The Mac Lab

Picture This (Spring Break)

by on Mar.27, 2010, under Blog

philip_behnam_christian_lim_15_smMy heart trembles like a poor leaf.
The planets whirl in my dreams.
The stars press against my window.
I rotate in my sleep.
My bed is a warm planet.
โ€” Marvin Mercer PS 153, 5th Grade, Harlem, NY (1981)

Carl Sagan used that quote at the very beginning of Contact (his only novel). I reread the book recently and that poem still rocks me. What kind of fifth-grader writes like that? And what did his teacher think when he or she read those words? I’m in awe of the kid and I wonder what became of the man he grew into. Marvin Mercer, wherever you are, I hope that poet is still alive in you. And if you happen to see this, leave a comment behind.

I, too, am blessed with a group of extraordinary young individuals in my classroom. Tonight, the first day of Spring Break, a group of my students are meeting to record how-to tutorials for the Paint the World with Light project we’re working on. What they don’t know is that I just picked up three new remote shutter releases for the 40D and 50D cameras. That means we can redistribute a couple of Rebels to other students who got shut out on Friday. I’ll bring the cameras and shutter releases, you contact our other light painters, and I’ll meet you all at the park before 8:00. Details here.

I wonder if anyone will see this in time. Heck, I know these two will (Christian and Philip). Pass the word.

Update: Christopher, Kyle, Christian, Philip, and Aaron (poor kid, no blog) were at the park when I arrived a little after 8:00. (Zack showed up later.) I watched the guys play around for a while then Christopher gave me a few quick pointers. I took two test shots, then walked about 100 feet away to stand in deep darkness, trying to get a keeper before heading home. Since my daughter, Noรซl, pushed the remote shutter release, she claims that this is her shot. (Who am I to deny it?) That’s a 2.5 minute exposure (152 seconds to be exact). Needless to say, I’ll be doing a lot of night shots from this day forward.

Note: Here’s the shot straight out of the camera. And again, the after. (About three minutes work. It’s not a good enough shot to push it to the limit.) Adobe has given Photoshop CS5 beta testers permission to post images processed in the beta but asked us NOT to reveal any specific magical features. Suffice to say, the new features really are magical, but I didn’t use anything special in the quick enhancement. Well, except for _________. And oh my goodness, is that ever amazing!

The guys are recording how-to tutorials as I type. I’ll share what I learn over the next few days as well. Look forward to seeing Christopher’s on CRDESIGNLAB and more on the Paint the World With Light: Part II page.

0328: First two published shots 01 | 02 from here and here respectively. I can feel it. This is the start of something big.

Update: We’re off to Julian for a couple of days. Here tonight and there tomorrow. My wife is thinking: Romantic getaway. I keep thinking: Light painting!

I think there’s something seriously wrong with me. ๐Ÿ˜›

Not sure if there’s any WiFi so I may be out of touch until Tuesday. Light up the Night!โ„ข

0331: Y’know, there’s something to be said for unplugging. True, I had to dig through 200+ emails this morning, but it was worth it. So many different types of birds to be seen from the front porch of Big Cat. From hummingbirds to wild turkey by the score. The deer aren’t shy about walking past the cabin either. The weather was great, the food wonderful, and the company superb. Another secret of life? Marry for love. Here’s a portrait of Sue and I. I love the simplicity of the image. (I don’t expect others to feel the same.)

International Update: Someone from the Macau Special Administrative Region visited, bringing our total to 145 countries. No, I’d never heard of it either but it sounds as if others have. Quite an affluent almost part of China!

Off to Valhalla now to open doors for the video team. More to come…

0401: Thanks to a very generous anonymous donor, we’re getting 45 new computers and industry-standard software to enhance creativity!

0402: How’d it get to be Friday so soon? Honey-do projects all morning. Back later.

FREE PASS REMINDER: Want a crash course in ZBrush (or virtually any other app) over Spring Break? Set aside some time, download a demo version of the software (whatever app you want to learn) and use this link for a free 24 hour pass to I’ve gone through about 20 of these and they work just fine on a Mac. (And the guy’s really good!) I’ve been a subscriber for years and it’s money well spent. For Photoshop and Illustrator, Deke’s the man. For Camera Raw, I like Chris Orwig. Lynda’s Creative Inspirations series is also worth watching. Oh, and how could I forget Cinema 4D and After Effects?

Like I said, virtually any app. Even this one (for our iApp Team). Get learning!

0403: In the pastย 365 days we’ve had 367,363 page views from people in 145 countries according to Google Analytics. (Many sites get more hits per day than we got in a year but not bad for a little high school blog, eh?) Surprisingly, 47% of our visitors arrive via a search engine, 19% click links on other sites, and only 34% come directly here (probably via a bookmark, like my students). I thought the latter number would remain above 80%. Go figure. I wonder what the next year will bring.


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