Monday, July 02, 2012


Not for you, for me.

Oh, OK. I have a challenge for you. But first let's talk about me.

Due to some family matters, I literally haven't picked up my camera in over a week. Which implies that the photos in this blog are older than that! So that's been keeping me busy for a while. Then I got home and turned on my laptop and, "boing". That's the only word I could think of that wouldn't end up with this blog getting x-rated.

Without dwelling on the details, it's dead. I was lucky enough to be able to recover my data. I had done a backup to an external drive about a week before, and if you're not using Dropbox, you'd better start now. Click the link. Saved my bacon — I had gotten into the habit of copying my critical files, especially my Quickbooks accounting file to Dropbox and there it was when I needed to recover.

So I went computer shopping. I really wanted to get a Mac, but in the end, the price of changing over was too high for me. Not only the hardware, which is close to double what you pay on the PC side, but also all the little bits and pieces of software that I would need. I stayed on the Dark Side.

This is not an endorsement for either the manufacturer or the store, but I bought an HP laptop at Costco. When I transport stuff, it's in the back of my Subaru Forester SUV so size doesn't matter (in computers as well as other things...) but I have to admit that the 17" I bought is HUGE. In fact, when I got home I discovered that the big leather computer bag I've been using for years is too small, it won't fit in! I had to buy a computer backpack (at Costco again... OK, I do endorse them!). Anyway, a quad-core i7 processor, 8Gb of RAM expandable to 16Gb, 1.5 Tb of hard drive storage in the form of two discrete 750Gb drives, and a 2Gb NVIDIA video card. All of which I'm sure will be obsolete in 6 months!

Anyway, I'm sure you don't want to read about the endless trials and tribulations of getting software installed and configured, it's a daunting exercise. But it can be a Sisyphusian task (look it up!) if you don't do it right from the beginning, which is why I brought the computer up to Jim's place before even taking it out of the box! Jim is a workflow guru and I think we got things set up in the best possible way. Thanks, Jim!

Photography Courses in the Highlands

They are up and running. I have at least two sessions booked in the next two weeks. All as a result of this ad placed in the Haliburton Highlander:

For those of you interested in taking such a course, I'll be running these here in the Highlands or in the Toronto area for now. Please use this link to contact me. Or you could, of course, pop over to the website. Or even phone me!

If you're interested in TEACHING such a course, my Train-the-Trainer manual is coming along nicely and if all goes well, it will be ready in a month or so. Please contact me via this link to get on the list of those who will receive a FREE copy of the manual when it's ready.

Rosa is a smart lady

So she deserves a subheading of her own in this blog! Kathy and others will remember the difficulty I had trying to collapse my light tent so that it would fit into its original dinner-plate-sized bag. Kathy did it last summer in about 3 seconds but try as I might, I just haven't been able to do it.

Rosa said, "Look on YouTube. I'm sure you'll find how to do it there". I was skeptical. She is a smart lady! There are a number of tutorials on there that show exactly how and I DID IT! Her insights into a thousand different things amaze me. For a right-brained artist, she sure knows a lot of stuff. She's even challenging me on Quantum mechanics and string theory. She doesn't "get" the Big Bang Theory, my favourite TV show, though! LOL

Business Cards

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I have a source for full-coloured, double sided, high quality business cards at ridiculously low prices (like $20 for 1000 cards!). Since then, we've ordered a number of them for people and they've all come out exceptionally well. If you're a photoshop type, you can do the whole thing from start to finish yourself, if not, I can help you with it. Go back and check out the previous article or contact me if you need some.

A really Excellent presentation.

I watched a presentation by Scott Kelby a couple of weeks ago and it caused me to recompose some of my teaching points in my course, but more importantly, to rethink some of my practices when shooting pictures. It was called "Crush the Composition" and it was recorded on YouTube. It's an hour long, and worth watching -- make the time. Here's the link.

One of the things Scott touched on in his talk was "Working the Scene" and it's a fabulous concept. In three words or less, if you've stopped to take some pictures of a scene, don't just take one or two snaps, work it. Your original picture may not work out, but there are bound to be others that will, if you take the time and make the effort to try different perspectives or views of the same scene. He documented a great example, when he visited the Taj Mahal... but I'll let you hear it directly from him instead of trying to paraphrase it.

A few days later, I stopped at a canola field that caught my eye. I already showed you one image a couple of weeks ago, but here's the one I had in mind when I originally stopped there:

In the spirit of "working the scene", I mounted my 400mm lens and took this shot:

and this one:

And this one, which I did some additional work on:

I used some of the new tools in Photoshop CS5 to move the plants around to form a better arrangement,
then the oil paint filter to add some texture.
Back to my 70-200mm lens, I created this layered looking panorama

and now a deliberately slow shutter speed and panning action on that smooth gimbal mount produced this:

I call this one, "Yellow". I wonder why? I'm contemplating making a very large print of this for mounting and display. The one before as well.

Are you bored yet? I'm not. Half-a-dozen totally different images, all from the same stop at a yellow field of canola plants (actually I stopped twice, about a week apart).

My challenge to you

Next time something catches your eye and you stop to take a picture, pause and look around and see what other images you can create from the same spot. Post your pictures somewhere and send me a link to where they are, I'd love to see you stretching yourself like I think I did!

I had originally intended to come up with a theme for you, but I don't want to impose any limitations except that you should try to capture some totally different images, all from the same location.

I'll try to find some time this week to shoot some pictures. I'm working on the course, and I have to prepare for my CRA audit (shudder) next week, but I'll be baaack!

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