This is an informative document that I wrote up for one of my English/writing classes at Virginia Tech a few years ago. The professor liked it so much he said he wanted to use it as an example for future classes. Since I worked for Apple at the time and they were pushing podcasting onto the university scene with products like iTunesU, I was the residential “expert” on podcasting for a while and this document was passed around to quite a few professors who were interested in podcasting their classes. Now the document is out dated, I no longer work for Apple and Virginia Tech now has people dedicated to this but the document still has much relevance since the concept of Podcasting, the tools and such have largely stayed the same.
I originally wrote this for the ISP school newspaper at Corvinus University in Budapest, Hungary, hence all the references to Budapest! It’s written for the non-photographer and tourist. I added a few things to make the article clearer for people not fortunate enough to have visited Hungary. Let me know if this was helpful or something was unclear! Thanks!
Tourist Photography How To
Cameras are wonderful light capturing devices that aren’t always used properly. Often times, when I’m out on one of my many photo shoots in Budapest, I see other photographers out as well trying to capture a few priceless memories from their visits to this great capital. However, I see over and over again the same mistakes being made by these hapless tourists. I feel compelled to offer my assistance to them in hopes of helping them take home a picture of beautiful Budapest that they can be proud of and show their family and friends upon their return. Hopefully, as a result, others will see how wonderful Budapest is and want to come themselves. Here are some tricks to getting your own postcard-like photos and some pitfalls to avoid while shooting with your camera:
We’ve all seen the professional photographers with their expensive cameras, huge lenses, and other who-knows-what-it-does gadgets. Believe it or not, your simple point-and-click camera can do mostly everything those 500,000 Forint ($2,500) cameras can, you just have to know how to use it. A little knowledge of photography basics goes a long way to get crisp, clean photos of your favorite tourist destinations. I often see even expensive equipment being used improperly. Trust me, it’s not the camera, it’s you!
Read the Owners Manual
Know your camera. The better you know it, the better you can understand its capabilities and limitations. Some cameras are just not capable of everything you want them to do. Reading the owner’s manual, as boring as it may be, will uncover neat and otherwise hidden features of your camera. Did you know your camera had a nighttime setting, a scenery setting, or a fully manual setting? You may have seen them on that dial with all those other icons, but maybe you didn’t fully understand them, or just didn’t care to use them.
Most newer digital cameras and mid-range film cameras have a dial on it. That dial can mean the difference between a gorgeous shot you can show your family and friends, to a shot that you will end up trashing. There are three main settings that you will most likely need during an adventure to a picturesque city like Budapest: Scenery, Portrait and Nighttime. There are a few more, but you should read your owners manual to find out more about what they do.
Scenery is meant for just that; pictures of scenery! This may include a range of things such as a skyline of the city, Parliament from across the Danube River, or beautiful Corvinus University as seen from that other university across the way. Anything that is distant from the camera will work. Why is this important? This setting gives you the largest area that is in focus, meaning that both the building you’re taking a photo of, and the area in front of it will all be in focus. This setting requires a little more light and so the shutter will stay open slightly longer. Make sure you hold the camera as steady as possible or place the camera on something sturdy to avoid trembling hands.
This is for taking a photo of your traveling companions. It has a small area of focus so the background will be out of focus leaving your friend in perfect focus. This allows the background to fade and make your friend the main subject of your photo, which greatly improves the composition of the photo. Often times, a busy, distracting background can make a good picture into a not so good one. This setting is not meant for taking a picture of your friend in front of the Buda Palace. For that, you will want to use the Scenery setting.
Night shots are probably the most breathtaking photos, but also the most difficult to get right. There is a setting on most cameras for pictures taken in low lighting. It sets the shutter speed at the fastest possible speed and does some other settings to adjust for the lack of light. It will also fire the flash in order to provide more light. This setting is only meant to take photos in dark settings, such as a dance club, nighttime garden party or of friends on the streets of Budapest. For a nighttime shot of Parliament or the Chain Bridge, put the setting on Scenery.
It’s imperative that a tripod be used for nighttime scenery shots. You can improvise a tripod by placing the camera on something flat and sturdy, but simply holding the camera, no matter how steady your hands are, just will not do! The most common mistake I see with this shot is people using flash to shoot across the Danube River. The flash tricks the camera into thinking there is more light than there really is, and under exposes the image. I often wonder how many poor tourist go home with blurry and under exposed pictures. Use the Scenery setting and a tripod and you will be getting beautiful, breathtaking shots in no time!
If you have a basic understanding of the basics of photography and want more creative control over your images, then a manual setting is right for you. Not all cameras have these features so look for this if you’re buying a new camera and you want more control. Manual settings allow you to set the aperture (the opening in the lens) and the shutter speed. Ever wonder how photographers get those wonderful shots of a waterfall that is smooth like ice? A long shutter speed. Ever wonder how they get pictures of a bumblebee on a flower and only the bumblebee is in focus? A low aperture setting. Go look at some community photography websites to see what’s possible and pick up some techniques of your own. Most of what you see from the professionals can be done on most point-and-click cameras so don’t think you need to spend a lot of money to get great photos.
Photography can be a fun and rewarding hobby and lets you keep priceless memories forever. Take a little time and search for photography tutorials online to find out more and you will almost certainly see an instant improvement in your photos. The automatic setting that’s on most cameras can’t know what type of photos you’re trying to take, so learn a little bit about your camera and photography and you will be grateful you took the time to perfect images you can enjoy for years to come.
