Month: August 2015

Gluten Sensitivity — um, never mind…

There has been a lot of talk and press in the last couple of years about gluten sensitivity, and it’s been a huge growth market in food items as people have made the choice to go gluten-free and reported improvements in their general health and well-being. The case for this gluten sensitivity was bolstered by one study that seemed to indicate that this sensitivity did in fact exist. Now Gluten sensitivity we seem to have hit the same dietary speed bump. The same researcher who did the original report that seemed to have shown that gluten sensitivity exists has now done some larger, better controlled studies, and the results of those indicate pretty clearly that it doesn’t. In these studies people who were self-diagnosed as gluten sensitive were put on various diets in a controlled manner: regular gluten, gluten-free and a diet that controlled for something known as FODMAPS which are another dietary carbohydrate that some people can have sensitivity to and which are often seen in foods with gluten. The results were pretty clear: no differences between the diets. Some people did better or worse on each, and it seemed tied to diets they thought were the ones with gluten in it. In other words, we had differences based on the placebo effect and it’s evil twin, the “nocebo” effect. “In contrast to our first study … we...

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You are a real photographer

One of the seemingly endless arguments going on online is people trying to define who is and who isn’t a “real photographer”. It’s my turn. Do you own a camera, or something like a phone that takes pictures? Do you take pictures? Congratulations, you’re a real photographer. 95% of these arguments boil down to this definition: “If you don’t make things to my standards, it’s not real photography and you don’t count”. The subtext of that argument is pretty simple: “I’m better than you are”. A lot of this seems to be people either trying to set up photography as a guild, and they’re in charge of the membership committee, and, of course, they had to do all this crap before they became a success, so unless you go through all of that, too, you aren’t really serious about it. It’s all crap. I try to ignore it, and I suggest everyone else does, too. There are only two people you need to please with your photography: yourself, and the person writing you a check to buy your image from you. Nobody else’s opinion matters, especially if it’s exclusionary or negative. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a 5DSR or a Canon Rebel or an iPhone — if you take pictures and you like those pictures, you’re a real photographer. If someone argues with them about it, point them at...

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Finding Balance

A week or so ago I was browsing the videos from the Cocoaconf Yosemite conference that was held at Yosemite Lodge earlier this year. It was a conference I’d hoped to go to but my schedule didn’t align — but they’ll be back in 2016 and I’m seeing if I can make things work. One of the talks given there this year was by Serenity Caldwell of iMore titled Thinking with Pictures. The talk just blew me away. It’s full of heavy things I didn’t expect to find in it. One of the big issues she talks about in the talk is about finding the right balance. So many of us are carrying cameras today, and our phones make all of us photographers. What pictures do you take? Which pictures do you leave untaken? When do you share them and to whom? What information do you put on them and do you share that information? Are you even aware of what and how much information you’re sharing? I’ve talked about the need to think about this when I wrote my piece on Geofencing, but Caldwell puts the entire complex challenge into perspective wonderfully. The confluence of the rise of social media with the improvement and portability of digital photography has caused significant changes to society and how we interact with each other — and how public we are. How...

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Printing your Work

I’ve written in the past a number of times that I believe photographers should own a printer and get in the habit of printing their own work. If you only view your images online, you’re going to miss a lot of subtle detail and images that look fine on the screen will show flaws when printed out even at 8×10. I try to print out my better work at 8×10 while working on them, and then when I’m happy with the 8×10 print I’ll often print them at 11×14. If I can make them look good to my satisfaction at 11×14, they’ll look good in almost any situation I use them with, including up on my wall. I am also a big fan of printing out an image and living with it for a while, by which I mean taking at 8×10 or 11×10 and clipping it up where I can look at it while I’m doing other things, and go back and study it and really look deeply into the details and structure of the picture over a few days. I can’t tell you how often I’ve found problems with an image I want to print and use or give to someone after two or three days of looking at it over time. Even if your primary use of images is online — true for most of us...

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One Month with the Apple Watch

A month ago I bought my Apple Watch. I’ve been wearing it ever since, with the exception of two days where I more or less was welded to my office and didn’t think to put it on. Why did I get it? Read the first article below by Jim Dalrymple, about how the watch has helped him get in better shape and lose a significant chunk of weight. Using the watch as an activity tracker and to see whether it was useful and whether it helped me as I’ve tried to push forward my fitness goals. I was also very curious what else I’d find it useful for — if anything. I didn’t have any strong preconceptions other than I’ve been curious about wearables for a while and this is the second one that’s interested me enough to try it. The first wearable I used was a FitBit. I found it interesting and frustrating. it gave me a sense of what I was doing, but didn’t put it in context, and it has some strange weaknesses — for instance, when I would go out on a photo trip to a refuge and drive the gravel, unpaved roads at a place like Merced, I’d come home to find out I’d somehow climbed anywhere from 30-50 flights of stairs. While driving. I found myself wearing the FitBit less, because on typical...

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