Deke's Techniques 654: Op Art Experiment 3a: Volumetric waves
Deke indulges in a third set of computer-generated Op Art experiments in Adobe Illustrator.

Temporary Outage

Hey gang. Looks like we were down for about 15 minutes just after 2:00 pm Pacific Time on Monday, July 7. The server had to restart Apache. dekeOnline has gone from the bottom of the Internet Sea to one of the top 100K sites almost overnight, so we may be experiencing some hiccups in the near term. Thanks for bearing with us!

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Low-Angle: It's for the Children

I realize I owe you lovers of the graphic arts a Part 2 to my Illustrator Transparency, Photoshop Resolve article. And I'll get to it, don't you fret. But this week I got a wild hair up my nose. I say "nose" knowing full well that Colleen will give me crap for censoring myself. (Compare this to dekePod, where I vigilantly defend my every naughty utterance). But you see, this week, I have to self-censor because, this week, I'm givin' it up for the children. The wee little vulnerable, innocent, pure-as-driven-snow children. Who in the case of my boys already know most the choice bits of wayward vocabulary (as well as some of the advanced combos), but also know better than to employ them in public.

As those of you who are familiar with my stuff know, I'm not a photographer. So you won't find me proselytizing on such topics as aperture and focal length. But I am a graphic artist and I do have an eye for framing and composition, which is where this article comes in.

Lately, I've been experimenting with the low-angle "hero" shot. By way of contrast, consider the image below. It shows my seven-year-old, Max, building sand trees using a sculptural variation of the Jack-the-dripper technique. For those interested in such things, the technique involves extremely fine, wet sand which is then squeezed though the palm and occasionally whipped at a target, as we see Max doing here. (He's actually amazingly deft at it. I know, I'm the dad so I would say that. But he's as good as me, and I rock at sand trees.) 

The image nicely conveys a moment of dynamic energy. But the story is told from my perspective, the perspective of an adult. Read more » 

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Quite a Yesterday, Quite a Today

It's always interesting visiting the Upper Peninsula. The people are friendly (provided you're not a deer or a fish). The river is beautiful. And there isn't a modern, properly configured computer in sight.

To give you a sense of what it's like, I present to you my offspring, rendered just as they appear in The UP, in sepiatone and everything. Yes, it actually is 1937 there. Albeit, subject to some radical climate shifting. (The St. Marys River, in background, was once many feet higher.) And more vibrant swimwear.

Max & Sam c.1937

Which might explain why my emergence from The UP felt a bit like Future Shock. The sequence of events went something like this: Read more » 

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How to Celebrate Freedom and Love

Well, Deke is safely ensconsed in a broadband-challenged area of "off-the-hand" Michigan, so I can write whatever I like today without him editorally looking over my shoulder. (I think he enjoys turning the tables on me.) So I thought about running my seasonably inappropriate and infamous "How to Draw a Snowflake using InDesign" tutorial, but, instead, I'll celebrate my personal independence the way all red, white, and blue-blooded American's do this time of year here in the states, by rounding up the best advice on how to photograph fireworks.

  • Over at the The Digital Story, Derrick's got a great set of basic advice for shooting your pyrotechnic celebrations. His first item? Turn off the flash: "Yes, you're going to be shooting in a dark environment, and if your camera is set to auto flash, it's going to fire. This is the last thing you want, so turn it off." This presumes you know how to turn off the flash. In fact, that's probably an even better tip: know how to control the flash on your camera before you're in the dark trying to figure it out on-the-fly. (For more sage advice on shooting in special circumstances, from airplanes to underwater to infrared, check out Derrick's book, The Digital Photography Companion.)

Have a small light handy for checking and altering settings on the camera and tripod without having to fumble in the dark. A small red LED key chain flashlight is perfect for this task. Red light is less disruptive to your night vision than white light.   Read more » 

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Momentarily off the grid

Hey gang, I'm about to hop on a plane (a few planes, actually) bound for the middle of nowhere. I'll be without cell or Internet access until Monday, hanging out with my family in Michigan's tranquil, kooky UP. Enjoy the site in my absence. I believe Colleen has a post planned for Thursday. Keep the comments coming (good or bad). And thanks for everyone's kind support. (!)

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