Freight Forwarding. A few people have asked me about this and my experiences with it so this post is to go over the in’s and out’s of how I buy stuff and ship it over from the USA.
I use a company called Shipito and it’s so damned easy to use. You sign up for an account there – I haven’t got a Virtual Mailbox yet (I think I will soon though) and just use the Individual Package option. (The difference between them is you pay $8.50 per individual package, or you can pay $10/month or $50/year as a subscription, and only get charged $2.50 per package)
Once you pay them, you get a US postage address. Time to run off and find some things to buy. My example is below.
I bought a few goodies from a US online store called Surf The Earth Snowboards. They had free shipping within the US which is good to look out for. I entered in my US postage address and paid with my credit card for the goods (with this specific shop I had to do verify my CC because my Billing address was in Australia, and Shipping address was USA – Not hard a quick phonecall to my CC company and that was sorted). Once the item arrives at Shipito‘s warehouse you get an email to notify you.
Now the best bit here, is that they TAKE PHOTOS of your package! I didn’t realise this but thought it was pretty cool.
At this stage, you fill in some Customs information (Value, Gift, etc) and pick a shipping method. They have heaps – DHL, TNT, FedEX, USPS – All with the prices there for you and insurance options. Since they have already measured out and weighed the package – the proper costs are all there.
So for my goods, it cost $54.92USD to ship down. (Saving of about $20 bucks over other shipping methods direct to Australia..and that is just shipping! Be sure to read below for total costs saved)
Once the appropriate information has been entered – Your item is ready to be shipped and goes into a queue to be mailed out!
If you have multiple packages (With the virtual mailbox option) you can combine postage as well to save more cash.
Overall, awesome little service that I believe is worth using if you like buying goods from the US. If they have free shipping within the US, even better – as the delivery rates provided are typically cheaper (due to volume discounts) than most stores.
So how much did I save exactly by using this?
Camera gear – Retail for $978AUD. They are $798 USD ($759 AUD)
Accessories I bought retail here for a combined total of $140AUD. They were $94USD ($89 AUD)
Shipping cost me (inc. fees) $63.42USD ($60 AUD)
So if I bought in Australia = $1118 AUD
What it cost me from the US, Shipped = $908 AUD
So $200 bucks saved including the fact I had to pay for shipping+fees. Can’t complain!
The Melbourne Color Run inaugural event was held this year at Flemington Racecourse. Though I didn’t enter (Sarah did) I tagged along despite not feeling the best this weekend to take some photos (It’s been awhile…)
This event was a heap of fun actually, considering there was no alcohol (that I saw) around the people were all pretty pumped. Great atmosphere!
The finish festival is where most of the action happened – participants gather around a stage with a DJ (colour packs were constantly thrown out to the dancing crowd) who coordinated (and some times not so coordinated) the people to go spastic with the powder simultaneously – resulting in a pretty spectacular display of colour exploding everywhere.
I did get into one part of the course where the Blue station was. There were many other colour stations setup but this was the only accessible one, partly due to non-existent security. Volunteers had barrels of the colour, which they loaded into what I’d call huge sauce bottles to squirt those who were running by. This made for some hilarious photos of people getting shot in the face…
After I left that area the security guards were out and that would be that, glad I got a few rippers from that area though.
So photo wise, I shot on shutter priority for most of the event. Powder, things shooting out, all fast paced stuff which you’d want to freeze so 1/500th to 1/1500th is what I stuck with. Lots of contrast/levels adjustments to really make the colour pop in this set. It’s all very contrast-y as you can probably tell.
One thing I didn’t think about was the powder. To be honest I hadn’t done any research into this event and just rocked up for some fun. The powder gets in EVERYTHING. No problem for the environmental shielding of the 5D2 and 24-70/70-200 so I wasn’t really concerned. Just had to be careful when changing lenses if there was a huge cloud of the crap coming my way. Some other photographers there went to pretty great lengths to tape up and bag up their gear though. Also noticed many GoPro’s around too.
My wife has been into the whole body sculpting thing for awhile now and I finally decided to check out a competition, she went earlier in the morning (There to support a competitor) and I decided to head out around lunchtime. Unfortunately only just saw the end of the Men’s comp’s so most of the set is from of the Women categories.
Some very passionate and dedicated individuals at this event and it had a great atmosphere. Congratulations to all the competitors!
Photo wise its a pretty ‘warm’ stage colour temp wise. Had to watch those highlights as all the bronze/tan that the competitors had really blew out at times. I rarely strayed away from ISO800 the 70-200 2.8 IS. Worked with an aperture range of about 3.5 to 5 with a decent shutter speed anywhere from 1/250 to 1/400. Good to freeze this stuff to really show that muscle definition and get that sharpness. Colour temp was brought down a LOT on these shots to make it look a little more natural. Slight adjustments in saturation and vibrance too.
As I was just sitting in the crowd (in the first couple of rows) there’s a few shots with some judges heads in the way – Not much I can do about that, and since these are happy snaps it didn’t bother me that much. There are some tight crops giving some odd sizes that I normally wouldn’t do, but I felt it was important in selected images to isolate the subject.
It has been a busy few days. I was at Federation Square today shooting for MS Australia’s Kiss Goodbye to MS Campaign which was awesome – Got to meet and have a chat to comedian Tim Ferguson, 2011 Australian of the Year Simon McKeon and DJ/Model/TV Personality Georgia Sinclair! Donated my time for the cause and it was a great day (and a long one… was there from 730am to 3pm snapping away!)
Big thanks to Elfreda @ Scarlet Media for the hookup!
Saturday was spent down at Sandown Raceway for the WRX Club Trackday. Lots of awesome cars and got to speak with a few of the owners. Handed out some cards as well so, if you are reading this and have one of my cards – Make sure to go read this Sandown update for photos from the day and purchasing information!
Huge meet at the Essendon DFO tonight. A couple of hundred cars at least? Either way, impressive! I organised a bit of an MelbS15 premeet and we all rocked up in there to find most of the space packed already.
Not many photos for this, I was honestly stuffed from shooting at Sandown all day. Here’s what I did get.