Joe Urbz Media & Photography

Photography

Nethercutt Museum

This past Saturday, we took a day trip to Sylmar, CA to visit the Nethercutt Museum. We did not get to do the private tour, but the visit was still rewarding! Check out my gallery!
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6 Months Later

Wow! It’s been a long time since I have updated this blog. Life has taken to many twists and turns, even this new website we are building.

We just returned to the SoCal Mtns after a long and adventurous summer. Here is a basic list:
  • A week in Carlsbad: San Diego County Fair, Pro Golf lesson with my daughter, State Beach, Oceanside, PowWow, San Luis Rey, and other local activities.
  • A week in Phoenix during the 122 degree heat wave and the Yarnell Fire tragedy.
  • A week in the South Lake Tahoe area: stayed 7300’ up near Daggett Summit, Pope Beach, Taylor Creek Trails, Emerald Bay, Fallen Leaf Lake/Falls, Truckee River Rafting, Nevada (Minden/Gardnerville), Yosemite, Mono Lake, Bodie Ghost Town, Lone Pine, White Mtns/Ancient Bristlecone Forest, Alabama Hills & Mt. Whitney.
  • A few days in and around Disneyland surprising our daughter for her 9th Birthday with the partnership of family and friends. Awesome!
  • A week in Flagstaff during a serious monsoon season: The Petrified Forest, Holbrook, Winslow, Homolovi II Ruins, Williams, Deer Farm, and I spent a day on a multi-level tour of Page, Antelope Canyon (boats and the lower slot canyon). I need to get to the Upper Canyons next time,
  • Sedona & Phoenix: The 3 of us went on a doorless deluxe helicopter ride over all of Sedona during a impending storm. Exhilarating!
  • Palm Desert, CA: Finally got to spend some time with our new granddaughter, Justin & Sarah.

We still have a bit to go, with an appt to return to the Grand Canyon later this month!! Stay tuned for more. Happy
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Fuel's Profile

My photography work was recently profiled by Fuel Your Photography. They were really awesome during the process, and their website is a good one too. Give them a visit. Check it out!
http://www.fuelyourphotography.com/indie-spotlight-joe-urbz/
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Vacation

Well, we are on a 3 week journey up all of California to Oregon and Washington. I have been posting some pics on my SmugMug, Google+, and now Fine Art America. Check them out and leave some feedback!!
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Midwest Spring

Amidst the overload at work, I took a brief excursion to Chicago. I needed some well-needed time to spend with family. My brother Devlin took us out to the Indiana Dunes State Park / Beverly Shores area amidst the rain, wind, and cold. However, the rain subsided a bit and we found some really cool nature trails to wander about. Although there were no blue skies for pictures, we focused on the floral, birds, and foliage all around. It was a very peaceful and productive day.

The next day, my other brother took us out to northern Illinois and Wisconsin. The sun was out and we took advantage of it. We spent time in the Chain O’Lakes area for quite awhile, found some good food at a local biker restaurant, and took off to the Kenosha and Lake Geneva areas. We used the full day to capture anything we wished for our cameras.

Sunday was a family day and well worth it.

Here is the
gallery of 400+ pics. Some are worked on, some are still in progress. I am still working on my Valley of Fire gallery as well. If you like any of the pictures, PLEASE email me with your feedback.
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Catching Up!

Wow, it has been awhile since my last post. Life and work has been (and still is) a blur. This past week we visited Las Vegas and the Valley of Fire State Park. I have to go through about 800 photos (after 2 rounds of erasing the bad ones) and process some favorites. I will post them to SmugMug as a gallery as soon as I can. My mother and I zip-lined over the Fremont Street Experience. My wife and I renewed our vows (15 yrs together) at The Little White Chapel, enjoyed midnight bowling with my mom and daughter, and met some professional bowlers during a regional PBA tournament. We did a lot more, but you get the gist. We packed a week into this Spring Break.

My TV class is still working on the Every 15 Minutes production, enjoyed a wonderful field trip at the Mole-Richardson studios with Larry Parker, continuing Rim Today, and way more to list here. Really… the pressure to get all of this done at a high-quality level is unreal and time is not helping, esp since it all has to be done by mid-May. Keep an eye out for the local paper (The Mountain News), which as an article about our ROP classrooms’ relationship with the Lake Arrowhead Film Festival and Larry Parker. Our
Swedish friends from the ROP Auto Shop program visit us this coming week. We look forward to showing them around the mountain, Rim High, and SoCal.

