Photo of the Day is chosen from various OP galleries, including Assignments, Galleries and the OP Contests. Assignments have weekly winners that are featured on the OP website homepage, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To get your photos in the running, all you have to do is submit them.
As the years go on, I’ve experienced and witnessed something very disturbing. While not always true, I’ve seen the work ethic that was so strong when I was young diminish. I’ve discussed what has been labeled the “Entitlement Generation” with many people of all ages, and there’s an overwhelming agreement it exists—even with those who are part of the Entitlement Generation! If you’re part of it, if you succumb to it, and you’re a photographer, I implore to make No More Excuses and encourage you to become part of the Just Do It generation. Photographers who make excuses don’t often come back with winning photos. My prescription: rest up, read what’s below three times a day, drink plenty of it, and call me in the morning.
Excuse #1: The Light Is Soooooo Flat I Can’t Get Any Good Pictures. The alarm wakes you at 5:15 AM because you read that sunrise light is dramatic. You wake up with just a bit of reluctance. This is a step in the right direction from you feeling entitled to sleep till noon. You actually get excited because you know you need to be on location for early light. Upon arrival, clouds dominate the eastern horizon and the light is flat. Those from the Entitlement Generation may gripe and moan, but you’ve graduated from those ranks and cheer the flat light! “Why the cheers?” you ask? Because there’s a world of photos that await you. No more excuses that you can’t get a great image on an overcast day. Think small and think macro. View your surroundings with telephoto eyes and look down at the ground for potential subjects. A plethora of pictures await the photographer who’s not looking for excuses. Your goal of capturing the grand landscape needs to shift to subjects that are more intimate. The territory to explore may be no more than a few square feet of real estate but net an amazing end result. The point is that if you begin your session with Plan A, be prepared for Plan B or maybe C. The challenge is to walk away with good images no matter the conditions. It’s not the number of pictures you make during a session that dictates its success. It’s the number of keepers you bring back. Thomas Edison once said, “Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.” Break a sweat and make No More Excuses.
Excuse #2: No Photos Today—It’s Toooooo Cold. (Now say it with a whine…sounds nasty doesn’t it?) Snow is an ingredient that has numerous advantages. It covers the land in a blanket of white, which hides distractions, rubble, dirt and other undesirable elements. When sunrise or sunset reflects off its surface, images come alive. But associated with snow is cold weather. For all you Entitled Generationers, that’s why they make cold weather gear, boots, chemical warmers and fleece. If you choose to remain a fair weather photographer, other than the fact you miss out on snow scenes, you also deprive yourself of longer shooting sessions. During the winter, the sun stays low on the horizon for longer periods of time. Lower sun angles mean better light for longer periods. So strap on your gaiters, break out the pocket warmers, grab your fleece and head out in winter to make some great shots.
Excuse #3: But It’s Soooooo Heavy! (How many of you said it with a whine?) What else could I be referring to other than a tripod? A tripod should be every photographer’s best friend for many reasons—more than the fact it helps make a sharp photo. Your tripod should be beefy enough to provide sharp images with your longest lens. A flimsy one isn’t worth its weight in dirt. A substantial tripod may be heavy and somewhat of a chore to carry, but if you return from an outing and every photo isn’t sharp, it was a waste of time to carry it anyhow. Accept the fact that it’s SOOOOOOOO heavy and deal with it. Another benefit of a tripod is it allows you to study the composition with more comfort. Since it supports the weight of the camera, it frees your mind to think more deeply about where to point the camera to create the best composition. It also forces you to slow down since you can study the viewfinder with greater scrutiny. An additional benefit is it allows you to get in the photo if you use the self-timer. Finally, it allows you to more easily shade your lens against flare. You can move to the front of the camera and block the light that causes it. So with all these positive factors, learn to love your tripod even though it’s SOOOOOOO heavy!
