Thursday, April 29, 2010

LIFE: "Making Great Portraits"

The LIFE Magazine site has a really good feature on how to take great portrait photos.

I find portraiture to be one of the most difficult things in photography; I did an entire portrait project just to work on those skills. I tend to do best with people to whom I have some connection, since I prefer to capture more candid, environmental moments. I hope I can incorporate some of these suggestions into my future work.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

National Archives: "International Morse Code, Hand Sending"

The United States Army schools you on proper morse code technique and mnemonics, circa 1966. From the National Archives and Record Administration, via Public.Resource.Org.

Update: I didn't realize how timely this post was; Samual F.B. Morse was born on April 27, 1791. Happy birthday!

books teens should read

I read voraciously as a child. I started at 2 1/2 years old, and I never stopped. Instead of buying toys or candy, I bought books. Instead of being scolded for kicking the dinner table during meals, I was told to put my book away. I could read at an 8th grade level in 4th grade, and my teachers would just let me do my own thing instead of forcing me to participate in the class reading sessions (I usually just read my own books). I loved reading that much.

Canadian Family has a list of 20 Books Every 'Tween and Teen Should Read Before They Hit 16 (via Oh Dee Doh). I've only read 10 of them, but how fantastic it was to visit with them again. The list is great, because it doesn't pander to the idea that teenagers "can't handle" serious, adult topics - Catcher In the Rye, Go Ask Alice, and Lord of the Flies are on the list.

In addition to the Canadian Family's suggested books (some with which I would like to make an acquaintance), I might also recommend these:

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
I Never Promised You A Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffry Eugenides

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

NASA video of a solar prominence

This stuff is CRAZY. Video shot on March 30, 2010, by the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory space telescope. More videos and images at the NASA Goddard Photo and Video Flickr stream. Via Wired Science.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

SFMOMA Symposium: "Is Photography Over?"

SFMOMA is hosting a symposium this Thursday focusing on the question, "Is Photography Over?" As someone who does photography, and who is part of an organization that encourages youth to express their own selves through photography, I have a difficult time answering this question with anything but a knee-jerk, emphatic "NO."

[As a side note: I mean, really, "over"? As in, "Oh photography? That is soooooo 1936"?]

The 13 participants of the symposium have posted their thoughts on the question, which will be used as a jumpstart for the conversation. A lot of these responses involve the definition of "photography" and "over," as well as the space that photography occupies in the intersection of art, truth, and time. It made me start thinking again about the role of photography, and what it signifies (see: On Photography by Susan Sontag and Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes)

However, as someone who really resonates with the "freeze time" aspect of photography, I like this quote by Jennifer Blessing (one of the participants):

In the end, what makes a photograph a photograph is its ephemerality, its special connection to a moment in time that is always already lost.

I like that. Though I prefer to think in terms of the alternative: photographs allow you to capture a moment in time before it is lost.

kaiten burning
kaiten burningkaiten burning
(Zero Project Kaiten by Katsushige Nakahashi)

Monday, April 19, 2010

TED: Jonathan Klein, "Photos That Changed The World"

Jonathan Klein, CEO and co-founder of Getty Images, gave a TED talk about the power of photography to change the world. It's a pretty short video (around 6 minutes), but it highlights one of the greatest things about photography - the ability to tell a story in just one shot.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"bet against the american dream"

This American Life, NPR's Planet Money, and ProPublica just rolled out a story that discussed the role that one hedge fund, Magnetar, had in re-inflating the CDO markets in 2006, betting against that investment (using credit default swaps), and making millions when the housing bubble popped in 2008. It basically blinded me with rage (yet again), of which I thought I had built up an immunity towards after the last 2 years.

So instead, I am posting the song that riffs off of The Producers number "We Can Do It." It's called, "Bet Against The American Dream"; the TAL blog has the how it was made backstage pass, and the video was produced by the Planet Money team.

Bet Against The American Dream from Planet Money on Vimeo.

The TAL show can be found here. ProPublica's site has really great additional materials about the story.

adult men's hockey post-mortem

Whit started playing hockey again, this time in the adult men's league. This is the aftermath of the game last night.

post-mortem hockey

Monday, April 12, 2010

You're Doing It All Wrong: "How to Make Deviled Eggs"

I've only made deviled eggs once in my life, but I might be willing to give them another go after this video tutorial from Jamie Lauren.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Nationaal Archief: Liberation 1945, Holland

The Nationaal Archief in The Hague has a bunch of new photos from the 1945 Allied liberation of Holland from Nazi Germany. Some fascinating stuff.

Moffenmeiden ingesmeerd met pek / Shaving and tarring of "Kraut whores"
("moffenmeiden" are Dutch women who had relationships with the German forces during the occupation)

The remaining set can be found here.

how to apologize, the japanese way

I think most people consider Japanese culture to be impenetrable because of all the so-called rituals involved. This video is great, because while it plays into the meticulous nature of Japanese ceremonies, it is absolutely winking at you on the side.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog as 8-bit game

Dr. Octroroc, he of "8-bit Jesus", has created an 8-bit version of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (Act I) in the style of a classic Nintendo game. I am fully aware I'm letting my geek flag fly here, but it is absolutely incredible, and now I want to go play Metroid. Via Laughing Squid.

And here's the original:

"happiness is two kinds of ice cream..."

I found myself humming "Happiness" from You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown tonight after dinner. I learned this song in my elementary school choir (1987-88), and hadn't thought about it in a while. I guess after my craptacular day of work, my hippocampus was trying to cheer me up.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Whole Foods' April Fools' Day homepage

Who would have thought elitist, yuppie foodies (yes, I'm including myself in this) would have such a great sense of humor?

Also: cannot wait to try their recipes for "Açaí Pomegranate Goji Mangosteen Whatever" and "Winter Risotto with Dried Twigs."

Wikipedia's April Fools' Day homepage

After incredulously reading about how Nicholas Sparks thinks he's a better writer than Cormac McCartney (for serious?), Wikipedia's home page for April Fools' Day made me smile: