Monday, September 27, 2010

Photography video sites

In this Adobe TV post and this post about D-Town TV, I mention two of my favorite video-based web sites for photography information.

Let's face it....You can only read so much.  Sometimes it's better to just sit back and watch some discussions about interesting photography topics while you drink a good glass of wine or beer.  You have to do nothing except watch and relax!

With the proliferation of DSLR's that shoot video, it's not surprising that many more of these video-based photography sites are popping up because shooting studio quality video and getting it up on the web is so easy now.  And a picture is often worth a thousand words!

Two that have caught my attention lately are:

1)  Silber Studios TV which contains a wide variety of insightful videos on everything from Photoshop techniques with Ken Rockwell to tips from commercial photographers.  Good stuff...

2)  Fine Art Photography TV which contains a series of interviews with top photographers like Michael Reichmann from The Luminous Landscape.  More interesting stuff...

Both of these sites are worth a visit for some good information.  So sit back, grab your beverage of choice, and soak up some insightful information that can help you improve your skills.

Hmmm.  Perhaps I'll have to start shooting videos for this blog too!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Photo Carousel #2: "Portrait of a Lighthouse"

"Portrait of a Lighthouse"

This is the next entry in my Photo Carousel series....It's an interesting photo to post for people to check out because most of the feedback that I've received on it to date before putting it up here has been negative.  People weren't quite sure what it was or what the perspective and viewpoint were.  I would be interested to hear what people here think...

I climbed to the top of Fire Island Lighthouse in New York on a recent hike out there. Taking a 360 degree look around from the top for possible photo opportunities, I was struck when I turned around and saw this shadow portrait of the lighthouse. Serendipity strikes! A unique photo of a lighthouse without even having the lighthouse in the frame!   In addition to the shadow, I was also struck by the myriad of different green trees below with a touch of blue pine in there as well.

From a learning perspective, I composed the shot to have the wooden walkway cutting through the picture in an interesting way and exposed the picture carefully so as to not blow out the detail of the whiter boards on the path.  I knew the darker foliage and lighthouse shadow would cause a straight forward meter reading to overexpose, so I dialed the meter reading back by 2/3 stop.

Even though not many people like this photo, I stick by it because it has an interesting element to me.  The feedback I've already received was interesting and will make me think about some other possible options the next time I try this type of shot. 

Any feedback that anyone has is welcome....Thanks!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lens buying guide

Last year, I put up this post regarding buying lenses for your digital SLR.

There are two reasons why lens buying advice needs to be updated:
  1. There are many new lenses coming out these days, more so than I can remember in the recent past.

  2. The dedication by manufacturers such as Canon and Nikon to the DX format APS-C image sensor used in most consumer and pro-sumer DSLR's seems to be here to stay.  More and more lenses are being built specifically for APS-C and they fill a void left in many manufacturer's full frame lens line-ups for use with APS-C cameras.  What does this mean to you?  If you want a true wide angle lens for your DX format APS-C DSLR, you're going to need to buy a lens built specifically for APS-C sensors.  In my post mentioned above, I said that you should avoid these lenses unless you have a specific reason to buy them, and I still believe that to a degree.  But I believe that these days there are more reasons to buy them and the lenses have gotten much better, so I've softened my stance on this a little bit.
All of this being said, I was about to write a new post for my blog on this topic when I opened up the web site this morning and saw their shiny news Lens Buying Guide located at this link.  I read the article and it's well written and accurate, so to save me a heck of a lot of typing and repeating a lot of what they said, I will simply refer you to their excellent guide to start your lens buying research.

From my perspective, my original advice from my original post on this still stands:  Most serious photographers will be quite happy with a lens collection that includes a high quality wide zoom (approximately 17-50 mm), a medium range general-purpose zoom that will probably be on your camera most often (approximately 28-135mm), and a long zoom (approximately 70-300mm).  After that  you can buy specialty lenses for specific purposes if you need them.
Enjoy, and happy shooting (or should I say "happy shopping")!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Photo Carousel #1: "Slam Allen"

"Box of Tricks"

This is the first image that I'm posting as part of my "Photo Carousel" feature.  I'll occasionally grab an image that I've recently taken and put it up here with an explanation of what I was trying to achieve, and how.  Through this process, I hope to communicate important tidbits of shooting knowledge that I've accumulated over the years.  If you like the photos, please comment.  Thanks!

