HOME                          6:12 AM         04-22-2016                                                     TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA




GREETINGS,  WELCOME TO ALJACOBS.COM, 2016 and after just returning from the Panama Canal, Aruba, Columbia, Costa Rica and Jamaica my latest story is RESCUE at SEA  http://www.aljacobsladder.com/real-and-unreal-people/rescue-at-sea/

BUSINESS and HUMANITY-  And all my  hopes are that you have a good productive season and good health.  As a cancer care-giver that is paramount and the patient I take care of is doing extremely well after stem cell transplants.   My thanks are to President Obama who opened the doors to stem cell research twenty minutes into his office after a predecessor closed them and to Vice President Joe Biden who has answered the challenge to end Cancer once and for all with the same gusto we put into the Apollo Space Shot to the moon.

 Any way, it’s the beginning of the busy, (for some) during the June-July summer wedding season, good for wedding photographers, so here is the one and only reminder to get your Black Box gear to me before the action begins for a free checkup or possibly an upgrade, overhaul, whatever.  

Every year someone  will tell me its due for service about two days before a Wedding and gasps when I tell them the overnight on even USPS is fifty dollars for a medium box, It is just poor planning on their behalf.  Git-R-Done!

My customers who work the wedding market, the event market, journalism and sports are gearing up since B&H, Adorama and others are busy eMailing everyone including me to death.  My business is brisk with new Black Boxes and the Digital Automated scanning is getting hot, and we are shipping.  Many older Black Boxes units came in for rebuilds being upgraded to 2016 models. One was nine years old and still somewhat alive. It became a 2016 overnight. Read below, the TSA is getting hot over Lithium.

TSA LITHIUM FEEDBACK- No Lithium skateboards and singled battery packs.   Some of my units are being resurrected from the dead pile when the owner got stopped with Lithium Batteries at the TSA pre-board.  I told you it would happen.  I am having special TSA labels made certifying SLA packs like mine are not on their list.  Lithium and airplanes don’t work.  

Ask Boeing, then ask me, I’m in the battery business, I see bad Lithium cell phones, burnt laptop computers and now we stopped selling Eveready batteries, their AA cells in alkaline are leaking badly.  Those cheapie on the end counters in big box stores.  Costco and Sams went to Duracell.  I suspect the rabbit when manufactured offshore to sell to the discount stores suddenly now has case of VD-L  which is Very Dead and Leaking.  

A YEAR OF CHALLENGES -  Other challenges to the Wedding and Event business include the rise of the cellphone “TERMINATOR”.   Those newer cellphones with cameras of better quality has in some minds somewhat softened the casual,  other word for “frugal” wedding market,  and a real pain in the arse at better weddings and events.  

lAnd a new headache called “Showtime with choreographed street dancing and calisthenics going down the aisle”.  We might not be booked for video and they we not planning on video, but we sure as hell have one running now mounted on dual camera rig we made and sell.

You’ll see everyone at a wedding with cell phones, unless you get a bride who tells them to put them away and she won’t.  Thats should be part of your negotiation with the Bride in the onset.  I talk about it more in the wedding guide and I have a plan. They should be confiscated at the door but that won’t happen.   But read my Wedding Guide and it shows you how to handle it.

Newer cameras like my A-series and E-series  SONY’ s are incredible at higher ISO.  Thats what  I’m hearing with NIKON and Canon since SONY, makes their sensor chips.  Many are not blowing the money on purchases of high end flash gear with the better more powerful cameras higher punch ISO units are not needed just to light the hall.  ISO/ASA 400-800 is the norm now rather than 100-200 and slightly wider diffused light is just the touch.  Fits into my scheme of things and how I shoot.  But the A77 series is incredible in another way. It is one of the best video DSLRs made.

Whats more important is coverage in width being even and duration of your power source as these weddings even the more frugal ones generally run well over or till the liquor runs out.   Thats good for me as I’m not in the high end fancy side of the game.  Business has been good.  A greater percentage of my customers get great results not requiring house mortgage payments for gear that won’t improve anything other than the vendors bottom line.


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The Black Box, the HD power pack for the extended time range, heavy shooters in the wedding, event, sports, forensic, and commercial fields are still made by my hands one at a time.  And thats the way it’s been from the beginning, we designed things for the professional, specifically for the guys who make or want/have/need  to make a living out of the Photography Business.  Now I prebuilt twenty units [10-2 packs] at special pricing.

