Monday, January 24, 2011

The Art of Manliness - A Must for Any Man

(More photos will be posted this weekend, promise!)

The Art Of Manliness website is quite possibly the greatest website I have ever had the pleasure of stumbling on in the wild west of the interwebs. It is an invaluable resource for any man and the source of a lot of inspiration and just down right good things to think about.

The site focuses on, you guessed it, "Reviving the Lost Art of Manliness" and it does it in such a clear and concise way that you would be sure it's your father or grandfather giving you advice on how to become a better man. The content strips away the modern perceptions of what men should be and focuses on returning the title of being a "man" to the days of well dressed gentlemen and the fine art of being truly manly.

Reading through the topics has really given me a lot to think about over the last couple days and it has inspired me to refocus my efforts in becoming a better person, a better man. It may all sound like a load but I truly think that we have lost something of what it means to be a man and it makes it harder and harder for men to be what they need to be. We have a world that tells us to "embrace our feelings", "discover our selves" and be more "in tune" but what we should be doing is focusing on what makes us, us.

The site offers a lot of great articles like, why you should go to a barber (a real barber) and why some of the fashions for gentlemen should never be lost.

I realize this is just a quick post and site review but I encourage any man to go check this out and see if it helps you like it helps me.

The Art Of Manliness

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Sartorialist - FStoppers

Just wanted to share a quick video that I saw on FStoppers this morning. If you're not familiar with what FStoppers is, they show all kinds of behind the scenes videos about photo and video production. Everything they show is fantastic and the site is a daily haunt for me.

This video is the story of Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist blog. He does a lot of street photography (the focus of the video).

Check out the video and then hit FStoppers for the rest of the story!

[Intel Visual Life via FStoppers]

What’s The Future of Social Media?

Facebook and Twitter seem to have become the hallmark of American life with incredibly large numbers of people on each site. In fact, Facebook has even crossed the 500 Million users, larger than the populate on the United States by almost 200 Million. That being said, is this the new face of the internet or a drop in the bucket?
The question is complex and hard to answer and will certainly only answered in time.

But we can certainly speculate on the matter.

It’s my opinion that the Social Media aspect of the internet is, as of now, an integral part of how most people function in, even if not day to day, average life. Come home from work and check the Facebook and Twitter (because we’re going to assume you don’t while at work for the sake of your bosses) and any number of other social sites and finally shut off the computer and go to bed (boring lives people!...wait, that’s my life…maybe It’s just me). This is the sum total of some people’s internet
experience. Is this what it’s going to be in 6 months? 1 year? 5 years?

Well, for sure, 5 years it will be different, the web experience will have changed but what about the shorter term? Some people will tell you that I am insane and that social media is here to stay forever (or whatever length of time that indicates in the internet world) but I tend to disagree that social media is going to be the new face of the internet for the future.

Rather, I believe that, however important the social aspect of the internet is, it is a temporary bubble that will burst and take an entirely different form in, most likely, the next year. Instead, social media will be the background noise of the internet where it still is an integral part of the experience but is by far not the focus of the internet. We will move from the idea that Facebook is the only thing worth doing on the internet and go back to using it for the original purpose, contacts and keeping track of friends.

The unbelievable draw that Facebook and Twitter have on the market right now may make this hard to believe but it is only a bubble that will, as all these bubbles do, burst at some point or another. This one in particular will most likely burst sooner rather than later. But don’t be concerned just yet, social media is not going to go away. In fact, it will be an integral part of the web experience but it won’t be the main reason that people are on the web. It will become the background for everything else that we do on the web. Websites will be built around integrating the social aspect but in a more subtle way. The idea of the truly connected web will come closer with every step.

This is, whether we like it or not, the future of the web. Now, I know I’m no tech pundit but I do know what I see with my own eyes as I use the web. Things are changing and, hopefully, for the better. But they are changing and the truly successful photographers and other tech savvy business people will be on the forefront when the change comes. We can’t be swept up in the tide of the current hype, we have to be constantly striving for the future and what may come. So, for nothing else, this article is an exercise in trying to figure out what may come so that we can be ready to meet it head on

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What's This Vimeo Thing?!

