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Archive for May, 2012

Followup To External Flash Diffuser Post

Recently, I posted a brief DIY article on creating a diffuser for a camera’s external flash. Well, I figured I’d take a second to show the project in action. Check out the pictures below and notice the difference. All images where shot by the same camera on the same aperture, shutter speed, ISO and general exposure settings.

I used a white glasses cleaning cloth as my material. Please excuse the blur in the last shot.

No flash used

no camera flash

Full flash, no diffuser

full camera flash

Flash with diffuser

camera flash with diffuser

Double diffused flash (two layers of cloth)

extra diffused flash

Shades of Gray (a poem)

A short but though provoking poem I recently wrote…

Life isn’t black and white
But various shades of gray
And anyone who does not realize this
Has never truly lived a day

American Idol Finale Recap

After the elimination of Joshua last week, American Idol fans were treated to one of the best possible combinations for the finale. Both Jessica and Phillip where surely at least among the top two contestants for respective genders (Hollie and Colton would be the other halves of that equation). Both have been fan favorites from the beginning and thus it came as no surprise that the show was quite satisfying.

HERS”S HOW I RANK ROUND 1:

1. Jessica – Nailed the high notes and came out very strong.

2. Phillip – Slow and smooth, very cool with a projection of confidence.

HERS”S HOW I RANK ROUND 2:

1. Jessica  – Beautiful tone and fantastic vocals. It was nearly flawless.

2. Phillip – Good balance between the slow and upbeat. Pretty good job overall.

HERE’S HOW I RATE THE ORIGINAL SINGLES:

1. Phillip – Classic folk feel. It was simple and beautiful and a pretty fit for him.

2. Jessica – Slow start but strong on the chorus. The song itself could have been much better.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

While Jessica would have to be considered the favorite tonight, we cannot count Phillip out by any means. Ultimately, it will come down to two simple possible voting scenarios. First, if the voters looked at the three performances equally, Jessica undoubtedly won the first two rounds and thus will be this year’s winner. However, if voters decided to put more value on the performance of the original singles, Phillip will be the last one standing. Basically, it could go either way and will likely be a very slim margin.

Quick and easy diffuser for your external camera flash

One of the biggest challenges with flash photography is the possibility that you might have to content with harsh shadowing and over exposure in your shots. One way to deal with this of course, if by using a diffuser.

As you probably know by now, I’m a big DIY fan. So, with that in mind, here’s an easy way to rig yourself up with a DIY diffuser for an external flash unit. And one of the best things about it – you probably won’t have to buy anything. Unlike many of these projects, I can all but guarantee that you have sufficent materials just laying around your house or apartment.

What you’ll need:

1. A rubber band – one that will fit tight and hasn’t lost it’s elasticity.

2. A piece of thin white material. I’d recommend something like a handkerchief or glasses cleaning cloth. But all in all, so long as it is fairly thin, most materials should do the job just fine.

What to do:

1. Wrap the material around the main part of the flash unit co it covers over the light emitting portion as tightly as possible.

2. Place the rubber band around the the white cloth in order to hold it in place.

That’s it, you’re done. In all of 30 seconds we can have a quality, effective diffuser!

This image is a similar concept to the method described in this post.

Never Burned (a poem)

I’ve been through Hell
And have returned
Scorched and charred
But never burned

I’ve faced my pain
Letting weakness escape
Exiting my skin
Leaving only the strength within

My soul did ache
My heart did crack
But that is over now
And, I shall launch my own attack

Tried and tested
But to no avail
Rather sturdy it has made me
Unyielding and free

Another poem by Jason Greiner, one of the Pittsburgh writers noted for his two books of poetry and photography and his how-to style photography e-book.

Why You Should Consider Making a Flyer For Your Next Event

Guest Post by Mike Turner

Flyers can be great promotional tools for any event. They are extremely affordable and easy to produce. They can be distributed almost anywhere. It’s a great way to put onto paper your upcoming event in a way that’s eye catching and easy for potential guests to hang onto. Using flyers is one of the best ways to advertise your event while working to a budget. If you want a lot of guests, make sure that you print out a large number for distribution. The more you get out, the more potential guests you will be able to reach.

Promotional flyers can be placed or distributed almost anywhere. Consider going to a store that sells the same interest as your event. For example, if you are promoting a concert go to a music supply store or record shop. You can place materials under the windshield wipers of cars in the parking lot, and many stores will let you place a stack of on their counter for customers to pick up if you ask them. This is a great way to reach a targeted audience that you already know shares a common interest in the event you are promoting. It also allows you to reach people you wouldn’t ordinarily have been able to.

If you’ve got some time on your hands, you can also stand on the sidewalk in front the store and hand them out to passers-by. Try not to be too pushy, and think of something clever to say when you do this. If you just shove a paper in their face, most people will just walk away without ever taking it your hand. If you take a minute to think of something funny or memorable to say as you are handing them out, they will be more likely to both take it and actually read it. Adding personality is always a good thing when you are promoting!

Another option is stapling your flyer to telephone poles, if your city allows this. Start in the area where your event will be held and then work your way out. Your event is more likely to appeal to local people who happen to see your signs and notice that it takes place close to their home. Consider dotting the neighbourhood with your flyers, and you will maximize the number of people who see them. The more people that see them, the more likely your guest list will increase.

Never place them on walls without written permission from the local authorities! This can be illegal. Just make your sure they are catchy to look at, clear and concise in what they are advertising, with a clearly written brief description of the event, time, date and location. Keep these points in mind and have the follow through to distribute them accordingly, and your flyers can be one of the best and most affordable promotional tools you’ve ever used!

About the author:

This post was written by Mike Turner, a design, home and technology enthusiast, who is currently doing online research on behalf of Vistaprint, Flyers specialists.

American Idol Top 3 Recap

The top three performances had some ups and down and gave us an extremely tight level of competition. While there where several very good performances, none seemed to really stand out head and shoulders above the rest. It should be an interesting vote this week.

HERE’S HOW I RATE THE SONGS CHOSEN BY THE JUDGES:

1.  (Tie) Jessica and Phillip

3. Joshua

HERE’S HOW I RATE THE CONTENT CHOSEN SONGS:

1. Jessica 

2. Joshua

3. Phillip

HERE’S HOW I RATE THE SONGS CHOSEN BY JIMMY:

1. Phillip

2. Jessica

3. Joshua

OVERALL:

1. Jessica - Very solid overall with great tone and vocals. There where a few issues with song choices and lack of defining moments but she provided good performances all in all.

2. Phillip – Stepped up his game this week, especially in round one and three. His cool, funky, vibe is by far the most unique sound among the final three.

3. Joshua – He had the pipes and showed a ton of confidence but his over the top screaming and vibrato could be a killer.

Side Notes:

I was thoroughly disappointed with Jimmy’s song choices. This songs for Joshua and Jessica where destined for a train wreck and lack of vocal challenge respectively. The only one that worked was the song for Phillip. Conversely, the judges’ choices worked out to be a nice fit. Jessica took a huge risk going with “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” considering it was seemingly out of her comfort zone. The risk paid off as she aced it.

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