Two complete fully equipped units with two chargers for $368.00 includes shipping via USPS,  priority mail till I reorder when the prices will go up from my vendors.    Using our system, that can be as much as 6000-8000 plus shots at reduced power.  It does not include flash cables for your specific flash unit.  And it comes with no forums, no badgering emails, no clubs to join, no coupons,  secret decoder rings or handshakes, nor other gimmicks. No excuses, we build, you use, products work, you make money.  


I’m offering you a chance to make money with the S2D Slide to Digital operating system.  For those of you who have ordered and used Black Boxes you know how I engineer things.   Using SORP, which stands for Simple, Overkill Redundant Products. 

Now we have another money maker.   You have customers, friends, relatives, and possibly a closet filled with Ektachrome, Kodachrome, Fuji Chrome and Agfa Chrome slides slowly degaussing and gathering dust.   

And most likely a broken unfixable Kodak Carousel going or already useless as there are no parts and few work on them. The solution, turn the sides into digital and money.  

When you just have a few weddings on the books, here is a related product that can profitably fill in the gaps.

Just look at our new Slide Digitizing unit which is a fast as predicted, about 800 full frame quality slides per hour, with High Resolution cropped enlargeable sometimes color corrected slide.  24MP files.  

Converting old slides into modern digital imaging formats and turning incredible profits with a two hour setup and learning curve.   And under a 2000 dollar investment, includes everything including a premium SONY Camera, special lens combo, works anywhere there is a table, no supplies, chemicals, no paper needed, totally self contained, and independent.  

Thats how fast we made money using “ Old school” proven business practice combined with, every day building, challenging and inventing ways to keep up with the ever-changing market is what we are about.

So we have two products that serve both ends of the business for making money.  In June, testing the prototype on it’s first runs,  we did 11,000 slides without even pushing it, and at an average of $0.46.5 per slide earned, slightly over $5000.00 net. Outlay $14.00 in thumb drives.

Simple, Overkill, Redundant Products and Preparation.  Experience is a great teacher, so are disasters, but disasters are not so great, but can make a lasting impression.  If you have to reach for the manual when the bride is having a meltdown, go back to flipping burgers and have a cheese melt-down. It’s safer.  Here are the sections of my website.

I have been building packs for close to fifty years.  If word of the BLACK BOX, was suggested to you or you have been searching for the cure for the fumbling, inadequate, inconsistent use of AA batteries got you here, you are saved. 

Remember, the shot of the year when the flower girl kissed the ring bearer got caught on fifty cellphones and you missed it when you were changing your AA cells or chimping, you are in the right place. 

My Black Box is a high capacity pack designed for the long haul.  The wedding or event that runs hours over, like 95% of them when the other packs are exhausted.  

It is not an undernourished prone to failure Chinese Lithium based pack that will be extinct in a year just like all the other stuff that comes from there.  I have three of them sent to me that don’t work, went bad, not as advertised, etc.   I looked inside and can’t help them the cheap micro boards, and cheap cells, don’t hold up, I suspect the heat Lithium gives off kills the micro boards.

We do a lot of work utilizing electronics and have no choices for components other than China in some cases. We, like many companies build in a 15-20% failure rate on their components.   And your friend at the TSA will chat with you about Lithium powered camera gear. It’s coming, I’m getting validation stickers for my gear which indicate no Lithium used.

The Black Box is designed for the shooter who needs high capacity in time and shot counts.  Weddings, social events, sports, forensic, commercial recording, thats my market.  There are faster units on the market and you might need them when the bride was running  a 10.2 over hurdles and she is in panic mode.  Thats your problem, no control.  And when they drop dead at 60-80 shots, just clip on another one.  Today 2000 shots is nothing at a wedding.  


For decades and over 450+ weddings, I learned a lot from the myriad of Brides I photographed on their most important day and each one a rare and unique study into the self-imposed pressure chamber during the Wedding Event.  

Weddings to an outsider (thats you the shooter) are just like STAR WARS.  There are those wonderful moments week after week that I have photographed gorgeous beautiful Brides and Grooms and Bridal parties you wished were cloned each week and this would be nirvana.  

And then suddenly you get to see and witness the “The dark side”.  A result of the high stress world today, the other extreme, when these beautiful baby blues turn into glowing red pustules where the eyes were must have been and it would scare you.  You would think they were daughters of the under-lord Mephistopheles. 

Blame it on TV and reality shows coaching this is how Brides act and what you are supposed to act like.  This is tough on the average shooter as he or she has enough on their plate, nevertheless you are the contractee and she or her court are the boss even though it is the Brides first big day on the job.  Lets hope it’s not your last.  

