Friday, July 29, 2011

In the Mountain, In the Cloud

I can't stop listening to Portugal. The Man's latest effort, In the Mountain, In the Cloud. It's pretty amazing. Like I've said before, I'm no music critic, so I'll let the music speak for itself. But if you like sweet hooks with an awesome mix of cellos and steel drums, then you'll dig this album.

I was lucky enough to catch them at One Eyed Jacks last October before I even knew who the hell they were. They were awesome. It turned out all of their albums were as well. If you like these songs, check them all out. Highly recommend. Here are some pics from their show. Hit play below. Enjoy.

Oh yeah, and they're gonna be at VOODOO this year. Very excited to see them again.

Portugal. The Man - Got it All

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Olympus OM-1

This ones for the camera nerds. I've made a new discovery in my parents house: an Olympus OM-1. A beautiful and still working film camera from the early 1970's. This baby is awesome. It's an all mechanical SLR, meaning you really have to know what you are doing. It was my mothers.

I went ahead and loaded it up with some expired film that my mom still had film in the fridge from the mid 90's, so we'll see how it turns out.

Shutter speed ring is located on the front of the camera. Notice the Aperture ring around the front of the lens.

First impressions: I love this camera. Its solid metal. It feels very sturdy and very heavy in your hands- that's a good thing. Also, I've never shot film before. Well, ok, I've used disposable cameras before, but I've never actually loaded film into a camera. It was a whole new experience that really makes you appreciate every picture. You really have to deliberately set up each shot, something that often doesn't happen with the new DSLRs. Sure, you still control the settings on the new cameras, but with no film and a 32GB card, you just fire away and hope that 1 out of every 10 shots comes out good. Not so when you are limited to just 24 shots.

50mm f/1.8 Zuiko lens. Pretty good glass from what I've read.

But shooting with film and such a limited number of shots really makes you think about each shot, something that I often do not do. So that is a good thing. In fact, this camera might just be the best thing that's ever happened to my photography "career". Not that I would ever use this at a wedding or ever give up my DSLR, but sometimes stripping something down to the bare essentials can be the best thing.

You can get this rig for probably around $100 on ebay.

I can't wait to see the shots that come out. I will post those soon!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

True Talent Lost

Can't say that this came as much of a surprise, but honestly, why are the most talented people the most tragic? I guess it's like someone once told me, "you want your rock stars to be crazy." Sad, but true. Could you imagine if Kurt Cobain lived the lifestyle of Wayne Newton? That might be a little hard to sell. It's just a shame that everyone glamorizes the "rock star" lifestyle of someone like Amy Winehouse, when clearly her life sucks. But I guess with songs like Rehab and Addicted, she did this a bit herself. But hey, at least she wrote her own songs! (can you imagine!?!?!?)

It's sad because she was actually talented, a word vastly overused these days. Not only did Mrs. Winehouse have an amazing voice, but her style and blend of 1960's jazz and modern R&B was something truly unique, very reminiscent of Motown or the like. No one is doing anything like it, and if they were, it would be blatant plagiarism. Who knows what kind of music we would have had if she could have just kept it together. But hey, at least we still have the talent of Britney Spears!

Below are some of my favorites. Rock on baby, rock on.

You'll probably become a legend.

Friday, July 15, 2011

LSU Hype

Well, while we all await was is going to happen to the NFL, at least we can get excited about the upcoming NCAA season. And what better way to do so than to watch a couple of LSU hype videos?

If these don't get you excited then you must be a Tulane fan. Or dead.

It's on.

See you there.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Seriously, Why don't you own a nice camera?

[Note: This article is meant for two people: those who use their iphone as their primary camera, and for all those who have asked me for advice on which camera to buy. For the rest of you, just skip it.]

As all of you know, I am kind of obsessed with photography and cameras in general. To me it is the best hobby you can have. It gives you instant gratification and the pictures you take last forever (well, maybe). You don't even have to know what you're doing to appreciate that.

I have recently been working on a project to scan and digitize all of my old family photos. A long and tedious project, but also a rewarding one. Looking back at your life through photos floods your senses with old memories, sights, sounds, recognize clothes and toys and books that you used to love. The point of all this is: your photos are priceless. Cliche I know, but very true.

So the question is: why the hell don' t you own a nice camera? Seriously, you only get one shot at life (and being young) so why waste time taking crappy pictures?

I have had many people ask me "what kind of camera they should buy?" I tell them all the same thing. A camera should be looked at as an investment, not an expense. EVERYONE SHOULD OWN A GOOD CAMERA. And in today's world, you can look like a pro and still not know what the hell you are doing.

So, here are a couple of things you should keep in mind when buying a camera:

1. Megapixels = marketing. The biggest myth in digital photography: More megapixels means better image quality. This is so far from the truth its really not funny. Take a look below at my Running of the Bulls pics. Those we're all taken with my Canon 30D. An old camera (relatively speaking) with only 8 megapixels. Seriously, eight. My phone has more. Case in point: megapixels has absolutely nothing to do with image quality.

2. Spend a little more than you want to. Remember, this is an investment. You are going to take pictures you will have with you for the rest of your life. Sure, you can get a nice point and shoot for $120, but why not step it up to a semi-pro quality point & shoot for $450? You most likely will never need to buy another camera again, and your pictures will be incredible. To me it's a no brainer.

3. Learn how to post process. Your camera will take great pictures most of the time. But sometimes one of your favorite shots will be too dark, too bright, or maybe you just want to make it black and white. There are many great FREE photo editing programs on the internet. Look into it. I use Lightroom, a bit pricey for the average amateur, but look at what it can do:


Touched up.

4. Print your pictures. This is something I'm terrible at. I put them on my computer, facebook, blog, whatever, and then I forget about them. Remember back in the day when you had shoeboxes of old photos? It's sad that that doesn't happen anymore. Also, backup your digital photo files! What happens if your hard drive gets wiped out? I would cry.

Anyway, if you're looking for a great pro camera that will give you amazing results and fit in your purse or pocket, I recommend this baby:
The Canon Poweshot G12. A fantastic camera that you can take anywhere. Most people will probably never take it off the full auto mode. But the real beauty of this camera is that you have full manual control over every setting, just like a much larger DSLR. It's small, powerful, & versatile. Oh yeah, and it records beautiful HD video (which most do nowadays).

Full manual control on easy to access dials! Awesome!

Huge LCD screen that swivels and tilts! Awesome!

Now, with ALL that being said, the best camera is the one you have with you at the moment. Don't not use your camera phone just because it's on your phone. Sometimes that all you have, and its better to get the shot than not.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Running of the Bulls, NOLA style

The 5th Annual Running of the Bulls went off without a hitch. A New Orleans tradition for 5 years running, it is slowly becoming one of my favorite events. It sums up why I love New Orleans. Not because you get up at 6 in the morning to start drinking. Not because you are getting chased by a bunch of roller derby girls who slap the crap out of you with plastic baseball bats. Not because you can run through the empty streets of downtown with a drink in your hand acting like an idiot and are actually encouraged to do so.

It's because of the characters who call this place home. It's the people who make this place what it is, and if you have lived here at all you know that is no big secret. The people here just have a different set of priorities, proven by the costumes and getups and hours people spent to stick out at an event (however small) like the Running of the Bulls.

Here are some of my favorites from the day. Hit play and enjoy.

The End.