Friday, November 30, 2012

The End of Movember

If that was a song it would have some sweet lyrics.

 

I know many of you think Movember is just a joke. Not in the funny haha, sense, but in the you don’t take it serious, sense. Movember is an actual event, and a month of awareness for men’s health.

From the Movember website:

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo's, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men's health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.

 

It’s more than just recognizing a pretty, face with a cool stache on it. It’s about helping to spread awareness, and helping to fund research. I donated. And I would truly appreciate a donation, in any amount, from you. I don’t have a Movember donation account, but my buddy, Jason Jakober, does. Please consider donating under his name, here. But feel free to donate to the cause in any way you like. I thank you, and men all over the world thank you!

 

So here it is. My one month stache contribution to Movember.

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Before the forming of the actual stache… It was like a hair turtle neck.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

To The Right

Now lean left.

 

Composition. Is there a right or wrong way? If you answered no, then you need to take my photography class. Of course there’s a right and wrong way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t break the rules…once you know what the rules are. Just like anything else, there are rules in photography. Learn them, and you’ll be a better a photographer. Learn to creatively break them, and you’ll stand out from the rest.

 

Composition is such a simple rule to learn. And simple to follow. But once you’re comfortable with it, get naked in public get uncomfortable with it. Don’t just grab the shot and take off. Take the time to look around. Move to the left or right. See if there’s a better angle. If it’s down low, get on your belly and shoot upwards. You want your viewers to see something special.

 

I’m not going to get into composition do’s and don’ts. <----- I don’t know how to spell don’ts? The rules of composition is a whole different post. That I probably won’t do. So for now, look at what a difference subtle adjustments in position can do for your composition.

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Do you take the time to look for a better angle? That doesn’t mean to take 638 pictures of the same thing. It means to take the time to really look at what you’re shooting, before you push the button.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I Am 4Tay!

I said forty. Not four eyes.

 

Today, I am the big 4OH! And you know what, I don’t care. I love waking up every single day. I have a wonderful family, and wonderful friends. The best of the simple life. Don’t let age scare you. You’re only as old as you let others make you believe you are.

 

I am overwhelmed with the amount of wishes I’ve received today. I honestly can’t keep up with them. Thank you to each and every one of you. Here is my thank you to you, more of me. I don’t feel old. So I’m not going to act old. Deal with it!

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Do you worry about getting older? I only worry about what I’ll miss when I’m gone. Not how old I am.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Timing

Like an unwound clock.

 

Is it bad timing when you miss a shot? Or is it just luck when it actually get the one you didn’t plan on? Either way, I missed this one. I shot this at 200mm, so I was pretty dang far away. As I’m driving toward the birds, there’s a small child, running around, with all of these birds just going crazy! Like coo-coo crazy, just feet off the ground! I slammed on the brakes, grabbed the camera, and…he was done. The birds landed. The kid left. I lost. The end.

 

So I present to you, my newest piece of art: Birds On The Ground. <----- catchy, right? pfft… Maybe next time?

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Have you ever missed the shot? You can not answer yes, if you didn’t have a camera with you. No camera…too bad!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mobile Chop

Slicing and dicing up mobile photos.

 

Until they release SnapSeed for Android, Pixlr Express is tight! They might be the new mobile editing kid on the block, but Pixlr isn’t new to the editing game. I’ve been recommending Pixlr’s online software for a few years now. It’s a great alternative if you can’t afford software like Adobe Photoshop, and also if you’re on the go. Since it’s online, you can access it anywhere you have internet service.

I’ve had Pixlr Express installed since its release, but haven’t had a chance to use it much.

I ditched my iPhone for the Samsung Galaxy S3 when it was released. The only thing I miss, is SnapSeed. But Pixlr is quickly filling that void. The editing options are endless! And it’s fast. If you’re on Android, and have been looking for a solid photo editing app, this is my highest recommendation. My other favorite is PicsPlay Pro. Also, seriously Nice! And I use them all with my camera app of choice, Vignette.

