Working on my second book

Just wanted to let everyone know I’ve been working on my second book – I’ll be done with the 45,000 word manuscript in June, it will hold over 200 images, and will be published with a division of Random House on the summer/fall of 2011 to be sold around the world.

It’s another photography how-to, deals with the outdoors, and I’m very excited about it – brings me back to some of my roots in photography, as well as one of my big loves. Recently I captured a few winter images in Yosemite National Park for potential book shots, and had a great time with a small group of photo friends.

I’ll keep you updated on it went it hits bookstores, and hope everyone grabs a copy! (I’ll have signed copies available too at that time).



You say Lacie, I say Lacie……rocks!

People often ask me what type of gear I use – whether in the field or at my desk. Today, with digital dominating the photo industry, I’m often asked how I back up or store the hundreds of thousands of photos I’ve acquired and store in my image collection.

Besides backing up a number of images on gold archival DVDs, I currently have seven Lacie hard drives – a 2TB, 1.5TB, 1TB, two 500GB, 250GB desktop, and a 250GB mobile HD (to backup memory cards while on shoots). I love Lacie, they have been fast and reliable for me ever since I started buying external hard drives, they work on Mac or PC easily, and their customer service is good- that’s hard to say in the days of crappy customer service.

So when Lacie came along and asked if I’d join there website as a pro who could recommend their drives, I said ‘you bet’. They provided me with a number of questions, and I’ve listed some of my answers below.

Provide a quote:
Being a photographer doesn’t mean just taking good photographs- you need to be a well-organized, reliable, likable person who connects well with others- and one who can be uniquely creative in a moment’s notice.

How did you your start as a commercial photography?
I picked up a camera at 11, always knew I’ be a photographer. Received a “F” in photography in high school, but didn’t let it deter me. In 1988 I enrolled at Brooks Institute of Photography where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Commercial photography in 1991. That summer I sent out 150 resumés with no job offers, so I started my own business combining outdoor, on-location, & studio photography- 19 years later, I’ve traveled the world capturing images for hundreds of clients, published thousands of times in numerous countries.

What have been some of your favorite events to photograph?
I enjoy a mix of subjects, all challenging in unique ways – from adventure sports to environmental portraits, from culture to landscapes, from wildlife to studio still lifes. One of the most amazing experiences I had was traveling through Borneo photographing an adventure race and subsequently capturing images of the Penan and jungles of Sarawak.

How has LaCie made your life as a photographer easier?
I always know my digital images and business files are backed up on fast reliable drive, easily accessible. Plus, I can get to large files quickly on any computer I own, as well as set up new hard LaCie drives easily.

Where have you been with your LaCie drives?
I travel with my LaCie rugged 250GB hard drive everywhere my photo assignments take me – from Los Angeles to Chicago, Seattle to Las Vegas – anywhere I go on assignment today, my LaCie portable drives goes with me. If I have a one-day shoot with a budget of $15,000, I must back up my images.

How do you see the world of digital storage developing and how will it make your job easier?

If Hard Drives last longer with more storage space – that is having a longer life (more than 3-5 years), allowing you to store more images (as it has over the past 10 years going from 160MBs to 2TB as digital files get larger and larger) safely.

How long have you been a user of LaCie products?
I picked up my first LaCie HD, 200GB model a number of years ago from the
Apple Store (after reading a number of reviews about the best hard drive). I’ve bought and own 7-8 since.

Describe an experience with your LaCie drive where our product greatly enabled your workflow:

Hard to describe one- my LaCie drives help my workflow everyday, accessing files from Adobe Photoshop and Bridge, adding images to my Extensis Portfolio database to track and reference thousands of images, and open original files hundreds of megabytes large straight from the drives. Backing them up is also very easy and simple, whether using software or dragging and dropping folders into a backup disk.

As the Photoguru, I want to recommend products I use and believe in – Lacie HDs are one of those products. I’ll soon add an article to Photoguru.tv as well reviewing my Lacie rugged portable hard drive. Happy Summer folks- use sunblock & wear a hat.


The White Whale

Although I’ve never had the chance to own a German-made rangefinder Leica camera (always wanted to – one of my dream cameras), I just wanted to share this dope Special Edition All-White Leica M8.

Sure it’s around $8500 (ouch), the black and silver versions listing around $6500 (what a deal!) and the Safari camouflage version at ten grand, but at least you can tip your nose up as other peasant photographers capture images around you with their American and Japanese counterparts.

In all seriousness, Leica makes an amazing product, simple, clean, durable, and unassuming (I know, that’s a bit ironic with the price tag, but most who aren’t into photography don’t realize the price or quality of it).

Made famous by photographers such as Henri Cartier Bresson and Diane Arbus, their lenses have been top-notch for years, and past models dating back to the 50s are always in demand (just type in Leica on eBay and see for yourself).

If you just received your bail-out check or play shortstop for the Yankees, you can call Leica at 800-222-0118 in inquire about adding this cool 10.3 megapixel gem for your collection. Don’t forget to go back to Congress when you need to buy a few lenses for it.

