Thursday, 30 December 2010

A Brave New Year

                              The View from Ardnacross, Isle of Mull

It has been a quiet on my blog of late

By now I should have blogged about, the Zebra Shoot, my foray into Infra Red and my new affordable digital Download series 'The Story Behind the picture' (which is going rather well, thank you to all of you who bought it)

But somehow I have not got round to it, mainly because I have had a crazy schedule over the last month, with the launch of my food book, building the new website, working on an ambitious and rather big photographic project with my partner Lucinda Marland which we sincerely hope will make quite a splash in 2012(you will be the first to know about it when I'm able to talk about it) throw into the mix a road trip to the Isle of Mull on the west coast of Scotland and that was December more than full.

2010 was a pivotal year for me in so many ways

And I learned some very big lessons -

1.That things can change very quickly indeed.

2. Engaging in area's and with people that you had no prior knowledge of, can change your world and that of others too

3. Sheer persistence and not taking 'no' for an answer can carry the day

The key in the lock was travelling to South Africa to undertake a week long workshop with some under privileged youths in a South African township

Doing this workshop opened so many doors for me, personally and spiritually

Giving is one of the most powerful things we can do as human beings

But in all probability learned more from them than they did from me

I know and understand that we can't all tear off around the world, but there are many ways in which we can give back, using our photography, on our own doorstep

I suppose what I'm driving at is that we as photographer's, myself included, often get wrapped up with the obsession of equipment and not what we do with it.

One of the high points for me this year was when Diego Huerta and his girlfriend went out to record the Hurricane which hit their city

The only way I feel for a living breathing photographer to grow is to shoot what one loves and learn along the way, not only about photography but about life itself as one does

As the economic recovery continues to be uncertain, with tough times ahead for all working photographers and amateur photographers in their day jobs, I see great challenges ahead, but also great opportunities.

If we did just one thing to make a difference, large or small, and put some of that fancy photographic equipment to use it can make a bigger difference than one might imagine.

So my friends I wish you a very Happy New Year

Let's get out there and shoot some great pictures which make a difference - someway, somehow

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Bui Brothers iphone Pano from Zebra Forest shoot

Just one more day before the video and images from the Zebra shoot are up

In the meantime I thought I would post an extraordinary photo form the shoot which was taken by the Bui Brothers on their iphone(s)

Yes, you read right

This 51MB stitch was done on the fly at the shoot

I think you will agree with me that this degree of quality should make us all sit up and take notice

Remember if you want to know more about this and the rest of my Forest shoot series please do join me at my Manfrotto School of Xcellence Webinar on Monday 6th December

They tell me there is still space right now and it is FREE!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Food glorious Food

Followers of this blog know will I'm nuts about photography but perhaps don't know I have perhaps an equal passion for food

So some two years ago I was asked by Andrew Pern of Michelin Starred 'The Star Inn' to shoot his new game food book 'Loose Birds and Game' I leapt at the chance

Hanging out in the kitchen of Britain's top gastro pub and sampling THE finest food

Little did I know what a monster I was taking on, putting few thousand miles on my car and a few inches on my waistline

360 pages packed with my photography, in and out of the kitchen

Out on pheasant shoots, deer stalking exploring the upper limits of high ISO on my Canon 5d MkII

Lots of kitchen action and those plated shots.

Yes, those plated shots (all shot on a phase One P45+)

New territory for me but hoping that this first foray into food photography will not be my last

Assisted by Marie Absolom who has worked with some of the biggest names in the food photography business, she kept me on the straight and narrow and taught me so much.

Mainly that when it comes to food photography time is of the essence and food only looks good for a fleetingly short period of time when you are working with real food, which we did.

The book should be out in the next week or so (so long as the truck does not get stuck in the snow!)  and you will be able to buy it from me direct from my all new website, a great Christmas present for a foodie

I will be sharing some of my experiences over the coming months but in the meantime I thought I would share some of the pages with you

Saturday, 27 November 2010

News from the South African Townships,Thanks to the Flash Centre and Velmex

Followers of this blog will know of my visit to the South African townships of Vrygrond and Overcome Heights earlier this year where I held held a Workshop for township youth's under the stewardship of the NGO True North.

