Shared posts

27 Oct 13:00

How it Works

27 Oct 13:30

Snape Kills Vader in One of Those Cars, Right

Snape Kills Vader in One of Those Cars, Right

Submitted by: (via I Heart Chaos)

Tagged: cars , clever , spoilers , g rated , win
27 Oct 15:30

Why Would Anyone Want a Honey Bucket?

24 Sep 17:30

This Flowchart Tells You When to Worry About Anything

by Melanie Pinola

This Flowchart Tells You When to Worry About Anything

Stress can be terribly damaging . Although it's normal to get stressed every so often, much of what we worry about doesn't come to pass. This illustration could help keep things in perspective.

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21 Oct 19:00

Wot I Think: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

by Jim Rossignol

It’s a little tricky to avoid feeling that a review of The Pre-Sequel (!) is superfluous. Surely everyone in the world has had a taste of Borderlands at this point, and have made their minds up about it? This is very much more of that same formula, with zaniness turned up to… What’s that, Steve? You’ve never played a Borderlands game? Wow.

Well then, I’d better explain!

… [visit site to read more]

16 Oct 11:00

How to Overcome the Fear of Sharing Your Writing in Public

by Leo Babauta

How to Overcome the Fear of Sharing Your Writing in Public

You'd think that after eight years of public blogging and writing books, I'd be completely free of fear when it comes to putting my writing out in public. You would, of course, be wrong. Hitting "publish" still makes me nervous.

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23 Oct 15:30

​Learn to Clean and Distill Dirty Water for Tough Times

by Tori Reid

Survival skills can save your life in an emergency. Prepare yourself for not having access to clean water by learning to distill dirty water.

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23 Oct 14:38

Creamy Vegan Herb Salad Dressing

by joythebaker

Creamy Vegan Herb Salad Dressing

Consider me an occasional fan of tofu.

My parents were early adopters of tofu.  Remember back when health food had as much cheese and potatoes as tofu?  Sure… there was the weirdest brown rice ever, but we covered it in cheese and sauce and all was right with the world.

Nowadays, I’m an occasional tofu enthusiast.  Count me among the few who just realized that you can make a delicious dipping and salad dressing from TOFU!  Did you know this?  Were you keeping it from me?

This thick dressing is creamy, satisfying, and doesn’t read as tofu per say… not that that would be a bad thing, but you know what I mean.   This dressing is more Ranch in distinction.  Herby, bright, and almost so good you want to rub it on your face (which is weird).

Creamy Vegan Herb Salad Dressing (1)

Into the food processor with silken tofu.  Firm silken tofu is key!  It blends up super smooth and creamy.

Add fresh parsley and fresh basil for bright and herby elements.  Lemon and vinegar for a necessary mouth-pucker.  Garlic for spice.  Salt and pepper for balance.  Olive oil for because we’re luscious.

Creamy Vegan Herb Salad Dressing (2)

Creamy and smooth, herby and bright vegetable dip!  It’s a delight and the fact that it’s made from tofu and not sour cream is such a bonus!  To our health!

xo

Creamy Vegan Herb Salad Dressing

makes about 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces silken tofu
  • small handful fresh basil leaves
  • small handful fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • few dashes of hot sauce, to taste

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients, including just a bit of salt and pepper, to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.
  2. Pulse until incorporated, then blend on medium speed until smooth and well incorporated. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste. You may also choose to add a bit more lemon or vinegar. It just depends on your taste. Blend to combine. Chill before serving. Serve as a salad dressing or as a vegetable dip. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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http://joythebaker.com/2014/10/creamy-vegan-herb-salad-dressing/
24 Oct 16:00

Literally Heavy, Literally Metal

Literally Heavy, Literally Metal

Submitted by: (via Acid Cow)

Tagged: art , metal , sculpture , g rated , win
23 Oct 13:00

5 Tips for More Successful Event Photography Using a Shot List

by Suzi Pratt

Company parties. Special galas. Nonprofit fundraisers. When someone asks you to shoot one of these events, you aren’t exactly leaping for joy, right?

Event Photo 04

Corporate event photography can get a bad reputation among creatives, mostly because it sounds like an unglamorous style of photography. While it is true that many aspects of corporate event photos can be very rote, these events actually a huge advantage that can lead to even more creative expression. Here’s why: There is almost always a set structure and schedule to corporate events that rarely deviates, meaning it is incredibly easy to build a shot list to get your essential shots out of the way very quickly. That means you have more time on your hands at the event to get creative with the way you choose to take these shots. Whether you’re a budding event photographer, or taking on an event as a favor, use these tips to build an effective event photography shot list that will make your clients happy and maybe even lead to other photography opportunities with them down the road!

Fact: Most corporate clients will not know what kind of photos they need.

At least in my experience working with west coast corporate clients, most of them can’t give me a clear answer when I ask how many photos they need, what they need shots of, etc. While this may seem frustrating at first, bear in mind that this vagueness from your client gives you the perfect opportunity to shine by filling in the blanks for them, because in general, most corporate clients want the same types of event photos.

So what kinds of photos do corporate clients want?

To answer this question, put yourself in the shoes of the branding or marketing coordinator who put the event together. Often, their whole purpose to having you there to is capture images that show that they did their jobs right by properly setting up the space and making sure the people they invited showed up and had a good time. They want shots that capture:

1. Setup shots of empty rooms, trade show booths, promotional items, signage, etc.

Event Photo 02

Be sure to arrive early to capture any event setup shots. It was someone’s job to put everything together, so he or she will definitely want images that show off all of the hard work that went into it. Generally, setup shots should be taken before guests arrive so that everything is still intact.

