My First Wedding As A Videographer

And the lessons I learned

One of the most solid and amazing humans I know, and am honored to call a friend, invited me to partner with her in her Photography business to see how things go. Taylor has over 8 years of experience taking photos, so there is a lot for me to learn.

Seriously, Taylor is massively talented. Head over to and browse the gallery and then reach out to her.

Yesterday was my first wedding and it was a challenge. I have been practicing at home, watching videos, reading books, and generally felt prepared. I was not. I ended up leaving after dinner due to exhaustion and being overwhelmed with the day.

The Lessons

  1. I learned that I am not proficient enough with my gear.
  2. I learned that things break and you have to be able to roll with it.
  3. I learned to bring less stuff with me.
  4. I learned to pace myself and lean on the experienced master.
  5. I learned that the day is really long and to bring more H20.

1. Proficiency with gear

My gimbal. I want to kill my gimbal. Even after practicing at home, I am just not great with it. It constantly tries to do things I don’t want it to do. I lock it on my subject, yet it wanders away … and my shot is lost.

Changing lenses. I almost want to buy a second camera just so I can float between the 35MM and the 85MM without constantly changing my lenses. Thankfully tt was rare that I would want want to use the 16MM, but dang, the amount of effort to change. I also learned quickly which lenses to use.

Working with other people around is hard. I get a scene going, it’s going great, someone walks in and boom, it’s gone. That happened so, so many times. I need to lower my expectations and learn the dance. There is not call for action on the set, it’s happening in real time and it’s chaotic. For an introverted perfectionist, this is pretty much hell. But it’s also a challenge and I won’t be happy or rest until I have the absolute most perfect cinematic wedding reel ever seen, and that might take years. Post is awesome, but I want awesome on the front end with skill. Again, I can’t believe the blessing that Taylor is here, I am learning from the best. Did I mention that Taylor planned and executed my wedding? I wish she had done the photography as well.

The drone was the only thing that went smoothly. Easy peasy. Fly over stuff, position the drone here and there, etc. Lack of experience here was obvious as I rushed it a bit. My shots are good, not great.

Audio, this was almost totally smooth, almost. I plugged my Zoom F3 into the DJ’s sound board via one of the many cables I have, thanks to Justin Porter who helped me with an audio solution. That went off without a hitch. The audio is not great because it was outside and the DJ’s gear was not awesome, but with 32 bit float, I can clean it up.

2. Things Break

My R6 started overheating! During the ceremony when I was filming non-stop, I got flashing red lights and threats to shut down. My reaction was panic and I did not get some footage. I did not handle this gracefully. Curse my perfectionism!

My external screen also stopped displaying. I rely on this when I use the gimbal, and it really helps with a histogram and RGB parade. I think the cable, which is brand new, started having issues and I only have one HDMI to Micro HDMI.

3. Needed Gear Only

I took two backpacks crammed full of stuff, and a shoulder bag with the drone in it. NEVER AGAIN. Lugging these things all over the place and babysitting them was stressful and exhausting. I needed just about everything though, so I am not sure how to handle this. I am just going to have to not be as prepared as I want to be and use less stuff.

4. Padawan

I had a ton of ideas in my head, and in the end executed almost none of them. I should have just followed Taylor around and learned. I captured what I could. The good news is that I am a decent camera operator in that my exposure is overall, really good. The scenes are okay as well, framed and timed. I record in clog3, so it’s raw. After applying the Cannon LUT, and then color correcting, the 4K footage looks good. So what I got, is good.

I think for the future, I’ll need to communicate more with the folks around my and my team. Let them know what shots I want and speak up. After all these years I am still quiet and reserved, so this is difficult. But I do want to capture certain things, and so I’ll have to do it.

5. More Prep Work

I spend most of my time sitting behind a desk either coding, troubleshooting or in zoom calls managing my team at work. Spending a day on my feet, using a gimbal, out in the elements, (it was so hot! Central California!) it was all a shock to me. I went from 0 to 100 and my body was mad at me. I recently lost 60 pounds, but did it though a lifestyle not centered around food. I have not been in the gym since last year. So I did not have weight to carry around in the form of fat, but I also have a body that’s not condition to do what I was doing. I plan to head back to CrossFit this month, so that will change. Today, the day after, my back hurts, my abs hurt (maybe lack of any ab muscles). I was super dehydrated when I got home and crashed on my bed. So thankful for an encouraging wife who listened and then reminded me to follow this passion and that this was a good learning experience.

I’ll be mentally prepared next time, as well as having more water and food.

Updating The Raspberry Pi Cluster

Hullo MicroK8s!

Awhile back the Raspberry Pi cluster was born. At the time, the best thing to run seemed to be Rancher Labs K3s. But soon after I installed K3s, Rancher released a new version and with this new version a lot of things changed, and what I had installed was deprecated. I could no longer update packages. Argh!

