Friday, December 19, 2008

O Christmas Tree

Have you ever heard of Light Painting?
It's a lot of fun and the results are unpredictable — which is just one part of the fun.

One result I did NOT expect was to have my photos featured on another blog — and not just any other blog — Robert Lachman's Photography and the photography site! I was very honored when he asked me if he could use my photos in a slide show on his site for a post on Improving Your Holiday Photos. Robert gives great tips about photography and his blog has really been inspiring me lately to dip back into my passion for the art. Robert's impressive history and experience with the art of photography really shows in the unique moments in time he's captured throughout the years. Check out his portfolio.

My Christmas Tree Became a Paintbrush
The other week I was pretty proud of how nicely our tree turned out this year after I decorated it and I wanted to photograph it all lit up. I love the way it looks in the middle of the night, when I'm still up finishing up tasks around the house. Everything is quiet and it's just me and our Christmas Tree. (I never imagined how hard it would be to get stuff done around the house with a toddler constantly under your feet at all times!) I waited till Nate and Lucian went to bed and set up my trusty old tripod and started to experiment with the settings on our little old point-and-shoot digital camera.

Fireworks are an example of "painting with light." It is tricky to get really good photos of fireworks because it involves longer shutter speeds and having the correct exposure for low light. If you've ever tried to take pictures of fireworks using the standard setting on your point and shoot camera, then you know what I mean.

Here are some examples of my process.

Here is your average, ordinary shot of child in front of Christmas Tree. Boring. Not very lively or expressive.

Here is almost the same shot only this time, it's lit up. See the difference?

Dancing With Lights
Here is where I had some fun with my Christmas Tree decor! This is my favorite shot. You can click on the link below to check out the rest of the album and also read the captions. I basically experimented with different movements of my camera while the shutter was open and "recording" the light show. Sometimes I kept the tripod stationery on the ground and just moved or jiggled the legs or adjusted the handle to change the angle. Other times I picked up the whole tripod and just moved it around.

From O Christmas Tree

Here is an embedded slide show of all of the photos I took that night and the experimentation with different movements while leaving the shutter open for longer exposure times. I've written details about the shots in the captions.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Geeking Out with iGrandma

Check it out! I was a guest on the "Call Your Grandma" show tonight with Patti Serrano. It was a lot of fun and I hope you might join us next week.

The show runs every Friday night at 10:00 pm ET.
Mark your iCal with a pop up reminder. The show is simulcasted using UStream and TalkShoe so you get it from different angles using audio and video streaming while also being a podcast to which you can subscribe.

What's the show about? Go ask your Grandma and find out!

Patti has invited me to do a weekly Mac Segment. Tonight's show was just an introduction. This is NOT a "Mac Show." Some people have already asked me, so I thought I should point that out. It's a show about having some fun using social media to talk about anything and Patti is brave enough to pull all the strings to make it happen. She also happens to be a grandmother who uses a Mac to do it. If you know anything about me and have been reading my blog and twitter, then you know that's right up my alley.

For the audio portion of the show, it's best to listen to it from the TalkShoe feed for better sound quality. Click this TalkShoe graphic to play it or go directly to the page where you can listen there or subscribe in iTunes to the show.

I sounded like a dork, but oh well, that's me! The show is live and totally unscripted. We rely on feedback from the chat room to let us know how it sounds and looks. While listening in to the TalkShoe stream it's hard to hear others speak because there is a slight lag, so that's why I kept rambling on and on. I'll have to work on that. But it's not half bad for being able to talk to people all over the country and world in one place with a few clicks of a mouse!

So, if you're free on Friday nights at 10:00 pm ET, come hang out with us on UStream or TalkShoe or both! For a couple of minutes each time, I'll be talking about general Mac stuff, some tips and tricks and the more techie side of things, like why it's called a Mac and not a 'MAC.' Okay, I'll come up with something better than that.

If you have a question you'd like to ask, interact with us in the chat room and I'll take my best shot at it from the hip!

Just in case you didn't figure it out on your own, I want you to know that is NOT me singing Natural Woman during the live recording. I did not drink enough beer before the show. Below is Carole King singing it and you should probably go wash your brain with this embedded video or with this link after hearing the male falsetto rendition of it during the show. (Although he was very brave to do it live!!)

I hope you'll come join us on Friday nights, have some fun and maybe learn a thing or two from some hipsters. Don't know about you, but gettin' geeky just makes me feel like a natural woman in an unnatural way. I think it's a lot of fun to toe the line.