Welcome!

Featured

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

With nearly 20k followers on Twitter, and over 3000 subs on various blogs and music sites, it is impossible for me to welcome each person individually. Of course, I wish I could. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories! Until I find a way of cloning myself a few hundred times, this will have to do. 🙂

A brief summary about myself. I have been writing since I was 12. I love the horror genre and that is what I read and write mostly.I also write fantasy and mystery.You can learn more about my writing just by surfing this site, if you so desire. I have been singing and playing guitar since I was 15. All of my music is FREE. (who actually sells music these days?) The music I create embodies Rock, Blues, Chill, EDM, and Downtempo. Give it a listen if you like.

I have only recently started doing photography, but I studied the craft very carefully before beginning, and spent the money required, to do it justice. I am unhealthy and trying to build a legacy, before I die from all of the health problems I have. Everything I create is with that in mind.

I currently live in a new RV in Texas, with my wife and a majikal cat named appropriately, Jinxy. If you want to learn more about me, or just seek something to discover, here is a complete list of all my websites-

http://jb-thomas.pixels.com-My main photos site. You can buy prints, cards, iPhone cases, tote bags, towels, shower curtains, and much more with my best photos on them.

https://www.facebook.com/jbthomasphotography– This is only place I will be discussing photos and art. Come join us!

http://licensing.pixels.com/profiles/jb-thomas.html– If you would like to license my photos for books, online ads, TV, or many other things, go here.

axewielderx.wordpress.com -Main blog with jokes, funny pics and music.

authorjbthomas.wordpress.com– This is where ALL of my writings are. Poetry, prose, short stories, Novel chapters, and more.

amazon.com/author/jbthomas– My amazon author page where you can buy both e-book and paperback versions of my books. There are more book links, in the My Books” section of this site.

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5251326.J_B_Thomas-My Goodreads profile.

http://www.reverbnation.com/lucidchaos– My reverbnation website. All music here is in mp3 format only.

http://lucidchaos.bandcamp.com– Any format, lossless or mp3, is here. For those who like the best sound!:)

http://soundcloud.com/lucid-chaos– I only put sneak peeks of music WIPs here. I don’t care for soundcloud’s limitations.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Axewielderx– Various videos ranging from music videos to gaming casts.

http://www.facebook.com/authorjbthomas– My FB author page. This is strickly for the fans. I hate FB and self iced my personal account there.

http://axewielderx.tumblr.com/-Tumblr– It catches most of my posts from nearly every blog.

https://twitter.com/JB_Thomas– My twitter account where I do most of my daily posting.

I want to thank each and every person who has followed, subbed, or become a fan. I hope you enjoy the ride you just climbed aboard, and tell your friends, before the train has left the station for good. Take care and feel free to contact me anytime. I will answer as time allows. 😎  If you would like to connect on any of these sites, just send me your info via the contact page.

JB

Advertisements

Beware of CTL Trucking!

Tags

, , , , , ,

My wife was recently hired to CTL Trucking (A division of Comcar industries) to work as a CDL-A Hazmat driver. A little over 4 weeks later she was fired. Their reason for firing her…”She was not a safe enough driver.” That is laughable! That is like calling me uncreative. Read on to learn how this company used her, abused her, and ultimately discriminated and wrongly fired her.

So let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

She was recruited and had to go to orientation in another state, and even though it was short notice, she went and spent 5 days in orientation. There were no problems there and in fact, she was one of the best drivers out of all the new driver recruits. Yes, she was told that. Then she came back home to Houston and started the next week driving with a local trainer. She spent two weeks training with this trainer with no problems.

The problems started, when the following week, she started training with a second trainer. This guy was either prejudice against women, white people, or older people, perhaps all three. Let me explain why I know this to be true.

Instead of training her how to properly drive a truck, the trainer was insisting he knew what he was doing and making her drive fast in hazardous situations. He had her driving 64 mph in pouring down rain at night. He had her driving 64 mph through thick fog at night. He wanted her to go fast everywhere, no matter the driving conditions! To top it off he did not even monitor her driving! He was busy talking and texting on his phone the whole time. This is NOT how you teach anyone how to drive any vehicle! Furthermore, the company’s own driving manual states that you are supposed to slow down in these driving conditions. It should be obvious this trainer was not trying to train her at all.

