Category Archives: Celebration
Holiday photo tips from a “been-there-done-that” photographer.
These days, everyone has a digital camera, whether it is a camera phone, point and shoot or a DSLR. Unfortunately for my wallet, I am a hard-core SLR photographer with a large quantity of expensive equipment. Fortunately for me, I have learned how to use it to my advantage. During the Holidays, an invitation to me is usually accompanied by the words “and don’t forget to bring your camera.”
There are millions of rules for photography, but only a few really make a difference to the casual photographer. Note:
Make a list! Before you head off to Grandma’s House, make sure you have all the gear you will need. If you are going “point and shoot” it’s pretty simple – a spare charged battery, and a spare memory card, in addition (!) to the camera. If you are shooting DSLR, make sure you have your lenses, flash unit and other accessories, in addition to the items mentioned. Before you leave home, make sure your gear is cleaned and functional.
KISS! No, don’t hang out under the mistletoe, but “Keep It Simple, Stupid!” The typical “snap shot” photographer tries to get too much into too little space. Limit your subject matter to just two or three people, a shot of the Christmas Tree or a child opening a present – don’t try to cram all of it into one shot.
Don’t pose your shots, people tend to look goofy when trying to pose for the camera. Think casual, and your pictures will look more natural. One trick is to set up and be ready and only then let your subject know that you are going to take their picture, just don’t sneak up on the elderly.
Naturally, Aunt Jane will yell out something like “everybody get together for a picture!” Now, you are stuck and all you can do is make the most of it. Pick a background that is as uncluttered and plain as possible. Have your subjects/victims line up as best you can. What I do to get around “posing” is to tell the group that I am “going to take a few test shots.” Your subjects will still be relaxed and usually those turn out to be the best pictures.
Don’t have whine with your cheese. Never have your subjects say “cheese!” Pronouncing the word pulls the lips into an unnatural looking position – have them say “me!” instead. Saying that gives a much more relaxed and natural look. If your camera does not have a “red-eye” elimination function, have your subjects look towards a bright light for a second before shooting the picture. Red eye is a reflection off of the fundus at the back of the eye – looking into a light will cause pupils to contract, eliminating the sinister “glowing eye” effect.
If you absolutely, positively have to take formal pictures, do it right. That means studio lights, backdrops, scrims, tripod, remote shutter release, stands, reflectors, portrait lens. Shooting portraits is not easy in a non-studio setting, especially if you seldom take that kind of picture.
Fire away! You are shooting digitally, so you don’t have to worry about running out of film, processing costs, etc. Check your “work” periodically on your LCD screen, deleting really bad shots as you go. Adjust your settings as necessary. When you get home, you can process your haul with Photo Shop or another computer software program. Even the most basic program can crop, light and color correct and touch up. I regularly remove zits, stains and mud from photos. Recently, I put my granddaughter’s missing tooth back in using PS.
If you are at the office Christmas Party, try to get a shot of your Boss hitting on the lady from Accounting – it may come in handy during your next performance review.
If you are interested, I will be “hanging out” today and tomorrow if you have a specific question. I’ll try to answer promptly to the best of my ability .
William Stephenson Clark
Filed under Celebration
So? Who’s up for a picnic?
As all of you should know, our “Celebration of Life for Steven” will be this Saturday. To make the party a success, we need to know who is planning to attend. To my knowledge, this is what we have so far.
We haven’t heard from Thunderchild, DavidB or Annie Moose, and Sekan and Monkyhawk have yet to give us a definitive answer.
Lisa is new to our party, but we would like her to attend (take a hint Lisa!) so that we can all meet her.
My apologies if I missed anyone.
So? Who’s in and who is going to be a party pooper?
Let us know!
Filed under Celebration
Memorial Day is the traditional kick off for Summertime, even though the official first day of summer is not until later in June. For many, Memorial Day means picnics, trips to the lake, baseball games, horseshoes, pool parties, kids out of school, barbecues and the Indy 500.
And, yes, it means all those things, but there is a greater meaning.
The loss of a loved one in war must be a horrible burden to bear, one that I have not personally felt, but one that I can empathize with completely.
Our great nation, however imperfect she may be, has stood the test of time and our brightest and best have stood up for her and defended her throughout history, some with the forfeiture of their lives.
The shot heard ’round the world. The Battle of New Orleans. Gettysburg. The Hundred Day Offensive. Pearl Harbor, Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge and Iwo Jima. The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. The Tet Offensive. The Mother of All Battles. Kabul. Baghdad.
No matter your thoughts on these wars, you have to respect those that fought them for us, and those that made the ultimate sacrifice. They deserve no less.
Today, when you sit down with your family, friends or even alone, take a moment to reflect on those that stood tall to protect our freedom and liberty.
But I would also suggest that you remember those that lost their lives, but not in uniform, but for a cause greater than themselves.
Medgar Evers. Dr. King. Rachel Corrie. James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. Matthew Shepard. Harvey Milk. Rachel Corrie. Tom Hurndall. The Kennedy’s. And many, many more.
Today is the day we set aside to honor those that have come before us, blazing a trail so we all may have a better life. As you celebrate the day, stop to remember and honor those that have made this day possible.
It’s the least we can do.
William Stephenson Clark
Filed under Celebration, History, President Barack Obama, Tributes, WAR
A Celebration of Life for Steven
Okay, it’s a bit more than a month, but Fnord has to attend some wedding thingie in Boston (lame excuse) and there are other commitments I have in the weeks proceeding.
So, mark your calendars:
June 12th – a Celebration of Life for Steven. Two PM.
Griffin and Fnord have graciously volunteered (?) to host this event at their home. It is going to be a hella party to honor Steven.
I will be bringing a couple of slabs of my world-famous ribs and a pot of my even more famous Smoked Scrapyard Baked Beans.
Attendance is mandatory – that means you, Roxie and Pondy! If you fail to show up, we will hunt you down and drag you to the celebration. You cannot hide from the “evil liberals!” Liberals are very violent, don’t cha’ know!
Please contact me at WSClark52@gmail.com with questions, directions, comments or whatever.
Also, please note on this thread what you will be bringing. If you can’t bring anything, that’s cool, too. Everyone knows that liberals are socialists and we SHARE.
Be prepared to laugh, cry and sing.
And stuff your face!
We all will.
William Stephenson Clark
Filed under Celebration
OPEN THREAD DAAA DA! Saturday 01-23 and the first day of the rest of your life!
Went on a job interview yesterday, looks like I maybe getting back into security.
Law enforcement seems to think I am older then I think I am.
And no one else seems interested in a 52 y.o. who piddle his younger year away and had not decided what he wanted to be when he grew up….. I really need to decided that one of these days!
Let’s Make Plans
We won’t be able to firm up everything until tomorrow since Iggy is at work today and 6176 won’t have computer access until tomorrow, but we can make most of the plans!
Let’s make sure we have the necessary supplies. We can get free paint at the place David told us about, so let’s talk about that and see whether that is the route to go, at least for the primer. Ladders? Brushes? Sprayer? Drop cloths? Caulk? Sanding equipment? What else? Who will the crew consist of?
So much to discuss! I’m getting excited! Anytime I can get together with the bunch of you and help someone we all love is a good time! Let’s do it!
Thomas Frank at Watermark September 16th
Thomas Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas and The Wrecking Crew will be at the Watermark Bookstore (Douglas and Oliver) on September 16th at 7:00 p.m. His second book has come out as a trade paperback and I suspect this is the reason for his appearance, or it could be because he enjoyed the local bloggers so much last time.
The 16th will be a Wednesday night. Maybe some of us could meet there again?
Filed under Book Reviews, Celebration
Which side are you on: What labor day is all about.
Filed under Celebration, History, Populists, Thinking/Considering
Out Of Africa: Human DNA
Did anyone watch “The Human Family Tree” recently on the National Geographic channel? One of the most fascinating facts found out, after checking the DNA of 350,000 human beings from every corner of the planet, is we all come from the same area of Africa.
