Wednesday, June 30, 2010

iTunes U

I'll admit it.... I'm late to the party when it comes to iTunes U. I've seen it listed in iTunes, but never took the time to check it out. That is, until last night.

What a great service being provided by Apple. There are more than 250,000 offerings in a broad range of topics.

What's even better is that you have access to iTunes U via an iPhone or iPad. So, if you're like me and enjoy history, science, technology, or mathematics, there's plenty here for you.

And the coolest thing of all, it's free.

There are many major universities making their course material and lectures available here.

Apple is facilitating this, which I think is just great. Sure, it helps them sell iPods, iPads, and iPhones, but so what. This is giving back in a way that really can't be measured.

I've never let school interfere with my education - Mark Twain

Street Photographer

With the Independence Day Parade just around the corner, it's time for me to charge my batteries and empty my cards to get ready.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Erectile Tax?

In another indication of just how dire the financial situation is for the State of California, a proposal is being kicked around Sacramento to raise revenue via electronic license plates that display ads when the car isn't moving.

Given the fact that our freeways are nothing more than parking lots, this would mean the ads would be displayed most of the time. There's no indication that this would be a voluntary program.

I'm sure we can all guess what types of ads we're most likely to see.

This gives a whole new meaning to raising taxes, not to mention brings Californians to new depths of shallowness.

Here's a link to the story

A Game of Chicken

Reminds me of the budget process in California.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I just don't get the mass appeal of these folks. Sure, it's a great way to keep in touch with family and friends, or just see whats going on. When it comes down to genuine usefulness, these folks are truly lacking.

I find facebook to be a hodgepodge of disjointed and disorganized data and add-on apps that don't work well. What little that is useful is a pain administer. Most of the time things don't work, and if they do it's only on an intermittent basis.

The site administrators are non-responsive to user inquiries, and there's just a general lack of communication. I'm almost to the point of why even bother with these folks.

I see a lot of room for improvement. You can't just cater to people with FarmVille additions.

Parade Shooter

It was nice to get out of the house and put the troubles of the world aside for a few hours.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

That Summer Swing

So, I made it to the parade. After going through the routine of trying to find some place to park, and then walking downtown, I was able to find a good spot without obstructions in front of me.

The festivities took longer than usual to proceed. It was about two hours before the action passed my way. The time passed quickly chatting with some people around me.

Before things got started, I'd put my flash on my camera and was determined to shoot outside of my comfort zone.

I know on-camera flash isn't the best route to go, but considering this was a parade with big crowds, it seemed to best way to go at the time. Besides, I was more interested in working with the flash unit and getting used to its controls.

So, how did it go? Much easier than I anticipated. And the results? Much better than working without the flash.

I wasn't interested in overpowering the light from the sun, though that can be done with these units. It was still the middle of the day, with the sun almost directly overhead, so what I was really interested in was lowering the sharp contrast between light and shadow.

This was very easy to accomplish, as was adjusting the output from the flash. I could quickly increase or decease its output and range.

So, now I'm thinking why didn't I go this route sooner... Doesn't matter now.... I'll be using my flash more and more in the future.

There are two more parades this Summer, so I'll get a lot more practice.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Beat

For some strange reason, I thought the Summer Solstice Parade was last weekend, but it's today. I'm going to work up the energy to head on out and do some street photography.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Gmail and iPhones

I was trying to help a friend set-up his new iPhone so that he could sync it with his Gmail. All I kept getting were errors. I adjusted every setting under the sun. No luck. So I decided to look at the google forums.

Imagine my surprise when I read the following:

"Google Sync experienced degraded service today... This resulted in sync delays for mail, calendar, and contacts on all devices. We've worked hard to eliminate those delays and continue our efforts to restore stable service to all users. We will post an update once these issues have be resolved.

These issues coincided with today's release of iOS4 from Apple and reflect additional load due to the upgrade. We are making appropriate adjustments in our service infrastructure. In the meantime, note that Google engineers have tested pre-release versions of iOS4 ad are continuing our certification process with the final build. We'll post an announcement when our tests are complete and if we find any compatibility issues with the upgrade. We recognize the importance of making Google Sync more reliable.

