Thursday, September 8, 2016

Using the Macro ability of your digital camera.

My digital camera, the Canon SX530 Powershot has been very nice to me. One of the things I noticed that was not so nice are the measurements scale for the macro zoom functions. Macro zoom, for those of you who don't know, is for shooting extremely close to a subject. 1 to 6 inches is close. Some people like to take a picture that is even closer.

My camera was set to metric measurements and while I understand the accuracy of the metric system, I switched mine to inches so I could better use the macro ability. I know what 1 and 2 inches looks like, whereas I don't know what 50cm looks like.

'Having written that though, I set the macro focus to 1 inch and then put the camera about 1 inch away from this keyboard I am using. The letter G was still a little out of focus.

My point is trust what your eyes see as focused, and then take the picture.

The Powershot has an interesting feature that I can't presently take advantage of. I can connect an HDMI device.

I mentioned this a few posts ago. If I could carry around a tablet or some other large self powered screen device, a Macbook Pro, or an iPad with a Lightroom type of application I could use that large screen to really see how well my subject is focused.

And of course, some subjects, like a moving hummingbird, don't allow you the time, so you have to trust the camera to capture as best as it can for you.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


I received an email earlier today from National Geographic. The email is a result of my being a part of the Yourshot.NationalGeographic website. I upload photos there fairly often. And NatGeo has a weekly assignment they run.

Currently the title of the assignment is "Through the Eyes of a Child."

I uploaded this image called turtle located here for the assignment.

And today the email states that one of the photo editors, the one curating the current assignment,

made my photo a favorite.

I went over to my LinkedIn page and posted that such happened.

What happens now you ask?

I am not sure. I believe it means I am in the running to have my photo published online once the "...Eyes of a Child", assignment finishes, and possibly it might mean the photo might also be in a copy of the print version of National geographic Magazine.

That is a nice comment to have on the resume'.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Here is...

Here is a gallery of my vertically oriented (vertoramas) and large photographs (click the link below the photo to go see the gallery please):

Vertorama Gallery

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Interesting feature of the Canon Powershot camera.

This observation probably applies to most cameras that are newer DSLR and HiDEF digital video cameras.

I have started to get used to my new Canon Powershot SX530 and found that it has two ports built into it. I was a little surprised that neither was a USB computer connection. Both ports are A/V outputs.

One is HDMI, the other connection I am not presently familiar with.

What this allows for is to connect an external screen to the camera. Like an Apple iPhone or better yet the large iPad because now you can use the iPad in place of the camera LCD screen to compose and manage the scene you are going to shoot still pictures or video with. A larger screen means you will be able to adjust focus and lighting before shooting and get the best image acquisition possible.

If you have an iPad, make the connection and use the pad as your viewscreen.

Additionally, you can load a Lightroom application into the pad, and use the camera, the iPad, and Lightroom in live, real-time situations at the same time to compose, color adjust, and get incredibly sharp focus as well as manipulate the scene all before shooting it.

This will raise the quality of your photos.

Monday, July 18, 2016

National Geographic Yourshot

I post my photos into two websites,, and the National Geographic website Natgeo.

Here is a recent photo with my new Canon Powershot camera on the NatGeo Yourshot website:

butterfly II

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Back to cameras...

I now have 4 cameras. I recently added a Canon Powershot SX530 HS.

This is a nice little camera.

The first aspect I enjoyed learning was the 200 power zoom. It is 160 power optical with digital zoom that really extends the reach, and with a tripod you can get a good picture with the 160 power zoom. The digital zoom, while impressive to be able to zoom in on something so far away, the quality of the image drops off and begins to pixel-ize.

This pixelization can be both good and bad. A degraded image can add to how the image plays to the story being told.

If for example the 200 power zoomed picture were to be examined in some kind of procedural way, for example if the story is using the image to explain how something happened for forensic or other reasons and is viewed as an element inside the main frame of the picture then it adds to the way the story plays. This can also go the other way, by using the camera in its movie mode and being zoomed all the way at 200x, the story might be enhanced in a negative space kind of way, depicting amateur imaging to unfold the story from an unscholarly point of view, or the vision of an alien presence or a collection of evidence, or proof that something is out there, but mystery remains as part of the zoomed imagery might not be completely discernible, making it necessary for the characters in the story to go view or investigate further, thus moving the story further along, and not reducing the viewer's involvement with the story. In other words, it helps to convince the story line and does not detract from the story line, depending on how it is used.

