Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays

It being Christmas and all, today I’m taking a break from teaching mode (thus no camera and lens data or laborious discussions about how I got the shots). I put together this video using Garage Band, iMovie and a handful of holiday-themed photos. Not bad for a couple of free apps and a few minutes in the cold.

Because image quality isn’t the best in Youtube videos (or at least Youtube videos that don’t take forever to upload), here are the stills I used for the production:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Little Bighorn

Canon EOS 10D, 17mm (17-40), 1/180, f/10, ISO 100, edited and altered

As I was working on the Photo Safari board on Pinterest last week, I noticed a serious omission: I never blogged any of the photos I took at the Little Bighorn battlefield in July 2011. The rest of that journey was reasonably well represented with entries on the Black Hills and Badlands, but the main point of going up north to begin with somehow managed to slip into a crack between the floorboards.

Problem rectified. I took this photo looking down from Reno-Benteen Hill into the Little Bighorn valley. From this spot the units of the Seventh Cavalry who weren’t killed with Custer held off the Sioux (who bought time for their families to escape by keeping the troops besieged). The cenotaphs mark the spots where some of the cavalry’s Indian scouts died.

This photo went through standard edits to bring the colors out a bit more, which I kinda hated to do. We were there on a scorching hot summer afternoon very much like the day the battle was fought more than a century ago. So the colors here are more vivid than I remembered them.

I also removed a “keep off the grass” sign. The original photo looked like this:

Canon EOS 10D, 17mm (17-40), 1/180, f/10, ISO 100

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Place Pins

For some time now I’ve been using Pinterest to create a catalog of photography-related web resources. As of this writing, the main board has more than 700 pins, most of which are links to other people’s lessons. But a handful of the pins are to entries in this blog, most of which are my own work.

Pinterest recently introduced Place Pins, a new system that allows markers to show up on a map indicating a connection between a pin and a place. As many of my blog entries feature photos tied to particular locations, I thought it might be fun to create a Place Pin board for The Photographer’s Sketchbook.

Thus far the experience has been somewhat mixed. Place Pins are somewhat hard to create. I’m not sure if it’s possible to create a pin for a place that isn’t already part of the Foursquare location database (which is to say that if it’s possible at all it’s not immediately obvious how to do it). Further, clicking on a pin and seeing where it is on the map works great, but clicking on a map point and seeing all the pins associated with it, not so much. For now all it shows is the most recent. So if you click on the Sedalia map point, it’ll show you the last pin of photos from the Missouri State Fair but not the other four.

That seems like the exact opposite of what I’d want. If I’m interested in a pin from the Field Museum, showing me where Chicago is on a map isn’t all that helpful. I’d much rather click on the Chicago map point and have it show me all my Chicago pins. Or better yet, have it work both ways.

As with many new web gizmos (especially on Pinterest), I’m intrigued by the idea but I think it needs a little more work.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Semester wrap-up

As the semester draws to a close, I’ve been making some adjustments to The Photographer’s Sketchbook. This entry gives you a sneak peek at the revised version of the home page. I’m not going to make the changes to the site itself until the semester is officially over. Working with computers for three decades or so has given me a healthy appreciation for the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” principle, so I don’t want to risk messing anything up while students may still need access to it.

This fall was the first time I’d ever taught photography as a blended learning class, combining on-ground sessions with online work. Overall I’ve been extremely pleased with the results. But I did note a change or two that needed to be made in course organization.

I also replaced four of the splash page photos with new pictures and replaced the old banner (which was created using a script font) with actual hand lettering.

Over the Christmas break I’ll be making some design changes to the slide shows on the web site. We’ve added quite a few this semester: