Tag Archives: Event

[Tech Talk] Dive Into DSLR Photography

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You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.”

― Alan W. Watts

Serenity in the Sequoias

Being a photographer is a bit like if you give a mouse a cookie:  if you give a photographer a point a shoot, they’ll want a dSLR; give them a dSLR and they’ll want a prime lens; give them a prime lens and they’ll want a wide angle and a zoom lens; then they’ll want studio lights, a professional flash…and well, you get it – it becomes an addition of the best sort.

From as long ago as I can remember, my step-mother would always have a camera attached to her hip. She captured poignant moments of an awkward childhood, from gleefully following my dad and I on our beach adventures or feeding ducks, and capturing birthday parties and basketball games; as I grew older, I found myself in awe of her keen eye – finding the simple beauty in nature, exploring minimal architecture, capturing the first bloom of a rose, or creating a mood with striking black and white imagery.   At least once a month, the three of us would wander down to Stanford Shopping Center for an afternoon outing to the now defunct One Time Photo, enjoying some sorbet from the ice cream shop next door while we patiently waited for the film to develop.  Wandering back through the photo store, I let my fingers unknowingly explore film from different ISOs as the printer that took up almost two-thirds of the store whirred with excitement. Then, I started stock piling disposable cameras – with a quick flick of the wrist, and the wind up flash, they became my quick introduction to pre-digital photography.

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Finally, when I was in high school, through a combination of technological advances and parents caving to their teenage daughter: I was given my first digital camera.  Within the photo world, there’s an ever present debate between the merits of Canon versus Nikon, with both the Sony Alpha and Panasonic Lumix lines not far behind.  But in my family, there wasn’t ever a choice – we’re a Canon + Mac family, through and through; so it began: first with a Canon Powershot, and then a Digital Elph.  Fast forward to now, and the technology for your cell phone’s camera has caught up to the most basic point and shoots, and your most basic iPhone or Android has the rudimentary functions of a camera. How-the hell-ever, in a sense you’re still dependent on your technology to do most of the heavy lifting.  Enter the DSLR.  I had my first real introduction to them in college – when I worked in retail to make some extra cash, some of my coworkers were attending the Brooks School for Photography.  I eagerly lapped up every iota of information I could as I sat in through product shoots and photoshoots; truth be told I moved to Los Angeles because of my love of modeling but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve learned how much I prefer being behind the camera, versus in front of it.

 

As I forayed my way into the Music Industry five years ago – I realized cell phones and point and shoots simply can’t capture the depth and detail the way the professional cameras can; not to mention, with DSLRs – you can go from capturing a moment to creating a moment.  Leaving your camera in Auto relegates each camera function to its internal camera, meaning that even though you’re pressing the shutter to capture the photo – it’s actually the camera’s AI that determined the richness of color, depth of field and focus.  Conversely, in Manual, when each camera function now relies on the user’s aptitude and emotion in the moment, twenty photographers could take the same photo and each produce a very different image.  I’ll admit that for the longest time, the DSLR scared me – it was intimidating, clunky, with what seemed like way too many buttons but after almost four years of watching Danny make magic with the 6D, I’ve finally mustered up the courage to carry it around for the day and get a few pictures that I’m happy with.

Back in the Spring two years ago while we gallivanted through Sequoia – there was something in the air that was so inspiring, it lured my creative nature out of hiding and brought it out to play.   It was frustrating trying to understand settings on the fly, adjusting for almost each image to get it the way my mind’s eye saw it, but as is the thing with life: you can’t get better at the things you don’t try.  Every once and a while for the next months after, I’d pick up the camera, fire a few images I was unhappy with and politely place it back where I’d found it – until I found the right resources, books and mentors to help me get my bearings.  In the time Danny and I have been together, he’s gone from a self taught amateur to a contributor for Getty Images; it’s beyond impressive. What he always tells me is that everyone – every single one of us – sees the world through their own unique prism, and it’s only through the exploration of your own creativity that you can convey those images to everyone else.