It was a success in many respects with some of the students continuing to use the Canon 450D's to earn money in the community, photographing weddings, christenings and parties

The real sadness was that while computers are relatively affordable a good quality wide format printer which is capable of delivering great photographic and graphic results is out of everyone's league.

Why was I so stuck on a wide format printer? Well aside from the considerably lower running costs think of this...

In the townships HIV and AIDS is rife, there is a degree of awareness but imagine if it were relatively cheap and easy to print public health posters and post them in the community?

All of a sudden a printer becomes more than a way of the students seeing their own work and for the more motivated to earn some kind of living in a country where unemployment is the number one enemy.

Fast forward a few months to July and I'm visiting my friends in the Flash Centre.

Its stock taking time and everyone is wading through equipment in the bowels of the shop.

I'm chatting to my old friend Chris Whittle, the owner of the Flash Centre, he knows of my visit to South Africa and he asks me what is next with the project.

He listens with interest as I tell him just what a great impact the project has had with everyone involved and how I was trying to get a wide format printer to the community.

He smiles and motions to a Secondhand but very good Canon W6400 in the corner of the basement and says 'You can have that if you like'.

I accept his offer with indecent haste thanking him profusely.

Then it sinks in.

Chris Whittle of the Flash Centre has donated a wonderful Canon W6400 wide format printer.

Dimensions (in inches) 43.2 x 47.3 x 29.6

Weight 108lbs (around 50kgs)

How on earth am I going to get it to South Africa???????

So I rang Mark Keeley the CEO of Velmex, distributors of the fantastic Canon LFP products.

The conversation went something like this:

Drew.  'Hi Mark how are things?

Mark. 'Great thank you Drew'

Drew. 'The Flash Centre have donated a Canon W6400 printer to the Township project. Do you know of any good shipping companies who could ship it to South Africa?'

Mark. 'That sounds like a worthy cause, can we check it over, refurbish it and ship it for you?'

Drew 'That would be fantastic, are you sure?'

Mark 'Yes, we would love to help. We can throw in some spare ink and paper for it too'

Drew.'Thank you!!!!!!!!

Within the hour it was loaded in the back of my car for its journey to Velmex HQ in South London to start its long journey.

To be honest it was a much longer journey than any of us could have imagined as True North only got their hands on it in the past couple of weeks thanks to Customs and storage issues, leaving the NGO scrabbling to find funds to get the printer released.

So they are now installing it and within a short space of time it will be in full use with the students.

Without Chris Whittle of the Flash Centre who donated the printer and Mark Keeley of Velmex who shipped and prepped the printer it would not have been possible at all.

I cannot thank them enough for their contribution.

Their kindness and generosity will be felt by the the whole community, not just the students.

I will be travelling to the townships again early next year to run another week long workshop with the youths in the townships.

I will report back to you and let you know how the students are progressing, and the difference the printer is making.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Drew Gardner workshop Belgium- Hosted by Bert Stephani

There has been quite a lot to cram in of late, and the pace is not slowing at all, as you will see in the next few weeks

All a bit of a lame excuse for not getting this video of the workshop from the end of the Summer held at Bert Stephani's place in Belgium?

Belgium? Why Belgium?

Why not!

Workshops are driven by demand and Bert asked me while I was over in Belgium for a seminar

So I'm alway open to suggestions.........

It was a fun weekend with photographers sharing ideas and playing with a whole heap of Elinchrom lighting, aided in no small part by Servix the Elinchrom agent for Belgium

Drew Gardner Workshop at Bert Stephani HQ Belgium from drew gardner on Vimeo.

Really struck by the differences between the different approaches of the groups

It was a great fun, I hope to repeat it next year

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Stanley Kubrick Fotografo 1945-1950, Venice

When I was in Venice a couple of weeks ago I caught the Stanley Kubrick Fotografo 1945-1950 show at the Istituto Veneto di Science

Kubrick started his career, not with moving images but with stills

He started shooting when he was just 17 years old for 'Look' magazine

It is an interesting exhibition for many reasons, with some very beautiful images

Even in his very early work you can see the visual language of his great movies

You get to see the very 'seeds' of his work, they are movies in still form

With a few notable exceptions, you don't see photojournalism 'per se' at work.