Of course, you don’t have to chop your images. Pixlr Express has all the basic tools needed to help you make your mobile images better. But for me, mobile images are a way to have fun, not just document. I’m not worried about accuracy, and correct color. I’m worried about…nothing. I edit them until I like them.

Before on the left, after on the right.

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Both of these mobile apps, also have a desktop app. They are all worth checking out! Do you use any of them?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sharing the Love

A little bit of dog love.

 

Today was another family portrait session, for some great friends. I decided to take the whole family, including our newest member, Rueger. No, we didn’t get rid of Nico, we just gave him a new identity. We were pretty amazed at how he took to his new name. He responded from the very first time we called him by it.

 

The drive was a windy, mountain road. Poor Rueger didn’t quite make it to our destination; he lost his breakfast. Know what I mean? Anyways…he was a hit with our friends and their kids. He kept us all entertained. At some point, while I was taking pictures, I think they tried to swap families with me? It was a mix-and-match kinda thing. See the picture.

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I’m thankful for such a great family, and friends as wonderful as these.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Step Up Your Tree Game

Ladders up. Chutes down. Okay, we got no chutes.

 

But we do have an antique ladder Christmas Tree! I love it! Love. It.! We made our Christmas Tree last year, and loved how personal it was. Not that we didn’t want to use it again, we just wanted something different. Okay, I wanted something different.

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The thing I love most about it, is the fact that it’s 100% ours. I’m not saying nobody has ever done it before, but I’ve never seen one. This came right out of my little pea-pod brain.

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Last year, we used burlap for the tree skirt. This year, we thought it needed some color. So what’s the perfect match for an old ladder? A painters drop cloth! I hung it up out back, and let Davin decorate it with acrylic paint.

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A few bonus pictures. Yes, I’m proud.

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Every year, we let Davin choose his own personal ornament for the tree. Past ornaments have included a video game controller, fire truck, and a nutcracker, to name a few. But this year, he picked the most awesome ornament. He’s going to be a big brother two days after Christmas, and he’s obviously proud. Yeah, we’re pretty proud of him as well!

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I know a lot of people will never stray from a live tree, simply for the smell. Hello modern day inventions! Today, there are candles that smell exactly like a fresh pine tree. With that said, would you ever consider doing some crazy tree, like one of ours?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Hip Hop Hippity Hop

No carrots here, but hide your tomatoes!

 

I sooooo want to share our Christmas Tree! But it’s not 100% ready yet. Tomorrow.

 

For now, check out these not-so-hip, hoppers. The picture will give my wife the chills when she sees it. My good friend, Morgan, says, “I’ve got grasshoppers all over my garden”. Sounded like a photo op to me? All these guys were in her garden at the same time, plus many more. I actually took these in September. Yeah, I’m a picture hoarder. I’m fascinated by how many different species we have. And they’ve got some pretty cool eyes.

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Do grasshoppers give you the heebie jeebies? What if you knew some of these were over 4 inches long?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Jive Turkey

That turkey is one smooth cat. Going down.

 

I’m thankful every day, just to wake up. Period. Family and friends make it that much sweeter. We’ve all got problems. We all want more. Something more. But what really makes me happy, is sharing what little bit I have, with those that have less.

I was stationed in Korea for 1 year, in the Army. I remember spending Thanksgiving alone, in the Mess Hall. Cold, damp and lonely. No decorations. No inviting smells. No comfy couch to relax on after dinner. No laughter. No love. Nothing like home. But I was still thankful. Why? Because I knew that someone, somewhere, appreciated myself and my Army Brothers being there. And I may have been alone, but at least I had a meal to eat, and a place to eat it. Think about that next time you sit down in your warm house, to eat a hot cooked meal.

 

In no particular order, I’m thankful for:

  • sun
  • rain
  • family
  • friends
  • pets
  • laughter
  • sharing
  • hugs
  • love
  • touch
  • sight
  • sound
  • internet (it brings us so much closer together)

 

Sure, I have a lot more to be thankful for. But with the things above, I’m doing just fine. Davin drew this picture…just for this blog post. I’m very thankful for it, and him.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kings of the World

Don’t worry, the only thing they’re actually running, is their mouths.

