Google+ Communities Launch – The Photo Community

Huge new Google+ Feature: Google Communities! The Photo Community

Come see The Photo Community (Google+ should activate it at some point here…) – Come join as soon as you can!

What are communities? They are very similar to regular Google+ accounts, except they are not tied to a person — they are tied to a passion or an idea. This will allow threaded conversations to begin and live independently in the world of Google+.

Think of a piazza in Italy where the whole community comes to hang out, eat gelato, watch artists, have coffee, and talk about the world as it goes by. To me, this is what a Google+ community is.

Besides making The Photo Community, I am also going to make a private community just for people involved in the Stuck In Customs (my website). That will be a private one — invite only. This will replace the Sorry 1990′s Forums that currently run on the website. I’m so sick of that old style of forums… aren’t you? I assume everyone will be able to make public and private Google+ Communities soon.

You’ll notice that The Photo Community has categories on the left. This is a cool thing that allows conversations to be established within certain buckets. Here are a few of the categories I set up, with more to come:

General Discussion – a place for everything… it’s sort of a catch-all for everyone just to hang out.

Critique Me! - Do you have a photo that you would like critiqued? Just post it in a new thread here, and you’ll get it analyzed. I can’t promise it will all be rosy, but we would prefer it if the feedback is civil and constructive! :)

Gear Talk – If you have a particular penchant for the hardware side of things, this is a great place to have these discussions and ask questions.

Newbie Photo Zone – Are you just getting into photography and have a question? This will be a great area for you… don’t be shy!

Moderators

Google+ Communities can also have moderators, which will be very helpful. I’m going to start setting those up today to take the burden off of me as an individual. As a rule, we’ll try to make sure the community is a positive happy place… Back to that Italian piazza example above, these will be the kind old-lady-shop-owners that come kick the cretins out of the piazza.

Features to come?

Here’s a few features I’d like to see in upcoming iterations. Google has a tradition of quickly iterating on design to improve the user experience.

- Allow commenters to embed photos in a thread — this is especially handy for photographers, and I think it would also be handy over on the food-related groups!

- Allow moderators to have a “sticky” or community-news post that doesn’t get pushed down the stream.

- Any other ideas you have? Put them in the comments!

Daily Photo – The Rising Setting Sun

I’ve tried to detect pattens for when you see these streaming bits of sun at sunrise and sunset. At first, I thought it was just related to moisture and particulate in the air. Then I thought it was related to clouds five+ miles away that are naturally broken up with gaps between them of several hundred meters. Now I think it’s a combination of the two. Maybe this explains why it is so rare.

Now that I live in the mountains, I never see the horizon any more. It doesn’t bother me so much, but it is harder to get these kind of shots. Those of you that also live with no horizon know what I mean! :)

Sunset Pacific Ocean

The Rising Setting Sun

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length112mm (112mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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Evening on the Beach in Virgin Gorda

Textures Tutorial

We broke apart the Textures Tutorial so that people could JUST get the hi-res textures. That was a common request, so we recently made that available for you.

Daily Photo – Evening on the Beach in Virgin Gorda

This is the beach that was just a short walk from Toad Hall, the place we stayed during our fun trip down to the islands. The sand was so soft and powdery, and the water was like a warm bath. I guess that’s why this area got the name “The Baths” although I am not sure.

Do you like this painting effect? I think I like it sometimes… depends on my mood.

Evening on the Beach in Virgin Gorda

Evening on the Beach in Virgin Gorda

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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The Swirling Seashore

Early Bird Pricing on Paris Event ending soon

Current pricing of €1,190 EUR to join me at the chateau in Paris only lasts a three more days! After Friday, the pricing goes up to €1,290 EUR, so grab one of the last available slots quick. :)

Expanded HDR potential for the NEX-7!

Check out the Sony NEX-7 Review page to see what the new firmware can do! Basically, it gives you expanded auto-bracketing range from -3.0 EV to +3.0 EV – very cool.

Nikon and Canon Firmware

Why doesn’t Nikon or Canon release new firmware to give people more options for autobracketing? It’s confusing… I don’t think that those of us that enjoy HDR are such edge-cases any more, right? So hurry up, Nikon and Canon — take some notes from what Sony is doing here! :)

Daily Photo – The Swirling Seashore

Every now and then you see some rocks along the coast that are not smooth, but covered with moss and clinging vegetation. It’s kind of strange how nearby rocks are worn smooth and slick, while others, like this one below, look like they could be in some deep jungle freshwater river.

Virgin Gorda Rock Ocean

The Swirling Seashore

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length20mm (20mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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The Golden Disc Descends Behind the Island

Camera Reviews

Many of you have seen the Camera Reviews page, and I take time to figure out the best recommendations for “Good,” “Better,” and “Best.” There are always new cameras coming out and new specs to consider. It’s an ever-complex problem!

There are a few new cameras that I’m analyzing, but I don’t really have enough info on them. These are the Sony RX1 (Adorama Link) and the Nikon D600 (Adorama Link). Believe it or not, Nikon offered to send me a free D600 to play with, but I told them I was too busy! I’m not really a hardcore camera review guy, and I already bought the D800. This is just a busy time for me… otherwise I might have taken them up on their offer!

Daily Photo – The Golden Disc Descends Behind the Island

I could watch one of these every night I think!

It is hypnotic, isn’t it, watching this massive fireball slowly dip into the sea? I notice that the sun seems even bigger when there is another object of significance in the distance. You can’t always plan for that, but it sure is nice when it happens.

I took these photos from the balcony at Amaterus.

Island Sun Sunset

The Golden Disc Descends Behind the Island

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length250mm (250mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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A Beach for your Thoughts

The Cloud Whisperer

Someone called me the Cloud Whisperer on a recent PhotoWalk and I thought it was kind of funny. I do watch the clouds a lot and analyze them like Kvothe thinks about the wind… and I do sometimes see things that are coming before they come.

But I’ve also noticed that some places have amazing clouds on a consistant basis. One of these is here on the south island of New Zealand. Where have you noticed a fairly regular supply of interesting clouds?

Daily Photo – A Beach for your Thoughts

Another night on Virgin Gorda… another perfect beach and sunset…

Since it was so perfect every night I was there, I simply could not go without taking a sunset/beach photo. I simply could not deny myself! And then every night I would think to myself, “Well I’m glad I got that because tomorrow night there will be bad light and no clouds.” But I was always wrong. Every single night had a crazy light/cloud situation!

Virgin Gorda Beach Carribean

A Beach for your Thoughts

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length24mm (24mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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