Friday, September 25, 2009

Epson P-7000 Hack: 500 Gb HD Upgrade

I utilize the Epson P-7000 Multimedia photo viewer for backing up my compact flash cards at weddings and events to ensure that I have multiple copies of the images I take. The unit has an awesome display, and works well for watching movies as well. It comes with an 160 Gb hard drive, which normally would be enough. However, I don't necessarily want to remove the images immediately after an event to ensure that I have enough space for the next event. Along comes a 500 Gb notebook SATA drive just dying to get installed in this device.

I initially tried a free utility called EASEUS Disk Copy, and it worked fine as a way to duplicate the drive. Unfortunately, that tool does not have anything built in to modify the configuration of each drive. The Epson P-7000 booted just fine, but it had the same amount of space as the original hard drive. I tried using Windows disk management console, and partition magic to reclaim the unused space on the drive without success. I remembered the I had upgraded a notebook hard drive a while back, and that upgrade kit came with a software package called EZ Gig II. EZ Gig II let me resize the partitions on the fly to give the Epson unit a slightly larger system boot partition, and a 463 Gb storage partition. Sweet!

What do you need? Tools needed to crack the case: 1.5mm allen wrench and 6/64 micro phillips screwdriver. External eSata/USB hard Drive dock: StarTech Dual Dock
Seagate Momentus SATA 500 GB Notebook hard drive

- You don't need these part exactly. Ez Gig II software allows you to create images as well. Having the dual dock was just nice to be able to send the copy of the drive to the new one on the fly.

500GB SATA Notebook Hard Drive.

Take the case apart:
The top comes off using the allen wrench.

Bottom comes off with small phillips, and you need to disconnect the wiring to the small speaker.

The back panel is removed by taking out the screws in the 3 corners, plus removing the rubbery grips, and unscrewing the screws hidden there. The back comes off pretty easily with these screws removed.

There is a metal housing over the internal HD that needs to be removed using phillips screwdriver.

The HD is held in place by 4 standard screws.

Voila! (463 GB's!!!)

Please note that by taking your Epson P-7000 apart, replacing the Hard Drive, and attempting to re-assemble, you are probably voiding the warranty on this expensive device. This blog serves to show that it is possible to upgrade the Hard Drive, not saying that you should do it. m2 Photography takes no responsibility if you try and perform this upgrade.
m2 Photography

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tomasik Wedding: Testing out new Photoshop Actions!

One of the things that people do not realize when hiring a wedding photographer is the additional amount of hours it takes to process the images after the event has ended. I usually go through the entire set of image with Adobe Lightroom, as it's easer to get through a larger number of pictures. I have spent some time in the past day stepping away from lightroom and getting back to my Photoshop roots. One of the new features of Adobe photoshop, at least since CS2, is the ability to use actions. Actions are like recorded steps, a macro, to repeat the processing on a picture the same way on future images. This speeds up the process by reducing it down to a few clicks. I've been testing a few new actions, and tonight I was looking at NicholeVan actions. In both of these samples, I used the same action, but different texture layer to give an idea how it works:


With Actions:

The bride was acting silly, and I caught her sticking her tongue out at the groom. The vintage effect give them a little something different from the rest of the portraits. Here is another sample:

With Antique Color + Texture:

I suppose that this one is a bit over the top, but it's a good illustration of adding a "Grunge" feeling to an image. This photo looks weathered and blemished. They were looking for something urban, and this is about as much as they're going to get for Janesville, Wisconsin.

Tomasik Wedding: Pole Aerial Photography (PAP)

I had been looking forward to trying a little PAP at my last wedding, specifically during the dance portion. I attached my Canon 50D to an extend-able painters pole, attached the remote shutter release which snapped shots at 3 second intervals, and held the camera up above the dance floor. I sure got alot of strange looks, but feel that the images captured were well worth it. Although I did have a small ladder there, having the camera on the pole allow me to be mobile. I was using a 15mm fisheye lens aimed down at the dance floor. The images were processed with a combination of Photoshop and Lightroom.

I hope to post more Pole Aerial Photography pics as I get to them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tomasik Wedding: Ceremony HDR

This church has high vaulted ceilings and using Dynamic HDR software, was able to create a more striking version of the wedding ceremony. I did not use bracketing on the camera, rather used Adobe Light room to great 9 versions of this picture with different exposure levels and other minor settings. Using the tone mapping feature, I selected Ultra-Contrast for this image.

Tomasik Wedding: CHDK time-lapse

I've been thinking that using CHDK to create a time-lapse video at a wedding. I mounted my Canon G9 with wide-angle lens on a tri-pod in the balcony of St. Mary's church in Janesville, Wisconsin. Using the Windwatcher KAP script without any zoom bracketing enabled, I started the script, walked away, and hoped for the best. I took all of the jpg images and imported them into Adobe Premiere CS4, where the still images were displayed for a few frames each to create the time-lapse. It's nice to be able to use the CHDK for something other than Kite Aerial Photography.