2. Candid and posed shots of VIPs or executives that are deemed important by the company.

Event Photo 01

This can be extremely tricky because often times, you won’t have any idea who the company CEO or big wigs are, even if the event coordinator hands you a sheet with all of their names on it. The best way to handle this is to ask the coordinator ahead of time if there is someone from the company who can accompany you and point out their VIPs and executives on site. Don’t be afraid to ask for help so that you can get your job done right.

3. Closeups and wide angle shots of any speakers.

Event Photo 03

As much as possible, get shots of speakers that include branding and signage somewhere in the photo. Also bear in mind that you will not always have a designated spot to shoot from, so bring a telephoto lens and prepare to possibly shoot from farther away. If you’re shooting from up close, make your shots quick so that you don’t block the view of guests.

4. Guests looking engaged and interested at the event.

Barneys New York And The Parkinson's Project Host A Luncheon In Support Of The Parkinson's Project At The Kingfish Cafe

Try not to capture photos of people (especially VIPs and executives) making unflattering expressions or gestures. It can take some patience, but make sure you get images that indicate everyone was having a good time. If you captured any goofy expressions or moments, you might be able to submit them, but be sure to flag them as optional outtakes.

5. Shots that indicate the event was well attended, such as full room shots with lots of people.

Event Photo 07

While it might still be valuable to include full room shots where only half of the seats are filled, you’ll want to pull out your zoom lens and focus in on larger clumps of people to provide shots that indicate the event was well attended.

The photos that corporate clients DON’T want

While event photography can in many ways feel like photojournalism, this is not the time to take too many images that are overly honest. Bear in mind that many times the photos are intended to be used for marketing purposes, so the last thing your clients want to see are ugly, unfavorable photos. Even though events might be poorly attended and the attendees might not be the most interesting people, it’s your job to make the event look and seem as fun as possible, even if you have to act like a hype person or stage photos to do so.

While there are many lessons and creative inspiration that can be obtained by winging it and thinking quick on the spot, professionals know there is generally more value to preparing ahead of time. One way to effectively do this is to think out every aspect of the shoot beforehand and great a comprehensive shot list. This will help you picture the finished shoot even before you step foot on set, greatly reducing any last minute issues that might arise, and giving you more freedom to take your necessary shots with creativity.

Do you photograph events? Do you have any other tips you’d like to share? You could also read 5 Tips for Special Event Photography here on dPS for more tips on covering events.

The post 5 Tips for More Successful Event Photography Using a Shot List by Suzi Pratt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

23 Oct 18:00

How to Add a Grunge Effect to Your Portraits Using Lightroom

by Gina Milicia
Grunge Main 600

All images copyright Gina Milicia – Model credits from left to right: Jess Kenneally, Nathan Kennedy, Firass Dirani.

Gina has a new dPS ebook just released – Portraits: After the Shot – check out out!

The style of side lighting (in the image below) is a great way to enhance muscle definition, and the post-production technique complements the lighting style. You can see that it appears as if Nathan has far better muscle definition in his after shot. I love using this post-production technique in character portraits for the entertainment industry, advertising and editorial shoots. It deliberately gives the skin a hard, detailed, gritty look, which is perfectly suited to character-style portraits.

Nathan Kennedy for ML Denim

Model credit: Nathan Kennedy for ML Denim. In this image I used fill flash from my Elinchrom Quadra lights with a Rotolux Deep Octabox camera left, which is lighting Nathan from a 45-degree angle.

If you want to see a full tutorial on my favourite lighting style for this type of effect, check out: How to Create this “Fight Club” Inspired Portrait using One Light.

It’s not the most flattering technique for skin post-production, so I’m selective about which projects I use it on and tend to avoid using it on female skin tones. There are very few women who will say, “Wow, I love how detailed and large my pores look.”
Don’t forget my overnight rule. After you’ve edited your image, try not to look at it for a minimum of 12 hours. When you look at it again with fresh eyes, you should trust your gut instinct on how it looks. If your first reaction is “Ewww”, then you may have gone too far!

Here’s my step-by-step recipe for adding a grunge effect to your portraits using Lightroom:

LW GRUNGE 1 LW GRUNGE 1B

Note: Every lighting style is going to give you a slightly different result. I suggest you use my recipe as a rough guide only, tweaking your images until you get the results that best suit your image and personal style.

LW Grunge 2

Find a neutral area of your image and use it to correct white balance. In this case I’ve selected a very light gray section of the white shirt the model is wearing.

Step 1. Import the file into Lightroom and in the Develop module, use the eyedropper tool (A.) and do a custom white balance (B.). This is achieved by finding a neutral area on your image (gray or white works best) then using your eyedropper tool (A) click on this (Neutral area) and Lightroom will automatically adjust your white balance.

The best and most accurate technique to achieve a good white balance is to ask your model to hold a gray card in front of their face for the first frame. This gives you an accurate neutral gray to select from for your white balance.

The third option to achieve white balance is to use Lightroom’s auto white balance. Test them all if you can and see which option best suits your shooting style.

I like working with a combination of gray card and finding neutral areas. I will use Lightroom’s auto function if I am shooting television stills or theatre productions where I need to color correct images that were shot under tungsten lights.

LW GRUNGE 3

Step 2. As a starting point, increase shadows (+81) and decrease highlights (-60). The image starts to look a little wrong, but stay with me.

LW GRUNGE 4

Step 3. Switch on clipping mask (A.) by clicking on little triangles above the histogram.

Move the blacks slider to the left until your image gets a good black tone. The areas in blue highlight loss of detail in the shadows, and areas highlighted in red indicate loss of detail in highlights.

Purists will probably start twitching at this point because I am crunching my black tones (B.) and blowing my highlights (C.). I believe this gives the image a more realistic feel because we don’t always see detail in shadow areas with our naked eye.

I personally like my images to look good overall, and if that means losing some detail in the shadows to gain good contrast across the whole image, I’ll do it. Just because Lightroom gives us the technology to see the entire gray scale doesn’t mean we have to.

LW GRUNGE 5

Step 4. In the next step, I increase the mid-tone contrast or clarity) (A.). I also decrease saturation to counter the digital orange glow the skin tone tends to take on in Step 3. Then I increase vibrance to bring some tone back to the muted tones.

LW GRUNGE 6

Step 5. The next step is to add a vignette from the Effects menu (A.). This is optional, but I feel it finishes the image off nicely and draws our eye to the hero of the shot, Jesse.

LW GRUNGE Main 2

Step 6. Finally, I enhance the eyes slightly using my eye-enhancing technique for Lightroom.

If you’d like to try it, you can check it out here: 3 Simple Ways to Create Stunning Eyes in Your Portrait Photography.

LW GRUNGE BTS

Behind the scenes on my air shoot with actor Jess Kenneally and my MacGyver-inspired lighting boom.

  • Canon 1DS MK3 ISO 100, F/5.6, 1/125th, 70-200mm IS zoom @ 200mm.
  • Jess has been lit using a Canon 580EX Speedlite and a medium softbox.

How do you create a grungy, gritty look to your portraits? Should we keep detail in the blacks and highlights, or is it okay to crunch and blow out to create the right vibe? I’d love to hear what you think.

Gina has a new dPS ebook just released – Portraits: After the Shot – check out out!

The post How to Add a Grunge Effect to Your Portraits Using Lightroom by Gina Milicia appeared first on Digital Photography School.

16 Oct 13:00

How to Use Rhythm and Pattern to Create Stronger Compositions

by Andrew S. Gibson

After I had written my article about juxtaposition and contrast I realized that one of the photos also perfectly illustrated the concept of rhythm in composition. Here it is (I’ve added arrows to show you the way the eye moves through the photo).

Rhythm and pattern in composition

The rhythm comes from the way the eye moves from the first tower to the second, then on to the statue. These three focal points are linked by colour (they are a similar shade of brown) and shape (they are all narrow shapes emerging from the bottom of the frame). The combination of shape and colour pull the eye, creating a natural rhythm as it moves through the photo.

I suspect the sensation of rhythm is reinforced by the western convention of reading a page from left to right. It would be interesting to hear from readers whose mother language utilizes text that is read in a different direction. Does that change the way you perceive the rhythm of this photo? Please let us know in the comments.

Another aspect of rhythm is pattern. This photo of a tiled roof is a study of texture, rhythm and pattern. The repetitive shapes and lines of the tiles create a pattern, and a rhythm is created as the eye moves through the image.

Rhythm and pattern in composition

Incidentally, rhythm often becomes more powerful in black and white photos because there is no colour, one of the strongest elements in a colour photo, to distract attention from the other elements of the composition (rhythm, texture, tonal contrast and so on).

The key to using rhythm to make your composition stronger is in first spotting the pattern or repetitive elements, then framing the scene in a way that emphasizes the rhythm. This is a test of your observational skills, and you’ll get better at it with practice.

Simplicity and rhythm

There is another way of emphasising rhythm, and that is to keep the composition of your photos as simple as possible. Here’s an example.

Rhythm and pattern in composition

There are two types of simplification going on here. One is that I moved in close to the three pots so they dominated the composition. The photo contains just three elements – the stones in the foreground, the white wall in the background and the pots themselves. The other is the conversion to black and white, which simplifies the photo by eliminating colour.

Simplifying the composition strengthens the natural rhythm created by the movement of the eye from pot to pot.

The power of three

Another element in the photo above that helps it work is that there are three pots. Three seems to be a particularly powerful number in many art forms and culturally significant myths and legends as well as photography (think of the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth or the three ghosts in Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol).

Then there’s the Japanese legend of the three wise monkeys.

Rhythm and pattern in composition

Again, in this photo I simplified the composition by moving in close. That allowed the natural rhythm created by the position of the three monkeys to become a strong compositional element.

When it comes to composition, including odd numbers of repeating objects seems to work better than even numbers. Three, five or seven of something together is better than two, four or six. It’s a general principle (not a rule) that may come in handy.

Rhythm and line

Sometimes you will come across natural lines and repetitive shapes or patterns that work together to emphasise the sense of rhythm.

Rhythm and pattern in composition

In this photo there is a natural rhythm created by the spacing of the incense sticks. This is reinforced because the incense sticks rest on a ledge that moves in a strong diagonal through the frame. Here, line and pattern work together to create a strongly directional sense of rhythm.

Your turn

Can you think of any other examples of using rhythm to make the composition of photos stronger? Feel free to add your photos to the comments.


Mastering Photography

Composition and line

My latest ebook, Mastering Photography: A Beginner’s Guide to Using Digital Cameras introduces you to digital photography and helps you make the most out of your digital cameras. It covers concepts such as lighting and composition as well as the camera settings you need to master to take photos like the ones in this article.

The post How to Use Rhythm and Pattern to Create Stronger Compositions by Andrew S. Gibson appeared first on Digital Photography School.

17 Oct 13:00

Collection of Photos that Make a Splash

by Darlene Hildebrandt

A collection of photos that make splash – literally!

As summer comes to a close in the northern parts of the world let’s enjoy some of the fun that comes with water – splashing! Also with water comes mud and messy people. Not only kids love jumping in a puddle, and they all make for great photo subjects.

Enjoy this collection of photos of big splashes!

The post Collection of Photos that Make a Splash by Darlene Hildebrandt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

17 Oct 18:00

Weekly Photography Challenge – Splash!

by Darlene Hildebrandt

Earlier today I rounded up a bunch of fun images of people and animals making big splashes.

Kids love splashing in mud puddles, that’s a given. But what else makes a splash? Your dog jumping in the tub, an ice cube landing in a glass of water, your kids as they ride their bikes through the wet grass in the morning – all of these seemingly ordinary things could have potential to (pardon the really bad and intentionally pun) make a big splash!

Weekly challenge – capture a splash

If it’s raining, suit up, protect your camera, and get out there to make some splash photos. Need some more ideas? Try these:

Amanda Tipton

By amanda tipton

Thomas

By Thomas

Tom Gill

By Tom Gill

Simon Ingram

By Simon Ingram

Vida Dimovska

By Vida Dimovska

Your goal with this challenge is to either find something that splashes, or make your own.

Here are a few tips for you to get started:

  • Use a really fast shutter speed if you want to freeze the droplets in mid air
  • Use a slower speed if you want to show some blur and motion of the droplets
  • If you’re going to attempt to make a splash, do it outdoors – it’s less messy in the house that way
  • Plan extra space around the subject for the splash to expand into
  • HAVE FUN WITH IT!
Prasanth Chandran

By Prasanth Chandran

Daniel McCullum

By Daniel McCullum

Elido Turco

By Elido Turco

Scooter Lowrimore

By Scooter Lowrimore

Share your images of splashes

Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section as pictured below) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer upload them to your favourite photo sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge.

The post Weekly Photography Challenge – Splash! by Darlene Hildebrandt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

21 Oct 18:00

Five Ways to Improve Your Eye for Composition

by Andrew S. Gibson

An eye for composition is one of the things that elevates the work of the best photographers above the rest. One of the best ways to learn about composition is focus on applying one idea at a time. You can treat it as an exercise that will help you improve your composition skills, the same way that piano players practice scales. Here are five ideas to get you started.

#1 Use a single lens

Lenses have an enormous influence on the look of a photo, and the best way to learn exactly what effect they have is to spend some time using just one lens. Ideally it would be a prime lens, but if you have a zoom you can use a piece of tape to fix the lens to one focal length (some lenses have a locking switch you can use instead).

If you use a single focal length you will become intimately acquainted with its characteristics.

While it is useful to own multiple lenses, the ability to switch from one to another may mean that you don’t get to know any of them very well. This exercise helps overcome that tendency.

Improving Composition

Wide-angle lenses (in this case 33mm on a full-frame camera) help you fit more into the frame. They are lenses of inclusion. You can get more of the background in the photo with a wide-angle lens.

Improving Composition

Telephoto lenses (here, an 85mm lens on a full-frame camera) help you exclude the background by cropping it and using a wide aperture to throw it out of focus.

 #2 Work in black and white

Improving Composition

My favourite recommendation for learning more about composition is to work in black and white.

Colour is such a powerful element that it dominates most photos. It becomes more difficult to see and appreciate the underlying building blocks of composition like texture, line, pattern and tonal contrast. Take colour away and all these things become easier to see; once you are aware of them, you can start using them to improve the composition of your photos.

For example, in the black and white photo above, did you notice the shapes in the photo? I’m referring to the white rectangle of the cinema screen (yes, that’s what it is), the shapes of the Chinese letters and the diamond pattern in the stones on the ground. All these things are easier to see in black and white.

#3 Repeating patterns and shapes

Improving Composition

Another thing to look out for is repeating patterns and shapes. When I took the photo above I noticed that the repeating shapes of the cards made an interesting composition.

There are two strong elements to this photo. The first is the pattern formed by the lines of cards. The second is the lines created by the shelf edges and the cards themselves. I took the photo at an angle so the lines created by the shelves moved diagonally across the frame.

Train yourself to recognize patterns and shapes, so you can use them in your compositions.

#4 Lines

Improving Composition

Most photos have lines of some sort running through them.

Straight lines (like the horizon) stretch across from one side of the image to the other. Horizontal lines can create a peaceful feeling, whereas diagonal lines are exciting and dynamic. Vertical lines fall somewhere in-between.

Curved lines are a little more relaxed and meander through the image rather than moving directly across it. You’ll often see a mixture of curved lines and straight lines in landscape photos, where a gentle curve through the foreground and the horizon line work together to create a peaceful landscape photo.

The photo above takes advantage of diagonal lines that cut through the landscape leading to the horizon (another line). I used a wide-angle lens (18mm on an APS-C camera) to exaggerate the perspective and add depth to the scene.

#5 Negative space

Improving Composition

Negative space is the empty space in a photo. You may have read that you can improve a photo by getting closer to the subject. This is often true, but there are times when you need to step back and give the subject room to breathe.

In this photo I used a wide-angle lens (24mm on a full-frame camera) to fit in as much of this bleak and wild landscape as I could. The human figures in the distance give a sense of scale and space.

The gray sand and clouds form the negative space within which the figures and the grassy hillocks sit. The negative space creates a sense of distance and physical space.

Learning to see and use negative space gives you another tool you can use when composing photos.

Your turn

These are some of my ideas for developing your eye for composition, but what about yours? What exercises can you suggest to our readers? Let us know in the comments.


