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Archive for August, 2007

My image in PDN/NatGeo Traveler’s new contest

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i took the jelly photo

My winning entry from last year was good enough to make the header of the new PDN/National Geographic Traveler’s World in Focus contest’s call for entries, but not good enough for them to give me anything other than a free subscription to PDN. Given that the contest costs $45/entry (for professionals), I may not have gotten my money’s worth. :)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Aug 30, 2007 23:46:22

Photos for sale, finally

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screaming turtle @ smithsonian

In the past, I primarily sold prints of the screaming turtle image that has been around the web and back. All other prints were ordered as custom prints, which — given my schedule — were expensive and took a long time to fulfill. But as of today, I finally have a place where you can purchase photographic prints of some of my work! I’ve ordered 8×12″ test prints of every shot currently in the list, and they’ve all met my standards.

Photos are printed on traditional photo paper by professional printers using a continuous-tone analog process that produces prints without any visible dots. [buy/browse prints]

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 4 comments » | Aug 30, 2007 18:21:28

6 drives / terabytes in a Mac Pro

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UPDATE: I’m selling my MaxConnect, which allows the addition of 2 drives in 2006-2008 Mac Pros (in the lower optical bay).

I nearly ran out of space in my Mac Pro the other day, and it was painful. I had 4 x 500GB drives in the machine with an additional 4 x 500GB attached in various enclosures connected via Firewire 800, Firewire 400, and USB 2.0. I also do backups onto 2 NAS boxes and a standalone server, which hold a total of just over 6 more terabytes. Backups over the network are pretty painful on the Mac; all backup apps I’ve tried so far are about 3x slower when copying over the network than are comparable programs running in the Windows environment. As a result, I’ve migrated to primarily doing local backups. (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 11 comments » | Aug 30, 2007 15:40:38

VMWare Fusion crashes upon opening virtual machines

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I hate computers. I am evaluating VMWare Fusion, and was very happy with its performance until the application suddenly crashed while shutting down a virtual machine running Windows XP. I had just finished installing a new VM running Windows XP (fully updated) with just the few apps that I need: Office, Quickbooks, BreezeBrowser, and ProShow Gold.

Now, when I launch Fusion and try to open any virtual machine — even ones that open properly on other machines — Fusion immediately crashes right after the VM window appears. I can’t run any virtual machines now.

I tried uninstalling VMWare Fusion using the uninstaller that comes with the download, and then reinstalling. I even deleted every file with “vmware” in it because Fusion left a license file and some plist files intact after the uninstall script ran. It didn’t work. I am pissed.

Has anyone else come across this problem? I’m using version Version 1.0 (51348) on a Macbook Pro with 3GB RAM.

Did I mention that I hate computers? I guess I’m sticking with Parallels for the time being… unless VMWare fixes the problem.

UPDATE On a whim, I disabled the “Enable Mac Keyboard shortcuts” option, and it started right up! We’ll see if it stays working. I really want to use this product.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Aug 29, 2007 21:07:26

2007 total lunar eclipse from Oakland, California

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total lunar eclipse on august 28, 2007

Instead of going to sleep, I stayed up and photographed tonight’s total lunar eclipse (here’s a cool animation of the eclipse as seen from Earth). The photos above were taken from the 4th story rooftop of my building in downtown Oakland, California. The first frame was taken at around 02:30 PDT and the last frame at 03:30 PDT, just before the middle of the moon’s full coverage.

All photos were taken with a Canon 1Ds Mk II and Canon 600mm f4L IS lens (thanks, Al!). I experimented with using a 2x tele-converter as well, but the darkest point of the eclipse required more than 1 sec @ f8, ISO 1600 for a proper exposure. Without the converter, I was able to shoot at 1/2 sec @ f4. Because my good ball head is currently being fixed, I didn’t have a good way to secure the camera and lens combo, which together weigh around 15 lbs. I had to use a video head, which was a huge hassle. Oh well.