What you do see is beautifully directed still images and in my opinion is all the more interesting for that

I found it a real inspiration

The show runs until December 8th, do catch it if you get the chance

You can get a sense of the exhibition with this video, even if you don't speak Italian

Stanley Kubrick Fotografo - Milano from flywheel impresacreativa on Vimeo.

When I worked for a photographer for the 'Sunday Telegraph' I had the pleasure to meet and photograph the late Stanley Kubrick's widow Christiane at their home,  and his final resting place, outside St Alban's a year or so after his death.

I shot a portrait of her with her cats, I would post the picture but it is buried in my negative archive, perhaps one day I will get round to scanning it

We had a chatter about all sorts and we spoke briefly about Stanley.

Moment like that are what I became a photographer for.


Monday, 8 November 2010

Teaser from the Zebra shoot, the Latest from the 'Forest' Series

My latest addition to the Forest series is soon to be unveiled and today I've got an exciting teaser to share with you, put together by my good friends the Bui Brothers which I hope will whet your appetites.

Post production is in full swing and the whole thing is set to be completed and online by the end of November.

Drew Gardner Zebra Shoot Teaser from drew gardner on Vimeo.

In fact if you want to know more about this shoot and the rest of 'The Forest' series why not join me (its FREE!) at my Manfrotto School of Xcellence Webinar Tutorial on December 6th.

You can ask anything you like and I will do my very best to answer your queries.

2010 has been a brilliant year for me, my 30th as a professional photographer, and before the end of the year  I have some exciting new developments to be unveiled in December which I hope you will all enjoy.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Eddie Jordan

I just watched the post Korean F1 Race analysis on the BBC (still inbox apocalypse from the move, so I did not watch the race...highlights for me, I'm afraid), with the excellent former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan making team owners squrim with his excellent insightful questions and comments.

It made me recall the time I had to shoot a portrait of him in 2004

It was a million miles an hour portrait, ie I had only a couple of minute's with him

So it was a matter of pre lighting the car before he came along and persuading him to sit down next to the car

He was initially reluctant due to time constraints but when I engaged him in a bit of banter about his first season in F1, where I watched Michael Schumacher retire in his debut Grand Prix race in the infamous green cars

I told him how it happened right in front of me at the spectacular Spa Francorchamps circuit (even if you are only halfway interested in F1 do go to the Belgian Grand prix at Spa, it is one of THE most spectacular sporting events)  and he was hooked

I only had a couple of minutes with him but he was on for it, a lovely passionate bloke who is nobody's fool

This portrait was a 3 light set up, all with Elinchrom Rangers, side lighting him with a medium Chimera softbox on him, an on axis backlight at the same ratio with barn doors and one light on the background at about half a stop under the other two lights, picking out the wind tunnel model

Exposed at 60th sec F8 on a Canon 1Ds Mk1 with a Canon EF 'L' Series 70-200 F2.8

I do hope the BBC retain this wonderful sparky man

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

One the greatest photographers who you should know about but in all probability don't

He doesn't blog.

He doesn't twitter.

He doesn't do workshops (though I think he should).

In fact the only tweet you will hear will be from his garden.

He is not in his first flush of youth.

He pioneered high speed nature flash photography before you could walk into a shop and buy it off the shelf (he used to make his own shutters and even his own high speed capacitors made from paper dipped in oil...)

He is one of the greatest photographers EVER (don't just take my word for it, he is one of 500 photographers featured in Phaidon's 'The Photobook' )

Stephen Dalton

Here is his photo of a drinking Swallow used on a Mike Oldfield album cover

And shot in the days before Speedlites.

On a Hasselblad.

In a single frame.

In his back garden.

Stephen spent some time working out the path the swallow would take and then set about 'steering ' the swallow gradually over many days so it had to take a route which would go between his remote triggers.

He then had to work out the lag between the time that the swallow broke the beam and the time it was in front of the lens.

Think of it, no 10 frames a second, no 10 zillion ISO, no off the shelf wonder flashes.

Stephen has published many books of his photography over the years, 15 in total, amongst them...

The CPN website interviewed him last year.

My favourites? Well there are simply too many...

