Thursday, May 23, 2013

Scalable Storage and Backup V: Western Digital Caviar Green versus Seagate Barracuda

Another one bites the dust...

I have 2 OWC Elite-Al Pro Qx2 sitting on my desktop. They safeguard the library of photos and videos that I have created over the years.

The first OWC Elite-Al Pro Qx2 houses 4 Western Digital 1.5 TB Caviar Green drives. Since inception I've had 2-3 drives fail.

The second OWC Elite-Al Pro Qx2 houses 4 Seagate Barracuda 1.5 TB 7200.11 drives (ST31500341AS). Since inception I've had nearly 10 fail.

I've had the RAID enclosure with the Western Digital drives almost twice as long as I've had the RAID enclosure with the Seagate drives.

I've sent the OWC Elite-Al Pro Qx2 housing the Seagate drives back to OWC twice to have it checked for problems. Each time OWC has sent me a new (refurbished) enclosure.

Without a doubt in my mind the Seagate drives are not RAID worthy. They definitely don't play well with the OWC Qx2 enclosure.

It's no one's fault. I'm not blaming Seagate or OWC. I probably shouldn't have used a non-RAID specific drive in a RAID box.

It's nice that the WD Caviar Greens are so reliable though. Love them.

Update: Looking through the shipping receipts I last received warranty returned drives from Seagate on 11/6/12 and 5/3/13. One of them was NOT a ST31500341AS but rather a ST1500DM003. The ST1500DM003 has 64MB cache versus the 32MB cache ST31500341AS.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

More on Creativity and Inspiration

Lance never admitted this but he basically discovered the drug otherwise known as, "Asshole".

This is a continuation of the Q/A from the post below:

A: About your current progress. I used to think that being in the game for 2 years was a long time. But as time progressed I realized that quantifying what I had learned in years and months was not only pointless but also unfair to my personal growth. Why? Because I knew photographers with 30 years of "experience" that were absolutely lousy. Similarly I knew photographers with 4-5 years of experience that were simply amazing. Time is not equal for everyone. But regardless of such, if you truly want to be a fashion photographer, you have to be willing to dedicate your entire life to this journey!

And with that being said you need to give yourself time. Time is your best friend right now. Especially since you aren't "responsible" to anyone for creating anything. One day you'll miss the days when you didn't have external expectations and pressures to create!

Q/A Inspiration, Fundamentals, Model Direction and More

Landfall with Brianna. A combination of a few inspirations that have helped me lately.

Q: I really really like your work. I have followed it for quite a while now would like to know if I can schedule the workshop mentioned. My dream is to become a photographer! I am pretty tired of dreaming now! I have been shooting for a year now, have read what feels like a million books and studied so many images, but I know I am missing something that I am hoping I can learn from you after seeing the results of different photographers you taught. I would like your help if you would offer it, I am willing to pay just in hopes that I can get a date to have a session in June. I would also like to know how much more the one-on-one option for this course would be and what exactly I would need to bring in regards to equipment.

A: The one-on-one option is best described this way.

As far as equipment you don't need much. In fact you probably have everything you need. I recommend a 50mm and a digital SLR body. That's it. No lightmeter, no white balance cards, no doohickeys and whatchamacallits.

Let me know if you have any other questions I can answer! What specifically would we focus on?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Skyscape" Post-Processing Video Commentary

Quick analysis on the challenges of the image I titled "Skypscape" taken at the Lautner-Goldstein house

Monday, May 13, 2013

Lautner-Goldstein Epilogue

Skylights with Corrie

I remember saying to my wife on Saturday night that I gave myself a 7 out of 10 for this performance.

I arrived at the location at at 1PM. The sun had already moved to its 1 o'clock position. My initial reaction to the house was, "This is a lot smaller than it appears in the pictures". Likely a result from all the wide-angle shots.

As we entered the "skyscape" designed by James Turrell, I remember thinking, "Now this is a lot bigger than I thought it would be!"

The property itself spans 4 different lots of land and requires a little bit of hiking to navigate if you are outside the main structure. The landscaping is lush and rain forest like and apparently has flora from something like 8 different climates. Elevation changes throughout the property is drastic since the entire property resides on the side of a hill. I spent a fair amount of time hiking up and down stairs throughout the day.

Our property manager/guide Dave was very hospitable. He helped us with whatever he could do to accommodate our shoot. There weren't any unforeseeable circumstances or surprises on that front.

But let's get specific.

Lautner-Goldstein Prep

What's in the bag for the shoot?

There's so much to like about the Sheats-Goldstein (aka Lautner-Goldstein) residence. The fact that it has made numerous appearances in movies (e.g. Big Lebowski, etc.) and countless magazines make it a "well-shot" location. Meaning that the obvious shots have already been done before.

The house is chock-full of glass. One of my personal favorites at locations in general. With glass comes transparency and reflections. Depending on the shot, I'm happy to have the opportunity to leverage the transparency (and opacity) with some circular polarizers.

Transparency is an interesting thing. The residence is built on layers (3 if I count correctly for the main building) and has been remodeled since James Goldstein took ownership of it in 1972. And since John Lautner's death in 1994, the residence continues to expand (with Goldstein's guidance) with the same stylistic brushstroke since its inception. On one hand it's completely consistent with the original concept and on the other hand it has taken many revisions and iterations to get the property to where it is today.

Kudos to Goldstein for dedicating endless time and effort on this quest for perfection.

