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Oh, the Violence!

Categories: Photography No Comments

I came across this series of photographs, and I thought them both inventive and hilarious: Martin Klimas dropped various porcelain figurines and photographed them at the moment of impact. He set up a sound trigger, so that the picture would be taken automatically from the sound of the crash as the porcelain hits the ground after a 3-meter fall.

The genius of what the photographer did is really set in the types of figurines he used…

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The Value of a Great Teacher… Part 1

Categories: Education 1 Comment

Nicholas Kristof, in a recent article on “great” teachers in the New York Times, cites a study that, through research, gives an estimated “value” for a great teacher through his or her students’ acheivements. According to the study, having a “great” fourth grade teacher will accord a student an average of $25,000 more in lifetime earnings over an average teacher. That student is also 1.25% more likely to go to college, and 1.25% less likely to get pregnant as a teenager. All of this from a fourth grade teacher? Even though 1.25% doesn’t seem like much, when you realize that you are tracing that back to a single elementary school teacher, then it’s actually a very interesting number to me. Imagine what a whole host of good teachers could do for a child! But the real issue is how do we get – and keep – great teachers in the classroom so they can affect students positively? This is an incredibly important question, especially when just shy of 50% of new teachers quit before their fifth year of teaching… (What does that tell you about the profession?)

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Who Are You… Digitally?

Categories: Life,Technology 4 Comments

Beyond the silly or cryptic email names and “handles” on forums and the like, there seems to be a lot of people who believe that who they are in social media like Facebook should have no bearing on their daily lives as teachers, or interns, or businessmen. The issues we face in technology today are of integrity, privacy, and of who we really are.

The article that got me started on this topic is one I read at youtern.com, where the “saavy intern” provided an infographic about how employers use social media to chose – and reject – their future employees. The telling statistic is the biggest one – approximately 69% of employers have rejected an applicant because of something they have posted online. Conversely, 68% of employers hired someone because of what they saw online in social media. And the biggest social media site used by employers to judge their applicants? Facebook, of course.

Click on the thumbnail to see the infographic.

Immediately you might think that the moral of this story is that you need to be very careful of what you post online. I think that goes without saying. A lot of people lament the fact that there seems to be no privacy anymore. Senators can’t even sext their mistresses without having it plastered all over the internet – what is the world coming to?!

Now if that sounds a bit sarcastic, well, it is meant to. I think that the real question isn’t whether or not you should be posting certain things on Facebook, it’s really whether or not you should be doing those things at all.

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Everyone’s New Second Language

Categories: Life,Technology 1 Comment

A BBC article is asking if coding should be replacing Latin as a foreign language taught in schools. Now, as a former 3-year latin student myself, I can attest to the benefits of taking Latin. So I do not think that Latin should be completely replaced, really. But the real question is whether or not coding should be taught in schools at a young age. And the answer to that is a resounding yes. Especially web languages such as javascript, php, and html. As our young students get tossed out into the modern world, I can’t think of many careers that wouldn’t benefit in some way from the knowledge of using code. Even your typical non-technical artists and craftsmen and craftswomen can use the web. What better way to spread the knowledge of your skills than via a blog, or twitter, or something along those lines? Some might argue that there are plenty of coders that are making tool – a la Dreamweaver – for the non-coders to be able to publish to the web. But that’s only if you want to have a website that looks and moves just like everyone else’s. With those kinds of tools, you are automatically limited by the tool itself. But learning to code a website yourself? Now you have your own tools that can help you take your ideas and your wildest imagination and put them into… pixels and electrons.

Categories: Photography No Comments

This is hysterical. And I don’t even mind the quick anti-Canon slam in the beginning. Did you catch it? I did…



The “Everest” of Shark Diving…

Categories: Photography No Comments

This is a video shot by my friend and fellow photographer, Amos Nachoum. It’s so amazing… I just wish I could have been there, too!



A Few New Photographs…

Categories: Photography No Comments

I rented a wood-splitter earlier this August, and as I was splitting the wood, I noticed how the structure of the wood was very different when it is split under pressure as opposed to being cut. I’m always on the lookout for patterns and structures that are different than the normal things we see every day. So I have started a series of images with “torn” wood as a landscape.

