Monday, September 20, 2010

SCUBA Diving Mega-Course!

 I am very happy and proud to write this blogpost.  I and several students of mine and of scuba recently completed what I coined as a scuba diving mega-course.  I doubt you will find that defined anywhere else, but, what it means (to me) is that several students participated in multiple scuba diving courses.   This 'mega-course' began about a year ago.  It involved students participating in their Open Water course, their Advanced course, their Rescue Diver course and their Divemaster course.  During these courses, students were oftentimes working toward their completion of their course with other students working toward completing a different course.  For example, Kelli worked on her DM course by working with Brandon and Angie.

This was some feat for this scuba instructor.  Only one student participating lives in Key Largo.  So, everything thing was planned from afar and it all came together during this past year. 

Students participating were:  Brandon G, Angie Z, Jenn M, at the Open Water Diver level.   Tara S, Steve W at the Advanced level, Tara S, Steve W at the Rescue Diver level, Tara S, Jeff F and Kelli Z at the Divemaster level. 

My main purpose in this blogpost is to congratulate, whole-heartedly, all of these students.  They did an absolutely outstanding job while reaching their goals.  I hope they are as proud of their accomplishments as I am and I proudly herald them here.

Pictured below are some snapshots taken during the mega-course.  They depict the studying, the pool session the equipment piles, the boat, and a fun moment after the result of a lobster dive!  There are pictures of the students in the mega-course.

Kudos to you 'guyz'!!

If you want to leave a comment; 'mouse- curse- and- click' over the time stamp below and it will open this post in a new window enabling you to do so.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I've taken the pictures, now what!?

Dear Fellow Photographers and Bloggers,

I wished I would have asked (and answered) that question almost 20 years ago.  Or at least 7 years ago or so, when I moved from film photography to digital.  Because I ended up with tens of thousands of photos that I took, but had no real idea what I was going to do with them even though I saved them. Instead I asked this question a few years ago, and, while I came up with the answer it was not until just recently that I did something about it.

Namely, scour through my many folders full of photos and edit them.  This editing process ranged from dumping (deleting) photos that when I viewed them, wondered why I ever kept them to begin with, to, full-on edits to enhance and bring out the best in others.  And then find something to do with these survivors.  

I recommend in this post that you do not wait years before you ask and answer this question.  Unless of course you want to go through what I just did.  Which was to spend days upon days sorting through thousands upon thousands of images.  Sounds grueling but it was fun.

And the job was made easier by my use of two resources.  There are many photo editing programs out there, and, I became kean on and purchased Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom (now in its 3rd version- to show you how far behind the curve I can get).  This program has 99% of the organizing and editing power that I find necessary to work with my photographs.  Here is a link to it at Amazon:
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 

I am still engaged in this process and thus far have worked with over 2400 of my photographs.  Those that I have finished beg the question- now what?  Well, I would at least like them presented so people could see them, and, even better, offer them for sale, and finally have an off-premises means of backing these up.  There are many services that offer these capabilities.  Over the years, I have now resolved to using Zenfolio as a repository for my stock of underwater photographs.  This is a subscription service (i.e 'not free') but, in my opinion, worth the annual subscription.  It costs $100 per year.  They offer a free trial period, so check it out.  If you use this link, you will get a $10 discount:  Zenfolio

As mentioned so far I reviewed over 2400 images and uploaded around 700 to my Zenfolio website.  While my task is not done, it has been made much easier and more efficient by my use of these two resources.  I guesstimate that I spent 90 hours in total and without Lightroom's power and speed, this task would have taken three times the amount of time.  There is a free plug-in for the program, that enabled me to upload direct to my Zenfolio account and into my web galleries there.  Zenfolio has themes that make it easy to get yourself set up, and, I was even able to build a custom theme to make my Zenfolio pages mirror those of my website.  

I am including two screen shots which show Lightroom on my computer's monitor and one of my photo pages on my site hosted by Zenfolio.



If you've used any of Adobe's editing programs in the past you will find Lightroom to be easy to adopt and adapt to, as it is very intuitive.
Similarly, if you've uploaded photos to any photo sharing site and created a photo page, Zenfolio is a snap to work with.  I can also vouch for the customer service at Zenfolio.   I had several 'dumb questions' and all were answered promptly in email.  

So, if you ever get around to making the above statement and asking the above question:  "I've taken the pictures, now what!?" remember these two helpfull resources in finding your answer!  I've also added links to both of these in my blog's sidebar for future reference.

Lightroom and Zenfolio are the best I've found.

Good luck with your photographs, both taken and those yet to be taken, and finding some thing to do with them afterwards!  I urge you to not let your photographs stack up on you as I did.  My goal now is to deal with my photos ASAP !!


PS:  if you look hard enough at the screenshot of LR, you may see a reference to photos and 'book II' (but keep it a secret..)
PSS:  Oh yeah, check out some of the results here: