Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Learn from Mistakes

Smile it's a wonderful day!  What is the difference between a bad photographer and a good photographer?  Answer at the end of this post.

We all take bad pictures, its up to us to learn from them and make changes in put photography.  Also what we consider to be a bad picture now is not what we will consider to be bad in a day, a month a week or years down the road.  Learn from your mistakes,do not let them bog you down.

And the answer to the question is that a good photographer only shows you his/her best work.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Enjoy your day!

This could well be the year that marked the start of the digital age when the Microprocessor was invented. We also saw the use of more and more of the transistor technology in things like hand held calculators which although are still very expensive over time will drop in price and increase in function to where we are today. It is also the first year North Sea Oil production begins in Norway. One other major change is the change to Decimalisation in the UK on and Ireland on February 15th . The birth of Greenpeace signals a need to question how we manage the resources entrusted to us and a means of organised questioning of governments around the world.

It was a much cheaper world to live in with an anuual inflation rate of 4.3% in the US the Dow Jones will close the year at 890.  A new home costs $25,250 (I paid more for my car than that!).  The average income is around $10,600 and rent runs $150.  Here is the kick in the pants for you gas in 1971 cost 40 cents!  not to long ago we were complaiing about it being over $4 per galon.  It only cost 8 cents to mail a letter and a ladies 2 piece knit suites runs $9.98.  You could take the entire family to the movies for $20 bucks and that would include your drinks and candy.  The ticket price was only $1.50.

Things have changed there is no doubt.  Why this look at 1971 today...simple I was born that year and today marks my 40th birthday. Unlike many folks my age I will tell you I'm 40, its just a number.  Have a great day! 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

TED - Sir Ken Robinson and Dan Meyer

I believe that our education system is broken and that it is failing our students.  Day in and day out students go to school and are educated in a system that largely has not changed or evolved since the 1950's.  I do not place blame on any particular group for this demise.  It is all of our faults.  Our system was designed and wonderfully produced folks suited for factory jobs.  A while back we overhauled it and continued to produce the same type of product, factory workers.  The only difference was that the factory was what we call an office, not a plant.

The world turned and turned and it changed.  The world needs people who are creative and out education system does not foster that.  In fact most education systems around the globe do not foster creativity.  They do really well at wrote memorization but not at teaching creativity.  Listen to what Sir Kin Robinson had to say on the subject in 2006 at TED.  (One note, he is quite funny at his talk, listen close to the serious message he hides in his jokes.)

Why is creativity so important?  Years ago this nation became great because we had the gumption to create the next big thing.  Then we would send it around the world to be produced and create thousands of jobs for ourselves and the rest of the world.  Today the other nations, particularly India and China, are using our model and beating us at it.  Laregely because we are not fostering creativity nor are we fostering a good undestanding of Science and Math in our students.  Dan Meyer does a good job of explaining why this is in his TED talk from March of 2010.

"The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise -- with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disentrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."-- December 1, 1862 - Lincoln's Second Annual Message to Congress

The quote above is one that Sir Robinson uses in the follow-up to his TED talk.  The follow-up talk occurred in March of 2010 and once again he drives home the importance of a revolution in education.  Among the things he discusses is the need for an individualizes educational experience for each and every student.  He reiterates that we have to give up the linear model of eduction and make a radical departure from what we think of as education.  

Later that same year Sir Robinson spoke for RSAnimate.  In this talk he again drives at his point, we must change the way we think of school.

I only recently saw the last two videos but I found that I already agreed with his thoughts.  In education today we focus on batches or grade levels and we move students through as a group.  They work all year to master a set of curriculum and once they have done so they move on to the next, provided they do so on the last day of school.  If they do not master them by the last day they will likely be moved on to the next grade with a  notification on their record that they are deficient in this area or that.  If they get done early, ie before the last day, they get to sit and twiddle their thumbs and be bored until the rest of the class catches up with them.  A kinda of "Sorry about your luck pal, conform with your peers or sit and wait on them."

What if we let each student move at their own rate.  What if they started school in kindergarten and moved throughout he curriculum at their own rate.  Each time they mastered an area they were allowed to move on into the newer areas that this creates for them.  They would be allowed to move along to each of the areas of their curriculum at their own rate.  Not hampered by their peers.  If they are social people they could work as a group with their peers.  Once they complete the curriculum for an area they move on.  The school building would function as work areas, not class rooms.  Teachers would become masters of content not fountains of boring information.

It's just a thought as are the ones that Ken Robinson and Dan Meyer have shared with you in their presentations.  I think though it is time we give this more than just a thought.  I think it is time for a revolution in education.  I think it is time we stopped talking and started acting.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Everyday Photographer - Working in Low Light

Front page news

I'm a little late sharing this but fellow bloger and photographer Pual Burwell made the front page new back in January  here is the post from his blog.  Paul has some amazing images of snowflakes, and my personal favorite the spirit bears.

from Pual's blog -

Wow!  I can’t believe.  Me and my snowflakes are featured on the front page of the local Edmonton paper, the Edmonton Journal.  Wow!  Jamie Hall, the writer for the Journal, did an excellent job at writing the story and creating a compelling story.  I am very thankful to her.

You can read the article for yourself through this link below.  At the bottom of this post, I’ll also attach the snowflake images featured in the Journal article.

One flake at a time

JAMIE HALL Journal Arts Writer

Edmonton Journal

12 Jan 2011

The sight of a snowfall usually sends Paul Burwell’s north Edmonton neighbours to their windows to observe his odd behaviour. So far, he says, none of them has found the courage to ask him why he stands outside his garage and stares intently at the…read more…

Fernlike Stellar Dendrite Snowflake
Fernlike Stellar Dendrite

Sectored Plate
Sectored Plate Snowflake

Sectored Plate Snowflake
Sectored Plate Snowflake

Hexagonal Plate Snowflake
Hexagonal Plate Snowflake

Sectored Plate Snowflake
Sectored Plate Snowflake

Hexagonal Plate Snowflake
Hexagonal Plate Snowflake

Sectored Plate Snowflake
Sectored Plate Snowflake

Sectored Plate Snowflake
Sectored Plate Snowflake

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pete Eckert - blind photographer!?!

One of my early concerns about photography was my eyesight.  I'm not blind but I am partially color blind.  It always concerned me that I would tweak a photograph the wrong way.  One day the light bulb went on and I simply adjusted it to the way I saw it.  It was after all my image.  Pete Eckert has a much different perspective whit his photography, Pete is blind.  His work is amazing, check it out...

| Artists Wanted | In Focus : Pete Eckert from Artists Wanted on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cardreaders, a must in my bag

Since day one I have used a card reader, well not day one but since the start of week 2 int he digital world.  I hated having to hook my camera to the laptop.  It was so much easier to attach the little card reader and then slot the cards.  Not to mention I could take the extra card and my camera and go shoot while the images were being transfered to the laptop.  When I returned I'd swap them out and go back for more images.

Over on the canon blog last month I read an article and it pointed out these three reason for using a card reader -
  1. Speed – Card readers have nothing else to do other than transfer data onto and off of a card to a computer.  
  2. Reliability – the camera is more complex than the reader a power surge at the wrong moment could result in the loss of images and or the loss of a camera.  I'd rather lose a reader and some images than the entire camera and the images.  That would be disastrous.
  3. Conserving Battery drain – It takes more power from your camera's battery to transfer those images and if you are in a situation where power is limited this can be a problem.  A dead camera battery means no more new images, a dead laptop just means you have to wait and use the extra cards you brought with you.
Like I said a card reader for me is a must.  They are small and light and easily fit in the laptop case of my big camera bag.  Try it you'll like it!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Reluctant Subjects

Every photographer out there had probably heard this line before.  Some folks just don't like being photographed.  It's your job as the photographer, especially if they are coming to you to have portraits made, to bring out the best in them.  This is no easy task and I have no answers for you.  Each person is different and as the photographer you have to find the right combination of things to get them to relax and have fun with you.

If your out doing street photography its a different ball game.  Before you grab a shot of someone you should ask permission first.  This is where so many photographers just fall under the rude category.  Often times they will just pull their camera to their eyes and make their images and never talk to the subjects.  It comes back to haunt them though, the images is not usable in any type of advertisement or marketing.  They have no release for the person in their image and believe me they will be asked for.

Ok thats fin and all Jason but what if I am not shooting to make advertisements or to make money I'm just out shooting?  Ask...you never know where your image might wind up or who might like it.  Besides if you are drawn to the person enough to make an image you might be amazed at what else you can get when you now have their permission ot hang about and shoot them.  At first they will be a little self conscious and nervous but shortly they will settle down and you will find the truly remarkable images.

A good way to get them to let you make your images, is to promise to give them copies.  In todays digital age its simple, you get their email address and send them right along.  I use an app on my iPhone for model releases.  It allows me to put in the info on the person and emails them a copy and me a copy in pdf format.  I store these int he cloud and when I finish the images of the day I send my files on to the folks I was shooting.  One note though...make sure if you promise files or prints you follow though.  When you don't and you come back or another photog comes back it makes it harder to get the images because some low life photog didn't give them the images they were promised.

Just some thoughts...enjoy the day!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

TED - Chris Anderson - How web video powers global innovation

TED's Chris Anderson says the rise of web video is driving a worldwide phenomenon he calls Crowd Accelerated Innovation -- a self-fueling cycle of learning that could be as significant as the invention of print. But to tap into its power, organizations will need to embrace radical openness.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Everyday Photographer - Gear for You

White Balance Tutorial

One of the biggest things I combat is what is white. One of the teams I regularly shoot, The Famous Superstars, has a white uniform. It is essential that I get the white right. Not only to make sure their uniforms are correct but to make sure all of the other colors in the image are correct as well. I've talked about it on "The Everyday Photographer" and here is a tutorial I found on YouTube tailing about it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lighting Lesson - using the sun

This photog is quickly becoming a regular here on the bolg. He had produced a number of great tutorials on photography. This particular one is on lighting. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

TED - Ze Frank - web playroom

"On the web, a new "Friend" may be just a click away, but true connection is harder to find and express. Ze Frank presents a medley of zany Internet toys that require deep participation -- and reward it with something more nourishing. You're invited, if you promise you'll share."