I call this picture "Box of Tricks".  When I was on a cruise recently, the Slam Allen Blues Band was playing each night in a great little blues club on the ship.  When I took my camera one of the nights that we went to see them, I decided to shoot a series of "concert atmosphere" photos where I took pictures of the musicians, what they were doing, and their instruments but didn't include any faces or large sections of body.

In this shot, I wanted to emphasize the lights on the Marshall amplifier, the guitar, the pedal board at Slam's feet, and most importantly the little box in the left side of the frame in the orange light.  I was not interested in exposing for the shadows because I wanted them to go dark, so I metered off the light parts of the scene and let the rest go almost black. 

Every time Slam reached into that little box and pulled out a new pick or slide, he sounded like he was playing better than the song before so I called it his "Box of Tricks".

This photo is intentionally dark and you have to look at it to see what's going on, but that's precisely the point.  My goal was to highlight the equipment and make you wonder......."What's in that little box"?  This is a good example of using exposure to control what the viewer looks at in the image.

Small Animal Channel

Here's a nice web site with information about all kinds of small critters.  The information for gerbils that's here is largely repetitive to most gerbil books that I've seen.  We picked up a book from the Animal Planet series called......"Gerbils", which is at this link.  This book contains nicely presented sequential information about preparing for and owning gerbils.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pathways #1: Skip the auto-everything!

This is the first in a series of articles that I plan to write called "Pathways".  These posts will be about specific things that I've done to improve my photography over the years.  Sounds simple, right?  Some of the things are indeed simple, and on the other hand some of them take years to master.  But that's part of the photographic journey that all of us are find our vision and the best ways to get there!  We need to find our pathways...

To start with, in this first post, I want to talk very briefly about cameras...

Today’s compact digital cameras and digital SLR’s (DSLR’s) are modern marvels packed with technology that enable people to take great photos without having to think about the technical aspects of operating the camera.  Assuming the essential elements of a good photo are present (subject, lighting, etc), no matter how complex your camera is, it can be set to its “Auto” mode and under a large majority of circumstances you can just point the camera at your subject, shoot, and a technically good photo is the result.

This is truly a remarkable thing. It has done much to bring photography to an ever-increasing number of people precisely because it’s so easy. But to those who are interested in taking more than snapshots, who really want their photography to leap off their computer screens and prints, there’s a much bigger world out there. It involves taking your camera off “Auto” to reach it…I encourage you to try it!

Over the past few years that I’ve been developing the creative aspects of my photography, I’ve learned a lot of techniques that helped me realize my vision. Many of the techniques are directly tied to understanding and using the many non-automated features of my DSLR.

The whole principle of advancing your creativity is about skipping the auto-everything modes to instead use the Shutter, Aperture, and Manual modes to achieve a desired creative result. It’s about utilizing other metering modes besides evaluative or matrix to creatively meter a scene to emphasize the lighting and color that you want for your subjects, not what your camera wants.

The theory behind why Shutter, Aperture, and Manual modes exist in cameras is actually very straight forward. These modes allow you to take charge of your photographic results. Period.

In their Auto mode, cameras are all about averages. Left to their own devices, they choose average shutter speed and aperture combinations to ensure a balanced photographic result. They’re designed to produce an averaged brightness level throughout a given scene (e.g., in evaluative metering mode the camera meters an entire scene before it and averages it out to obtain what it thinks a “correct exposure” is for a given subject).

There are caveats to this averaging though…

Have you ever taken a picture outside in the snow and then viewed it later to see the picture looks dull and the snow looks gray? You were the victim of averages…

Have you ever taken a picture at a party where your subject turned out perfect and the room they were standing in with all the nice lighting was reduced to almost total blackness behind them? You were the victim of averages…

The question then is: Can you take control of the camera to do a better job at fulfilling your vision than its Auto mode does? The answer in most cases is…..yes!

In future posts in my "Pathways" series, I’ll address some of the steps that I took down the non-Auto path to achieving more effective photographic results. My progress over the years has been the result of developing my personal photographic vision, or what many photographers refer to as their “eye”. I’ve developed the skills to imagine what I want a scene to look like in a completed image, and I understand how to use my camera to fulfill that vision. I've also practiced a lot and read many great books and articles to help me along the way.

