Just a check to see if my sneaky plan to keep my new blog secret from my wife (it is a birthday surprise for her) has worked.

We’re off (maybe)!

I hope this doesn’t blow up in my face!
I’m sharing a new blog that I’ve started and need to keep it secret from my wife. Please check out my “Postcards from America” blog (also called postcardsfromstrangers).

The Holiday Blog

OK, it looks like the idea has legs. My sister, who lives in Florida at the moment, has said she’d be happy to get the ball rolling. So here’s what I plan on doing:

1) Set up a PO Box to be able to (secretly) receive the cards as they arrive
2) Start to fill out the blog with some posts about National Parks we’ve already visited (with pics)
3) Consider running some sort of competition if enough people get involved!

If you are a blog reader, please leave comments as this will help me evaluate the success of my venture. Also, sharing the blog would be awesome! And remember, the “About” tab at the top left has the details of what the blog is all about. The address will go there, too, once it’s set up.

All images are available for free non-commercial use. For commercial use, please contact…

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Making the Shot — A Starry Night (Stills & Motion)

This is actually something that I am thinking of trying in the next few weeks. I’ll post the results (if I actually end up going out in the middle of the night!).

Photofocus (old site)

I recently had the chance to visit Zion National Park in Utah with two folks on the Photofocus team (Doug Daulton and Pamela Berry).  While there, I had a chance to make an evening time-lapse and some long exposures of the sky. Unfortunately, the moon was out… but we made the most of the night.

For context… the temperature got well below freezing… so I got creative.  Here’s the highlights of my production and postproduction workflow.

Getting the Shot

I used the new Nikon D610.  The camera held up well and didn’t flinch in the cold (even though it was below the rated temperature for shooting. I attached an extra battery grip to the camera to extend the battery life (the cold really sucks batteries dry).

  • I shot raw to get the best range.
  • I used a 50mm prime lens which had the ability to manually focus on infinity.
  • I…

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Caution when making changes

Note: when making changes on a blog page, always check what you’ve done before clicking update! I suppose the same goes for all things in life…

I made a few changes to the Man Made Colour page and did not heed the above advice. Now all of the carefully thought out captions which accompanied each image have disappeared into the ether. D.A.R.N! Ah well, that’ll learn me to be more careful. The captions will return at a time when I feel able to cope with their original loss!

Not happy

Not happy!


Do you always need the best?

I can’t do X because I don’t have Y.

How many times do you hear that? Or say that? My hand is up. I guess we are constantly bombarded by sales pitches and social pressure that tell us we need the latest and greatest stuff if we want to get better at what we do, or if we want to compete with the next guy. This guy makes me think we were wrong…

I shot that video on my iPod and look at what he is using as his drums – old paint buckets and the street surface of Pitt Street Mall! No flash gear there (I suppose an iPod is, but it isn’t the latest or greatest, by any means). Don’t get me wrong – I love having shiny new things to play with, especially when they involve anything to do with electronic gadgetry – but all I wanted to share today was that it is not always necessary to have those sparkly toys. Show this to a kid who wants to be a drummer, and then buy some ear plugs!

Cute, fluffy cat with a curious expression on her face sits next to an orange chest of drawers.

Dude, where are my drums?


Random nice and random cool.

I have come across several things on the web these last 2 days – some just plain nice, some that I find to be really cool, some that are funny and some that are a combination of all these. Check them out:

  1. You need FaceBook to see this video of a nice guy doing a nice thing, but it is – nice!
  2. Pelle Cass, a street photographer with an interesting project going, interviewed on Imaging Resource – cool.
  3. You need to watch the whole of this public safety video to get the message – cool & funny.
  4. Another video (kids showed this to my wife and they got the coolness) of an X-Factor audition – cool & nice & funny.
  5. If you are a True Blood (the vampire TV show) fan and you like Pam, the you NEED to play this game cool.

I really love how the internet has made it possible for things like these to go viral – we really do still live in a village where everyone knows everything about everyone else. Share any of these that resonate with you.

A cat with its mouth wide open shown against a blown out white background.

My cat sharing!


Edit: A reader tip has prompted me to make a slight edit to the list – I have added a bit of a hint as to content for each entry.

And we’re off!


Try to get 1000 views on the blog – any guesses for how long it will take? I’ll say by Christmas.

Thanks to the wonder of Facebook sharing, there have been 55 views of onlearninghowtoblog! (Particularly, views by my wonderful wife’s FB friends and family!) After one week, here’s what the breakdown of stats seems to be:

  • 55 views of the blog (with 33 of then in the hours after the FB sharing)
  • 11 followers (really it’s 10, because I followed myself to see how it’s done!)
  • 10 likes (you can like a post or an image, apparently)
  • 3 comments (one by me, again, to see how to do it and another by me as a reply)
  • Visits by people from Australia (43), USA (2), SA (2), UK (1) and NZ (1)
  • Most people read the blog entry (main page), but don’t click around the other tabs (maybe these are not visible enough?)

Thanks to all the visitors – keep coming back and I’ll keep it coming.