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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Behind the Images

You may have noticed that I've been very quiet on this blog for a very long time. The reason is that I've been spending a lot of time pursuing my other main interest: photography. I have found the time I invest in that to be very rewarding, so it occupies all of my available free time. The purpose of this very short post is to point you to where you can find me when I'm quiet here.

Shaving, A Faster Alternative?

So, remember how I said that the best tech was low-tech? is...but only if you have lots of time on your hands. In the months that have elapsed since I switched to a double-edged safety razor, I've learned one important thing: Yes, safety razors shave amazingly well and are very cheap, but they are very, very, unforgiving.

I found that I had to focus very intently to shave, all the while being very slow and methodical to avoid cutting myself. I also had to constantly reapply pre-shave cream and shaving cream, as well as frequently wet the razor blade to compensate for the lack of a lubrication strip found on modern cartridge razors. Because time is something I have a very short supply of in my harried life with kids, I've decided to set down, at least temporarily, my safety razor and try another alternative to the Gillette shaving cabal: The Dollar Shave Club

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Safety Razors, Sometimes the Best Tech is Low-Tech

Well time for something a little different. In a world that’s increasingly becoming more and more high-tech, I’ve decided to opt for a piece of technology that is decidedly low-tech. Perhaps you've also been as frustrated as I have with the rising cost of cartridge razors and their blades. Maybe you've even read this satirical article and wondered how many Gillette executives actually think that way. I know with prices of $20-$30 for an eight pack of blades, I’m no longer enamored by promises that the latest razor with a vibrating handle, tilting head, five blades, and now even a ball head, is going to give me the best shave experience of my life.

With countless other interests aiming to take a chunk out of my wallet, I’ve decided to go back to a century-old technology. The tried-and-tested double-edged safety razor. These have seen a resurgence as of late, with some people touting what I call the “spa experience” of shaving. For me, the motivation is much more basic. I simply want to save money, while still getting an excellent shave. If you have similar interests, read on to hear my experience and find some useful resources to help you get started as well.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Recover Stolen Camera Gear with Lenstag

Have you ever been the victim of camera theft? Thankfully I haven't, but ever since a colleague of mine recounted his months-long journey to recover his DSLR and lenses, I've been giving the topic a lot of thought. His story involved many calls to the the police, and hours spent scouring the Internet to find his camera's serial number embedded in EXIF data on Flickr. He then painstakingly followed the activities of the thieves on social media until he had enough evidence for the police to approach them. Luckily for the rest of us, there's a potentially useful (and free) service that aims to make the processes of locating stolen camera gear a little easier:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

PSA: Level Up Images with Lightroom

This is going to be one of the shortest posts I've ever written. I'd like to take this opportunity to make a public service announcement. If you have any interest whatsoever in photography, please do yourself (plus the world) a favor and take the time to learn Adobe Lightroom. It isn't even a quarter as difficult as Photoshop to learn, yet it will do wonders for your photographs.

It wasn't all that long ago that I used to think the auto enhance features of programs like Picasa were sufficient to improve my images. If I could invent a time machine, the first thing I would do would be to go back in time and yell at myself to start using Lightroom (okay well maybe after I tell myself to buy Apple and Adobe stock, along with some Bitcoins).

I learned through a combination of friends with similar interests, blog posts, and tutorials. Here's a good compilation of links to get you started. If you don't believe me, check out the before and after examples below (may not work correctly on a mobile browser). All edits were done with basic Lightroom tools and didn't require any complex masking, layering, etc. Some edits are subtle, but often that is all it takes to make an average picture great.