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Archive for February 2013

Survey Update

He catches the light so easily

Thanks to all who took time to complete the blog survey I posted in the beginning of January. I’ve extracted a fair bit of quality data from this survey that I am happy to share with you, dear readers. The data confirmed a few general ideas I had about the blog and illuminated some new and pleasantly surprising perceptions. Overall, I found the data extremely helpful while I craft the next phase of ‘MidnightBlue’.

I’ve crunched the data and I’m busy adding my commentary to the results. I will update this post tomorrow evening with both the data and my comments.


Did you enjoy this post? Please consider sharing it.

Snark Factor Tonight!

Listen live to the Snark Factor every Wednesday night at 8pm EST on FTR Radio where I will be joining Fingers Malloy, Irish Duke to bring news bites at the top of the hour followed by sparkling chats with invited guests. If you are a fan of my blog, you’ll know that I have an eclectic taste in news of the day.

On tap tonight:



When Love Arrives

Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye perform “When Love Arrives”.

Taking a detour from the usual music video to share some great slam poetry.



Everyone Loves Pancakes!

The Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM lens is especially delicious.


Took the lens out for a test drive at Longwood Garden conservatory in the midst of Orchid Extravaganza. I set the f-stop at 2.8 and strolled around the conservatory snapping pictures.  The lens is nicknamed ‘pancake’ for its compact size in comparison to other prime lenses. Though its size makes it less obtrusive for street photography, it does look a bit silly when paired with a hefty dSLR. However, I did feel more comfortable photographing people with this lens then with any of my other lenses.

The photos I captured during my conservatory walkabout were anything other than silly. The lens was quick to focus and did well in the variable lighting of the conservatory. I did notice some slight vignetting along the edges of the photos. The bokeh is excellent for this lens as it is a f/2.8.  The focal length of 40mm gives slightly more area for composition, however,  I was shooting with a cropped sensor camera. To get a better appreciation of this focal length, I need to slap this lens on my Rebel SLR and go for another photowalk.


All the photos shown were taken with the Canon 40mm f/2.8 and uploaded to Flickr via LightRoom. I did not apply any LR edits the photos, what you see is precisely what I photographed with this lens.  Feel free to click on the photos and examine the images in full resolution.


This lens retails about US$150 at Amazon.com making this a reasonably priced prime lens to add to your collection. This lens would be a great addition to your full frame dSLR as its 40mm focal length close matches the 35mm full frame sensor. The compact size and light weight of this lens makes it a great choice for street photography or fun photo walks.


I’m quite happy to with my purchase of this lens and look forward to using this lens on a future full frame Canon dSLR.


Finding Vivian Maier

The video biography takes a closer look at the mysterious street photographer, Vivian Maier and her posthumous rise to photographic acclaim.

If you have not had the chance to view her photos click on Vivian Maier Photography to view selected photos from her extensive portfolio. Trust me, every photo will draw you into her world. I was hooked with the first photo and continue to be awed her work.

Vivian Maier was and always will be a mystery. She completely sublimated her raw talent it was only after her death that the world became aware of her talent. Her photos, negatives, and undeveloped film rolls were auctioned off and the purchaser soon ‘discovered’ Vivian Maier.

Every time I view her work, I cannot help the disquieting reality that she did not benefit from her talent. She gave her photography passion everything she had, yet never allowed her work to support her. As her photos inspire an increasing numbers of photographers today, I can only imagine the impact her trailblazing talent could have had on photography and the perception of women photographers back in the day. We cannot undo the past, just learn from it and hopefully improve.


Farewell Chris Kyle




My thoughts and prayers are with  Taya Kyle and their children.


V-Day Gifts for Photographers

Cupcake Heart (Hipstamatic Contest Entry)

V-Day is quickly approaching and there are still some bitter clingers out there who continue to celebrate this manufactured event. Sigh. To be clear, I love the idea of celebrating love – just not the manufactured one day of the year with red roses and heart shaped boxes with stale chocolates type of scheme.  I strongly believe love can and should be celebrated EVERY day of the year.

Okay, stepping off my soap box now.

For those still seeking the perfect V-Day gift, I urge you to step out of the artificial construct called traditional V-Day gifts and consider these ideas for that special photographer in your life. I’ve selected items that can be given at whatever stage your relationship is at the moment.

Gifts below the cut.



Post #Nemo Snow Photos

2-3 inches of snow fell overnight in Philly courtesy of Nemo. This morning I gathered Buster for a long walk in Pennypack Park near Fox Chase Farm and snapped a few photos as well.

Enjoy the snowy wonderland goodness of the park.


Shelter from #Nemo



Got Snow? How To Get Bang On Snow Photographs

If you happen to live in the Northeast section of United States then snow is definitely in your immediate future. Why not take the opportunity to grab a photo or two of this weekend winter wonderland? To help you take better snow photos, I found a great video from Gavin Hoey Photo Training that takes a look a few top snow photography tips.

Enjoy this snowy weekend and happy snapping!


2nd Annual Run For Sherry



Whatever your plans are this coming Saturday, take some time to run, walk, bicycle, rollerblade, or whatever in memory of Sherry Arnold.  A woman who went out for a morning run last January and did not return home alive.

Sherry’s murder touched the core of the running community, as many of us have done exactly what Sherry did that sad morning and returned home safe and sound. It is not unusual for me to run alone early in the morning at a local park. I appreciate the peaceful beauty of the forest and the quiet time before my hectic day begins. Honestly, there are many times when I run with no ID or cellphone on my person and don’t see another person the entire run. Truth is,  I don’t think of the potential dangers until after the run. So,  I’m advocating to all my running readers to think about your safety BEFORE your run.

When the news of Sherry’s murder broke last year, her cousin who also runs (very well) and blogs at Shut Up and Run (SUAR) organized a Run For Sherry in February 2012. I, along with my running friend Trish, donned ‘Run For Sherry’ bibs and ran like madwomen through the streets of Philly.

This year, we are running for Sherry along Kelly Drive. I invite everyone, wherever you are to take time on Saturday to remember the life of Sherry Arnold.

SUAR (Shut Up And Run) shared some important safety tips to minimize risk and go on running and living – unafraid.

Here are some other things to do to be safe – not just while running, but in general.

Always tell someone where you are going.
Stay on well traveled and well lit roads. Don’t take short cuts through woods, poorly lit areas, etc.
If possible, run with a dog, a group or at least one other person.
Ditch the headphones.
Bring your phone.
If someone looks shady to you, cross the street or go the other way.
Vary your routes. Don’t be predictable.
Know where you’re going. Looking confused and lost can make you a target.
Don’t be distracted. Perpetrators specifically look for people who aren’t 100% aware of their surroundings.
Consider taking a self defense class. You never know when you might need these skills.
Reconsider the pony tail. This is an easy thing to grab and pull.
Have an air of confidence. Walk or run tall with your head up.
Trust your gut. If something/someone doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Bring pepper spray, but keep in mind it can be used against you too.
If attacked, do everything in your power to not be taken to another location.

Be Safe, Run On, Never Forget…

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