Archive | HowTo

Building a Hackintosh, Part 3: The Aftermath

Building a Hackintosh, Part 3: About this Mac

Welcome to the long overdue third part of the Building a Hackintosh series. In the first part we went over the parts and other essentials to build a hackintosh. In the second part we discussed the actual build. In this final part I’ll tell you how life has been the past 5 months using the hackintosh as my primary workstation. I’ll break it down for you as The Good, The Bad and The Ugly to keep things as simple and as clean as possible.

The Good

The main reason this third part has taken me so long to write is because the system works so well it’s almost hard to find something wrong with it. There are so many good things about it that it’s hard to narrow it down to a key few, however here’s what I have as the good (or probably the “best”):

It’s fast. With the SSD and 16GB of RAM this thing flies. It boots up in a mere 45 seconds and applications launch in less than 5 seconds. Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5 run perfectly and have handled everything I’ve thrown at them with ease (panoramas, HDR, so on and so forth) and barely put a dent in the CPU and memory utilization.

It’s cheap. Before considering a hackintosh I was looking at the 27″ iMac. With a comparable processor, memory and storage configuration it would have easily cost me double what I paid for all the parts to get this running myself as a hackintosh. So what did this thing cost me? Less than $1,000 USD. $881 USD to be exact (before taxes and shipping). Once I learned it would cost over $2,000 USD for the same thing from Apple the choice was easy.

The Bad

There’s really not much to complain about, however when running a hackintosh there are a couple of thing that I would consider “bad”:

It isn’t a real Mac. That should go without saying, but I have to keep reminding myself of that when it comes time to install new hardware. Case in point- I have a Logitech Performance MX mouse that comes bundled with special software to customize some buttons on the mouse. Once I installed the software my hackintosh became extremely unstable (kernel panics, random reboots, freezes, the whole 9). Once it was removed, voilà, everything was back to normal.

Upgrades can be tricky. Adding components to the system can be a bit tedious. It is very important to make absolutely sure the component you want to install is 100% supported natively (or with a kext) in Mac OS X. For example, on my previous PC (which was running Windows 7) I had my Drobo hooked up via USB. This configuration was very flaky, so when I decided to move to Mac I knew I wanted to move the Drobo to Firewire. I did copious amounts of research to make sure the Firewire PCI card I chose was supported (and natively at that). It was a bit of a gamble, as the card I chose apparently has two different versions with the same model #, but I lucked out and it worked perfectly out of the box.

The Ugly

There is one piece of the hackintosh puzzle that is downright ugly. I think a lot of people would agree that this is the biggest problem with running a hackintosh these days. Granted, it’s gotten a lot better, and easier, but the ugliest part of running a hackintosh is:

Updates. Plain and simple updates suck. Every time a OS X Update is released I go through a mini ritual that consists of cloning my boot hard disk to a partition on my scratch volume, downloading the combo updater directly from apple (which means not updating using the App Store), installing the update, running Multibeast, praying and then rebooting. I fudged something up only once (so far), but boy was it nerve wracking trying to get things back in order. Luckily I was able to without having to do a fresh install, but it was a very big lesson in how volatile this whole thing really is.

The Plug

One thing I learned while sourcing parts for my hackintosh was that it is extremely hard to find a comprehensive list of compatible hardware. That led me to create, which is an online storefront that lists only hackintosh compatible parts and accessories. I personally scour the various hackintosh community websites to find the compatible components and get them listed all in one place. Hopefully it is something the community appreciates.

The End

So, where does that leave us? Am I happy that I went down this path? Absolutely! Is it for everyone? Sadly, no. It is much easier now than it was a few years ago. I have many, many years of building PCs under my belt and I knew what I was getting myself into and I was comfortable with everything that needed to be done. If you choose to take the plunge be warned, it’s frustrating and awesome all at the same time. What do you think? Have you built a hackintosh? Will you?

Comments { 2 }

Building a Hackintosh, part 2: The Build

Chris' iHack

Welcome to the second part of a three part series about building a Hackintosh. In the first part we discussed what goes into a Hackintosh, and why I decided to build one, as opposed to buying a Mac directly from Apple. In this part we’ll go over the actual build process and the installation of Mac OS X on the system.

