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How to take photographs in the snow

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When photographing snow you have to pretty much ignore what your camera thinks the scene looks like otherwise you will get an underexposed, grey shot. Conversely, if it’s sunny there will likely be a blue cast over the photo and the snow whites will be blown out.

So, if it’s dull and snowing take your meter readings, but then notch up your exposure compensation (EV) a couple of thirds to compensate for what the camera thought the light levels were. If you want to do it properly, zoom into a bright patch of snow, dial in an EV of between +2/3 to 1 and a 1/3 and note the shutter speed and aperture the camera’s meter obtained (or get the measurements from an external light meter). Now, go to manual mode and dial those in with the EV reset to 0. This will overexpose the snow, but give you the right effect.

If it’s sunny, use a neutral white balance card (a grey card or a patch of uncovered wall that’s grey, rocks whatever and test white balance, adjust accordingly to warm the image and avoid the blue cast. You might have to nudge down the EV 1/3 or 2/3.

Useful tips on photographing in the snow here and here and here.

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bjtitus
5 days ago
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Denver, CO
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Oct 27th, 2017: SNEKs

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Mark Laita is a long time photographer fascinated by the shapes and colors of snakes, preferably just
after shedding when the colors are most vibrant.



Quote:

Handlers assisted him in laying each snake on a piece of black velvet, which slowed these fast movers enough to grab the photographs. The dark background also allowed the eye to focus on the form, texture, and color of the species. “By putting it on a black background, it removes all of the variables. It makes it just about the snake,” shared Laita. “If it is a red snake in the shape of a figure eight, all you have is this red swipe of color.”


Quote:

While photographing a black mamba at a facility in Central America, the deadly snake struck. “It was a very docile snake,” he recalls. “It just happened to move close to my feet at some point. The handler brought his hook in to move the snake, and he inadvertently snagged the cord from my camera. That scared the snake, and then it struck where it was warm. That happened to be the artery in my calf.” Miraculously, though the blood soaked through his socks and shoes, he survived the bite.


Quote:

Considering the black mamba's venom is deadly and can potentially make a person collapse within 45 minutes, Laita is extremely lucky. In fact, he was so preoccupied with the shoot, he didn't realize he'd been bitten until the handler told him. After 20 minutes of feeling ok, he decided not to seek medical attention—something herpetologists later told him was a big mistake because something could have happened even hours later. It was only the next day he realized he'd actually snapped a photograph of the bite as it occurred.
When will people realize sneks are sneaky, slimy, agents of Evil from Hell. :smack:
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samuel
39 days ago
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Omg
The Haight in San Francisco
bjtitus
27 days ago
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Denver, CO
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1 public comment
skittone
39 days ago
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That guy was luuuuuucky!

5 Ways to Design Products Customers Love

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Laura Lezza/Getty Images

As a teenager, Mike Pfotenhauer loved to hike, but he hated how uncomfortable he felt carrying the backpacks then on the market. So, at age 16, he created his own, sewing all the pieces together himself. He went on to design and deliver customized outdoor equipment to clients who’d heard of him through the grapevine, and eventually he founded Osprey, a company that designs and manufactures all kinds of specialty bags and packs, with user-friendly features such as body-hugging contours, a top “lid” flap that converts into a spacious day pack, and a magnetic connector to secure the drinking tube from the built-in water reservoir.

This story exemplifies one type of empathic design, namely by a user-designer who combines deep knowledge of product use with the ability to foresee new possibilities for it. Another well-documented way to achieve the same outcome is through ethnographic research — surveying and studying the behavior of potential or actual users — which design companies such as IDEO have used to great effect in projects as various as coasting bicycles to redesigning patient experience at Kaiser Permanente.

However, in a recent study of a number of architectural firms, I found that there are three additional ways, employed less often, of achieving empathic design.

One of these approaches is to temporarily adopt the role of a user. For example, a designer who wanted to understand patient and family experience in a hospital emergency room feigned an injury. One result of her acting debut was that she identified the need to redesign the way that the nurses conducted triage, that is, deciding who needed immediate attention and who could wait. Many teaching hospitals hire people to simulate patients in a similar way. Although the intention is more to educate future doctors than to change processes, such simulations can offer insights rich in suggestions for improvements, such as additional questions that should be a routine part of the doctors’ diagnostic inquiries.

