Monday, December 31, 2012

Major Events Of 2012- Video compilation by Jean-Louis Nguyen

Beautifully compiled retrospective of the major happenings during 2012. Produced by Jean-Louis Nguyen, it's entitled: 2012: What Brought Us Together.

It was a year of breakthroughs, adversity, accomplishments. And the web shared all of it. From the highest sky-dive to the fastest running man, a first vote or last mission, joys and tragedies, grumpy cats and flash mobs, from silly to serious; whatever it is that we shared in 2012, here is a compilation.
I admit, some of these events I missed, but Nguyen kindly put together a list and links to the original YouTube clips. You can find that here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

On Criticism In The Arts- Words of wisdom

Petapixel's Michael Zhang had an interesting post about criticism, featuring this snippet from the the Pixar movie "Ratatouille", where the character Anton Ego, a reformed critic, imparts these words of wisdom:

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.

If you are involved in any way with the arts- be that visual, performing or written- you are subject to criticism. As an actress I have been very blessed, for the most part, with lovely reviews, but I have seen critics mercilessly skewer individuals or shows undeservedly so. My photography has yet to be critiqued negatively, but apparently that too happens.

Zhang focuses on the plethora of anonymous criticism we receive in online forums:

The Internet can be a tough place for photographers. One can pour an immeasurable amount of time, money, energy, blood, sweat, and tears into a picture (or a series of pictures), only to have his or her hard work torn to shreds by nameless and faceless commenters who hide behind the veil of anonymity.

He then refers to Anton Ego's wisdom.

Zhang continues:

The next time you see a photograph online, offered up to your judgement by its maker, take some time to consider that the person may have invested a good deal of himself or herself into putting that picture on your screen. At the very least, even if you hate what they have to offer you, you can be respectful and offer encouraging words of helpful criticism.

I'll add this:

If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it.
Do not offer criticism if it is not solicited.
If asked, find something positive to say. There has to be one thing you can praise, if not as Zhang says "offer encouraging words of helpful criticism."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

3-D Photo Booth That Prints Figurines To Open In Japan

The Japanese are so clever, creative, innovative and stylish.  Check out this new take on the Photo Booth.  Remember squeezing into those old Photo Booths with a friend, and getting those thin strips of film with 4 goofy photos per strip? Well, a Japanese company Omote 3D is creating a  pop-up photo booth where people will fork over from $261 to $511 (depending on size) for a 3-D likeness of themselves. 

Pretty darn amazing, since I can't even begin to imagine how that works.

From November 24 through January 14 people will be able to make reservations to have their photo taken and receive one of these mini-thems.  The booth will be set up at Eye of Gyre exhibition space in the tony district of Harajuku in Tokyo.

The customer is first 3D scanned in a process that requires them to stand still for 15 minutes. A 3D model of the customer is then refined on a computer before output to a 3D printer. The figurines are available in sizes ranging from 4 to 8 inches.

The pop-up photo booth is a creation of Party, a company based in Japan and NY.

Source: Spoon-Tamago

Monday, October 15, 2012

From Birth To 21 Years- Dad's Time Lapse Dedication To His Son

A Yorkshire, England dad, Ian McCleod, has spent every day of his son's 21 years (so far) taking a daily photo. He then compiled over 7,500 photos into a time lapse (of sorts) six minute video of his son's life from pre-birth on.

McLeod tells the Yorkshire Post the project started as a "daft" idea conceived over a couple of drinks. "I was thinking I could do it for one or two years at most…But then you get to the point where you wonder if you'll regret it if you stop." He says it became like brushing his teeth.

Cory McLeod admits he didn't always love it when his dad tracked him down for their daily snap. "My dad has had to drive to a friend's house before. I got a bit of a stick [teased] for that," he told the Post. Eventually he came to see the project's significance. "I used to find it awkward, I didn't realize the value of it. It was only when I got to 16 or 17 that I started to appreciate it and realized what it could be." Even though he's now away from home studying at Leeds Metropolitan University, he says he plans on continuing to collaborate with his dad. "When do you stop? I don't think I can. We've come this far, we may as well carry on."

Although a few days are missing here and there (Ian McLeod slots in a sketch instead of inserting a photo from the wrong day to maintain the integrity of the concept) and a month was lost when the camera wouldn't wind, the chronicle is remarkably complete. McLeod started scanning the images a year ago—his son was born before the days of digital cameras—and he says it took him three months to digitize them all. "It's never been straightforward," he says. "We weren't organized. It's always been chaotic." For those of us whose photo albums contain gaps of more than a year, "21 Years" seems magnificently pulled together.


I have so much admiration for people who dedicate and spend their time doing this kind of thing. I don't have the patience.

Source: Yahoo

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Canon Recalls EOS Rebel T41 For Skin Allergy Potential

In case you haven't heard, Canon has recalled some of the EOS Rebel T4i  for the potential of skin allergies. Apparently the rubber grips have a chemical that can change the grips from black to white and cause skin irritations.  One person reported a rash after contact, and so they are recalling around 68,200 cameras that were sold at places like Best Buy, B&H Video,, among other retailers.

The ones being recalled were sold June and July 2012.

The camera was imported from Japan, and the 12-digit serial number which has a 6th digit that is a 1, can be found on the bottom of the T4i.

For more information contact Canon at (855) 902-3277 Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to midnight, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

That's a lot of cameras to be recalling in response to one alleged allergic reaction, but I suppose better safe than sorry.  The Canon camera is a great camera, I love both of mine.

Source:  CPSC

I Made It To The Front Page Of Etsy- "Blue Ridge In Black and White"

I finally made it to the coveted Front Page of Etsy. It had been a very long while- early last year, I think it was, and as an alternate.  Everyone complains about the same people getting to the Front Page, which is a very valid issue- since one's views usually skyrocket on those occasions- but we have no control over that. I have been in many treasuries, some definitely Front Page worthy, that never made it.

