Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ever been on a Photowalk?

Well, have you ever been on a Photowalk? If you're like me, most of you haven't. At least not the kind of Photowalk I'm talking about. A Photowalk is where a group of people (who love to take pictures) walk around for about 2 hours and take pictures of anything and everything. At the end of the walk, they usually end up at some sort of eatery and sit around and chimp everyones pictures. If you would like a more detailed discussion about a Photowalk, check out this blog. Today's entry (July 30) discusses this topic in depth!
Back in February, I wrote some goals (on this blog) that I wanted to try to achieve for this year with my photography. One of them was to go out and shoot with some other photographers. I'm hoping this might be my chance. Scott Kelby is sponsoring a world wide Photowalk (Here's the Link). Who is Scott Kelby? He's a Photographer (Duh!) that writes books about Photography, Photoshop and Lightroom. He has a great blog and creates awesome video tutorials for using Photoshop. Those of you that have attend some of the Cool Tools workshops where I have had the opportunity to talk about photography have seen me use some of his books.
On the Photowalk website there is a list of cities that have a pro photographer leading such a walk. You can email the photographer and become part of his group. In Michigan, Detroit is the only city that is having such a walk. Unfortunately, you can't join it. As of checking it today, it is full. Soooo, I was wondering if there is any interest in having our own here in central Michigan? I would be willing to organize it (it needs to take place on Saturday, August 23rd). Although, I don't think that Scott's group would recognize us as an official group. I say that, because on their site they say the 'leader' should be "photography instructors, users group leaders, college-level teachers, well known local professionals, etc." I don't fit that description. However, the only downside (to not being a recognized group)  would be that we wouldn't be eligible for the prizes (if you watch the video on the intro page to the Photowalk website you can learn about the prizes).
So, what's the next step?  Well, you can comment here to say that you're interested in being part of the group!  That way everyone will be able to see the group grow (hopefully).  We don't have to do it in Shepherd.  Any central Michigan city would be fine with me.  So come on, commit, and let's have some fun!  

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Search Engine: Cuil

Just out today (Monday, July 28th), a new search engine. Are you tired of Google? Google has become so common, that it's a verb used in our everyday language. The new competition for Google is Cuil, pronounced "Cool". Cuil promises to provide more comprehensive results then Google. It's results look different from Google's. It shows more information and pictures in it's results. You control whether these results are returned in a 2 or 3 column format. You can also protect yourself (or others) by turning on a safe surfing features that filters out porn. Although, the site does not guarantee that you won't encounter some. Here is a screen shot from searching 'Global Warming'.

Notice the gray box in the upper right hand corner of the picture. It is titled "Explore by Category". Below the title are possible subcategories for Global Warming. When you run your cursor across them, they reveal links to people in the subject field. Seems to be a nice way to tunnel down in your subject area.

This is the second new search engine I've seen this summer that seems to have some promise for educational use. The other I ran across several weeks ago is Viewzi. It gives you several options (or views) from which you can choose to view your results. Although, very visually inviting, I haven't found myself drawn to use it more than google. On the other hand, I have found myself drawn to Cuil and will probably give it a try over the next month while getting ready for School! I would like to hear your opinions on these two search engines. So, be sure to share your experiences below.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A New Way to Look at Flickr Sites

Do you have a Flickr account? If you don't, and you take pictures, you should! It's a great way to share pictures on the web. But that part of the story is for another time. For those of you that have a flickr site or have visited one (maybe mine?), I want to introduce you to a new way to explore pictures on flickr. It's called 'Blow Up'. It allows you to easily see the pictures from a site larger and makes the selecting of other pictures on the site very easy. I want to encourage you to try it. If you don't have a flickr site of your own, feel free to use mine. Just go to the Blow Up site and enter yours (or my 'veeman60') username below the welcome picture on the page. It will take a minute or so for the screen to set up, but soon you will be able to navigate through the pictures quite easily and see any thumbnail you click on fill your screen. It's awesome. Try it out, and let me know what you think (leave a comment at the bottom).
You can also down load code and set it up so that anyone going to your site will be able to view it through 'Blow Up'. I haven't had time to figure out just how to do that yet, but when I do, I'll be sure to share (or if you set it up, let us know how the installation process went!).