In the past few years, smartphone manufacturers have started paying more attention to the optics they use on their smartphone, using wider apertures for better low light performance. That’s awesome, but as a photographer, I have an ongoing gripe about the marketing buzz around apertures: An aperture tells you little about performance if you don’t know the camera’s sensor size. As a refresher, all else being equal, wider apertures (a lower number) mean better low light performance and shallower depth of field (more background blur or ‘bokeh’). The problem with smartphone photography is that rarely is everything else equal, sensor…
Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once famously said: “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Even though Russia has undergone extraordinary political and cultural transformations and successfully embraced Western-style capitalism after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many people in the West still regard Russian business culture as very mysterious, incredibly intricate and difficult to understand. I am originally from Russia and currently live in Moscow, although previously, I studied, worked and lived in France and the UK. I now work for a Russian tech company and mostly deal with foreign colleagues from…
The Windows 10 experience is anchored by the taskbar. It provides an information-packed reference point for your workflow, but not every desktop serves the same purpose. Here are a few customization tips that’ll show you how to move, resize, and customize the taksbar to suit your needs. With the myriad of different display configurations supported by Windows 10 it’s possible you’re going to end up wishing the taskbar was somewhere else. The taskbar can be oriented top, bottom, right, or left simply by left-clicking and dragging it. I’ve heard complaints that some users find themselves unable to drag the taskbar…
Instructors Phil Ebiner and Diego Davila outline all the best tactics for conquering your digital marketing uncertainty with this mega bundle of learning, the Digital Marketing 22-Course Masterclass, which you can get right now for just $15 from TNW Deals.
If I told you that I credit paddleboarding to my success in entrepreneurship, you’d probably laugh me out of the boat, or the board — and I wouldn’t blame you! Founding and running a successful business requires many skills, and propelling one’s self on a board in Miami waters is decidedly not the first one that comes to mind. That said, as an entrepreneur, I get a lot out of my hobbies. They help me unwind, disconnect, and get my blood and brain pumping in new ways, making me a better leader when I am on the clock. I take…
They may not know it, but anyone who has backed a company on Kickstarter or taken a Lyft is engaging with Stripe.
The company provides the online payments backbone for Twitter, Kickstarter, Shopify, Salesforce, Lyft and more than 100,000 other companies. The company’s co-founder, John Collison, was interviewed earlier this month by Axios Chief Technology Correspondent Ina Fried at the 2017 GeekWire Summit about the progress Stripe has made in just a few short years.
The company was in 2009 and based in San Francisco, and it is expanding rapidly in Seattle. Collison said the company has plans to grow to about 100 people by next year in the city.
Stripe is shaping up to be like the Amazon Web Services of mobile payments. The company represents an indispensable part of an array of consumer-facing services that operates behind the scenes. And it is heading in a similar direction, starting off with basic services and expanding into other areas, like how AWS started off with storage and now offers dozens of computing services to its customers.
In Stripe’s case, it is adding business services like fraud detection, analytics tools, and even helping people incorporate a business starting from scratch.
Watch the full interview with Collison from the GeekWire Summit above.
Public radio and digital tech are having a moment. Not only has National Public Radio listenership hit an all-time high, NPR podcasts and digital content have spiked in popularity. Meanwhile, Seattle-area public broadcasters focusing on classical, indie rock, jazz, and news are diving deeply into streams, podcasts, and video to reach new audiences in new ways.
Matt Martinez, director of content for news and jazz KNKX Tacoma/Seattle, said they’re finding the definition of “radio” is changing. He cited a study of Millennials who, to the surprise of some stations involved in the research, said they listened to a lot of radio. So they were asked how they listened to the radio in the morning.
“‘On my phone and I just put it on my speaker,’” Martinez described the response. “So (it’s) streaming, but they’re thinking ‘radio’ still.” That led to an aha moment. “When they think about ‘radio’ what they’re thinking is stories, well-crafted stories, solid news and information, well-curated music.”
Even the definition of ‘streaming’ has undergone some change, noted Bryan Lowe, long-time program director of KING-FM Seattle. KING established one of the first online streams in 1995 to mirror what was broadcast on its classical music station.
By 2011, Lowe recalled, KING had four distinct streaming channels because it became clear that classical audiences had varying tastes. “We made a symphonic channel. We made an opera channel,” he said. “We tried to take some of that content and move it over there where a specific audience could find it around the world, and there’s a big audience for it.”
Martinez and Lowe sat down with GeekWire for an episode of our special podcast series on science fiction, pop culture, and the arts to discuss public radio going digital. Martinez joined KNKX (formerly KPLU) two years ago following 15 years at NPR where he was a senior producer, working on everything from podcast pilots to its signature All Things Considered. Lowe, retired from his program director role, remains a host at KING-FM where he’s worked since 1979.
Their stations are only two of several listener-supported radio stations in the Seattle area, including KUOW, KEXP, and KNHC.
