How to Photograph the Total Solar Eclipse on 8/21/17

Total Solar Eclipse 2017: A Guide to Viewing and Photographing it — Hudson Henry Photography

Here's a great video with tips and tricks to view the August 21st, 2017 total solar eclipse. The sun will cross the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. This rare event is a great opportunity for photographers – both amateur and professional.

The last time a total solar eclipse was visible in the U.S. was in 1979 in the Pacific Northwest. Here is ABC News coverage from that day with an amazing view from Helena, Montana.

In the video at the top of this post, Hudson Henry explains why the August 21st, 2017 total solar eclipse is special, shares some online maps and electronic scouting tools to help you plan where and how to photograph it, covers what gear you will need to get the best eclipse photos possible and reviews camera settings and technical strategies to capture those images.

When the eclipse reaches totality, you can view it with your naked eyes and stars will be visible. However, during the partial phase leading up to and following totality, you need to protect your eyes and your camera’s sensor. Be sure to view the eclipse using “Live View” on your camera instead of looking directly through the lens using your viewfinder.

WARNING! There is a high risk of PERMANENT EYE DAMAGE when watching the solar eclipse. Learn more at 10:44 of this video: CBC Special: Solar Eclipse Over Winnipeg.

Have fun in your quest to capture some images of a lifetime!

Here are some links to the tools and products recommended in Hudson Henry's video.

– Interactive Google map of the eclipse

– The Photographer’s Ephemeris

– Sun Surveyor for Android & iOS

– Eclipse glasses to protect your eyes *

– 16-Stop ND filter to protect your sensor

00:38 – Specifics about the 8/21/17 total solar eclipse and the difference between a total and partial eclipse

02:18 – Where the eclipse will be visible in the U.S. and how to use the Interactive Google Map

04:03 – Make hotel and flight reservations to viewing locations ASAP!

06:34 – How to capture the eclipse in different settings (urban, buildings, landscape, mountains, trees)

09:02 – Software to scout your ideal location and time of day to capture the eclipse (The Photographer's Ephemeris)

10:57 – Sun Surveyor App for smartphones – Great for planning a shot that includes the sun, moon, or Milky Way

13:51 – Capturing photos with “sun stars” (Although it is not covered in this video, you can easily add cross star or star effects on any photo with just a couple mouse clicks! SAVE 15% off Topaz Labs Star Effects or any of their other Topaz Labs software using code “15topaz” at checkout: http://spectralight.com/TopazSoftware. Scroll down that page to see all the software titles available.)

14:54 – Fluid head tripods for stills and video

16:05 – Recommended Cameras (Nikon D810 or Sony A7)

17:30 – Recommended lenses to photograph the eclipse (Tokina 11-20 mm f/2.8, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, Nikon 24-70 f/2.8, Canon 24-70 f/2.8, Zeiss prime lenses or Voigtlander prime lenses)

18:57 – How to photograph the eclipse

19:27 – How to protect your eyes with eclipse viewing glasses (Get eclipse glasses here *)

20:12 – How to protect your camera's sensor (Hoya neutral density filters)

23:03 – How to set your camera's meter for best results

26:50 – ON1 software and forum to learn other photographic techniques

27:41 – Rent photo equipment at BorrowLenses.com

* The link to the eclipse glasses on Amazon may include glasses from non-certified vendors. This article details the features your glasses should have to prevent blindness from looking directly at the sun.

Will YOU be watching, photographing or videotaping the solar eclipse? Please share your thoughts, questions or experiences below. If you post any photos or videos online, feel free to share a link to them!

NOTE: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, you'll help support this blog at no cost to you – allowing us to continue sharing information like this for your education and enjoyment. Win/Win! Thanks!

Memories of Sammy

Sammy hanging out on the kitchen counter.

Sammy hanging out on the kitchen counter.

(NOTE: I wrote this on the day I lost a very special cat on October 22, 2015. Sammy came into my life as a “foster cat” waiting for an opening at a local pet store. As a full grown cat, I felt his chances for being purchased were slim as most people are drawn to the cute little kittens that are bundles of energy.)

