Posts Tagged: DIY

DIY Macro Experiments

DIY Macro Local Flower

Fri 09.13.13 – After seeing today’s In Focus of macro photos of insects, I decided to try the trick of taking a manual 50mm lens, flipping it around, holding it up to my Nikon D800’s body and then shooting.
After a few duds with light leaks, I lowered the ISO, turned on some lights, and set the manual lens to f1.4 and to the closest 0.3m focus.
How did I focus? I turned Live View on on the Nikon D800 and then gently moved back and forward as one hand held the lens up to the camera body and the other pressed the shutter.
The photos turned out very dreamy, which I like but not quite as macro or sharp as some of the tutorials on line for DIY Macro with a 50mm lens. I didn’t make a toilet paper extension tube or use an adapter or compound lenses or create my own reverse adapter with a body cap and a filter, I just did it DIY spontaneous by holding the reversed 50mm manual lens up to the naked camera body.
Big thanks to Scruffy McDoglet for staying still and my local patio plant for only gently waving in the wind.
Here is my Flickr DIY Macro Photos from today’s experiment.

Thomas Shahan’s DIY Approach to High Magnification Photography

Wed 12.21.11 – Thomas Shahan, a photographer and printmaker from Oklahoma, has an amazing photography high magnification photography practice with garage sale DIY camera set up and his work has been published in National Geographic.
From today’s Flickr blog:

Thomas knowledge about his photographic subjects is paired with gear that helps him achieve the stunning results you see throughout this article: “I’m currently using a Pentax K-x body, a set of extension tubes, and either a vintage 50mm f/1.7, or 28mm prime lens reversed to the end of the tubes. For lighting, I have an old Vivitar Thyristor flash mounted to a flash bracket diffused with a homemade softbox constructed from cardboard, tinfoil, and paper towel. In the past, I’ve used a Pentax K200D body, and before that – a Pentax *ist DL. I’ve stood by Pentax as their bodies work with just about any lens they’ve produced, even back through the film era – meaning as a frugal guy, I could easily attain high quality glass for cheap.”
Given that Thomas works a lot with reversed lenses, I was curious if he uses a special filter or other means to protect them. But this isn’t a big concern of him: “I’m not the guy to ask about protecting lenses – I’m using 20 dollar lenses that are significantly scratched after years of tumbling around in my backpack without proper caps. I usually keep spare lenses in socks. My 28mm, a garage-sale find, is almost solely mounted backwards and never used as it was intended. I admittedly take very poor care of my equipment.”
Asked if he uses any equipment that he would call “out of the norm”, “DIY”, or “repurposed”, Thomas explains that “Reverse-lens macrophotography is a pretty odd way to go – but offers a lot of magnification for cheap.”

I love it when I see folks working with whatever photo tool that they have at hand and then pushing the medium to make great photos. Bravo, Mr. Shahan!

DIY Mobile Programming: Get Started with HTML, CSS, and Javascript

“If you can build your app with HTML, CSS & JavaScript, then you probably should.” – @jonathanstark #wdx (via @garazi)

Some friends recently asked on Twitter what was the best way to start programming mobile apps with Nokia’s Qt, as they found that it was not as easy as the publicity from Nokia had purported Qt to be.

I replied: “When devs say a ‘framework’ is “easy” it is code for “It won’t take 15 months of 10 hour days & make you want to KILL yourself.”

Anyone who has developed an application, be it for the desktop or mobile, can tell you that framework makes it so much easier, but easy is a relative term. What easy may mean is that development time is reduced from 6 months to 6 weeks or less. Still not that easy, but easier and a big relief.
For folks who want to learn to create and develop their own mobile apps, but don’t have much programming experience or little at all, I would like to suggest starting with developing a simple app in HTML, CSS, and Javascript to get your feet wet and see if you can get your idea up and running either as a mobile web app or as a native mobile app that is coded in HTML, CSS, and Javascript.
As I wrote in DIY Dev: Program or be Programmed a couple of weeks back, there comes a time when your own natural diy urge or curiosity or frustration with a lack of an app drives one to learn how to program a computer, server, or mobile phone so that the itch has been scratched.
Rather than get bogged down in the debate between mobile web apps and native apps, let me give a few links to resources out there to help get you started on creating your own mobile HTML, CSS, Javascript app be it for the mobile web or a native app:
Cross Platform HTML, CSS, Javascript Mobile Development Frameworks:
PhoneGap –
Sencha –
JQuery Mobile –
Qt Quick –
Tutorials and Presentations:
Building Mobile Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
HOWTO: Create native-looking iPhone/iPad applications from HTML, CSS and JavaScript
Forum Nokia on Developing for the Mobile Web
Tips and Tricks for developing Mobile Widgets
Programming the Mobile Web
Beginning Smartphone Web Development: Building Javascript, CSS, HTML and Ajax-Based Applications
Building Android Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
Have fun, get coding, and send us/ let’s us know what you have created.
Ms. Jen’s DIY Programming Series:
DIY Dev: Program or be Programmed
DIY Mobile Programming: Get Started with HTML, CSS, and Javascript
DIY Programming: Should HTML be Required for Literacy in the 21st Century?

