Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mac woes, Google+, and a *New* crop

I've become very fond of Mac computers having owned at least some variation since 2005 when I purchased an iMac G5 (which I still have and use occasionally and it runs great).  Maybe I've been fortunate, but I've had very little trouble with any of the Apple products I've owned - and I/we are pretty Mac centric around here.  Yet, all good things must come to an end as my wife's Macbook appears to be having major hard disk drive issues.  So, I sit drafting this post waiting to see if my emergency HDD recovery is successful.  Luckily, I'm pretty handy with other operating systems, too, because I'm having to use an Ubuntu Live CD on the Macbook to access the failing drive and transfer as much data as possible to an external HDD.  Yes, Linux is quite fantastic!  Hopefully, I can recover the more important things my wife had saved but it's turning out to be a painfully slllllooooooow process.

To make better use of my time waiting I figured I'd get caught up with my photography 'circle' on Google+.  Now, if you're not familiar with Google+ then you really should be because it's turned out to be a refreshing take on social networking.  It definitely isn't as cluttered with useless BS as other social networks (although I'm sure that may change with growing popularity) and it's quickly become one of my biggest resources for photography information and learning.  How so?  Well, I'm constantly scouring the web for photo information and other photographers because, in my opinion, there's no better way to learn photography than to seek out and study other photographers.  I have a "Photography" bookmark folder in my web browser that houses the websites of other photographers, photography blogs, etc.  I typically check those sources regularly for new information.  Now, several of the photographers that I "follow" are using Google+ and I simply have added them to my Photography circle to immediately gain quick access to their posts in my news stream.  However, the best part are the discussions that spring up on these posts by other people following the same photographer as well as the photographer them self.  Nowhere else have I ever been able to read a post by someone like Moose Peterson, Thom Hogan, Steve Huff, or Chase Jarvis, comment on that post with a question or simple response , and then have the photographer comment back.  It's truly fantastic and I'm amazed that a simple social network can be a powerful learning tool.

On that note, I read a post by Scott Kelby that referenced a cropping technique that he often uses called "Cinematic Crop."  It piqued my interest so I ended up browsing to his website and found his original post with more in-depth info on this cropping technique.  After reading, I was eager to try it out on some of my photos, so I opened up Aperture on my Mac and starting browsing for the perfect candidate(s).  After a very long search I ended up finding three photos that worked well.  The first photo is very recent and one that I liked, but seemed to be missing *something* that I couldn't quite put my finger on.  After playing with it a bit more and applying the crop I ended up with something I really like.  The other two photos are from our visit to Maui, Hawaii back in 2008.  Enjoy!

Kansas Soybeans

Monday, October 3, 2011

An Evening Walk with Ainslee

CamperThe other night, I hadn't been home from work very long before my wife took our two oldest kids and headed to the grocery store leaving me and our youngest daughter, Ainslee, home to entertain each other.  It was a gorgeous evening and I felt it needed to be enjoyed, so I grabbed Ainslee and my camera and headed out for a quick walk to the creek.

Barbed WireI hadn't really planned on taking many pictures primarily because Ainslee can be a handful, literally.  She's at an age where she rarely likes to be put down, instead choosing to be carried by whoever will give in to her whimpering.  She can be quite dramatic and eventually you just have to give in.  It's nothing new, as both of my other children went through the same phase.  You'd think Jodi and I would have gorilla arms by now!  So, I figured we'd simply stroll along as I pointed out the horses, birds, bugs, and anything else she might find interesting (which is a lot at her age!).

Fence PostsTo my surprise, Ainslee actually didn't want to be carried as we started out.  Instead, she began pointing things out to me, starting with our chickens...and their poop.  Yes, she's suddenly fascinated with chicken poop.  Anyway, we carried on and I was able to snap a picture here and there as Ainslee's curiosity took us across the yard, past the horse barn, and then toward the creek.  It was extremely entertaining watching her eyes bounce from one thing to the next.  At one point I stopped to take a picture of a small flower amid the grass.  I squatted very low to the ground and Ainslee came over and squatted next to me with a puzzled look on her face as if wanting to say, "you're really taking a picture of that?"  It was pretty cute and she must've known something because, in the end, I didn't really care for that photo.  Anyway, a few minutes later she decided that she'd done enough walking and wanted me to carry her, so I obliged.

Rust & White-Wall


We eventually made it to the creek and wondered around for quite a while before heading back to the house.  A lovely walk with my lovely daughter!