Here he comes, dashing across the yard to greet me. The most affectionate cat I’ve ever been blessed with.

He rises up on his hind paws and gently steadies himself against my leg. We make eye contact. I reach down to caress his chin. He purrs softly.

Later, I observe him lying by the patio door, his soft black fur soaking in the late afternoon sun. He looks so peaceful. I think to myself, “Oh, what a cat’s life!”

Sammy vying for my attention as he takes his place on my laptop.

Sammy vying for my attention as he takes his place on my laptop.

It’s now 8:30 in the evening. I settle onto the couch to relax before bed with my bride of 35 years, ready to watch TV and do some web surfing on my laptop. Oh, but Sammy saunters into the room and decides he’ll have nothing of it. He jumps onto the cushion next to me – vying for my attention. Who can resist those beautiful golden eyes as we, again, catch each other’s gaze. Off goes the laptop and on comes Sammy as he warmly curls onto my lap.

Sammy won my heart over on his first night at our home when he followed me to bed and curled up next to me. Most nights he would roll onto his side and lay his paw on my chest.

Sammy won my heart over on his first night at our home when he followed me to bed and curled up next to me. Most nights he would roll onto his side and lay his paw on my chest.

Time for bed and “Mr. Sam” faithfully follows me upstairs. I snuggle under the covers and he cuddles up next to me. He rolls onto his side and lovingly places his paw across my chest. It’s almost like a child saying, “Daddy, I love you.” I caress his head, he purrs, we both fall asleep. All is good with the world.

3:15 a.m. – My alarm clocks wakes us and we head down to the kitchen. Sammy awaits his usual treat as I grab my cereal. He heads to the patio door for his early morning check of the neighborhood. He pauses as I open the door, sniffs the cool, early morning air, and looks up at me before he cautiously heads out. Is that a wink that I see as I close the door behind him?

Then I’m off to work.

I return about 6:15 p.m. No Sammy to greet me. That’s OK; he’s probably enjoying the last of the nice autumn days before the cold, “lake effect” snows of Lake Erie arrive. He’ll be home soon.

It’s now 9:30 p.m. – time to get to bed because of my early morning start. Still no “Samster.” Well, not the first time that he’s been out all night. Probably checking in with a “lady friend.”

2:00 a.m. – Can’t sleep. I just don’t feel right about Sammy being out all night. Just a few weeks earlier, he lost a “battle” with a skunk. He still has a faint odor from that ordeal. I check all the doors he typically comes-and-goes from. I call his name several times. Still no Sammy.

3:30 a.m. – I leave for work, concerned that I may never see my “little buddy” again.

8:45 a.m. – The dreaded phone call comes. It’s my wife, choking back tears, telling me that she may have passed Sammy lying on the side of the road near our house. She couldn’t bring herself to stop and confirm her fears. I jump in my car, worried what I might find as I race home.

9:30 a.m. – Fear confirmed. Sammy’s svelte body and sweet little face show the ravaging effects of being hit by a car. I kneel over my loving friend, tears streaming onto his dirt-covered fur. I scoop him into my arms, walk to the tree line along my back yard, and kneel down over him as tears stream down my face. My hand rests on his lifeless body for the last time.

Sammy and I

Sammy and I

A little while later, I have finished preparing his final resting place among the trees he used to hunt moles and mice. I gently lay him in his earthly grave, say my final farewell and tell him someday we’ll meet again on the other side of the “Rainbow Bridge.”

I find it interesting that while your loved one is alive, every experience you have with that pet or person is “in-the-moment” – you enjoy it as it happens. The instant they’re gone – those experiences suddenly become memories – the only thing you have left to recall the special time you had with your loved one.

So all I have now are the beautiful memories of the sweet, loving kitty that had been my faithful companion about 10 years. He was unlike most cats… more like a dog in his faithfulness.

I only wish I could “download” all those special moments from my mind and into an album. As time passes, many of the special memories of my Sammy will fade away. I can only look forward to the day that we are reunited in heaven – both of us as we were in happier times.

Rest in peace my little friend.

I Love You,

“Dad”

 

Amazing USB flash drive is a business card on steroids!

Here I am showing the front and back of my newest marketing product - a USB thumbdrive/business card that I can hand to or mail to my clients and prospects. It has gotten a lot of positive feedback from my recipients. In fact, a couple business owners have asked me to create one to better market THEIR products and services!

Here I am showing the front and back of my newest marketing product – a USB flash drive/business card.

Every so often, an amazing product grabs my attention that I just gotta have!

Recently, I was contacted by USB Memory Direct to try a sample of their USB flash drives. I've seen these at trade shows where exhibitors give them away with their logo and website imprinted on them. I always thought they were a pretty cool way of promoting a company.

When I visited the USB Memory Direct website, I was blown away by all the unique styles, shapes and colors they offered. I was even more impressed that companies like, Yelp, Sunoco, Kodak, Intel, Toyota and many other Fortune 500 companies were using them. Now I could finally join the “big boys” with my own custom flash drive!

USB Thumbdrive Business Card

I customized the front of my USB flash drive/business card with my own photo of Cleveland and my logo. The back of the card has additional space for a custom message.

I chose a business card style flash drive that gave me a TON of room on the front and back to encourage the recipient to plug it into their computer and watch our marketing videos and read a PDF listing the services we offer. I even include clickable links within the PDF that will automatically open any web browser to take the viewer to specific pages on my website for information about each service.

With this “business card,” I have a great way to grab the attention of a potential client at a networking event, Chamber of Commerce meeting, party, etc.

Oh, did I mention that the recipient can also use the card to save THEIR own digital files? With 8 GB of storage, there's still plenty of space to add their own documents and photos. Even if they delete my marketing videos and PDF, they still have my contact info on the front and back of the card! And you can bet anyone who sees my card will be curious about the unusual style flash drive with the scenic photo of Cleveland on it.

My flash drive/business cards have gotten a lot of positive feedback from my recipients. In fact, a couple business owners have asked me to create one to better market THEIR products and services!

I am so impressed with the quality and functionality of these flash drives that I asked to become a reseller for USB Memory Direct. You will pay the same price if you order through me and get the personal attention of a local representative who can also handle your special graphic design and marketing needs.

Want to discover how these USB flash drive/business cards can take your marketing to the next level? Contact me here.

 

Lauren and Josh – Dancing with the Stars?

(NOTE: You can spin the video all around by clicking on it and moving your cursor in any direction.)

Lauren and Josh Allen decided to celebrate their one-year anniversary with portraits taken in their wedding attire at Huntington Beach… in DECEMBER! All I could say was BRRRRRRR!

Lauren was a SpectraLight Photography SpokesModel when she was in high school and took AMAZING photos. I was thrilled when she called and asked me to do something unique for their anniversary photos. We created poses that were inspired by the hit TV show, “Dancing With the Stars.” #DWTS

Cleveland Arctic Plunge – Another one for the “bucket list”

Call it “midlife crisis” or just a little insanity. Last Saturday was my latest “bucket list” moment as I joined dozens of Northeast Ohioans for the 2015 Arctic Plunge at Edgewater Park near downtown Cleveland.

After jumping out of a perfectly good airplane two years ago, I thought it would be fun to dive into the frigid waters of an icy Lake Erie to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Team Fox (Parkinson's Disease), University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and Westshore Critical Incident Response Services.

Before taking the plunge, I videotaped my fellow “plungees” (plungers?) as they entered the water like sheep being lead to their slaughter. There were plenty of whoops and laughter as they proceeded in single file down the narrow channel that had just been carved out of the frozen lake by an excavator.

Then it was my turn. I peeled of my winter coat and pants, removed my socks and shoes, turned on my chest-mounted GoPro camera and ran into the lake in my t-shirt and shorts. Good times!

Surprisingly, while the water was cold, it really was quite bearable. The biggest issue I encountered were the chunks of ice floating on and below the water surface. I had a number of cuts and bruises on my lower legs when I finished.