 

The simple things. I think most of my posts are based on simplicity? At least, I like to think that I lead a pretty simple life. It’s the little things that I’m thankful for. And it’s the little things that make me happy. Every day, simple consumes more of me, and pushes my happy meter just a little bit higher.

 

King Davin!

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King (Giant Ball of Mush) Rueger!

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Are you simple? Do you live a simple life? What would your friends and family say if I asked them?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Remembering My Wood

It’s almost time to share it again.

 

You know you want to see it. And trust me, I’ll share it with you. Last year, we made our Christmas Tree. Sure, it didn’t smell like messy fresh pine needles, but the candle in the room did. So we decided to do it again this year. Of course, this years tree will be different. Sorry, no spoilers. Stick around to see the finished product, later this week. And yes, it is completely different than last years.

Check out the link above to read how we made it.

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Technically, I’m not making the tree this year. But it’s still not a tree. Any guesses on what I’ll be using?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Etsy Blues

But without the bass. Or hi-def. Or surround sound.

 

I scored this gem of a clock radio. The coolest thing? It works! I love all the colors. And…it even fits our d├ęcor. So why so blue? I sold it. Yep. I bought it for Etsy, and stuck to my guns. When someone buys something like this, you know it’s going to a good home. And it’s on it’s way to its new home right now.

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What about you? Would you have kept it, or sold it? Or shivered and left it right where you found it?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Earn It

Don’t just expect it to come to you.

 

The shortest distance may be a straight line, but that does not make it the easiest path.

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If you want to capture beautiful images, you have to work for them. They don’t just happen. I know I’ve written about this before, but it’s because it’s one of the most common things I hear; “I wish there were beautiful things like this where I live.” They’re there. Open your eyes.

 

This one cost me some mud on my lens, muddy knees, wet shoes, and about a half dozen stickers, all tangled up in my shoe laces. Is it spectacular? No. But for me, it was worth it. Simply because I put in the effort and captured what I saw. Don’t walk away from a possible photo because you have to work for it. Because the only thing you’ll have left - is regrets.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I Heart Moos

I kinda like - love them!

 

There is nothing wrong with a little cow lovin’. It’s totally innocent. Honest. Those big ol’ eyes. MmmHmmm. Some light rain, cool weather, and friendly cows. What a day.

I think this one has it hard for me?

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Nico

Welcome to the family!

 

Many of you know, we lost Oscar, our best friend of 14 years, over the summer. Well, we’ve decided that we’re ready for another family friend. Meet Nico. Our newest family member. I say family, not just friend, because our pets are part of our family.

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This time around, I wanted to adopt. There’s just something so rewarding about adopting, versus buying, or even, being given a puppy from a home. However, with the baby on the way, I didn’t want to be cleaning up shit from a baby and a puppy; I wanted a dog that was house trained. I’ve been checking all the animal shelters within about 3 hour drive of here. Then, like magic, it happened. A Facebook post today, someone that had to get rid of their beloved dog. I met him, fell in love with him, and brought him home.

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Nico is a 1 1/2 year old, male, Blue Pitbull. He weighs about 80lbs, and is a giant ball of mush! And…his balls are already clipped, so I don’t have to be the bad guy. He needs a little bit of training. But nothing major. This dog is just overflowing with energy! We’re not completely sold on the name. I know, I know. But he knows his name…and we know his name, so we’ll probably keep it. Maybe?

Sometimes, I think things are just meant to be. This is one of them. Expect lots of pictures in the future.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful

For Legos.

 

Well, I like Legos. What about you? The kiddo brought home a project, due tomorrow. Very simple, cute little project. The teacher (who is super duper amazing!) sent home a plastic grocery bag. The students have to return it tomorrow, with something in it they were thankful for. Cute, right!