It’s a fun and challenging journey! More to come...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Welcome, Charley and Cheerio!

Our family has officially taken the next step in pets!  We've had two nice aquariums for over a year that are doing very well, and my kids are now also showing an interest in something a little less, um, wet.
So....I thought:  gerbils!  When I mentioned this to our kids they said, "Yeah Daddy!  Yeah!  When can we get them?!".  Well, here are the first few pictures of our boys!

Charley (left) and Cheerio (right)


Cheerio in his first dust bath

We chose gerbils because they're cool, fun, very clean, easy to take care of, and kid-friendly.  Forget about cats and dogs (for now)...They're obviously great pets, but our family (or should I is not interested in any major long-term (10+ years) pet commitment like that at this point in time.  

Thus began the effort on my part at the American Gerbil Society (AGS) web site to research the best way to go about this.  I say "the best way to go about this" because anybody who does even casual research into buying a pet will often find out that a pet store is the last place to get them.  Some more obscure things like fish, birds, lizards, etc, you almost have to get at a pet store.  But cats, dogs, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, etc, can all be obtained from local breeders instead.

The reason to go the local breeder route is because the animals are typically much better cared for and healthy at a dedicated breeder.  Take a look at the gerbils in a gerbil cage at the pet store.  Not looking too good, huh?  Then try going to a breeder and looking at the nice setups they have for their animals and the way they care for them.  The animals are cleaner and look and act healthier.  The breeder is definitely the way to go.  Enough said on that...

By using the AGS web site I was able to find Autumnglory Gerbils, which is located very close to my house.  Christina from Autumnglory had some pups available for take-home in early September and that suited our timing perfectly after vacation, so we adopted them.  Christina was very helpful in answering my initial questions and is a wealth of knowledge about gerbils.  It was great speaking with her when we picked them up to learn all of the important tips to get us started.  She clearly did a good job in raising them from when they were born and getting them ready for us.

Charley and Cheerio are already making themselves quite at home.  They love their new 15-gallon tank that has been outfitted with all the essential gerbil gear.  A nice wheel, a box for them to tear to pieces to make their home, paper towel rolls for them to tunnel in, aspen chips for bedding, paper towels for nesting, and of course their water bottle.

They're both already clearly exhibiting their individual personalities.  Charley is the work horse, and he initially did a lot of the work to set up their tank, munched the holes in the box, moved things around the way they wanted, etc.  Consequently, he was initially pretty tired from all his work.  Cheerio, on the other hand, is the "class clown".  You can see that he's the more feisty of the two.  He loves to fool around, jump up for attention when we pass by, and is more than willing to come out of his cage to explore.  Over the past day or so, Charley is following Cheerio's lead and is becoming more bold and comfortable with us.  Now they both stand up for attention when we say "Hi guys" as we walk past their cage and seem very happy with their new surroundings.

Since I've handled many small animals before, I have a pretty good sense of how to handle them comfortably.  Both of our guys hop right onto my hand when I put it in the cage and are eager to come out for me.  The kids are still mostly picking them up using a small cup to make things easier for them.  The gerbils will be used to them with a little more time and will soon hop into their hands too.

So our journey with these little guys begins!  I'll occasionally post updates here with the label 'Gerbils' in the left column of the site to separate the gerbil-related posts from my photography stuff.

Friday, September 10, 2010

In Remembrance of 9/11

I don't need more of a title than that for this post.   It pretty much says it all.

I open this post offering my best wishes to anyone and everyone who was negatively affected in some way by 9/11 and the events of the subsequent years.  Whether it's someone who experienced the death of a loved one in the attacks or subsequent wars, a soldier who is in the wars and away from his family and missing them, first-responders at the attack sites (like my sister), friends and family members of those affected, etc.  You know what I mean.  Anyone affected by 9/ best wishes are with you.

Above is a photo that I took at our family's church earlier this year of a 9/11 memorial stone.  My simple photo here is dedicated to everyone mentioned above.

I've never written anything about my experiences that day.  Even after all these years, I still don't think I've entirely mentally processed all of it.  While I was not injured in any way, I was in the middle of the events in an ancillary way and it was all very disturbing.

This is what I remember...