Hair, or Contrary to what Su thought, I didn’t off Grimace

Contrary to what Su thought, I didn't off Grimace.

Photo taken on Fri 03.12.10 by Ms. Jen while at SXSW 2010.

In the course of my four decades on this planet, I have only really truly like 3 hairdressers: Julia Johnson, Diana ___, and Beth Martinez.
I have a BIG backseat hairdressing problem. I like to do my own hair and on occasion go into a salon for a bit of teamwork collaboration with a highly competent artist.
This makes sense, as I am artist, I like color and craft and mathematics, so doing my own hair has always been fun. I started practicing on myself, my brother, and my sister as a small child. My first real grounding is when I gave my then 2 year old sister a cannibal bowl hair cut.
While I was in high school, I went to beauty school after the school day was done and when I was in college I made money by upgrading Apple computers and dye/perming/cutting hair.
Ever since my beauty school days, I cut my own hair and color my own hair about half the time and only go into a hairdresser when I need more polish or elegance than I can do for myself.
Over the years since the days at Richard’s Beauty College in Costa Mesa, California, I have only really liked and gotten on well with 3 hair stylists/colorists: Julia Johnson who I met through punk rock and Richards and we went on a kickin’ tour of Europe the summer of 1988, Diana ____ who I met through the swing dancing crowd in 1998, and then when Diana got married and moved to Georgia, I found Beth Martinez through her husband Ron and Alex Hernandez.
Julia now lives in Houston, Diana in Georgia, and Beth in Austin, TX.
Now my hair looks bad. While I do bleach my front streak and color the bright Special Effects purple myself, as well as cut & shape the top/front of my hair to fit the punky 1940s inspired rolls I do, I do need to have the back cut by someone and the rest of my hair dyed by someone I trust. Really trust. Beth moved about 3 months ago and I need her back.
Beth kindly recommended two stylists for me. I tried one for a trim before SXSW and she was bossy and didn’t get that I am a DIY hair girl at all. Due to the bossiness, I won’t go back. The problem is that the other recommendation that Beth gave me is the stylist who is just across the salon from the bossy one, so I can’t really go to the 2nd recommendation.
Anyone know of where I can pick up a non-allergenic Damson Plum demi-permanent to cover the gray that is homesteading at my temples?

A Spring Shoot

Today I officially started something that I have been meaning to start for nearly 11 months, a new mobile website. A blog for all the non-tech folks out there who want to either find usable information about their cell / mobile phones or a place to share with others their experiences in a way that is more about sharing & D.I.Y. than about mobile tech geekery.
I set up the blog, though I still need to work out the layout / style, and I shot my first video with my Mom’s friend Debbie who is the mildly bewildered owner of a hand-me-down refurbished Nokia 6750 from AT&T.
The questions I will be asking folks are:
1) What phone do you have?
2) What do you like best about your phone?
3) What did you figure out how to do all by yourself?
4) What do you like least or frustrates you about your phone?
5) What do you wish you knew how to do with your phone?
If you would like to be interviewed, let me know.
Give me the rest of the weekend and Cell Phones for the Rest of Us will be officially launched.

How to Change the Directory that Movable Type Uploads to When Using the Atom Protocol (Lifeblog, PixelPipe, etc)

I don’t know about you, but I have had a little list of blog upkeep items that have been on my to do list for ages, but haven’t had the time to research and then execute them. After thinking about a few of them for some time, oh like a couple of years, I decided recently to make a real paper list and make it happen.
Here are the things I wanted to do:
1) Figure out how to get thumbnails of images to appear in the excerpted version of this blog’s RSS and Atom feeds.
2) Think about how to keep the evil sploggers (spam bloggers who scrape feeds) at bay AND keep my regular feed readers happy with a good feed. I have had my private full feed for at least two years now & announce it frequently but folks who want a full feed didn’t know about it.
3) Even though Perl is not really my friend, I have wanted to figure out how to alter the Atom script for this blog so that when I use Lifeblog or PixelPipe to mobile blog from my camera phone to this blog that the photo will be uploaded into the file directory of my choice and not the default main blog directory.
A few weeks ago, I dedicated a few hours to attempting to bending the Atom and RSS feed templates to my will. Unfortunately, Movable Type 4.x is very dependent on the Asset Manager for knowing where the images are, and due to challenge #3, I was not able to fix #1 with any satisfaction, as all the fixes required the Asset Manager to know where all the images are and by default the Atom script uploads all assets/images to the main blog directory, which causes a messy main directory with my daily mobile blogging. To solve this, I have been manually moving images to a proper image directory and then updating the blog post later, thus the Asset Manager can’t keep up with me. Poor thing.
Persistent artist vs. computer program. Who is going to lose? In the long run, the program. Until I solved problem #3, problem #1 was a null point.
I solved #2 by resetting my public facing feeds to be a bit bigger excerpts that would show the images but would excerpt any article over a certain length. I use the .htaccess file to stop any lifting of images. And I still have the private complete feed for anyone who emails me and lets me know that they want the url.
Today, I decided to conquer the moblogging directory issue and attempt to make Perl bend to my will.