SOPA and Protect IP Are Scary

I love the internet.  No really, I LOVE the internet.  It provides commerce, education, music, video, and tools for me and most of the connected world.  The food I provide for my family is paid for by the work that I do on the internet.  I am usually not keen to get too political on my little slice of the net here, but I would ask that you view the following short video about the Stop Online Piracy and the Protect Intellectual Property acts.  This is a real eye opener.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Center For Rights on Vimeo.

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Google Makes Advanced Changes

Looks like Google is making more changes to their search results again.  While every company puts out new releases and with these changes can come modifications to the UI, when google makes a change it can have a pretty big impact on people who get very used to the screen being a certain way.  If you recall, when Google rolled out the “instant” search technology, which I admit I love, it also removed the bottom search box that if you use the new “instant” search you really wouldn’t need it.

But now Google has made another change on something I use on almost every search.  I often use the advanced search function that resided just below the search box on a results page.  But it recently, and I am not sure when because I don’t see it mentioned in the Official Google Blog, has been moved to the bottom of the page.  It can also be accessed via the “Gear” icon at the top right of the page.  Now, I am fine with changes to an application, as I said above I know every company puts out new release and is constantly trying to change things for the better.  In this case however, I think that maybe a bit of form over function may be in play here.

End Mini-Rant…

Yet Another Social App Idea

About once a week or so I am usually out searching domain names just to see what is out there.  So, as I sat around searching for domain names this evening I ran across one that was actually available with the .com TLD (Top Level Domain) and it was pretty good if you were looking for a particle physics type of site/blog/thing.  In other cases I have found cool domains using some of the country code TLD and found some pretty cool domain names that way.  I admit domains with the .com TLD are becoming more scarce, but there are still many quality urls to be had out there.  So it occurred to me if we could somehow keep domain squatters at bay, a social registrar so to speak could be a cool site idea.  What do you think?


The blog is active, just having a makeover

You may notice some issues here and there with my blog layout and styling, and I want to apologize for it now.  Not that I have any regular visitors yet, but just know that this is not the normal state of my blog, just  a temporary state of transition to something I hope in the end will be better.


Camera Phones Are Very Cool

It really is true that sometimes the best camera is the one you have with you, as touted by Chase Jarvis and celebrated at his site dedicated to this form of photography which can be found here at  I admit that I often forget I have this device with me when I have an opportunity presented to create something really cool.  This photo was taken in the garage at my work in the early morning.  As you can probably tell then is I am facing east as the sun is just screaming to get inside.  But what I really find cool about this photograph is how it shows light picking up the color of whatever it is reflecting off of including the pond just on the other side of the wall.  I admit this picture has been enhanced a bit with Chase Jarvis’s Best Camera App, but the difference in color is still very pronounced even in the original image.

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Nikon D3100 Announced!

Nikon D3100
Nikon D3100

Nikon is at it again!  If you have been under a rock like I apparently have been, then maybe you aren’t aware that Nikon has just announced a new camera that is going to increase the power in the amateur and soccer [insert Mom or Dad as applies] photography market.  When people ask me about the differences between professional cameras and an entry level DSLR one of the biggest differences to me, was the ability to handle low light.  There are obviously many, many other differences, but paramount to me is the high ISO performance.  The D40 for example is an excellent entry level DSLR camera in so many ways however if you try to push it over ISO 400-800 the pictures were unusable in most conditions.  Currently, when a more advanced professional camera is paired with professional lenses, amazing things can happen.  Especially in light starved situations.  But as of two days ago, the gulf between professional camera capabilities and the everyday soccer [insert Mom or Dad] shooter has just gone from being being a 7 day cruise to cross to a 5 day cruise.  And that, I think, is a good thing for everyone.  Unless you like long cruises, in which case that is really a bad analogy.  Having said all of that, I must say that this is not a review of the product, but a look at the specs of this new camera.

Welcome the new baby in the Nikon consumer line of cameras, the Nikon D3100.  Although, this baby is setup to be a giant if it meets the specs, I would certainly wait until the reviewers out there get ahold of this camera and take it for a test drive.  Having used the D40 in the past, and then reading about the horrible high ISO performance of the D3000 I must admit I am a bit cautious about looking forward to this camera.  Not that I am going to purchase this camera, but as I said if these specs hold true then the consumer market has gotten closer, although still very far away but closer, to the professional capabilities available today.  So if I am not going to purchase this camera why does it excite me?  Simple, Nikon won’t move the consumer products forward without shortly after moving the professional equipment up another notch.

