Personal ponderings from a natural night-owl!

Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Schinker’s Shutterbug Site

So I started a new blog today: Schinker’s Shutterbug Site. I recently discovered the Shutter Sisters website and LOVED its daily photo topic feature. Basically, one of the Shutter Sisters blogs on a topic daily and asks visitors to post links to their own pictures on that same topic.

Yes, I could have used this blog for those posts. But it didn’t seem like the right vehicle, and I’ve discovered that many people have multiple blogs on different topics, which appeals to my obsessively organized brain. I also love WordPress‘s new photoblogging theme, Monochrome, that changes the color of the post automatically based on the picture in the post. It’s a great theme, but not appropriate for this blog where I have spent many an evening getting my sidebars just right. So creating a special photo blog seemed like the logical way to go. (And of course, doing something technological FIRST in this family is hard to accomplish, so I expect the DH – dear husband – to now go out and create HIS own second blog. Yes, dear, that IS a challenge (-:).

So please have a look at my new blog and do tell me what you think! You could have the distinction of making the very first comment there if you hurry!

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Out of the Ashes

I get most of my news aurally from NPR and when the kids are not home, visually from CNN.com, so I am just now watching video of people in California returning to the ash piles that were their houses.

People had to evacuate quickly, and their goal was to get themselves and their most precious belongings out intact. And what did they take? When they had less than 5 minutes to get out, when they didn’t even have time to grab shoes, what DID they grab? Their family photos.

Interview after interview, evacuees tell us either how glad they are that they had time to save their photos or how they are mourning the photos left behind. Interviewers ask, “Were you able to get anything out? Pictures…anything?” Furniture, cars, clothes, and even houses can be replaced, but we all know that family photos are priceless treasures.

But really, it’s not even the photos themselves that are irreplaceable, but the memories, stories, and celebrations they represent. For some, a photo of a loved one is the only tangible thing that’s left. Photos link us together with other human beings and give us a way to tell our own life stories. Photos help us remember and celebrate, and be remembered and celebrated by others. Photos link us with the past so we can forge our future.

So even though houses have burned, homes will be recreated – and family photos will be a huge part of that.

If you are not preserving, documenting, sharing, and enjoying your family photos with those you love, please email me. As a Memory Celebration coach, I am passionate about helping people celebrate and share their lives and their stories.

If your photos are so important that they’re the first things you’d grab in a fire, what’s holding you back from enjoying them now? I can help you with that.

Remarkable Ohio Update

There are now 252 photos of Ohio historical signs with the tag “remarkableohio” posted on Flickr (click here for the background on this story). Since there are 1205 signs, most with two sides, this means that over 10% of them are now tagged and mapped on Flickr!

kent-historical-marker.jpgkent-historical-marker-1.jpgI thought I would be posting 4 more signs yesterday, but it turns out that one of my signs was an imposter. It took me half an hour to figure out why this sign was not listed on the Ohio Historical Society‘s website. It turns out that if you look closely at the top, you’ll see it’s not actually an Ohio Historical Society sign at all! It was posted by the Kent Historical Society to commemorate Kent’s participation in the underground railroad movement. It’s a neat sign and surely worthy of recognition and reading, but it’s not an OHS sign.

Remarkable Ohio

My involvement in blogging started with reading other people’s blogs. One of my favorites blogs is Alvin Trusty’s. Back in March 2007, he wrote about his new interest in geo-tagging and a project he started to document all the historical markers in Ohio.

002_23a.jpg

The idea is for people to take digital pictures of Ohio historical markers (like the one above) and upload them to Flickr with the tag “remakableohio.” Anyone going to Flickr who enters the tag “remarkableohio” will see all the historical markers on one map. Best of all, you can zoom in to read any of them.

This is not only cool, but handy if you grew up as I did with an historically interested mom who wanted to stop and read every sign and an historically indifferent dad, who was the driver and sped up past every sign. As a result, I’ve read the first few words of lots of these signs, as we drove by at high speed!

This project is open to the public, but according to Alvin’s research in the Flickr help files, your signs will only show up on the public map if you upload 5 acceptable photos. At that point, your account will be approved for public searching.

Last weekend, I entered my 5th and 6th remarkableohio photos, so the photos I’ve taken are now visible to the public. The signs I photographed were in downtown Cleveland on Wade Oval, in downtown Zoar, and in downtown Xenia. The map is sadly devoid of signs in Northeast Ohio, so go to the Ohio Historical Society’s website to find out if there are any markers near you and get those camera clicking!

The Man on the Dead Horse

Since December of 2006, this historical photo of a man sitting on a horse has been sparking speculation and interest.

