Monday, December 27, 2010

My top 10 photos.

2010 has officially set the bar when it comes to creativity in my photoshoots. After much thought I decided to compose a top 10 of my favorite photos/techniques from the year. Here's the guidelines to my selections.
- only one photo style per list
- one shoot per list
- my selection doesn't necessarily represent the best pic of a shoot more like my favorite in that particular style

10. "Naturally"

This pic slipped into the ten spot as it's basically the standard poses that I've come accustomed to using.

9. "V"

My first black and white shot of 2010. Back when I was throwing around concepts for my website splash page, I knew I would be using a shot like this in the final version. I actually wanted to do a reshoot for a even better picture but plans fell through. (as they normally do)

8. "Monique - EuqinoM"

I hadn't done a mirror shot in over a year and this was one of the last shots I took in that session.

7. Dee

These were shots I started playing with late summer and this was one of the best ones with the technique I was going for.

6. "The Best Part of Waking Up..."

This shot was so much fun to do. Simple as that. They had an idea and I did my best to bring it to life. Mission accomplished!

5. Father Daughter Dance

She didn't wear shoes so her dad took of his to dance...

4. "Just Relax"

This shoot turned out great. This pic is one of my favs because of the natural environment. It's something different from my black and gray backgrounds and adds a bit more in my opinion.

3 "It's Okay"

I tried to get a bunch of male shoots lined up for my new website but I could never catch up with them. As it drew closer to the end of the year I finally had some good male models. When a model can challenge me to using new techniques, they're okay in my book...

2. "Self Portrait"

Okay if your here from Facebook you might have seen a bunch of these done of different people. I love all of the ones I made but I think this one really stands out because it really fit well with my subject's interest in photography. It was originally a shot that I had in mind for someone else but... Well...

1. Flight of the Conchords

This pic goes down as the best recreation to date. It would take my best friend to give me the energy necessary in a shoot to go all out and try new things. The bar is now set...

And that does it! Did you have a favorite from this year? I'd love to hear...

See ya next blog!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mini rant #3 - Our remotes control us...

I've been known to fix a electronic device or two but today this problem had me stumped. In the process it got me thinking about a few things...

It's come to my attention that we have put so much trust in our remote controls, that if something happens to them we're completely lost.

The other day I couldn't find my TV remote and I needed to change the device input. Since I wasn't in the mood to send out search parties I just flipped open the tv cover and fumbled through the menu till I found the option I needed.

Simple enough right? Well here's where the rant begins. Manufacturers have become so dependent on remote controls that they don't even bother to put control options on the device itself. Sure, some high end products still have them but for the most part they are nonexistent. While that doesn't seem like a big problem on the surface, think about what happens when the remote control breaks. You're stuck! You can buy a universal remote, but you can never have all the functionality of the original remote, that is, unless you go completely all out and buy a 150 dollar remote like the ones made by Harmony....

Whats the harm of adding a "menu" button to a blu-ray player? I'm not asking for a entire remote control worth of buttons. Just something that will give me some level of standard control if something unfortunate was to happen to the remote. I had a friend with a DVD/VCR combo player that couldn't even perform a chapter skip without the remote, which in their case was lost for good. Another friend couldn't install a wireless adaptor to their Blu-ray player because they couldn't work the menu without the remote, which was broken due to battery corrosion.

You may never have these issues, but it's definitely something to think about the next time you decide to buy a floor model TV or a player that doesn't come with the manufacturers remote...

But back to the problem at hand...

It's such a pain trying to setup someones blu-ray player when the remote won't work. I'm sitting here racking my brain for options and I'm all out of ideas. The power button works, but nothing else. Guess all that's left is to unplug and plug it back up and... What!?... You gotta be kidding me!... Now the remote works... I still think these devices need more controls... Smh!

Anyway, See you next blog

Thursday, December 16, 2010

X-men Arcade!

So I downloaded the classic X-Men arcade game on 360 and as I watched that progress bar fill I began reminiscing on my childhood.