Getty VillaRegardless of whether you’re surrounded by gear heads, mentors or photographers, the best thing you can do is get some real hands on experience while stocking up on excellent resources.  I started on Canon 6D for Dummies, which was a great introduction to all things DSLR from the bottom up: lenses, features, menus, camera set up and some more intermediate functions like HRD and Multiple Exposure images, setting up the WiFi and adjusting the White Balance manually.   Even though making your way through the manual page by page might seem like a bore – after reading through Canon for Dummies, it also felt absolutely necessary to learn the core tools of the trade.  Next time you pick up a camera, do yourself a favor and just play around with the settings, comparing images to fully understand what each button can do.Related image

Next up, I migrated to the more  advanced Canon 6D: From Snapshots to Great Shots, which was more of a top down approach to the settings based on epic images, along with some informative asides on F-Stops, ISO and Shutter Speed while diving into each function of the camera; and let me tell you: this is the most important thing to understand.  The Shutter Speed is the length of time that your lens is open to absorb light,while the aperture – or F-Stop, controls the depth of field that the camera focuses on.  Finally, the ISO controls the cameras sensitivity to light and the ways the camera processes detail. I just got my paws on The Photographer’s Playbook  which has a menagerie of photography exercises for anyone, amateur to professional. Here’s the thing – you can read books til the cows come home, sit in on photo shoots as the second shooter or an assistant, or pull up Youtube tutorials to walk you through the basics but the best experience will always be true experience.   If you’ve been itching to pick up a camera, just do it – you’ll be surprised to find your mind working in new and creative ways to capture a moment, and trust me – you’ll be just as hooked as I am.  For anyone looking to jump in – Best Buy has amazing Open Box deals, as does Amazon, while F Stoppers has a great online repository of resources.

If you’re in the market to take your photography to the next level, F Stoppers is a wonderful online resource as well. Not to mention,

Photo bugs – what are some of your favorite pieces of gear? Let me know in the comments below!

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[The Audiofiles] Free Live Nation Concert Tickets in Awkward Places Thanks to Schlesinger vs Ticketmaster

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Of the assorted F words I know and love, free might very well be my favorite – and when it comes to free concert tickets, well just sign me up yesterday already.  Just the other day as I was browsing the interwebs, I noticed assorted articles linking to a 2003 lawsuit against TicketMaster, which – unless you’ve been hiding under a rock – you know as one of the largest and most successful event production and ticketing companies in the North America.  The lawsuit, known now as Schlesinger vs. Ticketmaster, cites TM for neglecting to share every last iota of information on the UPS and Order Processing Fees applied to their purchase  on orders made between October ’99 and February of ’13.  Which makes a whole lot of sense given that every time I see a “convenience” fee I have to comment on how “inconvenient” it actually is.

The verdict requires them to pay out almost $400 Million to loyal fans, audiophiles, music lovers, comedy croonies and more. To check if you’re one of the lucky contestant on ‘The Ticket Prices Are Finally Right‘ – log in to your TicketMaster account from the desktop version of the website, click through to ‘Your Account’ and scroll down to the bottom left where you’ll see a link for ‘Active Vouchers’ -and voila!  If you’ve been a loyal customer like I have, you should have a gaggle of ticket vouchers for not just one but two tickets for upcoming shows by LiveNation that expire in the far off land of the year 2020, assorted $2.25 discount codes to take the edge of off any online ticket purchases and $5 discounts for UPS delivery.  Needless to say, I got all sorts of excited when I found out the news and after checking the site I found out that I had 7 pairs of show tickets and 5 discount codes.

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After  I scoured and searched TM high and low for some redeemable experiences, I realized that as with most good things in life there’s a few caveats. It seems like the TicketMaster Team is well aware of what’s hot and what’s not, (in)conveniently leaving large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, New York City and  San Francisco out of the running for discounted concerts.  Sure, those concerts are more likely to sell out on their own – but maybe maybe a repository of 50 tickets that we can buy? Because let’s face it, we moved to these locations so we didn’t have to flock to Mountain View, Irvine and Chula Vista.  Not to mention, that initial batch of free tickets to bands I cared about over a decade ago like Blind 182, Darius Rucker (HOOTIE!) and Goo Goo Dolls have been eaten up by loyal fans.

According to TM, as of Wednesday 6/23 almost $5 million worth of ticket vouchers – so they’ve agreed to release another $5 million more.  Here’s to hoping they book something a bit closer to home…at least sometime before 2020.

Did you find any shows you couldn’t live without? How many pairs of tickets did you receive?  Curious kittens want to know – leave a comment below!

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