I know that this seems like I'm a little behind the 8 ball but it still seems worth posting that I have just discovered the joy that is Vimeo. I, obviously, already new about Vimeo but I, surprisingly, had never actually been to the home site and had only watched Vimeo videos when they are embedded into other sites.

That being said, I have never had any good luck with the embedded player actually, which is probably why I never hit up the home site (I don't peruse YouTube either, in and out for what I want to watch). But after a great video called Undercity that was on featured on Gizmodo I was prompted to check out the Vimeo page more videos like that one.

For a bit of background, Undercity is a fantastic video about exploring the underbelly and restricted areas of New York and it is a simply breathtaking video. It may not seem like much of a premise but it is gorgeous...

UNDERCITY from Andrew Wonder on Vimeo.

Anyway, after that I was hooked, I started searching Vimeo and have come across a slew of fantastic videos and I have even picked up an account (does anyone smell some videos from MGRPhoto coming down the pike?...)

So as a recommendation, check out the Vimeo homepage. There seem to be more significantly well made videos that are easier to find on Vimeo than on YouTube (don't jump on me with hate mail if you disagree! Just give me some good examples!) and I think you'll find some great videos and some fun! Be sure to check out Undercity if you're a photographer, it will really grab at you if you're into beautiful things. Also keep an eye out for stuff I may be uploading soon!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Photographic Projects

For as long as I can remember I have been a spontaneous photographer with all of my shoots. With limited exception, I have always just taken my camera with me most everywhere I went and just hoped to take some excellent pictures. 

Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t.

In fact, I sort of considered myself a journalistic sort of photographer who had an artistic bent and took all kinds of artistic abstracts and landscapes. Sort of an overly broad range for a photographer but it worked. A bit. I would travel somewhere that I had never been and just take random pictures hoping for a lucky shot and failing a lot of the time.

That being said, I have been trying to rework my way of shooting, as should you, to be more targeted. Now, I’m not saying that you need to decide you’re going to only do macro and then forsake all other forms of photography. In fact, I’d never advocate something that extreme. Instead, I think that the photographer’s focus should be on a topic and some research should be done when possible.

It may sound a little bit stuffy but it really isn’t that straight-laced. In my own life, my photography coincides with the travel I do and needs to ride shotgun with a host of other responsibilities including sightseeing with family and friends (read: not dedicated photographers) and not keeping them tapping their toes waiting for me, navigating new places with minimal information (although I do have my Garmin), and trying to make sure all of the plans stay in place. All of this while trying to take photos.
See the issue?

I may have every desire to make photography the primary focus of what I’m out doing but that’s not usually possible for how I usually travel. Have you ever set up a tripod and an intervalometer with family waiting on vacation? Don’t bother; unless the whole family is a strange amalgamation of photographers then it most likely won’t be appreciated. Now, I’m not saying that they aren’t supportive of the hobby, they most certainly are, but It’s hard for someone who’s not a nut for f/stops to understand why it takes 15 minutes to set up for a landscape or why you get up at 4 am for a sunrise.

That being said, back to the crux of this post. I’m trying to nail down a method that I can use to make more effective and targeted photos with less fuss and “spray and pray”. I would like to get into the habit of having at least a minimal idea of I want to shoot and if not at least what to expect from any given location.

So to bring it back to the idea of photographic projects, my next project is an incredibly broad one that is designed to help in my goal. I plan on making sure that:
a)      I research the places I am going to before I go and mentally visualize what I want to shoot at that location and how I plan on handling that. I also plan on having a pre and post shoot log in a notebook with me at all times for ideas and debrief after I get back home or to the hotel.
b)      Be able to develop a tighter style while shooting out and about that creates a story of the location that I’m at
c)       That being said, I plan on developing a method of a groundwork shot that will setup the location for the viewer and follow up with tighter shots working down to portraits and detail shots, aiming for 30-40 unique printable photos of the location

Now, this won’t happen overnight and may not happen just as I planned out here but the goal is to get as close to this as possible. This project will culminate in a Blurb book that will let me track the progress. It’s important to have a final product you can look at the end of a project and this is mine.
Here’s to working on projects and more importantly to finishing them! Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Importance of Working with Your Hands

Again, I know this is a photography blog but I have to write every once and a while about things that are important to me (expect this more often as time goes on and I post more).