200,000 – 150,000 years ago: The genetic journey of everyone alive today began with one woman — “Scientific Eve” — who lived in Africa and passed along her DNA through special cell structures called mitochondria, which only women pass down to further generations. What that means is, we are all related: Black, White, Yellow, Brown . . . we’re all the same. Our DNA varies by 1/10 of 1%, and that small percentage is what gives us our individual identities.
The color of a humans skin comes not from DNA, but where our ancestors migrated to. European ancestors lived in cold climates, so skin pigmentation lightened over generations. Those living in warmer or hotter climates retained the darker characteristics. It makes it interesting, then, how much race (which actually doesn’t exist) plays the role it does in society. I wonder how racists would actually feel if they knew they were hating their brothers and cousins? My guess is they would not believe the evidence when presented to them. All one has to do is look to people like Linda Jenkins, Bill O’Reilly and their ilk to understand facts have little meaning to them.
So, readers, how do we change the minds of people bent on destroying race relations, when the evidence of DNA points to the non-existence of race? Is it even possible?
Filed under Celebration, Diversity, Evolution, hate groups, History, Life Lessons, racism, Research, Thinking/Considering
A tribute to Senator Kennedy
Here is a stirring tribute song to my good friend, Senator Ted Kennedy called ‘Headed Home.’ I wrote this song with the great Phil Springer. Take a moment to listen to the words. You don’t have to agree with everyone’s politics…none of us agree 100% of the time. But you have to admire a lifetime dedicated to public service and improving the lives of others — and that is just one of the many things that made Ted great. I think this song captures a small part of Ted’s legacy of service. Listen to it and see what you think.
Senator Orrin Hatch
Through the darkness
We can find a pathway
That will take us half way
To the stars.
Through the rain and fog
We can find a clear day
Shoo the shadows and doubts away
And touch the legacy that is ours.
Yours and mine
And our children’s
For all time.
Just honor him
And every fear
Will be a thing of the past.
We’re headed home
We’re headed home
Just honor him
And on the reefs of despair
We shall not crash.
We’re sailing home
We’re headed home
Written by: Orrin Hatch and Phil Springer
Filed under Celebration, Tributes
Dialectics and Our Path out of our Current Craziness
Marsha Linehan, PhD from the University of Washington, has provided the nearly impossible. She has led the way in treating patients with a very disabling disorder known as Borderline Personality Disorder. Dr. Linehan, though she might deny it, is a committed Zen Budhist. Dealing with the difficult balances that impinge upon us all daily, is the very foundation of her expertise. Those imbalances are especially difficult for her patients, but I, and others contend, the same is true for most of the rest of us.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy, aka DBT, was developed in the late 1970’s by Dr. Linehan and colleagues when they discovered that cognitive behavioral therapy alone did not work as well as expected in patients with borderline personality disorder. Dr. Linehan and her team added additional techniques and developed a treatment which would meet the unique needs of these patients.
DBT was developed to help people who have trouble in the realms of “thinking, relationships, emotions, and coping” – sounds like most of us, no?
A core component of DBT is “mindfulness” – gaining control of your mind, rather than letting it control you.”
Another component is “interpersonal effectiveness” – which involves, a) getting your objectives met in a situation, b)get/keep good relationships, c) keep/improve self respect and liking of one’s self.
A third component is “emotion regulation” which involves 1) understanding emotions one experiences, 2) reducing emotional vulnerability, and 3) decreasing emotional suffering.
In case I was not clear, I have always thought that these skills could be used by most of us, me included.
What do you bloggers think?
Music is such a personal thing that one persons music choices may be another’s worst earache. I think I carry with me an eclectic taste in music: I like Michael Jackson, not for his personal life, but for what he brought to music and dance. I like unknowns, such as Jon Amor, who, in my opinion, has brought a fresh voice to music. Sadly, he’s known in Europe, and little heard in the states. His album, Amor, is outrageous. I like guitarists such as Scott Henderson, who combines both jazz and rock, and does so with a sense of humor. Steely Dan’s Pretzel Logic is one of the greatest albums even done, in my opinion. When it came out, it was way different from anything else out there, people didn’t know what to think of it. Feel free to disagree, after all, that’s why there are so many different kinds of music. jammer5
So let me introduce you to one of my favorite jazz fusion pieces:
Filed under Celebration, Music