Archive for August, 2011

Eastern Amberwing dragonfly

August 5, 2011

The following photos show an Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

The Eastern Amberwing, a member of the Skimmer Family of dragonflies, is easily recognized by its relatively small size, brown body with a striped abdomen, and amber colored wings featuring red pterostigmas. The Eastern Amberwing is the smallest species of dragonfly found at Huntley Meadows.


Copyright © 2011 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

"TWiT Photo" has lost its focus

August 4, 2011

TWiT Photo,” a photography-related netcast formerly known as “Mostly Photo,” was promoted initially as a program that helps amateur photographers get more out of photography using whatever equipment they own, including simple devices like point-and-shoot cameras and smartphone cameras. In fact, the show Web page still says, “TWiT Photo helps everyone take better pictures by teaching you how [to] get the most out of your digital camera … .” Regrettably the show that began with so much promise has lost focus on its core audience: amateur photographers.

I used to look forward to watching the program every week; now, not so much. How did I lose interest in watching the show? Perhaps the more important question to ask is, what can the co-hosts do to re-attract me to the program?

How did I lose interest in watching the show? Truth is, I started losing interest after the first few episodes. Former co-host Lisa Bettany — a pro photographer and successful app developer (e.g., Camera+) —  is easy on the  eyes but she’s like sort of, you know, a stereotypical California valley girl. No kidding, Lisa said the filler words and phrases “like,” “sort of,” and “you know” 178 times during a one-hour show — it was painful to watch! In fairness to Lisa, I must say it isn’t easier to watch co-host Leo Laporte at times.

The beta episodes of “Mostly Photo” were cross-posted on YouTube. After reading a lot of negative comments regarding Leo Laporte’s annoying habit of interrupting people, I started to notice that Leo can be quite rude at times. I had an epiphany (the “I’m done here” moment) during episode 17 when Leo played a music video clip that completely drowned out guest Zach Arias’ commentary for several minutes.

During the tenure of replacement co-host Catherine Hall, the show has gradually evolved (or devolved, as the case may be) into a pro photographer “cult of personality.” At this point the show is long on the philosophy of photography (as expressed by admittedly very successful professional photographers) and short on practical take-aways for amateur photo enthusiasts like me.

What can the co-hosts do to re-attract me to the program? The answer is simple: Re-focus on the needs of your audience. Unless the show is intended solely for professional photographers — a group that comprises a relatively small market share — the show needs to focus more on the needs of amateur photographers. Review top-rated consumer- and pro-sumer photographic equipment, and demonstrate how to use the equipment. Demonstrate post-processing techniques, step-by-step from beginning to end. In short, provide lots of practical information that viewers can actually use! This type of programming is likely to require more show prep than the typical “talking heads” netcast, but I’m guessing the co-hosts are fairly compensated for their time. In contrast, the audience isn’t receiving a product worth the value of the time spent watching the program.

Barred Owl feathers

August 3, 2011

The preceding photos show a couple of Barred Owl feathers that I found last summer while walking through a residential neighborhood located beside Kirk Park, a large wooded area in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Paul Spring, a small stream, flows through the park year-round. The larger feather is ~12″ L x 2″ W; the smaller feather is ~10″ L x 1″ wide. I found the feathers in almost the same location, about a week apart. Thanks to Steffi, a Project Noah citizen scientist, for correctly identifying my unknown bird feathers!

Slaty Skimmer dragonflies "in mating wheel"

August 1, 2011

A mating pair of Slaty Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula incesta) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. All dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen: male dragonfly secondary genitalia are located in segments two and three (2 and 3); female genitalia in segment eight (8). Therefore, the male dragonfly is on top in the preceding photo; the female on bottom.

Related Resources:

Tech Tips: Apple “Aperture,” a professional-grade tool for organizing and adjusting photos, was used to sharpen and edge sharpen the preceding photograph.

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