Both KNKX and KING are digital pioneers. One factor may be Seattle’s pervasive and long-standing tech industry. The KING-FM online stream came about, Lowe said, because the station had a fan: someone at RealNetworks, then called Progressive Networks.
“They said we want to do this online,” Lowe said. “The guy who is inventing the streaming process at RealNetworks loved KING-FM and so he was using us as a test. So he put us on as a streaming channel and it’s just been going on ever since.”
Shortly after that, Lowe says KING-FM was involved “in the first-ever classical concert done on the internet; it was called the Cyberian Rhapsody.” KING-FM also became notable when, in 2011, as it shifted to non-profit status, it decided to do away with not just commercials, but the traditional radio staples of news and traffic, effectively turning its broadcasts into an on-air equivalent of a digital stream.
KNKX, too, has done its share of turning new digital fields. Martinez points to its Jazz24 stream, which continues to grow after nearly a decade, he said, calling it “still one of the most listened to music streams in public media.”
While the online audiences for both KING-FM and KNKX pale in comparison to those for on-air broadcasts, digital listeners tend to be younger. “The average public radio age, and I think it’s true for our station, is right around 54,” Martinez said. “Sixty-five percent of the NPR podcast audience is between 24 and 44.”
The next digital harbinger may be Alexa and its relatives. “There have been different estimates telling us that 20 percent of the population could have a voice-activated device in their home by 2020,” Martinez said, noting the uptake of Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. “You need to be the thing that they want to listen to, and you have to market yourself to make sure that happens.”
Why wouldn’t listeners just pick a fully automated stream from Pandora or Spotify? Expertise.
“They don’t know the product of ‘classical music,’ ” Lowe said. “When I say to that black tube device over there, play Janacek’s Sinfonietta piece I really like, it will only play the first movement because it doesn’t recognize that there are four movements within a symphony.” The same might be said of deep human host knowledge of the contents of jazz, or indie rock.
It’s not unlike what happened to stage after the debut of film, or film after television — the precursor medium had to re-think what it was uniquely good at, and focus. “We are excellent storytellers, NPR,” Martinez said. “We have to continue telling great wonderful stories. As long as we do that the audience will be there; we just have to make sure that we are there in a meaningful way for them.”
The relentless march of technology for the audience also can be a challenge for public broadcasters behind the scenes. In an unrelated visit to NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. last month, I noticed that every computer on several newsroom floors was still running Windows 7. And when faced with a digital output limitation while recording promos for All Things Considered — theme music had to be played from a compact disc — co-host Ari Shapiro exclaimed (off the air), “My mind is blown … I’m not even a Millennial, and I don’t have a way to play a CD.”
NPR alum Martinez smiled when told that story. At KNKX, “we don’t play CDs anymore,” he confirmed.
Both Martinez and Lowe do expect digital to eventually start to overtake analog broadcasting. “We have a good ten years … where things are going to really be pretty strong,” Lowe speculated. “But within the seven-year period things are going to start turning. There’ll be too many other options that people can turn to.”
“I think the bottom is going to fall out when WiFi becomes a true public utility,” Martinez projected. “And you are able to get it everywhere you go.” As entire cities have WiFi cloud coverage, Martinez said, “people can just call out in their cars what they want to listen to.”
So will this technologically rich future ever improve the listener experience of … the pledge drive?
Martinez, for one, was optimistic. “Technology is fantastic, and you can figure lots of stuff out with it,” he said. “It just takes that person to figure it out.”
The U.S. territory that is still struggling to recover from a devastating hurricane has submitted a bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. Bloomberg reported this weekend that Puerto Rican officials sent their proposal to Amazon for a potential HQ2 to be built on a former naval station in the northeastern municipality of Ceiba.
Much of Puerto Rico is still without electricity, food, or water more than a month after Hurricane Maria made direct landfall.
Bloomberg notes that the “vulnerability” of the country’s energy grid could be one reason Amazon decides not to establish an HQ2 in Puerto Rico, which is also dealing with a debt crisis.
Amazon just finished accepting applications for its new headquarters, which will be a “full equal” to its current HQ in Seattle. Amazon says HQ2 will bring 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment to the city that it ultimately picks.
Amazon first announced its HQ2 intentions last month; since then, seemingly every big city in North America has rallied its economic development teams to help convince the tech giant to bring HQ2 to their region. Amazon is looking for a metro area with more than 1 million people, quality transit options, and incentives from local governments.