On one of the Bridezilla shows, I thought the most controversial, the groom saw what was going on and realized a side of his bride to be he didn’t care for, and HE BOLTED right before the wedding live on the show.   Fortunately this doesn’t happen too often.

The Book is on this site and it is free. You learn a lot in half a century, you have to be flexible in you're thinking and I am like an intersection of knowledge.  In addition there are Ideas and stories I picked up from many great photographers all over the world and it’s amazing how freely they offer good advice which in turn, I offer to you. 

I will tell you what I think, you may or may not like it, but it will be truthful. No manufacturer or supplier owns me and a few would like me to go away.  

  • The first section explains the people structure and the pitfalls, what to look out for and how to prepare to be smarter and avoid the uncommon occasional problem wedding of today.  

    I have been blessed, 90% plus of my weddings went unscathed, and I have had the privilege of meeting some of the most vibrant, beautiful brides and families, who were a pleasure and for me an honor to share their most important day. I had to resolve the last percentage and all worked out well since I keep TUMS in my camera bag.

    And I have walked into challenges because of improprieties, bad food, lack of coordination or communication, clothing malfunctions, bad vibes, bad vendors, including what I thought was a color blind florist and nine times out of ten it wasn’t the Brides fault.  The worst was a Bride who had her last fling with an ex-boyfriend twenty minutes before going on stage and got caught.  The biggest headache is immaturity and booze, one who passed out dragging his daughter down the aisle, actually she was dragging him.

    But let something go wrong and the Bride and her team might exhibit the Bridezilla Uncontrolled  Morphing Meltdown Extremely Rapid or BUMMER.   Brides are under extreme duress, no retakes like on reality TV shows, new friends and families meeting for the first time and they have a right sometimes merely expressing their own insecurities and really seeking comfort and aid.  He who recognizes the clues can avoid mishaps down the road and actually be the adult in the room.  You need to be on the Brides side, they are having one wedding,  I have seen and participated in hundreds and have had to go pro-active 
    to stop a war.

  • The second section is the most complete series of both mental structuring, and good business sense to succeed in this business for YOU, or any other endeavor for that matter.  I taught sections of this for a large corporations and it will set you straight in the business.

  • The third section of the guide is really pointers on gear and will be expanded as needed. No, I do not waste my time doing a review on the big threes latest model since it really won’t do anything spectacular and is nothing more usually than a breadboard or chip change because of chip development, renovation, supply and demand.   

A guide for " Do it Yourself " with great inexpensive products you can build yourself that work as well as the commercial overpriced stuff does.  I love dreaming this stuff up. It’s humor for me.  I am a student of simplicity with Advanced and Doctorate degrees from Ace Hardware, eBAY, Amazon, Lowes and Home Depot.  

I find overpriced junk on the web all the time and with some findings and common everyday tools you can build inexpensive gizmos to make your life easier and they will do the same thing. This is my relaxation, just the fun stuff.

This tab also houses feedback, incredibly great people I have had the fortune to meet,  and much off the wall sometimes things I see and hear in the industry that I can rant about.  The great folks I have had the privilege of being with and information it won’t hurt you to know something about.  Almost anything can wind up in this section. 

Breaking down the phrase “Event Photography” into it’s two components simply means any occurrence or groups, or masses, in one place for an occasion is part one, and the recording or photographing said project is part two. Events are trade shows, corporate announcements or promotions, holidays, feel good morale boosters, weddings, banquets, proms, team sports, anniversaries, trade shows, fundraisers, political social enterprise, and more.  More than twenty people, its an event.

There are more and more photographers splitting their time as some markets decline and some prosper.  The shooter has to be productive and I know some great wedding shooters who delve into other markets (sometimes with associates) to broaden their base.  I did a PR for a school and gave the teachers and kids enough business cards with a portrait off and picked up a slew of family business, portraits and a Wedding.

In this section, heres how, and what gear works and doesn’t.

This website and my online free book  “The Guide To Weddings and Making Money”  has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and we make no claims it will cure any disease, or malady caused by shooting photos’s at Weddings or at worst someone from the wedding shooting you.  No photographers, brides, grooms, horses, sheep or canines were injured during the writing of this book and if you cannot afford an attorney, my nephew will be available at the usual exaggerated attorney fees for malpractice cases so I can get my cut.  We use two, sometimes three ICONS to represent certain circumstance.


 NO SMOKE NO BULLSH*T - You are about to get truth.


Thoughts Deader than Casey's Balls

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