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13 Jul 16:51

Landscape Photography Tips: How to Photograph Mountains

mountain photography tips

Not sure why your photos of mountains don't look that great?

Well, it could be because of any number of simple mistakes that diminish your ability to get the best shots.

In fact, I'd say that the majority of landscape photography mistakes are just that - simple errors that have a big negative impact.

With that in mind, here's a few tips on how to photograph mountains the right way.

How to Photograph Mountains: Pay Attention to the Light

winding mountain pass road in the alps picture id687506718 

Perhaps the most common issue when photographing mountains is simply not paying attention to the light.

The whole point of photographing a mountain is to put its rugged beauty on display, and some types of lighting simply prevent you from doing that.

Frontlighting, or when the sun is behind you and shining directly on the mountains, eliminates any hope of seeing the textures and details of the mountains.

This is especially true when the photo is taken during the middle of the day when the quality of sunlight is its worst, as shown above.

how to photograph mountains

Instead, seek out opportunities to photograph mountains using sidelighting.

With the sunlight entering the scene from the right or left, you not only have light that accentuates the textures of the mountains, but you also have the opportunity to incorporate long, sweeping shadows into the shot as well.

This interplay between shadow and light gives mountain photos much more drama, especially if you shoot in the early morning or late evening when sunlight takes on a much warmer and appealing quality.

So, wherever the sun is, turn 90-degrees and start shooting. You'll end up with far more dramatic photos!

Learn More:

Filters are a Must for Mountain Photography

graduated neutraldensity filter in the sky picture id806555854

Even when shooting in the best light of the day, you'll often find that your images of mountains still need a little help when it comes to controlling contrast.

That is, the landscape is usually darker than the sky above it, and your camera can struggle to come to terms with how to manage that. In some cases, the sky might be well-exposed but the landscape is too dark. In other cases, the landscape might be well-exposed but the sky is too bright.

You can overcome these obstacles by using a graduated neutral density filter like the one shown above.

geroldsee at sunset garmisch patenkirchen alps picture id664931928

These filters are dark on the top, which blocks some of the brightness of the sky, while having no impact on the landscape below.

The result is a more even exposure from top to bottom, as seen above.

And the best part? You take care of this problem in the field while you're staring at a gorgeous landscape instead of in post-processing while you're hunched over your computer in your basement. It's a win-win!

Editor's Tip: Add a polarizing filter to your camera bag, too. Polarizers help boost contrast in the sky, reduce glare off of water, and minimize atmospheric haze.

Mountain Photography Tip: Stop Shooting at f/22

DSC 7256

A misconception among many photographers that enjoy landscapes is that they have to slam their aperture down to f/22 to get the best depth of field.

The problem with doing that is that no lens - not even expensive, professional ones - is its sharpest at its minimum or maximum aperture. That means that when you shoot at f/22, you're sacrificing sharpness in the shot.

Instead, you'll get better results by using a wider aperture.

So long as there isn't anything immediately in front of you in the scene, you can go virtually as wide as you want with the aperture and still have good depth of field.

The best results, though, come from shooting in your lens's sweet spot, or the aperture at which the lens is the sharpest.

The sweet spot is different for every lens, but a good rule of thumb is that it's in the f/8-f/11 range.

Learn how to find your lens's sweet spot and start taking sharper photos of mountains.

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Tips for Photographing Mountains: Plan Ahead

the dolomites

I cannot emphasize enough how important planning is to the process of photographing mountains (or any subject, for that matter).

If you don't plan ahead, you will find yourself dealing with bad light, bad weather, getting lost, not having the right gear, and other factors that inhibit your ability to get high-quality photos.

That's why participating in a photo tour is such a great idea.

Think about it...

When you join a photography tour, all the planning is taken care of. You don't have to make hotel reservations or Google Maps your way from one spot to the next. You also don't have to scout locations or figure out the must-see locations that you need to photograph.

Instead, you can sit back, relax, and focus on honing your craft and learning from skilled photographers as they lead the tour.

landscape photography tips

For my money, there's no better way to learn how to photograph mountains than by a photography tour like ApertureXplorer's Southern France, Swiss Alps, and Dolomite Mountains Tour.

When it comes to iconic mountains, it doesn't get any better than the Alps.

Between the Matterhorn, the Dolomites, and all the valleys, lakes, forests, glaciers, and rivers in between, the Alps provide you with endless opportunities for photographing landscapes.

And to say that you'll travel in style is an understatement...


ApertureXplorers not only focuses your time on learning new skills and expanding your abilities as a photographer, but they also ensure that you enjoy hiking the countryside, enjoying excellent food, exploring the quaint villages and bustling cities in these regions, and meeting the wonderful locals.

On the Northern Italy leg of the journey, world-renown landscape photographer Nico Rinaldi will join the tour and take you to some of the best locations in the Alps for capturing breathtaking photos.

Perhaps even better, this photography tour isn't only about the mountains.

You'll spend time in Geneva, Milan, Pisa, and Monaco, as well as the breathtaking lavender fields in Southern France.

aperturexplorer alps tour

To top it all off, a photography tour like this one gives you a chance to learn how to be a better photographer and immediately put those skills to the test.

With personal photography lessons, time to learn how to process images, and opportunities to share and critique photos with the group, this is a true photography learning experience.

If you want to step up your mountain photography game, visit ApertureXplorers to sign up for their Alps photo tour. The trip is August 29-September 7, 2018, so time is of the essence!

Editor's Tip: Iceland is one of the most breathtaking landscapes on earth. See why you need to explore Iceland with your camera.

We Recommend

13 Jul 16:39

3 Film Cameras You Need to Try at Least Once in Your Life

film cameras you need to tryBy Runner1616 [CC BY-SA 3.0  ( or GFDL (], from Wikimedia Commons

It's crazy to think that there's a whole generation of photographers that have grown up in the digital age.

There was something so great about working with film that I think it's a shame that so many people with a camera don't know what it's like to work with film.

So I got to thinking, what are some great film cameras that 21st Century photographers should try?

Here's a short list...

Editor's Tip: Working with vintage lenses is fun, too. Search for the ideal vintage or boutique lens for your workflow.

Best Film Cameras: Leica M-3 Tops the List

best film camerasBy Paul Goyette ( [CC BY-SA 2.0  (], via Wikimedia Commons

For a lot of film photographers, it doesn't get any better than the Leica M-3.

Originally released in 1954, this little interchangeable 35mm rangefinder was a technological marvel at the time.

Its 0.9x rangefinder/viewfinder provided a magnificent view of the subject with auto-indexing framelines for a variety of lenses, from 50mm to 135mm.

On the back was a hinge that allowed easier access for cleaning the camera and aligning the film. Photographers appreciated the way that the camera provided ultra quiet operation and the way that the camera's buttons and levers operated with such precision.

It was just an easy camera to use and it was beautiful, too!

Learn More:

Hasselblad 500CM

Hasselblad 500 CM camerasBy Travis Mortz from Roseville, us (500C/M'S) [CC BY 2.0  (], via Wikimedia Commons

For many photographers, the Hasselblad 500CM is one of the most gorgeous cameras ever made.

A medium format camera that was a favorite of studio photographers and wedding photographers alike, the 500CM created gorgeously crisp photos. That's due in large part to the Zeiss lenses that were paired with this camera (and those lenses are as beautiful as the camera, too).

As you can imagine, these cameras were extraordinarily expensive back in the day, which meant that they were only in the realm of professional photography.

But now you can find good deals on these rigs, making them accessible for everyday photographers that want to venture into medium format photography.

Editor's Tip: Are you in the market for a new camera but don't have the money to buy one? Sell your old lenses and use the proceeds to get the camera you've always wanted

Nikon F2

808px Nikon F2By Photopath at flickr ( [CC BY-SA 2.0  (], via Wikimedia Commons

The original Nikon F camera was the first professional 35mm SLR system. And while that's a big deal, it wasn't nearly as reliable as the subsequent Nikon F2.

Introduced in 1971, the F2 quickly became a fan favorite, able to work in less-than-ideal conditions and keep plugging away without issue.

The huge reflex mirror inside helped minimize vignetting, and the focal-plane shutter (which had titanium shutter curtains) gave you speed up to 1/2000 seconds.

Add to that a beautiful design, a swing back for easy loading, and a shutter release button placed perfectly near the front of the camera for ultra-easy handling, and you have the makings of one of the best film cameras of all time.

The variety of meter heads, an excellent mounting system, and a detachable motor drive just made the camera all that more attractive.

Learn More:

Bonus: Canon F-1

best film cameras of all timeIng. Richard Hilber [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (], from Wikimedia Commons

Like the Nikon F2, the Canon F-1 was released in 1971 and quickly garnered a dedicated following from professional photographers.

Canon developed the F-1 system to compete directly with the Nikon F system, and compete it did.

It had a suite of 180 accessories that made it one of the most versatile and customizable cameras on the market.