Assembling the Components

The assembly of the components is no different for a Hackintosh than any other standard PC build, if you’ve ever done one before. It had been a while since I’ve done a PC build, so I was a little rusty. That said, it still only took me an hour to an hour an a half to actually do the assembly.

First, take the motherboard out of the box and out of it’s static wrap. Place the wrap on your work surface, and then place the motherboard on top of it. If you have an anti-static strap now would be a good time to put it on and attach it to something metal. If you don’t have one, be extra cautious when touching the static sensitive components of your build (ie- all of the components). Touching a bare piece of metal frequently during your build to discharge yourself is a good idea, and a step that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Mobo in CaseWith the motherboard on the table (on the static wrap) carefully unbox your processor. It’s way easier to install it on the board outside of the case, so that’s what we’ll be doing now. Attach the processor as per your motherboard and processors instructions. It’s usually as simple as dropping it on the pins (carefully) in the appropriate direction and then pulling down the arms to hold it in place. Afterward attach your CPU cooler of choice following the directions that came with your cooler. For me, I used the stock Intel cooler, so it was a matter of lining up the pins with the receptacles on my motherboard, and then pressing down firmly.

Next up is the memory (RAM). Again, it’s easier to do this outside of the case. Open up your memory and put it in the slots. If your motherboard has color coded slots (two of one color, two of another) put your RAM in the same colored slots. If it’s they’re not color coded check with your motherboard’s manual to see if your board supports dual channel memory, and if so install your memory according to the instructions to achieve the best performance.

It’s now time to start working on the case. The first thing we need to do is install the power supply. Open up the case and remove the power supply. Install the power supply in the appropriate location and use the included screws to attach it to the case. Follow the instruction manuals for your case and power supply for more details.

Now we’re ready to drop the motherboard, with the attached CPU and RAM into the case. Assemble the motherboard stands (if necessary) in the appropriate formation to hold your motherboard. Next, attach the IO plate that came with your board to the opening at the back of the case. Once snapped in, carefully place your motherboard on the stands and attach your board with the included screws. Make sure the IO plate is lined up correctly before screwing everything down.

Case BackOnce the motherboard is installed we need to hook up the power. There should be two connectors on your motherboard for power. One big one and one small one. There should also be corresponding cables from your power supply. Take each cable and carefully plug it into the appropriate spot on your board.

Now comes the most tedious part of the install, snaking all the case wires to the pins on the motherboard. Locate the bundle of wires coming out of your case somewhere. There should be about 6 or 8 little wires that are labeled like “SW RESET”, “PWR+”, “PWR-“, “HDD”, etc. You should see a similarly labeled group of pins on your motherboard. Plug each of those wires into the appropriate place. Look at your motherboard’s instruction manual for greater detail.

If you have a separate graphics card or any expansion cards, now’s the time to install those. For the graphics card, you typically want to use the fastest PCI slot on your board. For me, that was the top slot, so I removed the corresponding plate(s) from the back of the case, and gently pushed in my GPU. Once properly seated I screwed it into the case using the included thumb screw. I installed my firewire card in the same manner.

Last, but not least, comes the installation of your storage media. I have 3 hard drives (two regular one, one solid state) and a DVD writer/reader. I mounted the DVD drive in the top most 5.25″ bay, and then each of my HDDs in the appropriate spots in my case. I plugged in my SSD into a 6 GB/s SATAIII port on my motherboard, and the other 3 drives into the 3 3 GB/s SATAII ports.

The Moment of Truth

It’s time to close up your case, and hook it up to some power. Plug in the cable from the wall in to your power supply and hook up your monitor, keyboard and mouse. If you have a graphics card, some suggest to use the on board video for the installation of Mac OS X. I didn’t, and I didn’t have a problem.

Once you have everything connected, press the power button, and with any luck you should see (and hear) your new toy turn on. Sit back and marvel at your handiwork and your geek prowess for a second.