So …. I recently reinstalled the entire cluster using MicroK8s. I really like this version of K8s and I am having a lot of fun playing around with it. Currently trying to get an ELK stack to work, which has been challenging and frustrating. I am getting a huge kick out of the dashboard. How cool is this?

32 CPU’s, almost 600 GB of RAM from 8 nodes. Here are the nodes in the cluster and the dashboard, which was really easy to install, it was a simple command to enable it as a plugin.

I’ll try and post an update when I get ELK configured. Stay tuned!

Antisyphon & Wild West Hackin’ Fest


I just finished the 4 day course titled Active Defense & Cyber Deception through Antisyphon, and it was excellent! This was one of the Pay What You Can classes that they offer, which made it affordable for me as a noob. The class did start to get a bit over my head, but that does not mean it was not super valuable. I now know what I don’t know.

All the reading I have done, all the videos I have watched and all the studying via INE, TryHackMe and HackTheBox has been very beneficial. But they all lack real world experience. John Strand (BHIS) is a veteran in the field and his experience comes through the entire course. The classes taught me a lot about technique, tools and connected a lot of dots for me. I can’t wait until WWHF where there is going to be more training and I get to meet a lot of these folks!


I was able to attend the Wild West Hacking’ Fest (Way West) conference in San Diego from May 3rd to May 6th. It was a bit overwhelming and not at all what I thought it would be. Compared to every other conference I have been to, it was the least inclusive and least informative, but I am not sure I was really the audience the conference was aimed at. Still I learned a lot.

Backups & Clones


My Mac has a lot of stuff on it, and it’s configured exactly as I want it. I would hate to lose the drive or have it stolen and be out of luck. I do use Time Machine to take regular backups of the files, even though my capsule died and I had to replace it with a 5TB drive. The concern I have with Time Machine is that it’s not a bit-for-bit copy of my hard drive that I can boot from if needed. Enter Carbon Copy Cloner. There are a few options out there to choose from, Super Duper being one of those, but after trying a few of them I landed on CCC. Cloning my drive gives me peace of mind, and the program monitors my HDD for file modifications, if the modifications == 1GB, then it performs a “sync” of sorts. Basically it’s another backup, but only the changes. That happens many times during the day, which is pretty awesome.

The only thing I wish this did was encrypt the data and require a key. In case someone snagged my external drive, it would be useless. For now I lock the drive in the hidden safe located in my office whenever I leave the house. But it would be great if that was something I did not have to do.

Fun with VMs

The need for a VM

This week I am taking the Active Defense & Cyber Deception class with John Strand and in preparation for the class I followed this guide.


One of the steps is to install VMWare. So I try this on my Macbook. It’s an M1, and I forgot when I was downloading to make sure to grab the right download. That failed because I have the M1 chip. I grabbed the right one, but it won’t run the VM because the VM wants X86 Arch. Of course.


So I scramble and borrow a Windows laptop (Dell Inspiron 17) that my mother in law is not using. We got it for her last Christmas, but she never uses it because it’s slow. Well, she was not kidding. It’s super slow, and that’s because HDD utilization under Task Manager is always at 100%. Like, always. I really don’t like Windows. I loved Windows 98, and XP was probably my favorite. That’s about the time I made the switch to Mac. So I spent almost a day doing all the things I could find and think of to solve the issue, but no go. Even reinstalled windows, updated all drivers, etc. I think the HDD and/or cable is bad or RAM is not working right and causing constant swapping. Whatever it is, I can’t use this laptop. I ordered an SSD and some new RAM so I can play with it later.


Next was to try and make this work on My Kali Linux. I was sure that it was not going to work, but someone in Discord who is also in the class mentioned that it should. I gave it a shot, and sure enough, I am good to go! I figured Kali would not work as well as Ubuntu, or RHEL, but it’s smooth.

So lesson learned … try Linux first. Always.

Hacking For All

In October of last year I stumbled upon a YouTube channel that looked super nerdy and fun. Indeed it was! Network Chuck is the guy’s name and he was building a K8s cluster using a Raspberry Pi. Bare metal install of K8s? Yes please! After thinking about it a few days, I decided I had to do it. So I did! I blogged about it of course and you can take a peek at K8s Part I and K8s PartII if you are interested. I had a blast building and configuring these and now I have this really great toy to play with.

While looking through this new channel I stumbled into a community that has totally sucked me in. I have always know about Hackers and Cybersecurity, it’s not like it was new information, but I had no idea it was something I could do. I had no idea it could be so fun either. My background is technically diverse to say the least. I have many years as a Linux SysAdmin working on clusters (literally the fastest in the world), many years as a Web Developer, many years in Technical Support, etc. I also have, well had, some of the same basic certification. RHCE, CCNA, VCP, A+, etc. So I have a lot of the same tools in my toolbelt that Pentester has, but never really explored that as an option. I am also not a computer scientist level programmer, and I assumed that because I was not, hacking was out of the question. But it’s not! Truth be told coding is fun as far as troubleshooting, but I only really like debugging code and making it work. Or peeling back the layers to determine why. As far as sitting down a coding, I’d much rather script tasks than write an app.

