Cool Links #109: Not Taken By The Rapture

Contrary to popular opinion, I have not been abducted by space aliens, raptured away or joined a cult.  OK, maybe I did join a cult – or at least my son did – I was drafted by the cult known as Boy Scouts.  As a yearbook advisor, I already have very limited time. Now as a Boy Scouting leader AND still a yearbook advisor, free time has become a mystical concept that is heard about, but never seen.  I am not blog-fading, just trying to figure it all out.  With summer upcoming, I should be able to get back into a rhythm of blogging again.  (I hope.)  Now for the links…

1 – After months of indecision, the Texas Legislature has finally settled on the amount of pain to inflict on public school districts.  If you live here and want to know how bad it will be for the next two years, take a look.  Thanks to the Texas Tribune for providing our state with the best info on every twist and turn of the crazy pink building in Austin.

2 – I love photography.  Didn’t start out that way, but I love it.  I am intrigued by famous photos, especially of “regular” people who just happened to be in a famous photo.  Listverse has a Top 10 of the lives of people made famous by famous photos – especially what happened after the photo was published.

3 – Here is a great tool for creating visualizations for news stories called Many Eyes.  It appears to be free.

4 – Are our First Amendment rights in danger? They are when Police see cameras like this

How Police see SLR Cameras

How Police see SLR Cameras

5 – I recently wrote about how teachers in the US are taking the blame for a problem created outside of schools.  And Finland has been held up lately as the solution to all our problems.  But Finland and the US are nothing like each other.

6 – I deeply respect Mindy McAdams, I think she is one of the best professors in online journalism today.  I mainly agree with her post – that it is not stupid to major in journalism today, as long as the student understands the landscape.  They must be prepared to never work for a traditional news organization, or only work for one for a short time.  They must be ready to work for a small online startup, maybe even a series of them.  Their career will be very different from journalists of the past.

7 – Now this is a Facebook style photo that is worthy of being called a photograph.

Houston, that is going on my Facebook page.

Houston, that is going on my Facebook page.

8 – I love my Mac, but I hate waiting for Photoshop or Final Cut to render.  The Macintosh Performance Guide has all kinds of ways to help you get the most out of your Mac and the software on it, like the Adobe line of products.  Worth studying.

9 – This is turning into a “stuff I love” post, but I’ve had nothing but great experiences with the wonderful people at B&H Photo.  Apparently a camera they were testing (a used one) mistakenly ended up leaving their store with the photos still on it.  This gave the outside world a glimpse into the world of B&H.  I love the photos.  I love the fact that B&H is closed on Jewish holidays, just like I love the fact that Chick-fil-a is closed on Sundays.  I respect businesses that have a positive ethos and B&H does this well.  They provide a great service at a good price, by friendly people.

10 – Need a free, easy to use HTML editor look no further, just click on the link.

11 – At my school, we ditched our photo company a long time ago – too costly.  We now take our photos ourselves, and this means training the students on how to take a good portrait.  But what is good for a thin person, doesn’t work with someone like myself – someone who has a higher BMI.  dPs has a top flight post on how to photograph larger people.

12 – If you are like me, many of the photos in your yearbook are taken by staffers who never took a photo class.  They got a quick and fast version of it in yearbook class and they shoot most of their photos with a point and shoot – often badly.  Clifford Otto has a terrific post about how to hold your point and shoot to get the best photos.

13 – I know this is how many teachers and students feel about school right now.

Not sure you get 100% in May

Not sure you get 100% in May

14 – Do ethics matter in online journalism, maybe more so than ever.  Check out this post from Mindy McAdams with 10 Rules for Online Ethics.  Best takeaway – #2 Assume everything you write online will become public.

15 – Petapixel has the best explanation of depth of field I’ve ever seen.

16 – This is a fun site to teach kids about ISO, shutter and aperture – Camera Sim.

17 – I’ve heard that the kerfluffle over staging shots of presidential speeches has changed the official policy at the White House, but it is sad that they ever did it this way to begin with.

18 – This is pretty geeky and contains math content, but it is interesting – the f/stop scale is logarithmic because humans are bad at telling the difference in brightness, unless it is really big.

19 –  The owners of Leica Camera were the Oskar Schindlers of the photo world.  The untold story of how they snuck Jews out of Germany before and during WWII.

 

I have more, but I’m saving some for later in the week.

 

Cool Links #107: Strep Throat Final Day

My son had strep throat and the Dr. wouldn’t let him go back to school until tomorrow.  So today is my day for parent duty – so no school.  The yearbook is finally done, except the supplement and I can finally get a post out.  It has been more than a month since my last post.  Wow, that’s bad.  I do have a lot of links though.

1 – Thanks to the Principal’s Page for this photo “What we see, what the kids see.”  Funny.

2 – British photographer Horace Winters gives us a visual record of what the world of Charles Dickens was like.  Courtesy of the blog Spitalfields Life, these photos could be used in history class, British Lit. or journalism.  They are a great record of what most of us can only imagine from reading Nicolas Nicklesby or any other Dickens classic.

East End Nippers

East End Nippers

3 – As a teacher of both journalism and history, I’ve always been fascinated by the stories from the US Civil War and WWI of the Christmas truces.  Many times, these tales tell of swapping common, but well liked items from one side, for what seems like better items from the other side – southern tobacco for northern coffee, etc.  But also of singing common hymns like Silent Night, and then on Dec. 26, a return to the shooting.  Thanks to Iconic Photos for the picture.