If you are interested in a solid consumer DSLR then the D3100 may be your baby.  What I have noted on this camera is the 14 Mega-Pixel (So What) Sensor, ISO 100-3200 [Boost to 12800], Nikon CLS[Creative Lighting System], Auto-Focus in Video Mode, and Video recording up to 1080p.  To me, the biggest new feature would be the expanded ISO range as I love to do low light shooting.  Hopefully the high ISO capabilities are far greater than the documented poor performance of the D3000 that this replaces.  By the numbers this looks as though it could be a real winner, but as I said, if you are in the market for a new DSLR I would at the very least wait until late October before purchasing.  This gives the camera reviewers time to put it through its paces and report their findings.  May I mention as well, as you are a reader of blogs, once you have found a blogger who has given a proper hands on review of this camera try checking their site for a link to purchase it with as it helps support the blogger community.  Happy Hunting.



Cheap Tripods and Tall Buildings

Wobbly Nikon D300s Camera On A Cheap Tripod
Scene 1 – The Hook
The Rage! The Rage! Torrents and Torrents! Flash! Flash!  It is a horrible, terrible dream.  A nightmare of mega-pixel proportions is unfolding before me.  In this dream, the dangling off of the 29th floor, over the edge of the railing, everything that supports is creaking and cracking and flexing.  Any moment now SNAP!!! and the earth will come plummeting up at terminal velocity… the crash, the smash!  Sounds terrifying right?  Wait…  You know it isn’t me falling right?  No way, it is my Nikon D300s with my Nikkor 28-70 2.8 attached turning over and over as it traveled down and down further still to its final destiny.  Suddenly, I snap back to reality as the shutter clicks and I find my beautiful camera still mounted on the cheap plastic support system that I am so ashamed to say I use for a tripod.
Scene 2 – The Story Unfolds
This is what crossed my mind with almost every shutter actuation last weekend.  You see, a friend from work rents a condo in a skyscraper downtown and was kind enough to let me and another photog buddy Russ Sanderlin, up on the 29th floor which is open to outside world.  While it was a crackin’ nice 29th floor complete with pool, full kitchen, and a bar, the views we were afforded were even more outstanding with excellent placement for taking outstanding photographs with an outstanding lightning storm off in the distance.  Out-frickin-standing!  I was totally pumped for some amazing downtown night photography shots including lit architecture which use different types of lights so I would get unique color temps as well as streaking tail lights on the highway and maybe even a lightning bolt or two from the storm in the distance.
Scene 3 – The Drama
The nightmare starts right away.  As I attempt each and every long exposure shot I see the plastic hinges flexing and crying out for mercy to be delivered from the weight of the Nikon torture device I have set upon it.  I also see the motion blur in my images one after another.  Try as I might to stabilize and strengthen, image after image is blurry as a result of the moderate winds caused by the high pressure around that part of the building.  Case in point can easily be seen in the image you see in this post.  This was just a test image taken when I first got setup so please no comments on composition or exposure, but take a look at the building detail or even more so, the aircraft light in the middle right of the image.  Yeah, that was on tripod with a moderate breeze.  This is what I fought all evening long.  I mean here I was with an opportunity to shoot from a unique perspective that I don’t usually get, but because of this stupid joke of a tripod all of my expensive camera equipment is just this side of useless because my support system was junk!  Add on top of the difficulty of getting a steady picture the danger of this junky tripod breaking and it truly was a waking nightmare every time I released the shutter hands off camera.
Scene 4 – The Nitty Gritty
So why all of the drama, just go buy a great tripod already?  If you have been into photography for any length of time you have probably heard it mentioned that you need a solid base on which to set your camera.  You can’t argue with the logic;  it really doesn’t make sense to spend thousands on camera bodies and lenses only to support them with a $35 (USD) tripod that is really made for nothing more than a point and shoot.  It is just so hard to swallow the fact that a good tripod and head setup will cost several more Benjamin Franklins or possibly even more than a Grover Cleveland to purchase a proper set of legs for your photography equipment.  I am talking about large USD denominations for those in denial.  How hard is it?  So hard many people often end up spending a lot more in the process of working their way up to a proper tripod than if they just taken the plunge to begin with as Thom Hogan explains in his post about purchasing proper support at  If you are in the market, or even considering the purchase of a tripod I highly recommend reading his post.  I know it has certainly kept me from making the very mistake not buying enough support from the get go.
Scene 5 – The search begins…
In the end, I was able to get a few shots up on that dark, windy, and stormy 29th floor, but some valuable lessons have most certainly been learned, and learned in the only way I know.  The hard way.  Had I been better prepared for my support system, I would with out a doubt have walked away much happier with the shots that I had.  It could have been worse, instead of blurry pics as the punishment for being stubborn I could have had a shattered camera 29 floors down on the street if the plastic mount on the tripod had finally succumbed to the weight of it all.  So with the wise words of so many that have traveled the road before me ringing in my ears, let the search begin in earnest then for the ideal tripod that has the perfect balance of cost and function.  Onward I say to a more stable future!

To Be Continued…