Been & Going

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Christmas Fun Facts

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Jersey Joe checks out some hilarious Christmas fun facts from past and present.

The first evidence of Christmas being celebrated is 354 AD in Rome.

THE 411

What: Christmas Day

Date: December 25th

Why: annual celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ


Definitely my favorite time of year.  New York City absolutely sparkles during the season and all the lights and decorations, almost give the city a feeling of magic… sounds like the old song Silver Bells, doesn’t it!

Make sure you take some time and visit with your family and friends during the season.  If you’re far away from family like me, that’s what social media and Skype is for!

Let me take this moment to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and hope that the fun of the season carries you all year long.  At least for me — the extra calories do!!!!


[California Seething] Lenny Holiday Letter 2013- Guest Intro Lauren Sims

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I’ve been thinking about what to write for 2013, for what was to be his last letter. I think when you read it you will see that we knewCal-Seething-092614-lennyco it was going to be his last letter. At the time we wrote it, we were 2 months in to his diagnosis of “big-ass tumor on his liver.” We were freaked out, expecting the worse could and would happen at any moment. Little did we know that Lenny had 9 more months to give us, he wasn’t done with us yet.

2013 was a blur, and reflecting back, it still is, I couldn’t tell you one thing that happened last year. I’ll be in meetings at work and people will refer to things from 2013 and I’ll be like “that was a year ago?” But anyway, this letter was our attempt at a not too maudlin tribute to Lenny and all the crazy stuff we did with him over the years. I think we succeeded. However, I did receive some comments like: “wow, you guys are sad.” So maybe not so much on the “not too maudlin” part.

Lenny was crazy. Completely bonkers off his chain from the moment we brought him home from the West Los Angeles Cal-Seething-092614-hatAnimal Shelter. It was rough at first, for all of us. Eric and I had just moved to LA, Lenny was a young dog with an unknown past that hated anything on wheels and distrusted men. But we all figured it out and became a little family of sorts. As long as we didn’t expect Lenny to act like a “dog” or do anything that we “asked him to do,” we were cool and it worked for us for 13 years.

I can count on my hand the number of people Lenny liked. And this isn’t an insult to those he didn’t, but the Chow in him just didn’t allow him to trust most folks. But if you got on that list, and boy if you were lucky enough for him to sit so you could hug him, it was the best hug you could ever ask for. He would lean against you and look up, snuggle his head in. And sure, maybe he was just trying to encourage me to scratch his chest while he was suffering through this exercise, but regardless, nobody gave a hug like Lenny. Nobody, no thing. And I’ll miss that most of all. So here’s to Lenny—he was a good fucking dog, thank you.

Here’s the 2013 Holiday LetterCal Seething-092614-lennysmile

And here are all the other letters:

2005 letter
2006 letter
2007 letter

2008/09 letters
2011 letter

2012 letter

[Images from the Id] – Holiday Lights

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Holiday Tree

Holiday Tree

Sometimes common sense should take precedence but our perception of what is common sense should be based upon success. Figure that one out. I guess the secret is to learn from others and use that in our own lives. To be successful in photography or if you just want to get better at photography, work at it. I have given you the basics of exposure that’s first step. Now to be specific let’s learn how to:

Photograph Holiday Lights- Holiday lighting consists of little bright dots in a sea of black. The automatic camera wants to see this as a neutral exposure with the average as gray. The camera will want a balanced histogram but this is one case where it needs to be weighted to the left to keep the darks dark. You probably don’t want the camera to make that choice for you.

First Rule of Lighting – Learn to use the exposure override adjustment. This is usually a button marked +/- on good cameras. Learn to adjust it quickly and easily. Practice. If my rule numbers seem confused don’t worry I don’t try to keep them straight.

Second Rule – Use a tripod and remote release such as a cable release, because you will be varying the exposure through a wide range and it makes it possible to use a low ISO for quality.

Third Rule – Take your time. You will want to experiment with different exposures and some other ideas we will discuss later. Take the time to try different thing out of your box. DON’T go with someone who is in a hurry to get through.

Fourth Rule – Shoot RAW

Fifth Rule – In this situation use the LCD to see the exposure not the histogram.

Sixth Rule – Dress warm. I found fingerless gloves for about $4

I will give the exposure information for these examples and some antidotes.

Auto matic Exposure

Automatic Exposure

Number 1 is at ISO 100 f-4.5 and 4.0 sec. This simulates where the camera would set the exposure.

Lower Exposure

Lower Exposure

Number 2 is ISO 100 f-16 and 4.0 sec.  Same shot but I like just a little bit of the grass showing. You could make the grass disappear by a little less exposure. This is a minus 2 f-stop reduction in exposure other words  1/4 of the light.

Blue Tree

Blue Tree

Number 3 is at ISO 100 f-16 and 1.0 sec. This is about minus 3 f-stops from the camera’s and needed very little software adjustment. It is 1/8 of the exposure the camera wants.

Snowman Effect

Snowman Effect

Number 4 is at ISO 400 f-22 and 0.7 sec This is a new experiment which has some promise. It was taken through the lens of one of those “glasses” the concessions sell. I had to keep the f-stop opening small because of the small size of the “filter”

The Title Shot is more advance but easy to attempt. It is an in-camera double exposure zooming during the second exposure. Each exposure was ISO 100, f-11 and 2.0 sec. One last thing – As you get better, start using the camera’s manual mode. Once learned this will actually become quicker and easier. It will be very surprising to you how many photographs need a tweaking of the exposure. From now on we will be looking at specific shoots and how to succeed.