When you’re finished marveling, reboot the machine and head right into the BIOS. In your BIOS you’ll need to configure a few parameters before you can start installing Mac OS X. If you chose a Gigabyte motherboard as I did, here’s a handy guide to configuring the BIOS for Mac OS X.


Locate the HDD or storage area of your BIOS and look for HDD or SATA mode. You will be prompted with several options, like RAID, IDE and one of those options will be AHCI. Select AHCI.

Boot Order

You’ll need to select the drive that you intend to install Mac OS X on. For me, it was the SSD, so that is the drive I selected to boot first.

Installing Mac OS X

There are many different methods to install Mac OS X on a PC. I chose to use tonymacx86’s UniBeast method as I believe it is the easiest, and most widely used method. The only problem with this method is you must already have a working Mac to build the UniBeast USB drive. I have a MacBook, so this wasn’t a problem for me.

To install, register at and download UniBeast and MultiBeast. Run the UniBeast installer on your preexisting Mac, and select the Mac OS X Mountain Lion installer (that you legally obtained from the Mac App Store). The USB creation will take about 30 or 40 minutes to complete.

Once the USB drive is ready plug it in to your new Hackintosh and power it up. Press the correct function key on your keyboard to enter the boot order (F12 for Gigabyte boards), and select “USB-HDD” to boot from the USB drive.

You should eventually see a multi-language welcome screen, which is the installer for Mac OS X.

From there, follow tonymacx86’s guide for getting Mac OS X installed. When the installation is finished, come back here for the next steps.

Configuring MultiBeast

Like UniBeast, MultiBeast is a tonymacx86 special. It makes selecting the appropriate drivers for your hardware a breeze. If you have a second USB drive, copy the MultiBeast installer to it from your other working Mac, then copy it to your freshly installed Hackintosh. Once copied to your Hackintosh, run it and select the appropriate options for your hardware.

If you have the same hardware as I do, here’s what you’d select:

NOTE: If you don’t have a dedicated nVidia graphics card, be sure uncheck the box that says “GraphicsEnabler=No”.

As far as System Definitions go, you can choose whatever you’d like here, but I went for “iMac13,1”, which is the equivalent of a Late 2012 iMac with an i7 processor. The reason I chose this definition is because it was the closest match to the hardware I have (notably the i7 processor), and because it offers the best compromise of performance and features (such as AirPlay Mirroring).

Once your MultiBeast settings are configured, remove any USB drives and reboot. In a few seconds (or minutes if you don’t have a SSD) you should see your Mac OS X desktop! Congratulations! You successfully built a working Hackintosh!


It’s not uncommon to run into a few issues when attempting to do a Hackintosh build or installation. Fortunately, I only ran into one, and it was an easy fix. I was getting a “boot0” error when attempting to boot from my hard disk, and luckily it was a very common problem. Check out this guide for help resolving it, if you run into it.

For other problems, I wholeheartedly recommend you join the tonymacx86 forums. There are a bunch of other like-minded folks doing the same thing you are and can help you solve any problems or provide guidance. If I hadn’t done my research on these forums prior to doing my build and installation I don’t think I would have had as much success as I did.

Final Thoughts

That wraps up this second part in my three part series on building a Hackintosh. So far, I couldn’t be happier with my decision to go down this path, and my system is performing wonderfully. I’ll report back in a month or so with the third and final installment in this series. For now, here’s a time lapse of the build:

[Part 3: The Aftermath]

Comments { 7 }

Building a Hackintosh, Part 1: The Components


Welcome to the first part of a three part series about building a Hackintosh. In this part we’ll go over what a Hackintosh is, and the parts I am using to build this system. The second part will be about the actual build of the system and the installation of Mac OS X, and the third part will be about a month or so after the build as an update to how things are running, etc. This series will be mainly geared toward photographers, as the main reason I am building this system is for my photography.

So, what is a Hackintosh?

A Hackintosh is a computer built out of readily available PC components that runs Mac OS X. The components chosen are the same, or very similar, components found in real Macintosh computers. The end result is a much cheaper “Mac”, that often out performs the real Mac you are trying to replicate.

