Sibling Rivalry 2018 video links

Here you go!

Day 1 had a couple glitches but I think we are sorted out for day 2.  :)

Day 1

Day 2


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Nikon Repair Experience – December 2017

Just a quick note.  Another Nikon repair experience!  This time it was my 300mm f/2.8 VRII lens which had a broken tripod collar.  This repair went very fast – I don’t have dates exactly, but they were able to quickly repair it even despite the holidays.  No complaints about the service this time.  I know that previous services have had challenges so I wanted to note that this one was just fine, logistics and all.

(Side note, I’ve never had problems with the repairs themselves; the problem always seems to be the case management but again, in this case that was great too).

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Nikon Repair Experience – November 2016

So I managed to screw up the lens mount on my D5.  This post will track its progress through the system.  I have had one good, rapid repair experience with Nikon, one kind of okay experience that took a while, and one that was absolutely awful where they had a lens of mine tied up for almost four months with no status updates.  So we’ll see how this one goes.

November 8. 2016:  Created a repair case at the Nikon website.  They provided a packing slip instructing me to send it to the Los Angeles facility.

November 9, 2016:  Sent the camera via UPS Ground (insured, of course).  It is scheduled to arrive on November 14th.

November 14, 2016:  Package arrived, signed for by “VELASQUEZ” according to UPS website.

November 17, 2016:  earlier today, I put in a support ticket on the Nikon website asking for a status update.  Just got an email from their service system that the camera is now in “Estimate Accepted” stage, and the order number that they enclosed works as well so I can track status.

November 22, 2016:  Ticket is now in “Shop” status.

November 28, 2016:  Ticket is now in “Billing” status.

November 28, 2016:  Ticket is now in “Shipped” status with a tracking number.  Guess I get my camera back Friday!  Will update once more once I check it out.

December 2, 2016:  Picked my camera up from UPS depot.  Level “C” repair (that is pretty major for Nikon).  New lens mount and various adjustments, sensor cleaning, and firmware upgrade (I didn’t know that there was a new firmware, but sure whatever… maybe lens definitions or something).  Everything seems to work.  I will be making sure next week when we start the new derby season!


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Nikon Repair Experience – September 2015

In this entry, I will be keeping a chronicle of my current repair experience with Nikon.  The last two times I have had to deal directly with Nikon, the service was extremely slow (months to complete repairs) but this time it went pretty fast (about two weeks at Nikon).

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random thoughts

Random thoughts on an old blog post that I started but never finished.


To Friend #1:  You own your body and your image.  If you’re not comfortable with what was posted, ask the photographer to take it down.  It’s okay to be assertive.  Being assertive does not mean that you are being rude or impolite.  If they balk at removing the photos, Facebook has report commands that will get the photos taken down.  I hope it doesn’t have to go to that extent, but if it does, you own yourself and nobody can take that away from you.  You’re a strong individual and you should focus on what is right for you.


To Friend #2:  I believe you’ve learned a valuable lesson and I hope you hold onto it for a long time.  The Internet is a powerful but completely illogical weapon, much like a chainsaw made of lightsabers.  It can kick back when you expect it least in very unexpected ways.  A good path would have been to talk it out with the photographer in question and then post about the results of that conversation.  You’re totally entitled to your feelings about yourself and your image, and I think having that conversation first would have changed the way things went and allowed the light to shine on your original message about body image, which is really important and powerful for people to read, rather than focusing on organizing the Internet lynch mob.


To novice models, in general:  I’m not going to get deep into laws and ethics here; there are enough blogs about that.  The photographer generally owns the rights to the images they take.  They (or anyone who acquires the rights to the photo) can’t usually use your likeness for commercial purposes unless they have a release to do so.  But ownership of the images does not translate into power over your opinion of said images.  You don’t give up your right to an opinion just because someone else pushed a button.