Another avenue to empathic design is immersion in the culture of the customer or client, so as to look at the challenge through a different lens and intuit unarticulated desires. For example, when a top architect at architectural/engineering firm HGA was assigned to help make a pitch for a synagogue project, she immediately started to study Jewish culture — although she was Catholic — starting with Judaism for Dummies and moving on to more intellectual books. By the time she was interviewed by the clients, she was so up to speed on the religion that they suggested, only half-jokingly, that she could teach Hebrew school. Recognizing Judaism’s strong emphasis on stewardship of the earth, she suggested a feature the clients (and competitors) had not considered: a small garden to be used for certain ceremonies. Her firm won the business.

A final way to achieve empathic design is through a cognitive artifact that may parallel or enhance a physical prototype. Just as drawings and models tap into users’ imagination and uncover latent desires, so too can an evocative metaphor or analogy. For example, when architectural/engineering firm SMMA was tasked with designing a “maker space” that would encourage collaboration, a free flow of ideas, and flexible work areas, and that would fit naturally into the rural environment, the design director suggested a tobacco curing barn as a conceptual archetype. Such structures are both tied to the land and built for an intended process, including directing and adapting to different air flows, with almost porous siding and adaptable interior spaces. By inviting everyone to brainstorm about features that would mimic or differ from this archetype, SMMA came with a more innovative, empathic, user-friendly design.

What all five of these modes of empathic design have in common is:

  • An emphasis on seeking out unarticulated needs and desires so as to get the job done — whatever that job may be — creatively
  • Looking at the world through the eyes of the customer. Of course, there are often different sets of users, whose priorities differ and must be negotiated into some overall compromise.
  • An emotional connection between design and its users. By definition, empathy includes emotion — a connection beyond satisfaction with the operational.

The backpack, the coasting bicycle, the emergency room, the synagogue, the maker space — all are examples of empathic design. But their designers used different strategies to get into the minds of the clients and ultimately the users.

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bjtitus
27 days ago
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Denver, CO
samuel
37 days ago
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The Haight in San Francisco
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The Shepherds of the Tusheti Mountains (31 photos)

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Every autumn, a spectacular animal migration takes place in Georgia’s Tusheti region in the northern Caucasus Mountains. Radio Free Europe photographer Amos Chapple recently joined a group of shepherds and their dogs on what he refers to as a “deadly, boozy journey” from the steep mountains to the plains, as they brought their 1,200 sheep down to their winter pastures.

On the road towards the formidable 9,190 ft (2,800 m) high Abano Pass. The morning is spent winding through the alpine lakes and watching for the rocks that occasionally clatter down the cliffs. (© Copyright Amos Chapple / Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty)
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bjtitus
31 days ago
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Denver, CO
mgeraci
45 days ago
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New York, NY
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A Few Great IKEA Items for RV & Small Space Living

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I mentioned in our most recent Quality Linkage column that my wife and I have been giving the interior of our travel trailer a bit of a facelift:

[We’ve] practically been living at the Orlando IKEA as we research and buy things in bursts — a dumb strategy I do not recommend to anyone and can only justify by the fact that we didn’t have an IKEA back when we lived in Oklahoma City and are inexperienced but we dived into this project headfirst anyway thinking it would be fairly straightforward and we were WRONG […]

As we near the finish line of this project, I thought I’d put together a little guide of the IKEA items we decided on and why. Enjoy.

Note: Our travel trailer is a 2004 Jayco Jay Flight 27BH, and we bought the items below with that particular space in mind. It should go without saying that if you’re going to remodel your own RV, small apartment, or whatever with IKEA stuff, measure every possible thing in your space and match the items that will fit best. “Your mileage may vary” and all that.

* * *


VALLENTUNA sleeper sectional. (normally $635 for this configuration, but prices vary otherwise)

VALLENTUNA sleeper sectional. (normally $635 for this configuration, but prices vary otherwise)

VALLENTUNA Sleeper Sectional »

One of the top items to replace on our list was the RV’s original couch. It was ugly, not very comfortable to sleep on when folded down into a bed futon-style, and hard to clean around. We knew that anything we replaced it with also needed to have some way to fold out into a bed for when my wife’s younger siblings visit us, and after trying every conceivable sleeper couch at IKEA, we settled on the VALLENTUNA sleeper sectional.

The VALLENTUNA series is a modular couch system that allows you to assemble the perfect large or small sofa for your needs. They’ve got a sleeper seat, a storage seat, and other options you can play with here.