I am still learning the camera and am loving it.  It has a hybrid feature of taking a few seconds of video and then tacks a still image image at the end of that movie clip, so you could shoot 20 or 30 minutes and have a kind of digest of hybridized video and still shots that tell a short story.

For example a journalist might be on the scene of a story and be shooting like this as a set of visual notes for memory refreshment at a later time. This then could be incorporated into a much larger story in a feature length movie. And since it is a new technique I will be working in a new field of still and video hybridization. New is not always better, I like this though.

The camera also allows you to learn the inverse qualities of aperture and shutter and how they affect each other. There is a fixed shutter setting where the camera will automatically set the aperture and a setting that goes the other way fixing aperture and automatically adjusting shutter speed. After enough use your mind will start to understand how these two aspects of photographing and acquiring moving image play together to give you good and great imagery.

The camera also has an excellent high speed feature, it can take burst mode shots. Each image is 4 megapixels, which isn't great quality, but still pretty good, and this setting allows you to acquire 20 or 30 photos of high speed action.

It is a 16 megapixel camera with a nice mix of automatic and manual features, from white balance to a nice fish-eye lensing effect I can easily recommend this for the beginning photographer and you'll get great photographs by just using the automatic features, and you'll get to learn professional photography concepts as this scales up in difficulty of use by adding in manual settings a little at a time.

And since I want to make a feature movie I really like its sound recording ability. It captures stereo sound, and so far (I haven't really put the audio recording to the test yet by going into a live concert for example) it is a pretty good audio recorder.

Interesting aspects of my science fiction story keep showing up in the news.

My science fiction story series, The Diegisis Series, keeps getting more interesting to me and to my online readers.

You can find copies of the stories here:

Spark Gap and Seeds of the Three Suns

As I was writing the story and eventually got to the part about Larry DeVaryo building his electron lab, and the ensuing electrical firestorm that came out of that, and Larry's adventure dealing with hundreds of balls of ball lightning that Larry accidentally created, I came across this story out of China about Ball Lightning being observed in nature for the first time:

Ball lightning recorded and seen for the first time in China.

The second item that made it into the news recently was this discovery of mysterious solid spheres and reported here:

Youtube number 9 and number 2

And here in the UK Telegraph:

UK Telegraph article.

While these items probably aren't related in anyway, and probably don't prove any kind of other earthly or alien presence, they do make the Diegisis stories a little more realistic and fun to read.

Realistically, I expect that the mysterious spheres, much like the ice age created natural rectangular rock formations, will prove to be just that -natural formations. BUT, in the Diegisis Series Sieffas is a small dragon and those mysterious spheres might be some of the moons of Voryon.

Now what do you suppose they could be doing here?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Where do you get your music?

A while back I started to research music and how you can put it in your movie.

I have come up with a couple answers to this.

One. You can go the hard route, which is probably worth it if you can get a decent song and marry it to your movie appropriately.

The hard route is via the Harry Fox agency and or any other licensing mechanical fee (needle drop fee) enterprise that has the ability to provide you permission, for pay, to use a song by an artist in your movie.

Be prepared to go through a lot of steps to get to where you want to be with this route. Big name bands can be pretty sensitive about giving clearance to their music.

And it'll cost you a lot of money, either up front for usage rights or on the back end as a part of the film profits.

Two. You can also find production music in various places. Do a Google for it and you will find some good leads on production music. You have to be careful with production music though. A couple of the sites I found have little stipulations on how you can use the music they offer. For example, in one case, after reading the licensing and use material I discovered I could buy the music but I wasn't allowed to alter it in anyway.

What good is that in today's mixology world?

Radio stations have production music libraries. I can't recommend these production libraries as you can tell the energy that makes a great piece of music simply isn't there.

Having said that, keep looking and searching, you can find production music that kicks ass and isn't by a name band. Be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars to be allowed to license it for your work.

Here is the problem with route number two: other productions can also find the same music and purchase it and put it in their movie as well.

I had it happen where I bought a piece of artwork only to have someone later tell me they saw the same piece of artwork elsewhere. That kind of news kind of sucks.

But...  There is some great production music out there that is reasonably priced.

