Blogs

Low Light Photography Class - Products Discussed

In Part 1 of our photography class, "A Focus On Gear", we discussed many different products and how to evaluate what will work best for your needs. As promised, here are a list of products and brands that I've used over the years, and some comments on each:

DISCLAIMER: The links will take you to Amazon.com, and are affiliate links for the HoustonPhotowalks.com photography club.

6 Years of Kelby Photowalk T-Shirt Designs.

The 3am Tweet

Scott Kelby announced the t-shirt design for the 2014 World Wide Photo Walk today. Just like everyone else that faithfully follow Scott on his journey, I clicked the link on today's tweet:

Enjoy The Houston Art Car Parade with your Special Child

Houston has an amazing Art Car Parade each year. Its usually in the spring, and you can read more about this crazy fun event at The Art Car Parade Web Site.

Tips for getting the most out of your Autism Playgroup Sessions

Many people join Autism support groups such as the one my wife and I host, AutismHouston.com, and then don't actually attend events. This has some very unfortunate consequences. Parents of recently diagnosed ASD family members miss out on seeing they aren't alone. And children with awkward or difficult social circumstances miss out on opportunities to make pier- and age-group-appropriate friends.

Over the years, I've heard several reasons for not attending:

Limited Time: Free eBook Downloads

We recently returned from our Photography trip to Belize, Roatan and Cozumel to photograph Mayan Temple Ruins. Along the way, I taught 6 photography classes based on a group of eBooks I've been working on. You can download the latest version of the ebooks below.

If you find them helpful, or just enjoy downloading free ebooks, feel free to post a comment below.

Delkin 700x CF Memory Review - 7-Day Test Run

I led a photography trip to Belize, Cozumel and Roatan for 53 people last week as part of our yearly "big event" over at HoustonPhotowalks.com and 24Moves. We had a blast, and as expected, shot lots of pictures.

To make sure I had plenty of coverage for some of my older, smaller memory cards, I purchased two 16Gig CompactFlash memory cards from Delkin. Almost all of my cards are SanDisk Extreme (of one flavor or another). But with the price difference, I figured on giving Delkin a try.

My Backup Workflow for Large File Repositories (Images, Projects, Etc)

We shift files back and forth trying to find the best backup strategy.

But the activity of moving files around only increases our chance of loosing important data.

At one point or another, we've all lost a file forever. Maybe it wasn't a significant tragedy, or maybe it was 10 years of your child's photos. Or the project due tomorrow. Or your client's wedding photos. As we generate more and more data in our lives, it becomes increasingly more important to solidify our backup strategy -- and stick to it.

Joe's Busted Images Contest - Image Breakdown

Introduction

Once a year at HoustonPhotowalks, I post a handful of my worst images from the previous months, and challenge club members to "fix them". [Moohahahaha]

Is Autism Support being Roadblocked by "High Functioning" parents?

10 years ago when Marty and I first started our journey as parents of a non-verbal, extremely anxious child, we had some very specific misconceptions. For example, we had to learn the concept of normal vs neurotypical ... and start to understand our responsibility to help our child grow to be the best person he can be, rather than trying to make him "like normal kids".

Meetup Group Owners - How To Fix your [broken] Google Webmaster Tools

For years, meetup.com let us use "custom domains". As part of their rebranding and refocus efforts, they are doing away with this feature. Fortunately they are grandfathering (kinda) those of us who were smart enough to brand our groups with a unique URL. But this change has broken access to Google's Webmaster Tools.

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Sharing Images on Facebook Groups (most bang per share)

Get the most out of your Facebook Image Posts (and keep from getting ignored)

As a member and admin of several Facebook groups, I see a lot (a LOT) of posted images. This often includes unintentional pitfalls, missed opportunities and non-preferred behavior by members who don't understand their options (or etiquette). Here are some suggestions to help group members get the best possible results from image posts.

BTW, this posts comes with a couple of notes.

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T-Shirt Sponsorship for AutismHouston.com

I'm sending out the following information to companies and organizations in the Houston area, inviting them to participate in the AutismHouston.com 100 T-Shirts sponsorship. Here are the details. You can also forward the attached PDF to your boss or a family member who may be interested.

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The "Nice Shot" Comment Myth

Don't let the Comment Haters slow you down.

Most people appreciate and maybe even crave feedback, especially positive. When it comes to photography, there are those who are very comfortable providing constructive, well crafted critiques. These paragraphs of personal opinions are often (at least hopefully, always) provided with the best intentions in mind, to help the photographer understand what works, and what doesn't, in a particular photograph.

Safer Lightroom Catalog Backups

Backups are crazy important. No matter how "good" hardware gets, nothing is 100% reliable. So everyone should have two backup strategies -- a backup medium and an off-line backup (even if its just a USB drive you keep in your desk at work!).

Workflows and Backups

Everyone's workflow is a little different. For me, everything ends up on the Drobo (everything). I even render and work with live files directly from my Drobo. Frequent backups are made to a USB-attached hard drive, and then there are nightly on-line backups for safety.

Branding History of HoustonPhotowalks.com

Since the day I started the group in June of 2009, HoustonPhotowalks.com has been a real blast. There are hundreds of amazing photographers in Houston, and I've had the pleasure of meeting many, many, many of them over the past 4 years.

For the Casual Camping Photographer - A Shopping List

Ok, I'll admit it ...

Taking folks to places they would otherwise never visit, or even know about, is a huge kick for me. Its one of the biggest parts of running HoustonPhotowalks that I enjoy the most.