Today's topic is about the importance of building/fixing things with your own two hands. Now, I don't get enough time to do this as of now but I plan on making a concerted effort in to doing it more in the coming year (wanna see what else I wanna do? Check out yesterday's post here).

Working with your hands has been sort of written off in the last several years with more and more people sitting behind their desks at work all day long and then coming home to their disposable goods. After a full day's "work" of staring at a computer screen, let's face, we don't want to fix things that break or bother to craft something new. It's easier to plop down in front of the soft glow of the LCD and let the tube pander to us with the soft hum of Dancing With The Stars while we eat Ben and Jerry's. Now I know this isn't how everyone is but it has reached a startling level.

How do we fix this? Well, my first step was to start fixing things that broke. Like a lot of my compatriots, I grew up in a disposable society where if something broke it was easier to go down to Wal-Mart and buy a new one than it was to bother to fix it yourself (and let's face it, they just don't make products to last like they used to). But my thoughts on this have changed and now if something breaks, I fix it. If something doesn't do what I want, I work to make it better. Thankfully, I'm not the only one out there apparently that feels like this and that has put even more wind in my newly repaired sails.

Websites like Instructables and Make have made working with your hands a group activity. There are forums and project ideas that make it all too easy to get all sorts of things done (some more MacGyver than others...) as well as fun and rewarding. Got a great story about something you created? You can post on the forums and even upload directions so people can utilize the knowledge you have gained. Not only do you benefit but so does everyone else on the site.

Looking for something with a slightly stronger photography bent? Check out Larry Becker's Cheap Shots for cheap DIY tips that any photographer can use to save money and do some pretty cool tricks. Larry Becker does this spot on DTown TV a Kelby Media podcast and it is incredibly popular and beneficial to photographers.

My next project is going to come from a piece I saw on the Make website about restoring an old toolbox to its former glory (details available in a downloadable pdf off of the Make website). The restorer bought an old rusted toolbox for 13 dollars and restored it to its original state so that he could have a well made toolbox, not one of the cheap plastic ones they sell in stores these days. I think I'd like to do a similar project so its off to the flea markets for me!

No matter what it is, photography or not, just get out there this year and fix something, make something no matter what just get your hands dirty in 2011 and you'll feel better for it!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011: New Year, New Opportunities

Happy New Year everyone!

No new photo today but it is the beginning of the new year and it's time I jumped back on the band wagon writing for this blog.

2010 was a unique year and a lot of transition for me and my photography and more than anything else I was too busy to get a lot of the things completed that I wanted to. School and work take a lot out of the day but as a new year's resolution (one of my many this year) I resolve that I will write as frequently as possible on the blog. I'm going to focus on the growth I make with my photography. I'll be working as hard as possible to keep new focus on both my photography and my blog.

If you're a follower of any of the other photography blogs out in the wild today you will notice that a lot of the new year's resolutions include taking more photos this year and I'm no exception in this regard, I'm going to try and make a concerted effort to take as many photos as possible in the next 364 days.

I could write an anthology on all the things I want to accomplish this year but here's the quick rundown:

1. Take more photos
2. Take better photos
3. Relay the stories of those photos on the blog more regularly
4. Learn a new skill
5. Lose some weight! (don't we all say that? but this year is going to be different!)

That's it for the resolutions and the only thing I have left to say is that it's a new year with new opportunities and we can only seize those opportunities if we set goals for ourselves and do our best to improve ourselves!

I hope 2011 is a happy and blessed new year for everyone!


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Tallmadge, Ohio, United States
I'm Mike and I'm The Perpetual Hobbyist! I'm an avid home brewer, tinkerer, and traveler. Even though I work a 9-5, I always find time to indulge in my passions - even with a tight schedule. Join me as I make the most of my free time - learning and doing as many things as I can