1/18/2011

QR Code Fun!

I love this stuff!  If you haven't seen these around yet, I don't think it will be too long before you start seeing them pop up everywhere you look. 

The first time I saw one of these, I was in Toronto with Mike for the screening of Oliver Sherman. It was on a poster for another movie that was showing at TIFF, and we figured it had something to do with scanning with a mobile device, but that's about as far as we got with it.

A few days ago, I was about to open a bottle of wine, when I noticed one of these cool graphics on the back, and it also gave a web address to go to with your mobile to get a free reader. I loaded the free app right away, scanned the image, and was taken to a webpage describing that particular bottle of wine, giving tips on food pairings, etc... I texted Mike right away, he had just seen one on a restaurant menu and was actually talking about it when he got my message.

I love this technology, and though I don't really expect it to pick up locally until a lot of major products are using them (if ever), I still think it will be fun to experiment with the codes. Aside from being useful in marketing efforts, I could see these linking to instructions for assembling furniture, medication warnings etc...

Not only can you have the QR Code open a webpage when a mobile user scans it, you can also set it to send an email, save your Vcard info to their address book, send a text message, dial a phone number, or play a video.

I'm really looking forward to using a QR code in a print ad soon, and seeing how much response it generates, if any.

I'd really love to have a big ol' ad in the paper that has no other content but the QR code image, just to see if the curiosity would be enough to drive people to check it out. It could be a fun experiment.

Since I first posted this, I've been looking into so many more applications for these, and I think one of my favorites is to have a QR code on your clothing. The examples I've seen all seem to have a QR code linking to the clothing designer's website, but I'm sure it's also being used for many other purposes. Single people could have a personal dating profile that you link to when you scan the code on their back for example... of course we might all look like a bunch of goofs if we went around scanning random people's clothes. hah.

Oh, and of course it's not surprising that some people have had the codes permanently embedded on their bodies. Do an image search in google for "QR code tattoo", and see the results.

If you have a cel phone and would like to test out this technology, go to skuyou.com using your mobile, and you'll be provided with a link to a free reader for your particular phone. It's quick and easy.

Once you've got it, scan this image below and see what happens!  Ok, it's really not that suspenseful, but it's still fun. Try It!



When Life Hands You Lemons... And Limes & Oranges

This post is the result of nothing more than needing a break from the project I was working on. I wandered around the house for a minute, until a bunch of lemons caught my eye.

I just happened to have a sheet of plexiglass in the basement (a leftover piece of hardware from a movie set), so I put it down like a bridge between two chairs, placed one of my softboxes underneath it, one above, sliced up some citrus and had some fun.

I didn't spend a whole lot of time experimenting with different light levels and placement, but here are some of the results of my citrus break






1/12/2011

The Forgotten Lego

This holiday season had me putting a lot of lego sets together, and making a little town for Tristan to play with.

We still have a little bin of my old blocks from when I was a kid, so I figured I'd use them to build some houses to match the new one Tristan got for christmas. My old legos have so much wear on them that the buildings I made look like they belong in the bad part of town.

Of course when we play with the legos (or do anything else really), I can't help myself, I have to at least take a few pictures with my phone. Here are a few I've taken over the last few weeks, and one older picture I took a few years back of a forgotten lego.

I was walking in an alleyway when I noticed this old, broken lego popping out of the dirt. It made me wonder how long it had been buried there in the sand, and what kind of creations it might have been a part of once upon a time. Nobody would have cared about, or even noticed one single block going missing I guess, but there was just something about this lone lego that seemed kind of sad.

Here's the forgotten lego, and a few other silly pictures...




1/11/2011

The Old Shadow

With Jaden turning ten last month, I've been spending some time looking back through old pictures I've taken of her since she was born. I have a few favorites from the earlier days... one of those I posted not too long ago, and another one of them from a few years later is included below.

I took this shot not long after we moved to this street. I was walking to the park with Jaden, and noticed our huge shadows as we crossed the street. I always had a camera in my pocket since I got into digital photography, so I quickly pulled it out and snapped a few shots before we got to the other side.

The camera I was using back then (my first digital) was the Casio exilim ex-S2, a great little toy to start out with. At the size of a credit card, and barely 1/4 of an inch thick, it was perfect to carry around with me all the time. Looking at it now it's pretty funny, the display is about the size of a nickel, and it only shot 2mp without any ability to focus. Not a very high quality tool, but at the time, it was pretty impressive. I liked it enough to upgrade to newer exilim models in following years, right up to a 10mp credit card sized camera. Then I finally decided to make the jump to SLRs.