To top it off he made her drive most of the miles from Houston to North Carolina. She drove approx. 2000 miles of that trip and in one day drove nearly 630 miles. Yes, that is what a trainer should do with an unsafe driver…make them drive 630 miles, not!

When he did drive he was talking on the phone and texting while driving. Additionally, he was looking at the Qualcomm and paperwork and he was also zipping in and out of lanes like he was driving a sports car. That is a big No-No when driving a tanker. It should be clear by now this trainer was not trying to train her. He was trying to get her to quit!

When he failed to do so, he even went to the extreme of using her being a female against her. He told her to open the engine hood of the truck from the side. Anyone knows that women do not have the upper body strength that men do. Why was she NOT allowed to open the engine hood from in front? Because then he could not go back to the terminal manager and say she could not even open the hood of the truck. Why was she even asked to do this? She already went to college and learned to do this from licensed school trainers!!! Every driver, both male and female opened the engine hood from in front, both in school and at orientation.

This guy did everything he could to get her to quit and when she would not, he went and told a bunch of lies about how she was an unsafe driver. He was rude, obnoxious, and even degrading. He had to clean everything she touched, before he would do any driving.

Funny thing is, my wife has never had an accident since I have known her (29 yrs.) and most of that time she had two jobs, one of them being a delivery driver. Do you see how stupid it is now? My wife is the safest driver I know!

Either this company has a policy of just using drivers or there is some clear discrimination going on here. After putting up with five days of this guy’s abrasive, arrogant attitude and then she gets fired for doing what she was told to do? Fucking outrageous! What kind of company hires and keeps trainers like this?

We will be looking into suing this company for sex discrimination and wrongful termination. This can all be verified, in a court of law. The trainer’s phone records can be summoned to prove he was on his phone while driving and while riding, The company driving records can be summoned, to prove the distance she drove every single day. The weather conditions of that drive can be proven and the speed can be calculated. A lie detector test can be offered and most certainly will refused by the trainer, thus making him look guilty. My wife would be more than happy to submit to a lie detector test.

My wife’s driving records can be summoned to show her safe driving. The company’s driving manuals can be submitted to show their driving policies, and to prove he was telling her to do things against safe driving standards. Professional driving instructors from Accredited driving schools who can and will testify under oath that opening a truck engine hood from in front is not unsafe or required by any existing laws. It is almost too easy to prove this in a court of law. If trucking companies were not known for exploiting their drivers, I would almost feel sorry for this company.

To those reading this article, I suggest you avoid this company like the plague. Better yet, share this article with everyone you know! Sex discrimination needs to be a thing of the past. Evil triumphs when good people do nothing!!!

Lastly, if you want to read something amusing, please read the comments!

Axe(JB)

The Art Of Creative Photography: Chapter 7 (final chapter)

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

This is what is known as a Di Vinci. The triangle light on the left cheek, is similar to how the Mona Lisa is portrayed. These are exceptionally rare to get, especially outdoors, where you work with the light and don’t control it.

Before we get started: Hint-Clicking on each photo in this series, will reveal the full-sized internet version of the photo.

So in my mind, I imagine a bunch of little, bright shiny young(and perhaps older) faces, staring at their computer monitors or iPads or even their little phones, wondering when I was going to get around to this final chapter. Of course, I do realize I just exposed how warped and utterly insane my mind is in saying that, but be-that-as-it-may, what is done is done. Here is that final chapter of knowledge, for which you all crave or not, whatever the case may be.

The most important thing for your creative photography endeavors is unsurprising really. It is a the deep desire to make your voice heard, your vision seen. To send out your own individualized message, with each and every photo that you create.

This photo forces you to look at her face. The slight bit of light on her nose and the blurred frontal leaves are used to accomplish this effect.

You cannot expect others to look toward you and listen, if you are singing the same song as everyone else. You must put your own voice to it and that can only be done by systematically teaching yourself to focus, and learn the teachings of those who have come before. In learning what others have done, we then know what we must do to separate ourselves from them.

Finding your own voice, your own vision, is the hardest part. Learning technique and principles, rules, etc. anyone can do. It takes more than that to reach into that creative realm. It takes a tunneled vision of what is to be…and making it so.

It is always important that you keep an open mind when out and about shooting. As stated in an earlier chapter, anything has the potential to become a photo, you just have to find the way of doing it that makes you happy. This photo was the models idea and it was my experience that made this happen.

 

Ultimately, in the end, we all create our own reality. What does yours look like? I have shown you mine. Now it is time for you to show the world!!! I hope you have enjoyed reading this small internet series on creative photography and that it helps you, in your goal to improve your photography.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

For those who wish to learn more, please read below.

This small internet series was just a basic introduction to creative photography. I have future plans to turn this into a full-fledged book and to add details that are not gone into; call it a slightly more advanced series. I also have plans of creating a PDF of this series for Patreon members to download. But exactly how might these be different from what is posted in this internet series, you might ask?

The PDF for Patreon members will have direct links to recommended tutorials, both video and written. It will also have links to valuable resources such as ALL the software and cameras mentioned in this series. I will also add in a section of editing techniques I use for models. Considering all of that, I think it will be well worth the price of admission($1/month) of becoming my Patreon.

This photo is from my first photoshoot with a model. Had I not learned the basics of shooting before going out, there is no way I would have ended up with such an amazing photo.

As for the E-book and hard/soft cover versions. Lots of pictures!!! When I say lots, I mean lots! And I will also be expanding each section to go further, discuss more, REVEAL more. I’ll let you have a look beyond the gate keeper and reveal some of my innermost secrets. Now, I won’t reveal everything. No true artist ever does that! However, the things you will learn, will expand your creative vision and help you to find your own, exclusive and sometimes elusive, inner creative photographer. As always, I will try to keep the price as low as possible, however, books with colored photos are not cheap to make or sell.

If you want to know when the Patreon PDF and when the book are released, just hit that subscribe button over there and join the more 15k people who already know…I am worth listening to.

Until next time I type…

JB

11 Things to Ponder

Tags

, , , , ,

Alot of things have been going on behind the scenes and numerous decisions have been made. Decisions are almost always made when new information and insights are gained. Let me share some with you and I will leave you to ponder their meanings.

1. The only mathematics I understand…
0=EVERYTHING

2. The weaker sex is..
The one that believes they are equal.

3. There is only one truth…
Look inside and you will find it.

4. Who created the Big Bang?
We did.

5. Tomorrow will be the same as today…
Unless you change NOW.

6. If you want a lie, speak to a friend.
If you want a half-truth, speak to a relative.
If you want the truth, speak to yourself.

7. If you desire wisdom, you only need do one thing…
Live!

8. A pool gains no momentum.

9. There is no right path,
There is only YOUR path.

10. If you want to understand, read.
If you want to know, live.
If you want to see, think.

11. Many things are worthy of your LOVE!
Nothing is worthy of your HATE.

Copyright 2018 J. Bradley Thomas

 

 

 

 

What’s this?

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

I posted this to Twitter today and some may be wondering is this just a random Tweet or is there something more to this little innocuous post?

So let’s just clear the air on that question…it is the opening to my new book. Yes, I have begun writing again. What does this mean? What is the book about? Well, those are good questions and perfectly valid questions but I am unwilling to state an answer for either of those questions at this point. What I will say is this…

This book is a book that most of you will regret not buying the second it comes out and will be angry that I did not write it sooner. This book can and will change your life, if you let it and lastly, this book will never be cheap.

Do I sound like I am quite confident in this book’s value to people? I sure hope so because that is the truth of the matter. The truth is not evil or good…it is just the truth.