Mastering Photography

Composition and line

My latest ebook, Mastering Photography: A Beginner’s Guide to Using Digital Cameras introduces you to digital photography and helps you make the most out of your digital cameras. It covers concepts such as lighting and composition as well as the camera settings you need to master to take photos like the ones in this article.

The post Five Ways to Improve Your Eye for Composition by Andrew S. Gibson appeared first on Digital Photography School.

17 Oct 23:00

Use Google Sheets as a Multilingual Chat Translator

by Patrick Allan

Use Google Sheets as a Multilingual Chat Translator

Communicating with someone who speaks and writes in another language isn't the easiest task, but this Google Sheet incorporates Google Translate so you can have a real-time chat conversation with anybody in the world.

Read more...








19 Oct 14:00

Wash Chili Oil Off Your Hands with Baking Soda

by Dave Greenbaum

Wash Chili Oil Off Your Hands with Baking Soda

If you aren't careful with hot peppers like jalapeños, you'll get the burning oils on your hands. Ouch. Once on your hands, they'll transfer anywhere. Double ouch. Clean up those hands with some baking soda.

Read more...








20 Oct 11:00

Learn the Basics of Photography with This Interactive Chart

by Mihir Patkar

Even the best camera is only as good as the photographer's skills. The "Where to Start" interactive chart guides beginners to learn about the basics of photography.

Read more...








20 Oct 17:30

Reposition a Photo’s Subject in Photoshop

by Tori Reid

Reposition a Photo’s Subject in Photoshop

A poorly positioned subject can ruin a great photo. Mac|Life walks us through a few tools that can change the position of a subject.

Read more...








20 Oct 21:00

How to Uncover Blurred Information in Photographs

by Dheera Venkatraman

How to Uncover Blurred Information in Photographs

It's a common practice to blur or pixelate sensitive information like account numbers when you share an image online, but your info might not be as secure as you think. It takes some work, but there are ways to uncover that sensitive text.

Read more...








21 Oct 14:00

The Ladies Love It

19 Oct 18:00

10 Common Mistakes Made by New Photographers

by James Maher

Whenever I teach, I get a lot of requests to review images. Over time, I’ve started to notice that a majority of the mistakes I see come from the same small group of errors that are repeated constantly, particularly by less experienced photographers.

Please keep in mind that all of these common mistakes can also be advantages when done well and with purpose. This article is not about those times, but is an observation about how often I see them done the wrong way. As a photographer, you need to build the right foundation of skills before you can successfully veer away from them.

The Most Common Technical Mistakes

Chinatown at Night. Subtle but strong and natural colors.

Chinatown at Night, NYC. Subtle but strong and natural colors.

1. Colors are too strong or unrealistic

Unrealistic and strong colors are often a fantastic creative choice. However there is a noticeable difference between when it is done purposely due to experience, and when it is done through lack of knowing any better or poor color management.

The first thing you need is a good monitor that is color calibrated. Without this, you are working on your images blind. I see photographers share images that look good to them on their screen, but they look off to everyone else. This is because their screen is the problem. How can you retouch an image if you can’t see the true colors or tones?

There is also a common tendency of newer photographers to try to make their photographs look like paintings. Once again, this can be done well, but the way I usually see it done is where people raise the saturation slider way too far. It may make the colors stand out more on a monitor and be more noticeable as a thumbnail in Facebook, but it just makes the image look fake. In a print, the colors will end up even more extreme than they do on a monitor. When you print images with natural and subtle colors those colors will look incredible and much stronger than you think. This look can sometimes be hard to notice on the monitor.

Instead of raising the saturation slider, find images where the natural colors in the scene are already strong. Find a subject that is a bright color surrounded by muted tones. Shoot at the golden hour to let the colors naturally gain strength. Instead of raising the saturation slider if you want the image to feel like a painting, overlay a specific color onto the image. Or try creating a moody image with subtle and natural color, print it out, put it on your wall, and shine some light on it and you will see how powerful that subtle color can be. That can feel like a painting too.

Smokestack and Graffiti

Smokestack and Graffiti, NYC.

2. Shots are not sharp enough

Intensional blur can be gorgeous, but to be a good photographer you need to have control of your sharpness. If you are doing a portrait, the focus point should be on the eyes. The eyes need to be the sharpest part of your image, not the nose or the ear. Also, pay attention to back focus in certain situations. This is where the camera’s focus will miss what you are aiming at and instead focus on the background behind it.

To achieve sharpness and reduce handheld camera shake, your shutter speed needs to be at least one over your focal length. So if you are on a full frame camera with a 50mm lens, the shutter speed would need to be at least 1/50th of a second (and probably a little faster to be safe). On an APS-C sensor a 50mm would be the equivalent of around an 80mm lens and on a micro-4/3rds camera it would be the equivalent of a 100mm lens, needing 1/100th of a second shutter speed. If you are freezing motion you need an even faster shutter speed. For people moving at average speeds, I prefer 1/320th of a second.

min-shutter-speed

Think about raising your ISO sometimes to get sharper shots, particularly in darker lighting situations, but also sometimes during the day. A higher ISO will allow you to use a faster shutter speed and a smaller aperture, such as f/16, to ensure that your entire image will be in focus.

3. The composition is off

Shop, Chinatown. Notice the right edge.

Shop, Chinatown, NYC. Notice the right edge.