So I had to share this one.

My black and white Blue Ridge Mountain photo is very popular, I've sold two so far.

I added the 8x10 versiob after the 5x7, but people seem to pick the 5x7 print for treasuries and to favorite. It currently has 990 views, 366 admirers, and is in 57 treasuries.

It's one of my favorites.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Canvas Gallery Wrap Mockups- for Liane

Here are some 16 x 16 canvas gallery wrap mockups, with mirror edges that I put together for a customer. 

Both photos were taken in Quebec. The first is an historical general store outside of Quebec. The other was a closeup of flowers next to a door in Old Quebec city.

Friday, July 27, 2012

ESPN'S 2012 Bodies We Want: Naked Olympians and other famous athletes

In honor of the opening of the London Olympic Games tonight, photographer Chase Jarvis posted some photos and a link to the ESPN tasteful 2012 nude photo shoot "Bodies We Want" of Olympians and other famous athletes.  Beautifully photographed by various photographers, they highlight the human form in all its rippled and buff glory, sans the gratuity.

Not sure why I am drawn to the black and white rather than the color, but these are my two favorites:

Megan Hodge, 23, is an outside hitter in the USA Olympic volleyball team. Photographer: Art Streiber.

Tyson Chandler, 29, is the Center for the New York Knicks.  Photographer: Peter Hapak

I'm not much of a sports fan, in fact, I don't watch it at all. But every four years I take the time to enjoy the world's best compete. For the most part I root for Team USA, but this year I will be rooting for South African double amputee, Oscar Pistorius, because he deserves it.

Check out the rest of the photos on ESPN.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What Celebs Would Look Like If They Were Like You And Me- Wonders of Photoshop

Just as Photoshop can enhance and make someone look far better than they actually are, in the hands of a savvy photo editor it can also do the opposite.  Take the altered celeb photos posted on the Business Insider. Danny Evans  takes famous people and makes them look like, well, the bulk of humanity, and it's pretty dang funny. No teeth whitening, fat shaving, eye brightening, skin smoothing here.

My favorite is Lady Gaga:

For more click here.  And check out Danny's Facebook page, Planet Hiltron.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Narrow Aperture Vs Wide Aperture Infographic

From Digital Camera World, this pretty much explains it all in simple, visual terms.

 Looks like they have some interesting articles. Am going to go back and poke around.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

"Looking Into The Volcano" - A father's photographic tribute to his son

This beautifully filmed documentary short narrative "Looking Into The Volcano", about a father (Tom Townsend) discussing the loss of his son, was directed by Mark Katzman.

"This short film tells a story about parenting, love and coping with the loss of a child. It highlights a long forgotten photographic process, the oratone, while celebrating the lasting power of photography. The challenge was weaving the threads of the story into a subtle, graceful and elegant film that relies less on facts and more on emotions to carry the message. By combining abstract and evocative moving images with the narrative, the piece takes on the qualities of a visual poem rather than a documentary."

Looking Into the Volcano from Mark Katzman on Vimeo.

Orotone (goldtone) was a popular, laborious photographic printing process in the early 20th century.

H/T: Krista Glavich-England

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Win A Free Trip To Seattle To Hang With Photographer Chase Jarvis

Debated on whether I should share this or not, but thought I would be generous. :)

Photographer Chase Jarvis is holding a pretty cool contest, and all you have to do is follow Chase and a few others on Twitter, and then post a pre-written tweet. Easy peasy.  And for that you could win an all-expense paid trip to Seattle to accompany Chase while he shoots at the Capitol Hill Block Party music fest.

The Capitol Hill Block Party is Seattle’s premier mid-summer music festival where more than 100 bands take over Seattle’s hippest neighborhood on 6 stages over three days. (Check out the insane lineup here.) And right now I’m freaking STOKED to announce that we’ll be #cjLIVE streaming the festivities — private performances, artist interviews, and main stage shows — for the entire 3 day event.

Here’s how you can enter to win tickets — airfare, hotel, and VIP tix to the festival — to join us in Seattle. It’s easy.

First, this giveaway couldn’t be possible without the support of my friends at the Block Party (love you guys) and TargetSEA (congrats on new SEA store) who are graciously supporting my ability to share this #cjLIVE internet feed with the world, so you MUST be following BOTH of them–and yours truly–on Twitter here:


Second, tweet this exact tweet below, only be sure to personalize it by inserting a cool word or phrase about music… (ie Music is LIFE, Music is ALL I NEED, etc)

Music is [insert your thought here]! I wanna go to the #CHBP or at least watch it #cjLIVE w @chasejarvis @targetSEA
How cool is that?!

For more information click here.

Good luck, but I hope I win.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July- Vintage 4th of July Photos

Happy 4th of July!  It's Independence Day.

The UK Daily Mail has some great vintage photos of the 4th, dating back to 1922, all taken in New York and in Black & White. Enjoy!

Uncle Sam The Cat- 1956

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Facebook's I-Phone Camera App

I'm not really an app kind of gal, and I refuse to pay for any.  When Blackberry had all those outage problems they offered some free premium apps as good will to placate those who were pissed off with the service.  So I downloaded some, and have never used them. And, frankly, if I'm going to edit photos, I'm going to do it on my computer using Photoshop.

Besides, most cool apps are for I-Phone, and my next phone will be an Android, so when I found out Facebook was creating a camera app for I-Phone, I thought- yawn.

Yes, you heard right, Facebook is expanding into other arenas- even though it tanked with its stock public offering-  and there's now an I-phone app for Facebook.

If you just have to have it, you can go to the Apple's App store to download it.

According to Huffpo, it

" like most other camera applications for smart phones. To take a photo, you tap a camera icon in the upper left corner of your screen, aim and shoot. You can then add filters, crop or tilt your photo, and share it on Facebook."

