Some friends of mine are working on a really cool project for Burning Man 2013 – The Charcade!, which can be described best in their own words:

We’re building an arcade and it’s rather non-traditional. (Translation: We’re building the CHARCADE and ALL THE GAMES SPEW FIRE) (quote taken from

To turn this quick and succinct story into a long and boring one, last night, I was an idiot and locked myself out of my studio, and one of the project leads is excellent at getting past pesky locks. I have him a call, and ran over to my place, broke me in, then headed back for the “flame test”. As soon as I heard the words “flame test”, I knew I had to grab my camera and run over to experience (and document) the action!

Continue reading Charcade!

Nikon D600 Sensor Dust Timelapse part 3

I just realized I never posted part 3 of my D600 sensor dust test to my blog:

Part 3 of this video is another timelapse sequence combining 1000 photographs using the camera’s built-in intervalometer. The shots in this series range from #2681 to #3680, so I’ve broken that magic 3000 shots threshold that seems to be where things start to clear up for the D600.

In the comments to my previous videos, a number of people mentioned that the problem is oil/lubricant spatter, not dust (which explains why the spots will not blow away). And that this is a problem with new cameras, one that will go away after taking several thousand shots. So I figured, why not do a third sequence of 1000 shots and post the results?

Same setup as the first video:
I set up a time lapse sequence of 1000 shots with my 50mm 1.8D lens on my D600 body
I did not change lenses throughout this video.

I did use a hand pump blower to blast away any loose dust that had build up, and that did eliminate several spots, but the vast majority of them remain stuck to the sensor, and a DIY wet cleaning would void the warranty, which I am not prepared to do on a piece of equipment that is only one week old.

As you can see, while there is much less dust and oil landing on the sensor this time around, there are still a few new spots appearing. These look more like dust than oil spots.
I can deal with dust with a blower, it’s a minor annoyance, not a deal-breaker.

The camera was dropped off in person at a Nikon service centre on November 27th, and I am waiting for a call from them to let me know it’s time to pick it up. Then I will be able to see if the dust and oil problem has really worked itself out, if they have removed the excess lubrication, or if they’ve just spent two weeks doing a wet clean on my sensor.

Nikon D600 Sensor Dust Timelapse Part 2

Wow! What an incredible response to my first video. I wasn’t expecting any of this. Thank you to all for your comments and ideas.

As I was browsing the blogs who had picked up this story, and reading the viewer feedback, I was given several ideas that were too good to pass up. One was to try another set of 1000 shots, only this time, have the camera pointing downwards, so dust or oil will have a more difficult time reaching the sensor. So that’s just what I did!

Shutter Speed: 1/60
Aperture: F22
ISO 1600
Time between shots: 2 seconds.

A review of the Nikon D600’s Dust Problem.

Picked up a new toy; thought I’d do a boring technical review for you.

The Nikon D600 should be the perfect enthusiast camera with it’s fantastic specs, great low light performance, and an affordable price point for a full frame sensor. However, many reviewers and blogs have been raising concerns over a severe dust issue. Dust has reportedly been collecting on the upper left corner of the sensor at an unusually high rate.

Continue reading A review of the Nikon D600’s Dust Problem.

It’s My YouTube Birthday

Today is July 15, 2012. I was wasting time, watching some random videos, when something caught my eye; I looked at the side window of my channel, and I realized that I joined youtube on July 15, 2006 That means that today is my 6th anniversary of being a YouTuber.

In the *90 months* that this website has existed, I’ve been around for 73 of them. In that time, I’ve uploaded 248 videos. Those videos have generated over half a million views, which is pretty incredible.

Continue reading It’s My YouTube Birthday

Tiff Talk Teaser

I mentioned my SoOnCon talk in several earlier posts.

I’m currently in the process of editing the footage from the actual talk. The full presentation was 28:50, just shy of the 30 minute allotment we were given. My goal is to remove the dead space and redundancies without taking away from the actual content or tone of the presentation. I want to deliver the complete talk, while taking up as little of your time as possible.

Here is a little teaser to hopefully whet your appetite:

Wasting Time Online

I recently came to the realization that I was using the internet as a tool of procrastination far more than I was using it as a tool of production.

