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Ok, sorry for not posting for nearly a month, but I’ve been busy trying to re-do my website and set up a new YouTube account, trying to get more translation done on the Grand Lenormand, and of course the regular day-to-day stuff, like work ūüėõ

Anyways, I hope to have this blog moved over to my permanent domain/website sometime this week, and shortly after that I should have my next segment in the Grand Lenormand translation completed (the first four cards from the suit of Hearts).

I’ve also been very busy trying out new things with my camera, mainly macro shots.¬† So far I’ve been mostly working with flowers mainly to get the technique down.¬† Flowers are another ‘No-No’ category for iStock since they’re overloaded with them.¬† But they do provide great learning subjects.¬† Here’s a shot of a tiny bug on a lobelia flower – I didn’t even know the bug was there until I started looking over the shots in Lighroom!



I hope all is going well in your world, and hopefully by this time next week I’ll have the blog fully settled into its new home! Enjoy!


So last Thursday I submitted my first application to one of those photography microstock¬†companies, iStockphoto.¬† I passed the written test easily, but they wanted three sample images to look over before being accepted.¬† I hadn’t really gone through my hundreds (thousands?) of images yet to ID photos that might be “stock-like.”¬† So I found what I could on such short notice and submitted a photo of an old stone “pioneer” shed at my parents’ home, built back in the 1880’s – which isn’t that long ago for some areas, but considering there weren’t even any settlers in Utah until around 1850, it’s pretty old, a shot of some bark of a peach tree (also in Utah, very near the shed), and some field lights at the ginormous “All American” field park in Las Vegas.

Old Shed in Utah:


Utah Peach Tree Bark:


And finally – the oh so exciting field lights!


Needless to say, I did NOT get accepted with such lame photos.¬† Actually they’re OK, but probably a bit too simplistic for what they were looking for (?). They liked the shed, but it was a bit busy, and I probably should have just cropped it in much closer to the antiques sign to bring out the stone texture and maybe just include one of the rusty things on one side or the other instead of taking a shot of the whole shed.

Other feedback was more general:¬† that these were too “snap-shot” and did not fill a need within their “need list” of photos.¬† This evening I sent in three more shots that I think are much better than the above, but I leave that for the next post – when I find out what the reviewers have to say.

One thing I did notice while taking a long hard look at several of my photos was that a lot, and I mean A LOT of them were “soft-focus” or even plainly out of focus when I zoomed in to “100%” size in Lightroom.¬† Come to find out the camera that I’m using, a Nikon D7000¬†is somewhat notorious for having a pretty severe “back focus” problem.¬†¬† That’s where the camera’s autofocus focuses on one thing, but when the image is actually taken by the sensor the actual focus is somewhat behind the auto-focus target.¬† Very aggravating to say the least, especially when you’re trying to get accepted into the photo selling biz!

In a future post, I’ll discuss what I did to fix the back focus problem, and also how I found the “sweet spot” f-stops for each of my lenses.¬† It’s pretty simple, but I want to convert the huge NEF/RAW files over to jpegs so I can embed them in the blog for easy reference.¬† Until then, have an amazing March – Spring is almost here!

This is just a note to myself to capture the photographic¬†subjects that were assigned many (MANY) years ago when I took an architectural “Photographic Seeing” course at the University of Utah back in the early 1990s.

  • Rule of Thirds, Point of View,¬† & Framing –¬†artistic composition
  • Lines: Rectilinear/Curvilinear, Actual/Implied
  • Shallow vs. Deep Depth of Field (f-stops)
  • Short vs. Long Exposure (no flash – shutter speed)
  • Monotone & Chromatic
  • Light (no flash) – Front, Back, Side, Warm/Cold, Diffuse/Harsh
  • Texture¬†(Smooth vs. Rough)
  • Flash Photography
  • Photo Essay consisting of 12 related photos (Final Project + your best work from the previous assignments)

If I remember right, each subject was presented to the weekly class via slide show by the professor consisting of some of the best (and worst)¬†work from past students.¬†Then you were required to shoot a whole roll of 20 slides that you thought best represented that week’s particular topic. Then you would bring in your top 2-4 slides, put them in the projector and everyone’s “best” work would then be presented to the class for discussion. You also had to turn in the rest of your slides on that subject to the professor in one of those clear plastic, 3-ring binder slide sheets that held 20 slides.¬† And she might pick a different slide that she considered to be your best shot from the group when the graded¬†sheet was returned to you the following week.

I’m wanting to note this because I just got a new DSLR¬†(Nikon D7000)¬†and I’d like to use this class’ topics¬†as a¬†kind of¬†guide to familiarize myself with the new¬†camera.¬† ¬†I’d probably add a topic to the above list, since most DSLRs are capable of this now: HDR Photography (basically where multiple photos are layered to make a single photo).