If you are Garry Winogrand then you can skew your images purposely for that energetic effect. However, I notice many photographers struggle to get their images straight. Look through the viewfinder and find a frame of reference to straighten your image. Maybe it’s a lamp post or a sidewalk or a tree. Pay attention to when the camera might be slightly lower on the left or right side. Often it will be the same side consistently for you and it’s just a tendency that has to be unlearned. Some people don’t even notice that their images are very slightly skewed when editing. Noticing and fixing the slight skew (crooked) can make a huge difference.

The other thing I notice is that a lot of photographers don’t pay attention to their edges. Put things in the edges of your frames when possible to keep a viewer’s eyes from moving off the print. This could be a tree branch, a fire escape, a building, anything. Cut off a part of an element and place it in the corner to help keep the eyes in the frame. Look at the right edge of the image above. It makes a big difference.

Sometimes compositions can be too simple. Simple can be good but not always. Take a step back and see if you can include more in the frame. Create more complex composition with more elements. That can make for very fun and engrossing images.

Also, a surprising number of people overly rely on either vertical or horizontal shooting. It’s good to have a preference, but when I see it in beginners it seems more like they are just uncomfortable shooting the opposite way. It’s not like they are shooting two verticals for every one horizontal, some are shooting six or more verticals for every horizontal, or vice versa. It’s not on purpose as they default automatically into that way of shooting no matter the situation.

Most importantly, I find that people will see something interesting, stop immediately when they notice it, click a few shots, and move on. It’s almost like a robotic move. Stop yourself when you see something interesting and take a few seconds to actively think about the best way to capture it. Horizontal or vertical? What is the best focal length and where can I move to get the best viewpoint? Are there other elements that I can include in the frame? How is the lighting?

SoHo, New York.

SoHo, New York, NYC.

4. Not close enough

Robert Capa once said it all, “If your photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” Don’t hover from far away like a sniper. Get in there close, and get in there with a wider angle lens. This can work for portraits, landscapes, or any type of photography. Sometimes it is best to get closer and capture what is most important, large in the frame.

5. Contrast, exposure, black and white levels are off

The overall tones in your image are vital and you need to get good at working with the contrast, exposure, black levels, and highlights. Always try to get the exposure as close to perfect as you can in the camera. I know you can fix it later and often you can do it well, but it’s just not the same as getting it right in the camera. Also think about whether your images might be too dark or too light.

Getting the contrast correct is tough. Be very careful about overdoing contrast as this is a very common mistake. You also don’t want to add the same amount of contrast to every image because the amount of contrast needed depends on the lighting that was in the scene. I notice both tendencies from photographers who use too little contrast or too much contrast. Sometimes this is the monitor’s fault but other time it is the photographer’s.

Having blacks and whites in your image are good things. Often you want some detail in the shadows or highlights but you want areas of white to draw the eyes in and areas of black to ground the image.

6. Heavy-handed HDR

HDR in black and white, Central Park.

HDR in black and white, Central Park, NYC.

I’m not against HDR. I swear I’m not. I just see it overdone so much that it makes me want to cry. HDR can be done subtly, and it can look amazing when done right.

However, what I often see is HDR done to such extreme that the colors look far from real. It doesn’t even look fake, it just looks bad. There are absolutely no shadows or blacks, and no highlights or whites. I’ve seen entire images that are all middle tones!

You can take some detail out of the shadows and bring in the whites somewhat to get a better dynamic range. Try to find that fine line between realism and looking as good as possible. Retouching is about finding that fine line where an image works and not going over or under it.

The Most Common Conceptual Mistakes

Shoe Store, SoHo.

Shoe Store, SoHo, NYC. Notice the consistency in the next three photographs.

7. No subject

Photographing beauty, light, and color is so important, but sometimes your images need some substance to them as well. Great photography is the merging of both form and content. If you can mix a beautiful image with an interesting subject matter, you have hit photographic gold. Think about subjects, ideas, or emotions that are portrayed within an image. Figure out what that substance is that appeals to you and develop it. Think about what your voice is and develop it.

Prince and Broadway, SoHo.

Prince and Broadway, SoHo, NYC.

8. Photographs are not consistent enough

You can photograph many different subjects and you should try different styles, but organize these subjects and styles into cohesive groups. Try to give these groups a consistent look with an overall feel and related content. Consistency is developed with experience, so the more you photograph, the more you will start to think about it. Pay attention to the flow of one image into the other.

9. Too many travel photos and not enough close to home

Trash, SoHo.

Trash, SoHo, NYC.

So many people say to me that they only photograph when they travel. I don’t care where you live, or how busy you are, it’s so important to photograph where you live.

If you don’t want to lug your camera around then use a phone camera. Phone cameras are pretty good. Schedule some time every week, even if it’s only 20 minutes or during a lunch break, to photograph somewhere, anywhere. Photograph in the parking lot, on the corner, at the market. I promise you that there will be interesting subject matter there if you look. But you have to go out and take the time to look.

10. Too many photos

It’s fine to take a lot of photos. It’s fine to show a photograph a day if you shoot a lot, but edit your work down to the best. Nobody has the time to wade through a million photographs to find the gems. They will miss the gems if they have to look through too many mediocre images.

We all take mediocre images but the best photographers do the best job at hiding those images.  Do your viewers a favor and pick out the gems for them and only show those. You want people to want more rather than wanting less, because if they want less then they’re probably not coming back.

Do you have any other mistakes you think should be added to this list? What are you guilty of,  and willing to admit it?

The post 10 Common Mistakes Made by New Photographers by James Maher appeared first on Digital Photography School.

20 Oct 18:00

7 Tips for Doing More Meaningful Street Photography

by James Maher
Donut, American Apparel.

Donut, American Apparel, NYC. Yes, someone thought this was a good idea.