Is it legal?

Probably not, but the cost for Apple to bring you to court would far outweigh the benefits of them doing so. I happened to obtain my copy of Mac OS X legally (from the Mac App Store), so I have a legitimate license to use the software, I just happen to not be running it on Apple branded hardware. LockerGnome and OS News both have very good articles about the legality of building a Hackintosh.


Because I love Mac OS X. I’ve been a Macintosh user since the Mac Plus back in the mid-1980s. Over the years I gradually obtained more Macs. In college I started building my own PCs, and as a result running Mac OS was out of the question. I ended up running FreeBSD for many years, and then Linux and then ultimately turned to the darkside and started using Windows when XP came around. While my desktop systems ran Windows XP (and eventually Windows Vista and then Windows 7) I kept up on Mac OS by owning an iBook and now a MacBook. Now, my 7-year-old PC (the first PC I didn’t build myself) is getting old and slow, so it’s time for something new and better. I figured now is the time to get back to my PC building roots, and this time I have the ability to run Mac OS X instead of Windows.

What else?

I’m building this as my primary photography workhorse and local backup destination. As my photography workhorse I need it to run Adobe Photoshop CS6, Lightroom 4, LR Timelapse, Photomatix Pro and other associated plugins and software. For my local backup destination, it needs to be able to run CrashPlan and store local backups from mine and my wife’s laptops on a Drobo. In the future, I may start using this system to edit DSLR video, now that I’ve upgraded my camera to a Canon 5D Mark II.

The Components

My goal is the build a system that somewhat mimics what is found in a recent model iMac. Claiming my Hackintosh as an iMac will give me the best balance of features vs. performance when it comes to Mac OS X (more on that in part 2). Next to each component will be links to both Amazon and Newegg, which I find are the two retailers with the most reasonable prices (plus, if you purchase from those links I get a little kickback, which I would certainly appreciate!).

  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77-DS3H (Amazon) (Newegg)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3770K (Amazon) (Newegg)
  • Memory: Corsair 16GB XMS3 DDR3 SDRAM / CMX16GX3M2A1600C11 (Amazon) (Newegg)
  • Graphics Card: Gigabyte GeForce GT 640 / GV-N640OC-2GI (Amazon) (Newegg)
  • SSD Boot Drive: SanDisk Extreme 120GB SSD / SDSSDX-120G-G25 (Amazon) (Newegg)
  • Backup/Scratch Drive: Western Digital Black 500GB / WD5003AZEX (Amazon) (Newegg)
  • Media Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB / ST1000DM003 (Amazon) (Newegg)
  • Optical Drive: Sony SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive / AD-7280S-0B (Amazon) (Newegg)
  • Firewire: Syba Low Profile 1394b/1394a Card / SD-PEX30009 (Amazon)
  • Power Supply: Corsair CX600 600W ATX (Amazon) (Newegg)
  • Case: Corsair Vengeance C70 Arctic White (Amazon) (Newegg)

Shameless Plug: You can also find many of these parts, and a bunch of others, at my new webstore: only contains parts and components that are known to be hackintosh friendly and compatible.

There you have it! I will be acquiring these parts over the next few weeks if/when they go on sale. Once I have all of the parts I will put everything together, install Mac OS X Mountain Lion and document my progress in part two. Heck, maybe I’ll even make a time lapse of the build, too!

Questions? Comments? Do you think I made some bad component choices? Let me know in the comments!

[Part 2: The Build]

[Part 3: The Aftermath]

Comments { 7 }

How To Wet Shave in 60 Seconds

I’ve been wet shaving for about a year now, and making time lapse videos for about 4 years. Today I’ve combined both of them into a time lapse video about wet shaving. I even recently purchased a new cordless shaver from

I realize the steps might be a little ambiguous, so here they are in more detail:

Step 1 – Trim the Bulk: I started with two months of beard growth. It’d be silly to try and take that all off with a safety razor. I used the Best Men’s Grooming Kit to remove most of the hair on my face.