It had a great design that was simple and rugged, with features that professionals expected - a fast 1/2000 second shutter speed, exposure readings in the viewfinder, and a new series of FD lenses to boot.

The F-1 was upgraded throughout the 1970s, getting an electromagnetic shutter control, improved ASA performance, and a brighter mirror.

It was a simply indestructible camera, too, so users could beat them up and they'd still happily perform. Of course, that makes finding a good one these days a little hard!

Nevertheless, any of these cameras will provide you with an experience of a lifetime of getting back to basics and learning how to use film just like in the old days.

And with so many great used lenses, vintage lenses, and speciality lenses out there for purchase, you can pair your "new" vintage camera with the right glass!

We Recommend

13 Jul 13:56

Prime Day's Anxiety-Smothering Weighted Blanket Deals Are Available Now

by Shep McAllister on Kinja Deals, shared by Shep McAllister to Lifehacker

We were hoping to see some great weighted blanket deals for Prime Day, and we aren’t disappointed. Three different blankets are on sale for all-time low prices, and the deals are available starting now. Just be sure to note the promo codes below.


13 Jul 13:55

How to Use Venmo as Your Payment Method with Uber

by Inès Montfajon

Uber has announced a new update that will allow a user to add Venmo as a payment method when using Uber and Uber Eats. The feature will reportedly available in the upcoming weeks, though an official launch date hasn’t been given.


12 Jul 21:38

Your Dog Food May Be Hurting Your Dog’s Heart

by Julia Cohen
Dog food with legumes and potatoes may be linked to canine heart disease
12 Jul 21:34

A tiny collision beneath the South Pole just changed how we see the universe - CNET

by Eric Mack
Scientists have traced a ghostly particle in Antarctic ice back to its source nearly 4 billion light-years away. Here's how that could change everything.
12 Jul 21:33

Americans Support Alternatives to Cash Bail, Once They Know They Exist

by Scott Shackford

ReasonOnce they know about the pretrial criminal justice system, many Americans supporting reforming it. Unfortunately, many Americans know practically nothing about the pretrial criminal justice system.

Those are the two big conclusions we can draw from the results of a poll released today by the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) and the Charles Koch Institute (CKI), which jointly commissioned the survey.

For the 41 percent of you who have never heard of, or have no opinion of, the term "pretrial justice," that's a catch-all term for the court systems that manage people who have been charged with crimes but not yet convicted. Paul Manafort, for example, is currently a guest of our federal pretrial justice system. More than half a million more people are being held in some form of pretrial detention. That's a substantial chunk of the 2.3 million people incarcerated in the U.S.

The intent of the PJI/CKI poll was to see how Americans feel about potential reforms that would make more people free prior to the conclusion of their cases. The numbers are encouraging. A whopping 78 percent of Americans believe that the current system of pretrial justice heavily favors the wealthy. That's partly due to our reliance on cash bail schedules to determine who gets to be free while awaiting trial and who remains behind bars until the court gets to them. Those who can front the money for bail or afford to pay a bail bond company are able to go free. Those who are poorer and thus unable to pay for bail remain behind bars solely for that reason.

When asked about money, 57 percent of respondents said they don't want to keep people behind bars if they can't afford bail except in extreme cases. A plurality of 45 percent said they'd like to see money bail replaced with pretrial assessment and monitoring systems. And 72 percent said that "public safety" should be the primary concern when deciding whether somebody should be detained prior to trial.

Defendants who have been merely charged with a crime are supposed to be treated as though they're innocent until they are proven guilty, but is that how Americans think they should be treated? The answer seems to be yes. When asked whether prosecutors should have to petition for pretrial detention, or whether defendants should have to petition for their freedom, 52 percent of respondents said that prosecutors should have to argue for detention; only 27 percent did not believe that freedom should be presumptive. That's frighteningly high, but not terribly surprising.

"The bottom line is, the public believes the government must prove an individual belongs in jail before trial—which is the opposite of how the system works now due to the widespread use of money bail," responded Pretrial Justice Institute CEO Cherise Fanno Burdeen in a prepared statement.

Those polled strongly approved a number of pretrial support mechanisms—like education and counseling, transportation, and court reminders—for defendants who need them. The vast majority would like to see support services for defendants who are victims of domestic violence, have mental health issues, or are addicted to drugs or alcohol.

The most relevant take-away for pretrial justice reformers is that educating the public about pretrial justice issues may be key to fixing them. As they were introduced to alternatives, a good 28 percent of respondents who were opposed to, or undecided about, moving away from money bail came around to the idea. Turns out, people aren't opposed to more sensible criminal justice policies, they just don't know they exist.

Read more about the poll results here. Efforts to reform how pretrial justice systems work are the focus of Reason magazine's August/September cover story, on the stands now. Check it out.

12 Jul 21:29

Some next level shit

Tags: this, dont, read

2942 points, 117 comments.

12 Jul 21:22

Buyers Reveal What It's Really Like To Buy A New Construction Home

by Amanda Lauren, Contributor
Have you ever driven by a sign that said “brand new community” and wondered what it must be like to live there? Have you considered stopping by the sales center for that high rise condo? Homeowners reveal all about what it's really like to buy new construction.
09 Jul 17:55

If You Want a Vintage Defender, Make Sure It’s Upgraded Like This

Admittedly, to make day-to-day life more manageable with a Defender a couple of modifications are necessary.

09 Jul 17:54

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Residential Solar Panels?

by Quora, Contributor
What are the pros and cons of residential energy customers switching to solar? This question was originally answered on Quora by Yogi Goswami.
09 Jul 17:54

I'm Scott From Scott's Pizza Tours, and This Is How I Work

by Nick Douglas

You can eat pizza for a living, if you’re good enough at it—and if you work hard and get to know everyone in the pizza business. Scott Wiener turned his love of pizza into Scott’s Pizza Tours, a growing business conducting food tours by foot and by bus in Manhattan. In this video episode of How I Work, we shadowed him…


09 Jul 17:53

Ernest Hemingway as a Case Study in Living the T-Shaped Life

by Brett and Kate McKay

F. Scott Fitzgerald thought his fellow writer and (sometimes) friend Ernest Hemingway possessed the most dynamic personality in the world and “always longed to absorb into himself some of the qualities that made Ernest attractive.”

Other friends and observers of Hemingway remarked on the “strange power of his presence,” his “poise and strength,” and a “pervasive and inescapable force of personality” that registered as “so vast, so virile.” As his first wife remarked, he left “folks falling into fits of admiration.”

As a young man, older men looked up to him; as an older man, men and women of all ages called him “Papa.” Those in Hemingway’s orbit, writes his biographer Carlos Baker, “were not only content but even eager to tan themselves like sunbathers in the rays he generated.”

What accounts for this magnetic allure, this larger-than-life charisma that allowed Hemingway to get away with plenty of bad behavior and continues even today to make him incredibly compelling despite his considerable flaws?

Part of it was the way he evinced an undiluted, unapologetic masculinity — a constellation of qualities which included originality and independence, stoical fortitude and purpose, and a primordial vigor and strength. He was a man with an indomitable pride, who described himself as being “without any ambition, except to be champion of the world.”

Part of it was his considerable charm — the way he listened to what someone was saying with an intense, flattering focus, and spoke to them “in that special way of his that made the words come to you through a corridor of intimacy”; as one mentee remembered, he “always appear[ed] to be sharing a secret.”

Part of it was his zest for life; his twinkling eyes that were ever on the lookout for the next great adventure; the ready smile and laugh that said to his companions, “Let’s have a hell of a good time together.”

And, part of it was the sheer vastness of his skills and aptitudes — the seemingly limitless number of things he could do, and did.

Hemingway is in fact one of the very best examples of a concept we explored a few years ago: being a “T-shaped” man.

I’m not talking about being T-shaped physically (though that’s desirable too), but in the way your skill sets are structured.

A T-shaped man has two characteristics: First, he has an interest in and competent grasp of a broad range of aptitudes, skills, and know-how. This characteristic is represented by the horizontal stroke of the T. Second, he has a focused expertise in one particular skill or discipline. This characteristic is represented by the vertical stroke of the T. In short, a T-shaped man possesses both breadth and depth; he is a jack-of-all-trades, and, a master of one. 

Being T-shaped allows a man to develop confidence, experience more of life, gain power, and leave his mark on the world, and, it’s a model Ernest Hemingway fit to a, well, T.

Today we’ll take an inspiring look at how Hemingway developed both the horizontal and vertical axes of the T-shaped life in order to do more, see more, and be more than 99% of the human population.

Note: Some people feel that because Ernest Hemingway committed suicide, he shouldn’t serve in any way as an example of how to live one’s life. But the reasons for his suicide are much more complicated than most understand, and it was not something he did casually or cavalierly. I’ve written up a note here for those who wish to learn more.


“He was proud of his manhood, his literary and athletic skills, his staying and recuperative powers, his reputation, his capacity for drink, his prowess as fisherman and wing shot, his earnings, his self-reliance, his wit, his poetry, his medical and military knowledge, his skill in map reading, navigation, and the sizing up of terrain.” —Carlos Baker, Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story

“He told me how to use one’s built-in shit detector, how to enjoy idle time, when to be aggressive, when to give ground, how to set your hook on a hit from a sailfish, how to swing your shotgun to transect the flight of a pheasant, how to evaluate a racehorse during the paddock parade.” —A. E. Hotchner, Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir

Breadth of Knowledge/Competence

In his own time, some critics thought Hemingway engaged in “he-mannish posturing” — that the whole man’s man thing was something of an act. Today we’re even more apt to see him as a caricature of masculinity and wonder if photos showing him doing manly things were more carefully staged photo-ops — akin to Vladimir Putin riding shirtless on horseback — than accurate reflections of how Papa really spent his time.

But if authenticity is judged by the correspondence between what one talks about and what one does — between words and action — then Hemingway was as real as they come. He in fact hated posers, the non-producers of the world — those who, like the dilettantes who loitered in Paris cafes, fancying themselves as artists, but never putting in the work it would take to become such, failed to follow through on what they said.

Papa was not of this breed.

He did far more things than cameras ever captured (and to which journalists were never invited; publicity literally made him sick), tried never to write fiction about things he hadn’t experienced in fact, and began his education in what would become beloved lifelong pastimes long before there existed a wider stage on which to perform.

With an enduring curiosity, penchant for autodidactic education, and keen powers of observation, Hemingway became both a man of words and a man of action, and gained real, earned competence in a variety of areas:

Outdoor Skills

Ernest’s education into the world of manly skills began nearly as soon as he left the womb. Though the family lived in a nice suburb of Chicago, and his father was a doctor, the Hemingway patriarch was also a thoroughgoing outdoorsman who wanted to raise his children to be as competent in the woods as on the city streets.

Hemingway’s father founded a nature-study group in the area, which Ernest joined in kindergarten. Happily tagging along with older boys, he passed afternoons and weekends birding and collecting specimens, which he then spent hours examining under a microscope given to him by his grandfather on his fifth birthday. Even as a toddler, his mother remembered, Ernest was “a natural scientist, loving everything in the way of bugs, stones, shells, birds, animals, insects, and blossoms.”

Learning how to capture bigger game constituted a significant portion of young Ernest’s outdoor education. By the time he was two and a half, his father had taught him the rudiments of shooting a gun, and by the time he was four, he could handle a pistol. When the boy was three, his father took him fishing for the first time, and a year later, he could spend all day casting line from a row boat, under the downpour of constant rain, without complaint. Hemingway’s angling instincts and marksmanship improved as he got older and continued to practice; his father would give him only three shotgun shells for an entire day of hunting, forcing him to always be sure of his shot.

Hemingway Sr. further instructed his son on how to cook wild game, as he insisted that Ernest consume whatever he killed. This rule would develop in Ernest a taste for squirrel, possum, raccoon, pheasant, duck, quail, partridge, doves, and all kinds of fish, though initially it got the boy into a spot of trouble; at age three, he shot a porcupine, and though Ernest boiled it for hours, it never got any less tough or more edible, and he had to choke down every last bite. Though in later life Hemingway sometimes shot more game than he could eat (which made him feel ashamed), he very often stuck to his father’s principle, frying up cornmeal-covered trout over a fire, living on elk and venison while taking week-long pack trips in the mountains, downing greasy, gamey, nearly rare bear steaks his fellow companions found disgusting, and even eating lion meat on an African safari that couldn’t have been any more raw — he literally cut it away from the spine of a just-downed cat and popped it in his mouth.

Hemingway’s father, Baker reports, imparted to him a great many other things regarding “a knowledge and love of nature”:

“He taught Ernest how to build fires and cook in the open, how to use an ax to make woodland shelter of hemlock boughs, how to tie wet and dry flies, how to make bullets in a mold that Anson [his grandfather] had brought back from the Civil War, how to prepare birds and small animals for mounting . . . He insisted on proper handling and careful preservation of guns, rods, and tackle, and taught his son the rudiments of physical courage and endurance.”

As a result of this tutelage, Ernest “shared his father’s determination to do things ‘properly’ (a favorite adverb in both their vocabularies),” and was able to handle outdoor adventures on his own at a young age.

His family owned a cottage on Walloon Lake, Michigan, and at age fourteen, Hemingway pitched a tent on some nearby land and slept in it the entire summer, sometimes slipping out at night to go canoeing under the moon.

At age fifteen he and a friend camped at a farm by the lake, and spent the summer gathering hay, working the fields, and milking the cows, and then used a boat to sell produce to cottages along the shoreline.

At age sixteen, he and a buddy took a weeks-long backpacking trip, hiking (and sometimes hopping a train), between towns, fishing a river each day for their sustenance, and sleeping along its banks each night. His friend left halfway through the trek, and Ernest continued his explorations alone.

Hemingway’s love for the outdoors, his preference for wild places over big cities, would continue throughout his life. In the woods and mountains he felt recalibrated, renewed, re-enlivened, and his prowess with gun and reel only grew with time. He always aimed to kill rather than wound, and more often than not, found his mark. He could take down a black bear in a single shot, catch over a hundred trout a month in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, hook a world-record-size marlin, shoot a large bull elk, on the run, through the lungs, at a hundred yards, and face down a grizzly standing on its hind legs. Said a companion who was astonished at Hemingway’s skill: “I saw Ernest jump from his horse, cover a hundred-yard dash on foot, and drop a running antelope at two hundred and seventy-five yards. That’s rifle shooting, if you ask me.”

Hemingway pursued game for sport, and for food, and sometimes even for survival; when supplies ran low amongst the troops he was reporting on during the Spanish Civil War, he went hunting along the front and returned with ample game for the hungry and appreciative men.

Tactical Skills

Even though Hemingway never served officially in the military, he still managed to win the Italian Silver Medal of Valor and the US Bronze Star, and carried himself on the battlefront with such confidence that he was sometimes mistaken for a four-star general by enlisted men.

Kept out of military service in WWI because of a bum eye, Ernest volunteered at age eighteen to drive ambulances in Italy. His stint as an aid worker was cut short, however, when he was hit while bringing chocolate and cigarettes to Italian soldiers on the front. An exploding mortar shell embedded 227 metal fragments in his body, but Hemingway, seeing a soldier seemingly more wounded than he, threw the man over his shoulder and fireman-carried him to a medical post. Along the way, he was hit again, this time with two machine gun bullets to the leg. Yet he kept staggering forward and delivered the soldier to safety. It was for this action that the Italians presented Hemingway with the Silver Medal.

Short as his medical service was, Hemingway still picked up some basic first aid skills that he would use throughout his life. Once while covering the war in Spain, a car he and his companions were following crashed into a ditch; Hemingway was the first to rush over to the victims and administer aid. Later in life, when his wife was dying from complications of an ectopic pregnancy, and her doctor told Hemingway that all hope was lost, Papa donned a surgical gown and mask himself and started a line of plasma into her vein, saving her life. Hem was, she said with understatement, “A good man to have around in times of trouble.”

At the beginning of WWII, Hemingway volunteered a very different set of services, getting permission from the U.S. ambassador to Cuba to start a counterintelligence organization designed to thwart the infiltration of the island by Nazi fifth columnists. He recruited a broad spectrum of fellow amateur agents, including jai alai players, a Catholic priest, waiters, fishermen, Spanish nobles living in voluntary exile, and an assortment of bums who hung out on the wharf. Ernest’s network of Spanish-speaking spies sent him reports, which he then translated and passed on to the American embassy.

Wanting to get more in on the action, Hemingway then struck on the idea of furnishing his 38-foot fishing boat, the Pilar, with bazookas, grenades, short-fuse bombs, and .50-caliber machine guns, and using it to patrol the Cuban coast for Nazi submarines. He amazingly managed to finagle the desired arms and equipment from the Chief of Naval Intelligence for Central America, and Ernest and his hand-picked eight-man crew spent months running drills and scouting the waters. Much to Papa’s consternation, however, they only once spotted a U-boat, and it was too far in the distance to be confronted.

Hemingway then jumped over to the European front of the war as a correspondent embedded with the Army’s 22nd Infantry Regiment as it moved towards Paris by way of Normandy, Luxembourg, and the Hürtgen Forest.

Ernest understood well the nature of manly camaraderie, and how to contribute to it, and was thus accepted into the regiment’s ranks as much as any member of the military.

The enlisted soldiers looked up to him (sometimes mistaking him for a member of the brass), and respected his willingness to share in the hardships and hazards with the men — positioning himself, by choice, in forward combat positions, sleeping on the ground and in barns, getting by for weeks on less than four hours of sleep a night.

The officers respected him for this, as well as for the head he had for tactical matters. As Baker reports, the commander of the regiment, Colonel Buck Lanham, “was surprised at the speed and astuteness with which Hemingway absorbed military information. He seemed to have a built-in battle sense, and an almost professional instinct for terrain. His questions were intelligent.” The colonel found him to be a “real expert” in military affairs, “especially in regard to guerrilla activities and to intelligence recollection. . . . He had a true scout’s instinct.”

