I wanted to share a very inspiring video I saw today. It made me think differently about the context of images. Do we as photographers provide a single story in our work? We often have our own style as photographers, but are we also getting locked in by our preconceptions and the story that we know? Check out this awesome video that was on TED. Writer Chimamanda Adichie gives a fascinating speech about the danger of a single story. I now think about photography a bit differently. Are we furthering a story of a people in our work? Do we really examine our subjects and show their stories…or are we just showing our own story of them.

I have several of the new Pocket Wizard TT5 units. First thing that crossed my mind when I received them…”Is this going to last in the field???” A heavy flash stuck on top of a TT5. Ok, metal hotshoe with a metal foot on the 580exII. Seems secure. Then a plastic foot on the TT5??? I feel safer using the threads when working with stands. Some products like the Lastolite EzyBox use the foot as an attachment. Several months passed and so far so good. Then the other day I broke the feet off two separate units! Two of them in less than an hour! Not happy! I don’t have time to send two of these in for repairs. I called up PW tech support and they directed me to the parts department. PW has awesome support. (yeah yeah, please resist the urge to joke about the range thing…) The people I dealt with were knowledgeable and very helpful. They explained how I can change the hotshoe myself if I didn’t have time to send in my units. Sounds good to me. $20 per unit was the cost. They arrived within two days. Swapping these in was a piece of cake!

So lets begin!
First you need a pocket wizard. Your own, or a friend in need’s unit will do. A small Philips screwdriver and a new hotshoe are all you need.

Next, Turn the TT5 over and remove the 4 screws surrounding the foot. That are located at each corner around the foot. You may have to rotate the foot lock in order to see or access them.

The hotshoe and foot are a combined unit that will pop out from the bottom of the TT5. If they don’t, just push down on the hotshoe and it will come right out. Careful because there is a cable attached.

Pull the cable out from the board located between the hotshoe and foot. A gentle tug is all that is required.

Carefully attach the cable to the new hotshot unit. The cable slides into the connector. It is easy to line it up and then ease it in with your finger. It does not go very far to make a connection. Be careful not to over do it. You wouldn’t want to damage the cable end or the hotshoe connector.

Carefully push the cable back into the body of the TT5 as you reinsert the hotshoe unit into its proper place. It should fit perfectly back in place. If it doesn’t you may have pinched the cable between the hotshoe unit and the body of the TT5. Once the hotshoe is in place, screw it back together with the four screws that were removed. Add batteries and double check everything works. You are all done! Five minutes is all it takes to replace your hotshoe or broken foot on a TT5!

Here is a comparison of a new foot and one of my broken ones.

What’s the best camera in the world? The one that is with you of course! Even if you have all the hot new Canon bodies and sharpest lenses in your backpack…you can’t create an image if it appears before you. The moment is gone. You haven’t even unzipped the bag fully. It’s so easy to miss the moment.

Lately cell phones have been getting pretty capable at capturing images. They are even putting out images larger than my first digital camera! (some early fuji finepix camera I think…maybe a megapixel or two…) Samsung has even decided to take the next step. Looks more like camera with a phone built in to me… I know its not late-breaking any more, but photographer Chase Jarvis lately put out an awesome app for iphones along with a book and website/community. The Best Camera… It’s definitely worth checking out if you have ever doubted your phone as a way to create images.

I captured the image above with an EnV Touch. No fun apps…but at least I have exposure compensation! (It also handles panoramas and parallax decently to my surprise.) The landscape was captured out of a car window. My camera was in a bag by my feet. I would have never been able to get it out in time. Lately I have found myself really seeing the world differently again. I feel somewhat liberated from equipment again just knowing that if I am in the moment, I can act as long as even my phone is with me. Go make images. Capture the world and show us who we are. If you have a phone…you have an image!

Now if only my phone could trigger Pocket Wizards…

Everything you see, hear, touch, taste, smell, or sense in any way is an aspect of Divinity. It is when you judge it to be something else that it shows up as something else in your life.

Therefore, judge not, and neither condemn.

For that which you judge, judges you; and that which you condemn will condemn you. Yet that which you see for what it really is will see you for what you really are. And therein will be found your peace.
–Neale Donald Walsch

I am fascinated by that statement. I find myself thinking about it so many times in various encounters and situations. I come back to the question…Who do I really want to be? And with that…Who do you really want to be?

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