Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Model World

I recently came across a photographic technique called tilt-shift photography. You can find a full definition here, but it involves keeping just part of an image in focus. A common side effect to tilt-shift photography is making the photograph of a real-life image look like a photograph of a model, especially if the photograph is taken from above and the colors are heavily saturated.

The tilt-shift image pictured is of Joe's Crab Shack in Nashville, TN, by Shawn S. Ide.

Apparently you can reproduce the effect via Photoshop, avoiding the expense of special photographic lenses.

This link will take you to 5o excellent examples of tilt-shift photography.

(By the way, I stole the title for this blog entry from author Michael Chabon, who used it for both the title of a short story and a collection.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Freakin' Brilliant Idea

....No human being has more energy than a normal, well-fed, well-rested child. Especially boys. Which makes it difficult to get them to sit still in class.

The New York Times ran an article last week about schools that are experimenting with adjustable-height desks. Kids can sit or stand, as they please. Standing burns more energy, allowing them to focus better on their schoolwork. Adjustable-height stools are made available. The desk model pictured in The Times (above left and center) also has a swinging footrest, allowing kids to burn off even more energy.

The idea has been around for a long time. Many adults use standing desks. Personally, I always had difficulty typing in any position other than seated, but not everyone does. Yeshivas also use adjustable-height desks, where it is called a shtender in Yiddish. (far right) The shtender seems to lack the swinging footrest.

I wish my classroom had had these desks when I was teaching Middle School. I might still be teaching.