I love one of his earliest works, the Barn Owl flying back to the tower and I love the shot of the Rat leaping from a litter bin if you can find them out there, the rat was part of a show at the Tate for a while.

His work for me is where art and science meet.

His passion for the environment and photography still burn brightly, though with a Canon 5d MkII in his hand these days not a Hasselblad.

A pioneer, a gentleman, a kind, generous and wonderful human being.

When I went to see him on Sunday one of his parting shots was 'the trouble with photography these days is that its too easy' well maybe back in the day it was too hard, either way I can't help but agree with him.

To be a successful photographer these days one needs to be so much more than 'just' a great photographer with all of these fancy tools at our disposal.

Which is why I'm always banging on about getting out there and doing it......myself included.

Monday, 11 October 2010

'Shelfstackers' F1.2 an F -Stop too far?

The arrival of the Canon 5d MkII nearly two years ago was a great day for anyone wanting to shoot full HD video affordably for the first time

It has made a real positive impact on the world of moving images

A many wonderful projects have been shot on it, including an episode of 'House'

However some TV channels have been and remain sceptical of the Camera's output

I have been and remain a great advocate of the format, and have long held that if used intelligently and one works within the limitations of the medium it is more than up to the job

Last week I watched the new BBC sitcom 'Shelfstackers'

When I sat down to watch it I had no idea It was shot on a Canon 5d MkII, however within a few minutes I did, but for all the wrong reasons

I love shooting wide open on the Canon 'L' Series lenses, particularly the 85mm F1.2 and the 35mm F1.4

But one really does have to chose the right moment and occasion, in other words there is a right time and place for everything

And in my opinion some scenes of 'Shelfstackers' went up to and then well beyond the limit of good use of superwide apertures

I read the interview with Director Dom Bridges, but I still just don't buy it.

This is not the episode of 'house' where wide apertures were used in emotional way, very well too I might add

This was a sitcom, and in some shots, half of the actors face was out of focus, and not in a nice creative way either

And by the end of the programme I was wincing.(To get the full effect do watch it full screen...)

Why should I care? Naked self interest actually.

I can anticipate the scenario where there will a meeting with a TV company and I will suggest using a Canon 5d mkII to shoot a project and they will say they saw 'Shelfstackers' and they don't want their programme to look like that thank you very much, they want it to focus.

Like good Photoshop where one should not see the 'joins' I don't feel it is good to see gratuitous use of F1.2 on sitcom, shouting to the world that 'this programme was shot at a super wide aperture because the budget would not run to any lighting'

I have in all probability watched TV shows which were shot on a Canon 5D MKII and just did not realize it, and I think that is the way it should be

I have considerable sympathy for the makers of Shelfstackers as this is part of the BBC's £1000 a minute experiment for programme output. And understand the scenario, no budget for lighting so push the ISO as far as you dare and then shoot at the widest aperture so enough light hits the sensor

I'm in no position to offer advice as I have never made a TV programme and they have actually made a whole series

I can't help but wanting to suggest that they somehow beg, steal or borrow a couple of 2x2 LED light panels or a Chimera Triolet or something similar, filter it to the same colour temperature as the florescent tubes and use it as fill lighting so they can use F2.8 or even F4, and get adequate depth of field

Good on the makers of 'Shelfstackers' as they have actually done it, but I can't help they have made selling in a Canon 5D MKII project to a TV channel that little bit harder

As for me? I'm trying to raise funding for my own documentary right now

Time to put my money where my mouth is

Friday, 8 October 2010

Tethered setup - The Movie

I still get many requests for details about the very handy tethered setup I use

Infact I used it on my latest Forest shoot 'The Zebra' which I shot earlier this week

Brian Worley shot this image of me with the column inverted so I can get close to the ground, it still works a treat

OK, so there is not a Zebra in sight, a bit of a tease!

The images will be released later next month, so keep an eye out for them

In answer to the questions Lucinda shot this video of me using a Canon 5d Mk2

I hope it answers some of the questions

Drew Gardner - Tethered Set Up Tutorial from Manfrotto on Vimeo.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

A Docklands Farewell

Docklands Farewell from drew gardner on Vimeo.