While it takes time to master the technical skills needed to excel at street photography, I think the most difficult aspect of the genre is trying to figure out what you are trying to capture. I get this question a lot, “What should I be looking for?

This is why street photography is a genre where experience is second to none. You can get comfortable capturing strangers candidly, you can learn to technically capture your images perfectly, but finding your voice is something that takes years of experience, exploring, and organizing of your images.

Ultimately, I can’t answer this question as it’s up to you to figure out what to capture, however I can give some tips and ideas to help figure it out.

A Powerful Expression.

A Powerful Expression, SoHo, NYC.

1. Photograph constantly in areas that you frequent and know well.

Practice street photography in areas that you know well. If you know an area well then you will be able to describe it well in your photographs. You will already know how it ticks, the weird nooks and crannies, and the type of people that live nearby. Use photography as a way to explore your area and to portray it to others.

Ultimately as you get better, you will be able to photograph in areas that you don’t know well as you explore them. This is important. However, it takes a very skilled photographer to be able to be transported into a place that they don’t know well, survey the place, and be able to take poignant images. More often than not the images will feel touristy to an insider that lives in the area.

The best place to to develop your photographic voice is near home.

2. Think about the types of images that you relate to.

Which of the images that you have captured relates the most to you? Your photography will end up becoming a representation of you and how you think, so think about yourself and your ideas as you photograph. Try to photograph what you are thinking as you are out there.

This takes time to develop. You can’t just walk outside and do this. Over years of photographing you will begin to notice yourself in your images and then you will become more aware of moments that convey who you are.

Zara, SoHo.

SoHo, NYC. A tight crop, but one with interest, gesture, and many elements and textures.

3. Look for constants in your work and group images based on ideas and themes.

Editing and reviewing your images is one of the best ways to improve your photography. This is where you get to asses how you’ve improved and to really slow down and think about what you are trying to say. It will give you new ideas for what to capture and for what to look out for.

On a similar note, review the images of other photographers to help figure out what images you relate to. There is no better way to inspire your work than to find imagery from others that inspires you.

4. Tell stories over multiple images.

One of the ultimate points in street photography is creating a body of work that is consistent, whether or not the images were taken in the same area or of the same content. The images play off each other to tell a story.

You can think of these ideas ahead of time, but I think it’s better to go out and photograph consistently for a long stretch of time, then spend time reviewing and editing your work, while keeping your mind open to what the images tell you. You can let the images guide you to an idea.

SoHo, NYC.

SoHo, NYC. This shot is about the expression in the subject’s eyes.

5. Focus on expressions and ideas more than just interesting people walking down the streets.

One thing I hate, but do frequently as all street photographers do, is to capture images of people walking down the street where nothing is happening. These are impossible not to take since street photography is often instinctive, and you have to take a lot of images where nothing happens to get those few that are really special. My archive is littered with bad images where I saw a sliver of potential but nothing happened.

Something needs to happen in the photograph. There needs to be an idea, an emotion, or an expression.

I tend to look in people’s eyes before anything else. The eyes are the key to showing emotion and if you can capture a poignant expression in the eyes, then your photo will be significantly better. Notice a subject’s eyes first and wait for them to give a look, not necessarily at you although that can work, but at something. You want to see a thought going through their head.

6. Think about what will change and how people will see your photographs in 20 years.

Armani Exchange, SoHo.

SoHo, NYC. One day this window display will look extremely dated.

When you look at photographs of the past, what interests you? I’m assuming for many of you the photographs you prefer are ones of people, fashions, or shop windows and not necessarily of architecture or landscapes.

Images of the past show us what life was like and make us think about our own lives in that way. However, those scenes probably looked fairly standard to the photographers when they were first captured.

Just as a photograph of a Gap store window might seem like the most boring thing in the world to you now, it could easily be one of the most fascinating images in 20 years when everything has changed. Think about how many people have a photograph of a Gap window. Everyone has a photograph of the Chrysler Building, but photographs of everyday life are much rarer.

7. Think and react.

Street photography is both about thinking and instinctive reacting. Unfortunately, those two ideas are at odds with each other. Do your thinking while you are editing and reviewing your work. Think about things when you are walking around, but ultimately when a moment unfolds, turn your brain off and react.

Do you have any other tips you’d add to this list? How do you approach street photography?

The post 7 Tips for Doing More Meaningful Street Photography by James Maher appeared first on Digital Photography School.

20 Oct 03:30

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Krispie Treats

by joythebaker

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Krispie Treats

You know my tricks.  You know the games I play around here.  The more browned butter, sea salt, and chopped pistachios, the better! It’s just that… pistachios are the best, browned butter reigns supreme, and I think good sea salt is my secret weapon in my baking pantry.  I’m not wrong.

We’re keeping it simple by shoving all of the good things into one pan of rice krispie treats.  Fancy rice krispie treats are totally my go-to party trick.  They never disappoint.  Also consider Salty and Malty Rice Krispie Treats.  So much win.

I’m traveling these next few weeks to meet you and celebrate the release of my cookbook Homemade Decadence.  I’m in Philadelphia Tuesday 10/21 and you should totally come say hi!  Keep in mind that for some reason I’ve been listening to the Once soundtrack nonstop for the past week, so… just so you know where I’m at and that I’m weird.  Ps. Do you know how easy it is to cry to the Once soundtrack?  Like crazy easy.  I don’t know what’s going on with me.  I really am in a happy place, I promise.

I’ve said too much.

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Krispie Treats

This is how rice krispie treats go:  mega marshmallows + butter + salt + the krispie element + fancy nuts and chocolate.

