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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Beijing Olympics games
Zeljko Lukunic, Photographer
Zagreb | croatia | Croatia | Posted: 1:03 PM on 07.01.08
->> Hi

I need help..what will you pack in yours photo bag for Olympics???

My main question is 400 / 2.8 mm or 600/4 ???
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Michael McNamara, Photographer, Photo Editor
Phoenix | AZ | USA | Posted: 1:21 PM on 07.01.08
->> It's the Olympics. Buy a new bag and take both.
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Brad Mangin, Photographer
Pleasanton | CA | USA | Posted: 2:03 PM on 07.01.08
->> Zeljko- here is a nice story that we just published in the new issue of the Sports Shooter Newsletter that might help you:

http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/2016
In The Bag: 'Rookie' Packs For First Olympics
Dan Powers tells us how he will pack his gear for Beijing.
By Dan Powers, Appleton Post-Crescent

Good luck!
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 7:14 PM on 07.01.08
->> I touch briefly on equipment for the upcoming Olympics in the interview I did with American Photo:
http://www.popphoto.com/photographynewswire/5404/behind-the-lens-with-rober...
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George Bridges, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | USA | Posted: 8:55 PM on 07.01.08
->> I would take what you can.

NPS and CPS are on-site in the MPC and will have daily loaner gear. HOWEVER, sometimes long lenses can get hard to find from them and some people check out a lens that is supposed to be returned that day but keep it for days on end.
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 9:22 PM on 07.01.08
->> Yes, as George points out, NPS and CPS will both have operations at the MPC and at some press sub centers.

However, I have heard because of restrictions both companies have had to cutback drastically how much gear they can bring into the country. They may only be able to offer loaner equipment for repair replacement. If I hear more I will be sure to post the info.

Even if Nikon and Canon have gear to loan, it is on a daily basis, so you would have to check out gear early in the morning and then check it back in that evening.

There is a very delicate balance on equipment, especially traveling internationally. Also, as I mentioned in the American Photo Q & A, you have to consider how much you can physically carry onto buses and to venues.

Yes it is good to "take everything" ... but believe me, trying to get things to and from events is a huge consideration.

Develop a strategy on packing and carrying gear.
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Patrick Meredith, Photographer, Assistant
Austin | TX | USA | Posted: 9:32 PM on 07.01.08
->> Not to distract to much from the original question, but why is CPS and NPS being restricted to how much gear they can bring into the country?
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 12:00 AM on 07.02.08
->> I confirmed that Nikon and Canon are not able to bring as much equipment to Beijing as they have previous Olympic Games.

Equipment loans will be somewhat limited as a result.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 1:12 AM on 07.02.08
->> patrick, not to make this thread political but geez...it's CHINA. I wish everyone well but I feel this will be a monstrous boondoggle for the media. IMHO and the olympic officials who thought this was a good idea might find they were a little off the mark. good luck....and remember to wear your breathing equipment for the seriously polluted air in beijing.
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Brad Smith, Photographer
Beijing | China | China | Posted: 3:22 AM on 07.02.08
->> Chuck,

We all like ya here, but speaking from first-hand experience, I'll disagree with you.

Large events of this type are generally run very well. During last year's Women's World Cup, it was easy to find the venues, people were polite, and the facilities themselves were good.

So far, my contacts within BOCOG have been great. I just emailed them today and received an answer in less than five minutes.