So I'm leaving London's Docklands after 5 happy years

New adventures ahead

I made this very short video farewell using Canon 5d Mk 2 and a Canon 550d  (or T2i as it is known in the  USA) and a wide range of Canon EF lenses from a 600mm for the London City Airport timelapse, 300mm F4 and 70-200 F4 for the towers timelapse and video, 85 mm F1.2 for the O2 Dome focus pull (from my bedroom) down to a 24-105mm zoom for the Docklands Light Railway and Isle of Dogs car footage

All aided by murky Autumn weather

I hope you enjoy it

Monday, 27 September 2010

Compact Elinchrom Quadra end cap by Les Wilson

I was going to blog a little more about Photokina but Photographer Les Wilson came round for a cup of tea and showed me a really great little mod he has made for his Elinchrom Quadra flash heads

When these Excellent heads first shipped for some inexplicable reason they had no protective cap(they now have a white plastic cover which goes over the reflector)

Now Les, a photographer who I worked alongside at the 'Sunday Telegraph' is a real 'doer' and has taken matters into his own hands and had these very cool end caps made out of tough plastic

This enables them to be packed very neatly into his small rucksack which he takes all over the world

Les with his bag

If you are interested Les is just planning a run of them right now and is selling them at £8 plus postage and packing

If you are interested please drop me a line and I will pass your details on

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Photokina TV interview

The show is smaller than before.

With Adobe and Apple being notable by their absence


One can only guess, but perhaps they figure their money is spent in other areas

I feel it is a shame they are not here

Photokina is a manufacturers way of giving back and showing commitment, despite it's expense

Nothing beats face to face contact

I spoke to a few show goers who were very disappointed

I was collared by Photokina tv for a quick interview regarding my HD-DSLR DVD 'Stills in Motion' which went ok I think

My favourite part is when the guy in the background tries to get in on the action a minutes in....

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Photokina 2010 with the Manfrotto School of Xcellence

So here it is

The sprawling monster of Photokina is with us and for the fourth time I'm lucky enough to be there, this time with the Manfrotto school of xcellence, where I will be reviewing portfolios and doing 'one to one's from today until Saturday, if you are at the show please come and say 'Hello'
Needless to say I will not be alone, Joe McNally, Bill Frakes and Roberto Bigano and many more too in attendance,sharing their knowledge

The show is normally the place where the big name camera makers announce their latest and greatest products.

With a few exceptions it does not seem to have happened this time round, with most announcements being made prior to the show.

I'm not really quite sure what to make of it, but needless to say I will be reporting on my show favourites and market trends.

It took very little time for me to get here by train and I strongly recommend that if you can get here before the show ends it will be very much worth your while, as it is a great barrometer of the industry

See you there

Friday, 17 September 2010

ND filters...Love and hate

Followers of this blog will know I have advocated the use of variable ND filters, particularly when it comes to shooting moving images

A very useful thing to have, or so it would seem

Too good to be true?

In a word -Yes

Katherine Holley and I were using filters made by brand 'X' during the South African township project, predominantly on the Canon 'L' series 24-105mm lens

They certainly did the trick when it came to cutting light down, allowing us to use wide apertures in very bright condition, its just the footage always seemed a little 'soft' at best

Our confidence was dented to the extent that we stopped using them.

So blaming brand 'X' (and a manufacturing defect they had been suffering from) I tried brand 'Y'

Using brand 'Y'for moving images does seem to be a step forward, sharper images for sure but then Lucinda Marland and I stared to use them on a very exciting stills project (which I can't talk about at the moment)

When using the Canon 'L' series 85mm F1.2  or the EXCELLENT Phase One 110mm F2.8 Schneider lens wide open there was was a lack of sharpness that was simply unacceptable, both lenses can be very difficult to focus wide open but this was shot killing stuff

We removed the filter and bingo, tack sharp stunning image quality was back with us.

So we wanted to use an ND filter, what to do?

We tried a low tech old school solution

The 0.9 ND by LEE Filters (which allows exposure to be cut by 3 f stops), along with the fancy but very effective bellows hood

The only problem was getting hold of one, sold out everywhere.

