Tag Archives: wordpress

Artwork Feature At Lensblr.com

27 Sep

Many thanks to Lensblr.com for featuring my photomontage art today! The folks there were kind enough to highlight my recent piece, “Find What You Love,” which I created earlier this month. Here’s what it looks like at Lensblr:

"Find What You Love" by rsmithing

My art featured at Lensblr.com. Click to see more of my art at 500px.

Lensblr is a site that, in its own words, “advocates the original photographers on Tumblr — the ‘creators’ in the Tumblr world.” The site focuses specifically on Tumblr, where it seeks to “bring more attention to the creative works of the content creators on Tumblr.”

Social Media, Art and Blogging All In One

This is great for a Tumblr newbie like myself, since only recently do I understand Tumblr – which is exciting for more reasons than just having my artwork featured. I never would have discovered Lensblr were it not for the direct suggestion of another Tumblr user at Darkdisturbingbeautiful, who suggested I submit my art to Lensblr after having followed my blog and then messaging me through the site. Thanks again, Jason!

Adding to the experience, Tumblr user zombodystripe messaged me asking about how I created the piece. My reply made for a neat post on Tumblr all by itself, since adding images and links in replies is just as easy there as blogging. Here’s what I said about my process:

Q via zombodystripe: How did you do Find What You Love on your iPhone? Is there an app? What is it called? I’d love to try it!

My reply via Tumblr

My reply via Tumblr

A: For Find What You Love I took three photos with the Hipstamatic app: the treetops, the peeling paint and the flowers. I put them all together in a now-extinct app called Photoforge2, but you can use any app that supports layers (like Filterstorm, Superimpose, others). I set layer modes according to light/dark for blending — mainly using overlay mode. Finally, I masked out areas I wanted to keep or erase, then merged all layers and did overall sharpening/exposure adjustments to bring it together. I use things like vignettes and textures to unify also, so everything has a similar feel. If you like this, definitely check out more of my photomontages at 500px, and especially the work of Jerry Uelsmann – he is the grand master of montages and my inspiration. And he does all this by hand with film in the darkroom. More on him at this post I did at my blog: “Learning From The Masters.”

Sites like Lensblr greatly enrich the Tumblr experience – and I don’t just say that because they featured my stuff. Definitely check it out if you’re into creative photography and images.

What do you think? What’s something you’ve been turned on to by way of social media or a blog? Was it a temporary interest, or did it further a lasting connection? Let us hear from you in the comments.

 

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For When You Don’t Feel Like Blogging

19 Jan

Writing a blog post shouldn’t be a big deal, especially if you’re serious about blogging. That said, there are going to be days when you just don’t feel like it.

Blogging

Check out the full series of blogging-themed images
I created over at Flickr and feel free to use them on your own blog.

Having done this for over a year now, a couple times per week steadily, I can fully attest to the occasional lack of motivation – but I always fight through and deliver the goods. Along the way, I’ve picked up these tips for those dark moments when you might not feel like keeping up with your own blog.

1. Have some posts in the bank

In those spells when you feel like writing, or when an idea hits, try to go with it. Take two minutes to get your thoughts into a few sentences or headings you can easily expand upon later. I’ve found the best tool for doing this is dictation software, or at the very least, the drafts feature in WordPress. I’ll even email some ideas to myself as a way of quickly capturing a subject or notion I know can be expanded upon down the road. That way, when the time is right, the content is ready to go.

Language Is A Virus

Another great site for
writing inspiration: LanguageIsAVirus.com

2. Know your inspiration

Have some role models or examples of sites you enjoy on hand to get you thinking about material for your own blog. Or, as Janet Aronica aptly states over at Shareaholic (among the many other excellent tips there):

“Consume the content you want to create.”

By being able to easily refer to your sources of inspiration, you’ll be more likely to generate your own material with your unique perspective – which is the very best part of having your own blog. Set up some bookmarks, feeds, subscriptions, or whatever aggregation method works best for you so you can get inspired and have your own creative juices flowing.

3. Keep it simple, genius

A blog post does not have to be 10,000 words, nor should it be. In fact, brief is often better. I’ve found some of my most popular posts are sometimes the ones with just a compelling image and only a few sentences. Being handy with the phone cam and always on the lookout for quality visuals to share is something I enjoy, and also something I recommend for having interesting blog fodder at the ready.

