The Gatekeepers (movie)

Just watched the documentary "The Gatekeepers". It's about Shin Bet, the Israeli Security Agency and it features all the living leaders talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the birth of the State of Israel to today.

It is very sobering and in a way also encouraging, in the way that they appear to have a very realistic view of what has been and is going on, the reasons why, and how it could be stopped. Now if only the political establishment at either side would take a dose of their realism.

Very worthwhile watching.

See
http://www.thegatekeepersfilm.com for more information.

Thunderbolt SSD on the cheap

I needed some extra storage, and I wanted it to be FAST storage. So that means two things for my Mac :
1 - Thunderbolt
2 - SSD

So I got me a Buffalo Ministation Thunderbolt 500GB and a Crucial M4 960GB SSD. The Buffalo Ministation includes a Thunderbolt cable as well as a USB3 cable, which saves you from buying a pretty expensive Thunderbolt cable from Apple.

I opened up the Buffalo Ministation, which is relatively easy to do, removed the 500GB 5400rpm harddisk and put the Crucial SSD in. Put everything back together again, and I now have a blazing fast external drive.

Total cost:
Buffalo Ministation Thunderbolt 500GB: 122 euro
Crucial M4 960GB: 530 euro
Combined total: 652 euro for a 1TB external ssd with Thunderbolt.

I don't think this can be done any cheaper at the moment.

Why do I have to be a pro?

Why is it that just about everybody and just about every photo resource and every other place on the Internet where you see photographers, including G+, assumes that if you have a dSLR you must:

a) Be a pro
b) Learning to be a pro
c) Aspire to be a pro
d) Be a wannabee pro

And that if you have something that is more expensive than a entry-level dSLR with a kit lens, these assumptions become stronger and stronger?

Why is it so incomprehensible that there are (a lot of) people out there that enjoy photography, the toys that come with it and aspire to become better at it, without wanting to be a professional and make money out of it?

Why do people keep telling me I should only put the very best of my photos in a portfolio, without even asking why I am putting my photos online in the first place?

Why is it so completely off this world to understand that I don't want to cull 400 photos of a trip I took down to 3 or 4 great shots I can show off to complete strangers when it is a documentary of my memories I want to be able to share with my friends and family?

Why is it that if I want to put snapshots online for myself, my family and my friends, I should not be using my D800 and it is a total waste? Is it not I who gets to decide the price of my toys?

But worst of all, why do people assume that if I don't want to be a pro and I just want to put my all snapshots online I can't possibly want to learn to be the best possible photographer I can be? After all, I am just a poser wannabee with an expensive camera...

Both my photography and post-processing skills have improved dramatically after watching countless videos from +KelbyTraining.com , ThatNikonGuy, +Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and weeding through Matt Kloskowski's excellent LR resources @ http://www.lightroomkillertips.com. But I still don't want to be a pro.

Please stop assuming I do!

Back

I’m back. For the last two weeks, I have been traveling with friends through the Vosges, French Alps and Tuscany. Lot’s of great things seen, great ridden and lots of fun. Stay tuned for more.

In the mean time, you can preview the photos at my SmugMug.

Short trip, new tires

We went playing in Luxembourg for our annual Ascension Day weekend, and we had a blast. Weather was ok: mostly dry, but a bit chilly. Only really had some rain on the way home. The other times we had some rain, we were having a break and were able to sit inside.

I didn’t do much photography this time. I have been there so many times, it’s like being at home. But I do have one here for you from the hotel we were staying at, down in Kautenbach.
retina

Before the trip, I had to replace my tires. I went with the Bridgestone BT016 Pro front and rear, and I have to say I like these tires. Very grippy, even in the wet, clear feedback and very easy handling. They’re also very cheap - about 100 euro’s cheaper than the S20 for a set.

Spring is here

Well, Spring is finally here and as usual I am not updating my blog.

A few random things have happened since the last post.

- My clutch is working great. No thanks to BMW, but hopefully my fix will prove to be as resilient as BMW’s refusal acknowledge there was a problem.
- I have mounted a Dynojet Quickshifter to the bike and hooked up to the PowerCommander V. The QS is so cool. Clutch-less shifts in just a few milliseconds while keeping the throttle wide open. It does take a bit of getting used to. Dynojet claims the QS requires a 40lbs load to activate, but I find just brushing against the lever will make it activate. So the trick is to not touch the shifter until you are ready to go, and then in one smooth move pull the shifter all the way up. You cannot allow yourself to shift sloppy as that risks it trying to go in between gears, which results in lots of noise you do not want to hear.
- Coming weekend, I will be going on our annual Ascension Day Weekend Tour to the Eifel region. This time we are staying in Luxembourg and doing most of our riding there as well.
- The routes for the big trip are done and finalized. It is going to be a great trip through the French Alps down to the Mediterranean, then along the coast to Cinque Terre and La Spezia. Into the hills of Tuscany towards Firenze (Florance) and through more of Tuscany towards Bologna where we will visit the Ducati factory. Then it is up into the Dolomites, Austria and Switzerland before heading back home through Germany’s Black Forrest. It is going to be fun! Happy
- After 5000km the Bridgestone BT016 are toast. Unfortunately, the Dunlop SportSmart I still have sitting with a good bit of life in it turned out to have a nail in the rear. So I will instead put a brand new set of Bridgestone BT016 Pro’s on the bike. They will not last long enough to include the summer trip, so I will take them off and replace then with a new set before that trip and afterwards put them back on to replace the (then) worn set after the trip.
- The D800 is really nice. I am so stoked about this camera, so of course I will be lugging it along on all my trips. Even if that forces me to use a tank bag which I really don’t like to use. Hopefully I can get a UWA lens before the big trip, as that will be quite nice on those big mountain vistas.
- I quit smoking and started vaping. It’s amazing the things you can smell when you don’t smoke anymore. Of course this means nothing to any of you that don’t smoke, but to me it does. For those interested, after trying a few different options I now vape using the Vamo APV V2 and Kanger ProTank. This is a really nice combination with great taste.

That’s it for now. I will post some pictures after the trip.

Winter time

DSC_0234