Thank you for your patience as we work through these issues."

Wow, so even Google can't keep up with the load.

Looks like we need more infrastructure than I imagined.

For the good times

It's the little things that make for the best memories...

This luck couple gets the bike path all to themselves in the middle of Summer.... sure says a lot about the economy. People just aren't getting out and doing things. Not even riding their bikes, which really doesn't cost all that much.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Knocked out

It's getting nearly impossible to work. My employer, for some reason, doesn't believe in investing in technology, let alone maintainin their equipment. This just brings productivity to a standstill, but that doesn't seem to faze them. It's driving me up the wall!

-- Post From My iPhone

Around Back

Explore the possibilities of your shooting location. Who knows what's right behind you....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Little by Little

Adding GPS data to my images has been a helpful endeavor. Little by little I've been able to build a more comprehensive map of my corner of the world. Given enough data, and the right API's this information should prove useful.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mostly Empty

Where are all the people? Home? It doesn't look like the sunshine is enough to get them to come out. When your whole economy is based upon tourism and they decide to stay away, you'd better start working on Plan B....

Monday, June 21, 2010


I wanted to try reading an e-book, so a few months back I got the Amazon Kindle app for my phone and downloaded a couple of free sample books from Amazon. At first it was a bit of an adjustment reading a novel on such a small screen, but a very minor adjustment. I soon didn't even really notice. The next thing I knew, I'd installed the Kindle software on my computer.

I loved being able to just pick up where I left off, from phone to computer, back to phone, always having my reading material with me. Then I was given an actual Kindle device and that was all she wrote.

Sure, these devices have been around for some time, it's just that they came up a bit short. Those days are over. Getting content on the fly wirelessly, oh yeah! And there's no shortage of content. Books, blogs, news, magazines..... it's all there, except the time to consume all of it.

As for me, I knew I was hooked having just finished a great e-book and wanting something else to read, looked at my backlog of reading material and cringed at the fact that they weren't electronic.

I've already paid for those dead trees so I'll read and enjoy what they have to offer, but I don't think I'll be buying anymore books that aren't electronic.

Now that Apple has jumped into the game, things are going to change very quickly.

A child's sun

It's official..... Summer begins. Make the most of it, as you really don't get all that many of them.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father and Son

Happy Father's Day people. Be good to your family, it's the most important thing you have...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

fixer upper

This is the reason I always take my camera with me. Earlier in the day I'd driven by this building and saw that they were doing some work, so as soon as I got a chance..... click.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Flying High

So, it's the middle of June.... A nice sunny day, almost summer.... I decide to go out and take some pictures on Stearns Wharf. Something that I wouldn't normally do at this time of year, but I'm working on a project...

Imagine my surprise (or not) to find hardly anyone on the pier. Another sign of the times.... recession!

Didn't make it

Drained of life, the city slowly faded away and died.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Request to License

So, today on the flickr blog I see that the "Request to License" via Getty Images is here.

I'll admit that I was intrigued. I've been selling Stock and Microstock images for a few years now and though I can't quit my day job, it's rewarding when your work sells.

After reviewing the details of this announcement, I had to put the breaks on my enthusiasm. The main reason being that at this time it's an all or nothing opt in process. Not good for me really, as I use flickr to share images... meaning that instead of submitting something to a stock agency to go through the approval/rejection process I chose to put the image on flickr.

That doesn't mean that my images on flickr can't be used as stock. A lot of them can, but not all of them. Some where taken with a cellphone to capture a spontaneous moment while out and about, while others are of a lower resolution than what I would submit for stock.

Of course there are plenty that are perfectly suited for stock and I often wonder (after I've put them on flickr) why I didn't just submit them to a stock agency. These are the images that I'd like to use as part of the "Request to License" program being promoted.

And there's the rub with the all or nothing approach currently being used. In my book a cellphone image, or most low res images aren't up to snuff. I'm sure Getty feels the same why, so why would they take this all or nothing approach and have to review tens of thousand of images? They'll end up rejecting most submissions on a wholesale basis, and a lotof good work will be overlooked.

