So last night my church hosted a movie night for the elementary school kids. As a small group leader of some rising fifth graders, I attended with my fifth grader. The movie they showed as you probably have figured out by now was Walt Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson. This 1960 film is based loosely on the 1812 book Der Schweizerische Robinson(literally, The Swiss Robinson) by Johann David Wyss.
In the film adaptation, the family is shipwrecked during a storm after being chased by pirates. They build an elaborate tree house out of parts from the ship and include inventions such as a waterwheel to provide some “modern” (for 1812) conveniences. The story is a fun family tale of learning self-reliance and to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. **spoiler alert** at the end of the movie, the entire family except for one son who is off to university decide to stay on the island, which is now a new colony.
Stories about being shipwrecked or otherwise marooned often provide a teachable moment about the benefits of slowing down and enjoying a slower pace without the stress of our otherwise crazy busy lives. When we are removed from our busy schedules, we often find we enjoy ourselves more even in the absence of those things we think we can’t possibly live without.
I’m not quite ready to move to an island and live in a tree house, but we can still learn from these stories about valuing the simple things in life and limiting the stuff that we think we need/want but that adds stress to our lives. A friend from work recently told me about her husband’s brother and his wife’s house. The brother is a surgeon and he and his wife have an 8,000 square foot house for themselves and their 6 cats. The wife has spent her days buying furniture for the huge house and clothes to fill her humongous closet. It stresses me out just thinking about it. They are living a lifestyle that will require the husband to work for a long time to maintain and that will require a great deal of work to take care of. Just keeping a place that size clean, grass cut, pool serviced etc. will take a lot of hours each week even if you hire people to do it for you.
I prefer a simpler life.by Rich
When you take a picture with a camera it is called an exposure. How an exposure looks depends on 3 settings on your camera. Aperture, Shutter Speed and the ISO. We will discuss each of these and what impact they can have on your photo.
Aperture is the size of hole in your lens that allows light into the camera. It is also commonly referred to as an F-stop since the Aperture is the letter F followed by a number. Just to be confusing, the smaller the number, the larger the hole, so F1.4 is a very large opening while F22 is a small opening. In general, the smaller the F-stop number (and therefore the larger the hole) the more light can enter the camera in a given time.
Shutter Speed is how long the hole (Aperture) is left open to collect light. This is usually listed as a fraction of a second or number of seconds. This can vary from a very fast shutter speed like 1/8000 of a second to leaving the shutter open for minutes at a time. The faster the shutter speed, the better you can capture or stop action. The slower the shutter speed, the more light you can collect, especially useful in low-light conditions or to capture the blur of motion.
ISO (International Standards Organization) is the acronym developed during the days of film camera where film was categorized by how “fast” it was which really means how sensitive it is to light. A “faster” film collected more light than a “slower” film. Film speeds generally varied from ISO 100 to ISO 800. Today with digital cameras the same ISO numbers apply, but you (or the camera) can choose them and change them between shots, unlike the film days where you had to use an entire roll before you could switch to another ISO. In general, you would use a lower ISO when you have plenty of light (or in some cases you are shooting a longer exposure) while higher ISO is better for low light conditions. One downside of a high ISO is that you can end up with a grainy look depending on your camera’s ability in low light.
So when you take a picture on Automatic, the camera decides what Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO to use. If you switch your camera to Aperture Priority (A, not to be confused with AUTO), you can select the Aperture yourself and the camera will decide on the best of the other two. Same thing for Shutter priority (S or Tv on Canon) , you pick the shutter speed and the camera decides on the best for the other two. If you switch your camera to Manual (M on most cameras) you are in complete control of all three! SCARY!!
These are the basics of the Exposure Triangle, we will dive into more detail on each in later posts.
Below is an info-graphic which captures the pieces of the Exposure Triangle we have discussed below. The first block shows you what the Exposure window on your camera looks like, you adjust one or more of the three exposure elements to position the marker at zero take a balanced picture. The second graphic shows what the Aperture looks like at different settings. The third graphic shows the Shutter Speed and gives an idea how that works. The last graphic shows the ISO and how ISO sensitivity affects your exposure.
I’ve also included a link to my Pinterest page of Photography info-graphics. It is a wealth of helpful Photography Tips and Tricks. Check it out!
I’ve had a DSLR for about 4 years. I’ve gotten some nice pictures, but nothing really great. I knew I needed to do something different. This winter my wife and I visited our good friends who live in Key West. She is a professional photographer (see her work at www.deborahgrooms.com)and he might as well be himself when he’s not distilling some of the world’s best rum (http://papaspilar.com/). I picked both of their brains and toured the island with them learning about some of the settings on my Nikon D3100, which is my entry-level DSLR. Here’s a couple shots:
My plan is to do a series of blog posts discussion different aspects of photography. I will apologize upfront that I am still learning and am very much an amateur at this point. If you have specific questions or would like a post on a certain topic, tell me in the comments. Thanks for reading!