In referencing a knack for “guerrilla activities,” the colonel was not speaking in the abstract; during the war, Hemingway did not content himself with penning dispatches for the papers back home, but instead took a participatory role in the action. In violation of the Geneva Convention, which bars journalists from taking up arms, he stockpiled grenades, mines, and tommy guns, and led a band of French Resistance fighters on scouting patrols.

One of Hemingway’s greatest tactical aptitudes wasn’t one we typically think of as a skill, but can in fact be developed like any other: courage.

The professional soldiers were a bit in awe of Hemingway’s preternatural calm under fire. As a child, Ernest’s mantra was “Fraid of nothing!” and while as an adult he encountered situations that elicited great fear, he came to think of the feeling as cathartic and learned to control it to an almost unthinkable degree. Col. Lanham, who considered him “without exception the most courageous man I have ever known,” remembered a time he, Hemingway, and some fellow officers were having dinner in an abandoned house when a shell came ripping through one wall and out the other:

“In a matter of seconds my well-trained people has disappeared into a small potato cellar . . . I was the last one to get to the head of the stairs. I looked back. Hemingway was sitting there quietly, cutting his meat. I called to him to get his ass out of there into the cellar. He refused. I went back and we argued. Another shell came through the wall. He continued to eat. We renewed the argument. He would not budge. I sat down. Another shell went through the wall . . . We argued about the whole thing but . . . He reverted to his favorite theory that you were as safe in one place as another under artillery fire unless you were being shot at personally.”

Though Ernest was in some ways fearless, he wasn’t reckless; said another officer:

“He never admired raw courage, unless it was the only way of getting the job done. I never saw him act foolishly in combat. He understood war and man’s part in it to a better degree than most people ever will. He had an excellent sense of the situation. While wanting to contribute, he knew very well when to proceed and when it was best to wait awhile.”

After the war, Hemingway was awarded the Bronze Star for his bravery in reporting “under fire in combat areas.” The citation read: “through his talent of expression, Mr. Hemingway enabled readers to obtain a vivid picture of the difficulties and triumphs of the front-line soldier.” He could paint such a rich picture, because he had lived it firsthand.

Physical Aptitude

“He was massive. Not in height, for he was only an inch over six feet, nor in weight, but in impact. Most of his two hundred pounds was concentrated above his waist: he had square heavy shoulders, long hugely muscled arms (the left one jaggedly scarred and a bit misshapen at the elbow), a deep chest, a belly-rise but no hips or thighs. Something played off him—he was intense, electrokinetic, but in control, a race horse reined in.” —Carlos Baker

Hemingway was a man of big appetites — for life generally, and for food and drink specifically. Fortunately, he also had a big appetite for exercise, and whenever his body got too flabby (his standard was how a gun felt when you hefted it: “If it’s heavy, you’re out of condition. When it’s light, you’re in shape”), he pushed himself to lose the weight.  

His love of physical activity began in his youth. As Baker explains, “Nothing pleased him more than working up a good swingeing [punishing] sweat: he and his father both believed that it learned the brain and cleansed the body.”

As a young man he participated on the school football and swim teams, and was always up for amateur games and romps. At age fifteen, he hiked 32 miles one Saturday with the local boys hiking club, and took a 25-mile jaunt the next week.

When he got older he continued to enjoy swimming, walking, and hiking, and also took up skiing and tennis. His regular pastime of big game fishing also gave him quite a workout; a tug-of-war with a 500+ pound tuna could last for seven taxing, buckets-of-sweat-producing hours. Fishing wasn’t a sedentary pastime for Hemingway, but a real battle. 

One of his favorite ways of staying in literal fighting shape was boxing, a sport he had taken up in his teen years and continued to dabble in all his life. When he was living and writing in Paris as a twentysomething, he made money on the side by sparring with professional heavyweights. He loved to ask his friends and associates to face off against him too, and sparred with Ezra Pound and other fellow writers in his apartment.

Hemingway would box bare-fisted or with gloves, and accept all comers. When he lived in the Bahamas, he offered $250 to any native islander who could last three rounds with him, and he reportedly never had to pay up. As Baker writes, Hemingway was even up for bouts he hadn’t seen coming; when a young man from the States arrived unannounced at the front door of his Cuban home spoiling to fight, “Ernest angrily threw a dozen hard left hooks at his head and face. The young man fell bleeding. Ernest paid the cab driver and told him to deliver the boy to one of the small whorehouse hotels in Havana and wash him up.”

It wasn’t just the big physical movements that Hemingway joyed in, but the small ones too — all the little things that add up to “flow”:

“The things that please me are very simple things. Most of them seem to have to do with natural reflexes and co-ordination. Like things that happen so quickly in trout-fishing, correcting a cast already started in the hundredth part of a second in the air. When I was a kid every time I would do that I would be pleased. Now shooting and all the things that are made up of so many things to do and think at once all surrounding one central necessity please me.”

As Baker explains in describing a day-in-the-life, Ernest ultimately believed that “The first great gift for a man is to be healthy,” because staying healthy allowed him to do all the things — both physical and mental — that he loved:

“On the 19th he . . . finished thatching the pool shelter, sorted books for a new book case, swam ten laps, did seventy-five lifting exercises, shot a match with Alavrito Villamayor . . . and concluded the day with three sets of tennis and a few more laps in the pool. Such a program was necessary, as he told Mary, in order to write ‘good,’ love and cherish his new wife, think straight, fight when necessary, and enjoy ‘truly’ and with all five senses his one and only life while he was still able to love it. Once in condition, he would get back in the swing of writing.”

Indeed, as the man himself warned, “Fattening of the body can lead to fattening of the mind.”

Cultural Know-How

Even though many of Hemingway’s competencies centered on concrete, physical skills, and his lifelong desire to test and prove his toughness and endurance, he was hardly a dumb brute.

In addition to being able to wax poetic on boxing, weapons, and the nature of true courage, Hemingway could talk eruditely about the differences between the styles of great painters (his favorite by far was Cézanne), the nuances of various wines, and the history of villages and historical sites.

He was of course a world traveler; as Baker reports, in 1923 alone, a 24-year-old Hemingway “traveled some ten thousand miles–six times between Paris and Switzerland, three times to Italy, to Constantinople and back, once to the Black Forest, once down the Rhine.” His globe-hopping ways would continue as he got older, traveling twice to Africa, returning again and again to Europe, and of course developing a particular love affair with Spain. Over the course of his life, Hemingway not only visited but took up extended residences in Paris, Key West, and Cuba. As he did not like to visit or write about any place without being able to speak the language, he became fluent in Spanish, and could speak a passable Italian, German, and French.

Whether he was settled in one place or traveling abroad, Hemingway was a voracious reader. At any given time, he was typically reading four different books (a number that could sometimes swell to as many as ten), and consumed about a book and a half every day. Over the course of his life, Hemingway thus read thousands of tomes, on a wide variety of subjects, and, possessed of a keen memory, readily retained whatever he consumed.


“Nothing could match a writer’s satisfaction in making a new piece of the world and knowing that it would stand forever. Writing was what [Hemingway] had come to earth to do. It was his true faith, his church, his politics, his command.” –Carlos Baker

Though Ernest Hemingway was proficient in a wide variety of skills, there was one area in which he achieved absolute mastery: writing.

It is unusual for a prodigious man of action to also be a brilliant man of words. But Hemingway was both, and treated writing as no less vital, no less arduous, no less epic than any physical contest or battle. It was a serious thing, an almost holy thing; though he loved it, he also considered it “hell.” “It takes it all out of you,” he said, “it nearly kills you.” He referred to his vocation as “the awful responsibility of writing,” and ever felt its weight.

Being a writer was all Hemingway really wanted in life, and it wasn’t enough for him to be simply good, or even great. He wanted to be the best there ever was; with each new work he strove to surpass his last, as well as everything else in the cultural canon. As he said when accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature, to be a writer of any ambition is a lonely, solitary pursuit — single combat:

“For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day. For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed. How simple the writing of literature would be if it were only necessary to write in another way what has been well written. It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer is driven far out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him.”

Hemingway did not succeed in reaching the pinnacle he describes all at once; rather his mastery was achieved the way it always is — through dedicated time and practice.

After working in high school on both the school’s literary magazine and newspaper, he cut his teeth as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star. He hit the pavement for stories, studied the paper’s style guide, and pumped his fellow journalists for advice.

As a twentysomething trying to make it as a writer in Paris, he lived leanly, worked diligently on his craft, sent out his stories to publishers, and weathered the many rejections he got in return. He later remembered how painful these setbacks felt at the time:

“every day the rejected manuscripts would come back through the slot in the door of that bare room where I lived over the Montmartre sawmill. They’d fall through the slot onto the wood floor, and clipped to them was that most savage of all reprimands—the printed rejection slip. The rejection slip is very hard to take on an empty stomach and there were times when I’d sit at that old wooden table and read one of those cold slips that had been attached to a story I had loved and worked on very hard and believed in, and I couldn’t help crying.”