I definitely shot a lot of garbage with the ex-S2, but this is one simple image I still like.

1/06/2011

A Tasty Trio - North Bay Food Photography

I figured I'd start the day with a few pictures of some little open faced sandwiches I made. I'm still trying to think of some new foods I can make to take shots of, and anytime I'm in a store like winners, I take a quick look around to see if there are interesting dishes or anything else I could use. Since I haven't really found anything different yet, I thought a little group of sandwiches might look tasty.

I think from here I'll move on to some colourful fruit or desserts. even though I don't really eat sweets, they do look nice. I'll see what I can come up with, but for now, here's the tasty trio...


1/05/2011

Eyewhere - North Bay Photography & Web

Just recently, I wrapped up a website for a new and unique company in town, Eyewhere Mobile Optical. 

The company was started by Paul Kilfoyl, a licensed optician who decided to offer on location optical service. Rather than traveling to an optician's office to pick out frames, lenses, or to have your eyewear fixed, you can now call Paul and he'll come to you, fully equipped to meet your needs.

This service is especially useful for places like retirement homes where residents might not have easy access to transportation, or industrial facilities where several employees need to be equipped with prescription safety glasses.

I hadn't worked on this type of project before, so I was happy to be involved.  Paul's big focus with this company is excellent customer service. Building long lasting relationships with his clients is top priority, so it just made sense for his face to be right there when people visit his website. So, once I had the design of the site taken care of, it was time to get Paul's mug in front of the Canon.

As with the Judy shoot, we wanted to keep this one pretty simple, so Paul came over to my place, and with a few softboxes, the shot was taken in front of a bare wall in my office downstairs. Actually, the room was pretty much empty back then, not quite an office yet, and it has barely changed since. Maybe someday.

Here's one of the photos I took, as well as a look at the Eyewhere website design...




1/04/2011

Shooting the Not So Willing - North Bay Photography

Over the past year I've had the chance to shoot some pretty interesting people, which has been great. The only problem is that 99% of the time, the folks I need to take pictures of hate being in front of the camera, and just can't wait for the whole thing to be done so they can get away from me. I hate to be in front of the camera too (that's why I'm always behind one!), so I don't take it too personally.

An example of this was the day I needed to get a headshot of Judy Sharpe. The shot was for the Influential Women of Northern Ontario Awards.  Judy was the Public Sector Award Winner, and was being featured in their magazine and website.

Judy is obviously a very busy woman, so the shoot would have to take place at One Kids Place, where she works as Executive Director. This was fine because the natural light there is great. I knew she was less than excited about having her picture taken, so I figured I'd keep things simple to make sure it would be nice and quick. All I brought with me was a large reflector, placed to get just the right lighting I wanted on her face, and off we went.

Even though Judy wasn't excited about being in front of the lens, she was really nice about the whole thing, and I didn't keep her long just to make sure she wouldn't get too uncomfortable.  Fortunately, she wasn't rushing me at all, and once I got the shot I needed, I even took a few seconds to get a photo with the old Yashica-A medium format film camera I had just received as a gift a few days earlier.

Below is the final shot that was used, how it looked in the magazine, and a look at the shot I took with the Yashica...







1/03/2011

Back to the beginning - North Bay Food Photography

Last night I spent some time looking through all the work I've done since last January, and I realized it has been a year since I started this blog.  I did well in the first month, posting 25 times. Things went downhill from there until I ended up with only 2 posts in the last few months.

I'll see if I can keep the momentum going this year and put something up at least every other day. My first post last year was a shot of some soup, so I figured I'd start this year the same way with a bowl of Inferno sausage and rice soup.

It has been a while since I took shots of my food, and I wasn't sure why until I started taking pictures of this soup.  The problem is I don't have any more variety. Same foods, same colours, same dishes, same silverware, same, same, same. I guess I got about as far as I could with these quick shots and moved on to something else.

I like taking the food shots though, so I'll see what I can find to mix things up a little, and still keep things really simple (no lighting or major set up, etc...).

The first photo below was taken using a Canon 50mm 1.8 lens, and for the second shot I thought I'd try out my new Lensbaby Muse plastic lens. The muse is not ideal for food shots but it is a fun little toy, and I'll get into that later, but for now here are the shots.