As for the pollution, sure it's bad, but I've lived here for two years now with no health problems. I'm not so sure that LA was that different in 1984.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 11:00 AM on 07.02.08
->> that's cool brad. never been their was talking out of my......well nevermind! 8)
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 12:18 PM on 07.02.08
->> The reason Nikon and Canon will not be able to bring in enough equipment to run operations like they have at previous Olympics is because of strict restrictions imposed by the Chinese.
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Patrick Fallon, Student/Intern, Photographer
Torrance | CA | USA | Posted: 5:21 PM on 07.02.08
->> Well at least you guys get to take your gear home!

http://www.digitaljournalist.org/issue0501/halstead.html

"The Chinese desperately needed modern communications. Therefore, it was agreed that every piece of equipment the television people brought into the country would be left behind, in operating condition, including ground stations."
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Zach Honig, Photo Editor, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 6:30 PM on 07.02.08
->> I just arrived in Beijing yesterday afternoon. I'm in the process of confirming just what services CPS and NPS will be providing in August. I've been posting to a blog (http://beijing2008.popphoto.com) and will post there (and back here) once I get more info. I hope to have a ton of great information about Beijing so please check it out!

Cheers,
Zach
http://beijing2008.popphoto.com

p.s. - I can't actually access the blog here (without using a proxy site) - anyone already in Beijing have any luck?
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Brad Smith, Photographer
Beijing | China | China | Posted: 10:26 PM on 07.02.08
->> Zach,

Yup, you're blocked.

I suppose it could change. I can now see wikipedia and a few us-based blogs, that I couldn't see a few months ago.
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Jean Finley, Photo Editor, Photographer
Iowa City | IA | USA | Posted: 11:42 PM on 07.02.08
->> Is there any concern among those of you who are shooting that you might "break a rule" (with regards to the government over there)? Are you getting any information or training from your agency/paper/etc. about what you can't do over there?
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Zach Honig, Photo Editor, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 1:13 AM on 07.03.08
->> Brad -- Try http://www.blockingbuster.com...

Jean -- everyone I've talked to at BOCOG has been very nice and accommodating... I wouldn't be too concerned about breaking any rules as far as what you can/can't shoot is concerned. There's definitely a much different mindset over here though... I'm traveling with a fairly high profile group (media operations volunteers) and we've been getting a lot of media attention. Some news photographers don't seem to follow the journalistic ethics we're used to in the States... if a photographer misses a shot it's not uncommon for him to stage a photo, etc. I have a feeling credentialed photogs won't run into many issues over here - just be prepared to use a VPN client to connect to your office network before accessing the web or you might find some sites to be blocked. I've run into a few so far...
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Landon Finch, Photographer
Colorado Springs | CO | USA | Posted: 9:41 AM on 07.03.08
->> Is Skype available from China? I'd like to be able to communicate with my kids/family via Skype while in Beijing.
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Zach Honig, Photo Editor, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 10:01 AM on 07.03.08
->> I'm actually using it this very second... works like a charm - for video as well. You can also buy a prepaid China Mobile SIM card and an IP long distance card for about 200 CNY (for both) - that'll let you call the States on the cheap. I'll be posting about that in my blog in a few days...

http://beijing2008.popphoto.com
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Tom Theobald, Photographer
La Mesa | CA | USA | Posted: 11:24 AM on 07.03.08
->> Anyone register their gear at a Chinese consulate yet? Curious re the process here in USA, thanks in advance for help. -T
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Keith Mokris, Student/Intern
Cleveland | OH | USA | Posted: 11:25 AM on 07.03.08
->> Cool blog Zach. I'll definitely be following that more in the coming weeks!
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 11:52 AM on 07.03.08
->> Yes, we registered all of our "professional equipment" with the Chinese government as recommended.

There is a form (a spreadsheet) where you list the gear, describe it, place a value on each piece and list the serial numbers.

I have talked to many photographers going to the Olympics and just about all have asked whether it's really necessary as the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee says ...several have said they are going to "chance it".

We felt just to cut down on the potential of hassles on entering and leaving China that we'd better follow the recommended procedure.

As they say ... Your Mileage May Vary.
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 12:08 PM on 07.03.08
->> http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/hzqz/t293929.htm
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 12:14 PM on 07.03.08
->> A lot of info is here:
http://en.beijing2008.cn/media/latest/n214074441.shtml
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Phillip MacCallum, Photographer
Ottawa (Carleton Pla | ON | Canada | Posted: 1:26 PM on 07.03.08
->> Do not chance bringing in gear without registering it in advance.

Save yourself the time and trouble of having your equipment seized at customs.

I went to China in April for the Women's World Championships of Hockey. The government seized all of my "un-registered" strobes for 7 days. On top of that it cost me approximately $1000.00 to get the equipment back.

I'm sure many of you think that restrictions will be somewhat loosened for the sake of image and international consideration but don't bet on it. They have their ways and it will not change much for the Olympics.

Both Nikon and Canon will have much less available in Beijing than previous events so when your 400 f2.8 is seized for a week you will be SOL.

Don't take the chance. Register your gear and save yourself some trouble.

On another note, I'm not sure if anyone has look into this further but there is a notation on the customs claims form for China regarding radio transmitters. They must be declared. We all know that Pocket Wizards is not what they are looking for but the fact is they say "radio transmitter" right on them so this is something to be wary of...

I wish you all well in China but I'm not disappointed to not be going to the Olympics this summer.
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 3:18 PM on 07.03.08
->> And also remember to include your computer gear on the equipment registration form.

If you want to see a sample list, let me know.
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 6:36 PM on 07.03.08
->> The link I posted above is to the equipment registration form. If you have specific questions, check the media handbook, call the consulate or the media relations dept. at the USOC.

Mahalo!
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David Eulitt, Photographer
Kansas City | MO | USA | Posted: 7:03 PM on 07.03.08
->> Robert;

Did you email the completed forms to the embassy or did you have to fax and/or mail them? Just curious...thanks.
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David G. McIntyre, Photographer
Beijing | . | CHINA | Posted: 7:34 PM on 07.03.08
->> Brad, in terms of blogs, China has blocked access to many blog sites for a while for various reasons.

For equipment, it is better to register if your not a resident journalist of China. For they do not know what your intentions are always.

One of the reasons that China won't have the same amount of loaner gear for these games is that shipping equipment in for only the games would both be held up in customs, and cost them tons in duty possibly cause China would think that they would sell the gear.

It is good not to ship any of your gear in or out of China, cause of possible customs problems, unlike other countries that understand what you are doing.

Even though China is very advanced, these games and circumstances will be very different then experienced before.

There is a saying about China that one should observe: "Everything you hear about China is true, someplace; as China is a very large country."
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Zeljko Lukunic, Photographer
Zagreb | croatia | Croatia | Posted: 11:02 AM on 07.04.08
->> ->> And also remember to include your computer gear on the equipment registration form.

If you want to see a sample list, let me know.

Please post a sample list and whre I need to send equipment registration form???
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Carlos Gonzalez, Photographer
Minneapolis | MN | USA | Posted: 11:16 AM on 07.04.08
->> What kind of power/plug adapters are needed?

Will one voltage adapter with a power strip work?

I was at a hotel overseas (it was old place) and my adapter and power strip kept blowing out the fuses in my room.
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Bob Ford, Photographer
Lehighton | Pa | USA | Posted: 11:20 AM on 07.04.08
->> Zeljko, you might want to contact Bert through his member page to request the sample form. I'd guess he checks his email more often than the boards.
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David G. McIntyre, Photographer
Beijing | . | CHINA | Posted: 11:24 AM on 07.04.08
->> THe current is 220 volts. Most of our camera chargers and power cables for the laptops are already 120/220 v. Check to make sure.

You can bring a power adapter for the current, and then plug a power strip into it.

China plugs a weird shape, but when you get to China, you can buy a Chinese power strip, that can accept almost any type of plug internationally.
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Zach Honig, Photo Editor, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 11:28 AM on 07.04.08
->> Carlos,

As long as your devices are 220-volt compatible, you should be able to plug them directly into an outlet - no adapter needed. China uses a similar plug to the U.S. - two parallel flat blades, just without the holes. You'll need a three prong to two prong adapter though as the U.S. style outlets are not grounded (they only have two holes). If you have a power strip (the cheap kind without the surge protector), that'll work great. You'll only need one three prong to two prong adapter. I'll post something on my blog with photos in a couple days...

