Beware of the frauds!!!

It almost seems like every time the phone rings or I get an Email, either at home or at work, it is someone trying to sell me something or trying to rip me off.  I know it is not that bad but some days it seems like it.  The problem is that it is getting harder and harder to figure out what is legit and what is a fraud.  Had a call the other day from a nice sounding lady that started with talking about the weather and photography, she had me thinking that she was calling about photography and was on the phone for just about 30 seconds till I heard in the background more people talking on phones.  This was my first clue that something was up.  Then she started talking about one of her interests and that she was so concerned about this area (will not say what it was as it may put other groups with the same purpose in a bad light). Then she asked in the course of a long ramble if I agreed to be charged for a undetermined sum of money to support them.  If I was not listening carefully I could have agreed to this charge.

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McQuillan Lake, Alberta

So many times I hear photographers tell me they have to travel a long ways to find an interesting place to take pictures.  While this is true in some cases such as if you’re looking for specific hummingbirds, polar bears, or African animals but there are lots of amazing places close to Lethbridge that you can take pictures.  This past weekend I had planned to go and take pictures in Waterton, a place that I know that I can get some good pictures but after a suggestion from one of my customers of a place even closer to home I decided to change my plans and head out on Saturday to photograph an area that I haven’t been at for years.

The place, McQuillan Lake, is more of a dugout than an actual lake but it is stocked with fish and has a lot of waterfowl that seem to visit there.  So out I went on Saturday and I was very surprised at the variety of waterfowl that were hanging around the lake.  I got to see many Red Winged Blackbirds, Pelicans, Yellow Headed Blackbirds, Mallard Ducks, Cinnamon Teals and lots more and the best part was that all this was within 20 minutes of my house, a place that I could drive to just about any day when I have a few minutes.

So next time that you have a few minutes pick a spot close by and head out to see what you can photograph.

Monitor Balancing

Monitor balancing – two words that strike fear into the hearts of relatively sane people.

So what is it that most people don’t understand or makes them fearful to tackle?  I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that articles and blog posts are being written, books being published and all they are doing is trying to sell equipment and programs so it makes it look a lot harder than it is.  I also believe many people simply do not understand what monitor balancing it is and why it needs to be done.  So before we go any further let me explain what monitor balancing is.  Monitor balancing is simply balancing your monitor so that the image you see on the screen is the correct color and density, in addition it insures that it is the same color and density that the final print will be.  It is no harder than this, it is no more difficult, that is it.  Many people believe that when they buy a monitor, or computer system, that the monitor is already balanced.  This is not so, every computer and monitor combination is different.

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Back Button Focus

The following is rated as intermediate, if you do not already have a good grasp on your camera please wait to try this.  Also you will need to adjust a custom function so be careful.

If you have taken any of my courses one thing that I try to get through to all my students is to “Keep it simple”.  This is not just for students but also for myself. But sometimes in trying to keep photography simple we miss out on some of the cool things that can be done using your camera that are a little more advance than what we do most days. One such area that I have never really explored as much as I should is back button focus.  Why?  Well mainly because most of the time when I am shooting it is for a job and I don’t want to try something new that I am not sure on.  Last night when I was shooting birds I decided to try the back button focus for the first time in a long time, and I have to say for some things I really like it.  I increased my keeper shots by at least 50%, and I really noticed that the sharpness increased overall.  The other thing that I LOVE is that by using the back button focus instead of the shutter button you can focus and once focused shoot away without having to worry about loosing the focus, it reminds me a lot of the “Old” days when all we had were manual focus lenses.  SO what is the back button focus? Back button focus is when you use the focus button located on the back of your camera to activate the focus and this is done by using your thumb.

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How do you treat people???

How do you treat people???

I am always surprised by how many photographers treat other people, especially other photographers, like garbage. Maybe it is an artist thing, or maybe there is a course out there about if you treat people badly you will make more money, I am just not sure what it is.

This past trip to Waterton I ran into two different people that must have taken the course about treating others badly as both were not nice people. One lady, using that term very loosely, could have cut through steel with the glare that she gave me. I pulled off the road where there was a bear and after stopping realized that I was still in traffic and that the bear was walking away from my vehicle so I decided to pass this couple and pull off onto a part that was well off the road and well ahead of the bear. In order to do this I had to pass the couple that were ahead of me, so I pulled out onto the road, passed them and then parked. When I got out of my vehicle to get a monopod she was glaring at me like I was on her private land. She turned to her husband that was photographing the bear and said something that I barley caught but he just ignored her and went on with his photography.

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Are you ready for ????? (Part 2)

Are you ready????

I stopped where I did in the last post for a reason, I wanted to address something to start this post that you have to consider carefully before you decide what type of emergency that you have.  I mentioned that if you have had a major computer crash, lost power or the Internet at your house that you could go someplace else to use the Internet, but before doing this you need to decide if you really have to?  I know people that have an emergency an hour; “this is wrong”, “that happened”, “I cannot”, “I have to” and so on.  One person I know was panicking that they did not have Internet at home, but they had a smart phone that they could still check E-mails, text and post on Facebook but they were upset and were ready to drive 20 minutes in a snow storm to a friend’s house to use their computer when in fact they did not even need the Internet.

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