Step 2 – Use a Fresh Blade: I had been using my existing blade for a while to keep my neck and cheeks tidy. For a major job as this I decided to use a fresh blade.

Step 3 – Soak the Bowl & Brush: Soaking the brush makes sure all the hairs get nice and saturated with water. Soaking the bowl will help you make a nice warm lather. I soaked them both in hot water for about 5 minutes.

Step 4 – Prep the Face: I generally shave right out of the shower, and in my opinion that is the best time. But, for this video I didn’t take a shower before hand, so I soaked a towel in hot water and let it set on my face for 5 minutes to open up the pores and hair follicles.

Step 5 – Make the Lather: I made a “super lather” consisting of Proraso shaving cream and Col. Conk Glycerine shave soap. Watch for the nice peak so you know your lather is ready!

Step 6 – First Pass – With the Grain: The first pass should go with the grain on your face. I mixed up my hand signals on this one and the “against the grain” pass. Remember, don’t apply any pressure! The weight of the safety razor should be enough!

Step 7 – Second Pass – Across the Grain: The second pass should go across the grain on your face.

Step 8 – Third Pass – Against the Grain: The third pass should go against the grain. Remember, no pressure!

Step 9 – Fix Any Rough Spots: Apply more lather to any rough spots that might need a 4th going over. I had to go over my chin and upper lip a couple of more times.

Step 10 – Cold Water Rinse: Close up those pores with a splash of cold water!

Step 11 – Blot Dry: Don’t wipe your face dry, you’ll make it angry and irritated!

Step 12 – Aftershave Balm: Apply some aftershave balm or cream. Don’t use anything alcohol based, it’ll burn and make your face unhappy!

Step 13 – Success!: Baby Bottom Smooth (BBS) shave! Hooray!

Materials Used:

Razor: Edwin Jagger EJ89L
Blade: Israeli Personna
Brush: Edwin Jagger Best Badger Hair Brush
Cream : Proraso
Soap: Col. Conk Glycerine Soap
Aftershave: Neutrogena Razor Defense

You’re still here? Want to see more of my time lapses? Check out this set on flickr.

Comments { 0 }

How To Find Stolen Photos

how to find stolen images online

I often get asked how I find my stolen photographs online.  I generally use two free tools, TinEye and Google Image Search to find my stolen photos online. In this post I’ll explain a little about each tool, how to go about using these tools and why I use them.


Before I get into how to go about using the tools, let me explain why am I interested in finding out who is using my images:  By default all my photographs come with a Creative Commons Noncommercial license.  That means that any and all of my images may be used for personal, noncommercial use, all you have to do is link back to me.  I use these tools to help me discover any commercial entities that may be using my image in violation of the Creative Commons license.


tineye reverse image search

TinEye first came about in 2008 as a way to search for similar images online.  TinEye allows you to upload an individual file, or to enter the URL of an image if the image is already online and publicly visible.  Once your file is uploaded or the URL is submitted you get back a list of results. TinEye also has plugins available for FirefoxChrome, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer which allows you to right-click on any image and “Search Image on TinEye”.


TinEye Results

For each result you will see two links, one that takes you to the page where the image is displayed, and the other is the actual image file that is on the server.  If the stolen photograph is stolen again, and then used elsewhere it will show up under the “master” result for that image (if that makes sense).  For example, if someone stole your image and gave it rounded edges and then uploaded it to their server, and then a second person came along and stole the image with the rounded corners and posted it to their server, it would all be shown as 1 match, even though it is being used on two different websites.

From the results screen there are also options to compare the stolen image with the image you supplied and to get a permalink to the result to share.

As you can see, TinEye found 10 matches for my most popular stolen photograph on 11 different websites.

Google Image Search


In mid-2011 Google announced a new tool similar to TinEye.  They call it “Search by Image” and it allows you to search Google’s massive catalog of images by an uploaded image or a URL. Google also has a plugin available for Firefox and Chrome, which allows you to right-click on any image and “Search Google with this image”.


