Press Printed Photo Books

June 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Photography | Leave a comment
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Modern technology is great. No longer do we have to stuff photos into pre-sized plastic slots in a traditional photo album, or worse yet; stick them into those “magic magnetic” albums that turn everything yellow over time. We have better options.

One of those options is press-printed books, and it is one of my favorite things to do with pictures. It is like “scrapbooking”, only it takes place in the digital realm and the pictures are actually printed onto a page with high-tech printing presses and then bound together to be a one-of-a-kind coffee table style book.

No more loose pictures, no more yellowing, no more cutting out hand-written captions and glue-sticking (yikes! art-destroyer alert!) them to a page.

Press books can be as simple as you want, or as elaborate as you want. The covers can be fabric, leather (real or faux), or have a photo printed right on them! They can also be a combination of the above…perhaps leather with a cutout to reveal a photo below.

They differ from a traditional wedding album in that they aren’t actual photos printed on a photographic paper and then bound to a page. They are printed on the page, and that page can be matte, glossy or pearlescent. The choice is yours. Artwork and captions can be added easily, during the design phase. Once again, they are printed right on the page. The pages are designed as a single image, and it can span across pages if you want. The images above are what they look like during the design phase. Each image is spanned across two pages. If you would like to see the images as they appear in the actual book – check my facebook page.

Canvas Prints – Big, Bold, Beautiful

May 31, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Posted in Photography | Leave a comment
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One of the products I offer is canvas prints. They come in all kinds of sizes, from small to huge. A big advantage of canvas prints is that they don’t require framing, which can get really expensive with large pieces; especially if they are a non-standard size.

Canvas prints are a great way to feature one of your prized photos of the family, or display a beautiful vacation photo prominently in your home or business.

Sedona Storm Sky - Example of Image Enhancement

Sedona Storm Sky - Example of Image Enhancement

There are many places you can get canvas prints made from photos you already have, but there are a lot more options and benefits if you have it done through a professional photographer like me. High quality canvas prints come with a dizzying array of options available from size, to depth, to canvas thickness, and special coatings to protect them from hazards like UV and fingerprints.

If you drop off a photo (digital or printed) at your local megamart and have them turn it into a canvas because it is cheap; you are probably not going to get the best quality you can. Quality counts on large pieces! You want the best you can afford, and it helps to discuss your options with someone who understands them and can make suggestions based on where you want to hang the piece and the impact you want it to make.

You want the piece to be big, bold and beautiful. Not big and cheap-looking.

Another drawback to using a drop-off service is that most of the work is done by machines and humans that aren’t looking out for your best interest. They are just running the piece through the mass-production-mill. Things like color balance might be adjusted, but they aren’t adjusted by hand to accentuate the piece itself; they are adjusted to a one-size-fits-all “best case scenario”.

In the photos above, you can see that the colors and tone of the picture (not to mention the dimensions) were adjusted to precisely what I wanted them to be. I could do this, because I took the time to find out where the piece was going, and the statement it was supposed to make. A photo that is going to end up almost three feet wide needs to be treated differently than something that will be six inches wide and tucked away into a photo album. One will get seen by everybody, all the time. You must keep that in mind.

Sedona Storm On Wall

Sedona Storm On Wall

SuperMoon 2011

March 20, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Posted in Astronomy, Photography | Leave a comment
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SuperMoon Rises 2011

SuperMoon Rises 2011

It’s been awhile since I blogged, but I thought I’d toss up a shot of the moon at it’s closest to Earth in 18 years. These were taken over a river wash in Phoenix, about 7:20pm MST on March 19, 2011.

Some people call it a SuperMoon, or Super Moon. That means it is at its closest to Earth in orbit, and is full. If you would like prints of this image – just let me know via email, or my contact page here. You can also check out my website at http://www.petropix.com

SuperMoon in Blue

SuperMoon in Blue

Thanks for viewing!
Jim

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker

December 24, 2010 at 11:54 am | Posted in Audio, Ballet, Concert, Dance, Review, Theater/Theatre | 1 Comment
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Moscow Ballet Troupe

This was my first time seeing an actual Russian ballet troupe. I’ve seen plenty of other ballet troupes over the years. I’ve seen San Diego and Phoenix troupes live, and San Francisco and New York casts on television around the holidays. I’ve always wanted to see how the Russians compared, as it has always seemed that all troupes are compared to them.

I can’t expound on the subtleties of just how Russian ballet differs from what I have seen before; as I’m not familiar with the intricacies and technicalities of the art. I can tell you, that it is different; albeit ever so slightly.

The object of the game remains the same. Tell a story through dance, without words. Moscow Ballet did that superbly. The story of The Nutcracker is easy to follow and is loved by children and adults alike.