Back then if you ran into a 6 player cabinet it was always full. You could always tell the experienced from the novice by how they played. Mutant powers wasted energy and those that spammed it were soon putting in more quarters or giving up their spot to someone that called "next." I can't say I was extremely good back then but there was always that self determination that if I got better then I could finally beat the game and still have some money left for The Simpsons Arcade game.

Fast forward to my late teens and early internet days, the days where emulators where the only way to relive old childhood arcade memories. Playing a 4 player Xmen game from the comfort of my home was the perfect chance to prove to myself just how good I could get. When playing with others though, in a setting that didn't require money, I soon realized that the feel of the game was completely different.

Having to pay quarters made a difference. Games in that era were designed to eat quarters so in order to beat a game you either had to work at getting better, or be rich.

Take that element away and all you have is a button masher where the only two buttons used are "mutant power" and "Start". That can get boring kinda fast.

Okay now let's move on to the present. I was pretty excited to finally play this game in a 6 player setting again. It would be my first time since the original arcade cabinet. I joined a game and pretty soon we had all six players. (unlocked a achievement) As soon as we started, my greatest fears were realized, no one cared about their energy. Just wave after wave of mutant power, then die, then repeat. It was even worse on the levels that had pits because they would just jump in the pit on purpose just so that they could come back with full energy!

Maybe it's just me, but I feel this takes away from the enjoyment and original feel of the game. Having a "expert" setting seemed pointless. The one redeeming quality was the leader boards but in my opinion more could have been done. Here are my top 3 ideas (in no particular order.)

1. An optional setting to set a cap for continues used.

2. Better achievements!
There definitely has to be a balance in making achievements too hard or too easy but for a 6 player beat'm up I think its completely pointless to waste achievements on clearing certain checkpoints and not jumping for a entire level...

3. An option to disable mutant powers.
(they could have even called it "Genosha mode")

As a direct port I already know that there were issues preventing them from changing the original game but one can still hope that in the future such things might be implemented in those classic beat'em ups we know and love...

What do you think could have gave this game a more challenging replay value? Any ideas for better achievements? Comments are welcome!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Random Sightings #1

My camera is always nearby, because I always notice the weirdest stuff. Decided to group a few video game related pics together in this mini blog... Enjoy!

This was a 2009 circular for ALDI. Looks like they jumped on the Wii bandwagon that year. What I don't get is the "comes with 4 games " statement (the four pictured were the free ones). All Wii's come with Wii Sports so they really did a good job making parents think they got the deal of the century. (there actually was a apology released by ALDI later on apologizing for the deception.)

Here's a AT&T advertisement that came in Guitar Hero World Tour (I think... Can't remember... Does it matter?... Anyway...). Give yourself that extra level of difficulty by adding the "crazy fast" setting with the power of the Internet.

Next time you sit in a chair to play Rock Band STOP, and ask yourself, "is the chair I'm sitting in compatible with my Rock Band controllers." Your drum set won't work without a official Rock Band stool... You didn't know?

Well that's it for now. Granted it's a little shorter than other blogs I made but this one gets a dual release on as well as since it's actually something my fellow G1's would appreciate.

See you next blog...

Mini Rant #2 Give me hot water!!

Restaurants need to give me hot water in their bathrooms. After all I know they have it. They better. Stop being greedy!

No one wants to come out of 29 degree weather, to eat, just to wash their hands in ice cold water. That's not "cool"... See what I did there...

Why tease me with that hot water button? Well at least your not as bad as those automatic faucets that attempt to decide for me what temperature I want my water to be...

Or what about those "time release" buttons that last all of two seconds before you have to press them again?

If fact, while on the subject, what's up with the "partially automated" bathrooms? You know, the ones that will have everything "touch free" except for one or two devices? Kinda defeats the purpose of a germ free environment if you still end up touching something, doesn't it? I guess it's a multiple step investment that I always seem to see in mid-process...

