I am a long time fan of the show Dancing With The Stars.
And while the series is known at times for having some silly and less than elegant elements, it has also had it’s share of truly amazing performances. Some of these have inspired visually, musically and even emotionally. Here are a few I saw last night that I simply felt compelled to share. The first is newly crowned Olympic Ice Dancing champion Meryl Davis and her notoriously suave partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. It was dedicated to the journey to the gold medal she and her ice dancing partner Charlie White had been on for more than 17 years. This second video is of Paralympic snowboarding star Amy Purdy and her choreographically gifted partner Derek Hough. This was dedicated to her father who played an incredible role in her recovery from an illness that cost the athlete her legs. Sit back, relax and take in another example of how art can inspire us all.
My hometown of Pittsburgh has seen a lot of first…
and now for the second time in less than a year, this city has been the first in the nation to feature a new an innovative work of art.
The Market Square area of Downtown Pittsburgh has been the setting for a temporary installment of an interactive exhibit designed by two men from the United Kingdom, The creators are KMA visual media artists Kit Monkman and Tom Wexler.
Here’s how it works. Every night at dusk through 10 p.m. on weekdays and 12 a.m. on weekends, a projection unit with thermal heat detection comes on, plays music and produces a stunning light show based on the movement of the people in Market Square at the time. The piece will be in Pittsburgh until March 16.
Check out a few video samples below:
Things start off slowly at dusk.
After a few minutes, the show moves into full swing.
The show in full swing.
As even the most casual readers of this blog know by now, I do a lot of work as a photographer and thus take my art very seriously. So as a general rule, while I would never really advocate a cell phone camera over a fully functional DSLR, bridge camera or even a quality compact unit, the fact remains that sometimes these are simply more convenient.
With that being the case, I decided to give a quick review of the camera from my new phone the Samsung Galaxy S 3 Mini.
The official manufacturer’s specifications -
5 MP, 2592×1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, Geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, panorama
Real world usage (my opinion) -
The camera offers a fair amount of adjustable features for a phone. This includes modes for shooting at night, facial feature enhancement and the ability to add a bit of sound to the beginning of your photo. While the jury is still out on these modes, the sports mode leaves a lot to be desired. But then again, that is typically the case on most cameras or devices. The flash is pretty good and very similar to any standard camera flash. You can easily adjust the flash setting as well. In addition to the auto focus mode, you can also opt to use macro focus which might come in handy with close-ups. The ISO can be set between 100 and 400 and it also provides the ability to adjust white balance on a basic level.
The official manufacturer’s specifications - 720p@30fps with secondary VGA
Real world usage (my opinion) -
The standard video quality isn’t bad and the camera’s microphone captures the audio well. However, it is possible that it might be a bit too well as that does pick up a bit of background noise. They video files come out in MP4 format. As of this time, I haven’t been able to determine whether or not the video can be adjusted to be full-screen or not. Video can be shot in both a front and rear facing manner.
In the world of music, there are no shortage of “angry chick” songs in which a woman rocks out some level of either rage of discontent regarding relationships with men. While many of these may annoy those of us with a with a “Y” chromosome, there are some occasions on which the song is so catchy or the rage comes across as so attractive that it’s hard not to like the song.
With that being said, here are a few such songs that I really do enjoy:
By Kate Voegele
Crush, Crush, Crush
Everything Back But You
By Avril Lavigne
I knew You Were Trouble
By Taylor Swift
Do you like “angry chick” music? What are some of your favorite songs that fit this vibe?
While I really enjoy a diversity of musical artists…
once in a while you come across someone who is either new on the scene or simply a talent that you have never heard of before. This was the case for me with the artist Janelle True. As it turns out, I found out about her through a random email and took a moment to listen to a few of her clips from Youtube. All I can say is, wow!
From the little that I’ve learned, her sound comes across as simple and sweet with a beautiful melodic tone. She’s young but her vocals sound like those of someone well beyond her years (in a good way) and she herself states that her many influences include jazz and the blues.
She’s due to release her debut album in mid-September and if what I’ve seen and heard so far is any indication, I suspect it will be a critical and financial success.
Check out the video below:
Sometimes you might just have a reason…
to need some sort of graphic design work but either don’t have the knowledge or time to complete the project yourself. And if you’re anything like this blog owner, you may not have the funds either.
