I haven’t written in a few weeks. That’s not exactly out of the ordinary, but now that I have a new baby at home I have a new excuse. Anyway, speaking of baby Henrik, I took some time this morning to upload a few new pictures to his Henrik Flickr set.

I then took a few minutes to browse my Flickr View Statistics. I’m up over 53,000 views? Cool. That was fun to see, but what was really cool, blew me away really, was the discovery that Forbes had used some of my work (picture) on there site!

Depending on when you read this, you might still be able to catch the Forbes post here. If not, I just had to take a screenshot of the page, in case for some reason they decided to take it down.

OWENWBROWN.COM on Forbes

Some of you are asking, how can Forbes use my work and I not even know about it? Allow me to explain. I have just about all of my work under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic. All I ask for is a little something called Attribution. I have had it that way for some time but I recently watched a Chase Jarvis Live episode ‘The Future of Photo Sharing‘ that confirmed that decision. If you share photos anywhere on the internet, this is worth watching; especially if you might ever want to monetize.

One last thing. Here’s another one, posted on http://www.reputation.com. It’s the thumbs up, or Facebook Like picture that’s been viewed almost 12,000 times, but you do have to look closer to the end of the post to see it.

Thanks for indulging me and my ego. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Owen

Just in time for Christmas… A couple of different folks have recently asked what kind of camera I’d suggest they buy. Specifically, what type of DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera? That gave me a reason to pause and reflect on the approach I took. This is certainly not the only way, or even necessarily the right way. This is the way I did it.

I’d start by acknowledging that for most of us amateurs (and just in case there was any question, that’s definitely what I am), like just about everything, the greatest single factor when purchasing a new DSLR will be our budget. Yeah, unless you are a doctor, lawyer or senator, that’ll be a major factor. As such, I thought long and hard about the approach I would take before buying my first DSLR. That is what I am about to share.

(Note: To prove I’m not a camera snob I took each picture used in this post with my iPhone 4 and edited in Aperture.)

1. I bought a used DSLR – I started with my old friend eBay. What I wound up with was a used Canon 30D for which I paid a reasonable $300. That’s a fraction of the $1,400 this model cost new when it was released back in early 2006. Oh, and Canon versus Nikon? In my humble opinion that is purely personal preference. I use Canon just because that’s what I know. I had a Canon Rebel SLR since college and was comfortable with the brand. That’s pretty much the only reason.

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2. I bought a basic lens – I bought the least expensive lens Canon makes. An entry level 50mm lens for $100 from B&H. I reasoned, before I buy a lot (or any) fancy lenses, I’ll buy one simple lens and learn how to use it. Then if I’m still interested, upgrade. My goal was, once I could actually use my camera, and save some cash, I’d invest in a really nice lens.

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3. I took a class – I read a lot online about photography before buying my camera. What I kept reading over and over again was that, if you are going to buy a fancy camera, for goodness sake learn how to use it. There is a lifetime of learning that goes along with improving ones art but just learning the basics will get to pretty far down the road. Learn about the basic manual settings (Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed) of your new toy first and then get the heck off full auto.

4. Take lots of pictures – I feel like I fail at this but I really believe this is the key. Enjoy it. Do not agonize over it.

5. I bought a nice lens – (See also item two.) I used my 50mm (I still use it) almost exclusively while I learned how to use my camera. While I’m not pro, my patience ran out a few months ago and I finally bough the Canon 24-70mm.

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This approach allowed me to accomplish all three goals in about a year. I felt from the beginning that it would free me to (a) learn the ins and outs of a DSLR without (b) spending the kind of money you’d spend on a used car. This was my approach and my experience thus far. Hope this was useful!

Icke Family Portraits 2010

October 29, 2010

A couple of weekends ago I got together with the Myra and Pete Icke, along with their girls Alyssa and Karina to take some family pictures. Myra and Pete wanted some pictures of the family and also a shot or two of the girls in their princess themed Halloween costumes. We decided to meet in Tempe Town Lake Park in Tempe, Arizona.

The weather on this sunny “Fall” Saturday late morning turned out very nicely. The lake park is such a nice spot. Pete suggested including the Bridge in the family picture “In order to represent where we live”. Since there wasn’t a cactus or a tumbleweed to be seen anywhere in the park, I agreed that was a great idea.

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I half jokingly asked Pete if he had any back issues. Hey, you never know. I wanted to get a shot of him holding the girls. It’s probably not going to be too long before the girls will outgrow this opportunity so Pete gave it a shot. I believe this is him faking strain.