When I got back to the registration tent, someone called a paramedic to attend to my bloodied legs. While he doused the cuts with hydrogen peroxide (which I couldn't feel due to the numbness of my legs), I asked him how many people his crew had treated. Almost apologetically he said, “Well, you're about the only one.” Proud moment for me – NOT!

Have you ever jumped in a frigid lake for a good cause? What was YOUR experience like? Please comment here.

Please THUMBS UP, LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE this story.

My ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has surprise ending

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Yep, I knew it would happen eventually. I've been waiting to be asked to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge but I never thought it would come from our Australian foreign exchange student from 24 years ago – Rebecca Freeman Haines! I asked her to do the ice bucket honors. She came all the way from Australia to be with us!

In this video, I weathered a bucket of ice water dumped over my head and then challenged my neighbors at Cypress Station in North Ridgeville and my co-workers at University Hospital’s Eye Institute Reading Centers to also support this worthy cause.

Watch the video to the end to see a surprise in my ice bucket.

Also included in this video are VERY COOL celebrity challenges from around the Internet including President Barack Obama, Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James, professional ice hockey player Paul Bissonnette, “The Besties” – Brittany and Brittani, Jimmy Fallon with Rob Riggle, Horatio Sanz, Steve Higgins and the Roots.

Please take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge or make a donation to http://www.alsa.org/

Fireworks photos with a unique twist – these aren’t your mamma’s snapshots

 

Fourth of July fireworks get a new look with simple-to-use software that almost anyone can master in minutes! This photo was taken by North Ridgeville photographer, Mark Madere - a portrait and commercial photographer covering Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.

Fourth of July fireworks get a new look with simple-to-use software that almost anyone can master in minutes! This photo was taken by North Ridgeville photographer, Mark Madere (owner of SpectraLight Photography) – a portrait and commercial photographer covering Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.

For years I've been bored with photographing fireworks. Fighting the crowds to get a good spot, dealing with hot and humid July weather, bugs, crying children… the list goes on. I'd much rather stay home and chill-out with the Mrs. – UNTIL NOW!

I recently read an article by a photographer who captured some great fireworks photos. He gave the technical settings that he used for beautiful shots that were taken over a scenic lake. His photos inspired me to see if I could create images unlike any I've made before.

So I set out for the annual fireworks display in my town – North Ridgeville, Ohio. The weather was cool and comfortable for a July evening. I was able to stake out a spot by the lake where the fireworks would be launched. The bugs weren't annoying either (I think they preferred the taste of those around me.) And the crying children? It's amazing what ear plugs can mask out!

For 20+ minutes I shot photos with my Nikon D90 camera mounted to a tripod with exposures ranging from one to four seconds at f/11 at ISO 100. If you don't have a clue about the settings I just covered – have no fear! It seems that anyone can get decent photos with just about any camera – even with smart phones. If you already have photos you wish to add some excitement to – read on!

When I loaded the photos onto my computer – I was UNDERwhelmed by what I had captured. They looked similar to the old, boring photos I'd taken in the past.

I played with some Photoshop filters to see if I could add some pizazz to the images but nothing really excited me. I then opened a photo in an inexpensive software program (Star Effects by Topaz Labs) that I've used to spice up some photos from previous travels.  The two photos in this article were created with just a couple mouse clicks using Star Effects.

Topaz Labs is a company that has created several easy-to-use photo effects programs that can be used without even reading the instruction manual – well, at least after the initial install. It has a simple user interface that will have you creating photo masterpieces in minutes.

I found myself immersed for hours in the software as I created countless variations of each image.

To see how easy Star Effects is to use, I created this short video. Let me know what you think with a comment on this article.

SAVE 15% off Star Effects or any of their other Topaz Labs software using code “15topaz” at checkout: http://spectralight.com/TopazSoftware. Scroll down that page to see all the software titles available.)

Have fun!

NOTE: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, you'll help support this blog at no cost to you – allowing us to continue sharing information like this for your education and enjoyment. Win/Win! Thanks!

Mark’s embarrassing moment with John Lanigan on Majic 105.7

 

Now that John Lanigan, the popular and sometimes controversial radio host/DJ has retired, I thought I'd share an awkward moment I had with him during an on-air visit to Cleveland radio station WMJI.

