This is why I am a PC…!

Being a creative professional, I am often asked what kind of computer I use. Many people assume just because I’m a photographer that I use Mac’s, and when I tell them that I build my own PC’s, they are often very surprised. I am often questioned on what the quality is like and if the performance can keep up with the new imac or this macbook pro or whatever.

I have been building my own PC’s for close to a decade now and while it can be frustrating at times, its not only rewarding to put together your own machine with total customization, but you can save tons of money in the process. All while building a high performance machine that will rip through any advanced process you can throw at it.

OK, so going to geek out a bit here, so be warned…!

This upgrade started several months ago, because of some instability I was having. I was having random shutdowns and it took me a while to figure out that the power supply was failing. The difficulty lied in the fact that my computer would run basic tasks with no problems, but whenever I would run any filter in Photoshop, or put any kind of load on it, it would just shutdown and wouldn’t record any errors in the system log. Swapping out the PSU was simple once I diagnosed the problem, but it forced me to take a closer look at my PC and I decided I would start upgrading it little by little.

The goal of the build was to get the most bang for my buck, so everything I included I did so because it provided a great price/performance ratio and almost everything was purchase on sale or with a rebate. When I priced out a similar spec’d mac system from Apple’s website, I got $3500 price tag. I was able to put together this system, for just over $1000, saving myself overt $2000!!!

Here are my system specs:

Intel Core i7 4790K overclocked from 4Ghz to a stable 4.6Ghz
Corsair H110 Closed Loop Liquid Cooling System
16GB 1600Mhz DDR3 ram
2 – GTX 760 SC’s running in SLI
1200w EVGA PSU
Tri-Monitor Setup – 2 acer 22″ & 1 Dell 24″ Ultra-sharp High Color
7 TB of hard drive space:
– 512GB Crucial MX100 SSD (Running the Operating System)
– 2TB WD Caviar Black Hard Drive
– 2 – 2TB Lacie Rugged External Hard Drives
– 500GB Samsung Hard Drive
– 250GB Seagate Hard Drive (Acronis System Image Backup)






IF YOU OWN OR PLAN ON BUYING AN EPSON PRINTER, READ THIS….

If you own or plan on buying an Epson x900 series printer, make sure you purchase an extended warranty.

For the second time now in 2 years, my Epson 4900 is now a 150lb paperweight. The Cyan/Vivid Magenta channel has an issue that I am being told is a critical printhead failure and therefore the printhead has to be replaced. Also, just for the record, I make 100’s of prints every month and my printer never sits without being used for more than a wee, so clogs should not be an issue.

My current issue is that I can get both the cyan and the vm channel to perform perfect nozzle checks, just not at the same time. One nozzle check the cyan channel will be perfectly clear, but the VM will be 100% blocked. Then after another power clean, the Cyan channel with be 100% blocked and the VM channel will be perfect. Totally frustrated to say the least… :(

The cost of replacing said printhead is a few hundred shy of a brand new printer, so basically I have to purchase a whole new printer :(

This premature printhead failure is very common amongst all the x900 Epson printers and the company apparently doesnt want to admit there is anything wrong. Their official statement is that the printhead is guaranteed to last 1 – 4 years…

Really Epson!?!?! A $2500.00 printer has a guaranteed life of 1 year? WTF is that about?

You can read more about the issue here:

http://www.inkjetmall.com/wordpress/product-use/epson-79009900-considerations/

On a positive note, I have insurance, so hopefully they will play ball with the claim Im about to make, but regardless, Im not really sure how to proceed here…

Do I buy another Epson with the extended warranty and just expect for epson to replace it replace it year after year?

Or do I buy the canon IPF5100 since there arent that many reports of printhead failure and if it does fail, replacement heads are relatively cheap and can be changed out without hiring a tech.

I already have over $1000 worth of ink on hand for my 4900, so I have to take that into consideration. Additionally, the quality of prints that the 4900 produces when working are amazing, so I really dont want to switch.

Ughhhhhh… What a week… A nasty cold and bricked printer all at once… They say bad things happen in 3’s, so whats next…?

