Archive for August, 2007

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“You’d think I taught ’em how to fly.”

August 28, 2007

Speaking of martial arts heroes, check out Mr. Bob Kunkel. He’s a disabled (?) combat veteran who helps today’s wounded vets improve their lives through jiu jitsu. CNN has a short video on him and his work at Walter Reed hospital. If you liked that one, apparently they have another video, too.

(Why does CNNs web site suck so bad? Have they never seen youtube.com?)

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Fearless

August 27, 2007

Though I’ve been getting fatter and weaker from hardly ever going to class at J. K. Lee, at least I’ve been able to catch a good martial arts movie: Jet Li’s Fearless. Watch this trailer. Really, watch it.

Cool, eh? Now here’s the fun part. Huo Yuanjia was a real guy in China who took on foreign fighters just like the movie. Apparently he’s still known as a hero in China today.

Furthermore, this is one of the good martial arts movies, like Hero, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers, etc. Do yourself a favor and rent it. You won’t be sorry.

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Block or get out of the way

August 26, 2007

“White belts block. Black belts get out of the way.” – Overheard in the locker room of J. K. Lee Black Belt Academy

It was an observation about sparring, meaning that the more experienced practitioner is better at simply not being there when his or her opponent tries to land a punch or a kick. But I think it applies in a more general way, too. Steering away from conflict before it becomes violent is usually the wisest course.

Does this have relevance for blogging and online communities? In the many heated political debates I have been involved in I have seen tempers flare, insults hurled, and – rarely – even threats made. But if you engage in these debates and you are threatened by someone, does it make sense to continue? Maybe it’s wiser to avoid these kinds of conflicts by simply not being there.

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Scott the photographer?

August 24, 2007

I’m thinking about taking my photography more seriously. Shooting an occasional wedding and the odd event at my martial arts school is one thing, but really hanging my shingle out there for more paid work is quite another. And I think I’m ready for it.

Why? Two reasons, really. First, I have seen the work of some other folks who charge professional rates for photography and I think my stuff is just as good. Really. I have seen two ads on Craig’s List for wedding photography recently. I went to their web sites to see their stuff and see what they charge. I’d put my photos up against theirs any day.

Second: I love taking pictures. I just absolutely love doing it. It’s a lose-myself meditative experience. It’s flow experience. If I can pay a couple of bills pursuing something so rewarding I’d be a fool not to do so, right? Right.

So I think what I’m going to do is make myself a fabulous new web site pimping my mad photog skillz. Then I’ll print myself up some slick moo cards that say “Scott D. Feldstein, Photographer.” Hopefully I can get this stuff together before my next wedding gig in September.

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Camera Nerd Update

August 19, 2007

So I’ve played around with the rented Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens for a few days. Yesterday I even shot some indoor sports with it. My experience has not been great so far.

To be fair, I think my dissatisfaction with the shots from yesterday are due to the amazingly poor light at this indoor venue. As soon as I arrived I took a few test shots and quickly realized that in spite of the f/2.8 speed of the lens I’d have to push everything to the limit: ISO 1600 instead of lower, and shutter speed 1/400 instead of faster. These necessities left me with noisy, soft pictures. Ick. Even having made those compromises, I had to significantly bump up the exposure in post-processing – which only exacerbated the noisiness issue.

But the lousy light wasn’t the only problem. The fact is, I’m not used to shooting such a long lens, nor am I used to shooting on a monopod. I missed a lot of great shots simply because I couldn’t frame it correctly. In the past I’d have been a mere 20 feet away, crouching under the flying taekwondo kicks. This time I was half a gym away. No doubt experience would take care of these problems, but still.

Anyway, I put up a lot of the better shots. See them here.

On a happier note, the demonstration itself was fabulous.

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Sweet!

August 18, 2007

Someone liked my photo of the lift bridge in Duluth, Minnesota!

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Mai bal. I haz it.

August 17, 2007

Some purists out there say that there can be no such thing as a “loldog.” I say otherwise.