Papa persevered though, and even when his first novel became a big success, kept to a very strict writing regimen; rather than waiting for inspiration, he courted it through discipline.

While Hemingway is often thought of as a kind of hard-partying epicurean prince, and could certainly go on some benders, when he was writing, he actually kept to a disciplined daily routine. He woke at five-thirty or six in the morning, and went straight to his work:

“I like to start early before I can be distracted by peoples and events. I’ve seen every sunrise of my life. I rise at first light . . . and I start by rereading and editing everything I have written to the point I left off. That way I go through a book I’m writing several hundred times. Then I go right on, no pissing around, crumbling up paper, pacing, because I always stop at a point where I know precisely what’s going to happen next. So I don’t have to crank up every day.”

Hemingway was quite intense about the initial re-reading process, as he felt “Most writers slough off the toughest but most important part of their trade—editing their stuff, honing it and honing it until it gets an edge like the bullfighter’s estoque, the killing sword. One time my son Patrick brought me a story and asked me to edit it for him. I went over it carefully and changed one word. ‘But, Papa,’ Mousy said, ‘you’ve only changed one word.’ I said, ‘If it’s the right word, that’s a lot.’”

Hemingway did his writing standing up, “to reduce the old belly and because you have more vitality on your feet. Who ever went ten rounds sitting on his ass?”

As he put down new lines of prose, he often left three or more spaces in between words, in order to intentionally slow his pace, and force himself to consider the choice of each individual word. He gave all his attention, all his energy to keeping his output taut, to stripping the lines on the page of any pretentiousness, any falseness — to writing “one true sentence.” And then another.

Hemingway aimed to hit 600-1,000 words a day of the “really good,” and after six or seven hours of intensely focused work, would knock off around lunchtime, feeling absolutely exhausted. He relaxed with a drink and the only activity his “emptied” mind could handle — perusing newspapers and magazines. By late afternoon he began to get his energy back, and would fish and socialize with friends and family. But as Baker observes, “Toward the end of dinner . . . he would begin to withdraw into himself [again], for his mind had turned to the creative problems of the morning, and by the time he went to bed, which was always early when he was working, he knew the people, the events, the places and even some of the dialogue he would encounter the following day.”

The next morning, even on the rare occasions Hemingway broke from his routine and stayed up late, he would get up and do it again. He understood that mastery only emerges from religious consistency: “You have to work every day,” he said. “No matter what has happened the day or night before, get up and bite the nail.”

How Ernest Hemingway Lived the T-Shaped Life, and You Can Too

From the above, we can compile this non-exhaustive list of the components of the horizontal axis of Papa’s “T” — his broad skills, aptitudes, and know-how: 

  • Listening attentively
  • Speaking charmingly
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Cooking wild game
  • Map reading
  • Navigation
  • Racehorse evaluating
  • Acquiring broad knowledge of history, flora and fauna, art, wine, etc.
  • Speaking multiple languages
  • Building wilderness shelters
  • Tying flies
  • Making bullets
  • Preparing game for mounting
  • Taking care of equipment
  • Building a fire
  • Milking a cow
  • Fireman-style carrying
  • Horseback riding
  • Skiing
  • Harvesting produce
  • Camping
  • Backpacking
  • Hiking
  • Administering first aid
  • Displaying courage
  • Intelligence gathering
  • Team leading
  • Patrolling/scouting
  • Canoeing
  • Boating
  • Boxing
  • Tennis
  • Swimming
  • Traveling

And we know well what made up the vertical axis of Hemingway’s T — his area of mastery: writing.

The remaining question then is, how did he do it? How did he get good at so much, and become truly excellent in one discipline?

A few takeaways:

Be curious, observant, and inquisitive. Though Hemingway never went to college, he received a thorough “higher” education simply by remaining curious about the world, and the people who inhabited it. He devoured books. He was interested in people from all walks of life, in hearing their stories, and learning their know-how.

For example, when Hemingway stayed at a dude ranch in Wyoming, he would visit with the few other guests there, but liked to slip away to the bunkhouse to hang out with the real ranch hands. “I always learn something from you men,” he told them. “The dudes have nothing to teach me.”

Have a bias towards action. While Hemingway saw immense value in secondhand learning, he saw no substitute for firsthand experience. He was marked, Baker writes, by “his love for the life of action.” He seldom let a thought go unmaterialized in the world. He seldom let an idea go untested.

For example, when it came to his love for bullfighting, it wasn’t enough to watch the contest and to write about it; he had to participate himself: he got in the ring and took part in amateur bullfights, getting banged up in front of a crowd of 20,000.

For Hemingway, it wasn’t enough to drift or take aimless stabs at things; you really had to go after what you wanted. As he was fond of saying, “Never confuse movement with action.”

Have a set routine. Hemingway understood that mastery isn’t born from fits and starts. It’s something you have to work at every single day. He had nothing but disdain for those who enjoyed the identity of a vocation like writing, but who didn’t embrace the grind of it.

There’s one more tactic that not only allowed Hemingway to do so much in life, but to also get so much enjoyment out of it. But it’s such an important practice, it deserves its own piece. To come.



Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story by Carlos Baker

Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir by A. E. Hotchner

The post Ernest Hemingway as a Case Study in Living the T-Shaped Life appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

09 Jul 17:51

How Edison’s Boxing Film Inspired Pay-Per-View

by Miss Cellania

Quick, when did movies start to make money? You've probably never thought about it, but the earliest experimental films were hard to monetize. They were an amazing technology at the time, but you could get the same entertainment from a live stage show, with color and sound. The breakthrough came with an 1894 Edison kinetograph film of a boxing match between James “Gentleman Jim” Corbett, and New Jersey champion Peter Courtney. The only people that actually saw the fight live were the film crew and a few staged audience members for ambience. Everyone else had to pay to see how it turned out.

Regular fight fans had to adapt to a new way of catching all the action from the 1894 bout. They lined up with hard-earned nickels and waited for their turn to watch the bout through the Kinetoscope, another Dickson invention, which had a peephole window on top for viewing the flickering films made with the kinetograph.

The playback of the boxing match made money — the first film to do so, according to the 1968 boxing documentary The Legendary Champions. That means it was also the first financially successful boxing pay-per-view. Better yet, it helped launch the career of the sport’s first movie star, Corbett, the fighter who had defeated the legendary John L. Sullivan to win the world title. “He was a celebrity — a pop culture figure in the very early days of mass media,” says Jeremy Geltzer, who has written several books on early film history.

Suddenly, more people could see a particular fight than could fit into an arena, and boxing continued to make so much money that Floyd Mayweather is the world's highest-paid athlete today. Read how the first boxing film came about and where it led at Ozy.

09 Jul 17:51

How to Add Smart Features to Your Old Car With These 10 DIY Projects

by Joe Coburn

Each new generation of cars comes with more and more technology installed, but what if you own an older model? Even models produced 3-5 years ago are missing a lot of the tech you might expect to find.

These projects show you just how easy it is to add new features to your car, or retrofit enhancements that can significantly improve your luxury when driving.

1. Easy Heads-Up Display (HUD)

This first project comes from YouTuber Project DiY. Using the DigiHUD Android app, and a few simple parts such as tinted film and suction cups, it’s possible to make this project in ten minutes.

Other apps are available, but DigiHUD is 100 percent free, contains no adverts, and doesn’t require a data connection to work.

Through the creator’s clear instructional video, you can easily build this for yourself. Just take care not to break any local laws regarding blocking your vision when driving, or operating a mobile phone.

2. Raspberry Pi Dual Dash Camera

This video shows you how to build your own two camera dashcam, using a Raspberry Pi and Arch Linux, although other Raspberry Pi operating systems are available.

While the quality isn’t amazing due to the use of Raspberry Pi cameras running at low resolutions, it’s more than good enough to see what happened in a collision or incident. You may already have the necessary parts already.

If you like the idea of a dual dashcam, but don’t feel comfortable modifying your car in this way, then take a look at our Aukey Dual Dashcam review, which comes with everything you need to get started.

3. Knight Rider LED Scanner

This Knight Rider led scanner can be built using an Arduino and a few simple components. You’ll need to write some code, but our full written tutorial covers everything you need to know.

Our tutorial was built on a breadboard, but it’s not a roadworthy solution for installing in a car, so you may want to learn how to solder if you don’t know already.

4. Arduino Ultrasound Parking Sensor

YouTube channel StudentBuilds shows you how easy it is to build an ultrasound parking sensor with an Arduino. You’ll need a buzzer and ultrasound module, along with an Arduino, but you can purchase all the required parts for under $20.

This project is built on a breadboard and powered by a 9V battery, so you’ll need to modify it slightly to make it tough enough for life on the road. The full code and tutorial is provided in the excellent written tutorial.