Color Picking - Play By The Numbers

Doing some refresher research on color theory today ... sometimes I really regret selling back my college books. A base color selection can be completely subjective, but the accompanying and contrasting colors are not random. Humans react to color combinations based on cultural cues (red+green=Christmas, etc), and *mathematical calculations*.

This is one of the hardest concepts to teach new designers who want to randomly pick colors because they "look good".

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Using an iPhone / iPad for Document Storage

The iBooks App

Many folks know that their iPhone and iPad can read books using the iBook App from the App Store. Its free and very simple to install. What many folks don't know is, it can be used to store things other than just ebooks.

My iPad is full of PDFs I've pulled from the web, mostly application development ebooks and camera gear manuals. A simple google search can find you a manual for just about any device or software on the market.

New Product Offering (and a discount to boot!)


24Moves is now offering your portraits and favorite image at MEDIA.24Moves.com on custom iPhone and iPad cases!!

To kick off this new product line, iPhone and iPad cases are 50% off with this coupon code: IPHONECASE-50-OFF

Keep your favorite people with you at all times with this very unique item. Or purchase them as a wonderful gift for parents or grandparents.

Offer expires in one week, so get to clicking! :)

This Weekend: 140% Special for RAIN Portraits!

I recently wrote a blog post about shooting/photography in the rain and how you can achieve some really interesting and unique results. People have told me they love my rain shoots. The images are extremely unique because I keep shooting rather than canceling the sitting.

This weekend (July 14/15), there is a 70% chance of rain. So I am discounting my sitting fee by 70%! AND if we KEEP SHOOTING while it rains, I will waive the sitting fee completely!

That adds up to 140% of pure rain fun and photographic magic, right? :)

Contact me via this blog or on the 24Moves Facebook page for details if you are interested in this unique portrait opportunity!

Ok, I Modified My Release

Sometimes I get it wrong. And I can be a little too direct. This is one of those times I'll admit it.

Background: My Photography Release is a little Different

We all need photography releases. And a few weeks ago, I posted my release for all to see. And part of it was a bit of a rant.

The original wording was:

Review: Rogue Flash Bender System

Introduction

Rogue recently asked me to try out some of their new Flash Bender products, and Daniel volunteered to be my model. This was a test shoot of several Rogue products to see how they worked with a 2-, 3- and 4- speedlite setup. I'm primarily a speedlite/flash shooter, and already have a couple of Rouge products, so was excited to try out some of their new gear.

Typically, my gearbag includes the poles, diffusers and triggers to use three Canon speedlites and three large Vivitar 285's. Its usually pretty easy to find flash modifiers for the Canon gear, but the bulky design of the Vivitar flashes often leave me hunting for white foam core, DIY velcro flags, or shooting against walls.

SEO: Gaming Meetup.com

[Note: I provided a draft copy of this article to SEO meetup groups for comment/clarifications before I published it publicly. There was no reply.]

Introduction, the SEO Dilemma

The professional trade of Search Engine Optimization has taken a "hit" to credibility multiple times over the years. It has been so bad that some versions of my resume doesn't list it as a skill -- to prevent being associated with those identified as less ethical.

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I Can Never Return to that Pawnshop Again ...

Administrators: Force Secure Passwords Because Users are Lazy. This is the story of how a stolen laptop and a careless employee got me banned from my favorite pawn shop.

The Punchline

The punchline to this story is hidden in my phone call to a complete stranger:

Stranger: How do you know Bob?

Me: All I know about Bob is what I found on his laptop.

And later in the call:

Distilling the Scott Kelby anti-Drobo Comments

Genesis

Yesterday I posted about Scott Kelby's blog post, I'm Done with drobo. Although I am one of the folks who hasn't suffered the Drobo-bricking, its easy to see why he would want to migrate to a different backup system.

His post churned up a nice bit of valuable comments.

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Forcing Drupal into Perpetual Cron Jobs

Something went screwy. That's the shortest explanation I can provide. To fix it, I had to run the Drupal Cron job hundreds of times until the queue drained.

Unfortunately, I wasn't interested in sitting at my computer for hours clicking the Run Cron button. So I inserted this little hack into my page. Its an absolute total hack, and very temporary, but gets the job done.

My Drobo is About To Die! (But That's Ok)

Recently, Scott Kelby posted his angst against with the Drobo Storage Device, concluding that he's "Done with Drobo". His post generated a pretty lively group of comments, including some that disagreed with his statements.

Shooting in the Rain (on a Budget)

UPDATE

I have updated this with some more recent rain-shoot images/portraits. But more importantly, at the very bottom I included a list of items I may pack for a rain shoot or water-related portrait session.

Leave a comment if you find this helpful! :)


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Parents: Be Nice to Volunteers and Service Providers

Sometimes it feels like parents of children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders are under the impression that the world revolves around them.

That's harsh, and as a parent of a PDD-NOS child, its hard to hear myself say.

I'm a father who thinks the world should halt when his son needs 30 seconds to formulate the answer to a question posed by a stranger. And everyone should be understanding (and not stare) when he has a public meltdown. So I speak from very very personal experience.

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Talentopoly - My Current Favorite Development and Design News Source

I have recently started using Talentopoly.com.

Social noise management tools have been around for a long time. I was an insane digg.com user, both in posting and diggs. But then they lost their "techno-geek" way, focusing on general news stories. The "Design" section often seemed completely abandoned, not having new promoted stories for weeks.

Then the things-I've-dugg interface "lost" all of my dugg articles. At that point, it lost all usefulness. Digg.com was my bookmarking tool.

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