Protected: Willows website addl ideas

Big picture.  Katie likes the idea of having the main site page (section pages) feature a large photo with dynamic text that appears after the photo, with the photos changing. Katie likes the page below because the photo does the heavy lifting.  She prefers not to have a ton of text.  She thinks the web page is clean, modern, presents a nice feel for the school.  She used the term “crisp” …likes. She also likes the simple to use pull down menus and interactive buttons at the bottom (middle school grades 6-8 for ex.)  She also likes the simple color scheme, just two colors.  The fonts used are all the same style…they vary simply by size, bold vs not bold and regular vs. white reverse(see green area below w white text). She mentioned that the old Willows Logo might fit this approach better than what we are now using. Generally, she favors interactive buttons that get the user involved in the site and bullet points vs. long strings of text.  My take:  If the photos are iconic and the text is concise and well written…mission accomplished.  The site doesn’t need to be interactive, it needs to be easy to navigate/well organized. Ironically, she commented that we need to change all the font and colors in the Willows “girls only” section to match that in the new website.  That’s entirely wrong.  The whole idea Michelle had for “girls only” was to create a different space for kids.  Their place to go. Katie also liked the way the Oakcrest buttons get highlighted with a green box (w white reverse lettering).  She...

Protected: Willows website impr

We want to make the website phone/mobile friendly, on a WordPress Platform and of course wider. Let’s start with Embers as an example.  It’s wider, has clean menuing at the top, with great easy to use pull down menus.  It does a nice job featuring the school logo.    The area for the photography and text isn’t great however…we’ll get to that later. Let’s discuss how to arrange the menu atop. Once we adopt, the look, font and approach.  Let’s dive into content. First off, we should lose the “girls dedicated…. than themselves”  don’t know how that got here…eckkkk.  Lousy and complicates message.  Say too much…you say nothing. Been thinking about how to arrange our menu (using the Embers look).  Top row should have Girls Only, Edline, Our Movie (all called out in red?), Alumnae, Contact us and social media links?  Not sure we should have “donations” for a new customer site?  On the other hand, it might be used by alums? The bottom row would not have the media button(Rather “Our movie” appears in the row above).  Instead, we’d have an Athletics button and an Arts Button.  Ergo I think we should split those up.  The philosophy section of Arts can be modified to exclude Sports.  The Sports intro can be modified to include some language about broad student participation.  Perhaps the extracurricular philosophy belongs in our intro section? Final thought:  Because the web page is wider, we may need fewer button/choices in the top row.  We may be able to have Girls Only, Edline and Our Movie in the main row.   Thought I’d show how narrow our current site can...
Getting your exposure right:  stop blowing out highlights!

Getting your exposure right: stop blowing out highlights!

    The photos below all share one common trait:  They couldn’t be taken shooting in Aperture Priority mode. Why is that?  Both photos were taken 2.5 stops under what the camera’s light meter indicated was “proper” exposure.  That’s because while the photo’s subject is well lit, the majority of the frame is dark.  Getting the subject to come out “right” requires the user to tweak the exposure properly.  In this case, that means setting the exposure to get the rocks/yellow trees (shown above) perfect. Using the camera’s Aperture Priority mode, even if bracketing (1 stop over/under), you’d have over exposed the photo & blown the opportunity.  The dark areas in the photo would have been gray and the rock highlights/yellow trees would be white and unrecoverable. So how do you get the exposure right every time?   How to stop losing great photos?  Simple, shoot in manual mode!  Here’s how. Step 1:  Set your DSLR to “manual exposure” mode and the metering to “center weighted average”.   Prepare to take a “test photo”. Step 2: Look through the viewfinder.  If it’s an overcast day or you don’t have a bright sky in your photo, just frame the picture normally.   If you have a bright sky, however, you’re going to point the camera up to the sky for purposes of adjusting the exposure manually. Step 3:  Now that you’re pointing the camera in the right direction it’s time to adjust the exposure.  You’ll see a scale inside the viewfinder indicating if you’re over or under exposed and the aperture/shutter speed settings.  Adjust aperture or shutter speed till the meter indicator...
High Dynamic Range Photography Advanced Tutorial