Three. Make your own music. There are places on the web where you can find online music machines. I found a lot of them going through Stumble Upon. These machines can be a little bit of a challenge to master, but you are nearly guaranteed to have a unique piece of music, even if someone else comes along and uses the same machine to put music in their movie. The chances both of you will compose the exact same piece of music is slim to none, but you could find yourself watching someone else's movie and listening to what sounds like your song, when it isn't. That would be a kind of a surprise. I think the best use of these machines is for short movie stings, like if someone turns a corner and discovers something surprising like a meteor tearing through a hallway wall.

Four. Find a local band that wants their music out there. I have found a few of these here locally. One gentleman is an incredible free form gospel player. He can't read music and simply plays by ear.

In this case I am a little hesitant because he may be playing someone else's music and simply not know it.

In another case I found a local group of young musicians and these guys are amazing to listen to. BUT, I am not sure their music is what I would call suitable for a movie. Its kind of like saying Frank Zappa or Iggy Pop might not be right for the Sound of Music, or the John Phillip Souza doumanetary film, it might be as a contrast, but probably not good to demonstrate marching music.

Having said that, I haven't listened to this local band's entire repertoire. They have hours and hours of music, and what is particularly interesting is they apply a kind of free form playback of the songs, so each time they play it is a little bit different.

I like that. The trouble becomes getting a decent studio recording of them. That can be a challenge as they almost always have their own lives to make and their schedules don't always mesh easily with yours.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Remember? I said crossover films?

A few posts ago I mentioned that I thought it seemed likely that there will be crossover films from the Marvel Universe, DC Comics and whatever. Here is the latest news touting Fox joining up with Marvel to make that exact thing happen:

Friday, June 24, 2016

I went to Finding Dory today.

Finding Dory is the follow up film to Finding Nemo.

I didn't see Finding Nemo but I did enjoy Finding Dory.

The voice casting was great.

And Disney/Pixar animation is great.

I was a little surprised to see credits roll at the beginning of the movie. In the past this usually meant that the story of the movie was going to somehow end in such a way that people probably wouldn't sit through the credits at the end, and so the production moves the credits to the beginning of the film.

My college professor made a statement once that, if you find yourself in the movie business, or in television, watch the credits. It is after all why you are in the business. To see your name up there.

The story hit a little hard for me. The story is about a blue tang, a type of salwater fish, named Dory, who has short term memory loss. It was fun for the kids in the theater to see someone go through the problems of short term memory loss.

For me though it struck home in a different way. At this time I am living with my 93 year old mother, and she is beginning to have issues with short term memory loss.

The question it raises for me is how do you go about dealing with this?

As I sat there I began to feel guilty for being in the theater and leaving her at home alone.

She really needs to have someone around to help her. Not so much to take care of her as she seems to be doing okay. She can get her food and make her way to and from bed, she still balances her bills and checkbook but that particular chore is becoming difficult and she has always made it a point in her life to balance her checkbook often. Short term memory is taking that away from her.

It will eventually, if we all live to be that old, take it away from us as well.

I have been trying to figure out how to gracefully meet the eventual cross roads I am coming to. I will at some point have to find work somehow that will be adequate for me to live the rest of my life on. And I will have to leave her.

The medical experts will tell you to go.

It is not so easy.

In the last few years Mom has been preyed upon. She answered some spam emails over the last few years and was caught up in some scams. Fortunately I was here, and helped to stop them.

But now I am thinking what is the next one going to be. And can I take the risk of leaving, knowing someone might take another opportunity to make mischief at her expense.

The last scammer came right to the door and asked for her electric bill. He may have been legitimate however he wasn't wearing anything like a uniform and didn't leave a business card, and he wasn't driving a company car, and there wasn't any advance notice he was coming to visit.

The American economy has fallen so much that many Americans can't make enough money to live without thinking about how they can make some more money.

It is a difficult nut to crack.

Out of this there is a predator spirit at work to take, even if it means taking from little old ladies.

The United States, if you read a book called Plan B, Mobilizing to Save Civilization (I have only gleaned a few pages here and there in it), you find out that other countries are also desperate. Countries are renting land in other countries to raise foods to bring back to their own countries to feed their people.

I share this feeling of desperation, although I try to minimize it as much as possible, because I am coming to this crossroads I mentioned earlier.

Finding Dory is a story about a Tang that loses its family, but somehow makes it way across the ocean and back again to find its family.

