Startin-Sport.com: BASE Jumper crashes against a cliff.
Nope. Won’t catch me BASE jumping. [Site is translated.]
LA Times: ‘Fast and Furious’ star Paul Walker dies in car crash.
Given the amount of FB and Twitter laments over this actor’s demise, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m officially old. No idea he even existed. Bigger lesson here - when you ride in a performance car, know the driver *well*. As Sir Stirling Moss said (and I paraphrase), street driving and race driving are completely different. There’s no reason to try to exercise racing chops on the public streets - you can’t even approach the limits you need to, and you just endanger everyone else. Get your car to a track, and then push your limits.
SF New Mexican: Ski resorts may be allowed to charge ‘uphill’ fee.
“Once people accept that as reasonable, as many in Aspen apparently do, the possibilities for monetizing the backcountry are endless.” My italics. No friggin’ way.
Guardian.UK: Driver escapes 185mph crash in Californian desert - video.
I’d need a year for my brain to unwind from all that twisting. Monococque frame, I assume … from all the pieces flying off.
Sunday Slacker: 2013 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational.
European shutout. Not a Lambo or Porsche in the top ten.
Youtube: 1972 750 Norton Racebike at Mosport ‘13.
This’ll get your blood pumping.
ArtDaily: Highly original 1964 Ferrari 250 LM headlines Art of the Automobile Sale.
Kottke: Plane lands/takes off in only 20 feet.
I have to chuckle. Jason learns of STOL aircraft, seemingly for the first time. Generational gap, I guess. Popular Mech in the ‘60’s was full of this sort of thing - all of us boys were nuts for these things. Super Cubs are nice, but a Maule can haul (bigger engine, more capacity). A Cub can go anyplace a Maule can go, but slower and with less stuff. And it’s easier to fly. A Maule’s a bit more demanding (it enjoys swapping ends on landing, particularly, if you don’t respect it). All are too cool for school.
Can’t afford the real thing? Build yourself a Kitfox in full bush config. It’s on my personal ‘if you ever win the lottery’ list.
Later: How could I forget the De Havilland Beaver? Alaskan bush staple.
Youtube/GoPro: Backflip Over 72ft Canyon - Kelly McGarry Red Bull Rampage 2013.
Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider: So, How Many “Keepers” Do You Get From a Shoot?
Eventually, (if not already), sports shooters will just shoot video and select sharp frames from the hi-res footage.
Youtube: Kayaking Down a Drainage Ditch.
I can think of no more entertaining way to accomplish a butt reduction. Humorously filed under Sports.
Santa Fe Concorso: Concorso Awards.
Some of my awards photos are coming online. See the links in the list. Note they’re slideshows. Multiple images of each car. They chose a different photographer to be the lead on the awards; you’ll see I’m not the focus of interest in some photos. Did the best I could, given the circumstances.
Post Mortem, equipment list for shooting Concorso.
Well, I survived the three days of mayhem.
First off, that Kata Revolver 8 pack. It is a brilliant design. Except for one major flaw, IMHO.
The Kata was more comfortable and easier to walk around with than the LowePro I rented last year. The ‘revolver’ feature (a circular padded plastic ‘Lazy Susan’ device inside the main lower body of the bag) turned out to be miraculous in use. I really loved it. Was unbelievably useful in the passenger compartment of a BMW Z4. I could flap from one lens to another in a split second. It got hung up on the front element of the 16-35 at times; it liked having the thicker end of the lens toward the back of the pack. Overall, it’s a brilliant, fantastically useful widget. Try renting it from LensRentals.com; if you’re like me, it’ll change your multi-lens life.
BUT. [You knew there was going to be a ‘but.’] When are photo pack manufacturers going to talk to backpack makers? The shoulder straps are well-padded but narrower than what I’m used to. The waistbelt is a bad joke: too thin and flimsy to bear any weight, so all that equipment rests on your trapezius muscles. Ever overdone shoulder shrugs? After a day of using the Revolver 8, I could *not* raise my shoulders without shrieking like a mountain lion. I had the pack loaded nowhere near capacity (no laptop, one lens port in the revolver empty). There’s absolutely no reason not to have a thicker, truly functional waistbelt. This design is so fantastic … and yet to be held back by such a silly oversight, seems a crime. Kata, please talk to Osprey about back suspensions and belts. [I know I sound harsh; please keep in mind I used the Kata with less overall pain than that LowePro CompuTrekker nightmare that had a better waistbelt. Kudos to Kata for making such narrow shoulderstraps work so well. But it could be SO MUCH better.]
Would I buy it? If I can find a way to add one of these babies, without interfering with the shoulder-sling concept, you’d be talking serious greatness. When carrying weight, I want it on my hips, not on my shoulders. If I can figure out how to retrofit such a proper waistbelt, I’ll buy it in a split second.