The day for me started as a beautiful one as far as the weather was concerned.  I was headed down to New York City to meet my business colleagues to catch a 7:30am flight to Washington DC to go to a meeting for work.  We left LaGuardia Airport in New York City right on time and made the big circle over Manhattan before heading south to Washington.  The city looked amazing and the sky was very clear.  In fact, people sitting around me were all specifically commenting on how nice the World Trade Center buildings looked in the bright early morning sun.

The flight was standard.  No problems.  While on the plane we had no idea what happened in New York only one hour after we flew out of the area.  However, upon landing at Reagan National Airport in Washington we knew something strange was going on.  It was a weekday morning in one of the busiest airports in the country and almost nobody was in the terminal...except for police and a few people walking around.  I was surprised by this and was left wondering to myself, "What did we walk into here?".

I'm guessing that the terminal had been mostly evacuated or something by that time and all taxis and limos were prevented from driving up to the front of the direct terminal.  When we went outside we somehow connected with our driver on some small driveway above the main terminal driveway, so we walked up the hill and got into the limousine still wondering what was going on.  I recall that the driver was silent.

The TV in the car was on and we saw our first images of the World Trade Center towers burning.  We were in shock.  We were all saying, "We were just there a little over an hour ago!  Is this a movie or something?".  As we watched the pictures we were silent.  We grabbed our cell phones to call home to let our families know we were OK.  My wife, who had cartoons on the TV for our son, had no idea what happened.  She was shocked to hear the news from me.  I said I would call her back later to let her know how things were going, and we hung up.

Our car took us to our meeting at Digex Corporation, which at the time was a major web hosting and telecommunications company in the eastern part of the US and it's located fairly close to the Pentagon.  Upon entering the building, which has a control center that looks like NASA, we saw that they had the news coverage up on their giant central monitoring screen that was about 40 feet across on the whole front wall of the room.  We stood and stared at the coverage from New York City.  By this time I believe the towers had fallen.  I remember looking at the TV picture and saying, "Hey, that's Church Street.  But if that's Church Street, the World Trade Center should also be there".  The buildings were already down...

Around then, I seem to remember that some kind of a fire/security/alert alarm went off in the Digex building and our representative there told us that a plane had also crashed in Washington and that for our own safety they recommended that we didn't leave the building.  They were locking the front doors.  I was in complete disbelief upon hearing this.  I simply could not comprehend what was going on.  We quickly got our wits together and my colleagues who I was traveling with all said "We want to"! 

I was getting worried about my family so I started making some phone calls.  I was especially concerned about my sister because she was a Captain in the New York City EMS (Emergency Medical Services) at the time and would certainly be right in the middle of the situation with the first responders to the World Trade Center scene in New York City.  I called her phone and it wasn't working.  Not good...I knew she was there. 

I called my wife to let her know that I was OK.  Then I called my Dad, who was noticeably shaken on the phone.  I asked him what was wrong.  He apparently got word from my sister and she said she was OK.  She was at the base of the first tower when it collapsed and ran for her life with her EMS co-workers and everyone else.

As a senior person in EMS, it's my sister's job to get to situations like this and set up a center of operations and a command post for the EMS personnel and their operations.  This was done right at the base of the towers because in a building situation that's usually the safest place.  The lobby of the building.  Nobody in their wildest dreams thought that the towers were going to fall.

My father's voice was trembling.  He asked me where I was.  I told him that I left New York City right before the attacks and I was now in Washington.  He almost dropped the phone.  He said, "You're WHERE"?  He was distraught to learn that two of his kids were in the middle of all this, in two of the cities being attacked.

We then called our office back in New York.  We told them to find a way to get us the hell out of Washington.  All roads into New York City were closed by this point in time so they told us to rent a van for the team and drive south to Virginia Beach where arrangements would be made to eventually get us home.  We said, "No!  We want to go home".  Someone put the wheels in motion to get us a rental van...I don't remember who did it for us.

After we calmed down for a few minutes, we thought a little bit about why we were there and a bizarre sense of responsibility hit us.  We started to think that since we went all the way to Digex for a specific meeting and we had a way to get home in the works, we should try to go through the motions of conducting the scheduled meeting anyway.

We quickly discovered that nobody was paying attention to the meeting, so this effort was cut short with everyone admitting that they couldn't concentrate on what we were there for.  We stopped the meeting and got ready to leave.