Until next I type…

JB

The Art Of Creative Photography: Chapter 6

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

                   Not all photos need advanced editing. Sometimes nature helps us out! 🙂

 

The Art Of Creative Photography: Chapter 6

I considered not even bothering with this chapter, since many of the people that seemed to be reading stopped, at my last chapter. Why they would stop at basic editing is beyond me. Either they could not see the benefit of basic editing skills or egotistically thought they were above learning the basics. Why even bother reading at all, if you are so smart? You should not even bother picking up a camera, if you think you are above learning. I can think of no other profession on the planet, that is more of a constant learning process, than creative photography. It is a career path that is always evolving and never stale.

So many things can be done with a photo to take it outside of the norms. From small little things like fuzzy, hazy, and soft focus to drastic shifts in color and hue. Removing items, inserting items, background swaps, texture changes, the list just never ends. Once the basic editing is done, the direction a photo can be taken is never ending…indeed.

Obviously, I cannot discuss every single type of creative effect that can be done in one small guide like this. I would have to write a very long book and that was never the goal in this guided series. The goal was to get you started down the path. To get you started in looking at photography in a entirely different way. To accomplish that goal, I will discuss in this chapter some of the more common creative edits. Shall we begin?

This is a great example of fuzzy being used to great effect. The scene lends itself to this effect because it already features old buildings.

Soft focus, fuzzy, dreamy, glowing edits- It should be noted, that these can be done to the entire picture or just part of the photo. Using either the adjustment brush in Lightroom or selecting a portion of the photo in Photoshop using the selection brush. For the purpose of this section, we will just discuss applying the the effect to the entire image, as this is what is most commonly done.

Once the basic editing is done, we can then add some softness to the image. The reason we do the basic editing first, is because even though the image will be out of focus we still want the overall tone of the photo to be correct. In Lightroom, softness is easily done by taking the Clarity slider and going in the negative direction(slide it left). Be careful doing this, we don’t want to lose all details. We want to just add softness. A negative 20-40 will usually accomplish this while still leaving details. In Photoshop, we reduce the sharpness or add a transparent blank white layer, being careful to not make it overly opaque. We can also accomplish this using the soft focus filter found in Color Effects Pro 4.0 by Nik Collection. Further more, there are other filters in Analog Effects By Nik Collection, specifically the choice of lens. Just keep in mind when doing any of these things we want to keep the main subject still prominent in the photo, or the whole photo has no guidance for the viewers.

Split-toning was used on this in a way that is not obvious. I used it to enhanced the colors already present and thus created a storybook view.

Color changes, hue shifts, Split toning- There are so many methods of doing these that it would futile for me to list all of them. Instead I will point you in the general direction and hope you find what you are wanting.

In Lightroom, there are several methods for doing this. There is the tone slider at top, the hue slider, the HSL control panel and lastly there the Split Toning panel. In Photoshop there are some controls such as hue, color change and replacement, inverse, etc. but no Split toning. In Nik Collection there are more filters for doing this. In fact, there are more than I can list here. The point I am trying to make is there are many options and you should take your time to explore them. I, personally, only use Lightroom to do most of these kinds of changes simply because it is easy to isolate the colors I want to change using HSL panel. I also like to use the Split Toning module. It allows me to change the feel of the shadows and highlights. Sometimes I will do that just create a total different look for something in the photo such as water. The tone slider I often use to change how the sky appears, and hue I rarely change, but it can useful in creating a different feel. Most of these adjustments can be used selectively and I suggest you give it a try. These kind of adjustments are endless, thus the only reasonable thing I can suggest is experimentation. The best advice I can give you, is never to settle. Keep trying and you will find the look you are after.

In this photo black and white was used to add dimension by bringing out the details od all the cracks in the old building. The picture was actually boring in color.

Black and White, Sepia, Faded- All of these are easily done with any of the previous programs I have discussed. From just reducing the color saturation to zero in Lightroom or Photoshop to using committed programs in Nik Collection such as Silver Effects Pro, Analog Effects, and Color Effects Pro. The options are nearly endless for this. Thus I am going to give you a few pointers to keep in mind when doing these kind of effects to point you in the right direction.