What do you think? Are these suggestions useful? What tips would you suggest for drumming up motivation or inspiration in blogging? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Stuff You May Have Missed – August 2012

31 Aug

I make it a point each month to write at least one post in each of the six categories here at my blog: photography, social media, PR, technology, music and writing. It’s my way of keeping myself accountable for having a productive blog, and these are topics I’m interested in on a personal level. Most months I’m able to do this without thinking, since the posts are topics I’m into anyway, but sometimes I’ll go more into one than the other. I’m happy to report that this month has been happily well-rounded, with several posts covering all of the categories we favor at rsmithing.com. In case you missed them, here’s a review:

Single Image Sundays & More

In photography, the Single Image Sundays theme dominated, with posts about a wasp, a restaurant, Mars, and my first-ever re-blog. The WordPress platform has this one-click feature that lets you easily include another WordPress post into your own blog, which worked perfectly this month as The Savoia (which happens to be done in WordPress) featured my artwork this month, which was quite an honor.

I constructed this image for my post about Twitter with the results of a Google image search for “Twitter Logo” and “Wrench.” Then I used Pixlr to edit the two together.

Social media-wise, we started off this month strong with a post about 5 Really Useful, Really Easy Twitter Tools. What’s even better is that I’ve since discovered more, and will likely be doing an update. Some Twitter developers even reached out to me because of the post, including setting me up with a premium account (full disclosure in the case of JustUnfollow), which was very kind and a pleasantly unexpected surprise. More to come on Twitter tools, for sure.

In the public relations realm, I covered recent activity of Foursquare, wondering if its time has passed, and considered whether their recent PR efforts can get the buzz going again. Since writing that post, I’ve gotten interesting feedback from some like-minded users of the app, but overall, the jury is still out.

For technology this month, I wrote about the Mars Curiosity rover in anticipation of its landing on the Red Planet. Several weeks prior, I’d discovered this excellent video, “Seven Minutes of Terror,” which naturally got my space-geek senses tingling. I even chatted it up on Twitter with some people at NASA, which was totally fun, and further demonstrates the immediacy at our fingertips thanks to social media:

 

Actual people at NASA interact with a random blogger on Twitter via shared excitement over sending a laser-shootin’ robot to Mars. I don’t care what anyone says; that’s cool.

Melodysheep Autotune Magic

Music was a highlight this month, as I interviewed John Boswell, the man behind MelodySheep and responsible for the excellent remixes of Bob Ross, Bruce Lee, Mr. Rogers and Julia Child that have been going viral lately. This was my favorite post by far of the whole month. A few weeks prior, I’d discovered his amazing musical montages, so I thought I’d see what happened if I emailed him some questions – he graciously answered and is a cool dude. Look for great things from this guy in the future. In the time it took to answer my questions and get back to me, Boswell produced this outstanding tribute to one of my personal heroes, Bruce Lee:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ud-AUboZl3A%5D

 

Finally, writing this month was a quick blurb and graphic I constructed for an inspirational phrase that appeared in my brain one day: It’s better to be ambitious than ambivalent. It was a fun way to incorporate text into a visual creation, something I used to do quite a bit but have backed off of lately. Also, I really believe that statement, so I’m glad to be sharing it with others.

There you have it, the month in review. Any of these stand out to you? Any comments to add to any of these? Do you keep an editorial schedule? What is your system for posts? Let us hear from you in the comments!

How To Write The Perfect Blog Post

18 Jul

I don’t often straight-up repost content without elaborating much, but wow — this is one great infographic. And I don’t often say that either. Click for full-size, see what you think & share your thoughts below (credit: Alex Mangini of Kolakube, Derek Halpern of SocialTriggers; first spotted at FamousBloggers via Gregory Ciotti):

PerfectBlogPost

What do you think? Do you employ these practices? Is this really a recipe for perfect post? And if not, what else would you do? What would you do differently? Let us hear from you in the comments!

How to Turn Off Comments in WordPress Pages

10 Jul

The WordPress platform makes many things about a website or blog easy, and customizing your visitors’ experience by choosing to turn comments off or to allow comments for any given page on your site is no exception. Here’s a quick tutorial:

How to Disable Comments In WordPress

  1. Go to the main list of pages in your dashboard
  2. Hover over a title and click “Quick Edit”
  3. Uncheck the “Allow Comments” button
How To Disable Comments In WordPress

How To Disable Comments In WordPress:
Go to Quick Edit, click Allow Comments. Boom, done.