 

Of course, our little man wasn’t thankful for just one thing. But he was pretty set on putting a family picture in that bag. No problem. Unless you’re a photographer…and all your family pictures around the house are the size of small tables. LIGHT-BULB! That’s what Gru, from Despicable Me, says when he has an idea. Yes, I quoted a cartoon. I thought, why not let him share all of his items?

 

This is Davin’s “Thankful” item. Hey, it fits in the bag; it’s an item!

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Today, I am thankful that we have such a kind, caring, and considerate young man.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Life

In harsh times.

 

The desert is just weird. Really. The way things grow, or die. Weird.

 

I had a whole that the dogs had dug in the back yard. And I just happened to have some really old potting soil that was headed for the trash. Sooo…why not fill up a hole? Oh, and there just happened to be a few packets of mixed flower seeds laying around. Sooo…why not add them to the potting soil? Yeah, well, I did.

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Filled the hole. Got the potting soil good and wet, and dumped the seeds in. This was a week ago. In our harsh back yard. No water. No fertilizer. Sudden freezing temperatures. Short days. All that bad stuff. Yet, today, there is life. I am amazed, and thankful. Life of all kinds fascinates me. Especially how things and people can adapt and overcome. Will these little seedlings make it through the winter? I don’t know. But we’ll find out.

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Hopefully, I’m not blogging about this spot again this spring, and showing you my magnificent crop of weeds. While I’m not sure about the blooms in the first two pictures, I’m pretty sure that the last one is actually flowers. What kind? No idea.

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Anybody have any gardening tips for our crazy desert?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Little Cheese

Make it a double, hold the onions.

 

Found this cute totally rough and masculine picture frame at Goodwill. Don’t worry, I’ve already ruined it. I just wanted the miniature togs. Expect to see them clicking away in future photos.

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I just yanked ‘em off the frame. The rest of the frame found the trash bin. It didn’t even have real glass. Now they live in my camera bag. I still haven’t figured out why their cameras on their foreheads? Maybe I’ve been doing wrong all these years?

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Any name suggestions? I’m thinking Bo & Luke.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Before & After

Before the after. Or after the before? Whatever.

 

I get asked a lot about my post process work flow. The most common question is “do you use Photoshop?” Yes, I do. For every single image. It’s strictly preference. Photoshop is a tool. Just like developing agents for film. However, you can’t make a bad photo good, only a good photo better.

 

I’m not going to share any of the steps in the workflow. Not in this post. I’m simply sharing some side by sides so you can see what the image looked like out of the camera, and what my finished product looked like. I really believe that as an artist, before and afters can help you grow.

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If you’re like me, when you saw the last image, you went “holy shit"! “whoa!” I mentioned above that I believe it helps artists to grow, being able to see these images. Why? Because you see the beauty of the after, like above, but the camera doesn’t. No matter what you do, no matter what settings you change, you just can’t get it to look like you want when you’re taking the picture. Again, Photoshop is a tool. But in order for it to work correctly, you have to get the picture right when you take it. And, you have to know what your limitations and your abilities are in Photoshop. Now without throwing a curve ball, the after of the image above, was achieved almost entirely in Lightroom. Very little work in Photoshop. All the beautiful color was actually there. The problem is that a camera, as smart as it is, is extremely limited compared to the human eye.

 

Here’s the thing. Some of you may enjoy one of the before images, more than my after. That’s fine. It’s totally preference. The difference, at least for me, is that I’m an artist. I show you what I want you to see. I’m sharing my vision. I see so many young portrait photographers make this mistake. They post several versions of the same image, asking which one people like best. Who cares? You took the image. It’s yours. Share the version or vision, you want to. Chose the one you’re the most comfortable with. There is no right or wrong. But again, remember, you have to get it right in the camera first!

Does seeing an image’s before and after help you? Do you think it gives you a better understanding of what you can accomplish using the right tools? I’m totally open to questions, so ask away.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Plant Life

Under glass.

 

Today was a day of sleeping in - until 6:30. insert frowny face

 

I have no idea where all my time went today? I did manage to make a couple of open top terrariums. Nothing special. Want to see them? No. Okay, but just not tonight. There’s this thing about blogging. When you want to share something, you have to take pictures of the thing you’re sharing. I didn’t take pictures. Well, not of the terrariums. I did take a roll of 35mm though. Alas, also not of the terrariums.

