Thursday, February 25, 2016

Tips for Taking Great Friend Photos

"Good friends are like stars. You don't always see them, but you know they are there."  — Christy Evans

A dear friend and I have been trying to get together for an outing since November.  Life, however, has been getting in the way. Our first date was cancelled because of a forgotten appointment; the second as a result of a funeral. One can only hope the third time's the charm and tomorrow will go as planned.

One of the reasons we have to schedule our dates is distance. Though we only live an hour apart, it's enough, given the other influences that fill our time. While she's retired I'm still among the gainfully employed which certainly limits options. And, with our kids and grandchildren still thankfully needing us for this and that, we have to prioritize even time with good friends a little further down the list.

Gratefully, though, we both feel the same way about making the effort. Friendships are too important to let go and the long history attached to ours makes it even more worthy of preserving. We first met through our mutual love of singing members of a chorale group.  We soon realized we actually had many things in common, while we also admired the other's unique traits.

When the group ceased to exist we suddenly found ourselves in the position of no longer seeing each other on a regular basis. It took us a while to build a routine that would keep us in touch, but we've managed.

When we do get together now,  making the most of the day or evening isn't something we have to work at. Our friendship spans decades, has seen us through everything from worrying about our kids to grieving the loss of our parents.  We have seen each other at our worst and really don't care.  We share a dirty sense of humour, strong family values and that love of music.

Her gregarious personality complements my more introverted self.  She is outgoing, charming and full of life. A day with her is an excellent reminder to me to smile and let go.  Conversely, she says,  I keep her grounded. (Sometimes, I think she actually should be.)

Over the years, of course, our times together have been chronicled photographically. Though perhaps there were a few that might have been better not preserved for posterity.

Regardless, when there have been too many days between our visits, it's always a treat to take a look back and remember the fun of a particular outing.

Also, as it is any time I think about the pictures I've taken over the years, I find myself wondering how I might have done a better job.  Here are some tips that might help answer that question:

Master Taking Candid Photos of Your Friends

How to Photograph Your Friends

Fun Best Friend Photo Ideas

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

6,800 Health and Medical Photos

If there's one thing that's important to us all it's our health. We can debate how much money's enough, what makes us happy, or what we want to do with our lives.

But when it comes to our health there's no disparity in what level we'd like.  The better, the better.

I've come to a point in my life when things can start to fall apart.  My peers and I know we can fight the good fight all we want, but there's no denying as time goes on now, our bodies just aren't going to be quite what they used to be. Bones can get brittle, hearts can get tired, which will  translate to less than ideal health.

However, from the time I recognized my health was going to take a little extra work, I've  tried to follow the advice of poet Dylan Thomas and not go gently into the dark night.  I've educated myself on wise, healthy choices and have listened when I can (want to). To this end, gone are many things I enjoyed over the years (the weekly potato chip night for example) in favour of a lot of things I don't (fruit and vegetables).

Generally, though, I've  adopted the belief that I can do battle against the process with new weapons rather than sacrifice everything (cheese, chocolate and wine). Otherwise, why bother? Life is short.

So, a little yoga strengthens my body and bones while improving balance and flexibility. My morning smoothie packs plenty of protein and antioxidant power.  I walk rather than drive to work letting the car be the idle one.  And I've  discovered the benefits of essential oils which have helped me fight everything from SAD to the common cold.

Another practice to which I'm faithful is my avoidance of pharmaceuticals. I'm a firm believer that unless there's no other option, stay away from medications.  It's been my experience that you only tend to buy in to a whole new whack of troubles when you start popping pills.

That said,  medicine and the professionals who dole it out,  are very important to our continued good health. I've never argued when my doctor has recommended a test be done, whether routine or to try and find an underlying cause.  I have regular checkups and recognize that there are many illnesses and disorders that can't be helped by 'natural' means. My goal is simply to try and delay or thwart the former by utilizing the latter.