In a few weeks, I get to visit my brothers in Chicago, and we may venture off to Indiana and Wisconsin for some photography excursions.

What comes after “blur?” …. And it’s only April.
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Happy New Year

Happy New Years to everyone out there. I sure hope it will be a better year than 2011. LOL.
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SmugMug

This past Halloween, I asked my brother Jeff to attempt some long exposure photos of our parents’ crazy Halloween Home exhibition. I had an idea what I was hoping for, which was to create a picture that would “immortalize” what our folks do year in and year out. Jeff originally responded with his point & shoot philosophy. I encouraged him with some ISO changes and other technical aspects, like using a tripod and remote. Suffice it to say, he came through and I processed the photos in Aperture 3 (with NIK and Topaz plugins). Well, here are some of those that worked out: SmugMug. I love when collaboration works out.

Since then, I knew what to give Jeff for Xmas: a
SmugMug account to post his work for everyone to see! So go visit and enjoy his photos. He has also started a Google+ account. Give him some +1’s.
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Photo Prints

Rose and I have been working hard on finding a workflow for printing and framing our photos. So we want to sell prints. Wow, what a challenge for sizing, glass, mattes, $$$, cost, and more. It is overwhelming for digital landscape/nature photography; so unlike portraits.Custom mattes cost a fortune!! I think Michaels knows us by our first names now. LOL. We do love coupons.

I spent quite a bit on Red River paper to work with my Canon Pixma 9000 mkII printer. I ordered 13x19 sheets of Gloss, Matte, Metallic, and Ultra Satin. Also got some 8x10 Aurora White (fine art paper) and 4x6 of other papers. We are preparing to offer some framed prints for a silent auction/local fundraiser (good cause). Holidays are also approaching. We hope to experience some sales soon. If interested, let us know!

I also updated my Shutterfly book. This 8x8 book really helps people to get a sense of what I am up to outside of the video world. Rose and I have planned some photo excursions in late November and mid-December. Time to learn more about lens filters for all that white snow. Winking

Click here to view this photo book larger


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Photo Book

Update: The book came in today and I am surprised by its quality. I would probably change one picture, but overall, I am very pleased!! Worth the money.

Original Post on August 21st:
Since I had less than three days to get a free 8x8 book from Shutterfly, I quickly put one together with sample of my photography. I wish I could put more pages in, but it does get expensive after a while. Feel free to order one, or let me know if you need some assistance in getting one. Either way, leave some positive feedback.

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Mtn Bluebirds

Bored with watching the NCIS marathon, I went outside for a few minutes with the camera. These are cropped due to the distance. People were busy in the neighborhood, so capturing was quick. As soon as I found a nice spot to start really capturing the birds in better light, people/cars just scared everything away. Such is life.

Garden Shot
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Last Few Days

Looking backwards from now... I went to visit my classroom today amidst the major school construction. I wanted to get started on organizing and updating all of the computers and servers. Apparently there was no electricity. Then I found the door to my room wide open and dark as midnight. Luckily, I had a “flashlight” app on my iPhone, and saw this:
Room 300-81511
I will visit tomorrow and see the room (and school) improves over the week. Oh, what fun for me. LOL.

***

Yesterday, we went to San Diego on a whim and explored the Art Fair and MOPA:
Museum of Photographic Arts. Some very interesting things I learned. While looking for a rare parking space, we observed a photo walk in session -- people who have cameras that never pay attention to traffic, people, or anything else for that matter as they wander from their group. It was a beautiful day to walk around.
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And I took this shot on the way home driving the Narrows.
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And here are some shots from the day before.
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IMG_6262

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Golf & Lens

Quite an eventful few days this week so far. Yesterday, I took Allie to an executive golf course with the intention of teaching her a few things on the driving range. However, the course was wide open, so we took on 18 holes. Allie has visited the range once before -- over a year ago. I did not know what to expect. Well, it took a few holes with a positive attitude and she got the hang of her own junior clubs and went to town, averaging about 12 a hole on par 3’s. She loves her pink driver and junior Odyssey putter. She never lost a ball and kept hitting it straight. I ended up being her caddie at times. I found a few things in my own game to bring some minimal confidence back. We finished 18 in less than 2.5 hours. We both had a wonderful time!