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Pete pulled it off and here is his reward.

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Myra wisely chooses to take a different approach. This is one of my favorites.

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After family pictures were done the girls changed into their costumes. I believe Karina is dressed as a Fairy Princess and Alyssa as a Dainty Queen Fairy God Mother? The girls told me but things like that just don’t stick in my mind. Ehh, close enough, right?

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It was a really fun time. Pete even picked up the tab for lunch! Thanks, Ickes. Hope you’ll enjoy these pictures for many years.

Daily Visual Pushups

September 30, 2010

Unless you won the genetic lottery, in order to stay in even reasonably good health not only should you eat right, but also exercise on a regular basis. I was recently reminded that this approach plays well in other areas of our lives as well.

In this case, I am specifically talking about improving as a photographer. Like eating well, it is important to study the concept and technical aspects of the art form. However, like exercise, it’s equally (and perhaps even more) import in this example to do our daily visual pushups. Like working out, they need to be done on a regular if not daily basis if we’re going to see any real progress.

Conclusion: I need to be taking pictures every day! I’ll also conclude that any old excuse is fine. More than anything else this is what makes the practice perfect (so to speak). On that note, may I introduce a lunch I like to make from time to time. If you like it the recipe is listed below. The following should make two reasonably sized servings. There. Workout complete.

(Note: No resemblance to any celebrity or religious figure such as Mary or the Pope was intended in the creation of this sandwich. Furthermore, if it looks like an animal, your uncle, or even your next door neighbor, this was purely unintentional and total coincidence.)

OWEN'S TUNAFISH SANDWICH

Owen’s Tunafish Sandwich

Tuna (Mix in Small Bowl)
1 Can (7 oz) Chunk Light Tuna
2 Tablespoons Nayonaise (or Mayo)
2 Tablespoons Relish
1 Squirt of Mustard (to taste)
1 Handful of Chopped Mushrooms
Pinch Sea Salt

Top & Bottom
Tomato Slices
Slice(s) of Soy Cheese
EarthGrains Whole Wheat Thin Buns

Happy Thursday!

I wrote a post last month about a bad experience at the Doubletree Hotel in Tucson, Arizona. In the interest of not sounding like a complainer all the time, I wanted to write this post about a fantastic experience Linda and I had over Labor Day weekend at The Phoenician, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Grounds
To be fair, this place is not a hotel. It is a five diamond resort. Keep in mind we are in the middle of the desert, yet the resort grounds? Green everywhere. Including around their nine swimming pools they somehow designed to feel intimate. Tired of lounging by the pools? Water slide anyone? How about a game of Cricket on the lawn? It’s like a putting green. Speaking of putting, you can also take advantage of their 27-hole championship course. Sadly, it was too hot for golf that weekend.

Food
Il Terrazzo Italian. We started in the lounge with three kinds of tuna tar tar. After being seated, and a quick perusal of the menu, we decided to start with the mussels. I can never turn down mussels in a fancy pants joint like this. Garlic, lemon, white white and black pepper. Garlic break soaking in the sauce.

My dinner was free range chicken served with brocollini and asparagus. The chicken was skin on, a little different than I am used but it was the tastiest. Linda had the halibut with artichokes, fennel, basil, tomato, and black olive vinaigrette. Our meals where complimented with a beautiful chardonnay as oaky as it was buttery. Just how I like it.

On Sunday night we had reservations for J&G Steakhouse. The restaurant is on the fifth floor of the resort. You take the elevator to the top and as you exit your eyes are drawn toward the breathtaking view of Scottsdale strait ahead. Amazing view. Amazing food.

Lunch. However anticlimactic it may be to mention, even the pool food was great. Their turkey burger was hands down the best I’ve ever had. I had it for lunch both Saturday and Sunday. Mango salsa. Red onion. Homemade whole wheat bun with a green leafy salad in a light balsamic vinaigrette on the side.

Service
While the grounds where outstanding, the food fantastic, the service was the most impressive. Here are two examples. On our first night, Linda wore a black dress to dinner. One of the wait staff came over with a black napkin and asked politely if she would trade him for her white napkin. No white napkin fuzzes on her black dress. Linda was floored. Second example. There is staff working in the pool area who’s primary job is to make sure guests have a full jug of ice water at all times. Come on.

In the end, we decided that this place is like the Wynn in Vegas but with a view of the outside. It was sad to go. Can’t wait to get back.

Happy Monday!