Recent Stuff.

A lot of stuff is coming through the pipes right now. It seams like I just wrote a blog post yesterday, but it has already been over two weeks since the last post. I have made a bad habit of saying things like "more to come" or "much more soon" at the end of posts, so much so that it has almost become a sign off of sorts. There is, in fact, a very valid reason for this. In the last year I have been able to work on quite a few longer term project and larger scale jobs. I am really excited to be doing this type of work, but there has been a bit of a learning curve about how to share some of this stuff. On personal work or on a portrait session for instance, the whole project is done within a couple of days and I can pretty much post about it whenever I want, but some of this recent stuff has taken weeks to complete and I may even have to wait longer until I can talk about it.

I don't want you guys to think that I have been neglecting this blog, it has truly been a wonderfully busy spring, so I have put together a summery of the recent projects that are on the way out. Hopefully I can put together a couple of more in-depth posts on some of these subjects in the near future, but for now, here are some screen captures and words.

THETEAMLAB.COM

I've been in crazy deadline mode with THETEAMLAB.COM stuff for the past month or so. We are far from letting the poor winter dampen our spirits and are forging ahead with plans for the 12-13 season.

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We have been fortunate enough to have the help of three talented marketing experts this spring on sorting out how to best promote the team for the new season (Def. more on this later). And it has pretty much been a swift kick in the ass in getting things rolling. If you check out the facebook page you will notice a lot of new stuff going on including a fresh new look provided by yours truly and a 365 fan photo project.

I am also pleased to announce that  The Teamlab now has an official Twitter account (@team_lab) so you can be connected to team news wherever you go. Make sure to follow, ya hear?

As of right now, THETEAMLAB.COM is the same as it was all year, but there will be big changes coming within a week, so make sure to check it everyday.

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I have also been logging lots of hours of video with various Teamlab members and staff. You can see a screen shot of the timeline for one of the projects we are working on above. I hate to make you wait to any longer for this one, because it is really exciting, but at least I have a date of release: June 30 will be an awesome day if you follow THETEAMLAB.COM.

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Finally, I also shot a set of images for a magazine article coming up, I can't say any more than that at the moment.

Portraits

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In the midst of all The Teamlab stuff, I got to shoot a few portrait session in the past month. I posted a few more images on the JHP Facebook page so you can check there for more on that front.

Other Video

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Around Easter I shot a three minute sequence in Sheboygan down at the beach. Above is a screen shot from the first edit that I did. Since then, I have finished everything but the final grade. I am hoping that this will be one of several shorts that I will be working on over the summer, not client here, just working on different ideas.

Upcoming Stuff

Tomorrow begins the Lacrosse Fitness Festival. I am planning to shoot the hill climb tomorrow and the crit on Sunday. Hopefully I will see some of you around this weekend.

Monday is the Western Technical College GD Portfolio Review. I will be there to hang out and talk with some of the new grads. Try to make it out if you can, there is always a bunch of cool student work on display.

More to come. -J.H.

Pushing Pixels

This weekend I sat down for a periodic cleanup of my hard drives. This is one of those things that always gets away from you, and the longer you let it go, the tougher it gets to put back in order. Basically, if you are not careful to put files back were they belong, it can become a huge headache later when your trying to "find that one sweet shot from a few years ago"

Some common problems:

Different versions of the same file in different locations The same file with multiple names Live versions with broken links to referenced files.

Now, I was planning on doing a screencast of my work flow and an accompanying post on how I store and back up files, but that is probably far in the future (and Chase Jarvis just did it). Instead, I will try to lay it out for you short hand. If you get lost while I am talking about this stuff, then that is the first sign that you need to read up on proper workflow. When I was new to the game, a lot of this stuff was pretty confusing and I really didn't understand the reasoning behind some of it. After using the following method for several years now, I can say that it will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run, and if you shoot photos for a living it will eventually save your butt when something goes wrong (and it will, eventually). I would say that, after a camera, lens, card, computer, etc. your next purchase should be a matched pair of hard drives to store your precious work on. No, hard drives are not as sexy as that new ttl flash that you've been eying up, but when the day comes that your computer crashes, or is smashed to bits, or your roommate spills his drink on it, you will be glad that your data is safe. Below are the steps that I use to manage my photos and video.