So, with these thoughts in mind on this Wellness Wednesday, I've sourced out some great healthcare photos — from the traditional to the holistic.

iCLIPART.com Medical Photos

iPHOTOS.com Healthy Life Photos

Clipart.com Health Photos

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Create the Perfect Infographic

For over two decades I worked in journalism. I came away with a lot of information from those years, but none perhaps so pronounced as the fact that a picture is assuredly worth a thousand words.

Whether it was adding a graphic element to a story or to an advertisement, it was well-known that the right one would increase interest. Done well,  the visual after getting your attention, clarifies the words that might accompany it. A writer might paint a picture with his prose, but an artist or photographer leave nothing to the imagination. The images they produce draw the viewer in to the story they paint or photograph.

There's no better way to get people to notice your message than by adding visual elements to facts and information.

This is the purpose of infographics, where text and images combine to present data in a clear, concise manner. Together they educate, build awareness and market strategically everything from products to people.  Studies have shown that a good infographic is up to 30 times more likely to be read than a text article.

The trick is putting this into action. Simply slapping together some cool fun graphics with some interesting tidbits isn't going to achieve the result you hope for. To get the most from them,  to understand the potential and realize it for yourself,  here are some wonderful sites with tips for what to do and what not to do:

Proven Ways to Make Your Content Go Viral

5 Steps for Creating a Powerful Infographic

Dos and Don'ts For Effective Infographics

Create Effective Infographics

Create Atractive and Effective Infographics

Tips for Powerful Infographics

Important Principles of Effective Infographics

Once you know how,  the next step will be sourcing out some wonderful graphics to highlight your project. There are a number of online resources, such as Clipart.com  and iCLIPART.com
where, with a subscription,  you are able to access a huge variety of images safely.

Then, armed with perfect graphics and the knowledge of how to grab attention with your infographic, the only thing left is to find the firght tool to create it.  Here are some excellent options:

piktochart.com

canva.com

venngage.com

creativebloq.com

Monday, February 22, 2016

3 Collections of Clipart for Easter

Well another great weekend has hit the memory book. For me, it was an excellent combination of work and play. The former gave me a great sense of accomplishment while the latter was the reward for jobs well done.

There was time between household tasks to enjoy the company of family and friends, as well as time for  relaxation on Sunday, typically unheard of at our house. I therefore took advantage of the opportunity by catching up on some reading.

Sadly it was only when preparing supper, gazing out the window as daylight was fading into early twilight, that I realized I should have spent a little of that down time outdoors. Because in addition to all the other good parts of the weekend, this winter one was highlighted by unseasonable warmth and sunshine.

It's not as if I didn't know it. Had I not been in such a hurry earlier that day, it would have sunk into my consciousness that this was a lovely day to spend outside, balmy and sunny, more like late March.

Had I not, too,  during a conversation at the grocery store earlier,  been so distracted by the promise that a quick completion of tasks would leave me time to sit down with my book, I would have picked up on the hint that this might be a good day suited more to outside fun.  An acquaintance at the checkout, mentioned to me that her little one had,  upon stepping out of the door, said it felt like Easter.

Out of the mouths of babes I thought as I headed home. I noticed the air really did have a spring quality, as did my step.  The feeling of lightness in my body,  however, didn't reach the brain, and I rushed through the rest of the day's duties eagerly anticipating an hour of time for me and Stephen King.

So, yes, as I gazed out the window at day's end I experienced some regret. Not that I would have passed up a spell spent curled in my comfy chair, but I did wish I had wandered out into the fresh hour for at least a bit of the time.

Letting the feeling wash over me, I accepted it, then moved on, though. What's past is past, what's done is done. I had a perfect weekend, arriving at work Monday with batteries recharged.

And thanks to the grocery store conversation, my mind is now on spring and Easter. Here are some terrific floral Easter illustrations to keep the thoughts on track:

iCLIPART.com Floral Easter Illustrations

Clipart.com Floral Easter Illustrations

ClickArt Online Floral Easter Illustrations