There are several roles within hacking and Cyber Security, and more importantly, a TON of resources for getting started on the journey. You can pivot into the field with a lot of work and studying. The thing you can not do quickly, of course, is gaining experience. That takes time, so be prepared to sink hours into this, which won’t be an issue if you love it. I personally am not looking to step into that role at the moment, mostly because I love where I work and I don’t see a path towards it there. My goal to have fun, eventually compete on a high level at HackTheBox, and knock out my very first Bug Bounty.

So how does one get started? I personally would start reading some books and watching some videos on YouTube. I have a page here that list these resources, but in particular I would start with a specific book and this article titled “The Conscience of a Hacker“.

Next head over to TryHackMe and HackTheBox Academy (HackTheBox as well) and start learning. Both have free resources and paid. The paid is worth it, 100%. I would then get connected on LinkedIn and start looking at what folks in this field do.

My next step is to dive in and learn some more in person with professionals. I am heading to WildWestHackinFest in May, which is a conference and training centered on hacking and Cyber Security. The eJPT is a certification I have my eye on next, As a basic entry level cert it represents all the hours I have poured into studying and demonstrates competency. Ultimately my desire is to contribute with the community at large to make the web a safe place.

Sabbatical Update III

Month Three

This is it! The end of my 3 month sabbatical. I can’t believe how fast it went! This is really bitter sweet as it has been such an amazing experience to have three months of no work, but at the same time I miss it. I love what I do, I love my work people and I have had some FOMO for sure. I am ready to dive deep in, especially with all of the leveling up I have been doing.

I had four goals for my 3 month paid sabbatical, let’s see how I did.


Fitness was not as big of a success as I was hoping for. I did however get a lot of rest and that did me a lot of good. I am at a gym now and working out, just not as intensely as I would like. My wife and I are also eating right, so I would say this goal was modified. I am healthier and we have a lifestyle in place that will get us to being fit, it just did not happen over sabbatical.

II. Level Up!

I earned the Jr Pentester certificate at TryHackMe! I have a bit left on the Bug Bounty Hunter track at HackTheBox and I am hoping to take the eJPT certification test next month. I still have some work to do around network hacking, enumeration, and Injection before I feel confident enough to take on that 72 hour test.

III. Leadership Skills

This is by far the hardest one. I am happy with the progress

Advent of Cyber


Over at TryHackMe you can get into the Christmas spirit and hone some of your hacking skills at the same time! The Advent Of Christmas event is a free event geared at getting started with cybersecurity. It’s a lot of fun. So far it’s been very, very basic, but I hear the difficulty is going to be increased as the month proceeds.

There are prizes for completing the challenges and a cool certificate when done. I love that various hackers and security professionals in the Cybersecurity community are taking turns providing walk through video. I am finding it to be a really cool thing to do each morning until the 25th. I strongly suggest a cup of coffee or hot coco.

Sabbatical Update II

Month Two

Last month when I posted my Sabbatical Update I talked a bit about my 4 goals and where I was. I thought I’d do the same update, because it’s easy to reuse the post. 🙂


Last month around this time I had not yet started on the fitness goal, I totally blame both being busy and some profound laziness. But this month I have defeated laziness and settled into a fitness routine. I got a personal trainer with the goal of weight loss and muscle gain. It’s way different than CrossFit or HITT. It’s really focused on lifting heavy and isolating muscles, eating and rest. Yikes, eating. I eat 6 times a day, measured out healthy food and I am still not used to eating so much. Chicken, rice, potatoes, beef, veggies, etc. This is very different than any training I have done in the past, but I have to admit, despite the constant being sore, I really love it.

II. Level Up!

I have put HTB and THM on hold as I concentrate on getting the eJPT certification. It’s slow going, but I am making progress.

III. Leadership Skills

Still working on this through personal development, books and such. Not much to update on here.

IV. Rest

I am resting, but it’s a busy rest. I have taken my kids camping, done some road trips and enjoyed a lot of down time.

C and my Dad


This week as I am going through the Jr. Penetration Tester course on INE, we are covering programming in C++. This is leading up to a C++-assisted exploitation, the next section is much the same but using Python. Oh man, I am reminded of why I never got deep into C, despite my father having years and years of experience with it. It’s not C, it’s C++, but going through this course is really making me miss my dad. He passed away this year, exactly 2 years to the day from when my mom passed away. Tech and programming has always been a connection my dad and I have shared.

The Sabbatical has been both good and really rough. This time away from work has freed up headspace for me to really process a lot of stuff and deal with some roadblocks head on. I am so thankful for the company I work for and the care and attention they put into our happiness as employees.

Even though it’s rough going through this, it’s bringing up some good memories. I really wish my dad could see me embracing coding more these days. Cybersecurity is proving to be an incredible challenge that is a lot of fun. I wish I had gotten into this a long time ago. Dad would be proud.