The choreographer of this show really played well to each athlete’s abilities. Their strengths were showcased very well, whether it was one of the ballerinas running pas de bourrée, or one of the danseurs turning fouetté; each movement was executed very well.

The Moscow troupe itself was joined by a small army of local children for some of the larger scenes, and they also did very well; you could tell they were thrilled with the whole experience.

The scenery was done mostly via backdrops, and the show was well lit. The audio however had an annoying tape hiss. That seemed odd; considering classical music is readily available in some of the highest definition recording formats around. I would like to see this troupe perform with a symphony orchestra, but I understand that’s difficult as most of the cities on the tour have their symphonies doing their own shows around Christmas time and its prohibitively expensive to tour with your own.

I would definitely recommend you check this show out when it comes to your neck of the woods. Its definitely a great time, and is a great way to introduce your little ones to some culture.

What to wear: Dress how you like, within reason. Since there is no symphony involved, formal attire is not required. Most people at the show were dressed nicely. Men wore slacks or khakis with dress shirts, women were in skirts, dresses or slacks with matching tops. No ball gowns or tuxes were present, that I could see. I’d stay a step above blue jeans and t-shirts, but I wouldn’t go overboard.

Go See Tron the Right Way

December 16, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Posted in Cult Classic, Movies, physics, science, Theater/Theatre | Leave a comment
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I’ll make this quick and to the point. Tron: Legacy has “vertically extended” footage. Over 40 minutes of it; composed of over 7 sequences, according to the latest intel.

That means you need to see it at a REAL IMAX, not some digital multiplex mini-Imax, or Liemax, as some like to call them.

Find the real deal near you, using optical technologies comprised of 15-perf 70mm film. No, the film isn’t actually shot on IMAX cameras, it was shot digitally, using the “2.0” version of James Cameron’s camera system developed for Avatar. But, the sequences are digital creations from the get-go, which means they can render them to whatever aspect ratio they want. They apparently wanted to render them in the IMAX ratio. Most of the film will be in the 2.35-1 ratio, like you would see on your hi-def 16:9 TV screen. The “grid” sequences, however, are rendered at the IMAX aspect of 1:44-1, which, obviously is “more square”. That means you have to find a traditional IMAX screen if you want the most bang for your buck.

Why? Because the film will grow taller in those parts. The aspect ratio literally changes. If you are in a multiplex IMAX that means it will get bigger by like a foot or two. (Yes, for those paying attention that means most of the film will be letterboxed). If you are at a real IMAX theatre, it will get much bigger! Think ten feet not one foot.

How do you find a real Imax theatre? Well, you could type real imax into google and it will bring up a map, probably. There’s a good one floating around. Or, you could click here to bring up a really cool Google Earth map (assuming you have Google Earth installed) that will show them to you. In order of size they are GT, SR, MPX and digital. Try to find a GT near you, or an SR. Screw the rest. Vote with your wallets and let the execs know that you are a discerning viewer and want to see real, giant-screen movies.

Of course, Real-D 3d is also awesome, if you can’t find a big ol’ Imax nearby. I’d choose that over a mini-max. But, the vertically-extended scenes are apparently only going to be at Imax locations…so its up to you.

Update – Just came from Tron, and the vertically extended scenes are awesome. Totally worth the trip to Tempe to see the screen grow massively. Not as revolutionary as Avatar, but superb graphics for sure. Look for some VFX oscars on this one.

Dweezil Zappa vs. Roger Waters

December 7, 2010 at 11:33 am | Posted in Audio, Concert, Digital, Jazz, Rock, Theater/Theatre, Vocal | 3 Comments
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I wasn’t going to blog either of these shows, because they are both so epic that you really have to be there to get it. Then, I realized something. I’m not one of those people that uses the word epic on a daily basis; I must have something blog-worthy. So, here we go…

The Music
     Both shows feature decades old music written by highly respected, highly talented composers. Each features complex instrumental arrangements with uncommon instruments. Both feature horns, keyboards (analog and digital). Multiple vocal parts are present in each. Drums were tight, loud and crisply gated at each show. Both drummers were highly skilled. I’d say they are deft at keeping meter in both standard times, and random timings that only people with years of experience, or Master’s degrees in music, even know what it is called. 6/16th time with augmented triplets or some such…but I’m guessing. Guitar players are both highly capable. Dweezil got to show off a few more styles; due to the fluid nature of Frank Zappa’s composition – but the guys in Roger’s band played note for note as the album dictated. Overall music from each was an exceptionally clear sonic wall.

Both Winners.