That’s all there is to it!

If you like this post, you might like the rest of my blog — try the social media section for more on blogging & related subjects. If you really like this post click “Like” below or say so in the comments. Feel free to follow, or click the “Let’s Do This” button at right to get updates by email. Cheers.

Stuff You May Have Missed: March 2012

1 Apr
Skulls, Bugs, Flowers, Cats

When I do a photo exhibition, it will probably be called this. For accuracy.

To make sure I stay on track with blogging, I’ve set myself the goal each month of writing at least one major post about each of the categories covered here at rsmithing.com. Early on, I didn’t even bother with categories, but as the amount of my posts grew, it made sense to, well, categorize them. Doing this in WordPress makes for an easy navigation menu, and that’s a blogging best practice: including navigation to give visitors a sense of what the heck your site is about.

I’ve done this successfully for three months now, and since you may be a follower, you might be interested in at least one of these posts (and if you aren’t following, consider signing up at left like all the cool kids are doing). Whether recent or from way back four or so weeks ago, your comments are very, very much appreciated, because, well, you rule for reading this.

Seriously: Thank You, from all of us at rsmithing.com (i.e. me and the cats). And now, the rundown:

Photography

Single Image Sundays: The Emerging Dog (Detail)
Single Image Sundays: Moth At The Door
Single Image Saturdays: Spring is Springing
Single Image Sundays: Skull Pendant

Social Media

How to Talk About Social Media In Business: 5 Points, Video Interview

PR

Homeless Hotspots? What Could Go Wrong?

Technology

Digital Ancestry: an iPad Forerunner

Music

iPhone Video Editing: The Black Keys Live

Writing

Blog Post Artwork

What do you think? Should I keep doing this every month, or have you already seen all the posts here? If so, which was your favorite? Want me to comment on a post of yours? Just share your link in the comments below or at the posts listed and let’s do this!

Stuff You May Have Missed: February 2012

29 Feb
February was quite a month at rsmithing.com...

Sabbath and Roses and Jurors – Oh, My! Big month here at rsmithing.com.

To make sure I stay on track with blogging, I’ve set myself the goal each month of writing at least one major post about each of the categories covered here at rsmithing.com. Early on, I didn’t even bother with categories, but as the amount of my posts grew, it made sense to, well, categorize them. Doing this in WordPress makes for an easy navigation menu, and that’s a blogging best practice: including navigation to give visitors a sense of what the heck your site is about.

I’ve done this successfully for two months now, and since you may be a follower, you might be interested in at least one of these posts (and if you aren’t following, consider signing up at left like all the cool kids are doing). Whether recent or from way back four or so weeks ago, your comments are very, very much appreciated, because, well, you rule for reading this.

Seriously: Thank You, from all of us at rsmithing.com (i.e. me and the cats). And now, the rundown:

Photography

A Rosy Photo Edit Tutorial – 2/14
• Jury Duty – 2/14
• Single Image Sundays: Inch Nail – 2/26

Social Media

• Postcards From the Social Media Edge: Postagram – 2/22

PR

• Garbage Video Fan Art: Crowdsourcing Done Right – 2/16

Technology

• iPhoneArt.com – the Next Level of Mobile Photo Sharing – 2/5

Music

• Beats Antique: Tribal Fusion Electronica Awesomeness – 2/29

Writing

• Contrasts Make Connections – 2/7

What do you think? Should I keep doing this every month, or have you already seen all the posts here? If so, which was your favorite? Want me to comment on a post of yours? Just share your link in the comments below or at the posts listed and let’s do this!

Jury Duty

14 Feb

20120213-100408.jpg

Recently I was part of the process as a potential juror in our legal system. Having done this once before, I know there’s a ton of waiting around. Or, as seen through blogging iPhoneography eyes, some unique photo opportunities. I made it a mobile project to document what was nearby to the extent that you also may find it interesting, using only my iPhone and WordPress app, and of course, without discussing any elements of any case I or others may or may not be involved in. That said, I’d welcome your thoughts on these photos in the comments, or your thoughts about jury duty in general.

Have you been a juror lately? Without getting into case specifics, what was your experience like?

