NPR: Saving the Sounds of America

NPR did an interesting story about the some of the challenges the Library of Congress faces with preserving audio recordings made during the last 125 years.

Surprisingly, the challenges are not only limited to the recordings made in the early days of audio but those made as recently as 10 years ago due to rapid changes in technology and issues related to ownership of the recordings. And while we often make keywords, descriptions and other metadata entries as part of our workflow as photographers, we often neglect that necessary chore as as part of our audio workflow. Take five minutes and listen to the report and see if it gives you any ideas of why you might want to start adding metadata to your audio files.

Photographs from Santa Rita Hills wine region featured in San Francisco Chronicle

Vinyards along California State Route 246 in Lompoc, California.

Vinyards along California State Route 246 in Lompoc, California.

I met with Justin Willett of Tyler Winery on a Friday in late February and he gave me an excellent history lesson on how the area became known for pinot noir starting back in the early 1970s at the Sanford and Benedict vineyards. He showed me the La Encantada vineyard, which he uses for his wines, as well as pointed out all of the vineyards in sight along Santa Rosa Road near Buellton.

What I learned is that the proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the relatively stable temperature of the region and the composition of the soil all contribute to the unique growing conditions of the area, resulting in some favorable characteristics in the pinot noir and chardonnay grapes.

My lesson on the region continued a couple of days later when I met up with Sashi Moorman, the winemaker for Evening Land Vineyards.  Moorman took me to some vineyards on the windswept hills along Sweeney Road in Lompoc.

From the higher vantage point I could clearly see how the appellation populates the valley. After taking in the panoramic scene, Moorman then directed me to the soil around a row of pinot noir vines planted four years earlier. It looked like a bed of white rocks, not the rich sandy soil I am accustomed to seeing in other vineyards. Moorman said that locals call the diatomaceous earth”chalk rock” and pinot noir seems to thrive in this stuff. But in this part of the appellation, the vines don’t grow as rubust as they would in other conditions. Because of this, Moorman was able to plant 7,000 vines per acre.

Moorman doesn’t just limit himself to grapes, he pointed out a plot of land where he grows wheat and has plans to make his own bread in the tasting room of his own wine label, Piedrasassi New Vineland Winery.

I learned a lot about the region during my two recent visits but I learned even more once I read the story Jon Bonné  wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle titled, “A Dramatic new chapter for Santa Rita Hills”. The story was published on the SFGate website on March 2, 2012 and it also appeared on the front page of the Food section of the Sunday paper on March 4, 2012. Eight of my pictures ran with the story on SFGate and three photos appeared with the Sunday printed edition.

justin willett of tyler winery

Justin Willett of Tyler Winery. (photo by Joe Gosen for the San Francisco Chronicle)

Winemaker Sashi Moorman in Siren's Call vineyard off Sweeney Road in Lompoc, California. (photo by Joe Gosen for the San Francisco Chronicle)

Winemaker Sashi Moorman in Siren’s Call vineyard off Sweeney Road in Lompoc, California. (photo by Joe Gosen for the San Francisco Chronicle)

Photos featured in San Francisco Chronicle’s 2012 Winemaker to Watch article

WINEMAKER TO WATCH PROFILE -- Gavin Chanin of Chanin Wines

WINEMAKER TO WATCH PROFILE — Gavin Chanin of Chanin Wines


In late December 2011 I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Gavin Chanin for the San Francisco Chronicle’s annual “Winemakers to Watch” series.  After finishing high school, Gavin Chanin began working with Santa Barbara County winemakers at Au Bon Climat and Qupe where he is presently the assistant winemaker. In addition, he started his own wine company, Chanin Wines, making Pino Noir and Chardonnay from the Bien Nacido vineyard in Santa Maria, California. Chanin holds an art degree from UCLA and each of his wine labels features his original art work.   The article  ran in the Food & Wine section on Sunday, January 15, 2012, and then on its website, SFGate on the 16th. Read about Gavin Chanin’s wines in the San Francisco Chronicle.

5 Attitude Changes Toward Photography Websites

screenshot of the photoshelter blog

Click on the image to read this post on Photoshelter’s blog.

Photoshelter is an invaluable resource for budding and seasoned photographers. They have been at the forefront of helping photographers market work, expand their online footprint and grow their businesses. Over the years I have read the articles on their site, watched their video tutorials, listened in on their webinars and basically soaked in as much information as my brain would allow.

In 2011 I began teaching a new kind of web class at Brooks Institute, one that was inspired by all that I have learned from the Photoshelter community over the years. Grover Sanchagrin caught wind of this and interviewed me recently. He posted our conversation on Photoshelter’s blog today, including 5 attitude changes toward photography websites.

Sounds of Yesteryear

What I Still Hear  Sounds That Have Disappeared   Krulwich Wonders...   NPR

Click on the image to view test out the sounds.

I grew up with the sounds and smells of a coffee percolator brewing the morning cup of Joe in our household. I hadn’t thought much about it until I stumbled on to this story on NPR’s website about sounds that have all but disappeared.

The idea for the NPR story was inspired by a blog post on Mental Floss titled “11 Sounds That Your Kids Have Probably Never Heard.” Remember the rotary phone? Our home number took a particularly long time to dial. It had a 9, a 0, a couple of 7’s. It was a laborious and time-consuming phone call to make by today’s standards (as you can see in the video below).

NPR took this idea a little further and grouped the clips to allow viewers to play these sounds to create some natural sounds music, so to speak. And then they modernized it by finding today’s equivalent sounds and grouped them, as well. Have look – and a listen.  Brooks Institute visual journalism grads Maggie Starbard and Melissa Forsyth helped out with the project.