One option is to hire someone who engages in what is known as “micro-jobbing.”
So what is micro-jobbing?
Actually it’s a very simple concept. People provide a service, such as graphic design, for a very small fee in order to complete a relatively quick or minimally time consuming job. Sometimes you can get things done for as little as $5!
Some other types of services include:
Search engine optimization
One of the top sites for this type of business exchange is Fiverr.com.
Check out a few examples of some work I offer below:
If you need something quickly and at an affordable price, this may just be your answer. Or, if you’ve got some extra time on your hands, you can possibly make a few extra bucks here and there by offering your skills in this capacity.
As many of the readers of this blog probably already know, I am a huge fan of country-pop artist Taylor Swift. And with that being the case, it should be no surprise that I took in her concert at the amazing Heinz Field in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.
While watching the show I decided to create a few clips to share at least a bit of the experience with others as well as to relive the memories myself for years to come.
I hope you enjoy these.
Ok, so for a little while now
I’ve been posting some photography tips using Photoshop as well as some other things involving working with other multimedia in a simple and straight forward manner. That being the case, I’m considering setting up a website specifically for video tutorials that I have created to help others. After all, I think when one person has knowledge of a particular subject, why shouldn’t they share it with others hoping to learn? I know that I personally owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have taken the time to make a little clip showing me and others how to accomplish something we might otherwise be ripping our hair out over.
Some of the tips I have put into video form so far include:
Making realistic backdrops in Photoshop
Working with the spot color effect in digital images
Using the Dodge/Burn and Exposure tools in PS
Creating your own DIY photography gels
Easy photo resizing
Converting video to audio
I would like some feedback from my readers on this idea of a new, most likely subscription (or at least donation) based site. Who knows, maybe there’s something I’ve made that you can use for yourself or someone you may know.
Have you ever had a photo capture your eye
and then wonder how the photographer accomplished the effect within that piece of art? For a lot of us, this happens fairly frequently. And if you’re really interested in finding out how that particular image came together, what do you do?
In this digital age, it’s quite possible that your first instinct is to turn to Google or whatever else may be your preferred search engine. However, in many cases, you may not be able to find what you need with a simple “how to” style search. Even if you do get results, there’s a good chance you’ll end up finding some conflicting information. No need to worry though, there is a much easier way to figure out what a you’ll have to do in order to get the qualities you love into images you shoot on your own.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Flickr. For those of you who haven’t, it’s a photo storage and sharing tool with a bit of a social networking quality as well. The site has undergone some awesome visual upgrades lately but one of its coolest features still remains. That would be the ability to see the technical details of each image. With this information, it should be pretty easy to recreate an image similar to those you admire so much.
You’ll be able to tell exactly what shutter speed, aperture, ISO and more is the combination that produces the desired result. All you have to do is go out and find an image (on the site) that you want to emulate and go from there. Sure, some photographers may not like the fact that you can access this info. But the way I see it, it’s like sharing with and learning from other professionals and not really any different than when someone posts a Photoshop tutorial on Youtube. And besides, photographers essentially OK this when they decide to sign up of the site in the first place.
Check out the video I have created below to find out how to access this information for yourself. In this case, I used a model photography shot that I took myself but it works the same for every image throughout the entire site.
Every actor or actress in Hollywood got their start somewhere. But sometimes, prolonged and successful careers have come out of arguably one of the most interesting and creative film genres - fantasy films.
I happened to run into a friend the other day who is a major fan of one such movie and we got to taking about the subject. That being the case, I thought I’d take a quick look back at a few that really stood out for me, especially in the 1980s, and the starts that now enjoy household names who were part of these very cool projects.
The Princess Bride – 1987
Arguably one of the most beloved fantasy films of all-time, this fairy tale/action/love combination directed by the talented Ron Howard showcased Robin Wright (before she became Robin Wright Penn) and featured the long-time Criminal Minds series star Mandy Patinkin.
Labyrinth – 1986
With a creepy, evil David Bowie as her rival, movie fans discovered the beautiful and talented Jennifer Connelly playing the role of a 15-year-old unexpected heroine. While the movie didn’t do well at the box office, it has since enjoyed a massive cult following.
Willow – 1988
Although he had a few earlier roles (including in the film Top Gun with Tom Cruise) Val Kilmer began to capture the eyes and hearts of fans in this unusual adventure.