I'm not sure if there is a way to watermark the photos, but if I decide to put my art photos on Facebook, they get watermarked.

Apparently, the app is very similar to Instagram, which seems rather silly considering Facebook is willing to fork over $1 billion for Instagram, although the buyout has not been finalized yet and I have wonder if the deal will even go through. Considering their epic public offering fail.

As for Blackberry? No-one thinks of creating much for Blackberry. Android, on the other hand, might get a shot at an app. Facebook is:
"carefully looking at what might make for a good Facebook photos experience across Android devices."

I still wouldn't bother with it, when I get my Android.

Source: Huffpo

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jack Long's Breathtaking Paint Splash Flower Photos

Another in my series of  'thinking outside the box' artists is Wisconsin photographer Jack Long, who has created some splash-paint photos called "Vessels and Blooms" that are exquisitely beautiful. Using high-speed photographic techniques along with different colored paints (dye, pigment and thickener mixed with water)  he has created these breathtaking creations that look like flowers you might find in outer space.

They remind me of Markus Reugel's work, though Reugels' is more delicate, and Heinz Maier.

He won't reveal his actual process, but he  says it takes months of prep and experimentation to get it just right, and then just a second with a flash to capture the images.

And no photoshop.

They look like glass sculptures.

Admirable. Incredible. Enviable.

More on his Flickr account.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Time-Lapse Video Of The Earth At Night- From Space

Ever wondered what it would be like to travel and experience watching the earth from space? Movies don't quite cut it, but NASA has some amazing photos and videos on its website. This particular one was the Astronomy Picture Of The Day for March 5, 2102. It's actually a time-lapse video flying over the earth at night, and it's a major treat.

More detailed information here.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Google Changes To E-Commerce World Not Good

Google is making changes to Google shopping and it does not bode well for those of us who have our own websites or shops on places like Etsy. If you want to be on the top of google shopping search it's going to cost now, big time. Relevancy will be out. How much  you pay will determine where you place in search. 

Money is always the bottom line.  Sad.

Google Inc unveiled major changes to its shopping business on Thursday that will likely prove controversial in the e-commerce world.

Starting in the fall, product search results for users in the United States will be influenced by how much retailers and advertisers pay, a company executive said. In the past, product search results were based mainly on relevance and the program was free.

Google, the world’s most popular Internet search engine, will rename its service Google Shopping from the current Google Product Search.

“We are starting to transition Google Product Search in the U.S. to a purely commercial model,” said Sameer Samat, vice president of product management at Google Shopping. “This will give merchants greater control over where their products appear on Google Shopping.”

Google has been in the product listing and search business for about a decade. During that time, it has provided merchants with free access to shoppers. The company made money by running paid product search ads along with the organic, or unpaid, product listings, according to Eric Best, CEO of Mercent, which helps retailers sell through Google and other e-commerce websites such as Inc and eBay Inc.

“Today, that model goes away,” Best said. “It’s a very big deal.”
The changes may ultimately help Google extract more revenue and profit from its retail advertisers, which account for up to 40 percent of Google’s advertising base, according to Best and others.

Google Product Search drives about $650 million in annual sales in the United States and about $1.3 billion globally, Channel Advisor, which helps merchants sell online, estimated on Thursday.

“That’s the free sales that are going to disappear unless they decide to pay,” Scot Wingo, CEO of Channel Advisor, said.

Under Google’s new system, retailers may have to spend an extra $130 million a year in the United States and $270 million globally, to fill that sales hole, he estimated.

“The winner in this is Google,” Wingo said. “That extra spending is pure margin and will drop to earnings per share.”

Some of the retailers Channel Advisor works with are questioning Google’s motives, Wingo added.

The changes will kick in by October, which does not give merchants much time to adjust to the new system in time for the crucial holiday shopping season, he said.

For retailers, there are upsides and downsides, according to Mercent’s Best.
“The downside is that retailers are going to have to pay for performance when it comes to e-commerce traffic and revenue driven by or through Google,” Best said. “The free traffic is disappearing.”

The changes may be controversial in the Internet community because Google’s search results have traditionally not been influenced by money, Best said.

“Pay-for-placement to some degree is an alternative to purely organic relevancy results,” he said. “The fact that shopping results will be more closely tied to bid-for-placement will not sit well with all advertisers.”

The new program will help retailers make their products more visible to shoppers searching on Google. The old system was difficult for Google to police because retailers could list a lot of products for free. If they have to pay, it may reduce clutter, Best said.

“Having a commercial relationship with merchants will encourage them to keep their product information fresh and up to date,” Google’s Samat wrote in a blog on Thursday. “Higher quality data - whether it’s accurate prices, the latest offers or product availability - should mean better shopping results for users, which in turn should create higher quality traffic for merchants.”

The quality argument is suspect, according to Channel Advisor’s Wingo.
“That’s a slippery slope because this could apply to websites, not just product listings,” he said. “Why have organic search at all? Anyone can set up a website and use it for spammy purposes. That’s what Google is supposed to deal with.”

Amazon and eBay will likely be affected by Google’s changes because the e-commerce giants currently get a lot of free traffic from Google Product Search. In the future, they will have to pay for that, Wingo said.
However, some merchants may decide to list more products for sale on Amazon’s and eBay’s online marketplaces, which would be a boon for those companies, he added.

Google shares fell 1.3 percent at $580.86 on Thursday. The shares have fallen 13 percent since the beginning of the year.

Amazon shares rose 1.8 percent to $212.91 and eBay lost 1 percent to $39.19.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Tutu Project- Bob Carey Photographer

Bob Carey in his pink tutu hiding in the middle of the cornfield

When photographer Bob Carey moved to the East Coast with his wife Linda in 2003, he started a new project for the fun of it- just to mix things up a little.  He decided to photograph himself in a pink tutu in various locations, and hence The Tutu Project began.  Then after Linda got breast cancer, the project turned into a greater vision- helping other women with breast cancer.

