Archive for January, 2013

PlayStationtease

At 6:30pm EST Jan 31, the PlayStation website released a 45 second ad which which showed off the iconic 4 PlayStation controller buttons.  The fairly epic music followed by the Feb 20th date seems to suggest that PlayStation is finally going to announce their next generation console.

Rumors have been running wild over the last few weeks as more details about both the “Xbox 720″ and “PlayStation 4″ have been becoming far more detailed.  This is a strong indication that more and more people are beginning to get their hands on what could be close to the finished product.

PlayStation 3 was revealed at E3 back in 2005 and was launched in 2006 for a high retail  price tag of $499 for 60GB of storage.  Here we are eight years later from the PS3′s reveal and all signs seem to indicate that it is indeed time for PlayStation’s Next Generation.  This would be a highly surprising, and bold move by Sony as that have historically chosen to be the last to give such announcements.  Even last week Sony made a statement saying that they would rather let Microsoft show their hand first so they could then make adjustments to their system and come out with something better.  But obviously at this stage in the game few adjustments could realistically be made.

So what does Feb 20th hold for gamers?  Check back here at to get the latest on this developing story.

As I’ve mentioned before – Last February my daughter “Zelda” was born.  I love taking pictures of this girl!  It’s nice because its always so much fun taking pictures of kids, but it can be odd and creepy if they are not your kids, you know?  She is one of the main reasons I’ve progressively been improving in this hobby/skill.  Well Recently my wife has been saying we need to get some really nice portraits done of our little girl.  Knowing how much they could charge for such a session of pictures, I did what any red blooded American man would do.  I said, “Honey, just let me do it – I could do it better for cheaper!”

…She reluctantly accepted my challenge.

The Gear & Equipment
Here is a quick list of everything I used to take these pictures

  • Nikon d5100 with 18-55 zoom lens & 55 – 200 zoom lens, tripod
  • 4 standard house hold lamps with the shades off
  • 3 Yards Golden Drape.  1 Yard of Golden mesh.  1 Picture Frame.  All from Joe Ann’s Fabrics
  • Christmas Lights from our tree & ordainment – Rocking Horse

The Set Up


So I thought to myself, what would I need in order to do this?  I looked at some videos on youtube and pictures other people took and really you just need some good lighting, some sort of backdrop and a few props for the child to interact with.  So I went to Joe Ann’s Fabric to get the back drop.  That was what cost the most money (about 50 bucks for 3 yards of the drape).  I knew that Zelda was going to be dressed in a medium tone red and white, therefore I didn’t want to pick a dark color as the backdrop – because the red would blend with it to much. And I didn’t want to pick red or white, because it would take away from the beauty of her dress.  Gold is a nice accent color for red, so I picked the golden color.  I went with the drape fabric because it doesn’t wrinkle easily.  All the other fabrics were too thin and already had wrinkles in them.  That’s bad because it would create distracting shadows.  I also made sure the pattern wasn’t too busy.  Again, the back drop was going to be out of focus in most of the pictures – so I wanted a pattern to give some texture, but nothing to over powering.

After that I came home and moved all the furniture out of the way.  Pinned the drape on a wall with some push pins and let it flow onto the carpet.  Very important that you don’t create a hard edge where the wall and the floor meet.  Pull the material away from the wall and let it flow down so you can’t tell (visually in the picture) where the floor ends and the wall begins.  Helps to create the illusion that there is more space then is actually there.

By the time we started taking pictures it was already night time, so I took 4 lamps, took the Zelda_Happyshades off, and turned them all on to light up the room.  I knew working with a baby who could crawl I needed to be able to take the shots with as short of a shutter speed as possible.  That meant I needed A LOT of light to get a proper exposure.  Flash wasn’t an option for me, because I only have my camera mounted flash.

Once that was all in place I took about 45 minutes playing with a bunch of prep shots.  Making sure I knew all the shots and poses I wanted to try to capture.  I saw a good tip to make sure you know what shots you want to take in advance because you have a limited amount of time that children will corporate.  So I set up tripod and tested different exposures – lenses.  Made sure I got that blurring effect in the background that I wanted.  I think its called “Bokah”  NOW IM READY

Zelda_FrameLights Camera ACTION
Okay!  Got Zelda dressed and we were ready to go.  Word of warning.  Never try to do this by yourself.  I would not have been able to take the pictures without my wife constantly getting her attention, getting her to smile, bringing her back when she would crawl away every 30 seconds or so.  My wife was exhausted by the end, but it was great because then I just had to focus on capturing the moment without having to get up every 30 seconds.  I ended up taking about 300 pictures.  Adjusting often.  Playing with Manuel mode, complete auto mode, No flash mode, apature mode.  I just worked on the fly with whatever worked best.

I'm a MONSTER!

I’m a MONSTER!

