eBay Exhaust: Best $100 Ever Spent?!?

I bought a cheap Chinese-manufactured exhaust off of eBay. IT WAS THE BEST $100 I’ve spent on my bike!

The slip-on exhaust muffler looks like a knock-off of a popular high-end Akrapovič brand. Akrapovič is a market-leading manufacturer of premium exhaust systems for motorcycles and performance cars. Their products were WAY out of my price range.

I had resigned my fate to keeping my OEM exhaust muffler…until I found this cheap clone. I knew there was a chance it could be a useless piece of junk. But for less than $100, I figured it was worth testing out. I was pleasantly surprised!

The product I purchased was this “CBR500 CB500X CB500F Slip on Mid Pipe Link Exhaust Muffler Pipe with DB Killer” from an eBay seller named mgod_motor: https://www.ebay.com/itm/123452619440.

Part of my decision to order from this seller was because, unlike others selling similar “look-alike” products from China, he is located in and distributes his items out of Kentucky! Thus, shipping was fast and free. Plus, there was no chance of the items getting held up in customs, or me having to pay a duty tax on them.

Before the sale, I had several questions that Jason at mgod_motor was very helpful and responsive with. I also appreciated that this item included the two key parts that I would have to order separately from other retailers, the Middle Pipe and the Exhaust. I was very pleased with the transaction. And the product arrived very well packaged.

Removal of the old, and installation of the new, was relatively simple. The hanging hardware on the new one was a bit tight. Luckily, my good friend, Mike, who is much more mechanically inclined than I am, helped me with the install. We got it all put together in about an hour, and were out riding with goofy grins on our faces shortly there-after.

I’ve made quite a few upgrades and additions to my Honda CB500X, especially with regards to carrying my camera gear to photo shoots. Now that I’ve been riding with the Ebay Exhaust for about a month, I can honestly say it was one of the best $100 I’ve spent on my bike! The deep, throaty growl has completely transformed this compact motorcycle’s personality. Yet at the same time, it’s not so loud that it’s offensive to my friends and neighbors.

I absolutely love it!!!

Trident Healthcare Holiday Party

It’s been our pleasure to photograph the Trident Healthcare Christmas Party for the last several years. They are such a great group. And the couples really seem to appreciate having a nice portrait of themselves, all dressed up in their festive attire!

Aside from setup shots of the banquet hall, and candids of the party, for most of the guests the highlight is our print-on-site Portrait Station! I’ve included a few behind-the-scenes shots of my setup. But basically, I create a mini-portrait studio, using wireless Nikon SB-800 flashes, Manfrotto light-stands, and Westcott umbrellas. I photograph each couple with a Nikon D5 and a Nikkor 24-70, while it’s tethered to my Lenovo Yoga laptop via Adobe Lightroom. After shooting a few test shots before guests arrive, I create a custom preset in Lightroom (including parameters such as white balance, exposure, and contrast) so that every shot comes out perfect and consistent. After capturing two or three quick shots of each couple, I bring them over to the laptop, where they get to immediately see the images and pick out their favorite. I then print out a beautiful 5×7 portrait of that image using the high-speed DNP DS-40 Dye Sublimation Printer, slip it into an elegant black folio, and hand it to them. Couples LOVE the instant gratification of being able to walk away with their portrait in hand!!!

We always enjoy working with the amazing team at Trident. I can’t wait to do it again next year!!!

Behind-the-Scenes Fashion Shoot

Today’s photo shoot finds me at Pixel Studios, where I’m photographing a high-key fashion shoot for an upcoming style book called Thirty Classic Garments.

Follow along on this behind-the-scenes video. Created with the help of studio owner and fellow photographer, LeRoy, we discuss the high-key lighting setup, using gels to color the background, and switching to neutral gray for a different look. We also go through how to shoot tethered to a laptop. And of course we talk about Nikon vs Canon vs Sony vs Panasonic vs Olympus vs Everybody Else!

Look for Sarah & Julie’s new book, Thirty Classic Garments, in stores soon. In the meantime, check out their previous book, The Tunic Bible at: https://goo.gl/Dj4ahm.

Visit out Pixel Studios at: https://goo.gl/CAo4Sm.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments. I always respond. If you like this video, please give us a Thumbs Up, Subscribe to the channel, and Share with all your friends and family!

GEAR FOR THIS SHOOT: Nikon D850 (http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/…) Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 (https://goo.gl/HFXUgF) Alien Bee Strobes (http://www.alienbees.com/flash.html) Lenove Yoga 900 (https://goo.gl/YKyVN1).

Lee & Associates at The Gaillard

Precariously positioned on the top step of a rickety old aluminum ladder, awkwardly balancing $5000 in camera gear in one hand, I had to ask myself “how did I get here?”.

I love photographing the annual holiday photo for Lee & Associates! This year they had selected the grand staircase at The Gaillard as the location for their photo shoot.  I owe a special thanks to April Curci for all her help gaining permission from the venue and coordinating with everyone’s schedules. Also thank you to Emily Valentine for snapping the shots of me in action.

Arriving early, I had everything set up before the team arrived. Since it was a rainy overcast day, there wasn’t much natural light coming through the windows as we’d hoped. To augment the lighting, I mounted 3 SB-800 flashes on a Manfrotto light stand, bouncing into a 60″ Westcott umbrella. These were set to Group A on camera right. I mounted 3 more on a second stand as Group B on camera left. All flashes were controlled by an SB-5000 Master Flash on the camera, and set to 1/8 power using RadioPopper wireless transmitters.

Because of the tight quarters I was working in, I mounted the Nikkor 14-24 f2.8 to my Nikon D850. The high resolution of the D850 was perfect for the task of clearly capturing every face in this large group with excellent detail. Settings were ISO 400 at f5.6 and 1/30th second. By standing high on that wobbly ladder, I was able to shift the plane of focus to be more inline with the slope of the stairs, thus only needing a mid-range aperture to get enough depth of field. And even though I was hand-holding the camera at a relatively low shutter speed, the pop of the flashes and the use of a wide angle lens prevented any motion blur.

By tethering the camera to my laptop, the client was able to review the photos right there on site before the team dispersed. Everyone loved it!