More phone calls home followed.  I told my wife our plan to get home and told her that I probably wouldn't have cell phone service out in the countryside where we would be driving so I would call her whenever I got a chance.  We hung up.

The rental van arrived.  The guy literally showed up at Digex, got out of the van and gave us the keys, and jumped into another waiting car and left.  Clearly he didn't want to be there either.

We got into the van and stopped at a gas station to buy a map.  Since the roads into the New York area were closed and the traffic situation would be a nightmare, we figured that we would drive west from Washington to the first major north/south highway that we could find and head straight north to avoid any travel problems.  That's what we did.

By this time, all US air traffic had been grounded.  Trains were not running into New York City.  Nothing.  Transportation into and out of New York was completely frozen.

My memory is a little fuzzy, but we were somewhere in Pennsylvania when we found out that another plane Pennsylvania!  I honestly don't remember much of what we all talked about on the long car ride back home, but I remember that when we heard this news on the poor quality AM radio in the van, I just went numb.  Everywhere we went, a plane was coming down.  New York.  Washington.  Pennsylvania.  People dying.  It was all very surreal, and I think everyone in the car felt a little like a rabbit trying to find a hole to hide in.

On a somewhat odd and I suppose humorous note, at one point while driving through very rural Pennsylvania a black bear (yes, a bear!) ran across the highway not far from our van.  I remember thinking to myself, "A bear?!  What the hell is going on around here"?  

We drove for eight hours on a very roundabout route to get back to New York.  We listened to the radio the whole way home to grab bits and pieces of news, but we had little idea of the full picture and did not understand the full depth of the situation until we got home around 8:00pm that night.

I walked into the house and sat down on the couch with my wife to watch CNN.  My baby son was sleeping upstairs.  That coverage on CNN late in the evening was the first comprehensive coverage that I had seen all day and I think that seeing it just pushed me further into shock.  I could not believe what I was looking at.

At the end of the day, I was glad to be home and also obviously relieved to hear that my sister was OK.  She could have very easily been killed.  She told me later that at one point when she was running through the ash cloud from the collapsed tower that she almost passed out in the complete darkness of the ash that was choking her and succumbed to death.  I can't even begin to imagine or communicate what she went through.  It's impossible.  What I went through is absolutely nothing compared to what she went through.  I was just an ancillary emotional victim.  She was a direct physical victim.

My first reaction to this over the next weeks and months was, "We have to get the bastards that did this".  Eventually, that's what we and our allies tried to do in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other parts of the world.  I'm certainly not going to comment in this post about the long and wavering journey that the decision to go to war has taken us on as a people and a nation.  That situation is what it is and hopefully it will come to an end soon...Maybe I'll comment on that another time.  

My sister was asked to write a chapter for the book "Women at Ground Zero", which she did.  Reading it again today on the night before the anniversary, I'm reminded of the complete unbelievable nature.....still.....of what happened that day.  To me, something about it is still incomprehensible.  

The weird thing about all of this for me initially was that I didn't cry.  I watched all of the coverage on TV, heard all of the stories, watched the 9/11 tribute shows on TV, watched the anniversary coverage, watched us go to war over it, etc.  For some reason, probably shock, my brain simply didn't try to purge itself of the emotion through tears.  My eyes were dry.

I didn't cry until one day in the future when I was completely overcome while at home by myself reading a book.  This is how this story ties to photography and how photos have the immense power to move people.

It happened when I was reading the book called "Aftermath" by the famous photographer Joel Meyerowitz.  For those who are interested in 9/11, this is an absolute must-own large format picture book with photos and stories about the cleanup of the World Trade Center site starting in the days immediately after the attacks and going out over the next year or so.  You must see this book.

What made me break down was a photo on page 195 of the book.  The photo is of the inside of the World Trade Center child day care center in WTC Building 5.  It was a simple picture of some toy cars on the floor, but the toys were all covered by thick ash from the collapse of the towers that had blown in through the shattered windows of the day care center.

That simple picture of those ash-covered toys instantly sent a million thoughts through my head about how scared those kids must have been during the collapse of the towers and then my brain extrapolated out from there to thoughts of all the other people who were scared or killed and I completely broke down for almost 30 minutes of tears pouring down my face.  Sobbing uncontrollably.  That one photo somehow crystallized the whole event for me.

