McGuffey Lane Concert

McGuffey Lane Concert

We went to the McGuffey Lane fund raiser concert last night. There was a pretty good sized crowd in attendance. This was the 5th year that they have held this concert and McGuffey Lane kept up the pace all nightl. They also had the Buckeye Brass Band play during the break between the first and second sets. (Where else but in Central Ohio would you get a country rock concert and Marching Band Music? We love our Ohio State Buckeyes here.)

For those of you outside of the Central Ohio area, McGuffey Lane was (and still is) a very popular local country rock group. They reached their heyday back when country/bluegrass/western music became popular in the late 70s and early 80s. They had one really big album and a second album that was much less successful. The toured with the Charlie Daniels Band, the Judds, and the Allman Brothers.

In 1984 the keyboard player Tebes Douglass was killed in a car crash and the group never seemed to recover. They broke up in 1990, but John Schwab and the some of the remaining members of the group continues to play local concerts and fund raisers. Their current play list includes some new work as well as their favorites from that first album. They always put on a good show.

The weather was perfect for the evening and my friends who went to the show had a lot of laughs. Being a photographer, I’m a people watcher. I love faces and love to check the crowd. One of the audience members (who I called the band leader) was running around crowd dancing with any woman he could find. He also loved to jump on a chair and encourage the crowd to clap and sing along. He seemed to be having a great time.

Summer is definitely on the wane here in Ohio. You can start to feel and smell autumn in the air. The plants are starting to dry out and the leaves have started to change color. That means one thing: Football season and shooting more outdoor portraits showing off the autumn colors. I’m excited for both.

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Ashley’s Senior Portrait

Ashley's Senior Portrait

Last week I took Ashley’s senior portraits. And this week, I spent most of the week selecting and editing the images in preparation for posting them to the gallery I created for she and her family. We had a great time and you could tell that she was so excited to be getting her portrait made. I think they turned out quite well and I have a lot of good ones to work with. I also got to work with my daughter, Fiona, who did Ashley’s hair for the session. Who knows, maybe that can turn into a full time thing–her doing hair and makeup and me doing the photos. Instead of King and Son, it will be King and Daughter!

We went to a local city park that has a farm on the property. The farm was one of the original farms in the area and at one point, the family donated the land and buildings to the city. The city has done a marvelous job maintaining the buildings and grounds.

The farm house has been turned into office space and the barn has been turned into a venue that you can rent. There’s also a small pond on the property with a large weeping willow tree near it. Perfect for a great image. I noticed that I wasn’t the only photographer there that day. Someone else was getting their photos done and we seemed to be swapping spots as we worked.

I really enjoyed working with Ashley on her photos. She’s grown up so much lately, but she still has that innocence of a younger person. She has gone through a lot in her 19 years. It’s good to see her finally turning into an adult.

The image I included with this entry is one of my favorite images from her set. And you know me, I love black and white.

My Photography Workflow

In my last posting, I wrote about the tools I use to manage my blog. I figure I should also share the tools I use for my photography. For the bulk of my work I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. In addition, I also use a couple of add-on tools, like OnOne software’s Perfect Photo Suite. I also use a Wacom Bamboo tablet and stylus for finer control when I’m working on the image.

I use an expo disc when I shoot to set a custom white balance. This has to be the best $99 dollars I’ve ever spent. Once you set your white balance in the camera, the images come out perfectly color corrected. I’ve almost never had to adjust white balance in the computer after I started using this tool.

Adobe Lightroom is my main workhorse in my photo workflow. I start out by creating new catalog for each client and maintain all of the images from that client in his or her specific catalog. I used to use just one big catalog for all my images, but when you get a lot of images in it, the application slows down. During import I add keywords and set up the metadata for the images.

I’ll jump out the Photoshop when I need to make additional corrections and if I’m going to be using Perfect Photo Suite. I like to take this extra step to send the image through photoshop so that I can easily compare before and after views of the image before I pull it back into Lightroom.

Once I have everything to my liking, I output the images into the gallery I’ve created for the client. I use SmugMug.com for fulfillment of my images for the client. I love what they just did to the user interface and the site designs they created. I hope that keep updating the user experience. You can check out my portfolio at Michael King Photography

Well, that’s pretty much covers it.

Tools for Writing my blog

Patrick Murphy of Gaelic Storm

Another Gaelic Storm image

Wow, two postings in a single day. The image in this posting is of Gaelic Storm’s Pat Murphy. He’s introducing the song “Alligator Arms.” Which is off of their Chicken Boxer CD. I know I’m just a fan, but I would love to spend a day with Pat. He seems like the kind of guy who has crazy fun stories and adventures.

But on to other things. I spent the evening working on exploring how to better manage and draft my blog entries. I want to write more and be able to share more stories and images from my work. I’m always looking for an efficient way to make that happen. Right now, I’m using two tools to manage my blog: MarsEdit and MultiMarkdown Composer.

MarsEdit

I use MarsEdit to manage and post the entries into my blogs. I like editing offline and making sure that everything looks good before I post to the blog. MarsEdit is a great tool to use to keep my blog posting arranged and organized. The one downfall is the text editing capabilities. I have a hard time getting my images posted in the proper position so that the text is laid out properly. I usually get the image at one spot, then the text ends up wrapping around the image in a weird way. Take the image above for example. When I first inserted into the posting, the text butted up against the side of the image. I was able to remove the float style from the image so that the text now drops down below the image.

MultiMarkdown Composer

I added another tool to my package called MultiMarkdown Composer. This is a text editing tool that uses the same formatting codes used by WordPress.com for your postings. I find it so funny that the best way to control the text in a blog posting is to mark it up using formatting codes. Back when I started as Technical Writing, we used to edit our documentation files on an amber tty terminal connected to an AT&T 3B20 computer. We’d create a text file and enter our text marking up the text using nroff/troff markup codes. There was no WYSIWYG or previewing our work. We would have to run the file through a formatter and print out the finished file. Our printer was a quarter of a mile away at the opposite end of the building, so to check your work you walked a half mile and if you made a mistake in a code, you’d have to fix it, format the file, print it and then walk another half mile. I called it my fitness program.

Now we use markdown codes to write our work. The one benefit is that we do get a preview in a second pane, so there goes my fitness program.

Back to markup/markdown and writing blog entries. My first challenge was getting the version of the application that would allow me to save my files into a standard working directory. For some reason Mac OSX 10.8 does not like the default file name that is assigned by MarsEdit when you jump out to the external editor. You can’t save the file. But, after careful web searching (thank you oh great and powerful Google), you just need to change the filetype used with MultiMarkdown Composer to .txt and now you can save the file with no problems. Based on what I’m seeing in the preview window, I now get the text and image lined up like I want them to.

So tell me, what tools do you use to manage and write your blogs with? What do you like about them? Where do they fall short? If you could talk to the developers what would you tell them? I’m really curious.

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