Monday, 9 October 2017

Thing 6 Reflective Practice

So here I am reflecting! I have to admit that rightly or wrongly throughout all the courses and CPD I've completed, I always had a dislike for reflective practice. Perhaps in the early stages I didn't really know what was meant by it or what people wanted from me or perhaps it was just the actual term made it sound complicated and off-putting! Anyhow here goes!

As I begin to reflect on Things 3-5 my first concern immediately is where is thing 3 gone??? I know I accessed the image banks and downloaded some images and posted one of a gramophone in my blog but I don't see it there!

Overall I have been asked to access image banks and read some basics on creative commons license, use a mobile app for visual communications and create a screen-cast tutorial.

My reason for taking the course is to improve and update my knowledge of apps and other little tools and gadgets that have come on stream in the past few years. I'm involved in creating e-learning content and have an MA in Digital Media Development for Education. That was in 2006 and although I'm constantly involved in the area, it can be very time consuming trying to keep up with the latest apps, their functions and uses etc. The fact that this course is guided and 'good quality apps' are recommended in the 'Things' is a Godsend and helps bypass the myriad of useless apps on the market. I'm finding the course really informative and useful.

Starting into the Things I was fairly confident that I would be ok on the technical side of things and was really looking forward to being introduced to new content and uses of little bits of technology. I can honestly say I've being really impressed with what's available for free, sure there maybe a couple of adverts here and there but that's ok once the service is good.

I've become more aware that people (in general) in my opinion don't seem to read anything anymore. It's all too much effort. I'm not talking about novels, books etc but simple things like e mails and instructions for completing various tasks seem to be scanned over and vital information missed. It's not just students, lots of tutor colleagues seem to miss half the e mail or instructions sent to them and no doubt I do the same. In fact I've probably missed half the point of this Reflective Practice blog!

That opinion of the lack of reading fueled my interest in photofunia and screenomatic  as visual communicators. I have used Camtasia previously but |I'm really impressed with the free versions of both these apps. They will be really useful to me as I'm involved in educating our tutors in various ways of using technology to assist in teaching and learning. The downside can often be costs of licences etc so the benefits for me of being guided to these free apps is huge and tutors will be far more likely to use them and get involved once there are no costs for software.

I'm pleased to be involved with the course as it's 'compelling' me to complete the 'things' and keep up even though at times I've struggled with time. Great job everyone!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Thing 5

Thing 5 Thing 5 A short video tutorial using Screencast o matic, an extremely useful tool Thank you Niamh O'Donovan and Wayne Gibbons Creating a composite image using a 'Green Screen' and the 'Sect Colour range' tool in Photoshop

Thing 4

Getting a little behind on my 'things' Must say I'm impressed with Photofunia, great little app!

Thank you Michelle Breen and Niamh O'Donovan. Moving onto to Thing 5!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Thing 3

As you maybe aware from my last blog I have an avid interest in photography and so I was very interested reading through the instructions for Thing 3. I found it extremely informative especially the section on the Creative Commons licensing and when time permits i will definitely follow the link to the Creative Commons website to read some more in-depth on it.

I was also intrigued at the image bank websites. I have come across lots of stock image websites offering a few  royalty free images here and there to draw customers in but was truly amazed at the number of images and the wide variety available. I dabble in compositing using Photoshop to create an image fro 2 or more other images and sometimes it's just not possible to take all my own images of the type I would like whether through geographical restrictions or just not being able to source the subject that I would like to photograph. I'm sure these image banks will help me out on that front!

Below is an image I downloaded from  Pixabay as part of my Thing 3 task. I have placed in here on my blog in pursuit of the Visual Communicator Badge!
The reason for choosing this image is that I recently did a photoshoot with my Adult son and a female friend themed on the 1920's clothing and style. It's just a hobby, shot at home using a 'green' screen background so that the images can be composited with another suitable image(s) to make one photo. This gramophone will help greatly as a 'prop' to enhance an image.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Thing 2: Introduction to my thoughts on photography

I could call photography my hobby, interest, past time, but to me it's my passion. I first started taking photos in what might be termed  'on a more serious note' around 2006. Prior to that it was mainly shots of the kids, family holidays, Christmas etc, the phrase I and others who are more serious about our photography would now use to describe this activity as 'record' shots or snapshots. It's not meant in any derogatory way but it is a recognition that there is very little skill /knowledge required from the person taking the photo, it's just point the camera (or nowadays the phone) at the subject and press the shutter. Let the camera do all the calculations, estimations and work it's algorithms to produce a decent snapshot which looks like the way the technician who wrote the algorithm thought it should look!

To me, being a good photographer is about taking control of the camera, taking it out of auto pilot, setting it to manual and producing images that look how the photographer wants them to look, not how the algorithm says it should look! Of course it takes time to learn all of the options, settings and technical aspects of the camera but in time all those can be conquered with constant practice. The next bit is the difficult part...the ability to 'see' a beautiful image before it's ever taken, to visualise a photograph while non-photographers around you just see a scene. Next and most difficult especially for me being a fairly practical person is creativity, the ability to dream up, to imagine, to compose a series of elements and place them all together in the 'right' part of the photograph so that it all fits together majestically.

So right now I'm on that journey, I'm pretty competent with all the settings and technical aspects of the camera and shooting various genres including landscapes, sports, portraiture and macro. I'm fairly ok using artificial lights, softboxes etc and I'm in the process of educating myself more in this area. The area I struggle with sometimes as mentioned above is creativity. To help I search the web, watch YouTube, read books, try as much as possible to see what other photographers are doing to open my mind and help to release some creative juices (if there are any there!). My last project along these lines was to take some images based on the Netflix series 'Peaky Blinders' I hired some 1920's clothes from a local costume/theatre supplies firm and my 19 year old son Daniel helped me out by modelling for me. I took some shots of him at home with a 'Green screen' in the background and then composited him into some alleyways I had taken photos of in Tallinn earlier this year. I enjoyed this immensely as I found it challenging to get the lights right and make him look like he was actually there in the alleyway. I'd like to do some more of this as winter approaches
 Peaky Blinders Inspired

However, Autumn is here and with it the colours on the trees, the reasonable hours for sunset and sunrise so that might take priority for the next few weeks but if there's a few rainy days I'd love to do something where's that book on creativity so I can look up my next project!:-)

Thing 6 Reflective Practice

So here I am reflecting! I have to admit that rightly or wrongly throughout all the courses and CPD I've completed, I always had a disli...