karen engel

One thing the photography business does is force you to stay in touch technology.  Today’s challenge was to replace a 2009 Mac Mini with the 2011 model running the Lion operating system.  This is quite different largely because in Lion they have decided to partition the startup disk into two pieces – One hidden partition for the base operating system – and another partition for all your other stuff (user accounts etc.).

I had the new 2011 Mac Mini sitting in my office for the past month, being too busy to get back to it as I had a few local photo shoots to do in Charleston, Scott Depot and over in Huntington WV.   When I first got it – I ran the Apple Migration Assistant – which imported all the old computer’s accounts, settings and data into the new one.  Problem was, that since then, I kept using the old 2009 Mini – adding more data onto it.  So the new one was no longer a complete copy.  So you guessed it – I had to do it all over again!  But HOW?  Migration Assistant is a one time – one shot deal and you cannot choose individual bits to migrate over – it’s all or nothing!  Plus I could never possibly remember everything I added over the last month anyway – so – I had to reformat the Lion based 2011 Mac Mini and start over from scratch.

Because of the hidden partition containing Lion, this is different than ever before on a Mac.  Seemingly more complex and intimidating, but actually surprisingly simple.

Restart the Mac holding down the R key (Restore)
Choose to restore the Lion OSX only – or in my case…
Go to Utilities/Disk Utility where you can find the two partitions
Erase/Reformat the MAIN partition (not the Lion bit) using Apple HFS Journaled the default)
Exit Disk utility and then proceed with the Lion OSX restore/install
When the computer restarts (or you restart it) after the full install – go under the Apple Menu and check for System Updates.  It will still have some tasks to do, so run it!

A Big Caveat – 2011 Macs come with 3 extra programs installed (iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand) – but they are not included in the base system install – so when you reformat your system – you’ve wiped them out!  Apple’s answer to this is a free download and install of the missing programs via the App Store.  If you don’t have an account – sign up – it’s free though may require a credit card verification.

With that out of the way – the fastest way to get the old data from the legacy Mac to the new one is Firewire Target Disk Mode.  (Assuming your Mac would have a firewire port)

Connect the two Macs directly via Firewire 1394A/B  – Firewire 800 is the current port on newer Macs.
Start up the source Mac whilst holding down the “T” key (Target Disk Mode)
It will enter into a mode where you see nothing on the screen but a giant Firewire Icon – you’re ready!
On the NEW Mac – go to Utilities/MigrationAssistant and run it using the TimeMachine/OtherDisk option.

Over Firewire 800, this took 2-3 hours for a nearly full 320GB Mac Mini transfer onto the new one.
Your old user accounts will all come over – so you may need to switch user accounts from the new one you have on the new Mac – to the legacy account by using “switch users” or the Login Menu.

Some things will need updating – possibly updating or entering license numbers/key codes for software – or in some cases if the software license is machine based, you will have to contact the developer to transfer your authorization.

For further info – the Apple Lion Recovery documentation is located HERE


The blog on our site – – uses a type of web design technology called “Frames” – which is designed to keep the internal navigation links (above) active, and have the reader remain on our site –  even when loading an external page via some links within the blog.

Some pages may go to external sites, while others may not due to how they are set up on the other end.  If a page you would like to thoroughly visit does not go to an external site – you can always jump to it by using this link –  External Link to this blog – on  – Also seen in the upper right hand corner, listed under My Other Sites.


As much as I like having my blog page “framed” within a page on my site – I’ve decided there are just too many limitations when doing so – as a result I am going to do the necessary customization to the formatting of the blog itself so that it integrates nicely with the rest of my website – designed in Freeway for OSX.  There is a great tutorial for anyone looking to integrate blogs with Freeway, by Dan Jasker, here –

The very first time I worked with Abby, she arrived with her dad Pete at my studio ready to work.  This was particularly impressive as she was only 15 years old, but very dedicated to making a success of herself in modeling – and it showed.  In fact she was currently a student at a fashion/modeling school so much more serious about it than one would expect a 15 year old to be.  

She has an amazing and exotic look and was quite versatile – going from looking her age to well beyond her years with the simple change of a pose or facial expression.  I wondered for a while if she even spoke English as she barely made a peep!  ha ha  But of course she was just very shy and wide eyed.    Like a pro, without instruction, she brought several outfits along and had plenty of moves without needing too much direction, which was good as my skills as a director were not particularly stellar at the time, though have seen massive improvements since.

They had driven down from a very small town 1/2 hour north of Bakersfield called Delano, which is by reputation, primarily a farming community.  Delano is a town so small in fact, it makes Bakersfield look like a booming metropolis – which it most certainly is not!  While this is probably the last place on earth someone would expect a model to appear out of – there she was – a pleasant and unexpected surprise.  The place where she found out about me was also a bit surprising – on Craigslist!   I had a casting call posted there looking for something new instead of the usual repeat model hopefuls a small town like Bakersfield produces regularly…when I got her reply, I had a feeling there was something special in the offing.

I was experimenting mixing studio strobes and hot shoe type flashes together – something I discovered was not always the best idea in the world without a very specific lighting design – but part of the way I work is to change things up on every shoot, to make sure I do something that pushes the limits beyond what I already know how to do, into places I’ve never gone before.  It keeps me fresh and different in every shoot instead of being a photographic chimpanzee – mimicking my own shots/setups and going through the motions to produce the exact same thing over and over again with different faces.  How unimaginative and boring would that be?   Might as well get a job shooting pics a JC Penny.  blah

In the end we had a great session and managed to pull off some excellent images together.

  There was some real magic in some of the images, especially for a first time session with a new model. Without question, we wanted to work together again.  
And we did.  See Part II for MORE!