 

But since terrariums have like, plants and stuff in them, here’s some plants and…or…grass stuff.

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Winter Blues

Dear cold wind, go away.

 

Today was cold. I wanted to be warm. So I’m being mentally warm, remembering when I took this picture. I’m not saying I’m ready for summer. I welcome the winter chill. I just wasn’t ready for it, today.

 

Book open. Blanket spread. The sweet smell of blossoms. It's your turn.

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What about you. Summer or Winter? No fall or spring, that’s cheating.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Beauty of it All

Don’t look for it. Just see it.

 

Even the most annoying, and filthy of things, can still be beautiful. You may not find this image, of a common fly, beautiful. I understand. But I do. I find it peaceful. I find it relaxing. It makes me think about the scale of life. And when I look at it, it reminds me that I’m thankful. Thankful to be who I am, where I am, and who I’m with.

Don’t take the small things for granted. Without them, you wouldn’t be where you are today.

 

I know a land
Where the flowers grow
Where the rainbows hide
And the lights are low
Come take my hand
Walk into the sun
Leave the world behind
No need to run
So beautiful...
So beautiful (so beautiful)
So beautiful

~Dune

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Adobe Lightroom Update

Today, Adobe released the Lightroom 4.3 update.

The update includes support for 13 new cameras, as well as the following:

Fixed Issues

The following issues have been fixed in Lightroom 4.3 release candidate:

  • Unable to upload a large panorama to Adobe Revel via the Revel Publish Plugin
  • Unable to add a second photo to a page layout in a Book. This only occurred when the "Show Unused Photos" filter is selected in the filmstrip.
  • A photo can be flagged as both a "Pick" and "Reject" at the same time when using the Toolbar to apply flags
  • Using multiple fonts within the same text cell inside a Book can sometimes cause Lightroom to crash
  • Exposure becomes the active adjustment slider in the Basic panel (within Develop) when moving from image to image
  • Customers using Photoshop Elements 11 were unable to upgrade their catalogs in Lightroom 4
  • Custom Cell padding options in the Book Module reset in between Lightroom sessions
  • 1080p video files shot on iPhone 4S flicker on replay
  • Leaving the Book Module after using multiple text colors in the same text cell can sometimes cause the book to be lost.

If you are not using Lightroom, why? Is it because you’re using Adobe Bridge? Shame on you! Honestly, there is NO comparison! Lightroom is Bridge on steroids. Don’t believe it? Check out 100 Ways Lightroom Kicks Bridges Ass! 100 short videos, by two Adobe geniuses, Matt Kloskowski and Scott Kelby.

 

And a picture, just because. Yes, the RAW was processed using Lightroom.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Painful Delivery

Tell me again, how important is that letter?

 

Umm…YIKES! Found this black widow just chillin’, waiting for a welfare check hand out finger to bite. If you didn’t check under the handle of your mailbox before this, I bet you do next time. Have a nice day.

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Black Widows are a huge menace here in the desert. They’re literally everywhere. Do you know how to identify a bite? Do you know what to do if you’ve been bit? Read up!

Don’t worry, the welfare check never arrived. And this spider did not pass go.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Scratch That

So simple. So effective.

 

You know when you’ve got that stuck on gunk, that just won’t come off. What do you do? Reach for the closest spatula. Right? Right? I’m not the only one? Right? Dishes. I’m talking dishes, folks. Ewww…Go see a doctor.

 

Well no more! I introduce to you, The Scraper! Say that in a deep voice - THE SCRAPER! Now, scrape that gunk away. And do it without scratching your precious metals or ruining a precious spatula.

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You can see in the picture, the edges are actually rounded, so they scrape, not scratch. I used one tonight, and it had no problems tackling melted cheese on a round pizza pan.

If you wanna know if you’re scraping right, it should look something like this.

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So did you know they had these? No you didn’t. Don’t lie!