Category: General

50 Best of 2014

January 2nd, 2015 Permalink

50 Best of 2014

This album contains my 50 most interesting images of 2014, as determined by Flickr magic algorithms. Album created by SuprSetr.

A List Of Favorite Podcasts

December 9th, 2014 Permalink

The podcasts that have earned a permanent place on my iPhone.

One of the things I do with my commute time is listen to podcasts. I have sampled dozens of podcasts, but these are the ones that I look forward to the most, and that are pretty much a permanent part of my podcast diet. In no particular order:

This American Life
A staple of public radio. You have probably heard about this show, or heard it on the radio, or seen a TV version of it. You have almost certainly heard people talking about the stories. This podcast consistently tells stories that are funny, touching, poignant, and sometimes incredibly sad.

Another public radio gem. The show touches on many subjects, and the interplay of the hosts, Had Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, is a thing of beauty.

99% Invisible
Once upon a time, Roman Mars started a podcast about design. And the world became a better place. Have you ever been curious about the origins of those flappy arm inflatable dancing men? Or what it takes to bring the sound of sports to you? Or what makes a good flag? There is a reason this show has had three very successful Kickstarter campaigns. I suggest you just start at Episode 1 and start listening. You will want to hear them all. More than once.

A podcast about crime. But not what you think. As they describe it, “Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.” There are only twelve episodes currently, but look forward to more coming soon.

Curious City
This podcast from WBEZ in Chicago answers questions submitted by the people of Chicago. Why do busses bunch up? What’s up with the people filling up jugs from that old water pump? Why does Chicago have two Chinatowns? This podcast makes me want to move to Chicago and explore the city myself. Also, why does San Francisco not have something similar, and who wants to help me start one up?

A spinoff of This American Life, Serial tells one story – a true story – each season. They are currently part way through Season One. The story is the story of a murdered student and the 17-year old boyfriend accused of her murder. Every bit as good as the best detective story you have ever read. Start at Episode 1 and become immersed.

Poetry Off the Shelf
This podcast is all over the map, in a good way. They might examine current events through the lens of a poet, they may interview a contemporary poet or play an interview from 60 years ago. While you may not always like every poem they select, you will likely come to appreciate something about the writing or the writing during the episode.

What are your favorite podcasts? Leave a comment!

During 2012, I began shooting the view from the offices I work in every day. The result was the Transamerica View book. During 2013, I continued shooting the view, this time with a vintage Polaroid camera and Impossible Project film. The resulting 215 images are now available in a softcover book and as a PDF.

You can find the book and PDF on MagCloud. You can also see the images on Flickr.

Shooting Neon With an iPhone

February 22nd, 2014 Permalink

Back in 2010, I posted 10 tips for shooting neon. Now more and more people are carrying around their iPhone as their primary camera. I thought it was time to post a follow up with tips for shooting neon signs with a iPhone. Many of the same tips for shooting with a DLSR apply to […]

Back in 2010, I posted 10 tips for shooting neon. Now more and more people are carrying around their iPhone as their primary camera. I thought it was time to post a follow up with tips for shooting neon signs with a iPhone. Many of the same tips for shooting with a DLSR apply to the iPhone as well!

  1. Know Your Camera
  2. Neon is bright. Especially at night, this brightness can confuse the camera app and the exposure will not be what you want. However, most apps will let you set which spot is used for exposure and focus. For example, to set exposure and focus on the Camera app that comes with the iPhone, just tap on the screen. Holding down will lock the exposure and focus so you can compose the shot. Learning how to make the camera behave the way you want will make sure you can get the shot exposed just how you want it.

  3. Know Your Apps
  4. There are hundreds and hundreds of photography apps to choose from on the App Store. Knowing what the apps you have will do for an image is key to getting the image you want. Spend some time with each photo app you download, learning what adjustments it can perform and how they affect the image. Knowing this will help you pick the right app to get the look and feel you want.

    I like the way the Hipstamatic app combination of John S Lens and Kodot XGrizzled Film work with neon signs.

  5. Shoot Day Or Night
  6. Neon looks amazing at night, but don’t ignore it during the day. Often there are details that cannot be seen at night, and some signs no longer light up. But they still look good!

  7. Shoot During The Blue Hour
  8. Shooting neon when the sun is low in the sky will allow you to capture the glowing tubes as well as the surrounding context. This is a great time to shoot signs!

  9. Experiment
  10. Get close. Shoot reflections. Get under, behind, and above signs. Use the neon as part of the image, but not the only thing in the image. Use experimental photo apps, and combine the results of different apps. There’s no harm in trying things – pixels are free!

    Here are some apps that will do interesting and unexpected things to your photos:
    Interlacer (Full Disclosure: This app was written by me)

    This image was made with Hipstamatic and Interlacer:

    Also check out Doctor Popular’s Appsperiments

  11. Look At Other Photos
  12. There are a lot of people shooting neon with their iPhones. Look at what they are doing. Get inspired! Here are a few to get you started:
    Sean Calvey (scalvey)
    Sharlynn V (sv1)
    Frank Prosnik (innerstate1)

  13. Practice
  14. The more you do practice, the better you will get. Make time to shoot. Seek out interesting and vintage neon signs. Go have fun!

You can see all of my iPhone neon photos on Flickr.


October 21st, 2013 Permalink


October 20th, 2013 Permalink

Domino Table

October 19th, 2013 Permalink

Eternal Flame

January 27th, 2013 Permalink

The eternal flame at the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Atlanta, Georgia.