Monday, November 26, 2012

Let The Shopping Continue

Well if Black Friday and Small Business Saturday weren't enough, I guess you're in luck with Cyber Monday.

What a wonderful time for so many people! Thanksgiving on Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Sunday...?, then Cyber Monday. Gee, you really have no excuse not to have went holiday shopping.

Looking for electronics?
Websites like are offering "Cyber Week" specials, discounting specially marked items and providing around-the-clock sales.
  • For a limited time, select Sony Cyber Shot digital cameras will be on sale starting as low as $79.
  • Save up to 49% off select Dolica tripods.
  • Save up to $100 or more on select Nikon COOLPIX digital cameras.
Remember, some of these deals are for a limited time only, so don't wait too long to purchase your holiday treats. Also, some items are eligible for free and/or fast shipping with their Guaranteed Accelerated Delivery or FREE Super Saver Shipping (some restrictions apply).

Best Buy is having a two-day Cyber Sale with exclusive deals on electronics ending midnight on 11/26/12. In addition, save $25 on your purchase of $250 or more with store pickup (of course, some items are not eligible for in-store pickup). Redeem this savings code in store or online!
  • Splurge on a HP Photosmart 6520 Wireless e-All-in-one Printer retailed at $149 but on sale for $89 plus free shipping.
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 11/ Adobe Premier Elements 11 is on sale for $74.99, so you save $75 off the regular price.
Apparently, everyone jumped on this "Cyber Week" bandwagon, and Target is one of them. Enjoy deals on electronics all week long and free shipping on Cyber Monday.

Although I am providing sales from major companies, please don't forget about your local mom-and-pop stores that are probably more than appreciative of your purchases during the holiday seasons.
Stay Warm!

Remember when it's all said and done, there's more than what meets the eye...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving and Then Some...

Happy Thanksgiving readers!!

I hope you all spent your time wisely, specifically giving thanks for the things we take for granted the other 364 days out of the year. And hopefully you all enjoyed being around and catching up with those irreplaceable family members and friends in your lives.

Anyhow, it's now post-Turkey, so for many Americans we know what that means: Black Friday! Yes, finally the "official" excused day for compulsive and aggressive shopping (but please don't trample over anyone or get arrested). Black Friday marks the long-established kickoff for Christmas shopping and of course satisfy some guilty pleasures through retail therapy. You know, I honestly never understood the mindless, insensitive behavior that occurs on this day... especially the day after being so thankful. C'mon people! Don't get me wrong, I love finding rock-bottom discounts and nearly-free deals, but the madness of dealing with large, hostile crowds, insane long lines, and congested parking lots doesn't seem too appealing.

But I digress..

Apparently for some retailers, Black Friday is more than a day long; some sales extend from Wednesday all the way through Sunday. Oh, and not to forget Cyber-Monday, basically the continuation of the shopping frenzy. Traditionally, massive sales on electronics reign as one of the top motivators for camping outside of stores days prior to Black Friday. People literally stand outside waiting in line to purchase that 55" HDTV discounted by about 50-60% or scour the worldwide-web to place their online order for other tools and appliances.

If you happen to be one of these people, maybe you might like to know where to find some sweet deals on electronics:

Best Buy is offering FREE SHIPPING on all online orders (now thru 11.24.12)
Check out Sears, Kmart, Walmart, Hhgregg, Target, and Office Depot for their awesome in-store and online deals. Hurry before these specials run out!

Of course if you plan on buying online, be sure to also include Amazon, Ebay, in your search.

Here are some deals I ran across:
**Walmart: Black Canon PowerShot A3400 IS 16-Megapixel Digital Camera on sale for $89
**Best Buy: Red Canon PowerShot SX160 IS 16.0MP Camera, Case, Tripod & 8GB Memory Card on sale for $189.96
**Target: Apple iPad with Retina Display 16GB WiFi Tablet (4th generation) with a bonus $60 gift card on sale for $500

Whatever your preferred method of shopping, buyer beware! Always make sure you are surfing secured and trusted sites, never carry wads of cash on your person and always check and double check the conditions of your electronics before purchasing. This would save you from diving back into those tough crowds you miraculously pushed through.

Remember when it's all said and done, there's more than what meets the eye...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Rule of Thirds

Have you ever noticed when you're cropping a photo, the crop box divides into 9 boxes? Or maybe when you're ready to take a picture, your camera sections 9 small frames across your LCD screen before the shutter clicks? This is the concept of the Rule of Thirds.

Yes people, there are "rules" in photography. But don't worry, they work in your favor and later as you become more comfortable taking pictures, you learn when you can bend or break these rules.

The Rule of Thirds is an essential technique for capturing eye-catching images. This is one of the methods used to create photos that make you say "Ooo... ahh..."

*awkward silence*

So what is this Rule of Thirds? 

Imagine a grid of lines divided into 3 rows and 3 columns. It should look like a game of tic-tac-toe. This acts as your outline for positioning the subject in the photo. Check your camera settings to see how you can set these gridlines on your screen. It should look something like this:

The Rule of Thirds reveals that the subject or focal point of your photo should be arranged along the lines, intersections or corner sections of the grid.

Why? Good question. Well, there are some psychological reasoning behind this rule, indicating that our eyes are naturally drawn to the imaginary intersections of the grid on an image. Remember when we were young and thought everything had to be in the center of the photo? Yeah, those weren't necessarily the most exciting pictures. The purpose of the Rule of Thirds is to appeal to the eyes and that is why centered subjects don't always make the most eye catching appearances.

How to use this rule

You are free to use this rule every time and all the time you choose. There are no specifics to which intersections you have to use and where you wish to put the object of your focus.

When taking pictures of human or animal faces, it serves best to place one of the eyes along one of the lines. This gives your object a bit of motion and creates a more dynamic look.

Just in case you were wondering if you are completely bound to these rules, no hun, you're not. You do not necessarily have to perfectly align every object in your photos. You're really simply framing objects off an outline not a contract. 

In some case you may be photographing an image that will absolutely not fit with these rules. Some examples may be images of abstract patterns or arrangements, such as tribal prints, tree bark, or the night sky. Your best options are to find some balance within the object or scene and your eyes follow the focus or direction presented. You don't want your photo to be literally all over the place. Remember, you can always crop parts from your photo if you feel the need to do so.

Bending this rule

Yes, once you get the hang of this rule you may unleash your inner rebel.

Bending this rule can mean instead of using your tic-tac-toe outline, your photo may just be a display of symmetry.

Stumped? Ok, here's an example:

Please excuse all the "noise" or fuzziness in this photo (which I will explain in a separate post). Basically, you have to use your imagination when shooting scenes stretching long distances. If you look at the center of this photo, you may also begin to imagine a centered horizon almost separating the top portion and bottom portion of the image.

I'm not sure if I'm the only one, but I actually imagine an invisible X across the image...but it could just be me. Now I haven't heard of using an X as a way to bend the Rule of Thirds, and maybe this honestly might be a bad example, but the idea I wanted to get across was having some balance in between the colors and objects in this photo. Now there isn't a way to divide this scene into nine squares and feel all excited about the picture, so I thought maybe I could divide it into four segments. Well, instead of thinking of a typical + sign, I rotated it to be an X to keep the photo somewhat balanced and proportional. See, I not only bended the rules, I made my own. Ha!

Remember when it's all said and done, there's more than what meets the eye...