Pinterest Vs. Gimmiebar

I’ve been on an inspiration curation kick lately. At the end of September, 2011, I signed up for Gimmiebar, a more niche-focused curation site akin to the web 2.0 social bookmarking site del.icio.us. The idea behind the service is when you stumble upon something awesome, be it an image, text, or most videos, you can save it to your gimmiebar using their handy browser extension or bookmarklet. You can find your friends and follow them like any social network and see what they add to their collections in the Discovery section. I must not be following the right people as now and then I will see what others are finding only to come up uninspired. There’s no sitewide search but there is a Notable section that you can peruse.

The gimmiebar extension for Chrome or bookmarklet for other browsers (both do the same thing) is slick. Activating your gimmiebar gives you two drop zones for dragging images into: your Public Firehose and Private Stash. Once you add your image you can add it to one or more collections or create a new collection on the fly. You’re given the option to give a description and tagging is done inline by adding a # before a word.

Gimmiebar does a really good job of being quick and painless. I also like how they save a copy of the image or website incase the original source should go offline. You can even hook up your Dropbox account and have your saved images saved to the cloud as another backup.

Overall Gimmiebar has good tools for personal curation but lacks in the social aspect. I’m sure this will get better over time as more and more people start using it.

Pinterest, on the other hand, has a huge focus on socially sharing interesting things found on the web. You create boards which you pin different things to. Your friends can see what you have pinned and even repin it to their boards. Repinning is just like reposting on Tumblr or re-tweeting on Twitter.

My favorite feature of Pinterest is their search feature, which works well. Just enter a term and you get back a large swath of different images to pore over. Since the community is so active, you will want to keep checking your favorite searches for new inspiration. Commenting is also there but I don’t see much conversation occurring on pins.

Pinterests audience is heavily female oriented. There is a lot of fashion, do-it-yourself crafts, wedding, recipes and decorating pins going through my stream. But that’s ok because there is also a lot of robots.

With all the buzz surrounding Pinterest and their traffic numbers going up and up every month, it’s no wonder the site can slow down to a crawl from time to time. Ingesting and searching through all of those images is a tough job for any systems engineer at Pinterest’s scale. Hopefully that $27 million in funding will ease some of their growing pains.

So while both invite-only services are based around the same concept, curating inspiration, I’ve found myself using both for different purposes. Gimmiebar is more for my design/photography/art inspiration while Pinterest is for collecting fashion and home ideas. Kristina is also on Pinterest and we share a board which is fun to pin stuff to when I find interesting stuff for her. It’s also neat to learn about your friends based on what things they collect.

Be sure to give both sites a try. I have plenty of invites for both. You can find me on Gimmiebar and on Pinterest.

Assasin Bug And Honey Bee Close Up

I’ve been saving these two dead bugs for a while. I really wanted to take some detailed, close-up macro shots of them when I found the time. Well tonight was that time!

Close up shot of the side of an assassin bug.

I believe the bug above is called an Assassin bug. At least that is how I always refered to it. As you can see this little bugger collected some dust while laying on it’s back.

Assassin bugs get their name because of the speed that they have to grab and poison their prey. They are carnivorous, or meat eaters, and use their powerful, jack-knife forelegs to grab their prey. They have sticky pads on these front legs, made up of thousands of tiny hairs, that stick to their victims and keep them from getting away.source

Close up macro shot of a honey bee on it\'s side.

This looks like a typical honey bee found all over North America. It was hard to find an interesting angle for this guy but I ended up laying him on his side so I could get a glimpse of his underside.

For both of these pictures I used a Tamron 180mm 1:1 macro lens on my Canon 300D. I used an old Sony 200 watt video camera light to keep the shutter speeds high in order to reduce the effects of camera shake. When you are zoomed in as close as I was even the pressure on the shutter button is enough to cause unwanted motion blur on the subject.

I experimented with different apertures mainly around f/5.6, f/8.0, f/11 and f/16 to see which would give me the best focus. f/16 was the one used in both of these photos and proved to be the winner of the night.

Photographing dead, lifeless bugs is good practice but I have no idea how macro photographers capture live, moving bugs with such crispness and clarity. One of these days I will venture outdoors with this macro lens and see for myself how to do it.

A Photoshoot With Kids

Last weekend Kristina and I ventured over to the house of a family friend to take pictures of her kids playing with a toy. Kristina was designing toy packaging and needed shots of a child playing with the toy for the box art.

Graci readies for her shoot.

Scheduling the shoot during the late morning hours wasn’t the most helpful time in terms of lighting. Most of the shots had our subject squinting with dark shadows in her eyes. This could have been fixed by bouncing light onto her face from below using a reflector. Of course this didn’t occur to me until after the fact and I didn’t have a reflector with me. We made do with what we had and brought back some decent results.
Toy Package Design for Berry Buddies

After the official work was done and out of the way the kids wanted to play. I got some interesting shots of child play in action.

Andi gets some height in her midair split.

Graci sure knew how to pose for the camera.

Don\'t let the Graci out!

You can see more pictures in my Picasa web album.