I like to use Silver Effects Pro for all Black and White, Sepia, Monochrome, etc. effects. I find it just gives more control over your adjustments. It has several adjustments not present in anything else I have found. There are several things to keep in mind when doing these kinds of creative adjustments. The first and foremost is that these kind of photos lack regular color. In the absence of color, we must do something else to create interest. Specifically, we must overdo the contrast. It is the separation of lights and darks, that is going to create interest, in these photo adjustments. A good example of this can be found in the works of the late, great photographer Ansel Adams. Go do your research on him and you will soon discover he used a lot of contrast in his photos and he did it all on film to boot. Quite amazing really! The second thing we need to keep in mind is the subject of the photo. If the photo is of something old, classic, retro, it lends itself to a period piece. This simply means making the photo look like it was shoot in the same time frame, that the object was being used. These photos you will want to run through Analog Effects to add some dust, dirt, grime, and noise, that would have been appropriate to a camera used during the era.
Lastly, the faded photos are a bit different. In these we are going for a classic look with color, thus contrast should actually be lowered in them, instead of increased. It also would not hurt to ease the focus down a little. Faded color pics usually came from the earlier color cameras of the 60s-80s. They were often slightly off focus and flat. Thus lowering the contrast fits the camera profile of the era. However, we are speaking of creative, so you are more than welcome to try anything you desire.

In this photo not only were distracting elements such as electric wires and debris removed from the photo, also split-toning was used to change the sky color and the angle the photo was shot at even played an important part in how this turned out. I just love the multi-colored tracks!

Removing items, Adding items, background changes- I won’t go too far into this one. The description pretty much says what this is about. There is no trusty mechanism for doing this in Lightroom(Lightroom does have a brush for this, but it does not work well) or Nik Collection and there is a reason for it. This is going beyond the realm of photo editing and into the area of photo altering. However, sometimes it must be done. We cannot always control who or what may be in the photo. Although we can do many things to try to avoid this, it is not always possible. Thus we have to take the photo out of our photo editing programs and into photo altering programs such as Affinity Photo or Photoshop.
In either of these programs removing items is done by using the in-painting brush or by cloning a nearby area over the offending object. For in-painting you simply select the in-painting brush and brush over the offending object you want removed. For cloning, you select the cloning brush, select the area you want to clone, then click over the offending object you want hidden. Another method is if an object is near the border of the image you can simply crop it out. Common things I remove from photos are telephone lines, signs, cars, people, fences, and distant birds. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Any element you feel is distracting from the overall beauty of a photo, can and should be removed.
Adding things into a image is also not hard to do. I generally avoid doing this, because I do not want to create distractions. However, in the interest of showing you options I have included it. Simply select the object you want to add to the photo from your source and paste it into your photo. Then using the transform tool make it the appropriate size. Lastly, while it is still selected, you will have to adjust the tonality of it to fit the photo. It needs to look like it belongs inside that photo, obviously.
Changing the background is sometimes desired. We cannot always get perfect days with great clouds so replacing those skies is desired. Nor can we expect to always have our models/people standing in front of the best backgrounds, so again, replacing the background for something better is desirable.
To change the background we can use the quick selection tool in either program to select the background area we want to remove, then use the refine tool to make sure we get everything selected we want removed. Then select from another image the area we want to insert. copy this selection, then in our original image, paste. Again, while the background is still selected, adjust size and tonality. I only do this in photos where the sky is just so boring it completely ruins the photo or when I have a model that wants a different background to make the photo look like it was taken in a studio.

As always these types of adjustments are left up to you and your best judgement. If you feel it will really improve the photo, go for it!

I have tried to keep this section as brief as possible, while still covering the major things that are commonly done to creatively edit your photos. The point was to give you ideas. To point you in the right direction and get those creative juices flowing. The main ingredient needed for creative editing is experimentation. You must be willing to ruin a photo, in order to make it magnificent! Certainly, some experiments will require you to backtrack(Control+Z) but ultimately you will learn from it and find what you really seek in any given photo. There is no replacement for experience, but a willingness to experiment and discover, will take you in the right direction towards that experience.
I hope you found this chapter helpful. Please like, share, or comment! I hope you join me on the final chapter. The next chapter we will discuss my final thoughts on creative photography. Please do join me and take care!

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 7

JB