The Visuals
     Roger Waters brings bleeding-edge projection technology to an arena and projects incredible animations from Gerald Scarfe, superbly edited movies, and pictures of soldiers from fans around the world; onto a giant wall which gets built brick by brick as the show progresses. The video projectors are capable of momentarily transporting you into another dimension, I’m pretty sure. There are video technologies in play at this show that I’m sure originated in Area 51.
     Dweezil Zappa had 3 screens that occcasionally projected time-synced (to the live concert) remastered film footage of his dad. The footage was great, the timing was perfect. The restoration work (or was it just great preservation?) on it was superb.

Winner: Roger Waters. Sorry Dweezil. Roger outgunned you massively on this one, but he was dealing with a much bigger venue. The scale leaned in his favor from the start, and I took that into consideration. Even with the scale handicap – he just plain outgunned you.

The Sound
     Impeccable. I can assure you I am intimately familar with The Wall. I must also admit that I was not very familiar with ‘ Apostrophe. I listen to a lot of Pink Floyd and Roger Waters. I only own one Frank Zappa Album; Quadiophiliac. However, it is in on DVD Audio; remastered by Dweezil in multi-channel surround, as was originally specified Frank.
     Everyone involved in projects by Waters or Zappa is the “cream of the crop”. Whether they be technicians, musicians, vocalists or personal assistants – I am positive they are held to the highest standards of excellence. I’m sure it doesn’t matter if they are making coffee or tweaking a knob on a 96/24 audio console; everything has to be spot on. There are no shortcuts. Dedication to audio perfectionism requires state of the art gear, tweaked by technical experts and massaged by audio artists. Both shows had this in spades. Since Dweezil was playing a much more intimate show, I can’t knock him for not bringing the Qadrophonic rig like Waters did. I’m not even sure Frank envisioned this material as multi-channel. The balls-on stereo imaging present at the Zappa show more than made up for the lack of quad.

Both Winners.

The Emotions
     Roger brings with him a personal tale of fear, regret, disconnectedness and an anti-establishment world view. I can relate to that. I get the story. I love the story. I’ve seen it on the big screen, small screen, mid-sized screens and now on Ultra-Huge screens. Great story. Emotionally charged. Power packed.
     Zappa’s tales are a bit more fun. Uplifting and whimsical at times. Dreamy and surreal. At one point, as Dweezil did a bit of improv on the guitar; he effortlessly played an instantly recognizable Jimmy Page riff. It was a fleeting, joyous moment. I felt a tear well up and roll out of the corner of my eye as I had an epiphany. Concerts at this level of musicianship aren’t always about the spectacle…they are about the music, and how it can transcend time and space.

Winner: Zappa

So, there you have it folks. Big vs Small. Grand vs Intimate. Composer against composer. A tie. All things considered; either of these shows beats out any other plans for the night you might have had. You really have to see them to believe them. I can’t describe just how well both of these guys were able to capture a moment in time, bottle it and preserve it to be released upon an unsuspecting (or anxiously awaiting) public decades later. They are both incredible shows. Zappa and Waters – I salute you both.
 

Hot Pockets – A Guest Blog Post by Nicole Dunn

December 1, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Posted in Blogging, Review | Leave a comment
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

hot pockets…

Last night Jordan and I got to go see Jim Gaffigan at the Comerica (previously dodge) theater.

I was excited to see Gaffigan live because I had been following him as a comic even before he had Comedy Central Specials or Cd’s. His timing and delivery are classic.

This was a show with all new material, which is probably why the security told everyone at the door ” no pictures or video, not even on your cell phone”. There was one opening act by a comic named Jordan Rubin. He had an interesting style. He would pause in between his jokes to make it seem like he forgot what he was going to say and it would make the next punchline seem random, but it all came together. He had a good joke that hit well with the audience about the rapper Mystikal. He did a good job of warming up the crowd for Gaffigan.

Gaffigan’s act did not disappoint for the long time fans and roped in new fans. The main focus of his act was about working out (or lack there of), the gym, the glory and disgust of McDonald’s, the facade that is Subway, hotel living and hotel indoor pools, and whales. It seems like a far leap from talking about the creepy guy who stares at the women on the hip abductor machines to whale blubber but it flowed seamlessly. The show kept the audience engaged and laughing in hysterics. It was a well timed show, lasting about an hour and half. Gaffigan left the stage and the audience cheered for an encore and without disappointment, he came out and gave the crowd what they wanted to hear….the hot pockets skit. He added new some material to the older, adored jokes about the microwave favorite. He even threw in a shout out to bacon, which was a big focus in his last special “King Baby”; it was subtle but it got a big reaction.

As a long time fan, I loved his new stuff. Jordan made a good observation about how, for the most part, his act is pretty clean as far as comics nowadays goes. Even though it isn’t packed full of swear words and filth, his jokes are relatable and hilarious. I’ll watch this special over and over again when it comes out on cable.

via phoenix dunn family.

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