The above is a direct quote from the TED site, as I watched the video I was amazed at what he had done and as he wrapped up the entire talk I realized what he really had done.  He had simply given gifts and been reward.  Watch and enjoy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

That look...

You ever get that look?  You know the one.  Your explaining to someone one something that you feel is strait forward and simple yet you get the look of utter confusion.  Yeah thats the one, the one that lets you know that you have went way over the heads of your audience.  If your getting that look it means two things. 1 - you are a subject matter expert on this topic (at least to your audience.) and 2 - you need to break it down into smaller terms and concepts.

It's eye opening to realize you have a deeper understanding of something than those around you.  When it does occur and you are attempting to teach something or explain it don't talk down to them.  Just because they are ignorant of your topic does not mean they are dumb.  Remember that the next conversation with them they may be explaining to you something you don't understand.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Barbie Shoot

Ever wonder what it takes to make get Barbie ready for a photo shoot?  I'm serious, I mean the fashion police of the doll world hinge on her every word, Barbie is it..but what does it take to do a fashion shoot with this iconic individual?  Check the video.

Behind the Scenes of a Barbie Fashion Model Photo Shoot from Paul Jordan on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bullet Time

Nice Shot! from Blownapart Studios on Vimeo.

This just grabbed my attention, you have to see it.  Great job!  A bullet time video shot in one take with no planning. Blown Apart Studios created this and it is 

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Candid Frame #107 -Gale Tattersal

As many of you know I'm a fan of House.  A bit back "The Candid Frame" ran an interview in thier pod cast with Gale Tattersal.  I've included the info form the cast below and links to it on thier site.  You really should take a listen to what they discuss.

The Candid Frame #107 -Gale Tattersal: "
Gale Tattersal is a master cinematographer who caused quite a stir when he decided to photograph last year's season finale of the popular television show, House using 5D Mark IIs. His effective use of a camera originally intended to create stills for filming a full episode of a network television showcased how this technology continues to change and evolve. His years of experience behind the lens has provided him great insight into the use of light, composition, movement and time. While many focus on the technology itself, Gale Tattersal is a big proponent for using these new capabilities to improve our ability to tell stories whether they find a home on a television, computer or even a mobile phone. He has recently been honored as a Canon Explorer of Light.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

TED - Seth Godin - Tribes we lead

Seth Godin is a regular stop of mine in the mornings, his blog always has some wonderful insight or tidbit for me to chew on and often inspires my own posts.  In this 2009 talk at TED Seth discusses his idea of tribes in the modern world.  The basis that he puts forward is that the social media world we live in has connected us back to an older social device, the tribe.

If you would like to learn more about Seth's thoughts on tribes read Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

PS & the iPad – Preview

I'll admit it I have been sneaking Shannon's iPad to work with me and to other places with the kids.  I've found I truly like the magic little computer that it is.  As I explore it more and more I find ways I can use it in my business.  The video above makes me want to have the app and the CS5 photoshop too!

My only grip with the iPad right now is that I don't have time to really explore what it can do for me.  One of my favorite apps gives me access to my SmugMug site to view photos on full screen.  I think that as we see these devices grow the way we compute and the digital dark room is going to undergo a complete revolution. I can't wait.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Need help with DSLR video? Part 1

I'm not a DSLR video shooter, in fact I'm not much of a video shooter but video is a reality in the world of DSLR cameras today and as such I feel I should provided some info on it.  Over the next few weeks I will be posting segments by Phillip Bloom, done for Viemo, to give us all some great information.

Introduction to DSLR Cameras with Philip Bloom from Vimeo Staff on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Get it right in camera...


It's time for a rant.  I don't rant often but it times for one.  Get it right in camera.  I'm so tired of hearing photogs tell people that they will just tweak  it in post.  I recently shot a set of images for a client of mine and when I was shooting one of them joked that he wanted me to make him look younger.  I quipped back and went on with the shoot but later as I reflected on it it upset me a little.

Not that he made the comment but that the idea that a photographer can and routinely does edit their images in Photoshop afterwards.  Sure certain types of photographers do.  Fashion and commercial comes to mind but me I'm more of a purest.  Yeah I adjust white balance and change saturations a bit but for the most part I leave the heavy lifting to the camera itself.  I don't want to spend hours in the digital dark room fixing images.  Do yourself a favor and get it right in camera.

End of rant...have a great day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

TED - Seth Priebatsch - The Game Layer

We're used to letting Facebook and Twitter capture our social lives on the web -- building a "social layer" on top of the real world. Seth Priebatsch looks at the next layer in progress: the "game layer," a pervasive net of behavior-steering game dynamics that will reshape education and commerce. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

TED - a new book

This is how all books should be made, this would involve the children of the 21st century, this would bring the world to life, this is how the world is changing and if you don't get it then you are already behind!