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Archive for September, 2013

Photos of one of nature’s great wonders

One of my favorite types of photography…

is that in which the shooter captures the beauty of nature.

In my own personal opinion, I really enjoy shooting bodies of water. Whether it is a vast Ocean or something as small as a little creek, there’s something majestic about flowing water. So this past weekend when I had the chance to take some photos at arguably one of the most amazing natural scenes in the world, I jumped at the chance to do so. That location was Niagara Falls.

The following photos are a few that I took from the American side of the falls in New York. I hope you enjoy them.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls flowing waterfall

The beautiful Niagara Falls

Why “selfies” ARE NOT self portraits

On the most basic level…

one can generically define a self portrait as am image create of one’s self, most likely through photography, painting or drawing. But that definition would be a little simplistic and this ultimately wrong.

One of the newest trends in our ever more digital world is the taking of selfies. And in case you’ve been living under a rock, those as quick, self-shot snaps with the camera operator as the subject. And while these can be cute, fun, sexy or whatever else, I believe there is a big gap between these images and actual self portraits. Here are a few reason why:

Self Portraits:

The photographer usually uses an SLR or a bridge camera as opposed to a compact one.


Are most commonly shot on cell phones or sometimes with compact cameras that can fit in your pocket.

Self Portraits:

The artist uses a tripod or is otherwise separated from the camera while creating his or her picture.


The photographer holds the camera out in front of themselves and it’s often obvious they are doing so.

Self Portraits:

Are generally well planned and often require special tools and lighting.


Are usually sort of spontaneous and do not usually involve any special equipment.

Self Portraits:

Tend to emphasize the artistic.


Tend to be more about having fun.

selfie and self portrait

The fantastic musical talent of Janelle True

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:

Unlikely mergers of musical styles

So, I am currently visiting my brother in the wonderful state of North Carolina. And while here, I’ve had the opportunity to experience my most recent dose of rural living. The small town in which he lives has a weekly concert (usually bluegrass or country) every Friday during most of the summer. And while attending one session, I ran into one of the neighbors and during the course of conversation he mentioned an interest in County Rap which sounds like something completely fictional. But you know what, it’s real. This got me thinking about a few genres that probably don’t seem like they go together but exist nonetheless. In fact, in some cases, they’ve even become rather mainstream and produced very popular artists.

Here are just a few examples of such musical styles and the artists that fall into them.

Country Rap

This style seems to combine two completely different worlds and cultures. Also sometimes called hick-hop, the emergence of this genre is sometimes credited to artist Bubba Sparxxx staring around 2001. More recently Cowboy Troy has been a rather notable figure while some other bands include The Lacs and Boondox.

Bubba Sparxxx

Pop Punk

While pop is by it’s nature, popular among the masses, punk has often been considered counter culture. But it turns out that sometimes , you can actually be a little rebellious and somehow still sort of mainstream. The princess on Pop Punk is Avril Lavigne and a few others categorized in this style are Blink 182, Paramore and No Doubt. 

avril lavigne

Christian Rock

With the origin of rock in the 1950’s, much of America and the rest of the world was outraged. Many even considered it evil. Back then who would have thought that Christian music could have ever merged with this rebellious style? Lots of people and bands apparently. Some of which include Jars of Clay, Reliant K and Fireflight.

Jars of Clay

Graphic design project without all the special tools

When it comes to working with the graphic arts…

there are generally a few specific tools of the trade. Some that come to mind include Photoshop, Illustrator, In Design and those sort of programs and utilities. However, whether it be an issue of cost or just that we do not have access to a given program on the device we are working with, sometimes we have to use other applications to get the job done.

This was the case when a friend of mine asked if I could come up with an appealing and informative bifold for a major event she is involved with in the Pittsburgh area.

Using an MS Word template, a modified photo and some additional information she had provided, I came up with one that she has raved about many, many times. Here’s a snapshot of the front and back cover:



The lesson here is that while we would all love to have every tool possible available to us as providers of creative graphic services, if we really try, we can do a lot without them if necessary.

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