A good exercise on the Time Value of Money. At first blush is sounds like a no brainer, $1M is a lot of cash and a penny is not. While Albert Einstein may or may not have said that compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe, it is a pretty handy concept, especially for reaching Financial Independence and Retiring Early (FIRE).
Now to the math.
Were you surprised? Probably not. If you haven’t heard of this particular exercise you were still most likely able to determine that the most obvious answer wasn’t the correct answer.
So of what use is this? I’d have a tough time finding someone willing to pay me 100% DPR (Daily Percentage Rate) unless I was the world’s best loan shark. What this exercise is good for is as an introduction to the value of compounding and the time value of money. This can be a good exercise to do with children as they start to handle and make decisions about money. As I discussed in a previous post, my youngest son does best with saving his money when it is automatic and he doesn’t think about it. This works for adults as well.by Rich
I was unhappy with my $220 Verizon bill for myself, my wife and oldest son. Consequently, I’ve recently bought a used Iphone 4 and service on Ting.com to try it out. If my wife and I are happy with the service, we could cut our phone bill down to about $70/month for the two of us. How did we reach this epiphany? Certainly not on our own, as with many of my best ideas, I get them from an online community like mrmoneymustache.com.
One of the denizens of MMM is a gent named Daley who has forgotten more about technology than most of us will ever know. His site is http://www.techmeshugana.com/ Daley has a great Frugal Communications Guide that discusses options for home internet, phone service as well as options for cell phone service. A lot of his options can be fairly technical, but he does a great job of laying them all out for your consideration. From Daley, I learned about MVNO’s (Mobile virtual network operator) which are cellphone companies that don’t own their own networks, but pay to use someone else’s cell network. The real benefit of getting a cell phone plan through an MVNO is they tend to be cheaper (sometimes much cheaper) than going with one of the big name boys despite the fact that the actual cell service is identical. There are different types of MVNO’s: some are prepaid (sometimes called “burner” phones) and others have a regular monthly bill.
There are many options out there. I decided to go with Ting.com which uses Sprint’s network. I chose Ting because I like the number of different phones they supported and their low prices. Ting supports all but the latest Iphones (5s and 5c not yet supported but the 5 is) as well as a large number of Android phones. They partner with www.glyde.com, a cell phone reseller who sells used and refurbished phones. I was able to buy an Iphone 4 from Glyde for $95 and once I received it, I was able to set the phone up on Ting with no hassle. If you already have a Sprint enabled device, jump over to Ting’s page to see if it is supported. https://ting.com/byod The way Ting billing works is you only pay for the minutes/texts/data you use each month. They have several tiers for each and whichever tier you are in, that is what you pay for.
You can set up alerts or actual locks that will either inform you or prevent you from going over your preset limits. You can place several limits on your phones, so you can have some control over kid’s lines as well.
Oh and they have a referral program. If you use someone’s referral link you earn $25 to be applied to your bill. If someone uses your link, you get $50 for the first referral and $25 for each thereafter. I used an MMM referral link and posted mine and got $75 credit. This means at least 2 months of service free while I check the service out. Not bad! If you want to try Ting and want to make us both $25, here is my referral link: https://zin50p2i2b7.ting.com/
Data: If you are a huge data hog, there may be cheaper options for you to get the data you need. If you go on a data diet, this can be a good option. I find that most times I want to use my phone with data, there is wifi available. Use it
Minutes: If you use your phone continuously for random chatting or business and burn through lots of minutes, there may be better options for you.
Texting: If you send hundreds of texts, you probably shouldn’t be a 14 year old girl. Sprint Cell Tower service: It may be lousy in your area. You should check.
Finally, if you caught that my son was listed as one of the current customers in our Verizon plan, but I made no mention of him and options for Ting, you are right! He is one of those data hogs I mentioned above, although he takes it to the level of art form. He and I are currently grandfathered in on the Verizon unlimited data for $30/month. His use of this data gives the Verizon leadership nightmares. He used 272 Gigabytes (you read that right) of data last month. Now he did this while visiting his girlfriend and their internet is quite undependable, but still. Ridiculous. He wants to take over both of our Verizon accounts so he can keep his data flowing. If Ting continues to work for me and my wife we will make that a reality and he can take over the bill.
Was this blog article of use to you? If you enjoyed it or found it helpful, please consider posting it to Facebook, Twitter etc. Thanks for your support!by Rich