Dunno if it will help you familiarize yourself with your camera or not, I’m hoping to post a picture or two from one of the above topics each week as I learn more about my camera, hopefully it won’t be as boring as watching uncle Fred’s vacation slide show!¬† Enjoy!

I’ve been using the new scanner intensively the past week or so.¬† For the most part it has been great, but when it fails, it fails big time on the “Digital ICE” feature that is supposed to clean up old, possibly damaged photos, slides, negatives, etc.¬† Besides the problems with ultra rocky settings, it also seems to do odd stuff when there are a lot of leafy trees or rippled water shots.¬† It just over smooths those things and turns them into blocky, artifact filled pictures, which is unfortunate.¬† Of course, you can turn that feature off, but then you need to re-scan the image (which can take a long time if you’re using a high dpi setting – upwards of 3-5mins per picture).

Anyways, I’m still glad I got the scanner, and it really is performing pretty well.¬† It just an annoyance that when it fails, it does so in such a grand failure.¬† I’d say it’s failure rate is well within acceptable limits though.¬† Across a spectrum of many types of photos, it probably only conks¬†out apprx. 5% of the time, or less.¬† But on those types of photos (lots of rocks with shadows, leafy-forest shots, rippled water…etc) it fails near 100%.

I hope the coming week finds you well, and that preparations for the upcoming holidays are on track! Enjoy!

I’ve been pretty busy laying the groundwork for this project. The photo scanner is scheduled to arrive early next week, and I’d like to have a process of some kind worked out by that time to get the photos/slides scanned, tweaked if needed, and uploaded to the web-host with supporting data added to a database of some kind. So I’ve been working on the web backend that will include the photo loader and data entry forms.¬† I’ve also created a database with a few tables to support the data that I’d like to capture.

So, things seem to be progressing pretty well.¬† I’m also hopeful to use the project as an addition to my web portfolio, since I¬† am still looking for employment within the web programming/development/design sector.¬† Not much else to report.¬† I haven’t really been gaming much since¬†beginning this project, and that’s likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.¬†¬†Once I get things officially started next week, I will try¬†to post a link to the webpage so you can see it evolve over time.¬† In the mean time, I hope your endeavors are successful and that you’re having some fun along the way – Enjoy!

I’m gearing up to dive into a huge project at home, digitizing a sizeable photo-archive.¬† This week I’m planning on ordering a scanner build just for photograph scanning, an Epson Perfection 600.¬† I’m really hoping the “Digital ICE” is as good as reported.¬† Some of the slides, negatives, and photos I’ll be scanning do have some damage, so I’m very hopeful that this built in corrective software can really do what it’s claiming.

In the mean time, I’m trying to convince my mom to give me full access to all the pictures around her home, they’re scattered throughout her house in boxes, folders, memory books, framed-hanging on the wall, etc.¬† So it will be quite an undertaking.¬† I have some books or other written materials that have simple Xerox type copies of photos,¬†so I’d really like to find the originals and get those scanned in as well.¬† I’d also like to convert some/most/all of that written material into a digital format as well, so it’s a nice feature that¬†this¬†Epson scanner also has OCR capabilities.

My goal for an end result would be to build a webified¬†digital archive for our family history.¬† There are a couple of other sites out there already, but they’re not very comprehensive, nor do they have the web design background that I will be able to bring to bear on the project.¬† Eventually, I’d like to partner with the existing sites to make¬†them all easier to navigate and provide a bit more cohesion to the whole family archives.¬† We’ll see how it goes.¬†I know of two sites out there already:

Anyways, that’s what will be keeping my time tied up for quite awhile.¬† Hopefully it will go smoothly once I get into a groove with the project. I hope all your endeavors are working out well, Enjoy!

So there’s apparently a game of “tag” where when you’re “it” you’re supposed to post the sixth picture from your sixth folder of photo¬†folders.¬† So I got curious as to what that would be in my collection.¬† My sixth folder was “2004June,” and the photo is:

Truck with Tusher Mtns. South-Central Utah

I used to live about a mile or two North of this spot, and I remember this trip ‘cuz on the way down from this ridge I got a flat tire and I didn’t have a spare!¬† YAY!¬† Oh well, at least it wasn’t too far to walk back into town, and I think I actually got a ride fairly quickly from someone else passing through – there was a “shortcut” through the mtn. pass here between two towns, so it had fairly regular traffic (a car every 15-20mins or so…)

In the same folder¬†are pics from¬†another of my favorite scenic drives through the area, over “Hell’s Backbone.”¬† Totally awesome scenery up there!

On the way up:

OTW2 Hell's Backbone

“Hell’s Backbone”

Hells Backbone UT

Anyways – If you’re ever in the area around Bryce Canyon or Capitol Reef, Utah, you should definitely make this trip as well – it’s Very Awesome! Enjoy!