I was invited to appear on a COSE sponsored segment where member businesses try to stump the DJs with the type of business they own. After guessing that I owned a portrait studio, John Lanigan then asked if I did nude photos. To be clear – I DON’T do nude photos although I have done several glamour sessions over the years – all done in a tasteful fashion. Any way, my mind began to race as I began to sweat while I quickly formulated my response. How do you think I did? What would YOU have said? Please comment below!

Click here for the two minute interview on WMJI

Local photographers to learn how to use video to promote their studios

Explode your business with YouTube videosTonight, I'll be teaching local professional photographers how to turn their client photo sessions into simple-to-create videos that will help their studios be found easily on YouTube and Google searches.

The presentation is titled, “Explode Your Business with Simple-to-Create Videos and Your Own FREE YouTube Channel.” It will be held at the North Olmsted Library at 7 p.m. for the Society of Northern Ohio Professional Photographers (SONOPP) monthly meeting.

Through a series of short demonstration videos, attendees will discover how to “grab” new clients with simple videos that will help their studio's website outrank their competition's in Google search results – all without having to appear on camera or buying expensive video equipment.

At the end of the evening, attendees will:

• Review great and not-so-good videos of Ohio portrait photographers so they will understand the key elements of successful, client-capturing videos (Here’s a sample video they’ll see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY30tAkpwaM)

• Discover how to make videos with impact from existing photos with cheap, easy-to-use video editing software to get their first videos online immediately

• Learn the importance of having a “video intro” to brand their videos for instant recognition by their prospects and clients (They’ll also see SONOPP’s new video intro.)

• Understand what an actual photography studio YouTube channel looks like so they’ll have a guide to create their own, free channel

• Discover how to create their very own YouTube channel to host their videos and make them available for prospective clients who search Google for businesses like theirs

• Get a list of inexpensive, must-have video equipment for creating live videos for minimal cost

• Hear about an online, step-by-step training course for creating videos that includes tons or marketing tricks that will get their videos watched AND convert their viewers into paying customers

• Discover an online course on how to easily create promotional videos with a smartphone

Why should SMART business owners attend this program? Because:

• Video drives engagement. Engagement increases revenue.
• Websites with video are more likely to be featured on the first page of Google's search results.
• Video adds credibility and is available 24/7.
• Video makes a website SIX times more likely to convert a visitor into a paying customer.
• Video is easily shared with other potential customers. It can be viewed on many devices.
• Video is memorable. With video, more content will be remembered and for a longer period of time than with text alone.
• Providing a link to a video within an email will increase response and drive more traffic to a website.
• A visitor will stay on a website featuring a video at least two minutes longer and is 64% more likely to purchase than a website without video.
• Video will enhance all other marketing efforts. Using video on a landing page will increase conversions.
• A professionally produced video outperforms user generated video by at least 30%.

Adorable baby Halloween costumes create the best photo memories

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Check out some of the cute costumes this year's best dressed babies will be wearing!


Halloween is just around the corner and moms are now shopping for cute costumes for their babies and toddlers in stores and online. Statistics from an October 2012 report by The National Retail Federation reveal an astounding 2.2 billion dollars was spent on costumes for babies, children, adults and even pets!
 
Every year, parents dress their kids in the cutest Halloween costumes! There are lions and tigers and bears – oh my! There are cows, bats, monkeys and peacocks. What mom wouldn’t want to wrap her arms around her child dressed as a purple octopus?

For little girls, princesses are always popular with Star Wars’ Princess Leia, Snow White and Cinderella in high demand. There are plenty of super hero costumes for the younger set including Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman – even the Incredible Hulk.

For “crafty” people who like making their costumes, there are sources on the Internet with tons of ideas. With a few materials and some imagination, you can make a unique costume unlike anything found in stores.

What will your baby or child be wearing this Halloween?

Check out some of the cute costumes this year's best dressed babies will be wearing in the related video! Shop for baby costumes at http://superproductreview.info/BabyCostumes.

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