Tomasik Wedding: Bridesmaids

I've been so busy processing the large number of images we captured at the Tomasik wedding, I haven't had a chance to write to my blog. Here's a quick taste from one of my favorite bridesmaids photos. It was their idea to try the jumping pose, and I think they had fun with it. More to come...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Canon 50mm f/1.2 EF USM Prime Lens: Initial thoughts

I decided to jump on the Prime bandwagon after much debate with myself. I have a number of other Zoom lenses, "L" series lenses in fact, that take amazing pictures. My most recent purchase before this was a 16-35mm f/2.8 L lens, which almost was a 24mm prime in the shopping cart while trying to decide. The 16-35 takes amazing wide shots, and I don't regret making that purchase. Now a few weeks go by, and I've still got this itch to get a real prime lens with a super wide aperture in my quiver, so I break down while browsing the B&H site one day and order the 50mm f/1.2. I haven't had that much time to play with this yet, and have a wedding that I'm shooting tomorrow, but can't contain my excitement on how I'm going to use this. My dog Max was one of my first models, as he's always willing to pose for a treat or two. I set the focus on his eyes, with an aperture of 1.2, and Voila! Look at how buttery soft the background is on this handsome Weimaraner. I'm thinking that I'll need to be careful not to get to crazy this weekend with creating background blur, but doesn't everyone like to shoot wide-open? This will also be nice if there is low light. The 50mm is very beefy and the construction is compressive, if not a bit on the heavy side. I tested a few shots from a Tripod to see the different levels of Bokeh created from this mighty lens. It looks great on my 5D Mark II with the grip, and I have a feeling that this will remain on this camera a majority of the time from now on. I also have a bad feeling that prime lenses are like Lay's potato chips. No one can have just one...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Madison Wedding: Andy & Tasha

I had the pleasure of being the photographer for Andy & Tasha in Madison, Wisconsin. Andy is the brother of a friend of mine, and had requested a small amount of time to capture their special day at the State Capitol. I jumped at the chance to experience such a wonderful venue. We started at the Memorial Union Terrace for some pictures by the lake. Unfortunately, there was a Big Ten network truck parked right in the best spot on the Breakwater. We worked around that and still got some picture with the lake in the background. I had them pose in one of the giant Memorial Union Terrace chairs, while everyone was cheering them on from the upper terrace.

Andy and Tasha were very fun, and I didn't need to ask them twice to pose, as they were so into each other and soaking up a fantastic day on the terrace. With the Terrace packed on a day before a Badger Football game, I give them credit for ignoring the crowds, and enjoying their wedding day. We didn't have a lot of time in each session, but wanted to get as many pictures as possible. This particular day, I was lucky to have an assistant with me to help with lighting and haul gear. It helped getting from location to location and concentrate on the images, and not have to worry about the hear. We headed up to the State Capitol building for family pictures before the ceremony, using the Capitol itself as a backdrop. I wish we had more time to try different locations around the exterior of the building. Here is a shot inside looking up at the rotunda, with a newly married Andy and Tasha.

Although the ceremony was probably the shortest in history, in one of the darkest rooms possible, I had an amazing time. I thank the new couple for being patient and willing to try anything I wanted to shoot. I'd love to go back to Madison again to shoot in the Capitol, as there are endless places to capture some magic.

To see the entire Schroeder wedding gallery, click here.

Bowling HDR

Spent last Saturday at Reece's 5th Birthday party at the Wauna-Bowl in Waunakee, Wisconsin. Spent a lot of time taking pictures of the celebration, and thought I would run a few through my HDR photo software to get some more dramatic images. Here is an example of Reece's follow through while the ball is caught in mid-air.

More HDR Images can be found here

Monday, September 7, 2009

New PAP Rig

I got a few requests for posting pictures of my news Pole Aerial Photography rig. My original rig was homemade, but I think that this might look a bit more professional. The shur-line painters pole was purchased from Home Depot, and has a push button extend-able section. The Kasey pole adapter is necessary for any painters pole threading, and connects to a universal umbrella clamp. The Canon G9 is pictured with a wide-angle lens adapter and runs SDM (StereoData Maker) version of CHDK, running a script created by WindWatcher specifically for Kite Aerial Photography. I can use this rig with my other painters pole, which is much longer. This one will also be used for remote off-camera flash using a pocket wizard FlexTT5 and Canon 430EXII flash for weddings. Unless you are a painter by trade, you probably wouldn't know that the pole is from Home Depot, and wasn't originally intended for photography.

More pictures here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pole Non-Aerial Photography

I've wanted to try some pole photography while riding my bike and get some shots of Maximus running from ground level. Normally, I use the pole to get aerial shots, but thought it would be fun to get some from ground level. Supplies used:

Shur-Line Easy Reach Painters Pole from Home Depot
Kasey Pole Adapter from Midwest Photo Exchange
Adorama Universal Swivel Holder
from Adorama
Canon G9 running CHDK with Wide Angle Lens

For more images from this gallery, click here.