5. Raspberry Pi Navigation System

Using a Raspberry Pi, touchscreen, GPS module, and the Navit open-source car navigation project, YouTuber Mark shows you how to build your own GPS based satellite navigation system.

The video doesn’t cover much more than a basic demo, but a comprehensively written tutorial is available on the maker’s website.

You may already own the Raspberry Pi and screen, but the BerryGPS-IMU module required can be on the expensive side. However, it’s still cheaper than a shop-bought system.

BerryGPS-IMUv2 - GPS and 10DOF for the Raspberry Pi - Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer and Barometric/Altitude Sensor BerryGPS-IMUv2 - GPS and 10DOF for the Raspberry Pi - Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer and Barometric/Altitude Sensor Buy Now At Amazon $46.00

6. Android and Raspberry Pi Reversing Camera

Jeffry Anto uses an old Android phone, alongside a Raspberry Pi and LCD monitor to prevent any collisions when reversing. The Android phone’s camera is used and wirelessly streams the video feed to the Pi.

While no tutorial is provided, you can easily replicate this by using the tips in this security camera from an old Android phone tutorial.

7. Raspberry Pi Android Auto

YouTube channel ETA PRIME shows you every step required to get Android Auto running on a Raspberry Pi, with touchscreen setup as well.

While many newer cars support Android Auto, it’s not always possible to configure with slightly older models. With a little configuration and some open-source code, you’ll be all set.

If you’re not sure what Android Auto even is, then this what is Android Auto guide should clear things up.

8. Arduino Fingerprint Car Starter

This ambitious project was built by Shahrul Nizam. It features an Arduino-powered fingerprint scanner, OLED display with a custom interface, and several buttons for basic control.

While the video shows little more than a basic demo, a complete circuit diagram is provided, along with some basic instructions on the maker’s website.

You may still need a way to unlock your car remotely, but this project brings you one step closer to the ultimate DIY smart car system.

9. Raspberry Pi Car Entertainment System

Designed for rear passengers to watch movies, this Pi-powered car entertainment system was built by YouTuber Chad Runyon. The whole system is powered by the car’s battery, but a backup battery is used to safely shutdown the Pi once the engine is switched off.

No tutorial is provided, but our guide to installing Kodi on the Pi and portable Raspberry Pi power tutorials will get you off to a good start.

10. Raspberry Pi Car Computer

YouTube channel sentdex installed a Raspberry Pi into their car and uses it as a car computer. Not only does the Pi boot into its GUI interface, but it connects to the car and shows detailed statics from the engine such as air intake and fuel consumption.

This project does involve connecting the Pi to your car’s onboard diagnostics port, but the 15-minute long video goes into great detail about how this works, and things to look out for.

While complex, this project is easier than you may think, as the car’s interface is connected to the Pi using a diagnostics to USB cable, which is explained in the tutorial.

DIY Your Dream Car With These Projects

These projects show just how much potential there is when combining your car with simple electronics. While you should be careful not to tamper with mechanical engine components, or fuel or braking systems, there’s practically no limit to what you can achieve.

Once you’ve reached the limits of what tech you install in your current car, why not take a look at these affordable electric cars?

Read the full article: How to Add Smart Features to Your Old Car With These 10 DIY Projects

09 Jul 17:50

Schwab Bests Vanguard In ETFs

by William Baldwin, Contributor
Charles Schwab & Co. takes the lead in offering bargain money management.
09 Jul 17:48

Guri Guri

Scoops of strawberry sit atop pineapple guri guri.

In the early 20th century, Jokichi Tasaka invented an ice cream–sherbet hybrid so good that he called it "goodie goodie." After emigrating to Maui from Japan, he opened a confectionary store and sold the frozen treat to fellow immigrants looking to beat the Hawaiian heat. Though they mispronounced the original moniker as "guri guri," the new name stuck and became the official title of both the treat and Tasaka's store.

Guri guri's exact recipe remains a secret, but most hypothesizing chefs agree that it's likely a frozen blend of strawberry or pineapple juice, lemon-lime soda, and sweetened condensed milk. The result is light and fruity, yet rich and creamy. Blending the best of ice cream and sherbet, the treat leads diners to wax poetic, describing it as "if a slushie and ice cream had a baby” or "if a shaved ice cart and ice cream truck had a head-on collision into your tongue."

Located in the Maui Mall, Tasaka Guri Guri is now run by Jokichi's granddaughters. They keep things simple, serving up only two flavors: strawberry and pineapple. Occasionally, they'll release a limited-edition flavor such as lime or orange, but diners better act fast: These sell out quickly.

06 Jul 13:32

El Cosmico Trailers

Some people might call a group of old trailers, tents, and teepees out in the middle of nowhere a commune, or a retreat, or even a shantytown. We call it...

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06 Jul 13:21

Icon Old School Broncos

Whereas Icon's BR is a modern reimagining of Ford's classic off-roader, their new Old School Series retains the iconic looks while upgrading a host of components. Chief among those is...

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06 Jul 13:05

Robert Downey Jr.'s 1970 Ford Mustang

Tony Stark has a taste for performance automobiles, something that his real-world counterpart, Robert Downey Jr, shares as well. The actor commissioned SpeedKore to bring his vision of the perfect...

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06 Jul 13:05

The Old No. 77 Hotel

Located in the heart of New Orleans, The Old No. 77 Hotel thrives off of its Louisiana heritage. The property is housed in an 1854 warehouse just a few blocks...

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06 Jul 13:04

1958 Porsche 550A Spyder

The 550A Spyder was the car that put Porsche on the racing map. Despite having an only a 1.5-liter four-cylinder motor, the 550A was wildly successful against nearly anything it...

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06 Jul 13:03

1957 BMW 507 Hardtop Roadster

On two wheels or four, legendary British racer John Surtees was a winner. Surtees claimed seven World Championship motorcycle titles and the 1964 F1 Driver's Championship for Ferrari, along with...

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06 Jul 12:14

5 Simple Ways to Improve the Quality of Your Photos

by Joe Coburn

If you have learned the photography basics for better pictures, but are still disappointed with your image quality, then it’s time to learn what your camera is capable of, and the settings you need to change to get the best image quality.

All cameras have a “sweet spot”. These are settings whereby the camera will produce the highest quality image, regardless of the make, model, or specification. Here are some helpful tips that can help you to squeeze every last drop of quality out of your camera.

1. Reduce Your ISO

ISO is a measure of how sensitive to light your camera is. Increasing the ISO lets more light into the sensor, but it comes at the expense of noise or digital artifacts.

As a general rule, the lower the ISO, the better the image quality. Digital noise appears once the ISO creeps up into higher levels, which appears to reduce sharpness, as lots of grain is visible in the photo.

It also helps to know the largest ISO you’re prepared to use for your camera. When shooting with my Canon 5D Mark IV, I’m prepared to shoot up to ISO 6400. Any higher and I’m not happy with the results. This can be a personal thing and varies between cameras, so take a series of test shots to figure out what works best for you.

Our guide to camera ISO settings covers more ISO details in greater depth.

2. Increase Your Aperture (But Not Too Much)

Due to the mechanical design of lenses, physical imperfections can appear at the extreme ends of the aperture.

Shooting with a “fast” lens at f/1.4 lets lots of light in, which is great for reducing the ISO. Using such a wide aperture reduces the sharpness. Stopping down to f/2.8 or f/3.5 will yield a noticeable improvement in sharpness.

lens aperture

You might think that using the smallest possible aperture will produce the best image, but that’s not the case either. Once you get into tiny apertures such as f/16, or f/22, then diffraction becomes an issue.

This again is due to physics and means that the light entering through such a small aperture starts to interfere with itself, and reduces the sharpness.

Loss of sharpness and diffraction impacts lenses from all manufacturers and price ranges. While premium lenses are able to render sharper images at the extreme apertures, they still experience the same problems as cheaper lenses.

If possible, shoot at a good midrange aperture, somewhere between f/3.5 to f/8. This will produce the best image, with your lens operating in its sweet spot, where it will be the sharpest.

Don’t feel like this is an unbreakable rule. Taking photos wide open is great fun, but be aware that you may be losing sharpness.

This detailed video from Fstoppers explains lens diffraction in greater detail:

3. Increase Your Shutter Speed/Use a Tripod

If you use a long shutter speed and handhold your camera, the shutter is open for a long period of time, which means there’s more time for you to move the camera, and introduce blur into the shot. Even with the steadiest hand in the world, our bodies can’t help but introduce tiny shakes. This could be due to your heartbeat or your breathing.

If you increase your shutter speed, there’s less time for movements to disrupt the photo. The shorter the better.

If you must have a long shutter speed, then use a tripod. If you don’t want the cost or weight of a large tripod, then take a look mini tripods such as the Manfrotto Pixi, which folds up small enough to fit in your pocket.

Manfrotto MTPIXI-B PIXI Mini Tripod, Black Manfrotto MTPIXI-B PIXI Mini Tripod, Black Buy Now At Amazon $19.14

4. Perfect Your Focus

Nobody likes a blurry photo. Once you’ve eliminated one source of blur from the shutter speed, then nailing your focus should be your next priority.