Thanks to everyone for all the well wishes on my birthday. It’s always great to see how many people care enough to take some time out to wish me a happy birthday. Even for those who didn’t, I totally understand, I almost forget my own birthday some years so no worries!! For my appreciation, I wanted to put all the wishes in one place:
Facebook Wall Messages:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mike! 🙂
May u have all the great things you hope for this yr, and a fun filled day!
BOLDOG SZÜLINAPOT! – Tristan A.
happy birthday mikey! – Jami A.
happy birthday! – Kate L.
happy birthday dude! – Jeremy F.
Happy Birthday man!!!…hope everything is going well with you. – Devin S.
Happy birthday! 🙂 – Misono Y.
Happy Birthday Mike!!! Hope it was a good one!!! – Kristin K.
Facebook Card from Tünde B.
Card from Jess G. and Ryan C:
Cover: “You probably think you’re somebody special just because you’re having a birthday.”
Inside: “Well, you’d be somebody special even if you weren’t having a birthday!”
Signed: “Wow – 25 already! It seems like just yesterday we were freshmen in Highschool, and now we are all grown up! We have had a lot of fun over the years and even tho you live like 40 hours away, we better keep in touch forever! I hope you have a wonderful Birthday.”
Card from László, Anita, Jan and Julia:
Cover: “Two pieces of birthday advice: 1) Forget about the past. You can’t change it.”
Inside: “2) Forget about the present. I didn’t get you one.”
Signed: “Boldog születésnapot! Happy Birthday Miska!”, “Hey Mike, Happy Birthday, -Jan”, “Hope your B Day is awesome! <3 Anita”
“Hey ya,happy birthday! I hope you’re having a great time on vacation. See you soon!” – Julia B.
“Hey Mike! Happy Birthday!” – Jerry
“Happy bday fool you better be drinkin sum juice!” – Bruce B. (Inside joke)
So, thanks again to all my awesome friends, I love you! For everyone else, if I know you’re my friend no worries. If you’re not my friend, you must be a bad person because I like everyone, except you apparently!
In a few weeks, I’ll have been at my day job for one year. Everyone keeps asking me what I’ve worked on, what I’m working on now, etc. Usually I can’t mention what I’m working on now since the stuff I’m doing now hasn’t been announced yet by our clients so it’s not professional for me to give away anything. Then, I usually forget to mention the stuff I have worked on because I’m working on new stuff.
So, I decided to do a year end summary of everything that I have worked on. Some of the projects I did a lot on, some things I only spent a little time on. The graphics and photography were both all done by our wonderful designers and photographers, so, much praise to them for such excellent work. I may have done a few small things with the graphics here and there, but most of the logic (not including animations), functionality and back end stuff was my doing. In other words, all the stuff you don’t think about or can’t see is what I did. In no particular order:
Fur Real Friends Squawkers McCaw
Iron Man Repuslor-Power
Power Tour Guitar
Spider-Man 3 Ultimate Web Blaster
Star Wars TRANSFORMERS Darth Vader Death Star
Transformers Ultimate Bumblebee
I’ve worked on a few more, some with other clients, but I didn’t work on them enough, or they’re not exciting enough to mention (or I might have forgotten them!). The point of my job is to make these demos so that it makes the designers’ jobs easier.In my one year at my day job, I have been able to rework the existing technology in place and work in some of my own. Admittedly some of this is selfish because the less the designers have to come to me to fix and program things, the less work I have to do. So I made the programming part so simple for them to implement that they rarely have to come to me. When they do though, it gives me a better understanding of what I need to fix for the future and what’s not exactly clear or what needs to be redone. Most of the stuff needed to be redone because the previous developers before me probably didn’t have the designers in mind.
It’s a lot easier to do it right the first time than have to fix it over and over for each demo we do. We start each demo off of the same code base and I was having to fix EVERY piece of the demo for almost all the demos when I first got there. That’s enough motivation for almost anyone to rewrite everything and start from scratch. Now my job is almost non-existent with the new demos since I don’t have to keep fixing them and the designers can do their work without having to stop and get something fixed because of bad code. That leaves me with more time to work on things that will further the company’s portfolio (i.e. new technologies, broadening project requirements, etc). Making the designer’s job easier is probably my best contribution to the company so far.
I’m excited to see what the next year will bring and what I can come up with!
With summer ramping up, vacation plans being finalized and gas prices ticking up daily, I figured we could all use a refresher on getting the most out of summer driving.
The most obvious answer to getting better fuel efficiency: trade in for a better car or don’t drive at all. If you’d like a less obvious answer, here’s a list of easy things to do:
There’s a list of resources at that site to further your research into this matter. If you want an even less obvious way, try acetone:
Of course I read this all on the internets so it must be true. But don’t believe it just because I said so.
Case in point: I just wanted to mention a stupid “tip” that I keep seeing on gas saving sites. Filling your car up during the coolest times of the day doesn’t give you any more fuel. The myth is that the colder the gas, the more dense it is. The problem is, the gas sits in a tank several meters below the ground. If you’ve ever gone spelunking, or know anything about geology (or I’m even so bold as to call it common sense), then you know that the temperature below the ground is fairly consistent, even during seasonal changes. So don’t waste your time filling up in the early hours.
Which reminds me, how come more homes aren’t built below ground? Dirt and rocks make such excellent insulation.