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Winter is upon us here in the Pacific Northwest and mountain pass road reports are essential. The WSDOT has a free app for iPhone and Android that has traffic, pass reports, ferries and more for the whole state of Washington. For iPhone users I hear there is an update in the next week or so that will also include pass camera to see that fresh snowfall! Truly useful source of travel info.

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Grammy-award winning singer John Legend recently made an appearance for Hopelink, a Seattle-area charity serving homeless and low-income families, during their annual fundraising luncheon. I was assigned to photograph the noted recording artist during a brief media interview time prior to the lunch appearance.

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I definitely enjoy a DIY project whether remodeling my house or creating a new light modifier for the kit. Recently I decided to create a beauty dish and ran across a nice design from photographer Todd Owyoung. The portraits above of Olympic track cyclist Jennie Reed, at left, and the prep baseball player were lit only with the beauty dish I made. MORE PHOTOS AND HOW-TO INFO AFTER THE JUMP…

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Data backup and workflow is an integral part of all business, but especially for photographers and a visual artists. There is no excuse for losing images in the digital age. Multiple redundant drives in the office and offsite are already a part of my standard backup protocol, but I’m always looking to improve and streamline my workflow and backup strategies. I’m currently test driving Apple’s Aperture 3 and Adobe’s Lightroom 3 to see which system I prefer as explore a change in my current workflow process. Friend and renowned photographer Chase Jarvis put together a recent video, above, and a blog post on how his shop handles their voluminous work load. Check it out, and find some nuggets that work for you. As Chase says about his system, it’s all scalable and to tailor your system to your specific needs. Also, photographer Zack Arias weighed in with his own workflow using Photo Mechanic — my current preference for import/editing/organizing before correcting images in the industry-standard Photoshop.

Data backup is not just for professional photographers, but for everyone! Remember that great photo from your kid’s first birthday? How about that sweet sunset in Hawaii on vacation? How about that video of crazy Uncle Bob dancing? Well, they will only be memories if you don’t take care to properly store and backup your data. It can be as simple as having an external hard drive (or 2!) at home with duplicate info and a third that you backup — monthly, weekly, whenever you shoot something new — stored in the closet at a friends house <——— I still do this, by the way, if only that it is easy, cheap and good reason to share a beer with a friend. Pick something that fits your needs and budget, but do back it up. Saves a lot of heartache and headache in the future.

That headline may not be medically proven, but it sure is true in real life! In our day-to-day lives using technology as citizens of the digital age – and especially as photographers – so many items seem to have cords snaking from them and connecting all our devices and gear. For a long time I’d wrap cables them against themselves, or a rubber band, or twist-tie or just let ’em tangle and grumble about it later. Then I had a “duh” moment while walking through Home Depot… Velcro straps. I grabbed a 50 pack of 8 inch long by 1/2 inch wide Velcro One-Wrap reusable straps that wrap on your cords to prevent losing the strap when undone. Many people already do this, but for the slow folks like me, this is for you! Have to admit that it has been the greatest $2 headache relievers I’ve found yet.

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