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Month in review

Reviews
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
Ash by Malinda Lo
Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Rift, Part 3 by Gene Luen Yang
Aya: Love in Yop City by Marguerite Abouet
Bad Machinery 2: The Case of the Good Boy by John Allison
Bumperhead by Gilbert Hernández
The Croc Ate My Homework: A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan Pastis
The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Hot Air Baboons by Maxwell Eaton III
Fullmetal Alchemist 27 by Hiromu Arakawa
The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks
Hickory Daiquiri Dock: Cocktails with a Nursery Rhyme Twist by Tim Federle
Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse by Torben Kuhlmann
Lord and Lady Bunny—Almost Royalty! by Polly Horvath
Meeting Cezanne by Michael Morpurgo
Oz: Ozma of Oz by Eric Shanower
Potential by Ariel Schrag
The Printmaker's Daughter by Katherine Govier
Quest by Aaron Becker
Red Eye, Black Eye by K. Thor Jensen
Rain by Amanda Sun
The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures by Dave Stevens
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett
Shackleton's Journey by William Grill
The Swallow: A Ghost Story by Charis Cotter
13 rue Thérèse by Elena Mauli Shapiro
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle 08 by CLAMP
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle 09 by CLAMP
The Weapon from Beyond by Edmond Hamilton

Miscellaneous
Bloggiesta Mini Challenge — Digital Photography
My Bloggiesta To Do List
Bricks, bricks and more bricks

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Bloggiesta Mini Challenge: Photography for Bloggers: 09/16/15

Here is the 2015 Digital Photography mini challenge

Blogging more many of us is a hobby. We're focused on telling our stories or telling people about of our favorite things (books, products, trips, movies, tv shows, recipes, etc.) It's tempting to just look online for an image to share with the post but that's potentially dangerous. Best case scenario — if the original artist notices you're asked to take down the image or provide a link to his or her work. Worst case, you're sued.

Your best option is to take your own photographs. To that, you need a digital camera and your computer. This tutorial will show you how to do it with Apple products, but you can do the same with whatever your set up is.

First and foremost you need a way to take photographs. On the high end, there are the cameras with exchangeable lenses. The extreme end of this are the DSRL cameras, these are cameras with two sensors, one for the eyepiece and one for the camera itself. At the mid range there are the SRL cameras. I have a micro 4/3s SRL camera that I use for my higher end photography. Before I upgraded, I had a point and shoot digital camera.

A variety of digital cameras. I'm not suggesting that you run out and spend hundreds or thousands on a camera you're only going to use for blogging. But if you do have a digital camera, even just an older point and shoot that you have sitting around, by all means, put it to use! What if you don't have a stand alone camera? Do you have a phone with a camera or a tablet with a camera? These will also work. In fact, sometimes the near pinhole camera set up of these devices is ideal for photographing in doors or photographing staged things for blog posts. They're typically a wide angle lens with built in software designed to work in low light, especially the newer models. They're also relatively easy to use, tap on the thing you want to focus on and the device will also adjust the lens to get the best lighting possible for that item.

An iPhone, iPad Mini, and a MacBook Air.

Planning

When planning a blog post, think about what type of photograph will best illustrate the post. If you're showing off your book haul, for example, you might just want some artfully stacked or spread out arrangement. In this case, the books themselves are artwork and should be photographed against a neutral background. For instance, you can take a blanket or sheet and drape it over your couch and then arrange your books top.

A variety of library books

If you're highlighting a specific book, you can arrange it with some props that are thematically linked with the book.

A cat and the Catification book

Or if you are live blogging your activity (something that's popular on Tumblr and Twitter), you can use your smart phone to quickly snap something of interest and post it.

Reading out in the wild

Preparing Your Images:

First and foremost, if you can, take more than one photograph. For the live blogging, that probably won't be an option. But whenever possible, take more than one. Try slightly different angles, different lighting set ups, different arrangement of items, and so forth. Early on, this is important to get a sense of what's possible and to learn what works best for you.

If you're using a digital camera, you'll have to move your images off the camera to your computer first. To do that, find your camera's USB cable to hook the two together. You might then have to go to your camera to tell it to talk to your computer. Then you can either copy the files directly or import them into a photo editing program.

If you're using a smart phone, plug your phone into your computer to move off the images. Or if you're using an Apple product on an Apple computer, you can use airdrop to beam your selected photos to your computer without having to plug it in. If you plan to store your images on a photo sharing site, you can use your phone's app to upload them directly.

If you're shooting in RAW you will need to export the photo(s) you want to use as jpegs before being able to use them on your blog. You'll only really be shooting in RAW if you're using one of the higher end cameras. If you're relatively new to digital photography, don't have much room for storing files, or don't need to do any serious level of digital editing, it's perfectly ok to just shoot in jpeg, even with your high end camera.

Putting them on your blog:

Don't post the full size image on your blog. Modern digital photographs are massive and are getting larger each year. Scale those photos down to something manageable to save storage space and loading times for yourself and your readership!

On my blog I have three sizes that I use:
600 pixels wide for large format — basically for width of one of my articles.
300 pixels for pie charts and similar pieces of information.
200 pixels for book covers that are used in the first paragraph of a post

Photoshop, Gimp, Pixelmator, and other image manipulation software can all be used to resize images. If for some reason you can't use a program, you can use a site like Flickr to both store and resize your images. Once Flickr uploads an image, it creates smaller versions of them on the fly. Click on the downward pointing arrow to see which versions are available and select the appropriate size for your blog. As Flickr wishes to discourage hot linking of images, you will have to save the smaller version and upload it now to your blogging platform. Frankly, hot linking is ever a good idea as it adds extra and unexpected bandwidth burdens on other servers.

If storage is really is a problem, Flickr does provide a way to share your image (see the curved arrow to the left of the download arrow). You can only use Flickr for actual photographs, not "generic web elements" per their guidelines. If you're using a different photo storage / photo sharing site, make sure you read their terms of service before you start hot linking even to your own work.

For this challenge:

Basic:
Take a photograph and use it on a Bloggiesta post. Share your link in the comments to your post.

Advanced:
Replace photographs you've borrowed off the web with your own photographs. Share a link or two to highlight your work.

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