My choice of renting the 70-200 2.8 IS II with 2x TC III teleconverter turned out to be serendipitous. I had to cover an indoor lecture in which flash was frowned upon. I needed that 2.8, and the teleconverter gave me much better framing when shooting from the back of the room (packed with people, shooting over heads to show size of crowd).
The IS in this lens seems better than in the f/4 IS version. MUCH better. You pay a price, both in dollars and in weight with this lens. I say it’s worth it. Handholding is not a major problem, if you give your biceps an occasional rest. I’d switch arms while carrying it on a long walk. I noticed no noticeable weight issues in actual use, and didn’t pull out my monopod at all. Weight in the backpack … I felt every. damned. ounce. But worth the extra shoulder pain.
In combination with the TC III, the resulting images look sharper to me than the 100-400 - a lens that stuns no one with its visual quality. IMHO, the 70-200 2.8 IS II and TC III is the better buy if you habitually use a 70-200, and only occasionally need to reach out to 400mm. If you need to do it habitually, buy the 400 prime next. Oh - and the 70-200 + TC unit was solid as a rock. Solid as a single lens. No ‘play’ in the system.
The 16-35 II was the usual joy. A note, however: this particular rented lens was soft at 2.8, whereas the one I rented last year was sharp throughout the f-stop range. So there’s a wide variation in manufacturing on this one. If you rent one, or purchase one new or used, slam it open to 2.8 and start taking some shots. If they’re too soft, take it back and swap it out. There *are* sharp ones.
The 600EX-RT worked OK. All exposures were fine. My 5D MkII began to show some bizarre power issues while the flash was attached. At times the flash would generate uncontrollable light pulses after a flash sequence, for no reason (no buttons pressed). Looked like it was puking photons at a high rate of speed. Other times, I’d get bizarre light/dark effects in the viewfinder (which confused me - it’s not an EVF. Makes no sense). I’d have to power the flash off, then power off the camera, and restart the whole shebang. Never had any such problems with my 480EXII. I had similar strange events with the 600EX last year - it would shut off without warning after a burst of three images, requiring me to turn the switch off/on repeatedly. So, as powerful as it is … I may rent an older 580EXII next time around. Or buy third-party. [Later: It just occurred to me, there were enough photographers with flashes around, someone else may have been using radio controllers, and may have hooked my flash into their system. Possible?]
Alas, I rented the Quantum Turbo SC, but never needed it. I charged it and tried it out at home - really nice to have 400 full-power flashes available. The supplied cable was a bit short for someone of my height. Kept pulling me to one side (the Quantum has a belt loop to mount by your hip). So, while it didn’t get used, I felt better knowing I had it in reserve if I needed it.
Fitness? Next year, more shoulder shrugs (obvious), weighted twisting movements, and more box-steps and squats. I’d forgotten that in addition to walking inclines, I’d be squatting multiple times for just about every car. Over 100 cars this year. That’s a lot of squatting and standing. And then having to jump over flagstone walls. Twisting? With weights? Having to get between enthusiasts and cars in a timely manner, with backpack on. Mustn’t touch the cars; so grace in twisting is required. Perhaps tango lessons.
Hope that helps y’all. I’ll have more about the experience soon. 3,100 photos to keyword and edit down to manageable size.
The Selvedge Yard: James Hunt, when playboys ruled the world and the racetrack.
“It’ll be interesting to see if Chris Hemsworth is able to capture his wit and charm, and if he can keep his muscles from overshadowing the memory of Hunt’s lean, lanky frame hard-earned by a physical exercise regiment consisting largely of driving, and shagging.” Given the trailers for Rush, Hemsworth may be *too serious*.
Santa Fe Concorso — Waiting for my LensRentals gear to arrive.
Santa Fe Concorso’s always an interesting challenge to shoot. I have multiple events to cover … an airport dinner event that combines planes and cars in attractive tableaus, a lecture in an indoor venue, a road tour of approximately 100 miles, and the show/event itself. Over 100 cars this year - almost a third more than last.
This means I have to be maximally flexible, without killing myself with excess weight. LensRentals was one of the first rental places online that I came across — their service and support, and the quality of the equipment they sent last year was stellar. I screwed up some of my order this year. A simple email got a response within an hour, and an adjustment was applied. I like ‘em. Simple, no-nonsense. One less thing to worry about. You folks who’ve done productions on the road know how valuable that is.
I’ve made a few changes to my gear list from last year:
1. I rented a Canon 5D Mark III last year; since I purchased a Mark II, I have enough full-frame goodness. My 50D will serve as backup.
2. I rented a 70-200 F4 IS last year, and it did a wonderful job. This year, Concorso’s requested more people shots, people-interacting-with-cars. So I’m choosing the heavier 2.8 IS II so I have some shallow DOF creativity available. I’ve added, just as an experiment, the Canon 2X teleconverter to see if it will benefit me on the road tour shots. If I put the whole shebang on the 50D, that’ll reach out pretty darned far (with associate dropoff in quality, I’m more than sure).