-Zach
http://beijing2008.popphoto.com
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Zach Honig, Photo Editor, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 11:30 AM on 07.04.08
->> David-

I've seen the "weird shape" plugs, but they've always been paired with a US-style outlet. Is that not the case everywhere?
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 1:48 PM on 07.04.08
->> The form as I have indicated here, is available at the link above.
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David G. McIntyre, Photographer
Beijing | . | CHINA | Posted: 3:16 PM on 07.04.08
->> Zach,

Not always the same everywhere. But the hotels and some other places might even have a British style plug that is common in Hong Kong.
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Zeljko Lukunic, Photographer
Zagreb | croatia | Croatia | Posted: 4:04 PM on 07.04.08
->> First thx every one of you for info. It was wary helpful.

What is situation whit Pocket wizard. i reed on
http://en.beijing2008.cn/upload/Service-Guide-en/Service_Guide_en.pdf section 74.

Temporary Import ,Installation and Use of Radio Transmission Equipment.

and I don understand anting.... you need to apply, register, show equipment, Wait for approval and more..more..and..moreee and I don't now is this porces is for pocket wizard or not..
any info on this??

Once more thx for HELP :)
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 4:29 PM on 07.04.08
->> I cannot speak to the Beijing Olympics, but at previous games, there has been a "Frequency Control" office that we needed to register our radio remote gear with and get them approved and a sticker attached to the units.

So many questions ... so little time...
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Chris Ivin, Photographer
Sydney | NSW | Australia | Posted: 6:44 AM on 07.05.08
->> some interesting reading on what the weather may (or may not) be like :-

http://meteorologyclimatology.suite101.com/article.cfm/hot_summer_climate_i...

What I do know is that it will be hot and humid and the Chinese are doing everything to stop it raining. Apparently August is prone to having evening downpours, something that you may want to consider if you're setting up outdoor remotes.
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Zach Honig, Photo Editor, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 5:55 AM on 07.06.08
->> Hey all-

I updated my blog with some more info on the power situation:
http://beijing2008.popphoto.com. It's the top post as of right now but I can't pull a direct link because I can't actually access my blog from Beijing without using a proxy, which messes up the links.

Also worth noting -- the weather here is actually starting to clear up. Today was fantastic -- I could even see the mountains from the city... it was only a couple days ago that I could barely see the top of the building right in front of me.

Cheers,
Zach
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Carlos Gonzalez, Photographer
Minneapolis | MN | USA | Posted: 10:03 AM on 07.06.08
->> David and Zach,
Thanks for the info. I’ll be sure to bring a 220-power converter and a power strip without a surge protector.

Zach, I’ll be checking out your blog for more practical info in Beijing.
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 3:09 AM on 07.08.08
->> As I mentioned, registering radio transmission gear (i.e. Pocket Wizards) before you can use them during the Olympics is nothing new.

Getting them "stickered" at the frequency control office at the MPC is pretty standard.

But ... we've been hearing that the Beijing Oly is charging a fee for registering radio gear and the fee we heard was pretty high.

Has anyone else heard this? Or been to Beijing for a test event and encountered a fee to register radio gear?

31 Days To Go!

Mahalo!
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George Bridges, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | USA | Posted: 8:39 AM on 07.08.08
->> Robert,

In the early documentation there were some listings for radio frequency charges and they were very high, something in the realm of dollars per megahertz.

However, at that time the general opinion was that this was for equipment like TV radio microphones and the high-powered transmitters they use to beam signals from remote cameras. And also anyone using two-way radios. I can't remember who our Olympic coordinator asked, but the reply was that Pocket Wizards were not within the scope of what would require payment.