Six months after the move, Linda, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She beat it, only to have it recur in 2006. During these past nine years, I’ve been in awe of her power, her beauty, and her spirit. Oddly enough, her cancer has taught us that life is good, dealing with it can be hard, and sometimes the very best thing—no, the only thing—we can do to face another day is to laugh at ourselves, and share a laugh with others.

Enter Ballerina, the book. Not only is it a collection of my tutu images, it also shares many humorous stories about the adventures of a guy and his pink tulle. So far, there has been a tremendous response to the series of photos—people are particularly moved by the images. And their interest and enthusiasm have made us want to share that experience with as many people as possible in the form of a book, so that we can raise money to help other women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The monies he receives from his self-published book "Ballerina" will go to various organizations that deal with breast cancer, including and Beth Israel Department of Integrative Medicine Fund which handles alternative healing modalities.

Friday, May 25, 2012

From Love To Bingo In 873 Images- Getty Images Promo

Getty Images is one of the premier stock photography companies in the world, with over 38 million (and counting) photos in their archives. So as a means of showcasing their incredible inventory, Getty had a Brazilian company (AlmapBBDO) produce a 1 minute video to do just that. They wanted people to see that you can find anything you could ever want at Getty.

But it wasn't easy. It took six months of incredible patience and over 5,000 images for the filmmakers to find exactly what they wanted.  They finally settled on 873 images. Using 15 images per second they came up with a wonderful video entitled 'From Love To Bingo in 873 Images', which takes us from love at first sight, to the first kiss, to marriage, to birth, to family, to the golden years, to death, through grief and finally to bingo exclusively using Getty images.  No text, no narration, no dialogue, just music and some sound effects. Not quite sure about the meaning of the whole bingo thing, but I guess that's what they figured old people do.

It's very beautifully and cleverly put together. Enjoy!

Credits -- Film

Advertiser: Getty Images
Title: From love to bingo in 873 images
Product: Getty Images
General Creative Director: Marcello Serpa, Luiz Sanches
Creative Director: André Kassu, Marcos Medeiros, Renato Simões
Art Director: Marcos Kotlhar
Copywriter: Sophie Schoenburg
Producer: Paranoid BR
Executive producer: Egisto Betti
Direction: Cisma, Marcos Kotlhar
Animation: Split Filmes, Marcos Kotlhar
Rtvc: Vera Jacinto, Gabriel Dagostini, Diego Villas Bôas
Soundtrack / Voice-Over Artist: Kito Siqueira
Editor / Assembler: Marcos Kotlhar, Jonas Brandão
Finishing Editor: Split Filmes
Service: Cristina Chacon, Marina Leal
Media: Paulo Camossa Jr
Approval: Renata Simões

Source: DailyMailUK

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Fine Art America National TV Photo Competition Entry

I signed up a while back on Fine Art America, though I have only recently started to upload photos.  They often have competitions, and I decided to enter this photo that I took in old Quebec City.  The last day to vote is May 31st, and you don't have to sign up with Fine Art America, though you do need to have a Facebook account to vote.

You can vote here.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Amazing 'Content Aware' Tool In Adobe Photoshop CS5

Ever seen something distracting in a photo that you'd love to easily remove?  Well Adobe added Content Aware in Photoshop CS5 that I am absolutely in love with. It's so much easier, and far more intuitive than using the clone tool.

There are many videos on YouTube explaining just how to use it, some making it far more complicated than necessary, but I found the easiest way to remove an object is to use the lasso tool, surround the object, as close as possible, that you want removed, hit the delete button, enter in the "use" box content aware and then click okay, and you're done.  You can do the same thing with the rectangular marquee tool.  You can also use the spot healing tool, which will remove the object without having to press delete.  Remember that the closer to the object the better. The closer the object is to other objects, the trickier it gets.

Here is an example: I loved the photo of this poodle sitting outside a bakery in Old Quebec City, but I found the silver electrical outlets very distracting, so I decided to try the Content Aware tool.

unedited photo

This is the result:

Pretty darn amazing, and it was very easy.

For more detailed instructions and different ways of using the feature, check out the following articles and videos:



There are a ton more on YouTube.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Wrong Way" Beatle's Abbey Road Photo To Be Auctioned

Who doesn't remember the iconic Abbey Road album cover photo of the beloved Beatles walking across a zebra crossing on, obviously, Abbey Road.

Apparently, Scottish photographer Iain Macmillan was only allowed ten minutes on August 8, 1969 to shoot six photos of George, John, Paul and Ringo while a policeman stopped traffic. Perched on a ladder he took 6 photos of the lads walking both forward across the road (which was the one that made it to the album cover) and backwards.

Now, one of the "wrong way" photos is up for auction on May 22 by Bloomsbury Auctions in London, and is expected to sell from £7,000 to  £10,000. Not that much, comparatively speaking, for a 'rare' limited edition signed photograph. Andreas Gursky's "Rhein 11" sold for 4.3 million

25 copies were made of the up-for-auction photo, and this one copy is being sold by a private collector.

Check out this blog for more details.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Life In Black And White- Etsy Treasury

Am in this striking black and white treasury, by Daffydownlillies on Etsy. One of my most popular photos of the Blue Ridge Mountains in black and white is featured.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Horst Faas Pulitzer Prize-Winning War Photographer Dies

Pulitzer Prize-winning German war photographer/photo-journalist Horst Faas, best known for his compelling mostly Black and White photos taken during the Vietnam War, died on May 10th at the age of 79. His Obit in the L.A. Times says of Haas:

As chief of photo operations for the Associated Press in Saigon for a decade beginning in 1962, Horst Faas didn't just cover the fighting — he also recruited and trained new talent from among foreign and Vietnamese freelancers.
The result was "Horst's army" of young photographers, who fanned out with Faas-supplied cameras and film and stern orders to "come back with good pictures."