I empathized with the emotional content through this story.

NPR ran a story recently about how this movie will have an impact on ocean fish. The scientist in the NPR story is concerned that people will want to have saltwater aquariums and fish as pets.

I am inclined to agree and to share this concern.

Our oceans are over fished, and recently I have been made aware that eating fresh water fish is not good for you, that there are now so many contaminants in our fresh waters that it is starting to border on being a health hazard to do so.

The term Walt Kelly made via his character known as Pogo comes to mind. We are our own worst enemy, we have met the enemy and he is us.

One more thing about movie credits and the end of the movie, sit through until the end. More and more the movies are adding snippets to the end of the credits worth seeing. Finding Dory ran the credits and then had about 5 more minutes of movie to watch.

Disney really knows how to make movies.

A long time ago I watched a movie at a theater in Hollywood. I want to say it was The Egyptian, but now I have taken the time to look via Google and I am not so sure it is the theater called the Egyptian in present day Hollywood. Whatever theater it was, what a cool looking theater it was.

The movie was Outland with Sean Connery and Peter Boyle. Outland is a remake of the Gary Cooper movie, High Noon. At the end of Outland when the bad guys got beat, the entire audience cheered and clapped. That's Hollywood for you.

They are really into the movies there.

I make it a point now to sit through to the end... and clap even if I am the only one left in the theater.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

I went to...

I went to X-Men Apocalypse, the movie, yesterday. May 4th, 2016.

Ultimate, ultimate, ultimate. Ultimate anything is a kind of hard wall to bounce off of.

In one of the Ironman movies Tony has a one use weapon that sends out a searing, slicing laser type of linear light beam, and he swirls it around taking out all the attacking 'Droid robots.

I think it is Don Cheadle in the other suit and Tony says, "Duck". Tony spins, and cuts all the robots in half or other sections.

Apocalypse was the same kind of thing. The ultimate villain. It took all of the X-Men simultaneously working together to bring down and destroy Apocalypse.

I like that premise, cooperation is what pulls us all together to overcome obstacles.

But I also found it interesting that for an X-Men movie the theater was nearly empty. There were only about 6 or 7 us sitting there.

That really bothered me.

But that is off topic. The topic is Ultimate anything, Apocalypse was the ultimate alternative God-villain posing as God.

There could have been an interesting tie-in to the DC Universe and the New Gods. Stan Lee published both, I suspect we will at some point, if the comic book movies maintain audience numbers, start to see crossover story lines, with Ironman battling Batman and similar.

Each comic book realm has its ultimate bad guy. Thanos in the Marvel realm, Apocalypse for X-Men, Darkseid for the DC comics.

Which makes me think the comic book movies are getting away from the way they were when I read them all those years ago. That was then, this is now. Sure I agree.

Let me inform you though that Marvel comics during the 60s and 70s were full of deep conversation with the characters thinking out their decisions. There wasn't a lot of biff, boom, bang then. Which is one of the reasons I liked to stick to DC comics because, like all procedural story telling, they found a problem, found a cure, and fixed it, fighting included. But since then and now we have had the rise of the WWE, the WWF, the UFC, the internet and the doing away with boxing, for the time being.

We glorify the fight. But we do so in a way that is unreal. But by doing so we send the message that the way to solve problems is to fight.

In my college classes my cinema studies class and my cinema studies textbook made the point that war, fighting, is the ultimate conflict. I think what I am reaching for is that life isn't always about the quick fix fight. Dominating someone via pugilism, fighting is not the way that always works. In fact it sends a sublime message to those that view it that it is okay to fix problems by getting into a fight.

Life is not about the quick fix fight, not even close.

Duking it out with your dentist will probably only get you more cavities.

To the untrained mind, the quick fix fight sends the message that this is the way to fix your problems. No it is not the way to fix your problems. The problems we deal with in life are more complex than that. You have to choose a school, that isn't a fight thing, you have to choose a car, that isn't a fight thing, you have to choose your work place, that isn't a fight thing.

I admit it might be a kind of path to take to simply fight, dominate and get the problem out of the way.

Look at what happened to Loki. He got his butt kicked, destroyed Asgard and then made himself King. What good is it to destroy the thing you fight for?

Which is why I kept looking at my watch all through the Apocalypse movie.