Allie Golf 006Allie Golf 010

Now for the other news-- my new Canon lens came in (4fL 70-200 IS). Just testing it in the back yard yielded
tack sharp images. I get to put away my Canon 55-250mm IS for now. What a major difference! Now, I am saving for a Black Rapid RS-5 strap and Canon 1.4 converter. *Happy Dance!*
New Lens

Now to capture some Perseids and maybe a visit to Joshua Tree National Park.
PS>
Football is back!

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Printing

Just an update from my last post. I continue to be surprised by the quality of Red River Paper on my printer: Canon 9000 mk II. Today, I received my two prints from Aspen Photo Lab on Fuji Crystal paper, but I probably chose the wrong style of photos to print. Just not quite what I was hoping for in terms of the WOW factor. I ordered a sample kit from Moab paper just to compare. Now to earn a few bucks to order some more paper, which is not cheap! I need about $200 for some good stuff (13 x 19) and (8 x 10). Anyone want to order some prints from me? Happy

As I await the delivery of my new lens, I scrubbed and fixed up my spa over the past three days to watch the Perseids meteor shower this week. Being we live in the mountains, the evenings have been cool this week, so a good 103 degree seat is always good. Maybe my daughter and I hit the golf range tomorrow. I found and cleaned some junior golf equipment from her older brother, so she is stoked.

Now to watch some Burn Notice and Covert Affairs...


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Back from AZ

Went to Arizona for a week, from Flagstaff to Sedona to Chandler. The weather was wacky and Death Valley HOT. Last Saturday, we went to Sunset Crater National Park, Wukoki Ruins, Walnut Canyon, and Highway 89A/Sedona. I took a lot of photos to keep practicing with my lenses and my 60D. I posted many of these photos on my MobileMe Gallery and some on my SmugMug. I processed some new HDR’s, panoramas, and other goodies. Do check them out. We were treated to some serious monsoon storms with tons of lightning. So I would say our annual storm chasing family project was a success.

Turning to another photo subject: printing. I recently ordered a sample kit from
Red River Paper for my Canon printer. I look forward to messing around with their arctic metallic paper. Also order two prints for myself from Aspen Creek Photo on Fuji Crystal Archive Pearl paper. I was blown away by the samples they sent me. The picture on the paper looks like it has back-lighting built-in. Just gorgeous.

Next week I hope to have my new
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM Lens and B+W filter. This is a long-term investment for me.

The return to the classroom starts in 10 days for me, so I am starting to prepare. I am also continuing my FCX training. Still testing out Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) out as well. Apple needs to send more updates, unless they are awaiting to release iOS5 first.

Update from Sat Night:
I spent the evening printing to the Red River Paper. The Arctic Pearl blew me away. Just WOW! Their paper is way above any expectations I had. My HDR’s look like they have 3D in them. The Satin and Ultra Glossy papers were also fantastic. I need to print to some more matte styles to get a better feel on those. But I am excited. The sample kit was 8.5x11, but I want to see this stuff on 13x19!!
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Photo Tools

This past month has been filled with learning FCP X and my new Canon 60D camera. I have been really pushing myself with photography and tools, both in terms of software and online sharing sites. I took the new camera to Morrow Bay, Cambria, Pismo Beach, and Strawberry Peak (all in California). Although it was very windy and cold by the ocean, I found some good things to focus on. There are 4 or so pictures I can professionally print for selling. Pretty excited about it.

This week I have focused on working with
Google+’s Photography circles, HDR based on Trey Ratcliff’s tutorials, SmugMug, and Moo.com. I received my new biz cards today from Moo and I am very pleased. Next time I will add a logo. I am also expecting a new Canon Pixma 9000 Mark II printer.

I still have to finish my bio on this site, create a personal logo, and watermarks for my prints. Please take a look at some of my online work and leave some (positive) feedback. I would appreciate it very much. Once I finish the rest of my setup, I will offer prints and packages.