And when Leica sends me a free one, I’ll test it out and add more info. 🙂


What’s in a digital camera name?

Okay, I have to address this – can’t keep quiet anymore- need to blow a stack- alright, maybe just vent a tiny little bit on a completely useless photo topic that’s filling my mental database.

As a pro photographer knee-deep in gear, I must say it is impossible to keep up with camera names these days. I’ve included photos here of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Nikon D5000, FujiFilm FinePix s8000fd, Sony’s Cybershot DSC-T2 (sah-weet Lime color by the way Sony, and cool sleek look), and the Olympus Evolt E-410. What’s in a digital camera name? Confusion I say! Name insanity. Insane in the name brain.

When are camera manufacturers going to make it easier to understand their line of camera systems? “Hey, that’s a nice camera ya got, what’s the model?” “Oh it’s the Casio 54-XYZ-Mark 8 DMC-Fx 9000. You should look it up and get one”. “Ya gotta notepad I could jot that down on?”.

I get the “D” part – The 5D, the D300, etc. I assume it’s for “digital” (although you’d think as film fades, so would the “F” and “D” designation- plus, Nikon, from what I can remember, is the only company that uses the “F” in the name – Nikon F100, F3, and my original 35mm camera, the FE – just to give some examples). But even I, the PhotoGuru expert that I am, can’t think quickly when I see DMC – does it mean Digital Media Camera? One camera made by Fuji, puts “F” and “D” into the name- that can’t mean film and digital (although that would be jammin’ huh?).

Even the file names I see every day in my computers, which start with DSC, elude me right off the back. Again, I assume it stands for Digital Still Camera, but who knows…and who cares. It took me two weeks before I realized that my point-and-shoot digital image files, which start with “PANA_” stood for Panasonic. I know, I’m slow. But ya have to give it to me – there’s panorama, Pana Illinois, the Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists….okay, bad example.

Today, with cameras coming out every month and a mix of manufacturers from Canon to Sony, Fuji to Nikon, Panasonic to Olympus, Casio to GoPro, who can keep up with the medley of letters and numbers? Why not just describe the product in the name? Where am I goin’ with this? I’ll expand on my thoughts. Get ready to get your brain on.

Canon has the EOS 5D Mark II– tight camera too – 21 megapixel, full frame image sensor packed into a well-made system. I assume EOS means “Electronic Operating System”, could refer to the Greek Goddess of Dawn- I could be wrong, I have no idea, I’m not Googlin’ it! But the name?? There’s a five in there, then a two, and Mark and an Eos – does the Mark II mean it’s the next versions of the Mark systems? And what is the Mark system anyway? Does 5D mean it’s the best in their line or the lower amateur model? I personally know it’s one of their top cameras, but there’s one high that’s the 1D (what will happen when they make a better one than that?) and below the 5D is the 50D – so you’d think the numbers are getting higher as the quality and price goes down. But then below the 50D is the 40D. Ugh squared.

Let me solve this. Let’s make a name system based on the year, the camera’s quality, and it’s details. How ’bout….blblblblblb….that’s a blogger drum roll……blblblblblbbblblb….are ya ready? The:

Canon 2009 P21
Olympus 2008 A12
Sony 2007 N8

Wait. Don’t judge. Let’s me explain.

First the name of the company. Easy-peasy.

Then the year it was made (tough titties camera companies, if car companies can do it, so can you- plus, yer makin’ new cameras so often, it’s not going to hurt any on the marketing side).

Then if it’s a camera for a Pro (P), an amateur (A), or a Novice (N). Three easy levels – everyone would get it over time.

Then the Megapixel (I know I know, megapixel isn’t everything so many say, but ya gotta pick one feature and I’m picking it! Describe the rest in the top features section).

If camera manufacturers wants to add some pizzazz (nice 70s bedazzled term huh), then they can put in the “Rebel” name or the “Cybershot” or the “FinePix” in front of that. But that’s it! Year Who it’s forFeature….done dealio.

Canon Rebel 2009 A12 (a 12 megapixel for the amateur market- did you get it fast?)
Fuji FinePix 2007 P15 (a 15 megapixel for the pro, made in 2007- pretty easy huh?)
Sony Cybershot 2010 N20 (that’s next year’s model, a 20 megapixel point-and-shoot for the Novice – sweet name if I do say so myself)

Whaddaya think Sony? Come on Canon. Nikon, well Nikon never listens to anything I say anyway. Cool system huh? If “yes all mighty PhotoGuru, you’ve done it again!”, then that’s all I need. If “Mr. PG, you are out-choh-mind!” then come up with a better system.

But I like mine…thought of it in 5 minutes…yes, I graduated college. Will it be implemented? Who knows if anyone will read this and react. Maybe technology is just moving too fast. Besides, my head hurts now (and maybe your too). I’m out – it’s Sunday, I’ve got the flu, allergies, and I’m hungry. Off to watch Quantum of Solace on the 47″.

yours truly,
Sean “TGP P-40M II” Arbabi

(that’s “TPG” for The PhotoGuru, “P” for Photographer, 40 being my age, and M for Male, and II for two eyes…duh)