When I look back to the Avengers movie where they are at Hawkeye's family home, I enjoyed the conversational tone that took place between he and his partner. They have a family. They were trying to decide which is more important. They were going back to that 60s and 70s conversational tone in the comics that I didn't like in the 60s and 70s. I liked it in that movie though.

I am a lot older now.

As Apocalypse peaked, it did not pique my interest. It did point to Magneto dealing with his loss, but somehow in the heat and stress of that battle it lost meaning for me. Like the conversation wasn't so important, that what was important was the spectacle, and taking it to its peak. The added in talking about Magneto's family loss had no poignancy, the emotional content of his life and loss was diminished by the extent of the mind blowing special effects ultimate mayhem making taking place.

And when I left the theater I didn't feel like I had learned anything new. It was another incredibly violent, unbelievably intense fight, from one end of the movie to the other, except Quicksilver. That was a nice interlude that did work for me. But all else felt empty for me.

In the DC world and the Marvel comics of old there was usually some kind of take away that stuck with you.

For instance, the word caveat. The first time I read that was in a comic book. That isn't all I wish for out of the movies these days. Some simple take away, like Groot saying We are Groot.

Apocalypse proudly proclaimed at the end credits that 15,000 people worked on the movie. That is an amazing statistic, and well worth being proud of, but then the now typical tag ending of the movie came along. The tag ending is that part of the movie that hints at the next movie from the same storyline.

What bothered me about the X Men movie that ended with the four horsemen, alluding to this very movie, Apocalypse, is there weren't any horsemen in this movie at all. And the tag on this movie was lost on me. I think it is because I am not following the stories in the comic books.

Maybe I missed it. I missed the easter eggs in the other movies.

It is probably my fault because I simply can't afford to buy the new comic books. I have my real job to think about and my 93 year old Mom to keep an eye on, and I have to think about people trying to prey on her because she answers spam from the internet or she picks up the phone and they say it is Publisher's Clearinghouse when in fact it is another scam team from who knows where.

Where are the heroes that deal with real life issues like that in the comic book movies?

They aren't there in real life are they? You don't see the comic book characters in real war scenarios. There may be a backdrop that looks like real war, but it isn't real war in the current day. You can't have that. Think about why that is.

How long then can the comic book world movie genre keep us coming back to the theater?

Which brings me back to cross-over movies. I think that will start to be the end of the run.

When Superman comes around to beat Thanos, and Hulk comes around to beat Darkseid in a tied to each other ring battle, and Rocky Balboa comes around in Tony Stark's Ironman suit to beat whomever is going to replace the ultimate X Men threat as Apocalypse reborn.

I probably will go to a few more comic book movies, but I will also be looking for the new genre that is going to come along, or the new sleeper hit movie of the year to come along.

And I will be looking for the take away, because I want to learn something new from these movies.

Because the comic book movies are hitting a wall. The Ultimate wall. You have to be careful with ultimate weapons, you can only use them once, and ultimate villains, because you can only use them once. Once you have defeated them, because they were supposed to be the ultimate villain, they couldn't have been, so we were mislead into thinking they were in the first place.

The ultimate villain is ourselves. Pogo is right. We are our own worst enemy.

But war, in real life, we keep using that over, and  over   and      o  v    e      r. To create others as the ultimate enemy.

So then, something else has to come along to change the diet. Variety, the spice of life. What the box office keeps looking to feed us constantly.


Today is now June 6th, 2016. I am going to apologize for the above post. A couple posts ago I posted the relationship matrix. I posted that because I believe that is important that we stay positive. If you look at the relationship matrix, the ideal is to be in the actively constructive and positive parts of the relationship matrix. It isn't easy, which is why I believe I need to apologize.

In the above post, yesterday, I went off negative. Bryan Singer, the Director, and everyone that worked on that picture worked hard to bring it to us. The above post isn't fair to them.

The positive part of the movie for me was Quicksilver. As soon as he made his entrance and the slow motion fun started taking place I was into it. And there is now the prospect he will meet his Dad.

Let's hope that is a positive, and lasts a long time.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

From the "for what it is worth" department.

Every so often, when I am doing my research, I think I find pretty good answers.

I found an interesting article about relationships here:

And I would further describe a good relationship on what I call the X principle.

See the graphic below:

And I found another Walter Murch video worth watching:

There are several take-aways from this video.