High Dynamic Range Photography Advanced Tutorial

There’s a revolution underway allowing cameras to record the world as we see it with expanded dynamic range. So what is dynamic range (DR) anyway?  DR refers to the variation of light and dark values in a photograph.  The wider the range, the bigger the objective difference between darkest and brightest areas of your image. While you can easily see people’s features at a beach sunset, until recently, most cameras couldn’t.  Shots like the one below have been the norm, rendering the subjects features in silhouette. You have great eye sight!!!  Most people can resolve between 18-20 stops of light. A huge “Dynamic Range”. We can typically see two objects; where one is up to 500,000 times brighter (each F-Stop a doubling of light). This remarkable range involves three components: 1. your optic nerve, 2. The ability of your eye to rapidly change aperture/field of view and 3. the brain’s internal HDR processing. Even if your optic nerve can’t resolve an image, the brain will often render it perfectly based on previous experience with similar objects. The three photos below, taken at Zion National Park, illustrate how cameras often struggle to provide enough dynamic range to render an entire scene properly.  The underexposed photo renders a perfect sky, but little else.  Overexposing, in subsequently photos, provide the needed foreground detail, but sadly leaves the sky “blown out”.  Our 2009 circa Canon 7D is unable to render all of the 14-15 stops of light required to resolve the image properly. As you can see above, Cameras have more limited dynamic range then the human eye.  The good news:  camera technology is...
Becoming a “Water Ninja”…how to shoot the wet stuff!

Becoming a “Water Ninja”…how to shoot the wet stuff!

Typical Beach Shot Ex.: Nice to look at, but the water isn’t “adding” anything to the shot. Let’s explore some tools to make water “work” for you! Blurring water the “Old School Way”.  Many different types of water features can be presented better using long exposure photography.  The three composition variables that impact the proper length of exposure:  1.  speed of water flow  2.  vertical decent (how far/fast is water dropping)  3.  what features exist at the bottom of these drops, how do they shape water flow. Slow, medium & fast moving water (can require different shutter speeds to properly blur). Tripod provides stability for long exposure (w remote shutter release). Remember to turn image stabilization off (note some new lenses allow)! Your shooting in RAW…right! Always shoot in RAW! Water shoes can come in handy for certain strategic camera locations…puts you in the “thick of things”. Mirror lock up engaged for SLRs. Nikon has electronic shutter option (even better)! Polarizer benefits: 2 stop ND filter Allows removal of leafy reflections/glare Dial water reflection “on” or “off” to show bottom features or not. Typically shooting on cloudy day/dusk/dawn…crop out sky (which is often “blown out”). Goldilocks: Too much blur, too little…Just Right! Aperture Priority (start with test shot at lowest ISO, F18). ISO: Lowest setting helps slow shutter speed. Canon that’s 100 (option to cut to 50), Nikon 100 or some 64 (option to cut to 32). Review test shot to see if exposure compensation (+ or -) is required. Use LED image, histogram and “blinkies” as tools. Typically camera adjusted auto exposure is ok (in diffuse light…easy for...
In-camera Multiple Exposure (to blur water)

In-camera Multiple Exposure (to blur water)

Most new SLRs have the ability to create “in camera” multiple exposures.  Ergo, that taking multiple shots and stacking one atop of the other in one image file.  The image below is an example.  Previously the only way to create this effective digitally was to combine imagines outside the camera in a photo editing program (Photoshop for example).   Now it’s easy…your camera does all the work! We can use this new “in camera technology” to create the illusion of blurred water.  Essentially recreating the look of a “long exposure” photograph while providing additional details (shows water droplets frozen in time). Here’s the workflow to create a multiple exposure photograph. Step One:  Place your camera on a tripod and hook up your remote shutter release. Set your drive mode to high speed. Step Two: Take a test shot using the camera’s manual mode to determine the correct exposure.  You’ll want to select 1/400th as your shutter speed and an aperture of F8 (for good depth of field).  Try setting your ISO to 200 and use the light meter to fine adjust ISO as need for proper exposure.  Once you get the “right” exposure your ready to activate the camera “multiple exposure”.  Nikon example given below. Step Three:  Go into the shooting menu, scroll down and select multiple exposure. You’ll have the opportunity to activate this mode. Select “On (series)”:  The camera will stay in multiple exposure mode until you turn this feature off. Once you select “on (series), you’ll be directed back to the previous menu. Then Set the number of exposure to 10. Set the Autogain to off....
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