20120213-100648.jpg
Queuing at security that morning. Not as bad as the airport, thankfully.

20120213-100917.jpg
We were chilling in the pool. My usual pool chilling usually includes a cocktail, but hey.

20120213-105013.jpg
Pretty sure this dude did not move for one solid hour.

20120213-111123.jpg
More faces of waiting. We were all pretty much wired up via laptops, phones, etc.

Last time I served was two years ago for three days. Meanwhile, my work at the office wasn’t getting done, which was sort of a drag. Nevertheless, I’m glad to have done my part in the American judicial system, getting a decent hands-on civics lesson, and some unique blog material for afterward.

Podcast Time! Make Your Own Website, Mobile Photos & More: The Less Desirables

26 Jan
Behind the Mic with The Less Desirables

Behind the Mic with The Less Desirables in Studio 2A

Busy days at rsmithing.com! I’m a featured “guru” of graphic and web design on this week’s podcast of Winston-Salem, NC-based The Less Desirables.

Click to Download & Listen (.mp3)

TheLessDesirables.com

The Less Desirables Site

I’ve had the great pleasure of working with these fellas to design their logo and website (among other projects), and they invited me over to Studio 2A for a chat about graphic design, websites, social media, and what goes into developing all of this (and more) for a business, for a blog, or just for personal enjoyment.

I manage to ramble on about WordPress, apps, Instagram, photography, blogging, and how to use PowerPoint with MS Paint to give your website a professional look (seriously, not kidding). We also review some coffee, Paraguayan heavy metal …and even beer. What’s not to like? This show has everything!

The Less Desirables, In Their Own Words:

The Less Desirables is a weekly podcast by Tim Beeman and Brian Attridge recorded every Wednesday. We cover an expansive array of topics, ranging from current and non-current movies to new music to the latest sports news to doses of pop culture, complete with a “Beer of the Week.” The idea is to give our audience a recap of the previous week’s news, while simultaneously previewing the upcoming week. We have a local, North Carolina flavor geared towards a national audience, but we never lose sight of our community.

You can download the podcast directly from the TLD site, from iTunes, and from a few other places, too. My sincere thanks to Brian and Tim, and to Mr. Eugene Sims, for having me over. It was a great discussion and I recommend the show to anyone seeking a dose of pop-culture, sports, tech, movies, music and a plethora of other fine distractions.

What do you think? Do you listen to any podcasts regularly? Have you ever been on a podcast, and what was that like? If not, what topics would you consider if you were to be invited? What’s your take on the topics covered in this broadcast? Let us hear from you in the comments!

WordPress is Best

11 Jan
Click for free blog-themed images

Get free blog-themed images at the rsmithing Flickr page.

I don’t work for WordPress, and there are certainly other great blogging platforms, but I emphatically agree with the points noted recently at ShoutMeLoud, where Mr. Harsh Agrawal lists key reasons why WordPress is the best blogging platform. And Mr. Agrawal would certainly know — see his journey in the Related Articles at the end of this post on how he actually developed income and was presented with his first car through blogging.

I do this for personal development and creative fun, but the idea of making some spare cash or (cue Price is Right voice) A New Car (!!!) is pretty cool. Along with Agrawal’s observations on the WordPress platform, I’ll add:

  • Intuitiveness – through years of refinement, WordPress’s interface is simple for a beginner to understand, yet fluid enough not to slow down those more experienced.
  • Cross-functionality – whether you start with a free WordPress.com blog or go for a self-hosted site via WordPress.org, the interface remains similar enough so that your knowledge of how to use the system easily transfers.

But What Do I Know, Right?

I’ve designed custom WordPress themes; created self-hosted sites with WordPress as content management system; incorporated WordPress blogs into private non-WordPress sites; and of course, run this humble site you’re reading now through WordPress.com (but with my own rsmithing.com domain). I’ve developed code and managed several sites with other CMSs including Ektron, Joomla, and a slew of straight-up hard-coded sites run via good ol’ Dreamweaver or even PageMill. That said, even having used other publishing platforms like Blogger or LiveJournal (no disrespect to any of these), it’s still WordPress for the win in my book.

You have found the best. Welcome. We’re glad you made it. Enjoy.

What’s your favorite blogging platform and why? If WordPress, what made you give it a try? Have you used others and had better or worse experiences? Let us hear from you in the comments!
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