He and his editors chose the best and put together a steady flow of telling photos — South Vietnam's soldiers fighting and its civilians struggling to survive amid the maelstrom
The photo above was one of many taken in 1964 that earned him the 1965 Pulitzer Prize for photography. He won his second Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his coverage of the torture and executions during the conflict in Bangladesh.

He risked his life for his work, and was so severely wounded in 1967, that he was wheel-chair bound for the rest of his life, suffering many complications from his paralysis.

He died in his native Munich, leaving his wife Ursula and his daughter Clare.

Click here to see more of his photography.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Best Job" P&G Olympics 2012 Ad Honoring Mothers

It's Mother's Day so I thought I would share this wonderfully fitting London Olympic's 2012 ad produced by Proctor and Gamble  honoring mothers:

"the hardest job in the world is the best job in the world."
The touching video is very well produced.

So, thank you to all the mothers out there for your love, nurturing, encouragement and all your the sacrifices you make for your children.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Should You Pay For Etsy Marketing?

Trying to get more traffic to our Etsy shops is an ongoing struggle. Face it, without traffic there are no sales, and with the thousands upon thousands of Etsy shop owners, and all the Etsy and google changes regarding SEO and relevancy it can become an incredibly frustrating task. So, many of us look to others to try to bring that traffic to our sites, and frankly I don't believe that's always the wisest investment.

I'm sure there are many companies that legitimately do help, but my experience with one that I found on one of the sites that many Etsy users depend upon, was a total waste of money.

Back in December 2011, I decided to really make an effort to increase sales by marketing my store. I'm quite computer savvy but SEO is like Swahili, so when I saw an ad for marketing Etsy shops to increase traffic I was intrigued.  There was a holiday half-price special for $25.00, good only if purchased within the next few days. I have since learned that that particular "offer" is actually year round, but I got suckered into buying the package without checking first to see if people indeed had benefited from it.  I stupidly fell for the few recommendations claiming they had received a huge increase in views, which of course mean nothing, and paid the fee.

The woman promises to get the reports to you within a few days, but  it took almost week before I received anything and that was after several emails with no response. Granted it was the holidays, but not responding to inquiries is not good business.  At that time I probably should have asked for a refund, since she claims she gives a 30 day money back guarantee, but I really wanted that increase in views and thought I would give it a chance. By the time I wrote saying how disappointed I was, it was over the 30 days, and I never did hear back from. Again, not good customer service.

I have received absolutely no increase in views, in spite of working on my SEO and tagging. I'm not even convinced she did the work, in spite of sending me a list of all the search engines I was supposedly submitted to.  In essence, I paid $25.00 for a list of search engines many of which I had never heard of and which I could probably have googled for.  She does link you to what turned out to be a poorly written, misspelled article, and a short e-book on Etsy SEO (which was somewhat useful), but one lives and learns. 

Before you turn to one of these companies that promises to sell you something they can't deliver, you should probably do a google search or a forum search on Etsy. Most people have had the same totally useless experience as I had.  I can't find the particular thread, but I recall reading about one woman who was frantic about her shop after she paid someone that turned out to be using a link farm.

What I paid $25.00 for I could probably have researched on my own. Google is a tremendous resource.  You can also look at how those who sell the most on Etsy are titling and tagging their items. You might also want to start a blog for backlinks to  your own shop.

I really have no idea whether this 'marketing person' actually did anything that she promised, all I know is that my views did not increase at all.

Here's a nice forum article on Etsy regarding SEO link building, and it's free.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Shawn Reeder's 'Yosemite Range of Light' Amazing Time Lapse Video

Photographer and musician Shawn Reeder spent two years photographing Yosemite and the Sierras, and created this amazing time lapse video, "Yosemite Range of Light". It took almost 7,000 photos to produce the 5 minute video.

What patience.


H/T: Huffington Post

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day 2012

This is a beautiful video of our amazing planet, produced by the people of "The Secret" in honor of Earth Day.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Massoud Hossaini, AFP, Wins Pulitzer For Best Breaking News Photography

Agence France Presse (AFP) photo journalist Massoud Hossaini has won the coveted Pulitzer Prize for best breaking news photography for his devastating photo of a wailing Afghan girl surrounded by carnage after a suicide bombing at a Shiite shrine on December 6, 2011.

The photo, which captures the horror and the anguish of mass death, was captured by Hossaini as he stood feet from the blast. 70 people were massacred and injured that day including many of  the young girl Tarana's family.

According to Hossaini:

''I was just looking at my camera when suddenly there was a big explosion,'' he said.

''For a moment I didn't know anything, I just felt the wave of the explosion as a pain inside my body. I fell down on the ground.

''When the smoke went away I saw I was standing in the centre of a circle of dead bodies.

''They were all together on top of each other. I was standing exactly where the suicide attacker had been.''

Hossaini said he was in ''shock'' and initially ''didn't know what to do''.

''I knew I should cover this, record everything, all the pain, the people running, crying, shouting, beating their chests, shouting: 'Death to al-Qaeda, death to the Taliban!'''

Hossaini said he turned to the right and saw the girl, Tarana, whose age has been given as either 10 or 12.

''When Tarana saw what had happened to her brother, her cousins, uncles, mother, grandmother, the people around her, she was just shouting,'' he said.

Not everyone appreciates this kind of journalism, and in some ways it does make one question the appropriateness of flashing a camera in certain situations, but it's also important to make sure that we serve as witnesses to the horrors in the world.  In spite of photographic evidence of the Nazi Holocaust, there are still those who claim it never happened. Imagine not having proof.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Muslim Art Student's 'Bra Photo' Causes Controversy

Find anything offensive in 24-year-old Sooraya Graham's photo of a Muslim woman in a niqab (full face veil) holding a fancy bra as she folds laundry? Other than the niqab, which I find troubling, the black and white photo itself is quite striking, but certainly not offensive. At least not from an artistic point of view. But Graham, who is a fine arts student at a Canadian university in Kamloops, British Columbia, has found herself in the middle of a controversy over her photograph. Apparently, the large photo (which was being exhibited at the university) was ripped off the walls by a university staffer after some  Muslim students complained. The irony?  Graham, herself, is a veiled Canadian Muslim, and simply wanted people to know that women who wear the veil are also human.

“You often see the stereotype of the veiled woman being oppressed. We all wear the same undergarments, do laundry, go shopping. I was leaving it open-ended for others to interpret the photo in their own way.

"What I really wanted to do with this image was (create a situation where) maybe some students or some faculty members would walk by and have the chance to have some time alone to stare at the veiled woman."

"So that maybe one day, when I walked down the hallways or encountered them around town, it wouldn't be such a shock to see me."

 It's ironic that a photo attempting to humanize women (who are dehumanized by wearing clothing that literally covers them from head to ankle, save a slit for the eyes) would offend fellow Muslims.  One would think that her efforts to create an understanding would be welcomed, but obviously not. 

At least Graham understands freedom of expression, which is not something that is common in countries where women are forced to wear the niqab.

"Even though some people want to silence those thoughts or make them go away, we live in Canada where as long as we're not hurting another individual we have that right to express ourselves."

"There are things I encounter in the world I don't like or I don't agree with, but I would never take something down."
The photo is now hanging in the campus gallery, but still causing controversy amongst fellow Muslims, and the Saudi Embassy funded Saudi Education Center in Kamloops has voiced its objections.

She's fortunate to live in a country where it's her choice to wear the niqab and not a mandatory requirement, and that she has the freedom to express herself freely.  Her Muslim sisters in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan don't have that freedom.  The photo is fine, it's the veil that I'd like to rip off her face.

Sources: HuffPo Canada, National Post, CBC

Friday, April 6, 2012

Up Greek Tourism Project- Video

This is a beautiful Greek tourism ad that utilizes portraits of people in an animated mosaic of famous landmarks and symbols of Greece.  A must see.  Very cleverly done. 

What's even more interesting is that it was produced by the Up Greek Tourism, a voluntary collective of Greeks around the world who funded the project through crowdfunding to promote Greek tourism. The electronic billboard will remain in Times Square, NYC for 30 days.  They wanted to raise a minimum of $15,000 for the campaign, but managed to make $20,352 from over 330 private individuals, many of whom were from outside Greece.

Not all the artistic team are Greeks, however, but apparently they are all volunteers.

Art direction, visual design by Charis Tsevis, Animation by Despo Potamou, Music by Ted Reglis
Photos by the hundreds of the UGT supporters

Saturday, March 24, 2012

BBC Tribute Video To Sir David Attenborough- "What a Wonderful World"

A dear friend forwarded this to me, and I just had to share.  The videography is beautiful. Though our world is pretty messed up right now, our planet is truly magnificent.  Enjoy the visual wonders.
Sir David at his very best - To honor the 85-year-old national treasure who just concluded narrating his final series on the BBC, a UK ad agency mashed up footage from his BBC shows with his spoken-word recording of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World."

You can find it on the BBC website. This is the best quality version available outside the UK and Ireland. originally uploaded by the BBC on Dec 7, 2011.

Original description: A celebration of Natural History on BBC One with David Attenborough (UK & Ireland only).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Craft Fair At Undergrounds Coffeehaus In Fort Lauderdale, Sunday 3/18

I have been participating in various Arts and Crafts Fairs around the southeast Florida area, and will update my blog with each event.  The next one is at Undergrounds Coffeehaus in Fort Lauderdale, Fl.

I will be selling my photography, art and jewelry at Undergrounds Coffeehaus tomorrow Sunday, March 18th, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Free entry, but I think you  have to buy a beverage.

Come on by.  If you purchase something let me know you saw this on twitter, my blog or Facebook and you get a free gift.

In case the above link doesn't work, try here.  It's upstairs.

I have some great funky, artsy jewelry that I started selling again, and will have some there.  It's very unique and different from what's currently selling as handmade.

See you there.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Alzheimer's: Tom Hussey's Novartis "Reflections" Ad Campaign

Texas based Tom Hussey, a commercial advertising photographer, beautifully photographed for a Novartis Exelon Patch ad campaign (a drug for mild to moderate Alzheimer's)  a group of older people staring at their former, younger selves in a mirror.  I'm not sure if these were models, or actual Alzheimer's patients, but it was very creative, and haunting. 

Apparently, the campaign won a Gold Addy (award in advertising).

Tom's website. To see the other photos.

Alzheimer's is such a tragic disease for both the person who has it and the caregivers who are forced to watch their loved one slip away. I wrote a poem, quite a few years ago, about a friend's mother who had Alzheimer's. She has since passed away, but it was heartbreaking to hear the stories about how she became a shell of her former self.


There were slow, imperceptible changes at first-
repeated questions
and forgotten names
uncustomary outbursts of anger-
all cause for pause
but not concern.
“These things happen with age”, he thought,
recalling his own momentary lapses-
like the occasional trips to the store where he would stand
for an eternity it seemed
wondering, trying to remember what he had gone there to buy,
and he would laugh.

But then memories started to fade
and her essence began to recede
and the woman she had been
slowly disappeared
and his laughter stopped.

There were the good days when she knew he was her son,
and those he cherished.
The bad days he tried to forget
for all the pain and havoc they created.
They were agonizing times
with the endless worry and fear-
the wanderings, miles on end,
once with his young boy in tow
and the pots burned black on the stove
and the half recognition,
one day her son, the next a stranger-
Unbearable times.

Watching her now, with her child-like demeanor-
this mother, once strong and in control,
this woman who nursed and nurtured him,
acting like his own child.
Gazing at her, longing for recognition
her eyes stare back unrecognizing.
This mother, now child.
This woman, this mother, stuck in some twilight zone of her past,
giggling like a young schoolgirl.