An exhaustive search did turn one up

Boy was is worth it, even wide open sharpness was unaffected

We were back in the the land of 'Sharp' once more

For a fraction of the cost of a Vario ND filter (well not a fraction but cheaper when you consider just the filter alone)

Yes, some are better, some are worse but it is a scientific fact that when you put two polarisers together image quality will be affected

Will I use one again? Perhaps for moving image work, but for stills I doubt it

Old school has proved to be the way to go for me

Now, just to get more of those LEE filters

Check this guy out -What a shirt!

I heard on the grapevine that this guy a certain Michael Zelbel on Smoking Strobes had a mini review of my DVD Stills in Motion

Thanks Michael

What a shirt!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Thank you for Drobo Comments

So, thank you one and all for all of you comments which I will be taking into account when I replace my Drobo Pro which maybe sooner rather than later as I cannot afford the chaos that it brings all too often

I have just been sent a link to Team Chase's solution to dealing with data

A server is indeed the way to go, join me on my journey to find a reliable cost effective solution

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

End of my tether with Drobo-iscsi kernel panic

Readers of this blog will know of my long running issues with my Drobo Pro

And how Drobo sent a 4th unit from the USA

And how I hoped against hope that all would be well

Picture this, 350 images on my Drobo Pro which I converting to CMYK on deadline for a client

Half way through I get...the Apple grey multi lingual screen of death telling me need to hard reset my Mac Pro

So restart then same again


So I switched to my iMac, attaching the Drobo Pro

And guess what happened?

I get...the Apple grey multi lingual screen of death telling me need to hard reset my Mac

This time I take the time to read the Apple crash report and behold what do I see.....(I think you know what is coming)

Now I'm a humble photographer and know little of how to interpret-ate crash reports but I saw the fateful words 'Data robotics'

So did a Google search and what did I find? 

So it would seem a conflict between OSX 10.6.4 and the Drobo iscsi controller

Causing a Kernel panic

I have just finished from a phone call with Drobo and they say they can offer 'no solution' as the issue is 'complex'

So that leaves a Drobo Pro rammed with Terabytes of my data which I no longer dare plug into any of my Mac's

I have enabled my Mac Pro as a firewire target disc so I can try to fix it from my iMac

When I did this Apple's disc utility said the damage could not be fixed and I need to reformat my Hard Disk and reinstall everything, I thought I perhaps was being harsh when I called my Drobo Pro a 'time vampire' but right now it is living up to its name

Yes, I understand such things can happen when a new OS can upset drivers for devices like the Drobo but I was talking to some VERY knowledgeable industry experts at my workshop in Belgium and they were urging caution with my reliance on the Drobo for my storage as it uses a propriety software not used by other backup solutions which use industry recognised software

I'm no expert but I feel this lies at the root of the matter

If you have lots of time and feel like taking a chance do buy a Drobo but be sure what you are letting yourself in for 

In Drobo's own words

They can offer 'no solution' and the issue is 'complex'

That leaves me with 20 years images stuck on a Drobo Pro

And a day's reinstallation on my Mac Pro after reformatting the drive

Happy days are here again

Friday, 27 August 2010

Drobo Update

Just thought I would let you all know that Drobo reacted like lightning and sent a brand new unit out to me

Special mention of thanks goes to Valerie K in their support team in the USA, a good bit of human support goes a long way........other companies take note

Their customer service if very good despite anything else

So far so good, all is well

Lets hope it stay that way

Norman 400B Flash Units

So I'm having a clear out

A big one

I found a box of Norman 400B Flash units, heads and batteries

Do they work? Not right now, though I think they will with tinkering but I have neither the time or the inclination

So if someone wants to pick them up from London they are yours - FREE!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Drew Gardner Workshop - Steenokkerzeel, Belgium - 4,5 September 2010

When I was over in Belgium earlier this year I was very impressed by the turnout at a one day photographic workshop held by Servix 

I got chatting to a friend of David Hobby's, a certain Bert Stephani who in addition to running a very cool blog, is a pretty handy photographer too

So after a bit of banter it came to pass that we are running a two day workshop in Belgium on the 4th/5th September

The aim is to share my knowledge of Lighting and the industry and get to grips with some big lighting on location, in the forest.....sounds familiar? well I do hope so, just a chance to join me, it should be a great deal of fun

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