3. I thought seriously of chucking the whole conventional camera thing and trying out the new Fuji system (X100s), but with the flash requirements at the lecture and awards ceremonies - combined with my total lack of experience with the system — I decided I didn’t need THAT much adventure in my life. Go with what you know.
4. I rented that lovely Zeiss manual focus 50mm Makro last year. Since I own the sharp 60mm EF-S macro at this point, I’ll forego that rental.
5. The LowePro pack I rented last year served me well, but there were two annoyances. One, the back padding and suspension were painful. Two, you have to take the whole backpack off to get to a lens. This year, I’m trying the Kata Revolver 8 backpack, which may solve both issues.
5a. Since I can park so close (thanks to VIP parking passes), I’m tempted to try going with a matched set of BlackRapid straps and leave the bulk of equipment in the car. Hang both cameras around my neck, and do my usual stalk-cars-with-one-lens-at-a-time routine.
6. I rented the new Canon 600-EX-RT flash last year, and it worked a treat. Two things: It had an occasional annoying habit of turning itself off after a three-shot burst. And it ate batteries pretty good. I’m augmenting with a Quantum Turbo to see if I can avoid the latter. The former, I’m hoping, will be cured by reading the manual.
7. I rented the Canon 16-35 II last year, and I’m renting it again this year. Mental note - watch the wide side. I had a few too many distorted hoods for my taste afterwards. What looks great on the LCD, can look grotesque in print.
8. Battery backups, Sandisk and Lexar cards. Two fast 32GB, one fast 16GB, a ‘slow’ 8 and an ‘ultrafast’ 4 if I really need them. The 32’s give me over 1,000 shots on the Mark II; I took a total of about 1600 photos across three days last year. 800 was my max on a single day.
Lastly, I’ve been in physical training for this event since May. Last year’s event wiped me out for a week. I’ve been emphasizing quads, lower back, shoulders … aerobics. Stairmaster/treadmill. I’m as thin as I’ve been since high school, but muscled with usable muscle, rather than bulk.
Later: Equipment’s arrived from LensRentals. Gotta check it all. I’ll give you my casual review (pre-use review) shortly.
Youtube: Goodwood Revival 2013—Kenny Brack in the wild Ford GT40.
Look at the steering! I know it’s raining, but it really looks like there’s something *wrong* with that car. I love this comment: “194 attempts to spin the car were made. None of them was successful.”
Point 65º N: Modular kayaks.
Oh, brilliant. The tail and nose are nearly bulletproof flotation. No nose or tail inflatable bags. And storage is much simpler.
NY Times: ‘Rush’ Goes Inside Formula One and Two of Its Titans.
A must-see, sounds like.
Later: One of the trailers.
Supercharged: F1 2013 Classic Edition Trailer.
A videogame I might actually enjoy. I’d much prefer prefer late ‘50’s/early ‘60’s cars, however.
Hemmings: Cars of Futures Past – 1976 Tyrrell P34.
A car ahead of its time. Or rather, ahead of its tires.
ArtDaily: Bonhams to sell historic cars from double Le Mans winning racing team.
Omig-d. If I were a bajillionaire, I’d buy the whole set. No joke. When people come to visit, I’d set ‘em up so we could jink and race around for an afternoon.
redOrbit: Thrill Seekers Less Adventurous Than A Generation Ago.
“The decline in the sex difference in thrill and adventure-seeking scores could reflect declines in average fitness levels, which might have reduced people’s interest in physically challenging activities.” Healthy grain of salt for these interpretations. For instance, it costs more to do these ‘risky’ activities now. Find a young man willing to solo a rock face with no protection these days. Thin, thin on the ground.
Guardian.UK: Should amateur cyclists ever wear a replica champion’s jersey?
I never could bring myself to purchase one. The maillot jaune, that is. It just seemed … silly to want to. I could never even pose as one of the gods of cycling. What am I going to do, wear yellow and pump my fists in the air after a particularly enjoyable ten-miler on the weekend? Nope. No way.
Boston Globe: Do our brains pay a price for GPS?
I don’t own one. Not to say I won’t acquire one relatively soon. Article sounds a bit overwrought to my ears.
My modus operandi is a quality topo map, and a reliable compass (with small backup). Before starting off on a trek, I make sure the topography of the eye matches the topography of paper. I verify the mossy growth on the trees (if present) to double check direction. I squint up at the sun, feel which cheek is getting the most wind … and get other ‘gut’ bearings. I do these things in seconds before taking off for a hike, without thought. I’ve never been lost. [Knocking on wood.]
But I have miscalculated distance on a map - and that can be just as deadly. Esp. in the desert. Almost killed me once. I’ve told the story here before. If I find it, I’ll relink it. But for this alone, I’m contemplating a GPS.