Wednesday is a major
LAFCPUG meeting in Hollywood of which I will attend. I have gone through Michael Wohl’s training modules, and Color Grading from Color Grading Central. I have found that FCPX is not as intuitive to learn unless you take some training, free or not. Going through the details opens up a boat load of options. I did get stuck finishing a wedding recently. No chapter markers for iDVD or Quicktime forced me back to FCP7. Just to say, this wedding was going to iDVD and Quicktime Pro (compressed) for download. Furthermore, iDVD does NOT like ProRes. It does import, but when you render the final, iDVD will turn everything into an ugly widescreen format. I had nice looking footage in ProRes 422, then had to re-compress to NTSC-DV and it sucked. Furthermore, when you use Quicktime Pro in Lion to export, the chapters disappear. Ergh!! So many bugs between Lion and FCPX. I wonder when Apple will update FCPX. After Lion? Devs are already testing 10.7.2. The videos that Apple put up for their marketing were pretty lame and lacking... Oh well, I digress a bit.

Until next week... have a great week!
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FCP X & D60

Two items of the past few weeks: my new D60 and Final Cut Pro X. After much deliberating and research among a volume of reviews, I went to Best Buy looking for a Canon D60. Not ONE BB in Arizona had one in stock. Then I found only three SoCal stores that each had one. So, we called some stores to hold the box as I ordered it online. So when we drive from AZ to CA to get it, the Riverside store has NO idea where it is. After 90 minutes of searching, they find it. Sheesh! Everyone had the T3i and Nikons in stock. Go figure. So, finally moved up from a XSi to a better camera. I look forward to working with it in Cambria this summer (video and photography). I almost went with a 7D, but the $600 more will get me better glass for now. I’m happy.

Now for the ugliness of Apple’s FCPX forceful introduction and the demise of FCStudio 3. Oh, did Apple screw this one up. More howling from all levels of professionals. There are links all over to cover the details. I did edit a two camera shoot (a high school graduation using Sony A1U’s) the day it came out to force myself to dig deeper. I have also conversed quite a lot on Twiiter (#FCPX), Creative Cow, Apple’s boards, YouTube videos, and I am deep into Michael Wohl’s training. While there are some “cool” things and different perspectives in FCPX, there is an enormous amount of established fundamentals that are missing and changed. I do not have a powerhouse MacPro with 24gigs of RAM now, but I do have a Core i7 MBP and a newer iMac, and FCPX is slow overall. All that background stuff slows down my machines to the point of killing multitasking. FCP7 didn’t kill my macs that way. After 3 projects, multiple trainings, reading manuals, downloading pdf’s, the app is not intuitive. And I know iMovie ’11 quite well. FCPX does not import all elements (such as Maps) from iMovie either. You cannot even “Send to Motion” anymore.

As a high-school teacher using FCP and FCServer since its infancy, I was proud to offer an industry standard to students. I have quite a few alumni “in the business” now -- big name places -- and I now I have to change EVERYthing: workflow, software, curriculum, etc. In education, there is no $$. What’s next? Apple does not really have a solid education plan for FCPX yet. They have posted a beginning, but that will change, and soon. And then the plug-ins... all new costs. Change happens. Yes. But this is ONE company -- who is abandoning the high-end pro market. So, do I train students to be just prosumers? Apple says yes.

FCPX will MAYBE grow into a better tool, but it will NOT prepare students for making a living in the business. I have to look at Adobe again. For years, AVID and Adobe were the arrogant and expensive ones. I have tried both of their packages years ago (from the Cinema and Premiere NonCS-3 days) -- what a mess. No support. Admin accounts and dongles only for AVID. Adobe software gets corrupted constantly and you have to install/de-install/re-install. Multiple labs? Yeah, right. Apple used to offer Academic pricing that was affordable for more apps. Now, its more $$ for less.

I could on and on, but it will prove rather useless. I am sick of being told what I am doing is all of sudden, WRONG, regardless of years of training and usage. What’s the point of certifications? I have so many questions. Some of the Apple pro diehards are demonstrating some patience, and I will keep an eye on everything. I have downloaded Premiere 5.5 and have Avid Composer 5. I will work with all four suites, but this is not a good time. I would prefer to continue to evolve, but as of now, this is just stupid and arrogant by Apple. Is this Apple’s Vista?
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Photo Page

Finally added some background details to my Photography page. Now for the video area.
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