UPDATE: I made the three-moon image into a desktop background, which you can download here: [1440x900] [1024x768]

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 14 comments » | Aug 28, 2007 04:33:36

Katmai Coast Kodiak bear trip, Alaska

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carol and her 3 spring cubs at hallo bay [see all photos]

I returned a few days ago from the most incredible trip to Alaska to photograph Kodiak bears (Ursus arctos middendorffi) on the Katmai Coast. Al Vinjamur, Jim Abernethy and I went out there after being invited on the trip by Brad Josephs, and amazing bear guide who also guided us up in Churchill last winter for polar bears.

We did the exact same trip Art Wolfe did in his PBS special, Travels to the Edge; if you’ve seen his Katmai Coast episode, you’ve seen Brad in action.

I’ll do a big write-up as soon as I can. For now, check out the photos at Flickr!

I may be running a trip back to Katmai next summer. If you’re interested, please contact me and let me know a little bit about yourself. Or, you can book directly with the organization I went with and let them I know I referred you.

San Diego, CA | link | trackb | 4 comments » | Aug 24, 2007 20:02:25

“You look fat” and other culture-gap statements

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wendy and me, october 1978

Yesterday, my grandmother told me that I “looked fatter” when I put my swimsuit on and jumped into the pool. She mentioned it again to my sister (in private) this morning. In fact, a common greeting seems to be a statement about whether you have gained or lost weight since the last encounter. Statements like that aren’t meant to offend, and the two of us have been receiving comments like it for our entire lives. When Wendy and I were little, both of us had nicknames that were different Taiwanese words for “fatty”, and Wendy also was called “mosquito” because of the similarity between “Wendy” and the Mandarin word for mosquito.

Other commonly commented-upon subjects include height (or lack thereof), prominent pimplage, forehead oiliness, significant other (of lack thereof), fiscal comfort (or lack thereofof), and appetite (or lack thereof — meaning that you only ate a single full meal’s worth).

I just remembered another story. A friend’s elderly grandfather would greet me each time I saw him with the question, “how many pounds do you weigh?” (in Taiwanese). And then, he would hobble toward me and try to pinch my cheeks, occasionally using his cane as a prod if I wasn’t close enough. Luckily, he was really slow and I was able to evade him 99% of the time.

I guess it’s perfectly normal.

San Diego, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Aug 24, 2007 15:01:09

Photo catch-up

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I was only at home in Oakland for TWO DAYS in July, which really sucked. Luckily, I’ll be in town for a full 11 days in August — better, but still not enough. And when I’m home, I cram in all of my errands and work with as many social events as I have the energy for.


Bill, Miki, Dave, Kim, and Rachel

Here are some photos from the last month and a half, including a dinner with Dave Patchen & Bill Rivard, dinner with Gabe and Sonja, brunch with Peter, Karine, and baby Ella, a visit by Tammy Loh, and a late-night dinner with Vienna Teng, and a one-day overlap with Geoff and Livia. See all the images at Flickr, or continue reading for selected images. (read more »)

San Diego, CA | link | trackb | 5 comments » | Aug 24, 2007 00:08:19

Why good underwater photographers starve

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Citi advertisement at the Dallas airport

Every time I walk by this advertisement in the Dallas airport, I get angry. I’m sure Citi is a company with a huge marketing budget, and yet, they managed to purchase the rights to the worst underwater photograph ever for an ad that is supposed to make people want to fly to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Argh.

I guess it’s better to be a good businessman than it is to be a good photographer, eh?

San Diego, CA | link | trackb | 6 comments » | Aug 23, 2007 21:52:18

Served with exotic flair

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Can anyone guess what “exotic flair” means in North County San Diego? That’s right — it’s the guy behind the counter with black hair and slanted eyes! If that isn’t exotic, I don’t know what is.