The particular configuration linked above is the one we went with, and includes:

  • Sleeper seat section — The bottom of the couch slides out like a drawer, revealing a long lower bed frame, which the seat cushion then unfolds onto to create the mattress, as pictured below.
  • Two backrests — These are taller than the armrest pieces you can select, creating more of a private nook you can hang out in.
  • Two back cushions — They’re expensive for what they are, but the backrests alone — though slightly cushioned — aren’t all that comfortable to lean back against, so you kinda need them. I will say that the back cushions are quite comfy, so we didn’t mind the added expense.

ikea-rv-small-space-guide-vallentuna-sleeper-sectional-couch-2



EKEDALEN extendable table. ($119 for the smallest version)

EKEDALEN extendable table. ($119 for the smallest version)

EKEDALEN Extendable Table »

Our old dinette had one thing going for it: When needed, the tabletop could be lowered down onto the two opposed seat frames to create a bed, with the back and bottom seat cushions acting as a “mattress”. The problem was that the frame was falling apart in places and the bed mode was never very comfortable.

After carefully measuring the space we had to work with after taking the dinette out, we discovered that the smallest EKEDALEN extendable table would fit perfectly. In its compact form, the square table rests in the corner of the dining area. When we need a little extra room, the end of the table slides out like a drawer, revealing a table leaf we can take out and secure onto the end.

We love, love, love this table. One of our upcoming projects will be finding a way to secure it to the wall so we don’t have to flip it upside down onto a blanket while towing the trailer.



FROSTA Stool »

The table above doesn’t come with any seating of its own, and we needed something that wouldn’t be too uncomfortable to sit on but could easily stow away when we need more space. We got four of the FROSTA stools, which stack together very neatly and slide under the table when we need them out of the way. They’re surprisingly not bad at all to sit on, given they have no cushions.



SLÄKTING Hanging Organizer »

The built-in closets next to our beds are narrow, but tall. Until now, the only way to take advantage of that vertical space was to stack a bunch of folded clothes. With a few of these SLÄKTING hanging organizers, we were able to add “shelving” to our closets and keep things better organized, with some additional structure thanks to these compartment boxes.

It’s not quite as cool as what the guy at 6:59 of this video has — where he keeps two of these organizers stowed in box-like cabinets on the floor of his van and extends them upward to hang them from ceiling hooks as needed, with clothes and shoes already inside — but they’re helpful nonetheless.



GRUNDTAL hanging dish drainer. ($28)

GRUNDTAL hanging dish drainer. ($28)

GRUNDTAL Dish Drainer »

There’s no dishwasher in our RV, so we have to wash dishes by hand. Our system until now usually involved setting wet dishes face-down on a towel spread across the stovetop’s fold-down cover to air-dry a while. The GRUNDTAL dish drainer lets us get drying dishes out of the way so we can still use the stove without having to put everything away first.

Before you ask, yes, we know we’re a little lazy about putting the clean dishes away. Sue us.



TRONES shoe/storage cabinets ($40 for a 3-pack)

TRONES shoe/storage cabinets ($40 for a 3-pack)

TRONES Shoe/Storage Cabinets »

Our RV is a “bunkhouse” (hence the 27BH model number), which means it has a bunk bed area for our son. We took the bottom mattress out forever ago to turn that area into a kind of playing/reading area, but keeping his toys and books organized in there is something of a pain, especially when we move the trailer.

We picked up IKEA’s TRONES shoe/storage cabinets, which come in packs of three. They’re wall-mountable and stackable, and they stay out of the way thanks to their narrow vertical dimensions. Rather than sliding out like drawers — which we’ve tried in the past but those always fall over/out when we move — they tilt out at an angle.

They’re ostensibly for storing shoes, but they’ve worked quite well for his toys and such.


This is nowhere near everything we’ve bought from IKEA — my wallet will be crying about this project for a good while — but the items above are definitely the most important of the bunch.

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bjtitus
43 days ago
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Denver, CO
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Ask MeFi: How do I shake up my bookmarks?

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I'm in a rut as to the web sites I regularly visit. Help me find better internets to read.

I reflexively go to Huffington Post for political news and a few other sites that I know aren't contributing to happiness in my life (all Trump, all the time) or providing me important information. I gravitate towards liberal politics, history and off-the-wall fun sites (thank you everlasting blort). I avoid celebrity and entertainment.

I'm not just looking for web site suggestions, but a way to discover sites I may have an interest in.
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bjtitus
49 days ago
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Denver, CO
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