1) Save exact copies of all of your files in at least two places. There is really no excuse for not backing up your work. Hard drives are really cheap these days, and even the free software that comes with your camera will have a dialog for saving files in multiple locations right from your camera. When you watch the video you will see almost the exact method that I use for importing image files off cards. "Location one" is the first drive and "location 2" is the second. Later in the video, Chase goes even further, and moves the files both onto the server (very secure), and another raid 1 array off site. This essentially means that the whole server would have to be destroyed (unlikely) to lose the data there, and even if it did there are two additional copies of the file that are safe in another location.

2)The second most important thing is that your files are consistently labeled in a way that is meaningful years down the road. This way, you will be able to find a specific image or file when you need it. The files the come off my Nikon dSLR look something like this: DCS_9456. This would initially work for cataloging files, but there is a major flaw with using this naming system; the counter on my camera resets every 10000 images. As it happens, the above example is the 49456th image that I took with this camera, but because the camera counter resets every 10k there is no way of knowing that without looking at the metadata. This also means that if I had used that defult naming system, there would be 5 different images in my system that have the same name, not ideal. Instead I use this system: 20101101_picnic_0001. The file name begins with the reverse date of the day it was shot, in this case YEAR: 2010, MONTH: November, DAY: 1st. After that, there is a tag that describes what is in the folder, this is generally a single word, just enough to identify the subject of the project. Finally there is an ID number given to each image, in this example the ID number is 0001. This particular photo would belong to a folder named 20101101_picnic. By labeling both the image files and the folders this way, each shoot will be arranged on the drive in the order it was saved and it will be easy to find a particular image down the road with some basic info like the date and project name.

3) The third thing to realize is that this is just how a store the raw image files. I will also create a Aperture library for each project and label it the same way. Aperture is a non-destructive raw editor. When you open a file in aperture, you are being shown a preview of the raw file on your hard drive. As you edit the photo it makes a tiny rider file that keeps track of all of the changes that you make, without actually changing the raw file. This information is stored in the Aperture library. When you export an edited file from Aperture, the program saves a copy of raw file with the changes you made to a separate file that you save in a different. Chase calls this "Live Work". I think that this is a good way of doing it. If you actually made changes to a raw file, you would have to update your backup of that file as well. I have about 3.5 TB of raw files, and if you had to update all that data every time you made a change to 1 file, you would go crazy pretty quick. It would take like 8 hours to do the update every time, the constant overwriting would also increase the chance of corrupting your precious data and wear out your drives pretty quickly. To solve this problem, I also use a "Live Work" folder, saved in a separate area of my system. I only have about 10 GB of data in my live work. This is because even though I might shoot 1000 photos in a day, I am only choosing the best 2 or 3 to work on and deliver to a client. Even on a large project, a may only choose 1% 0r 2% of the total images to deliver. I pretty much follow Chase on this part of the process, so watch the video for a little more detail.

That's it! That is really all you need to do to protect your photos and other files. By saving your data this way, you are creating a situation where there would have to be many simultaneous failures before you actually risk losing anything. Once you are in the habit of working this way, it is very easy to keep track of a huge about of data, and the whole process really doesn't take much more time then dragging the files off of you camera and into a random folder on your desktop. It is important to note that this is just what works best for me, there are many ways to save and backup photos. Take a minute to watch this awesome video by Chase Jarvis, he can explain this stuff with a little more detail.

(Updated) For the record, I use a pair of G-Tech 500gb G-Drive Mini's travel with my laptop. When I get home I dump them onto a my server, which is a Dell Dimension E521 running Linux, that drives a pair of rack mounted 8tb boxes. I used the same system for my design work.