Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Harvard Forbes Pigment Collection

This is an interesting 2 min video on Harvard's pigment collection:

Direct Link: https://youtu.be/F8aVfqDKx1U

Friday, February 17, 2017

Review of "Chatbooks" - Easily Print a Book From Your Instagram Photos

I surprised my wife with a Chatbooks subscription for Valentines Day. I had 14 books from my Instagram feed printed and shipped to us:

My first Instagram pic of my first son pulling himself up
for the first time on the cover of our first Chatbook.

Chatbooks is an app you can install that syncs to your Instagram account. (You can also do something through Facebook and something through your "favorites" folder on your iPhone, but I haven't done that, so I can't speak about either of those options.) For $8 (INCLUDING SHIPPING) they will take the Instagram photos you select and print 60 in a book in chronological order. You can choose to have them include date, location, and caption if you wish.

Our first 7 books.

A look back nearly 5 years ago to a trip to the Minneapolis Institute
of Arts with my (then) 11-month-old (now kindergartener).

And every time you have enough Instagram photos to make a new book, they will automatically print and ship a new one for you. (My understanding is that they give you time to edit it or take out photos you don't want in it before it's printed.) They're always just $8.

Here's a QUITE hilarious video that tells you how it works. PARENTS, YOU NEED TO WATCH THIS:

Direct link: youtu.be/PTTs7ewuDY8


- It's easy. As the video says, there's no formatting. Just select the photos you want.

- It's automatic. They'll keep printing/sending if you want them to.

- When you start you account, you can choose to get all your "old" books right away (like the 14 I just got), or you can space them out. There are different options like getting 1/month or 5/month until you're caught up. And being shipping is free, there's no extra cost to do that.

- It prints horizontal and vertical images just fine. I wasn't sure if it would crop everything to a square, but it didn't. It printed the photos the original way they were published on Instagram.

- You can choose if you want to show date, location, and or caption. Because I don't tag too many locations, I took that one off and left date and location on.

- The cover photo defaults to the first photo in the book, but that's easily changed. I changed a few of my books, and left some with the cover being the first photo as well.

- It's pretty quick to get started. My Instagram account has nearly 2000 photos, and I got it down to just over 800 pretty quickly. (I could have spent a LITTLE more time fine-tuning it, but they still all look good.) And now it will be easy to stay caught up with future books.


- You can't override any of the formatting. There were 2 places (among the 800+ pages of my 14 books) that I would have liked to have adjusted things myself, but you can't.

- You have to start from the BEGINNING of your Instagram account. You can't just select a random selection of photos to make a book, and then make a different book with different sections. (If that makes sense.) You have to start from the beginning and work through chronologically. Now I think there's a way around this that I just haven't explored - I think you can make a "custom" book with random photos, but again, I haven't tried that yet.

- Shipping/printing is slow. This really isn't a big deal, but it's worth noting if (you were like me and) you want to get your "old" books by a certain date. Like Valentine's Day. You can spend an extra $2/book to get it sped up, but at this point, I don't care how fast the books come once they're made.

- Some emojis don't print. OH THE HORROR!! Here's an example of emojis that WORKED and emojis that DIDN'T:

The heart and swimmer emoji turned out fine...

... but the American flag didn't come through.

NEUTRAL: (issues that aren't good or bad, but things I'd like to point out)

- Print quality is fine. It's not the best, but it works.

- Paper thickness is good. It's what it needs to be for books that size, without being SUPER sturdy.

- This is for "cute" photos (good for your family or possibly for gifts for your kid's grandparents), and doesn't have a real "professional" application. Don't make a "photo book" of your work with this book. Make an album of your cute kids, your travels, etc.

From 2.5 years ago: my youngest when he was just 2 months old.

Bottom line: I like my subscription and will continue getting books made. I average about 1 Instagram post/day, and once I edit out what I don't need printed, I would suspect I'd have 60 pics every 90-120 days or so. That's 3-4 books/year, which is $24-$32/year to have my favorite family photos archived in print. Totally worth it! Thanks Chatbooks!

p.s. If you're on your phone, you can download the app using this link which will give you your first book FREE: invite.chatbooks.com/stevestenzel15k. You have 10 days to do this (through the end of Feb), and I think you have to officially place your order within those 10 days in order to get your free book. (And then I get a few bucks credit towards my next Chatbooks too.) So if you're interested, download the app using THIS link to get your first book free.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Photography-Related Valentine's Day Cards

Some of these are nerdy, some of funny, and some are a little cute. Enjoy these Valentine's Day cards for the photographer in your life:

And here are a lot of nostalgic photo-related Valentines:

That's... almost a little creepy...

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Fall Colors

I forgot to share these this fall. (Probably because they're not that great. Oh well.) Here was the result from playing around with some privet leaves as they changed colors in October:

[click either image for a larger version]

Related: here's a better photo of "fall colors:" some ripening tomatoes from our garden last year.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Fun Photo Links

It's been a while since I've done a "news" post, and although most of these aren't "news," I'm still using that tag. Here are 5 things I've recently found interesting in the photography world:

• 1: There's a new app called the KODAK Reel Film App that can tell you where to find movies being shown on film (not digital projection):

• 2: A photographer/videographer recently discovered this AMAZING Nikon store in London. This is a 35 minute video, but parts of it are quite interesting, especially if you're a bit of a history buff:

Direct link: https://youtu.be/qlxcpD5-sGA

• 3: I don't know how to feel about this one... Relonch is a service where you take photos, send them to Relonch, and they send back fixed up files. For $99/month, they fix up and send back SOME of the files you upload by 9 a.m. the next morning. (The example files they show seem vignette-heavy with high contrast.)

This video explains it a bit:

Direct link: https://vimeo.com/190791985

Photos of the camera that comes with the Relonch service:

• 4: I know it's a few weeks into the new year already, but if you need a photo challenge for 2017, check out this "365 photo project" calendar:

• 5: Finally, I shared this link a few weeks ago, but it's worth sharing again. Here's the New York Times "Year in Pictures" for 2016. Some amazing work in there. Lots of political stuff (if you're into that).

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Words vs. Pictures

If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn't need to lug around a camera.
-Lewis Hine

Saturday, January 07, 2017

New York Times "The Year in Pictures"

Here's part of what Susan Chira wrote for the opener to the 2016 New York Times "The Year in Pictures:"

IT WAS A YEAR to be confounded, shocked, humbled.

Donald J. Trump won the American presidency, defying polls, mockery and fear to defeat Hillary Clinton. Britons jolted their country and the world by voting to leave the European Union. Syria’s agony played out before a largely indifferent world, its children staring into the camera with eyes wide in terror, blood flecking their clothing.

The president of the Philippines unleashed a merciless war on drugs, boasting of killing drug dealers himself when he was a mayor, and many of his citizens cheered him on. Climate change created a new class of refugees, even as climate-change skeptics were nominated to key United States cabinet posts.

And talk about shocking: The Chicago Cubs won the World Series after a drought of 108 years.

It was a year so unexpected, so tumultuous, that the fight has just begun over which narrative might possibly explain it. For some, it was the comeuppance of the elites and the rebellion of the forgotten white working class. Or it was the triumph of resentment, rage and racism. Or payback for identity politics. Or perhaps it was a rallying cry for identity politics. [...]

There are hundreds of amazing pictures in this gallery. I can't even try to pick a few to share here. Go check it out for yourself. Please. It's amazing.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Drone Fails

Sometimes kids ruin things, sometimes pets get in the way, and sometimes... you're just not too smart.

Direct Link: youtu.be/7Kfqbp9kn80

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