He embraces this new child-woman she has become-
this other “being” wandering freely
within his mother’s fragile mind-
because it’s all he has left.

Hoping for those rare moments of lucidity
searching deep within her eyes,
he’s always left to wonder
“Are you still there?”

Copyright 2003, Jessica K Peterson

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Spanish Photographer Wins Top Photo Honors For His Veiled Yemeni Woman Cradling Near Naked Relative

This photograph garnered top honors in the World Press Photo competition.  Samuel Aranda, a Spanish photographer, took the photo in Yemen for the New York Times.

The photograph captured a moment in the conflict in Yemen, when demonstrators against outgoing president Ali Abdullah Saleh used a mosque in Sanaa as a field hospital to treat the wounded. But judges said it also spoke more broadly for the Arab Spring.

“The winning photo shows a poignant, compassionate moment, the human consequence of an enormous event, an event that is still going on,” Aidan Sullivan, chair of the jury, said of Aranda’s photograph, which won World Press Photo of the Year 2011.

“We might never know who this woman is, cradling an injured relative, but together they become a living image of the courage of ordinary people that helped create an important chapter in the history of the Middle East.”

In all its simple beauty, I also find something rather disturbing about the photograph: the near naked-man juxtaposed with the the niqab-clad woman, save for the inch of exposed wrist, which is actually forbidden. In that religious culture the man, in all his nakedness, has all the freedom, the woman covered from head to toe in black is a total non-entity.

I find it terribly sad.

Source: Al Arabiya

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Shtuff People Say To Photographers"- Video By Bernie Kale

Bernie Kale (Photographer/Videographer) put this little video together about things people say to photographers. Hilarious!

 "So much money for... paper".  Ha!

Friday, January 27, 2012

SEFCC Arts & Crafts Show, January 28 and 29, 2012

I will be selling my photography, jewelry and art this coming weekend, the 28th and 29th, at the

South East Florida Chamber of Commerce (SEFCC) 2012 HOME SHOW
at the Fort Lauderdale War Memorial Auditorium. 

The Home Show is a combination of Arts and Crafts, Home and Health and Fitness Expo, so there should be fun stuff for everyone.  Best of all there's free admission, although I think there might be a parking fee.  There will also be a raffle each day for a $2,500 shopping spree to be spent on any of the vendors there. You could be the winner.

If you are in the South East Florida area, come by and see me. Tell me you are either a blogger reader, Twitter follower, Facebook fan or friend, or an etsy person and get a free postcard of your choice. If you buy anything, get a free ACEO (in stock) of your choice.

For more info visit Art Sunny Side Up.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Amazing Liquid Art Photography of Markus Reugels

Here's another in my 'thinking outside the box' series.

If you were impressed by newcomer Heinz Maier's water droplet photography, take a look at the work of Markus Reugels who happens to be the father of the genre. A fellow German living in Scheinfurt, Reugel's spends his days laying parquet flooring for a living, and playing with his photography in his spare time.

With elaborate setups, a lot of patience, an enviable imagination, and his Sony A700 and 300 cameras, Reugels uses high-speed photographic techniques to take exquisite photos of everything from soapfilm, to colorful liquid sculptures.  He creates these 'sculptures' by placing a black balloon over a bass reflex tube and places it on a speaker.  He then places a spoonful of water in the middle of the balloon, adds acrylic paints to the water, switches on some technomusic (bass only) and the music does the work.  He's still experimenting, but what he has so far is phenomenal. Here is his setup. I'm sure the process is a messy one, but well worth the results.

His latest endeavour is capturing planets in water droplets.

Most of his work can be seen on his Flickr stream, and his photography website where you can purchase his colorful work.

If you want to try your hand at high-speed photography, here's a great site that explains what it's all about, and how you can create your own.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Amazing Examples of Toroidal Vortex Rings

The video below is an amazing example of toroidal vortices.

What is a toroidal vortex, you might ask:

A toroidal vortex, also called a vortex ring, is a region of rotating fluid moving through the same or different fluid where the flow pattern takes on a toroidal (doughnut) shape. The movement of the fluid is about the poloidal or circular axis of the doughnut, in a twisting vortex motion. Examples of this phenomenon are a smoke ring or a microburst. Vortex rings were first mathematically analysed by the German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz, in his paper of 1867 On Integrals of the Hydrodynamical Equations which Express Vortex-motion Smoke rings have probably been observed since antiquity since they can easily be blown from the mouth.

Don't worry, I had no clue what they were either, but surprisingly it's something whales, dolphins, volcanoes, hydrogen bombs and man can do, and it's a pretty fascinating phenomenon.

If you want to learn how to make your own, the Surfing Scientist tells you how. All you need is a glass, water and some food coloring.

I need to do some shopping!  This would be a fun photography project.  I'm trying to think outside the box. And here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fotoshop by Adobé- Jesse Rosten Spoof Video Skewering The Beauty Industry

This is a brilliant video commentary/parody skewering the beauty industry by Northern California filmmaker/commercial director Jesse Rosten.  According to Rosten he was inspired to make the video after some channel surfing one late night:

I was watching TV one sleepless night and stumbled upon an infomercial for some beauty product. The commercial showed before and after portraits, that to my eye, looked like the same photo just photoshopped. I laughed to myself. Then I made this video.

At least the industry watchdogs are doing something about ad campaigns with excessive photoshopping. A Covergirl Natureluxe Mousse Mascara ad was recently banned in the U.S. as was a Julia Roberts Lancome ad in the U.K. last year.

It is amazing what Photoshop can do, but .....

Truth in advertising, folks!