Oh and word to the wise. There have been cases of mouthwash being camouflaged as hand soap, and hand soap being camouflaged as mouthwash. Take my word of experience that neither works well as a substitute...

See ya next blog...

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Cameras...

Decided to throw up some bonus material this week in addition to the weekly blog. Unlike the poem though this'll be advertised through the normal channels. (If your thinking, "what poem?" then shame on you. But I'll forgive you since your reading this. lol)

I've taken pics for over a decade and tomorrows blog will look at a few of the repeat clients that I have had the opportunity to reshoot. Sometimes I made mistakes, other times I just couldn't exceed the limits of my equipment. What equipment you ask? Well today you'll learn about the cameras that helped make my photography what it is today.

1998 - Sony Digital Mavica - less than 1 Megapixel
My first venture into the world of digital photography. At the time I was so excited with the idea of taking pictures and printing them out myself that I was blind to the poor quality pictures this thing took. But the memory that really stands out with this camera is the fact that someone broke into my car and stole it. You would think the Coast Guard Yard would have better security...

2000 - Kodak DC 220 - 1 Megapixel
Since my first camera was stolen this was a swift replacement. While my first camera took a lithium battery this took AA's (big mistake!!) Still it wasn't a bad camera and I did my first wedding with it for some very nice pictures. The main problem I had was the comments I had to put up with from people who didn't take me seriously, or even give me a chance. (come to think of it, I'm still dealing with that today...) This was also the only camera that was replaced before it broke down, which allowed me to sell it.

2001 - Minolta Dimage 5 - 3 Megapixel
This was when people started taking me seriously. This camera looked more like the traditional SLR that professionals use. It's biggest problem was that batteries had a life span of around 30 minutes!! (Yeah, I didn't learn my lesson from my last camera...) When I got this camera I believe my word's were, "OMG!!! 3 MEGAPIXELS!!! That's the best there is! hmmm... Well anyway, I loved the camera but I really wanted to start doing more creative pictures that didn't rely so heavily on computer software. This meant I was going to need a camera that could accept different lenses as well as flashes and filters. After a while shot's didn't look as good as before and I soon knew that a replacement was in order before I took on another wedding...

2005 - Nikon D70 6 Megapixel
To date, I did more research before buying this camera than any other digital before or after. For the high price tag I needed to know that I could do everything I wanted to with this and It didn't disappoint. Sadly that particular model had it's flaws but with firmware updates and a few trips to Best Buy for warranty repairs it served me well. But when that warranty expired and more problems came along it was time to find something new...

2009 - Canon 50D 15 Megapixel
What no Nikon!? Yeah this wasn't my first choice as a successor to my D70, but it just so happened that Circuit City was going out of business and this was all that was left at 50% off so... SOLD!! It was a pain having to get all new flashes and lenses but it was worth it.

And that about does it...
An interesting side note is this; These cameras were each good in their individual eras, but even then, they weren't considered to be "best of the best." Never think that just because you have a cheaper or older model camera that you your work cant compare to all the big shot photographers out there. Don't get wrapped up in brand names and megapixels. "Stay creative and brush off the haters." thats what I say. Well, I don't say that but it fits... kinda... Maybe I should start saying that... Nah...

See ya next blog!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fruit snacks

My trip to the market last week brought back even more memories than I realized. My thoughts turned from last weeks cereal, Spaghetti O's and Pop Tarts to fruit snacks.

You know, those vitamin C infused, made with "real fruit" snacks pre wrapped in small bags that always leave you wanting more. There used to be tons of commercials for those things and it was common practice for any popular movie, cartoon, or comic to have they're own snack of some sort.

Well today I decided to rank my top 5 fruit snacks so enjoy...

Number 5 - Fruit Roll-Ups

These get the 5 spot because aside from the taste I never bought into the way they were marketed. Most commercials made them out to be stickers but I never tried taking the extra time to punch out whatever designs were on the roll. I remember kids on commercials using them as tattoos but i knew I wasn't gonna be doing that...