You don’t have to shoot with manual focus, but it once again comes down to knowing your camera. How well does your camera focus in low light? Does it struggle if a foreign object comes into the frame? Is it excellent at autofocusing, but hopeless at any kind of focus in a video?

The best way to learn what your camera is capable of is going out and shooting. Sports photography is one area that can stress-test an autofocus system. With fast-paced action, regular changes in composition, and even people or objects blocking your line of sight, it’s an excellent place to start.

Brushing up on how autofocus works may help as well.

5. Correct Your White Balance

This final tip is a simple one and you can do it in-camera, or after the fact in your choice of editing software.

Setting the correct white balance is essential for producing nice looking images. Ever noticed how interior shots come out looking yellow, or snow photos have a blue tint? This is due to white balance, and it can be one of the toughest areas for a camera to figure out when shooting in auto.

This video tutorial from YouTube Channel Professional Photography Tips covers everything you need to know about setting or correcting your white balance:

Improving Photo Quality Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

These five simple tips show how easy it is to improve your image quality, and the best part is they are achievable with any camera, without splashing out on the latest model.

  1. Reduce your ISO: Increasing ISO adds more noise to your images. Keep it low for the best quality.
  2. Increase your aperture: Lenses have a sweet spot. Shooting at the extreme ends of the aperture introduces imperfections.
  3. Increase Your Shutter Speed: Low shutter speeds may add unwanted blur. Keep them high for perfect photos.
  4. Perfect your focus: Nobody likes a blurry image, so learn how to get perfect autofocus.
  5. Correct your white balance: White balance is the difference between horrible colors and beautiful natural looking images.

If you’re worried that all these tips have sucked all the light out of your camera, then our guide to taking photos in the dark should help you out.

Read the full article: 5 Simple Ways to Improve the Quality of Your Photos

06 Jul 12:13

How to Identify Plants and Flowers Using Your Phone Camera

by Nancy Messieh

A few apps have promised to reveal the names of plants and flowers you find in the wild. Just point your phone camera at them and you’ll get your answer. Of the many available, few have been as successful as Microsoft Bing and Google Lens.

In addition to identifying flowers and plants, these apps can be used to identify products, books, and in Google Lens’ case, even places.

Google Lens is currently available as a standalone app for Android users while iPhone owners get Google Lens bundled as part of the iOS version of Google Photos. Microsoft’s Bing app is available for both Android and iOS.

How to Identify Plants With Bing

When you first open the app, you’ll see a large search button flanked by a camera and mic button:

  1. Tap the camera icon to open up the camera search function.
  2. Point your camera at the flower or item you want to identify and take a photo of it.
  3. Bing will scan the image and provide you with three possible results with accompanying images. It will also display other similar images.

How to Identify Plants With Google Lens

Google Lens is far simpler. When you open the app, your entire phone screen becomes a camera lens:

  1. Tap the screen when you want to take a photo of the item.
  2. Google Lens will then display one main result accompanied by a photo, and a couple more text suggestions.
  3. Tapping the item will take you to a Google search page of the item that you tapped.

Which Is Better: Microsoft Bing or Google Lens?

If we’re judging based purely on how it successfully identified flowers, then Google Lens just ekes out Bing.

Both apps failed multiple times to identify certain plants and flowers and both apps also successfully identified distinct flowers like the hydrangea as well as the lesser known lantana. They both identified basil, but with the Bing results, it was identified through a similar photo rather than the Bing app suggesting it as one of its three main options.

Google Lens distinguished itself by making its identifications slightly faster than Bing, and the more you use the app, the more you’re contributing to Google’s AI identification skills.

The one way in which Bing is better than Google Lens is that it provides you with more image results, so if it doesn’t correctly identify the plant, there’s a chance it will offer up an image that allows you to figure out what plant you’re looking at.

There’s plenty more you can do with Google Lens including pulling contact information from business cards and identify unusual foods.

Read the full article: How to Identify Plants and Flowers Using Your Phone Camera

06 Jul 12:13

How to Find the Shortest Distance Between Two Points on Google Maps

by Saikat Basu

Thanks to Google Maps, you can quickly go from one location to any other location with confidence. You can even spot traffic snarls and plan multiple routes. But did you know that you can also measure the shortest distance between two points in a straight line?

That is, you can ask Google Maps to find the distance “as the crow flies” using its Geodesic Distance feature.

The Shortest Distance Between Points on Google Maps

On Google Maps (Web)

Google Maps Measure Distance

  1. Open Google Maps on your computer.
  2. Zoom into your starting point and right click on it.
  3. Select Measure distance from the right-click options.
  4. Click on the second location you want to measure the distance too.
  5. If you want to measure multiple points, click again on those locations. Drag a point or path to adjust it, or click on a point to remove it.

Google Maps displays the total distance in miles on top of the path. It is also displayed in a card at the bottom of the map. You can remove the paths by clicking on the cross on the card.

On Google Maps (Mobile)

Similarly, you can measure the distance on Google Maps for Android and iOS too. The process is only slightly different. Let’s see how it works on Google Maps for iOS.

  1. Open the Google Maps app.
  2. Locate the first spot and touch to mark it with a red pin.
  3. At the bottom of the map, tap the name of the place.
  4. In the pop-up menu, choose Measure distance.
  5. Drag the map so that the black circle, or crosshairs, is on the next point you want to add.
  6. Tap Add +. You can keep adding multiple points.
  7. At the bottom, check the total distance in miles (mi) or kilometers (km).

You can undo the last point with a tap on the reverse arrow.  Or, click the More icon (three dots) > Clear to remove the points.

Measuring the shortest distance isn’t a practical convenience in urban cities unless you want to fly. But, you can plot the total area of a plot of land with the help of multiple points. Remember to add this feature to the many everyday uses for Google Maps.

Read the full article: How to Find the Shortest Distance Between Two Points on Google Maps

06 Jul 12:11

What’s the best way to keep herbs fresh? 

by Kate Bernot on The Takeout, shared by Virginia K. Smith to Lifehacker

If you’re lucky enough to have the space and green thumb required to keep herb plants growing from spring to fall, congratulations. The rest of us suffer the indignity of buying those plastic-shell, $4-a-piece herb snippets at the grocery store, and then pray they’ll stay good for more than 12 hours in our kitchens.…


05 Jul 17:59

How to Import Your Dream Vintage 4x4

by Veronica Seder
Featured vintage 4x4 banner photo

Earlier this year we spent an entire weekend drooling over an incredible selection of 4x4 and off-road vehicles at Overland Expo West, in Flagstaff, AZ, a bi-annual gathering for all things overland that’s as much car show as it is a crash course in vehicle-based adventure.

From tricked out Tacomas to custom army trucks-turned-campers and re-purposed ambulances, the variety of vehicles that people use to get out and explore on the weekends (or live in full-time) is staggering. But the group that gets the most attention are the classic 4x4s, the coolest of which are imported from overseas. They check all the boxes: they’re simple, rugged, reliable, and often get better fuel economy than their American counterparts thanks to small diesel engines.

Which got us thinking: it’s about time we make a how-to guide for importing adventure vehicles from overseas. The ground rules are actually pretty simple: just make sure the vehicle is at least 25 years old and has its original engine (or an EPA certified engine) — beyond that it’s all fair game.

Read on for everything you need to know to snag your dream overlander.

Vintage 70-Series Toyota Land Cruiser

Photo: @landcruisersdirect

Models/Years: 1985-1993 BJ70/73/74/76

Price: $10K-$30K

The Land Cruiser, in all its iterations, is arguably the most capable series of overland vehicles ever built. There’s nothing wrong with the gas-burning versions you can get in the U.S. (the FJ 40, 55, 60, 80, 100 and now 200 series), but the crown jewel, the 70 Series, was never sold here. Unlike the modern day 100 and 200 series Cruisers we have in the U.S., the 70-Series Land Cruiser sold overseas got more of the iconic FJ40’s genes: simple, rugged, and focused more on off-road ability than getting the kids to soccer practice.

Their diesel power plants net them much better fuel economy (think mid-20s), and since diesel engines generally last longer than gassers, you can feel more confident buying an older, high-mileage model. They started production in 1984, which means you’ve got a lot to choose from.

Missouri-based Land Cruisers Direct specialize in importing low-mileage 70s from Japan. Prices run from around $10K to $30K, and LCD takes care of all of the paperwork and customs red tape for you. Note: everything from Japan will be Right Hand Drive, which is totally legal in the U.S., but does take some getting used to.

New 70-Series Land Cruiser

Photo: @landcruiser70club

Model/Year: 2018 L79

Price: $85K and up

The coolest thing about the 70-series is that Toyota still makes it today. If you like the sound of a 70-series Land Cruiser but don’t want to mess with an older vehicle, you’re not alone — a new importer out of Colorado Springs called LC America is leading the charge in bringing brand new 70s to the U.S.

