Our 200th Blog Post

The August 8th announcement about our return to Maitland was our 200th blog post, and it’s time to do a little reflection.

First, Some Statistics

Our first post was on January 25, 2011, two weeks before we had a website (I have no statistics about our first website to bore you with).  It took 44 months to publish the first 50 posts, 40 of which were about upcoming events.  We moved the blog from Blogspot to our own website on October 10, 2015, and published our hundredth post in May 2016.  That second 50 posts took less than 20 months to produce.  By then, the overall proportion of our posts that were about upcoming events dropped to 66%.  Our second 100 posts took just 27 months.  Our overall upcoming-event percentage is down to 53% (and dropping).  At the same time, 15% of our posts have been about our images and 14% had website news.  The categories of recognition, post-processing, and business were each discussed in over 6% of our posts.  The other nine categories were covered in fewer than ten posts each.

So Now What?

I expect that our production rate will level out at less than four posts a month.  I’d like the overall proportion of upcoming-event posts to drop toward 40%, while each of the other 14 categories gets good coverage.  I keep coming up with new ideas but have trouble finding time to develop them.  I’m working on that.  Stay tuned.

We Have A Winner!

Three months ago, I invited you to critique my new homepage and offered a rewardblog. The offer has closed and the results are in. But first, a recap. We received twenty suggestions from six people. Each suggestion received three virtual tickets. We received no votes of preference between the new and the old homepage. Each of those would have received one ticket. While some of the questions in the original post were not addressed, and some of the suggestions apply to the other parts of our website beyond the scope of this contest (which will still be considered in my next round of changes), half of our commenters thought the slideshow needed to be larger and more prominent, with more features. While two commenters didn’t like the black background and bright fonts, one (with vision problems) did, so now I need to explore how to make the site more appealing to all viewers. The suggested larger font might help. Some viewers wanted an easier but more comprehensive menu system. These were the suggestions that received multiple votes. The other suggestions were no less valid, but this is only a summary, so feel free to check them out in the comment section of the original post referenced above. While I may not be able to make all the changes, I will be working on this project over the summer. Stay tuned.

Not surprisingly, the winner was the one who made the most suggestions. Robert Sullivan received ten dollars off any print, either one of Nancy’s or his own (you can see his work at www.robertsullivanphotography.com). This award is transferable and may be combined with any other awards and promotions. There is no time limit. Congratulations, Robert, and thanks for your help. I would also like to thank our other contributors.

For the fishermen or naturalists among you, the next contest is already underway. Check out our last blog post, Name This Fish. And I still have a math question which I may get to by the end of the summer. Don’t go away.

“Red Panda” Added To Website

Red Panda
This picture of a red panda was taken on our trip to China

Nancy took this photograph at the second of two giant panda breeding research bases we visited around Chengdu, China on a tour with our second favorite tour group, Natural Habitat Adventures.  It was at the first base that we got our Giant Panda in Tree and Giant Panda in Tree, which we made available a couple of years after the trip.  We made this red panda image available just recently. For more information, go to Red Panda.

While at this research base, we also had the opportunity to hold a red panda.  Here is a picture of Nancy taken by our guide, Philip He.

Nancy Holding Red Panda
Nancy Holding Red Panda

Check Out A New Home Page (And Win A Prize)

I started a live test of a new Bee Happy Graphics home page, and I’d like your comments. Comments on such things as “Is the slide show at the bottom much help?” or “Is there some other criterion besides subject, location, and primary color that one might use to find images?”. Are the priorities correct? Is it effective? Is there something else that should be here or is important information missing? Can you get to the good pages quick enough from here? Of course, there are still other corrections and possible improvements to the whole website pending, like fixing the menu system for smartphones, etc, but I hope those will come soon enough; they are not part of this test.

All of the comments with viable suggestions for improvement will receive three (virtual) tickets to a drawing for ten dollars off any print (either Nancy’s image or your own). All other comments stating a preference for either the old or new page will receive one ticket. For comparison purposes (and possible reinstatement), the old page can be found here. The drawing will be held sometime after March 11, 2018. You need not be present to win.  This reward may be combined with other promotions.

We’ve Added Our “Bedtime For Butterflies” Image

Image of Zebra Longwing butterflies
Three Zebra Longwing butterflies roosting for the night

We’ve now made a page on our website (www.BeeHappyGraphics.com/gallery/longwing.html) for an image Nancy took of three zebra heliconian butterflies (formerly known as zebra longwings) roosting for the night in our backyard.  We’ve actually had a matted print of this image available for sale in our booth since about 2012.

How To Find The Area Of An Object Using Photoshop

There are mathematical or drafting programs that may do a better job of finding areas of all sorts of seemingly random two-dimensional shapes, and I may have used one or two of these as a student, but I haven’t had any of them on my computer for many moons. So when I recently needed to compare the size of the visible sun at different times during a solar eclipse so I could compare exposure levels, I was out of luck. But then there was Photoshop. I just finished this article about how to find an object’s area, and put it on our website at www.beehappygraphics.com/find-area.html, mainly because I mentioned the technique in an earlier blog post, and was about to mention it again in an article I promised about the challenges of our newest eclipse image.  This probably isn’t the most common task you will be doing, but when you need it, this can be handy.  Enjoy!

Our Newest Image – A Gigapan With The Solar Eclipse

When I gave suggestions for shooting the solar eclipse in Miamilink, We didn’t have any plans to shoot it ourselves, but about twenty hours before it started I got another one of my “brilliant ideas” and Nancy & I worked to make it happen.

You can read about our newest image, Eclipse Over Long Pine Key, on our website. This is the first of our large panoramas that we’ve published that uses our Gigapan motor drive to take hundreds of pictures shot with a telephoto lens, and third-party stitching software to get very large and detailed images.  We’ve also put it on the GigaPan website so you can zoom in real close and see birds in the trees (but more pinecones) and sunspots.

Eclipse Over Long Pine Key