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Krispie Treats

Marshmallows are melted with the butter.  Pistachios are coarsely chopped and added to the rice cereal along with the gooey melted marshmallow situation.

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Krispie Treats

Pressed into a 9×13-inch pan.  I always make a double batch for of the treats for a pan.  I like the treats thick.  (I almost made that a joke about how I like my men… aren’t you glad I didn’t?)

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Krispie Treats

Dipped in chocolate because that’s just how we do things.  Let’s enjoy this indulgent simplicity (while we cry a little bit to the Once soundtrack… I’m sorry.)

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Krispie Treats

makes 16 treats

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces (1 box) rice krispie cold cereal
  • 16 ounce bag large marshmallows
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • heaping 1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped shelled pistachios
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Place the rice krispies in a very large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Butter a 9x13-inch pan. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt together the marshmallows and butter. Stir as the mixture melts until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour the melted marshmallow mixture over the rice krispies. Sprinkle in most of the salt. Stir until all of the cereal is coated in marshmallow. Add most of the chopped pistachios.
  5. To make pressing the mixture into the prepared pan easier, grease your wooden spoon (even if it's covered in sticky rice krispie treats) with butter.
  6. Press into the pan. Sprinkle with remaining salt and pistachios and use your fingers to press them into the treats.
  7. Allow treats to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before slicing. This will make the treats easier to slice and handle.
  8. Melt together chocolate and coconut oil. Dip the corner of each treat into the chocolate and allow to rest on a parchment lined baking sheet until set. Speed the process up by chilling the treats in the refrigerator until set.
  9. Wrap individually, share, and enjoy!
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20 Oct 17:00

Throw a Drive-In Party!

16 Oct 11:45

Cosplay WIN

16 Oct 15:30

The Card Wizards of Singapore

Submitted by: (via Kuma Films)

Tagged: cards , magic , trick , Video , singapore , g rated , win
17 Oct 12:00

Artist Carol Milne Has Found a Way to "Knit" Glass

Artist Carol Milne Has Found a Way to "Knit" Glass

How is this sort of sculpture made? Via Colossal:

When first contemplating these glass sculptures by Seattle-based artist Carol Milne, your imagination runs wild trying to figure out how she does it. Glass has a melting point of around 1,500°F (815°C), so how could it possibly manipulated into neatly organized yarn-like strands that are looped around knitting needles. The answer lies in a technique invented by Milne in 2006 that involves aspects of knitting, lost-wax casting, mold-making, and kiln-casting.

Submitted by: (via Colossal)

Tagged: design , glasses , nifty , g rated , win
13 Oct 01:00

27 Stressful Things You Tolerate Too Often

by Marc Chernoff

27 Stressful Things You Tolerate Too Often

Life is to be enjoyed and appreciated, not endured and tolerated.

In life, unnecessary tolerations can bleed you of energy and make it impossible for you to function effectively.  You can’t live a happy, successful, fulfilling life when you’re spending all your energy tolerating things that shouldn’t be tolerated.  Sometimes you need to put your foot down.

In our line of work, Angel and I hear from hundreds of coaching clients, book readers and blog subscribers (subscribe here) every month who have been tolerating the wrong things for far too long.  If you feel like you have been too, here are some things to stop tolerating in your life:

  1. A negative attitude – Choose to be unhappy and you will find a million reasons to complain and frown.  Choose to be happy and you will find a million reasons to smile.
  2. Drama circles – Don’t get caught up in judging and gossiping.  Don’t give in to the negativity and drama around you.  Be positive.  Give people a piece of your heart rather than a piece of your mind.  Life is too short to be spent talking about people and stirring up trouble that has no substance.  Instead, get caught up in being thankful and being way nicer than necessary. (more…)
15 Oct 19:32

Gabriel Knight Sins of the Fathers HD MacOSX-ACTiVATED

by pz1

This article has been published at RLSLOG.net - visit our site for full content.

Another OSX release from scene gorup ACTiVATED, this one is the HD edition of the classic Gabriel Knight Sin Of The Fathers, enjoy.

Description:
Experience one of adventure gaming’s most stunning masterpieces all over again in this blockbuster retelling of the award-winning 1993 murder-mystery, which adds all-new puzzles, scenes, and HD graphics!

Blending the best of yesterday and today, it re-imagines the 1993 original, voted one of the greatest games of all time, for an entirely new generation of fans. As struggling author and bookstore owner Gabriel Knight, players will investigate a series of savage ritual killings in New Orleans and their connection to voodoo’s sinister mysteries.

The deeper you dive into master storyteller Jane Jensen’s tale of terror and suspense, the closer you’ll come to discovering the secrets of Gabriel’s family history–and unfolding his destiny.

Features:

  • Relive one of gaming’s greatest adventures of all-time: Adventure Gamers’ 20 Best Adventure Games, Computer Gaming World’s Adventure Game of the Year 1994, and Honorable Mention in The A.V. Club’s Top 100 Games of All-Time
  • Experience the award-winning voodoo murder-mystery in stunning high-res 3D
  • Adds new puzzles and scenes to familiar challenges
  • Includes remastered soundtrack by original composer Robert Holmes
  • Enjoy special extras and bonus edition content, including original concept art, behind-the-scenes extras, exclusive new interviews and more!

Genre: Adventure
Publisher: Pinkerton Road
Developer: Pinkerton Road

Release name: Gabriel.Knight.Sins.of.the.Fathers.HD.MacOSX-ACTiVATED
Size: 2.29GB
Links: HomepageSteamNTiTPBNFO

Download: UPLOADED.net

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