Twenty Insights on Being a Photographer

Twenty Insights on Being a Photographer

a presentation given to the RA Photo Club Everyone has a camera at the ready these days, but a camera does not a photographer make. Mike draws on four plus decades as an artist and photographer to distill twenty concise insights on photography and being a photographer. Over the years, hundreds of accumulated details and bits of information slowly form up into patterns. I tried to sweep a few things into piles and summarize it as a concise principle. A sampling of the principles introduced includes: It’s not about the Subject, it’s about the Image Don’t dilute Great with Good “Impact” is an Emotional reaction A Camera is a Musical Instrument that a Photographer Plays Don’t point a Camera, point a Workflow Crop until you Can’t You can download the .pdf of the presentation. Always great fun to be a part of things at the RA Photo Club – this evening was no exception – even if I did get an emergency tech support phone call from Ottawa Little Theatre 10 minutes before I was to start talking – but the show must go on! Lol....
The Future of Photography

The Future of Photography

a presentation given to the RA Photo Club Since the production of the photograph in 1826, photography has been evolving in response to changes in technology, society and business. It returns the favor – today a single photograph can become a symbol which shapes global events. The rate of change is increasing and the next couple of decades will reshape photography more than the previous two centuries. Everything is up for grabs: How a photo is taken, how it is processed, distributed, published and exhibited. The interaction between our world and how we view it is in for a wild ride. You can download the .pdf of the presentation. This was a fun look at the future I pulled together from a few weeks of google searching of current research combined with some imagination on how it might all fit together. The final bit draws on my experiences as a photographer in the...
Sing and See: Pitch Matching Practice Tool

Sing and See: Pitch Matching Practice Tool

equipping vocal students with an effective practice tool I was recently engaged to teach vocals / singing to three fabulous pre-adolescent kids. At our first lesson, I was primarily interested in assessing what needed work. Emerging quickly as the front runner was pitch matching (the ability to hear a note and then sing it accurately). As I sat at the piano and played note after note, asking them to reproduce it, my students responded well to my feedback – “up a couple notes, down a couple… bring that up just a bit…” but I worried. All a teacher can do is show you what to learn and how to learn it – a student ultimately teaches themselves. How on earth could they practice effectively without me there to tell them how their pitch was doing? So I went home and did some searching, hoping to find an application that could help. Enter Sing and See – at $49 USD. It provides a window with real time pitch placement feedback, a keyboard for playing tones and a record and playback feature that works with any standard computer microphone. In the weeks since I’ve assigned my students practice work with Sing and See – move up and down the scale, move in semi-tones, play a note and sing it… and they have applied themselves diligently with admirable results. I highly recommend this application if you’ve got students (or yourself) with this...

Microsoft Live Writer 2011 – A Love Affair

a cool tool for bloggers Every now and then something happens and your life is forever changed. I suppose this is usually encountering that special someone and sliding down a silver slope into bliss. For craftspeople and tech geeks, sometimes it’s just finding the right tool for a job you do often. The day I was introduced to Microsoft Live Writer was just such a day, and it was renewed with the release of the 2011 version. Live Writer is a freebie blog authoring tool from Microsoft that works with pretty much any blogging technology out there. Equipped with dozens of plug ins (my favorite slides a flickr photo into the post with a couple of mouse clicks). You can include photos, video and maps, slide them around, wrap text around them and apply a bevy of pre-set styles – even give a graphic a little tilt (as shown by my ink to the right). The application connects to your blog, downloads the blog’s theme (some themes play better than others), category and tag lists, and you then work on your post offline. Once you’re ready to roll, you upload your post as a draft (and it’ll upload photos automatically to your site if need be – some configuration may be required). Once uploaded, you can inspect it and hit publish from the admin panel. One tip to mention… I cannot find, on any menu or ribbon thingy how to open entries on an existing blog – something I relied on with the previous version – but all is made clear if you hit CNTL-O (keyboard shortcut for “open”)...
Alesis Controlpad–Hooray for Christmas!

Alesis Controlpad–Hooray for Christmas!

music gear for electronic drumming One opportunity / challenge when you’re kitting out in the autumn on a hobby project is that you can ask for stuff for Christmas. IF you can find stuff that has a gift sized price tag, that is. That IF is the challenge. The only likely candidate on my wish list was the Alesis Controlpad, with hi-hat and kick pedal triggers can be added to it. I started looking for compatibility specs on hi-hat and kick triggers. There’s nothing mentioned on the Alesis site regarding interoperability. I could hope ANY apparently correct trigger might work but I’ve been around tech for 25 years and I know such an assumption is a dangerous one. I start looking around to try to find out how electronic drum triggers work, only to discover that such information is not clearly explained. After a consult with a local music vendor electronic drums expert, it does turn out that pedal triggers all run to the same interface. I ended up going with the Roland FD-8 hi-hat pedal trigger, but the fun was in the bass drum trigger. I choose a low profile unit, the Roland KD-7, which had a low profile (perfect for my office recording setup) and just hooks up to any standard bass drum pedal. Choose one that suits your taste (the Pearl P-120 was my choice). I’d like to think the trip to the music store to pick all this stuff up was fun for my wife, kids and other relatives who went in to make it happen. P.S. The Controlpad included BFD Lite, a great software...
Basic Flash Techniques

Basic Flash Techniques

a presentation given to a couple photo clubs in Ottawa Basic flash photography is existing light photography with an extra light. It’s easy to do badly, but once you know the basics of how a flash interacts with a scene and your camera, the aha moment flashes on (pardon the pun). Properties of a Light Source Reviewing Some Basics Flash Characteristics Histogram Metering Shooting Modes Shooting Scenarios Accessories You can downlaod a .pdf of the...