Quick Photo Composition in Photoshop

Quick Photo Composition in Photoshop.

This quick and clean tutorial on creating a composite photo covers an amazing amount of detail, yet covers the topic well. Most tutorials I watch are mumbled, unclear, or leave out important details. In under four minutes, Howard Pinsky, tells you how to simply combine two photos into a new and more exciting display. Even though he talks very fast, his speech is clear and crisp. I was having trouble editing a dark shot of a flying hawk I took last month and this tutorial gave me ideas on how to fix it with his masking tools tips using the Refine Edges button on the Options bar. Good stuff!

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Avian Afghanis Invasion?

This gallery contains 5 photos.

As I drove down a street a mile from the center of town, located only seven miles from Boston, MA, I noticed a clutch of twelve birds, which turned out to be some kind of partridge. The gallery of  close … Continue reading

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Hess Memorial Macworld Events – Thursday Listings

Update: As of 10 PM ET, the Hess List web server is back up, so you can hit the link below to see the Macworld-iWorld 2014 events. Digital Fortress has assured me that an alarm of some kind will go off if the server has future trouble and will be reset immediately.  Thank you for your patience and understanding!

It seems the server at Digital Fortress has once again decided not to serve out my Robert Hess Memorial Macworld Events Page. This happens periodically and the company always has lame excuses as to why. For your convenience, here are the listings for Thursday night, March 27th. Please check back to the regular URL at intervals, because the page will come back up; the company always makes that promise. If I ever recoup the monies I pay for web hosting from this list, I will move The Events List to a more reliable host, but as I’ve only received one contribution this year, don’t hold your breath.

Normal URL = http://www.ilenesmachine.com/partylist.shtml


Very sorry for the inconvenience!  Here are tonight’s listings!

Thurs.3/27 5:30 PM ?:30 PM
6 About to Break Cocktail Party
Moscone North
Ticket may be required. SF New Tech & Macworld/iWorld hosts.

Thurs.3/27 6:00 PM 9:00 PM
Silicon Valley iOS Developers‘ Meetup
Not Listed yet
Details missing

Thurs.3/27 6:00 PM ?:00 PM
Drinks at SF St. Regis with Paul Kafasis, of Rogue Amoeba
Just a fun time
(Tweeted by Gruber) (Update: It seems that Paul was there, but John wasn’t.)

Thurs.3/27 7:00 PM10:00 PM
Appency 5th Annual Macworld Press Dinner
Invited Press only.

Thurs.3/27 7:30 PM10:00 PM
iFixit Meetup at Techshop
910 Howard St.
Chat with iFixit crew over dinner and drinks. RSVP desired.

Thurs.3/27 8:00 PM?:00 PM
CultCast LIVE Party
The Box SF, 1069 Howard St.
Invitation Required. Cult of Mac team with DiskAid and MacUpdate. Live performance from DJ EGADZ. Open bar.

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Macworld iWorld is this week

The only true Apple compatible product consumer show opens this week, March 27 to March 29. It’s held at the Moscone Center North in San Francisco, CA.

The Robert Hess Memorial Macworld Events List is online with special events that happen each day. Check the list for non-show related events this week also. This list is now in its 18th year and not a week goes by in which I don’t miss Rob’s great humor and articles. He was a such a gem of a person.

I don’t mean to be a pest, but if you use The List, a small contribution would be very welcome. I did spend quite a bit of time digging up events and creating this unique and comprehensive list just for you! Contribute links are now all over the page – sorry if that offends you.


Unfortunately, I can’t make it this year and few of my user group friends are attending also. Seems a common decision for some companies and users is to go every other year and this is the skip year. I like the March dates and hope to see many people at the show next year!

My favorite photo from one of the past Macworld shows.

Homeless in SF

Homeless in SF

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Back Story to My Dad’s Video Memorial

When I posted the draft slideshow I made of my father’s life in Boinx Software’s FotoMagico, someone remarked that I was lucky I had all those photos. Well, luck actually had nothing to do with it! (By the way, I had to delete and upload the video again after correcting a couple of dates and typos.) 

I found out after my son was born that my great grandfather was a professional photographer. My Dad always took awesome pictures when we went on vacation, but I don’t think it ever sank in that he was taught how by his grandfather. When I started scanning my Dad’s thousands of slides, stereo slides and movies that I had been given, I started digging deeper. My sisters and mother had no interest and thought I was just living in the past. Their loss…

Well, it turns out my little sister started researching the genealogy of the family in the 1990s, due to her own husband’s long history in the US. My son’s father’s family also goes back to the Pilgrim days. Alas, our family came here in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Names were changed, the census recorded incorrect names, and places of birth weren’t even recorded, so our history is much harder to track. My sister wanted photos to post with her lineage that she put on Ancestry.com, so finally I could share some of my scans.

We aren’t a very close family and my parents were not happy that I insisted that all our living relatives back to their first cousins were invited to my son’s Bar Mitzvah in 1997. I’ve never regretted bringing all those people together. At that time, I had neither the time nor the interest in locating family photos. That changed with the new millenium.

The Hoffman Family

The Hoffman Family

The Milton Family

The Milton Family (Mother’s)

I was told that there were no surviving photos taken by my great grandfather, Louis Hoffman. When my Dad died, knowing how my Mother likes to toss things, I scoured her house for photos. I found a few photographs of my Dad in his first years of life in placards with Hoffman Studios on them! I found his Dad’s scrapbook and his scrapbook. In my Dad’s scrapbook was all his rejection letters to medical school, newspaper articles and report cards. Who saves stuff like that?? (grin) To me that was a goldmine. I even found some 1940s mild porn slides, which was pretty funny. When I dig them out again, I really must remember to scan them! Only the family photos have been scanned so far.

In 2010, two years after my Dad’s death, my Mom decided to visit her brother in Massachusetts. She lives in Florida and had not been back for at least ten years. My sister and I organized a luncheon with a few of those same relatives that had come to my son’s Bar Mitzvah. Some had not seen each other since that event either, which is odd because they all live within 15 miles of each other. My Dad’s first cousin Harret (see below) graciously hosted the luncheon at her house.

My little sister and I visited a few of them separately and went through their photos. We borrowed some to scan and return. Sadly, three of those relatives died last June. Even more sad is that no one in our family ever bothered to contact us to tell us. My sister found out when she was updating our family tree in Ancestry.com in January 2014. UGH.

Ok, back to my point. The bottom line is that the reason I have the photos I used in my Dad’s memorial video is because my sister and I visited seven relatives we barely knew, walked off with their precious archives for a few days, and I scanned much of what we found. We videoed and taped stories too, but those video and audio archives will take a lot longer to put into any kind of meaningful form.

Oh, in case you are wondering, few of my Mom’s relatives survived until our interest in our lineage started. We have no one to interview and no one to contact to even locate photographs. It’s really a shame we didn’t start doing this earlier in our lives.

Harriet Sitting in her Grandfather's Photo Chair

Harriet Sitting in her Grandfather’s Photo Chair (date unknown)

Harriet Sitting in her Grandfather's Photo Chair holding her Grandparents photos. That's my son smiling next to her. Sept. 10, 2010

Harriet Sitting in her Grandfather’s Photo Chair holding her Grandparents photos. That’s my son smiling next to her. Sept. 10, 2010

So let’s see, Marcus (1984), my son, is standing next to his Grandfather’s first cousin Harriet (1925) sitting in his great great grandfather’s chair.
Harriet is alive and well and holding his Great great great grandparents picture (Grisha and Pauline Hoffman or Goffman).  I think that’s it.

Click the photos for a larger view.

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