On the 9th Anniversary of the attacks, fortunately for me I feel better and more "healed" than I did back then because some time has passed.  But I expect that there will always be some part of me that will remain dramatically affected by that day, never to fade with time.  Maybe that's the way it should be.  

I have nothing else to say about 9/11.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Is the DSLR "revolution" over?

The Canon 60D was announced the other day.  You know what my reaction was?  A yawn...

Nikon announced some new DSLR's recently as well.  More yawns.

I remember back in the "early days" of the Canon DSLR's when the Canon 10D, 20D, etc, were being announced about every 16 months or so.  Each new camera typically brought major new useful features to improve DSLR usability and image quality and the announcements were met with feverish excitement by photographers who pre-ordered anything and everything that Nikon and Canon released.

From 2004 - 2007 the changes became evolutionary in nature instead of revolutionary and focused primarily on improving image quality and high ISO shooting.  Each camera became a smaller and smaller incremental improvement over the previous one.  Instead of people saying "I have to get the latest and greatest!!!" they began saying "Maybe I'll hold off until the next model comes out".

Then came the Nikon D300, D700, D3 and the Canon 5D MkII and 7D between 2007 - 2009.  These cameras returned us to revolutionary improvements and completely raised the performance and quality bar even higher than it already was.  They were a big step forward, not an incremental step.

Among many other things, these new cameras arrived to the market with:

1)  New excellent auto focus systems.
2)  In-camera image and lighting enhancements (i.e., Nikon's Active D-Lighting and Canon's Auto Lighting Optimizer and Highlight Tone Priority, etc).
3)  Lens flaw correction algorithms in the camera.
4)  Lightning fast burst speeds.
5)  Huge buffers.
6)  High speed processors.
7)  Dual-card slots.
8)  Off camera flash control built into the DSLR body.
9)  High megapixel counts.
10)  Very high ISO capability.
11)  Incredible noise reduction technology.
12)  The capability to modify the camera operation to the shooter's preferences.
13)  Etc, etc, etc...
14)  And the big one we were all waiting for......high definition video!  Finally!

Wow!  That's a lot of technology that was packed into these few new revolutionary cameras.

But revolutions have to end some time and progress has to settle in... 

With cameras like the 60D, we're now back to smaller evolutionary changes again and I think that's the way things will stay for quite a while.  The current high end DSLR's from Canon and Nikon (D300, D700, D3, 5D, 7D, etc) are absolute monster machines that can pretty much do anything that a photographer would want to do. 

Having owned my 7D for many months and putting it seriously through its paces over a recent two week vacation, I would have to say that it's a near perfect camera.  Understanding how to use it properly and when to turn on which image enhancing function resulted in so many technically stunning images from my recent trip that I was blown away.  From a creative aspect some of them weren't that great because many times I was in a rush, but from a technical perspective, wow!  Sharp, clear, properly focused, properly exposed, fantastic looking photos time after time.  Even when shooting at very high ISO, or in full auto mode, or when using long shutter speeds.  The 7D just kept producing technically great photos.

The state of the art is here!

So where do we go next?  My thought is that the major focus for the camera manufacturers will be in two areas:

1)  Improve the integration of high definition video into DSLR's to make it easier to shoot and post-process.  DSLR video is still an immature technology that's great, but has a way to go before it's easy to use.

2)  Continue to improve image quality through better sensor design.

Seriously, where else is there to go?  The top end DSLR cameras do EVERYTHING!   

I would seriously recommend getting a top end DSLR like the Nikon D300 or Canon 7D and holding onto it for a long time.  Save your money on camera bodies and buy yourself some good lenses instead.

Happy shooting!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Gone? No!

It's been quite a while since my last post, but it was for a good reason.  Vacation! 

We just got home, and along with all of the other "welcome home" chores (lawn cutting, laundry, etc), I also unloaded almost 20 gig of photos and high def video from my Canon 7D memory cards.  I can't wait to go through all of them!  I can see just from the thumbnails on the computer that I got some good shots...

I've been doing a lot of reading while I was away and I also practiced some effective techniques while shooting on vacation, so I'll be putting up some interesting and useful posts in the coming days.

So, never fear!  I'm back and will be posting again shortly.