LC America are working with the EPA and DOT to retrofit purchased cruisers and make them compliant with U.S. emissions and other standards. They’re currently accepting reservations for vehicles, and plan to have them out to people within a year and a half. If you’ve got the cash, this is the best way to get a modern version of an iconic, imported 4x4.

Land Rover Defender

Photo: @madroverimports

Model/Year: 1983-1993

Price: $30K and up

Land Rover is the other big name in overlanding — images of Land Rovers traversing exotic jungles and deserts are synonymous with the sport. They started building the Series model back in 1948, and began production of the more well-known Defender in the 80s. We got a few years of Defenders stateside, but missed out on the best models with turbo diesel engines. They’re coveted for their off-road prowess, simple mechanics and tank-like build quality—and they’re also not nearly as luxurious as their younger American counterparts (like the LR4), which makes them better-suited to extended periods of off-road travel.

Look for a 1990-93 model, as they’re the latest you can legally import. There are a few importers around the country, and that’s the easy way to go when it comes to purchasing one — Mad Rover Imports in Durham, NC, specializes in sourcing clean, lower-mileage Defenders.

4WD Diesel Vans

Photo: @sunny.koga

Model/Year: Varies

Price: $5K+

Vanlife has a presence at Overland Expo, mainly in the form of tricked out Sportsmobiles and Sprinters. The coolest vans are those that are imported from Japan, like the Mitsubishi Delica, which has been produced in one form or another since 1968 and is sold all over the world. They get decent gas mileage, are known for their reliability and simplicity, and most importantly will be the envy of all of those Sprinters parked at the crag.

The best examples come from Japan, and you can pick up a clean, low-mileage example very reasonably (sometimes less than $10K). The best Importers are Delica Star Wagon and Japanese Classics (which has a cool selection of other Japanese 4x4s aside from Delicas for reasonable prices).


Photo: @seyser.chris

Model/Year: Varies

Price: $10K +

A Pinzgauer always draws attention at Overland Expo. They are quirky little army rigs from Austria that make great build platforms for overland rigs thanks to their dead-simple mechanics and open bed design that’s ripe for building out or leaving alone for versatility. Some options have six wheels, and they’re the right size for off-road travel — not to big, not too small.

These are fairly rare in the U.S., but a ton were made starting in the early 1970s so there are plenty of options that fall into the 25-year import rule. Importers like Swiss Army Vehicles and Expedition Imports source incredible examples from all over the world.


05 Jul 15:00

Europa Hotel in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Europa Hotel.

The Europa today is a four-star hotel that's played host to presidents and celebrities, but its history has not always been so grand. In fact many are surprised it is still standing.

The hotel opened in July, 1971, in the midst of the "Troubles," a 30-year violent territorial conflict over whether Northern Ireland would remain under British rule, or leave the United Kingdom and join a united Ireland.

During this time, the Europa Hotel was the primary accommodation for journalists reporting on the turmoil, and its ill fate soon gained it nicknames such as the "Hardboard Hotel," and "The most bombed hotel in Europe." 

Between 1970 and 1994 the hotel was bombed no less than 28 to 33 times (reports vary), including once before it was even open to the public. On one occasion a bomb was simply bought to reception with "IRA" (Provisional Irish Republican Army) scrawled on it, on another the damage was so bad residents could look through a hole in the wall and see the stage of the Grand Opera House next door.

Despite all the attacks, the hotel has only actually closed its doors to the public twice, and no one died in any of the bombings. It is currently a central, modern, and safe place to stay in Belfast (famous for being the town where the RMS Titanic was built), featuring a piano bar and Grand Ballroom.

05 Jul 14:32

How to Mute People on Social Media: Facebook, WhatsApp, Reddit, and More

by Anya Zhukova

No matter what you use social media for, you probably have all your friends and family on there. And while you may love and respect those people, seeing every single thing they post online can sometimes get a little too much.

On top of that, you probably have contacts who post things that either don’t concern you, or simply annoy you. The problem is you don’t always want to unfriend people just to de-clutter your feeds.

Which is where the Mute button comes into play. If you feel like someone’s taking up too much of your social media time, here is how to mute people on any social media platform of your choice.

How to Mute People on Facebook

Facebook gives you a few ways of keeping your newsfeed nice and clean. For example, you can filter out someone’s posts without unfriending them. Potentially saving you a scandal or two.

In order to hide them from your feed, first temporarily, tap the three dots on the top right of one of their posts, and click Snooze for 30 days. However, their posts will reappear in your feed after this time has passed.

So, if you want to get rid of them for good, you need to unfollow the user. Tap on the three dots at the top of their post and click Unfollow. You can also unfollow them by going on the user’s profile page—hit the Following button above their recent posts and choose Unfollow.

The good news is your contacts will never find out that you snoozed or unfollowed them. You’ll stay friends with them on the network and will always have an option to start seeing their updates in your feed again.

How to Mute People on Messenger

Choosing Messenger over Facebook already indicates that you prefer your social network clean and uncluttered. But there still might be notifications that you’d like to turn off.

In order to do that, open your conversation list and choose the thread you’d like to mute. Tap the Information button (on Android) or the conversation name on the top (on iOS). Then choose Notifications > Mute Conversation. You’ll have an option to choose a time period from 15 minutes to 24 hours, or choose to silence notifications until you manually undo it.

How to Mute People on Instagram

After many requests from the network’s users, Instagram finally added a mute button. In case you don’t want to completely lose connection with those you follow, but would like to just dial down their Insta-volume a little, you can now mute them.

To mute someone, tap the three dots in the corner of a post. Then choose from the following options: Mute Posts, Mute Story, or Mute Posts and Story.

You can still see that person’s posts by visiting their profile page, and get notified when they tag you. At the moment, you can only mute users on the app (Android or iOS), but not on the Instagram website.

How to Mute People on Twitter

twitter mute

Twitter also has a range of options when it comes to ignoring people—you can choose to either block, mute, or unfollow people.

In order to mute a user, go to their profile, click on the three dots in the top right, and select Mute. Another way to do it is to find one of the user’s tweets, click the dropdown menu arrow on the right and choose Mute.

The user won’t get a notification about this. And if you change your mind, you can always go back to their profile, find the same menu and select Unmute.

On Twitter, you can also review a list of people you’ve muted. Go to Settings and privacy > Privacy and safety > Muted accounts. You can use this to bring someone back into your feed by hitting the Mute icon.

How to Mute People on Snapchat

Not so long ago, the only way to ignore conversations on Snapchat was to block a user or leave a group. The users would, of course, get notified of your actions.

Now the platform has a feature called Do Not Disturb. It allows users to turn off notifications from one-to-one and group chats. You still get the users’ Snaps, but you won’t get alerts about them until you check the app. The best part is that the ones you snooze stay oblivious to all of this.

To turn off notifications for a Snapchat friend, go to a chat on the Friends screen. Tap the menu in the upper left corner and switch on the Do Not Disturb mode. You will then see the snoring emoji appear next to their name in the chat menu.

How to Mute People on Reddit

How do you block a user on reddit? from help

Once you learn how to use Reddit productively, it becomes a great and resourceful site. But it can easily bring more clutter and spam into your online presence. If you’re finding someone’s messages or comment replies on Reddit annoying, you can simply block those users. Previously you could only do it in private messages, but now it affects all parts of the site.

Once you block a certain user, their profile together with their comments, posts, and messages will completely disappear from view. In order to block someone, click the Block User button on their reply in your inbox. If you ever wish to undo that, go to your friends list and find the “blocked user” section, where you can unblock them.

How to Mute People on WhatsApp

Beyond Messenger, other instant-message apps can become cluttered when your friends constantly spam you with tons of notifications. On WhatsApp, you can choose to turn off alerts for specific conversations.

Open a chat that’s becoming too noisy. On Android, tap the three dots on the top right. On iOS, click the contact (or group) name at the top of the screen. All you need to do from there is choose the Mute option and then pick the time period—eight hours, one week, or one year. You can undo this at any time using the same menu.

How to Mute People on Telegram

Telegram has a similar option to WhatsApp for muting notifications from particular contacts and groups.

On Android, tap on the three dots in a chat and choose Mute notifications. On iOS, go to the group or contact info and click Notifications. You can then choose to mute a particular chat for one hour, 8 hours, or until you manually unmute it.

If it’s not the chat messages themselves that irritate you, but more the fact that the sound of receiving them distracts you, try silencing notifications in Telegram and WhatsApp instead. This will definitely help you regain control over these messaging apps, and bring you some peace and quiet.

Ready to Start Muting Your Social Media Friends?

Don’t worry, ignoring your friends isn’t actually not as bad as it sounds. Muting some of your contacts will help you dial down the number of posts you see on social networks daily and make your feed a little quieter.

The best part is, they won’t even know that you’re ignoring their updates. You, on the other hand, might finally start enjoying social media again—which is, surely, the ultimate aim.

Read the full article: How to Mute People on Social Media: Facebook, WhatsApp, Reddit, and More