I guess this is where the other agencies come in. They are a tough bunch, and getting tougher all the time. You'll learn quickly what's up to par and what isn't and get real good at self editing. Working with these folks will make you a better photographer.

In the meantime, nice try Getty....

Above the Road

It's not always so easy to see where the road is going to take us....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Now those memories come back to haunt me
they haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don't come true
Or is it something worse.... Bruce Springsteen

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Dance

Motivation has been a real difficulty lately. Part of it is having to take a bunch of unpaid leave off. It's had an impact on my focus... I've been getting sidetracked due to having so much time off... Not good. The solution will have to be to pile on a bunch of projects on and bury myself in work....

Monday, June 14, 2010

About forgotten

It took me awhile to find the information, but eventually I did. California hasn't passed a budget on time (as required by law) for the last 24 years.

That's right, if you were born in or after 1986, the State of California hasn't passed a budget on time for your entire lifetime.

If that doesn't scream failed leadership and poor governance, I don't know what does.

I think that the best thing that could happen to California at this point is for it to fail.... utterly and completely!

If a State can't abide by the rule of law, how can it expect its citizens to do so?

Just try to shun your personal financial responsibilities and see what happens...

We cannot allow California to continue to be governed this way. Will the State pass a budget by tomorrow's deadline? No Way!

Street Beat

What's summer without a parade or two? We've got a couple coming up, and I want to use the opportunity to try and do some daylight flash photography.

We'll see how that works out.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

California Susnet

The wall of fog that's been around for the last three weeks hardly inspires anyone to grab a camera to take photos.

Cold, gray and drab. The days will start getting shorter in a week or so. Perhaps conditions will improve after that.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Car wash

There's nothing wrong with taking pictures with a celll phone, they tell a story too. Like they say, the best camera is the one you have with you at the time...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wet and Blue

Don't let a little rain keep you inside. Depending on your subject, it could make for some nice images. I'm not saying go out when it's pouring, it's important to stay safe and protect your equipment. Just don't limit your possibilities.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Driven to tears

Those bastards found me.... Took them a few months to do so, but they still managed to find me (even after I moved). I got my official welcome to the AARP thing in the mail. Sheeesh.... everyone is in such a hurry to put me out to pasture...

The empty streets

According to the government, all is well with the economy. Really? Do they ever leave their offices?

On the steps

Now this guy's got the right idea, yet somehow I don't think I'd be able to get away with carrying around an 8 foot ladder...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shadows and Reflections

This recession is going to be difficult to forget. Closed businesses are spreading like a disease. Each day seems to bring new challenges to family and friends struggling to get by.

Courage and faith will help us get through this. For most, things will never be the same.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dreams take flight

As usual, there was a lot of great artwork at the I Madonnari. It's usually too big to take a single photograph of, so I tend to take pictures of just portions of the drawings.

When you do that, you lose the context of the larger drawing. This year, I thought I'd try my hand at stitching together several images of some of the larger pieces.

This image was a combination of six shots. In an image such as this, keeping it in context says more than the individual parts.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The magic of music

Music transcends the moment and creates its own space and time...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Going nowhere

Due to the recession, I haven't been working much lately. My employer can't afford to pay its staff.

There's nothing like finding out you aren't needed. It's a sign of things to come.... time to adapt to being put out to pasture, I guess.

Summer Feast

One again, Summer is just around the corner. That means long days and challenging light. There will also be a lot more people out, doing this and that.

Summer lends itself to capturing images of people. A feast of subject matter. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Bridge

Over or under.... either way, we've got to cross it...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Learning to forget

Looking back will never get you anywhere. It's better to let it go and to take care of unfinished business.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

U.S. Bankruptcy Court

Sometimes, you just have to throw in the towel and try something new. Doing more of the same and expecting different results just doesn't cut it. And yet, that's what California is proposing to do.... all the while the economy continues to crumble.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Casting Spells

When it comes to creativity, there's some real talent out there...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010