Google Results

The Google results look just like any other Google search.  You’ll be most interested in the section that says “Pages that include matching images”.  Clicking on the thumbnail image to the left will take you to the stolen image as it is stored on a different server.  Clicking on the title link to the right of the thumbnail will take you to the web page containing the stolen image.  Unlike TinEye, Google does not group similar sets of stolen images together.  Instead, it lists every single version as a separate entry.

Google produces many more results than TinEye, however I have found that the results can be wrong from time to time.

Google’s Search by Image was able to find 105 matches for my most stolen photograph.


TinEye and Google Image Search aren’t the only ways of finding your stolen images online.  There is at least one pay service that I’m aware of: Digimarc.  Digimarc works by embedding an invisible watermark into your photograph.  Once the photograph is online you can then search for any images that contain your watermark from their search interface.  If there are other alternatives let me know!

Have you had any success using TinEye or Google Image Search?  If so, share your results!

Comments { 14 }

How To Make a Slice of Cheese Costume for Halloween

Cheese Costume 1

Back in 2004 I was a slice of cheese for Halloween.  Specifically, I was a Kraft Single, otherwise known as “the plastic wrapped cheese food that everyone can identify in an instant”.  Since then, every Halloween season I get emails, facebook messages and flickr mail from random admirers, and fellow cheese food aficionados, asking  how to create their own slice of cheese costume.

Well, my friends, the time has come to tell you all how to make your own DIY cheese costume:



  1. It’s cuttin’ time! The first thing you want to do is make the actual cheese.  Take your utility knife or scissors and cut the mattress pad in half.  You should end up with two squares of about the same size.
  2. It’s gluin’ time! Glue the two halves of the mattress pad together using the spray adhesive.  Make sure you glue the egg crate sides together so you end up with a flat exterior.  Also, don’t glue in weird places that will prevent you from putting the costume on.  See the graphic to the right for the optimal glue zones.  Let the adhesive dry for the amount of time listed on the can of adhesive you have chosen.
  3. It’s paintin’ time!  I don’t remember which color paint I used, but it was something in the yellow, or yellow-orange family.  I just went to my local big box home improvement retailer and picked the color I thought looked most like a cheese slice.  Be sure to do this in a well ventilated area… that is unless spray painting in a poorly ventilated area is your thing (don’t worry, I won’t judge you). Again, be sure to let this dry an appropriate amount of time. Repeat if you think you need a second coat.
  4. It’s wrapper time!  This is the hardest part of the project.  Unfold your mattress bag and cut out two sections.  Make one square, and a few inches bigger on all sides than your cheese slice.  Make the other one a little bit longer, mine was about 2 feet or so longer.  The extra plastic on this piece will become the signature flap.  Once the plastic is cut place one piece on either side of the slice and glue around the edges with the spray adhesive.  Be sure to place the longer piece where the head will be.  Don’t glue around the top flap area.  Instead, fold the extra plastic over the front of the slice and glue it on the sides only.  The picture at the top hopefully illustrates how it should look.  Let it dry and then cut some slits for your head, arms and legs.
  5. It’s wearin’ time!  Pull it over like a t-shirt and wear it.  Watch as your friends’ mouths’ froth and foam at the sight of delicious cheese food.  Hopefully they don’t try to eat you!

Be sure to show me your recreations and adaptations!

Comments { 2 }

How to Register Your Photos with the U.S. Copyright Office

Registering 2010

Registering your photos with the U.S. Copyright Office is one of the most important things you can do as a photographer.  Doing so allows you to assert your rights over your photographs and defend them in federal court, should you need to do so.  It is common knowledge that your photograph is copyrighted the moment you click the shutter, however you don’t have the ability to protect and defend those copyrights in court until your photographs are properly registered.

The copyright office provides several ways to register your photographs.  The quickest, easiest, and most cost effective is to use eCO.  There are several good resources available on how to register your photos using eCO. Registering your photos with eCO costs $35, however it has limits to what can be registered.  It works fine for unpublished photos, or published photos “contained in the same unit of publication and owned by the same claimant”.  I’ve asked several lawyers about the “same unit of publication”, and the consensus seems to be that a “unit of publication” is a book or magazine.  The definition is rather ambiguous when it comes to defining “unit of publication” for online use.

Due to the ambiguity of the “unit of publication” definition, I choose to play it safe when registering my photos.  In other words, I register my photos as a “group registration of published photographs” using the old paper forms.  It’s a little more expensive ($65), but I know it works.  This is going to be changing soon, though.  Earlier this year the Copyright Office launched a beta program to test group registrations of published photos using eCO.  Presumably, this means that we’ll all be able to start doing group registrations of published photos using eCO within the next few months.

So, without further adieu, here is how to register your photos using paper forms:

Step 1. Prepare your photos to be sent to the U.S. Copyright Office.  The photos don’t have to be very big.  I export mine at 500px on the long edge.  Give them meaningful file names that will also serve as the titles.  For this batch I titled mine “CM-2010-Published-Photo-X” (where X is the number of the photo).  Create a text file that will be an index for the photos.  In the text file put the title and the date published.  I use the date I uploaded the photo to flickr as the date published.  Burn the photos and the index file to a CD.

Index File (click to embiggen):

Step 2. Download Form VA from the U.S. Copyright Office.  This form is for registering visual arts works.  This is an editable PDF, so you can type directly into it and print it when you are finished.  You won’t be able to save it unless you print to a PDF.

Step 3. Edit your downloaded Form VA.  I’ll guide you through it, section by section.

Section 1 (click to embiggen):

Title of This Work: This is what you want to title your submission.  I name mine based on the date range of photos I am registering.  In this example I’m registering all of my 2010 photos that I uploaded to Flickr/SmugMug, so I went with “CM 2010 Published Photos”.

Nature of This Work: We’re registering photographs, so we’ll put “Photographs” in here.

Previous or Alternate Titles: This is basically a description, however it must be worded in a specific way, eg: “Group Registration/Published Photos: Approx. X photos”.  Change X to the number of photos you’re registering.

Leave the rest blank, unless you know what you’re doing.

Section 2 (click to embiggen):

Section 2 has two parts for two different authors, if applicable.  If you only have one author (yourself), you only need to fill out part “a”.

Name of Author: Put your name here.

Dates of Birth and Death: Put in your “year born” and leave “year died” empty if you’re still alive.

Was this contribution to the work a “work made for hire”?: Answer accordingly.  Pay attention to the note in the left column if the answer is “yes”.

Author’s Nationality or Domicile: For photographers that are U.S. citizens living in the U.S. put “U.S.” on both lines.

Was This Author’s Contribution to the Work Anonymous or Pseudonymous?: Answer accordingly.  This may have implications to how you fill out the rest of the form, so read the instructions carefully if you choose one of these options.

Nature of Authorship: We’re registering photographs here, so check “Photograph”.

Section 3 (click to embiggen):

Year in Which Creation of This Work Was Completed: This is the year in which your work was published.  In this example I was registering my 2010 photos, so I put “2010” here.

Date and Nation of First Publication of This Particular Work: If you’re registering your work as published (as I do), fill out this section.  For month, put in the published date range using the first and last month/day in your index.  For me, this was 3/30 and 9/25.  You do not need to fill out the day or year boxes if you’re inputting a range of dates.

Section 4 (click to embiggen):

Copyright Claimant(s): Put in your name here.

Leave the rest of section 4 empty, unless you know what you’re doing.

Section 5 (click to embiggen):

Previous Registration: Check “no” if this is the first time these photos are being registered.  If you need to check “yes”, consult the instructions on how to fill out the rest of section 5.

Section 6:

Leave section 6 blank, unless you know what you’re doing.

Section 7 (click to embiggen):

Correspondence: Input your name, address, telephone number, fax number and email address for the Copyright Office to get in touch with you if there’s a problem with your submission.

Section 8 (click to embiggen):

Certification: Check the appropriate box.  Since I’m the author, I chose “author”.

Typed or printed name and date: Type your full name, and put in the date you filled out the form.

Handwritten signature: Don’t forget to sign this line before mailing in your form.

