Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pictures for the family

Despite my efforts to break into the photography/creative world and hire out my services, I still can't bring myself to charge a dime for family members who ask me to snap a few professional shots-- especially if that family member is my very pregnant, older sister.

I'll admit, I've never taken maternity shots before, but I really enjoyed the experience. For one, I got to spend some one-on-one time with my sister, and secondly, I snapped some pretty awesome shots.

Maybe I've found yet another one of my photography callings in life...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Road trippin' through Canada

This week, I'm on holiday traveling through Alberta, Canada and British Colombia, Canada to visit some family. One of the major bonuses of doing all this travel, of course, are the wonderful places I get to see along the way!

(Plus, its a great way for me to get used to my new D5100!)


One of the cool new features of my camera is the "effects" setting. There are about 8 different "effects" settings I can choose from, my favorite being the "selective color" setting. Basically, it lets me take photos in black and white, or select only certain colors to be shown in the photo.

One of the cooler places I stopped along my travels was miles 0 of the Alaska Highway. Yup, you read that right, A-L-A-S-K-A. I'm that far north.

If being this far north in the summer means there are so many beautiful places to see... maybe I'll make more of a habit out of these visits!

More photos to come.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lake Louise-- oh how picturesque!

Well, I told you I was going to take my new camera out for a spin-- and what better place to do it than Lake Louise in lovely Alberta, Canada?

While I tend to visit Lake Louise more often in the wintertime for a brisk snowshoe or a hot cup of tea, I'll admit, I think the lake is at it's finest when there's a warm summer breeze.

There is a lovely labyrinth of various hiking trails to enjoy around the Lake Louise area and some of my favorite trails (Six Glaciers trail & the Lake Agnes trail) actually lead to summer teahouses that offer biscuits, scones and light refreshments at the peak of the hike!

Burt today my family just ended up taking the ring road trail around the lake, opting for an easier day-- a wise decision, considering we would have been caught in a two hour torrential downpour had we decided to scale up the mountains trekking on a longer path.

Here's some more of the shots I took from our hiking today.

Who knew mountains could make such a lovely place to test out a new camera-- Cartier-Brenson's ducks have got nothing on the Rockies ;)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

New camera-- test shots with my D5100!

As I mentioned last week, I just bought a new (well, refurbished, but new to me) camera last week: a Nikon D5100.

After a long week of camera-less anticipation, my new camera FINALLY arrived in the mail on Wednesday! I was pretty busy this week saying my goodbyes and getting ready to pack up and leave California after spending a sunny, wonderful summer in Los Angeles, so I didn't get to take out my new camera for a test run... until today.

All I have to say is wow. WOW. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with this camera :)

Stay tuned for many epic shots to come.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Do you love me, surfer girl?

I'll admit, I'm in between cameras. I finally sold my Nikon D5000 for a D5100 so I could get external audio capabilities for video purposes.

I still have my little pocket-sized point and shoot Nikon...  but I feel a little naked without a DSLR in my bag all of the time.

All that being said, I was extremely surprised with the excellent quality of pictures I was able to take with my trusty pocket sized camera (or should I not be-- after all, my point and shoot is still made by Nikon?).

My friends and I decided to go out surfing, and, not wanting to bring my iPhone anywhere close to the water, I opted to document the day with my back-up camera. Take a look at some of the amazing still shots I captured:



Great, eh? The only thing I was not impressed by was the video, which was grainy, and had vertical lines running through almost every shot. Still, at least I was able to capture some excellent stills with an otherwise ordinary consumer camera.

Man, I love technology.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chinese social media, the second post.

As a social media maven, I've taken an interest in getting to know how social media works not only within North America, but overseas as well.

China particularly puzzles me. They have social media...but not like we do here in the United States. I've come across article after article of reports of censorship about Chinese government interference with social media outlets. The government wants people talking and building social networks-- just not about things it believes wouldn't be in the country's best interest.

My friend Hannah, who is studying in Shanghai, sent me this great article about Sina Weibo's search engine function which was seemingly partically diabled this past weekend by the government. In the article, the author writes:
"The sites naturally have an interest in keeping dialogue lively, and so must thread the needle — keeping things spicy enough to attract and retain users, but not so much so that the government takes notice."
To put it into better terms, here's a  TED talk with Michale Anti (Jing Zhao) about the "Great Firewall" of China my friend Diana sent me earlier today.

With all of this in mind, what I still can't seem to understand is how Chinese people aren't frustrated by their lack of freedom of expression. Then again, you never miss something you never had.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Takin' the lens for a spin.

This post is just about the pictures. Straight up, shot talk.

I got a fixed 50mm lens for Christmas, and I'll admit, I haven't used it as much as I'd like.

So this weekend I set out to fix that.

Some of the pictures look overexposed... but I was going for the "overly bright, blown out" look.

I think I achieved it...

 ... or maybe I just need to play around with the lens a little more.

Hello, Spotify. Its time we met.

Now, for someone who love social media and technology with all her heart, I'll admit, I resisted getting Spotify for the longest time. I received invite after invite, and thought, 'I have Pandora & Grooveshark, why do I need this?'

But I was wrong. So, so wrong.

Spotify is wonderful. Really, its the niche in my musical life that has been missing all of these years. Between Pandora, iheartradio, iTunes, Soundcloud and Spotify...what else does anyone else really need?

What strikes me the most about Spotify is that its free. Which made me wonder...wait. How is it free? I mean, I know that there are commercials and advertisements within the player itself, but how much is Spotify really worth to be a. still in business and b. free?

Well, for starters Spotify's CEO Daniel Ek is worth near $310 million, according to this Digital Music News story. That's a lot of money.

But what about royalties? How does Spotify work... and make money?

Well, here's how, from the Spotify people themselves...
"If your music is on Spotify, but you believe you don’t have an agreement with Spotify:

All the music on Spotify has been licensed from and delivered by labels or other rightsholders. Usually when an artist asks us how their music ended up on Spotify, it turns out that the artist’s music has been licensed and delivered by a label or aggregator without the artist knowing about this. If you are positive that nobody else could have licensed your music to Spotify, then please contact us.

Financial compensation to record labels and artists:

We have deals with necessary rightsholders in all of our launch countries. Together with them we have agreed upon a royalty based on how frequently your music is played. For detailed information, please contact your record label or your collecting society. "
See Spotify's site for the long explanation & more info.
What does that mean for me? It means I can listen to The Miracals (formerly The Smiles).

All. I. Want.