Christmas Truce

Christmas Truce

4 – Make Use Of has a Simple Guide to How The Internet Works in PDF format.  Great for teaching students the basics of the internet.

5 – Here’s a great way to do first time assignments for MMJs doing a one-man-band assignment, thanks Bob Kaplitz blog.

6 – I think I’ve featured this before – Cueprompter – it is a free online teleprompter that works pretty good.

7 – I’m excited about the upcoming film – The Bang Bang Club about a group of photographers, including Pulitzer winner Kevin Carter.  Thanks PetaPixel blog.

8 – Now this is punny.

Punny

Punny

9 – Silber Studios have some super color photos from Frank Hurley, the photographer who accompanied Ernest Shackleton to Antarctica, but failed to reach the South Pole.  The site discusses the difficulty in taking photos on the journey, never mind color ones.

Early Color Photos from Antarctica

Early Color Photos from Antarctica

10 – Here’s another iconic photo from the blog of the same name – The End of the Thousand Year Reich, taken by the incredible Margaret Bourke-White.  She saw and took photos of so many incredible things during her career and this suicide photo was just one more to add to the list.  Read the whole post for the rich details about the photo and the end of WWII and the many suicides of Nazi party faithful.

End of the German Reich

End of the German Reich

11 – No Cool Links would be complete without a post from the DPs, Digital Photography School.  Every photojournalist needs to be able to shoot a decent portrait.  Here are 10 Techniques for better portraits.

12 – Photographer Sean Armenta is a photoshop wizard and his tutorials on the Pen Tool and Healing Brush are great.  Here’s his new one on the Clone Stamp Tool.  Thanks PetaPixel and F/Stoppers.

13 – Pro Photographer Mike Olivella has a great YouTube channel where he shows off his techniques for shooting NCAA sports.  Here’s his tips on Football.

14 – I guess this is the photography post – here’s a video on Vimeo about what it is like to be a photographer in the Obama White House.

15 – Here’s a little gem – a video about making a book using hot lead presses.

16 – What would happen if you used your camera for the first time?  Funny video.

17 – The Lenslinger really says it all in this “open letter.” You can’t just be a writer or reporter or a photographer any more.  You really must be able to do it all and do it well.  You can’t be lazy and you better be good at what you do – or you will be gone.

18 – Want a graphical timeline of computers from 1939 to 2010?

I’ve got tons more links, but I want to try to get back to a once a week schedule and publish again this coming weekend.  Hope to see you then.

 

YLYB #118: Not Enough Days

There are just too many pages left and not enough days to finish them.  We have 56 pages to finish and only 6 more days to finish them.  The kids are plodding like we have a month left.  I may need a Nexium drip before this is all over.

YLYB #116: That Magic Moment, When Kids Step Up

We were still dragging about 6-8 pages from our last deadline – and they were far overdue.  One student, in particular, was testing my patience on a relatively simple Q&A box.  He interviewed the wrong grade, took the wrong photos and was generally finding a way to make everything take too long.

Finally, one of my second year students stepped up and ran with the ball.  She volunteered to “help” this student finish his page.  In the end she took it over and finished it in one class period.  She knew what needed to be done and did it.  No questions asked.  This page has been dragging too long.  It is magic when they do that.  Step in to solve a problem and not involve the yearbook teacher.

YLYB #115: Bills, Bills, Bills

Paying for the book is always a struggle at my school.  I know at some schools, yearbooks nearly sell themselves.  This is not the case at my school.  Being a Title I school, more than 80 percent of our students qualify for free or reduced price lunch.  This means that luxury items, like a yearbook are, well, a luxury.

This is especially true when they cost more than $70 each.

We are struggling to sell more books, but it seems like we can’t make a dent in the number of books we sell each year.  Of course, with the potential for school funding cuts in my state, school districts are putting more pressure than ever on yearbooks to break even or even make a profit.

Now, I’m not a marketing major, but I’m not sure how we are supposed to sell more books during a recession? We are trying everything we know and we have had more pre-orders this year, but I’m not sure how we are going to sell all the books we need to to break even.  Any ideas, pass them along.

 

YLYB #113-114: Sickness and In Health

Sometimes you wonder if you are married to the yearbook.  It is an all-consuming project.  But last week I was the one consumed.  This is why I didn’t post at all last week.  I was brought low by an infected tooth.

This thing knocked me out for a week.  I could barely get out of bed and my face swelled up like a parade float balloon.

Monday was my first day back, then yesterday I had to miss again for the dentist.  Today was group photo day – delayed for so many reasons I’m not sure I could list them all if I wanted to.

Let’s just say that I have run through all my backup and reserve lesson plans.  I’m on empty and still have to visit the dentist again next week.  But through it all I am trying not to panic.  Tomorrow I promise to talk about paying for your book.  Hot topic I’m sure.

YLYB #111-112: Dragging Kicking And…

Actually there is very little kicking or screaming.  It has been more like passive resistance.  Ghandi-style work refusal.  They’re not gonna take it anymore.

The yearbook staff is grinding towards a deadline, but they just don’t seem to have any gear except low.  We make progress every day, even on a Saturday.  We reduced 44 unfinished pages to 18.  But it just seems like we aren’t making enough progress.  Finally going to upload pages on Monday.

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