Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Keeping up with Meetup.com via RSS


So, after moving to new city (actually new country on new continent) I needed some way to find a new social group, or at least people with whom I shared a hobby.

Enter Meetup.com!

Signed up, entered my interests and within hours I had agreed to meet with fellow photographers to do a photo event!

After becoming member of a couple of handful of groups, it became apparent to me that I needed to find a better way to get organized with all the things that happened on Meetup, that I might be interested in. Most of my digital life has been streamlined using services like Pocket and IFTTT, so how could I make Meetup become part of that flow.

Basically I wanted to be informed of any activity related to any of the groups I was a member of. New members, new comments, new photos... Well, say hello to Meetups API and RSS feeds!

Let me show you how I created an RSS feed of all my Meetup activity and then how I used IFTTT to push it to Pocket.

  1. Take a note of this:
    https://api.meetup.com/activity.rss/?member_id=[ID]&key=[API_Key]
  2. Log in to Meetup and click on your profile (top right corner) and take note of your member ID in the URL (yes, the ID in the example is made up!)

  3. Now click on the 3 'more info dots' and then click API

  4. Then click API Key and take note of the API Key

  5. Replace the [ID] and the [API_Key] placeholders in the URL from step 1 with the values that you found in step 2 and 4, and you will end up with something like this:
    https://api.meetup.com/activity.rss/?member_id=12345678&key=9a8b7c6d5e4f3a2b1c
This is your very own personal RSS based Activity Feed from Meetup. How about that!

Now, I've created a recipe in IFTTT that takes anything new from that RSS feed and created an item in Pocket, but you can also just add the feed to your favorite RSS reader (Feedly?).

Now you will never miss a thing from Meetup.

Have fun!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Busy doing photoshoots

Phew... Four photoshoots in a week and a half. Hundreds of images to organize, select and process. Christmas is applying the usual shopping stress to my life and my day job also steals a lot of my time. And I believe there is also a family that require some attention...


At least its been some really fun and interesting shoots, ranging from artsy B/W's to Glamour shots. I am actually really looking forward to spending some time on the post-processing part as I can feel how my Lightroom, but mostly my Photoshop, skills are improving. I've also meet some really interesting people over the last few weeks, giving me some pointers to where I might cut a few corners and utilize some plugins. As an example, a fellow photographer suggested using a Photoshop plugin for skin retouching and I must say that it has really increased the turn-around time on my image processing!


Last night I also got this idea of doing a series of 'Christmas Lights House Portraits' around my 'hood. Basically a series of house 'portraits' of Christmas decorated houses, all taken with a nifty-fifty from the same distance and processed the same way. Shouldn't take more than a couple of clear nights and should be fun!


Talking about Christmas... What sort of photo related stuff is on your list this year? Mine is surprisingly limited. A StreakLight and a Capture Pro Camera Clip is all that it has come to... Have I really reached a point where I've realized that acquiring more gear, does not make me better? That has to change!

Merry Christimas and have a great Yuletide!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

On day 8 of my 31 days of learning Photoshop

I've decided to become fairly skilled at Photoshop retouching, so every day for 31 days I have to do something.

Though I must say that I still have a fair way to go before having all the tools in my belt (it will be way more than 31 days) I must say that I'm getting faster at it. No longer spending much time looking for tools and the 15 most used shortcuts are already muscle memory. In total I think I've spend 8 hours editing over the last 8 days and I've learned a LOT!

Anyway, check out my last quick and dirty model retouching (the animated GIF will show a before and after).

 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Finally getting to know Photoshop

Photographers tool numero uno, Photoshop, and I have never been good friends.

I've played with it, I understand Layers and I understand Filters and the tools. But I have never been able to put it together and use it for something useful.

So I decided to spend 30 minutes on Photoshop every day, until I find that I'm good enough to do what I need to do.

Scott Kelby's book 'Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers' is by my side, but I have yet to open it. First I want to get the hang of actually navigating the interface.

Just finished my first self-paced 30 minute project and feel that I'm finally getting the hang of it, so I've decided to show my first 'before' and 'after'. Nothing fancy, just a pretty girl from a shoot I attended last weekend.

BEFORE
 
AFTER
What did to the image was the following:
  1. Removed blemishes
  2. Fixed the background
  3. Smoothed the skin
  4. Created catchlight in left eye
  5. Did a tiny bit of body scaping
  6. Did a bit of PS makeup to enhance the facial features
 Anyway, hope you like it! And wish me luck in my Photoshop endeavors :) 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Having a little fun with Low Key

Went to a meetup with a bunch of cool photographers, the other day. Had some fun taking Low Key portraits. Now backlogged, processing them as always :) Anyway, here's a few samples!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Processed some photos from a modelshoot the other day.

It was a very fun experience. Found the shoot on meetup.com and decided to go and I have no regrets!

The organizers did a superb job and it was a good location, some beautiful models and all-round some nice people.

Anyway, here are a few of the photos.






Sunday, January 26, 2014

A few photos from a West Vancouver walk

Put on my Nifty-Fifty and went for a little walk in West Vancouver, Canada.
Tracks in Mist

The Beach

The Pier

The Bench

Beach in fog

Splintered wood

The Sign

Moving Marble!