Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's here again.

With October almost over, winter is almost upon us. Temps today are at 32F already. Winter is one of my favorite times of the year to shoot. A fresh snow fall is just an amazing sight and morning frost is killer. A good snow storm is what I sit and wait for and it is just yard to beat. 

My hatred of the cold makes this a difficult time of year though. There is nothing worse then the constant internal struggle. I look outside and see the conditions that just burn inside me and drives me into the cold to go photograph in, just waiting outside the door. Soon they could be gone and I need to get out there. All I am thinking is why would I want to leave this warm house, struggle to bundle up and get all my gear ready, sit in the cold doing all I can to keep my camera from fogging up and the lens clear of snow. Well nothing makes that struggle any better, but my Blizzard Stalker boots from Rocky sure do keep my feet warm. I have never experienced warmer and more comfortable boots in my life. They are actually one of the most comfortable pieces of footwear I have ever worn. 1200 grams of Thinsulate does it's job. My feet have yet to get cold in these boots, even after hours in the elements. I'm not the only one that loves these. I have a few friends I talked into buying a pair and they will give you the same review and reaction I gave you. They are good boots, period. So for any of you winter photographers out there, these boots may help you as they have greatly made my winter shooting more enjoyable. 

Rocky Blizzard Stalker Boots

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hard Drive Surprise

With the amount of photos I take, I need some serious hard drive space.  Every photo I take gets uploaded to my PC hard drive, copied to an external hard drive, burnt to a DVD 4GB at a time, and then it gets deleted from my PC hard drive. One set of data is stored off site. All processed photos are then backed up on an off site server. 

I really like the Western Digital external hard drives. They have good reviews and have served me well. My Seagate drive had an issue and has a bad reputation via reviews. So as spaced filled up I went out to get myself another hard drive. I picked up a Western Digital My Book Essential that was on sale. That was a mistake. My other drives are all My Book Essentials also. You plug them in and you now have another hard drive that you can just drag and drop files and folders into. Slick and easy. The "new" My Book Essential drive has SmartWare program on it. This program turns the hard drive into a cheap and hard to use automatic backup system. It is horrible. You plug it in and you have no choice but to download this program before you can do anything. Once the SmartWare is downloaded, you spend hours trying to figure out how to disable the system to make it a normal external drive. After clicking on every option and setting that comes with the drive with no success, I was about to return it. A few minutes searching the internet led me to a solution. Western Digital offers a download that disables this SmartWare program and turn this drive into what it should have been out of the box. This was a disaster of a purchase. There was no indication that this was not a normal drive in the directions, packaging, or on the box. Western Digital dropped the ball on this drive. To save any of you this parasite of a program here is the link you will need to disable the SmartWare.

Western Digital needed to make the SmartWare program an option from the beginning and not mandatory. They also needed to inform buyers that this drive came with this program and or how to disable it. A External plug and play hard drive should not take 3 hours to get it up and working. Will I buy a Western Digital drive again? Yes, but I will do better research and make sure I get a SmartWare free version.

Friday, October 1, 2010