The images were photographed with a Canon 50d and a 100mm f2.8 macro lens. I was originally thinking that I would get closer, using my bellows or thimble lens, but as I photographed, I got stuck in the 1:2 or 1:1 magnification range. Maybe some of my newer images that I hope to do soon will be in the 2x-5x range. Hopefully I can shoot some of those soon and post them before the middle of December.

I hope you like what you see, because so far I like what I’ve been experimenting with, and I hope to keep going… So tell me, which one is your favorite?



A Wedding Photographer’s Nightmare.

Categories: Photography No Comments

I saw this video on CNN today – and thought that it was very funny, but also a bit scary: A wedding is a constantly moving event. There are so many things that you just can’t control, and even the best photographer is going to miss something, every once in a while. Now, hopefully, a good photographer will know that they have missed something, and if I ever do, for whatever reason, I always try and re-create the moment that same night.

For instance, at a recent wedding I photographed, I could not get a good shot of the kiss or the exchanging of the rings. This was because there were two pastors at the event, and both of them were standing right in front of everything! And yet, I had also been asked not to go behind the bride and groom so that I wouldn’t be distracting. I had a choice to make: I could ignore my instructions and walk behind everyone and just shoot away, being rather distracting, or I could, in good faith, shoot within the constraints I had been given, and then figure things out later. So I shot what I could, and then made sure I grabbed the bride and groom a little bit later, explained the issue to them, and we took 5 minutes and re-created several important shots that I missed. They understood completely, and there was no issue at all later on, and I think that they were very happy with the photographs.

However, I consider myself very blessed, because I have never had an issue with a couple like this, or had anyone come back to me with unreasonable requests. Especially years later, as in this case. Frankly, this guy’s actions are very suspect, and I hope that he doesn’t win his lawsuit of a breach of contract. But if his photographer really did miss some important shots, then maybe he is entitled to something, but with all of his other requests, and the timing of his requests, I think that this lawsuit is, like Anderson Cooper states in the video, rather ridiculous. And more than anything else, I feel for the photographer in this case, too. I just hope he can laugh at this like we are, and I hope he doesn’t lose too much sleep over it all.



The Magic in the Medium…

Categories: Film No Comments

One of the reasons why I think, as a culture, we are in love with movies (whether we admit it or not), is because they do feel like magic, especially at a young age. I remember watching E.T. in a movie theater on the Outer Banks when I was 7 years old. I remember the terror, and then the elation as the movie raced towards its conclusion. The magic as Elliot and E.T. flew over the road block… I felt like I was flying with them… I think about that now as I have grown older – and more cynical (or critical, if you please): It’s nice to remember that sometimes a great work of art can be more than the sum of its parts. The marriage of lights, sounds, and story come together to create a visceral experience that is, for lack of a better word, magic.

I can go back through the movie and try to pick it apart, talk about camera angles, dialogue, that sort of thing. But you know, to a certain degree, those things only matter to the critics. The end judgement of a movie is, well, did you feel like you could fly? And that’s what E.T. did for me, and so many of my generation. It was greater than the sum of its parts.

I write about this today because I came upon this YouTube video today, thanks to /Film. As I watched this little girl’s face as she experienced that magic, I found myself grinning like an idiot. I was reveling in her discovery of the magic of film in that moment. I was almost back in the theater in 1982, and I could almost feel my heart leap in my chest like it did at that moment when the bike wheels left the ground. What a great memory to have…

Anyway, I hope you enjoy watching the concern and fright in her face turn to pure joy right in front of you. I hope it reminds you of the power of art, and the magic of something that is, by it’s very existence, far more than just the sum of its parts!



Awesome Video on Vimeo

Categories: Film No Comments

I was browsing through Vimeo the other day, just checking out a few different things, when I happened to actually look at the featured films on the front page. And, to be honest, I don’t know why this film caught my eye, but it did. I clicked on it and immediately knew that something was different about it. First off, it had a voice-over quoting the Old Testament, and secondly, the style was something very different from what I expected. Needless to say, I loved it! My only issue with the whole thing is right at the end, where the scripture is talking about an army, and only one guy stands up. I would liked to have seen a whole bunch of guys stand up. But beyond that, I thought it awesome. Well, and I actually don’t like the title screen. Which is why I almost didn’t click on it: It looks like some kind of western or something like that. Oh well. I clicked anyway, and was the better for it!

So you can watch it below, or I would also encourage you to follow the link to the artist’s Vimeo page and check out his other work. He’s quite good!