But, that was months ago and as we've all found out, with these Olympics what is fact changes day-to-day.
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Charles Mann, Photographer
Rising Sun | MD | USA | Posted: 10:02 AM on 07.09.08
->> As far as the Equiment Declaration Form and Equipment Confiramtion Letter. I called the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC and was told that I had to apply in person with my completed form and they would provide the Confirmation letter and seals for both. I was told that I could not send it in.

Here is the link to the embassy.

http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/

If anybody has any other tid bits of info before I head down next week I would great appreciate the heads up.

Thanks to Robert, Zach and others for all the useful information.
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 8:45 PM on 07.09.08
->> I've received a lot of inquiries about the equipment registration procedure for the upcoming Olympics...

We are going through with the whole procedure ---filling out the form and having them stamped at the Chinese Embassy--- but MANY have told me they are not and are going to "chance it" that customs officials once the arrivals increase they will simply ignore this rule.

I have heard it both ways, but we want to be safe and insure we don't have (as many) hassles at customs on arrival and departure.

One thing I would definitely NOT do is ship equipment to China (via UPS or FedX). I know photographers that have had a lot of problems with that at previous Olympics, so I can't imagine the hassles involved with that in China.

Mahalo!
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Zach Honig, Photo Editor, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 6:47 AM on 07.10.08
->> Thanks for the emails about the Beijing blog! As requested, I've done some research about cell phones and calling home and just added a couple posts to the blog... there's information about China Mobile SIM cards, Skype, IP calling cards, and an incredibly useful SMS service called Native Beijing.

Cheers,
Zach
http://beijing.popphoto.com
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Eric Seals, Photographer
Detroit | MI | United States | Posted: 3:58 PM on 07.10.08
->> Zach, Brad or anyone who is there now,

My newspaper is looking at getting me a Blackberry 8830 World Edition Smartphone so I can get emails and texts from them (and family)

http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/store/controller?item=phoneFirst&action=...

The website above mentions
the following:

# Dual–band 800/1900 Mhz 1xEV–DO networks
# Dual–band 900/1800 Mhz GSM/GPRS
(outside North America)

Verizon says no problem getting signal etc in Beijing. Any clue if this is the right way for me to go? Any help would be great. Thanks and take care

Eric
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Brad Smith, Photographer
Beijing | China | China | Posted: 4:28 PM on 07.10.08
->> Eric,

Blackberries work just fine here. I know a lot of people, including my fiancee, who use them on a daily basis.

As for signal, you'll be fine. There are few dead spots here and there in the city, but they're hard to find. Overall, coverage in China is better than in the US. I've never been out of range, and that includes the world's deepest gorge and a village on a mountainside.

As for your other options... I guess you're not planning on using your computer too check email too much? If so, it's not a problem either. I routinely log-on to hotmail here. Free wireless is actually very common also, being at many of the small bars and restaurants in the city. Also, there is talk of having a free wireless system up for the Olys. However, it will just cover near the ring roads and the CBD. After the Olys you have to pay for it, incidentally.

Otherwise, phones are cheap and great for texting, which everyone does. My first Nokia phone here with 100rmb worth of minutes and sim card cost me about $75. It still works. Sorry Zach, gotta disagree with ya there, definately not risky to buy them here. One good place to go is called Bai Nao Hui (Buy Now) in Chaoyang district. If anyone needs the address once you get here, just email me. No, I don't get any kickbacks or discounts. That would be when I refer you to my tailor or pearl vendor.

Also, if anyone wants to sell you a recharge card for less than face value...it's suspect. I know I won't chance it, when the consequence is that it may be a card that's already been used and I'm stuck with an no service at a bad time.
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Eric Seals, Photographer
Detroit | MI | United States | Posted: 9:34 PM on 07.10.08
->> Hi Brad,
Thanks for the reply. I'll go ahead and go for that Blackberry World Phone.

I might want to more about your pearl vendor. I'll email you off the site. Gotta get something for my wife as a gift for letting me go for 1 month while she stays home with our two kids. Hook me up. Thanks

Eric
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