If you are entering into a situation where you might be concerned about how the photos are treated or where they end up, work the specifics out beforehand.  I hate hate hate to bring legal stuff into this, but if there’s even the slightest bit of concern that someone will do something you don’t anticipate or like with the photos, have a photo release or contract in place that states exactly what both parties will pay, will receive, and what restrictions will be observed with the photos – where they can be distributed, ability to review and approve them before publication, etc.  If those items are important to you, write them down!

If you’re signing up for an event specifically as a model, or even just going to an event that has a photo release, read it!  Don’t sign anything you are not comfortable with, and don’t sign rights away that you shouldn’t (i.e. commercial usage without consideration).  If you have questions about the event or the release, ask the organizers.  They probably want to make it go well for you.  If you have concerns afterwards, talk to them.  They probably have an interest in helping, whether that be facilitating discussions, removing images, etc.  You don’t have to go it alone.


To photographers:  Remember that your subjects are human.  They might not be comfortable with how you present them, and they might say something about it.  If someone’s uncomfortable with an image or the way it’s presented, you might want to give some strong consideration to their concerns.  Obviously there are a million ways this could pan out.  If you’re a journalist, you’re not going to pull a news-worthy photo just because someone thinks you got their bad side.  But if you’re doing portraits and someone is uncomfortable with the way you’re sharing their photos or likeness, I don’t think it helps to ignore those concerns.  At the very least you’re going to lose one client/fan/future model; at the worst things could blow up bigger.

And, discuss your expectations up front.  Do you want to put the images on Facebook, or on a website?  Do you want to put them into a print gallery that allows private or public sale?  What other compensation do you expect?  Do you expect that they can refuse a certain image or its treatment?  If you get weird feelings, put it in writing, like I advised above.  Discussing all of this beforehand helps you avoid all of this from the very beginning.

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That’s a lot of wheels.

So someone asked me what leagues I had taken pictures of. There are a lot of people who have been to more but sadly there are many more people who have seen a lot less. Going to see other teams is a very good way to get some real world experience.

If you are just starting to get into photography, look around you. There are very likely some local leagues that are a short road trip away that you can go visit when your favorite league isn’t doing something. Some of the smaller leagues especially are very open to photographers who want to practice their skills. Maybe there’s even an upcoming tournament that you can go to and see a bunch of different teams all at once for a really good price.

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X-Rite ColorChecker Passport – first glance

Today I picked up an X-Rite ColorChecker Passport.  This is a little gadget and an accompanying software package that is designed to help you get accurate colors for your photos.  I think it will be more useful in studio situations than in the field under gym lights, but it was a bit of an eye opener from the first time I used it today. Continue reading

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Pocket Wizard Zone/Group Interoperability

Nerd time.  I bought a PocketWizard Plus III set to remotely trigger a camera.  Then I got curious as to how they interoperated, but there was no good reference on the PocketWizard wiki.  So I sat down and tested with a MiniTT1, FlexTT5, and Plus III.  And here’s what I found…

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Nikon D4 Repair Experience – June 2012

So, I figured I would start a blog entry of the (so far) short life of my D4 and its repair experience.  I am not a member of their “professional” service, just a guy who spent a lot of money on a camera body.   I will update this as the experience unfolds.  Hopefully it will not grow too long!  As background, I got the camera April 30 and a couple weeks later, a CF pin bent with a brand new card.  I limped along on XQD only for a couple weeks and then was able to take it for service.

Update: I’ve got the camera back.  The gory details come in after the cut… read more if you wish!

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…and sometimes you get the horns (first bout with the Nikon D4)

So, I bought the Nikon D4 last week.  Compared to what I had been shooting, this is like a Lamborghini… in the sense that I know it’s better than what I had, it can do more than what I had, and when I figure it out it’ll be way more impressive than what I had.  Except right now, I can barely get it in gear or park it.  So I decided last night that I would shoot the whole bout with it.  Get the high frame rate burning out of my head, figure out how it works, etc.

I am not impressed with myself (the camera is awesome) but I learned a lot.  My thanks, and apologies, to ARRG and Bleeding Heartland for being unwitting guinea pigs and probably not getting results up to my usual standards. :)

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