Number 4 - Fruit By The Foot

This was a more effective fruit roll up. Absolutely no difference to me in taste but you felt like you got more because it was "3 feet of fun". In commercials kids would flick them open and let the roll drop to the floor which, in retrospect, has me realizing that those were some pretty short kids...

Number 3 - Thunder Jets

*photo courtesy of Jason Liebig
Yeah you probably never heard of these because I haven't seen them on shelves in over 15 years. They'd have the number one spot but they just don't exist anymore. They were so good! I don't remember if there were any commercials. All I know is I loved planes and jets as a kid and these were edible toys.

Number 2 - Gushers

I remember commercials introducing these bite size snacks just bursting with juice. Opening a pouch, you were usually greeted by 9 or 10 little fruit pieces all stuck together. Still it was original and sweet, but sadly you didn't have the variety of flavors that were in other snacks. You had to get all of one flavor per box.

And finally...
Number 1 - Shark Bites

These existed as long as Thunder Jets and are still around today. Both tasted exactly the same so it was a no brainer to make this my number one. Each piece had a distinct taste and the special "great white shark" piece was a welcome edition to the pouch. (despite the fact that you never really got a lot of them)

Those are mine, but what about you? Comment on your favorite below or take the poll to your right. Don't be lazy it's at the very least, one click...

Well that about does it, but before I close I gotta give props to all the other fruit snack that still dominate the shelves of supermarkets today. Spiderman and scooby doo snacks are still around. Disney will continue to fill their wallets with revenue from Princess snacks, as well as any new face on the Disney channel, (I think I saw some Hannah Montana snacks on clearance the other day...) and for some reason John Deere...

That's right... John Deere... Because for some reason Kellogg wants every young kid to nurture the little farmer in them... Seriously what was the executive board on when they green lighted that idea?

I'm submitting my idea for DV fruit snacks, "That's Right, I Got a Fruit Snack". They better call me back!
See ya next blog...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Supermarket ramblings...

So I was in the market today remembering the good old days.

The days before Toaster Strudel when Pop Tarts and Eggos ruled the toaster.
Yep, the days when you couldn't buy the flavors with frosting because the frosting would mess up the toaster and... Huh?... It doesnt? That was just my family?... You mean all this time i've been... Aww man!

Or what about the days when your parents bought the multipack cereal boxes and there was always that "least favorite" brand you didn't wanna get stuck with in the end?

Don't get me wrong, Cheerios are good, (with a Tablespoon of sugar.)

And who could forget Spaghetti... Wait a minute!... What do they mean by "Now Healthy"!? That really makes it sound a lot worse than it probably was. Maybe they should have said "Now Healthier" but what do I know.
I mean, I grew up eating that stuff and I still do. Look at me now!

Now excuse me, going to play some Wii Fit...

See ya next blog!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

That's right, I write poems...

Fun fact- DVDeluxe has been a name attached to me since before the Internet. But originally my writings were written under the name DVNovels. Sadly no completed works exist.

Anyway, I still write, but for reasons I won't go into, most my works will probably never be read.

I decided that, for a change, I'd post something just for my devoted readers to see.
So here goes...

"Walking in darkness"

I have become appreciative of the darkness.

In darkness I see no light, yet I know light is still there.
It's warm glow directs me with a clarity beyond sight.

This glowing warmth is where I should be, but I have far to go.
I have no fear of getting lost.

I may fall but I will not die.
Bruises will eventually heal.

The sounds in darkness are scary.
They sound familiar, even pleasant, yet they don't come from the warmth.

Someone holds my hand and leads me toward the warm glow of light.
It feels nice to know I'm not really alone.

Someone else grabs my leg and offers me their sight.
But what they see is not what I feel. I shall trust the warmth.

I don't know how long it will take me to get to this warm light, but I will.
Then, I will open my eyes...