 Fotoshop by Adobé

Fotoshop by Adobé from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Green On The Road, Etsy Treasury by Fancy Pansy Crafts

Green is one of my favorite colors, and this lovely green treasury "Green On The Road" was put together by Slovakian doily maker Marie from Fancy Pansy Crafts.  Marie featured my 5x7 'Scandinavian Farmhouse'. I was delighted to have sold an 8x10 a few days ago. It's my most popular capture, and of all my photos has been featured the most on the front page.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Breathtaking Aurora Borealis Timelapse Video For Visit Finland

I love to travel, and have been very blessed to have lived in and visited many extraordinary places.  A few years back we journeyed to Scandinavia where we spent some time in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. We never made it to Finland though, which technically is not considered Scandinavia but rather part of the Nordic countries along with Iceland.  But some day my dream is to make it to both Finland and Iceland, my cameras in tow.

One appealing thing about those northern hemisphere countries is they get to experience God's light show in the form of the northern lights, aka the Aurora Borealis, exquisite natural light phenomenon.

An aurora (plural: auroras or aurorae) is a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere (thermosphere).
But to see the northern lights in Finland you have to go there when it's pretty darn cold, autumn or winter, because the long summer days (and nights)  makes it almost impossible to see them.  Apparently they are best observed in Lapland during the winter.

But if you don't have the money to travel there, or prefer not to freeze your butts off, you can experience the beauty of those lights right from the comfort of your own computer.  Flatlight Films, a production company based in Finland, created a magnificent timelapse commercial of the Aurora Borealis this past winter for Visit Finland (the Finnish Tourism Board), with the goal of enticing people to go visit. They certainly hooked me.

They shot in several different areas of  the Finnish Lapland using several Canon DSLRs with remote pan/tilt heads and the timelapse technique.

Digital Photography School has a tutorial on how to make your own using your DSLR.

Enjoy the breathtaking  beauty!

Aurora Borealis in Finnish Lapland 2011 from Flatlight Films on Vimeo.

Photo Credit: Timelapse Films

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Elephants- An Etsy Treasury Curated By Kim Hambric Fiber Art

Kim Hambric curated this wonderful Etsy treasury full of elephants and my abstract Reflections In Water On Asphalt.  The tree is actually a reflection in a puddle of water. 

Kim is a fiber artist who creates beautiful, earthy art quilts, wall hangings and collages. Here's her blog, and for more of her work, check out her website.

Turn Your Facebook Timeline Cover Photo Into A Collage

I'm going to be honest, I loathe the new Facebook Timeline and I refuse to switch over. Facebook will have to do it for me when that time comes. It's not because I don't like change, some change is good, but this new Facebook change sucks.  Frankly, looking at it gives me a massive headache.  I know many of my friends and colleagues love the new layout, but I can't quite figure out what's to love. Aside from the whole privacy issue, the page is a major mess- cluttered and lacking a point of focus. As an artist that really bothers me. There are 2 columns and I still haven't a clue where I'm supposed to look. That's not  good.

But, since it's free and it's Mark Zuckerberg's sandbox, he can do whatever he wants with it.

But for those of you who will miss the five photos at the top of your old page, you can actually create a collage of any album of your choice, not courtesy of Zuckerberg, of course. In my opinion it would just make the page busier than it already is, but Photojojo (which has all sorts of fun gadgets for camera buffs), has some wonderful DIY projects including one with a link to a free editing tool at  where you can turn your Timeline main photo into a collage, so you're not just stuck with one.  You need the latest flash 10.3 and active javascript, but it looks pretty interesting with some nifty filters and the ability to choose an album, friends.  Needless to say, I have not yet used it so I'm not sure how well it works. For fun, Photojojo also links to some very creative Facebook photo hacks.

Have fun and go create.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Gold and Turquoise Etsy Treasury- Curated by Olga Tarasova

Here's another beauty curated by Olga Tarasova who has a beautiful shop of felted and silk scarves and shawls, with some lovely felted sketchbooks. You can find her blog here. The treasury includes my abstract "Pieces of My Life".

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Converting Nikon Film Camera Lenses To Fit DSLR

Since I have a shop on, I belong to the Photographers of Etsy (POE) team. It's a wonderful forum for photographers to ask questions, share information, add our latest listings, and sometimes to just commiserate.  Since there are often many interesting things people share, I thought I would go ahead and start sharing them here, as well. 

While perusing the latest forum postings, I came across one of the photographers sharing how jazzed she was about finding someone to convert old film lenses to fit DSLR cameras.  She had been wanting a macro lens for a long while but didn't have the money to spend on one. Suddenly her husband remembered he had a box of old Nikon F film camera lenses in a box and there was a macro lens. They had also heard about someone who converts film camera lenses to DSLR, so off went their 55mm Nikkor macro lens, and just over a week later they had a lens to fit their digital camera for only $41.00. She was absolutely thrilled, and was raving about how tack sharp it was.

The only problem is he only converts Nikon lenses (and I'm a Canon gal), but for those of you who own Nikons, he might be worth a try if you have access to old film lenses. I personally can't vouch for him, but the photographer who used him was delighted.

John White's website is nothing to look at, and the camera clicking sounds are rather annoying, but he's offering a great service for Nikon owners at what looks to be a great price.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Famous Digitally Altered Photos- From Kim Jong Il's Funeral To A Beirut Bombing

It's not just fashion, wedding or celebrity photographers or major ad campaigns that resort to photoshopping to make a subject more appealing. The news media outlets have also been guilty of embellishing or erasing something or someone to further their own agendas.

The Telegraph UK has a compilation of some of the most famous photos that have been digitally altered for various reasons, with explanations. All very interesting.

However,  Reuters is probably one of the worst offenders when it comes to fauxtography. Manipulating a photo to make something look worse than it is, in an effort to garner sympathy, is unconscionable.  This website shows the many ways in which Reuters digitally altered news photos to make Israel look bad, and sometimes even staged a photo for special effect. That's not what photojournalism is about.

The badly cloned photo:

The original below:

It's just sloppy biased journalism.