Back to transparency. It's both really simple and complex. Like layers and of glass there is significant transparency but there is also the complexity behind the reason for its existence. For example, the master bathroom's sink is made out of glass so that it does not obstruct the view. The ceiling in the living room is semi-transparent with 750 drinking glass skylights in the coffers. Throughout the house glass slides in and out on command, to remove what little stands between you and the rest of the world.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Lautner-Goldstein Recon

aka Sheats-Goldstein Residence but I prefer to call it the Lautner-Goldstein Residence

When I say do your homework, this is the kind of homework I'm talking about. I can confidently say that I know my way around this place without having ever stepped foot onto the property before.

You're probably thinking, "What's the big deal? It's just pictures of the location..."

It took me 4 hours to find all the images, sort them, watch the videos, and then compile them into the stitched image above. The blueprints and models took a while to understand because there are several iterations of the property throughout the years especially with the development of the new entertainment  structure.

Click on the image above for the original sized image.

Next I'll decide how to shoot the location before arriving.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

RAW Adjustments as part of the "Balancing" in the LUCIMA Workflow

RAW Adjustments as part of the "Balancing" in the LUCIMA Workflow from Charles LUCIMA on Vimeo.

This is just the beginning of the "Balancing" act (pun intended).

And it (the intro video above) covers only what I do with the B&W versions.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lighting-Retouching Video Commentary

I receive emails with questions from time to time and sometimes I make it a Q/A session that I share here. I have been toying around with the idea of making these Q/A posts more educational by recording them as blog videos posts and leveraging the power of imagery to enhance what I'm trying to say.

Here's the additional email that went with this video response:

More Imagination II

Here's the epilogue to this little story which is the educational value of this whole exercise:

Antonio: I apologize for the inconvenience Lucima, I meant no disrespect with the Kate Compton video replication. We didn't expect it to gain any traction as my videos aren't very popular. I saw your beautiful video and tried to replicate it.

I sent the idea over to a model and we loved it. We wanted to give it a shot. I'll take it down if you'd like. I meant no disrespect whatsoever. I'm a really small fish lol and a really big fan of yours.

In my description of the video, I posted that it was inspired by you.

Pleas let me know how you'd like for me to proceed. Keep in mind that right now, I am sending a message to one of my friggin IDOL's in this industry lol

Sunday, May 5, 2013

5 things you don't know about Charles LUCIMA

I can't say that this picture doesn't make me a little queazy...

I sometimes dream that the baby is going to fall off the bed. Which causes me to jump out of the bed and try to catch her right as she is going over the edge. Except she's not on the bed. She doesn't even sleep in our bed. Needless to say, my wife does not appreciate my middle of the night antics.

My heart is capable of 184bpm for 26 minutes. I'm 34 years old. This was self-induced and recorded on Within those 26 minutes I averaged 188bpm for 11 minutes. Yes, I thought I was going to be sick.

I have a bottle of Gillette aftershave that I purchased in 1992. I still use it from time to time.

I've gotten food poisoning from eating Costco hot dogs three times in a row (all from the same Costco). I'm contemplating going back for a fourth attempt to prove that those three occurrences were merely isolated coincidental experiences.

On a regular basis I neither wear a watch nor any other jewelry (including my wedding ring). I don't want to scratch the photography equipment or the computer equipment.

I haven't checked my twitter account in months.

If I had 2 weeks to live, I would live my dying days out on Bora Bora.

More Imagination

A Facebook photographer sent me this and said this reminded him of a video I did a while back.

Nope, doesn't look familiar at all.

LOL :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Q/A The Business of Fashion Photography II (10-week Masterclass)

Iso. Shot and edited for the Ice House Fashion Photography Workshop in April.

Q: It's funny that you responded today b/c I was just considering sucking it up & registering for the NY Film Academy 12-week evening course. It's roughly $5,000 starting June 10th. I would like to be able to add Fashion-Editorial films to my tool belt. The problem is I really haven't identified a market for my services yet. So every dollar spent feels like a sunk cost. I can also see the industry changing quite a bit due to saturation and reduced creative spend. Shooting part-time doesn't help matters. These are all things you must have experienced and successfully navigated at some point in time.
With that said, would you say your masters class is a right fit for me or someone with more commercial experience?

A: I taught at NYFA here at Universal Studios to their 2-year MFA students. I have met the 1-year program photographers as well. What does your 12-week class cover?

I understand your financial/business assessment of the classes that you're considering. If you get a chance read this article.

With someone that's goal-oriented I doubt that anything learned would be wasted. For someone like you, being too purpose-driven might actually be a problem. You don't do things unless you see the end vision. But sometimes you can't see the end game though. Sometimes the end game doesn't reveal itself until halfway through the current project. Of course being able to course-correct and navigate to new goals is paramount, which I'm sure you're capable of. So instead the question becomes, "Do you have the faith and the drive to sustain yourself from one goal to another?"

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Q/A The Business of Fashion Photography

And Personal from the LA Splash Cosmetics shoot

Q: I'm very interested in learning more about your workshop dedicated to the business of fashion photography. If you have further information on line feel free to point me to it.

My region has a small but building community and some of the designers are getting noticed appearing in Fashion Week NYC and South Beach. I have a good working relationship with some and there are four local agencies here. By happenstance in the last few months a few women who are represented have been appearing at my door step for shoots.

I noticed that you do test shoots for Ford (envious) but your style, skill, and experience show your worth. I'm not kidding myself. I still have much to learn but have been trying to seek out the best teachers and mentors who are doing what I aspire to avoid common mistakes, get on the fast track of learning all while paying my dues.