The photo was taken at UTC mall, just a few minutes before my sister uttered the sentence, “at least I know now that I never need to come back here again.” (out of context, but appropriate. :)

San Diego, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Aug 23, 2007 19:03:52

Seam carving for content-aware image resizing

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Check out this video that demonstrates a new technology for dynamic image resizing using an algorithm that removes and interpolates vertical and horizontal paths containing the “least energy”. It’s the coolest imaging technology display I’ve seen in a long time. (read more »)

San Diego, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Aug 22, 2007 15:48:53

Multitasking sucks

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I just found myself doing the following things simultaneously:

  • Installing Final Cut Studio 2 (thanks, Victor, for the discount!) on Macbook Pro. At 9 disks, this takes more time that you might think it would.
  • Installing Final Cut Studio 2 on desktop machine
  • Finding and processing an image for a print order
  • Doing pipelined loads of laundry
  • Ordering 1TB drives to replace my 500GB ones (I’m out of space, AGAIN!)
  • Grouping lighting into zones for a remodel job
  • Coordinating meetings with Mary Lynn Price and Howard & Michele Hall in San Diego
  • Eating lunch (Quizno sub)
  • Coordinating pickup of color calibration hardware for Wendy
  • Packing up for 4pm departure to airport
  • Shaking my leg uncontrollably
  • Answering e-mails
  • Twittering (always)
  • Posting this message

I am out of control, and need someone to calm me down!!

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 4 comments » | Aug 21, 2007 13:44:16

Broken code

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I hate it when an include to someone else’s code breaks your site. This should have been a tweet, but Twitter is down for an hour.

Kodiak, Alaska | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Aug 17, 2007 01:21:15

Photos of me at work

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Most of the time, the only photos of me that get posted around here end up rotating in the banner on the front page, so I thought I’d post a few from my latest sharks and dolphins expedition. I’ve become a much better free-diver since my first trip out there back in 2002, and it helped me to stay at the front of the pack where most of the dolphin action is. There is still a lot of room for improvement, though. :) (read more »)

Kodiak, Alaska | link | trackb | 9 comments » | Aug 16, 2007 20:31:22

The new iMovie in iLife ’08

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I saw the prototype of this app last year while on a dive trip with the “video engineer” at Apple that Steve Jobs referred to in the announcement (signed a NDA). I was really excited about it back then, and am glad to see that it made a major product!

I frequently whip up short videos using iMovie, and hope that the new version doesn’t have a generic “H.264″ project setting that automatically crappifies all incoming video from small compact still cameras. There is no way to get good video quality in the prior versions because the video gets transcoded so poorly on the way in.

Kodiak, Alaska | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Aug 7, 2007 11:21:27

FiNS Photo Feature interview of Eric Cheng

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FiNS Magazine issue 6.4 includes the first annual FiNS Photo Feature, which has a short interview and feature on my work underwater. I’m in good company; also featured are Alex Mustard, Stephen Wong and Takako Uno, Tony Wu, and Takaji Ochi. Aey and Mean did a great job laying it out, and the article’s mood is light & playful. I actually enjoyed doing the interview because the questions weren’t as serious as they usually are!

You can download a PDF of the article at the above link.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Aug 5, 2007 23:50:55

Testing post via email feature

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Does this work? I’m testing WordPress’ post via e-mail feature so I can hook it up with SpinVox‘s SpinmyBlog feature. If it the Phone->SpinVox->Blog feature works as advertised, I’ll be able to post text-only updates from the field at the bargain price of $1.30/minute (my satphone rate)!

| link | trackb | 4 comments » | Aug 4, 2007 19:32:41

Screaming turtle tattoo

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Last week, Tammy sent me a photo of the screaming turtle turtle up on a board in Thailand somewhere.

Here’s something like that, only it’s TOTALLY BIZARRE. Jason Bradley sent me an e-mail with a link to a photo of a tattoo based on my screaming turtle image! I am at a loss for words (i’m sorta freaked out by it!). I am going to try to contact the person who had this done. :)

Sausalito, CA | link | trackb | 22 comments » | Aug 2, 2007 23:07:13

Bay area clinic for immunizations?

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I need to have a bunch of immunizations updated for an upcoming trip to Africa. Does anyone out there have a recommendation for a clinic in the Bay Area where I can get ‘em? Thanks, in advance!

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Aug 2, 2007 10:22:05
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