ITS Spotlight Article

A Georgia native, Ezra graduated from Valdosta State University (VSU) with a BS in Psychology. While an undergraduate student, he worked at VSU’s Odum library until his last term when the Information Technology department hired him as a Cooperative Education student for the Campus Webmaster. Writing code and solving problems banished his thoughts of a career sitting at a reference desk and finding sources for other students’ papers. To retain Ezra as an employee, VSU’s IT department created a new position and eventually made him the Campus Webmaster. The role expanded from just managing servers and pages for the WWW web site and a few custom web applications to including the online class system, portal, 75 department web sites, and oversight of three students.

In March 2006, Ezra joined ITS to become the newest of three database and middleware administrators for GeorgiaVIEW. This program provides a platform for online classes to most USG institutions. In just under five years, GeorgiaVIEW has grown from 5,523 (spring 2006) to 34,581 (fall 2010) active sections, from two production clusters/databases to 10, and from about 40 web servers to 140. The technical support Ezra, Amy Edwards, and George Hernandez provide prevents cascading meltdowns. Sometimes students and their faculty never experience the problems. Ezra believes that this makes all the 4:00 a.m. false alarms worth it. Amy adds that “Ezra is committed to working for the common ITS goal of providing a quality online learning environment for our USG campuses” and quotes Dwight D. Eisenhower to sum up how she feels about working with Ezra: “It is better to have one person working with you than three people working for you.”

When not working, Ezra pursues several interests. In February 2010, he traveled to Haifa, Israel for pilgrimage to the holy places of the Bahá’í Faith. Just after joining ITS, Ezra bought a dSLR camera and is currently involved with social photography clubs. His favorite subject so far is the Eastern Box Turtle at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. Also, Ezra has been writing a blog for more than a decade, “Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric.”

Strobist Meetup

Renee Back in July I mentioned Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk. A number of people from the Athens Flickr Meetups group showed for the August walk at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia (my photos). At both of these, the same individuals talked quite a bit about the newest toys Tim Rogan built and strobist techniques.

From what I gather strobist is about shifting camera flash from near the camera lens off to the side. Similar to golden hour sunlight, the light is more dramatic when not coming from near the camera. Also, camera flashes throw harsh light so soften the light by having it reflect off surfaces or go through translucent material.

Interest built about having a strobist meetup to shoot together and help each other. Steven Skelton, Tim, and Megan arranged a meetup last Saturday (group photo set). I was the only photographer walking into this totally cold without having at least read or watched any tutorials. So the quality of these pictures could better be a testament to the efficient teaching by Steven and Megan. At least it didn’t seem nearly as difficult as I expected.

LeannThis would also be the first photoshoot where I consistently used Manual rather than Shutter Priority.

This was also the first time I worked with models. (top right: Renee, right: Leann) The one wedding I shot taught me I really do have to direct people to get what I want while listening to get a feel for what they want. Megan sensed my hesitancy and worked through some ideas with the first few pictures then let me to go work on my own ideas. Models are people too. As a card carrying introvert, dealing with people normally exhausts me. This not so much.
🙂

This was a fun experience. I know I have things on which to work:

  • Putting together my own strobist setup.
  • Compose more carefully.
  • Find dramatic locations.
  • Become more social to approach people to photograph.

Perils of a Photoshoot The mechanics of photography are also entertaining. Call me a geek, but that there are so many values to track in photography fascinates me. Plus there are tons of toys. I’m not really a builder, so I probably will not be crafting custom flash grids or softboxes.

I knew I enjoyed watching the antics photographers go through to get the right shot. The antics a good model will go through to be in the right shot adds a whole new dimensions for me. For example, pictured right is Clinton easily a dozen feet off the ground so Megan can take a dramatic shot.

For about a year I’ve really slacked off using my camera. The wedding, photowalk meetups, and now strobist meetups put me back in the mode of thinking about what I should do next. That is a great thing.

P.S. Normal is about 100 views of my photos a day. Since I posted the photos Sunday, traffic has been 250+ views a day.

Conservatory A Perspective

Conservatory A perspective

Originally uploaded by Ezra F

Today is a Baha’i holy day. So I took the day off from work. Rather than sleep in throw off my sleep schedule, I ventured over to the State Botanical Garden of Georgia during the morning wonder light. The garden routinely pays off in great flower photos.

The Conservatory here looks like the outside of an A or upside down V. Clouds on reflective surfaces rock.

I'm No Daisy... But This Is Patriotic Mocker

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Losing My Mind

CPR/AED training requires time on the floor rescuing dummies. Objects in pockets, like my Digital Elph, interfere with rescuing dummies. Digital cameras on desks without supervision have a tendency to disappear. (Not so much from coworkers kleptomania but from my distractions.) So I put it in my work backpack. 

Today is the First Day of Ridvan. So earlyish this morning I went down to the Botanical Garden since I wasn’t going to be at work and didn’t go this past weekend. I spent ten minutes looking for the Elph in the work backpack. So I went and just shot with the Rebel. I chalked it up to having left the camera at work. After all, the last place I recalled seeing the thing was at work.

I decided to look at what I took. So I looked for the card reader in the main part of the camera backpack. To my surprise, the Elph was right there in the wrong backpack. The only thing that makes sense is I moved the camera but forgot I did so. 

Perhaps better brain food could help? Fish providing omega-3 fatty acids is already a healthy part of my diet. Maybe more eggs with choline with the vitamin B precursor could help?

Insect-ival

Got some pictures down at the botanical garden today. Reviewed a few and posted them over at Freelove Photography (tagged Insect-ival). I’ll get everything on Flickr eventually.

Insect-ival was cute. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but 400+ screaming kids wasn’t it. The best part was the butterfly release where the few stragglers who could not escape the kids who got to play with them.

Saw a familiar face I had only seen from afar wielding two SLRs and a utility photograper’s belt. I have yet to sink that far down the photography rabbit hole. Only got his first name, but I think this is his blog: fotodave. Amazing stuff!

links for 2007-07-05