Saturday, February 27, 2021

Online Teaching Update

My first fully online class is still going well! It wraps up NEXT WEEK - it was a full 3 credit class held online over 8 weeks instead of the normal 14 to 16 weeks.

I've been finding notes from recording my lectures laying around:

I have 1 more short video to record, but I'm up over 9 GB of lecture recordings already.

One of the biggest things I did to help myself out was print out weekly graphs to help keep track of a few things:

That's basically a version of my usual attendance log, only I printed a page for each week (instead of just 1 page/semester). And then I could note when I updated the class website, when I reached out to students, who had the projects turned in on time, who I needed to contact near the end of the week to remind them about upcoming deadlines, etc. It basically made my job easier being able to just glance over a sheet to see who's done what, and it allowed me to make sure I was getting info from (and giving info to) everyone.

Next year, I'm planning to make at least 2 adjustments to those weekly pages: first, I'll make the "boxes" maybe twice as wide (for more space to write and because I never came close to filling up a page). And second, I'll put large rectangular boxes at the bottom so I can label the columns. But these have worked great and saved me a lot of headaches.

Here's last week seen in my book.
(I create a new "book" for each semester.)

Here's a post from last month as I was preparing a lot of lectures and getting ready to kick off this online class.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

An Inspiring Thought About "The Queens Gambit"

Thursday, February 18, 2021

"The Dawn of the Color Photograph"

I've been checking out photo-related books from my local library over the last 14 months. I recently learned about Albert Kahn and his undertaking of hired photographers in the book "The Dawn of the Color Photograph: Albert Kahn's Archives of the Planet" by David Okuefuna.

I had never heard of Kahn or his contribution to the world just after the advent of color photography. Here's a bit about Kahn and this book from

In 1909, two years after the Lumière brothers invented the Autochrome process, French banker and philanthropist Albert Kahn initiated a twenty-two-year project (brought to an end by his ruin in the Great Depression) to photograph the world in color. Known as the Archives de la Planète, this astounding body of work, some seventy-two thousand images, captured life in more than fifty countries, many during moments of profound upheaval. Kahn’s hired photographers sat with French soldiers in the trenches, walked through a Smyrna razed in the Greco-Turkish War, and witnessed Emir Faisal’s campaign to free Arabia from Ottoman control. But the archive is particularly remarkable for its documentation of lands and peoples once little seen by Western eyes. The collection boasts what may be the earliest color photographs of the Taj Mahal and the Egyptian pyramids, as well as striking portraits of Kurdish women in northern Iraq, dancers from the Khmer ballet in Angkor, and itinerant Mongolian hunters on the steppes near the Russian border. But does the past change when we see it in color? In many instances, the vivid palette brings the images closer to our present moment, making the world—and the distance of history—frighteningly small.

His goal wasn't to have his photographers make "art," but more to simply "document" the world. As the book states, the images his photographers produced "were not works of reportage or ethnography, nor an attempt to produce works of art. The aim was simply to record human beings in all their diversity, living humble lives worthy of respect."

Here's a bit about some of Kahn's project from 2007 on BBC Two:

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Billboard Shoot

I had my first image on a billboard about a year ago, and now I have another one. Here's a photo that St. Thomas More Catholic School shared on Facebook recently:

On top of Green Mill Pizza on Grand Ave in St. Paul.

The file used for the billboard.

That was a socially-distant photoshoot I did for them about 3 months ago. They've also been using this image a lot from the same shoot:

They have that image as the "cover photo" on their Facebook page...

... and they've been using it for their "virtual info nights" as well.

Always fun doing things I'm less comfortable with! And by "fun" I mean "mildly terrifying." At least kids are always easy to work with...

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The Evolution of Camera Shutter Sounds

Here's a short video sharing different shutter speed sounds over the years:

The 3rd one took me back: I had an old TLR that sounded a LOT like that!

Also, I didn't know that TIME Magazine produced a crappy looking SLR at one point.

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Who Shoots Film?

Here are some great "film shooting patches" from TheMikePadua:

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Instagram: Don't Fail Me Now!

I posted this on Facebook earlier this week:

I rolled up to the State Fairgrounds at 4:00 this morning. The police officer working the only open gate didn't care to see my driver's license or either of my faculty IDs. What "worked" was scrolling through my Instagram page full of 4 a.m. photos.

"Well, that's the strangest thing that I've ever let pass as 'credentials,' but head on in and make your photos" he said. Thanks officer!

And that's the EXACT reason I started a second Instrgram account 4 years ago: it's the easiest way to "prove" I'm legitimately making photos in the middle of the night, and not up to other nefarious activities. (And I sometimes get into places the general public isn't allowed into - the "drive through" snow and ice sculpture park didn't open until tonight.)

And I just HAD to add this as a comment on the post:

But truly, that was the main intention of starting an Instagram page for my 4 a.m. work. Literally the day Instagram updated and I found out that they allowed more than 1 Instagram page per user, I added a new account. When I was making photos around the Metro surrounding the killing of Geroge Floyd, I always made sure to have my phone on me with Instagram ready to go in case anyone questioned what I was doing.

Oh, and the Instagram page for St. Paul tourism asked if they could repost that image later the same day:

Find me as "PhotoStenzel" on Instagram if you're interested!

Friday, January 29, 2021

J-Term is Wrapped Up!

Finals in my J-Term class happened over a week ago, and I submitted final grades a few day ago. I set some sort of "personal record" 10 days ago by getting grades from a project back to all my students within 3 hours of wrapping up critique! But they needed that feedback as the next project was due just a few days later in this compressed timeline.

I really enjoyed the fast pace of the first week, especially. I love banging through those technical lectures and getting students excited about trying out different functions / modes / manners of creating an image. It's just nerdy fun.

I also really liked having the ENTIRE class laid out before the semester begins. Yes, I usually have a tight syllabus that we follow, but this was different as I had all handouts and examples all laid out and ready to go before day 1. I'm never THAT prepared before the semester begins. (And here's why: it bit me in the butt at one point as I had to adjust a due date by 1 day, so I still had to rework that project.) I shared in this post that I had 197 files all organized online for my students. I added a few things to that during the 2.5 week term, and I ended with nearly 250 files (which does NOT include files students turned in or that number would be around 450 files). And it's worth noting that big 100 slide PowerPoints just count as 1 file.

Alright, back to "regular" teaching... meaning 1 normal in-person class and 1 fully online asynchronous class currently.

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