don’t even recall why. I believe I was half paying attention. When I finally looked up on one of its runs, I was on it. I’m done typing for the day. It’s time to push some pixels. I will link to the ad though.

If that doesn’t work, the search terms “Playstation commercial greatness” will get you there.

Micro 4 thirds

I haven’t tried to hold the tiny cameras that micro-4/3s are for an excessive amount of time but I have to admit that it’s pretty cool for run and gun. I want to experiment with the format with a few different cameras.  I’m considering a rental of panasonic’s GH3 or the G5/6 – work permitting.

The new world of digital acquisition makes older digital technology suffer almost immediately once the new machine hits. The sensors on the new consumer cameras smoke most of the 8 year old pro sensors in speed and color fidelity.  You do see a lot of nastier macro blocking on the videos and the low light is subpar but in terms of portability and cost the consumer gear can get you in the game. And under favorable conditions most would not be able to determine any differences from cameras in the $400 range from the $2000 level.

As not  all conditions are favorable, that’s one of the reasons to shell out for for smarter internals and more manual features. With creation tools, you need to be able to grab the stick on the fly.


Cell phone? Blah!