Zia Gallery Group Exhibition 11/30/2013

Im pleased to announce that I have been asked to take part in a group exhibition at ZIA|Gallery in downtown Winnetka and wanted to take a minute to invite all of you to the opening on Saturday, November 30th 2013. Im definitely excited to be included in this group exhibition alongside several of their represented artists which include famous Landscape photographer Clyde Butcher and National Geographic photographer Bob Krist. There will be a complimentary cocktail reception as well as Hors d’oeuvres so if you can make it make sure you bring an appetite!! I will have several of my Chicago pieces featured in the exhibition and would love to see a few friendly faces at the opening. I hope to see you there!!

If you would like more information about ZIA or the opening please feel free to contact me directly or you can visit their website here:

http://www.ziagallery.net/

CNN iReport Feature for BOOM!!!

One of the IReport producers at CNN contacted me about my Lightning image from Wednesday. It is currently being featured on their iReport page which you can check out here…

“CNN PRODUCER NOTE Akrobatiks is a Chicago-based commercial photographer who captured a stunning image of lightning striking the antennae of the Willis Tower in June 12. It was about 7pm in the evening when he noticed that the weather had turned. ‘I noticed some pretty epic cloud structure starting to show over the city,’ he said. ‘I quickly headed out to the northerly island to watch the storm unfold.’ With camera in hand, he captured several images of the storm passing through the area. He explained the photo that is featured in this iReport was the largest lightning strike in the bunch. You can see more of his photography on his website.
– Jareen, CNN iReport producer”

You can check out the image on the site here:

Jamie Link Photography and the Chicago Cubs…

I was contacted just after 5pm on Cubs opening day by my contact at Choose Chicago to ask me if I had any photographs of Wrigley Field. I took a minute to think about it and realized that I had not taken the opportunity to photograph this iconic landmark. Luckily for me, I had a 17mm tilt-shift on hand that Canon had loaned me to test out for a few weeks, so it was perfect timing. It was my last night before I had to send the lens back to Canon, so if I was going to get the shot it had to be that night. I knew I had to hurry because the sun was setting and I wanted to to make it over there for blue hour before it was completely dark. I quickly gathered up my gear and headed over to the field fighting horrible post game traffic on the way. I barely made it there in time and when I finally arrived out front of the stadium, blue hour was in full force. I put my flashers on, grabbed my camera and started shooting. The following day I sent this over to Choose to share the image I had created. Everyone seemed to respond with amazing compliments and they liked it so much, that Don Welsch, the President and CEO of Choose Chicago commissioned me to create a print of this image. I was then informed that they were planning on presenting it to Tom Ricketts, the owner the the Chicago Cubs, as a thank you for hosting Don in his owners box on opening day. I was pretty stoked to find out that one of my prints would be hanging in Tom Ricketts office!!! 2 weeks later I delivered the final print to Don and he presented it to Tom a few days after that. The Cubs really liked the print and have since invited me to come photograph Wrigley Field from behind the scenes at any game I choose this year! I’m thinking a night game is what Im going to plan out and I definitely cant wait for that day come!! The best part about the whole thing, they have given me permission to use the images from the shoot commercially, which is awesome to say the least! I’m really excited about this opportunity to work with them and I hope that the images come out like I can envision them in my mind. Anyways, This past weekend, I received a letter from Don’s assistant, which contained a thank you letter from Tom Ricketts to Don thanking him for the print. It was really nice of her to forward this to me as a reminder of working on this amazing project! I still cant believe that one of my photographs will be hanging in the Cubs office for years to come! Its just unreal! Unfortunately, due to such a tight deadline, I didnt have a chance to photograph the completed print itself, but Im hoping to get a picture of me standing next to it in the Cubs office one of these days. ;)