We have her play with a few props.  The picture frame I bought, I took the glass and everything out of it so it was just the empty frame and I ended up getting a lot of great shots with that.  We even got this one shot where she is making this monster face while emerging through the frame!  I love this shot!  The main thing that bugs me is that is it fairly blurred because she was moving, and I hadn’t had a chance to adjust the exposure and shutter speed to her moving around.  By the time I was ready for it she was done playing with the frame and I couldn’t get her to do it again.  None the less I loved the shot so much I just retouched it a little to make it a bit sharper and some people might look at it and just think its an effect I was going for lol.

Zelda_HorseOver all my wife and I had a BLAST doing it.  It was a lot of hard work.  Cost some money.  But the experience of doing this as a family was priceless. Could a professional photographer do it better?  Absolutely.  But it wasn’t about that.  It was about using one of my hobbies to engage my family in a fun activity together.  And it yielded some memorable results.

Tips for next time?
The main issue I ran into was the lighting.  Even though I had 4 lamps, and it felt pretty bright, with my basic lenses, my aperture isn’t wide enough to capture enough light for me to be able to freeze the action.  Her movements were a challenge because of the lighting.  Therefore I’m looking into getting a prime lens with a wider aperture. Specifically a Nikon 50mm 1.8 lens.  That will give me a much wider apature than I currently have and allow me to capture a lot more light – which gives the ability to freeze the shot more effectively in low light settings.  The great thing about this lens is it runs for only about 120 bucks these days!  wow!  I can’t afford a 300 dollar lens right now, so this makes sense for me.

The only other tips for myself next time is also trying to utilize the daylight.  I purposefully didn’t intend to use daylight because I was thinking more of a clocked box studio where you can control the light completely.  Next time however I want to take full advantage of the huge patio window in our living room and shoot during the day or during the “Golden Hour” for some get contrasting shadows – or simply a warmer color.

Well that was my experience!  Please leave your comments below – I would love your feed back.  Isn’t my daughter ADORABLE?!

It’s good to be back blogging!  While I was going from my blog, over the holidays I discovered this FANTASTIC new hobby called “Perler Beading”  Basicly you buy these special kinds of beads and peg boards.  Line the beads up on the pegs and then iron them.  After about 30 seconds the plastic melts, fusing them together.

Theo, Isn’t this a Girls Hobby?92190120MUSH
…No it’s not a girls hobby!  Well… It just depends on what you decide to make.  Case in point:  Old school video game character sprites are some of the best things I love to make.  I started off by buying s starter pack from Joe Ann’s Fabric (not the manlyest store around but whatever…)  and making a few simple sprites.
Once I got the hang of it I began to make a few more complex sprites with shading and everything.  I realized that I was running out of colors quickly so I went online and ordered 40 more shades of colors so I had a more complete color selection to work from.  I wish I could say I made all of these from my head – but no.  I copied them from what i’ve seen others do.  But it is so relaxing!

123231I love just putting on some music, and relaxing while placing bead after bead.  I made so many over the Holidays that I’m taking a short break now.  But please check out what I’ve done so far.  Everything next to this text is a picture of some of the 8-bit sprites I have made that are hanging above my patio door.  Tried to make a small scene from “Super Mario World” If you have any suggestions on what to make next, please leave a comment in the window below!

Apple is releasing something new again?!  Oh, never mind… It’s just the iPad with more memory

1. It’s Unreasonable Cost.
At the moment, reports are pegging that the 128 GB iPad will run consumers about $929… wow.  That’s a lot of money.  With a 16GB iPad costing 499. at the moment, that means you are going to pay nearly double the cost of the device to get that extra memory.

2.  Your not going to use the space!Cloud servers are the way to go these days.  Google offers 25gb of free storage with every gmail account!  I keep all my documents in “Dropbox”.  I watch all my movies and shows on Netflix and Hulu.  (If you are unfamiliar of the glory that is netflix and hulu, please check out one of my earlier articles under hobby #20 technology).  That only leaves apps to take up all that room.

3.  Resell Value Will Plummet
It is going to lose its value very quickly.  Apple seems to be on track to release 2 updated models per year.  With every new model that is released, the current models resell will drop on average $70 dollars.  I’ve noticed that models with more memory lose even more value.

For example, an 16GB that cost 499 a year later will normally sell for about 425 on ebay.  However, a 64GB model that costs 699 will normally sell for about 549 a year later.  I noticed this trend as I’ve sold several iPads.  2 of my own and several for friends too afraid to deal with ebay.

Should you get the new 128GB iPad?  Why don’t you try a 32GB to start with…?  I love technology – I especially love Apple!  But some things are best let alone…  Thoughts?

I’m Back!

Posted: January 29, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Wow, so I’ve been MIA for quite some times.  But more content to come soon!  I’ve been super busy with so many hobbies and life that I just lost track of the website.  Plus my Daughter was born so… Yeah… kinda wrecks your free time!  But I’m back!  Fresh posts to come!