Dead Horse

The photo was one several historical pictures included in a 2007 calendar issued by The Sheboygan Press. Theories about the story behind the photo have poured in from places as diverse as Norway, Scotland and Brazil. The BBC, AP, CNN, and other major media outlets ran stories on the photo. The following link seems to have a pretty good explanation for the image. So the mystery is solved, right?

http://www.sheboygan-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070127/SHE0101/701270488/1062/SHEnews

Not so fast. THIS site has a DIFFERENT theory. It’s a remarkable example of the depth of research that some have put into figuring out the story behind this picture.

http://ancestralmanor.com/dnn/Default.aspx?tabid=129

So, what’s the point?

How many pictures do you have at home, in a printed or digital format? And each picture has at least one story behind it. After all, it was taken for a reason. And you probably figure that there’s no point in writing down the story behind the picture because YOU know what the picture shows, what it means. After all, it’s OBVIOUS, right? I think you see where I’m going here.

In junior high, we did a sociological anthropology experiment where we were asked to describe how people far in the future might describe a toilet seat if it were unearthed in an archaeological dig. We came up with all sorts of hilarious theories – the most memorable being a religious ceremonial object, since most houses have them.

The point is that in just a few short centuries or decades, things we take as commonplace today will be completely exotic, their uses perhaps even undecipherable. This is even more true now than it was when I was in junior high. My kids don’t have a clue what purpose a typewriter, rotary dial phone, or walkman served. The only place they’ll see one is in a museum (or my mom’s storage unit – she’s got EVERYTHING in there).

Your pictures are precious, but your memories and stories are priceless. I’m sure neither the man on the dead horse nor the photographer taking the picture could have imagined the impact that image would have on people over 100 years later. And perhaps the story behind the photo is mundane, but wouldn’t you still like to know what the heck was going on? So please, for the sake of future generations, go ahead and write down the stories behind your photos!

Memory Management

Do you take digital photos? Are they stored on your computer or on your camera’s memory card? If they are in your computer – bravo! – but are you able to quickly find what you need when you need it? The computer is the 21st century version of the shoebox: all the photos get thrown in the computer and most people STILL can’t find that photo of Aunt Sally they took at the family reunion.

Lots of people use the folder system to organize their photos. Some elaborate examples are blogged about here: http://www.trustyetc.com/trustyblog/?p=74

The problem with folders is that they are time consuming to create, allow you to view your pictures only one at a time, and don’t provide an efficient method for cross-referencing. If you DO try to cross reference, you are usually forced to create multiple copies of the same image, so space quickly becomes a problem.

I am a photo organization and memory preservation consultant. Since I help people organize their photos and capture the stories behind them, it is essential that I, myself, am organized!

Creative Memories’ “Memory Manager” software is simple and elegant in design, with more sophisticated and intuitive features than the popular programs Picasa or Photoshop Elements. And at $40, it’s less than half the price.

Like the other two programs, Memory Manager organizes not only digital images, but also digital video, scanned documents, and audio files (including MP3’s). It allows for single-click editing and CD/DVD backup. Like Photoshop, it displays multiple thumbnail images and allows for quick drag and drop sorting. But here are some amazing Memory Manager features the other two programs don’t offer:

  1. Stores both import date and picture date – and allows sorts on either
  2. Allows picture date edits – great for scanned-in photos or correcting photos mis-dated by your camera – & shows a visual timeline of all files
  3. Searches by season (winter, spring, summer, fall) using “fuzzy” dating logic
  4. Unlimited journaling with spell check for every file; journaling stays with the file
  5. Option for automatic shadow copies of all files, images & journaling upon program close for painless backups
  6. Cross-tag and file pictures in multiple places WITHOUT making multiple copies
  7. Powerful custom search on key words or strings, by event, by date, or by individuals in the picture
  8. Has the option to overwrite after edit or keep individual revisions
  9. Revisions are kept with original photo for easy viewing and managing
  10. View images that have been printed or not printed
  11. Has 45 print layout templates. Easily make index prints, wallets, 8×10’s or unique combinations of sizes
  12. Create & print custom journal boxes with or without borders in desired size, font, & colors
  13. Create a custom default toolbar with your favorite editing tools

The editing features are awesome because they are simple for non-technical people to learn and use. The search feature is my favorite because of the versatility. I am able with just a few clicks to locate and display all the photos taken in summer showing both our kids.

My husband John was skeptical. He demanded a showdown and challenged me to find a particular copy of a picture of Emily just after birth, which we had in some folder on the home server AND on a backup CD. Using Memory Manager, I had the image up on my screen before he had even found the CD with the image on it!

Memory Manager also comes bundled with Storybook Creator – free digital scrapbooking software that creates albums using simple drag and drop functionality.

To take a virtual tour of Memory Manager, go here: http://www.CMmemorymanager.com/

To purchase this software AND receive free, in-person, one-on-one training, go here: http://www.myCMsite.com/DebS

Welcome to the 21st century!

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