Really Right Stuff BH-55 Full-Size Ballhead with PCL-1 Panning Clamp…

After saving up for the past couple of weeks, the UPS man just dropped off my new panoramic ballhead from Really Right Stuff. This tripod head has been on my wish list for sometime now but I have held off on purchasing it until now because of its high price tag. That being said, RRS has a great reputation for making the best camera equipment out there and even though I haven’t had a chance to use it in the field yet, Im definitely impressed with its build quality so far. Its super solid and its operation is crazy smooth. This head is rated at being able to hold 50lbs and the Panoramic Clamp option that I went with allows you to be able to take multi-image panoramic’s without leveling the tripod itself, a feature that Im really excited to play with in the field!! One of the nicest features of this Ball-head is that its weather sealed, so dirt, dust, and any other grime that locks up other ballheads over time wont be an issue. I was constantly having issues with dirt and dust getting into the Kirk Ballhead I used while on safari in Africa. It really made the action of the head rough and while I was always able to clean it out, it was a PITA and I found it quite annoying. This RRS head shouldn’t have that issue and Im really stoked see how well it performs over the long haul!! Lastly, RRS also backs up this Ballhead with a 5 year warranty which is also pretty awesome. Once I get a chance to field test Il write a bit more of an in depth review. Anyways, if your in the market for a new ballhead definitely check out the Really Right Stuff BH-55!!

2012 International Photography Awards

The Lucie Foundation announced the Winners of the 2012 International Photography Awards and I’m pleased to announce that 3 of my images have been selected as winners in this prestigious competition!

Definitely stoked for sure and so I wanted to share it with all you!! Here are the images that were selected:

1 – Awarded: Honorable Mention in the Nature – Landscapes Proffessional category for the winning entry “Sunrise at the Rocks.”

http://photoawards.com/en/Pages/Gallery/zoomwin.php?eid=8-39905-12&uid=&code=Landscapes

2 – Awarded: Honorable Mention in the Nature – Sunset category for the winning entry “WOW.”

http://photoawards.com/en/Pages/Gallery/zoomwin.php?eid=8-39906-12&uid=&code=Sunset

3 – Awarded: Honorable Mention in the Fine Art – Landscape Professional category for the winning entry “Wolf Creek Milky Way.”

http://photoawards.com/en/Pages/Gallery/zoomwin.php?eid=8-43880-12&uid=&code=Night%20Photography

With over 10,000 entries during this 10-Year Anniversary Edition of the competition, im definitely stoked to have been selected!!

In case your interested, here is some more information about the IPA:

The 2012 International Photography Awards received nearly 18,000 submissions from 104 countries across the globe. IPA is a sister-effort of the Lucie Foundation, where the top three winners are announced at the annual Lucie Awards gala ceremony. The Foundation’s mission is to honor master photographers, to discover new and emerging talent and to promote the appreciation of photography. Since 2003, IPA has had the privilege and opportunity to acknowledge and recognize contemporary photographer’s accomplishments in this specialized and highly visible competition.

I am now Officially an iStock Contributor!!!

I am pleased to announce that I have finally been approved to become and iStock photo contributor!!!!! It was a grueling process since every time you get denied, they double the time in between when they allow you to submit again. The last time I was able to submit was 3 months ago and if I would have been denied again, I would have had to wait another 6 months to re-apply, so as you can imagine Im ecstatic to finally have been approved!! You can view my first accepted image for my new iStock portfolio here:

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup.php?id=21075332

African Fish Eagle...The African Fish Eagle is a large bird similar in size to the North American Bald Eagle but has a distinctive reddish brown coloring in its feathers. Males usually have a wingspan of about 6 feet, while females have wingspans of 8 feet. The adult is very distinctive in appearance with a mostly brown body and large, powerful, black wings. The head, breast, and tail of African Fish Eagles are snow white, with the exception of the featherless face, which is yellow. The eyes are dark brown in colour. The hook-shaped beak, ideal for a carnivorous lifestyle, is yellow with a black tip. The plumage of the juvenile is brown in colour, and the eyes are paler compared to the adult. The feet have rough soles and are equipped with powerful talons in order to enable the eagle to grasp slippery aquatic prey. While this species mainly preys on fish, it is opportunistic and may take a wider variety of prey such as waterbirds. Its distinctive cry is, for many, evocative of the spirit or essence of Africa.