Section 9 (click to embiggen):

Certificate will be mailed…: Put in the name and address you’d like your registration certificate to be mailed to.

Step 4. Print and sign your Form VA, throw it in a box with the CD containing your photos and a check or money order for $65.  Send the box to the Library of Congress at the address listed on Form VA.  I send mine via USPS Priority Mail, which is trackable.  This is so I know exactly when they’ve received my submission.  The Copyright Office suggests you use USPS over UPS or FedEx as processing UPS or FedEx deliveries may take additional time.

That’s it!  Congratulations, you’ve successfully prepared your photos for registration with the U.S. Copyright Office!

Your photos are considered “registered” on the date that they get delivered to the Copyright Office, even though you may not receive the registration certificate in the mail until 6+ months later.

Comments { 14 }

How to Make a Time Lapse with a DSLR

Back in 2008 I started experimenting with time lapse photography.  I began with, and still use, a Canon Rebel XT with a TI-83 calculator as an invervalometer.  I haven’t been doing as much time lapse photography as I’d like lately, however the steps and tips still apply.


  1. Set-up your shot. Use a tripod or sturdy location to place your camera. For the time lapse above I put mine on a tripod in the corner of the room.
  2. Take a test shot. Take a test shot of the area to calculate your exposure and to set the focus. I knew I wanted about a 2 second exposure, so I took my test shot in Shutter Priority mode.
  3. Adjust the camera settings. Switch the camera into manual mode. Use your test shots exposure information to set the aperture. Set the shutter speed to what you used in step 2.
  4. Turn off auto white balance. Set it to a preset or custom. Basically make sure any auto features are not on auto, otherwise you’ll get a nasty flicker.
  5. Take another test shot. Only do this if you have easy access to the viewfinder, and use a remote to avoid camera shake. This shot is just to make sure the images are properly exposed using the manual settings.
  6. Setup your intervalometer. I used a TI-83 calculator as my intervalometer. See the links below for the instructable. I set mine to fire in 5,000 TI-83 cycles, which worked out to be around every 10 seconds.
  7. Hook ’em up together. Hook up your calculator (or intervalometer) to your camera and press start.
  8. Wait. For me, waiting wasn’t that bad since I was busy installing the ceiling fan. But doing a nature time lapse will require a significant time commitment. For my example the time was just about 1.5 hours.
  9. Compile the video. After the sequence is done and you’ve downloaded your images its time to make the video. I used QuickTime Pro as it was the easiest method and gave me the best results. I tried a few free applications, which worked, but I liked the flexibility QT Pro gave me. In QT Pro simply go to “File -> Open Image Sequence…” and then chose the first picture. Be sure to set your Frame Rate at something between 10 and 30. I used 15 for mine. If your files are numbered sequentially QT will be able to figure out which pictures to add. From there you can “File -> Save As…” a QuickTime .MOV or you can “File -> Export” to a number of different formats. If your video is long enough you can add music and the like. See the links for some sites to get free creative commons licensed music.
  10. Post your video. I put mine on Flickr, but you can put yours on YouTube, Vimeo or any other video sharing site.
  11. Enjoy.


  • Sutter Speeds: Be sure to pick a shutter speed that will give you a good time lapse effect (ie- movement). If you have a shutter speed that is too fast you’ll end up with a choppy looking video.
  • Interval Times: The interval times (time between shots) should also be set for your subject. For slow moving subjects you can have more time between shots. For fast moving subjects you’d want less of an interval. For example, for clouds you’d want to take a shot every second or so.
  • Battery Power: Make sure you have enough battery power in both your camera and your intervalometer. If you’re expecting things to take a while plug into AC power (if its near), use a power inverter, or a battery grip.
  • Image Settings: Set your camera to use JPG (you won’t need RAW for this) and at a size that you think is reasonable. If you don’t it will make your post processing more difficult as you’ll have to convert all your RAW images to JPG and then re-size them. I started in RAW not knowing any better and alot time was spent converting and re-sizing. Save yourself the trouble and do it in the camera.


Hope you all enjoy, good luck and have fun with your time lapsing!


Comments { 2 }