I have gotten myself into the nasty habit of coming home, having every intention of working on something, but first, I will do a quick check of some fun sites. I tell myself, “it’s not a big deal, I’ll only be spending 5 or 6 minutes doing this, then I will get to work.” Then I start loading up various social media and link-sharing websites. I quickly skim over the headlines, looking for something that sounds interesting. When I find something interesting (which I always do) I open it in a new tab. Then I keep reading, going down the page, looking for the next link to open up in the background. Then the next link. Usually by the end of all this, I have something in the range of 20 to 30 tabs open on my browser.

Now, I can’t get to work with all this interesting stuff loaded up in front of me. What if I find something interesting, or a new idea to get my work done faster? I’d better read these articles first, then I will get to work. The wordcount on these isn’t that high, how long can it take?

I start with the photos, since they take seconds a piece. Getting through a good 5-10 tabs feels good. Then I move on to blog posts that are written in accessible everyday language. They are usually fairly quick to read through. I end with the longer, more academic articles, which often stay open in the background for several days before I get around to reading them.

Occasionally I do come across a great new idea that merits taking down notes, but normally what I read is close enough to my existing body of knowledge that I can trust myself to remember it after a single reading. All this info will come in handy…someday…right?

When I have finished reading everything, my eyes drift to the corner of my computer screen towards the clock, and I am stunned by just how much time has gone by since I booted up my computer.
“I’ve wasted how much time on this stupid thing? Oh, man I need to stop doing this! From now on, no more….hmmm…I wonder if anything new has been posted on reddit”

Frank Schirrmacher might call me an informavore, someone who mindlessly consumes knowledge as a form of passive entertainment. Seth Godin might say that I’ve fallen into the trap of believing everything I do on my computer is work because the same physical device is used for work and play. I end up reading a ton of light-but ultimately pointless information because it feels like work, so I don’t realize just how unproductive I have become.

I knew this was something I had to change, so I installed a browser extension called ‘Stay Focused” (there is a similar tool available to FireFox users, but I’ve forgotten the name.) Stay Focused is a completely free extension for Chrome (and Chromium, which I use).

Continue reading Wasting Time Online

The Little Things

I had one of those weekends where everything lined up and I managed to get a lot of work done.

As an artist, making, showing and promoting art work often seem to dominate my attention.

Little things, like storage, supports, frames, lighting, and little studio improvements here-and-there often get overlooked.

Not this weekend.

A bunch of little things that had been on my “I’ll do it later” list are now sitting in my “done” pile. This is a good feeling. A really good feeling. Having a pile of cool new supports to try out gets me excited to start painting on them. Gonna be a good couple of weeks ahead.

Occupy Toronto

I would like to begin by saying that for the most part, I try to steer clear of politics here. I recognize that I am not a political analyst or policy expert; I’m just a guy who sees the world through a particular lens and wants our planet to be a better place. For this post, I will try to avoid taking a firm stance on either side, and just report on my brief experience of Occupy Toronto from the perspective of an outside observer; an observer arriving with just bits and pieces of information.

It was early Monday afternoon, and I had just finished a meeting and location inspection for my next art exhibition. The venue I had been checking out just happened to be a 5-minute walk away from St. James park. I couldn’t be that close to the action and not go see it first hand.

I had read several online new articles and blog posts about the event, and I was still a little confused. There were questions raised over the point of Occupy Toronto. Politics in Canada aren’t as corrupt as the American system, and income equality isn’t as bad as it is down South. The general consensus on the blogosphere was that Occupy Toronto is primarily a display of solidarity for our friends at Occupy Wall Street in New York. This is the world’s way of telling the citizens of America “It’s ok, we got your back; we’re in this together”.

I don’t know Toronto’s South-East end very well, so I wasn’t absolutely sure what I was looking for, but the police and media presence made it easy to locate the park from the street I was walking down. Vans from each major news broadcasting network were sitting outside the park, and pairs of police officers were patrolling the parks perimeter. A few of the officers had an expression of boredom on their faces, but most were just having friendly conversations with each other.

I entered the park and was met with a sea of tents.
Continue reading Occupy Toronto