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Category Archive for ‘Tech Toys’

It is Sunday Night and I’m Editing Photos with LR5

It’s Sunday evening and I’m relaxing in the afterglow of a solid eight mile run earlier in the day. Yes, people, the runner’s high is real and it is fabulous. I’d thought I’d work on editing photos taken weeks ago that had promise but needed something more to boost the images.



Where in the Web is Tania?

The interweb is a huge entity and growing by the nanosecond.  It is a place that I find endlessly fascinating and have joined a social media site or two. To make it easier to find me, I’d thought I’d curate a list of other social media/websites that I’ve joined and actively participate:

RebelMouse is a curation of my social media expressions and now is a Page within this blog. You can click on Skye820 and view my curated social media footprint in one place.

Digital Rev
Great photography site with a social media backbone. Another area to get more eyeballs on my photography, learn new techniques and meet new photographers.

About.me will replace the About page on this blog.

Urban Garden Goddess
A blog I’ve had for a few years where I document my struggles and successes in urban vegetable gardening.

Tumblr - A place to share more of my Instagram goodness. Honestly, what else do you do with a Tumblr site?

Come join me on Pinterest, soon we will all be assimilated :)

These sites are in addition to the usual suspects of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Instagram VS EyeEm


A few weeks ago a friend shared a link to what seemed to me at the time another photo app  – EyeEm – trying to out shine Instagram. I took a few photos using the app during a recent long weekend in Annapolis, MD then promptly shuffled the app to the back burner.

Recently, Instagram updated their Terms of Service to include wording that appeared to signal their intention of using member photos  in advertisements without notifying or sharing revenue with the creator of the photo. There was no opt-out of this change outside of deleting your account before the new year.  Needless to say, it brought an outpouring of criticism from stunned users.  Cofounder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom responded to the outcry by stating Instagram has no intention to sell you photos.  Which by and large is true, but they have reserved the right to do so.

I get that Instagram has to develop a business plan and profit module. If Instagram content curators happen upon a photo of mine they would like to use for advertising purposes, I’m happy to sell them the  photo for this purpose. To be clear – I want their business to continue to be successful but not by trampling on the content makers that make Instagram such a success in the first place.  How difficult would it be to set up a photographer fee schedule for those users who would be interested in selling photos for Instagram advertising?



Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sandy

Ben Franklin Parkway

While New Jersey and New York City clean up and restore in the wake of Hurricane Sandy there are a few lessons that can be distilled and shared.

1. If in the path of a hurricane or any other type of super storm take the evacuation order seriously and evacuate. Your most valuable possessions are your life and the lives of your family and pets.

2. If you haven’t done so already, now would be a good time to organize a family plan in the event of a disaster. You can find information and download a pdf file to help organize your plan and information to share with family members. Don’t forget planning for your pets!

3. Major sporting events should be cancelled if scheduled to be held within a week at the site of a natural disaster event. The sooner the better – yeah I’m looking at you – Mayor Bloomberg.

4. Three things to stock up on PRIOR to any storm:  Water, Food, and Fuel for the automobile. Especially fuel or have fun waiting 6 hours in the fuel line.  Also, you might want to invest in a BioLite CampStove you can heat water and charge your cell phone at the same time. A good item to have for extended periods of power outage.

Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments section.


Photojournalists Dirty Secret

Photo Friday - Self Portrait

That quiet man or woman behind the camera harbors a rather dirty secret……at one time or another they have purposely taken less than flattering photos of politicians with whom they disagree politically.  Photojournalists, myself included, instinctively understand the visual nature of human beings.  A good picture can capture a moment, effectively freezing the narrative and invoking an emotional response with the viewer. A photographer can create whatever impression they want with selective editing of their photos.

Pulitzer prize winning photographer Eddie Adams  once wrote about  the power of photography –   “Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them; but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths.” 

In a recent article on Buzzfeed, Amy Odell examines the difference in the quantity and quality of photographs taken of Ann Romney on the campaign trail as compared to FLOTUS.  The article highlighted the ugly truth that photojournalists will purposely photograph politicians with whom they disagree with politically in unflattering angles or apply hideous crops during post processing of the photos. These photos are then submitted for sale to photo stock sites such as Getty and then published in newspapers and periodicals.  A ton of ink and pixels have been generated on the topic of bias in the main stream media, particularly with the arena  of modern day politics. The same can be said of photojournalism. In this case, photos, not words are used to shape an opinion.

The article focused on Getty Image editorial collections but Getty is not the only stock photography site on the block. AP Images from 7/1/2012 to 10/28/2012 reveal similar findings in photo quality of both women. FLOTUS had a total of 563 photos to Ann Romney’s 262 photos for the same time period.  P.P.E. Agency had no photos of Ann Romney and 105 photos of FLOTUS with a focus on her European trips and her derriere.   Reuters compiled slide shows of both FLOTUS and Ann Romney. FLOTUS garnered 40 photos in the slide show and Ann Romney with 28 photos. The differences in the slide shows reveal a startling level of  editorial control in an attempt to shape the public visual impressions of both women. I am serious. Go check out the slide shows and pay particular attention to the photo of both women addressing their respective national convention this summer. To make it easier – go to photo 12 on the FLOTUS slide show and photo 3 on Ann Romney’s slide show.  Remember these are the stock photography sites your local newspaper typically go to for images of national events and the photojournalists who work for these companies know this.

Part of my passion for photojournalism is to do my part to fill in the ‘half-truths’ with my own independent brand of photojournalism. I’ve covered political rallies since 2005 always pushing the technological envelope and being frustrated quite often :)  Today, the technology to instantly share photos instantaneously has revolutionized photojournalism. It is no longer a walled garden of select photographers crafting and editing their photos to shape public impressions.  Everyone with a cell phone or a point and shoot digital camera can be a citizen photojournalist – together we can fill in the ‘half-truths’ of photography.

Oh P.S.: FLOTUS = First Lady of the United States.

What are your thoughts on photojournalism? Share them in the comments section.


Chasing 26.2 – When the Miles Pile On – Get a CamelBak

Source: rei.com via Tania on Pinterest


 As the my running distances increase, I’m finding that I need to re-evaluate all my running gear. I’m letting go of items I’ve grown out of and embracing new ideas and technology. One change I have made recently was a switch to a CamelBak hydration system during training runs. It is working out quite well and it is especially useful for long runs.

I’m am sooo a convert!  After putting up with fuel belts that would bounce and spin around my waist during training runs, I’m over the moon happy with my Women’s Aurora CamelBak.

Easier access to water and plenty of space to store essential running stuff, this CamelBak was perfect for an 18 mile run this past Saturday. I found myself sipping water more often and without the annoyance of  a plastic bottle popping off the belt. Seriously, this would happen at least once per run – ask my running buddies if you doubt my statement.

The CamelBak allows for 70 fluid oz of water. My fuel belt with both bottles filled holds up to 40 fluid oz. The bottles had a tendency to leak if the pop tops are not closed completely, rarely did I realize all 40 oz of water during a run. Two weeks ago, on mile 11 of a 13 mile run, I found myself out of water and unable to refill the bottles. I finished the run feeling dehydrated and grumpy. That was the last straw for the fuel belt and I switched to the CamelBak Aurora for the following run.

What about the weight and fit? I didn’t notice any difference in the weight of the water and running essentials while wearing the CamelBak and it fit perfectly with little movement during the run. It was freeing not to have a belt cinched around my waist during the run. My arms were able to naturally fall closer to my body without bumping against the water bottles at waist level.

The only thing I’m not sure about is where to house your iPod when running. I’ve stopped running with music preferring the company of my thoughts during a run.

So, to all seasoned and newbie runners, give the CamelBak serious consideration when looking into a running hydration system.

The makers of the CamelBak Aurora hydration system did not sponsor this post.


Freefall From the Edge of Space

Fingers crossed!

Via RedBull Stratos:

Red Bull Stratos is a mission to the edge of space that will try to surpass human limits that have existed for more than 50 years. Supported by a team of experts, Felix Baumgartner will undertake a stratospheric balloon flight to more than 120,000 feet / 36,576 meters and make a record-breaking freefall jump in the attempt to become the first man to break the speed of sound in freefall (an estimated 690 miles / 1,110 kilometers per hour), while delivering valuable data for medical and scientific advancement.

CONGRATULATIONS Felix Baumgartner on a record breaking space jump and safe landing!


New at MidnightBlue – Calendar Page

Source: followgram.me via Tania on Pinterest



I’ve added a new feature/plugin for the blog. If you check the top bar you will see a calendar page. I’ve added events that are searchable via categories and tags. The color coded events contain information and links in order for the viewer to get more details about the event.

The All-in-One Event calendar by Timely:

I’m always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to share information on this blog. I’m planning to use this calendar to promote fun social events in the Philly area, conferences and fitness events. My hope is that the calendar will give readers a place to search for upcoming events that may be of interest and read my recaps of the ones I’ve attended, as well.


Of Politics and Pinterest

I love Pinterest. I make no secret of my adoration of this social media website. In fact, you can follow my boards on Pinterest by clicking the “Follow Me on Pinterest’ link on my right sidebar – totally shameless plug!

Now that I’ve shared my ‘bias’ towards Pinterest, take a look at the video to see how Pinterest factors into the ground game of political elections:



Amazing! Project Glass: Live Demo At Google I/O

A bleeding edge version of the glasses (Google Glass Explorer) were offered to developers in the audience for US $1500. Yep, I’m officially jealous. How does one score an invite to one of these Google Demos?

The demo included Google Glass sporting skydivers, mountain bikers and people rappelling down the side of a building. All their activities were seen in a Google + hangout through the eyes of the wearers.

How freaking cool is that? Pardon the pun, but I can see so many uses for the finished product.

What to know more? Go HERE.

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