Custard Tries Meditation – Isabella Shores – Writer and Artist

Custard Tries Meditation

Custard opened one eye and stared very hard at the fisherman who was hauling the baskets full of fish off the trawler. The man was making FAR too much noise!

Custard was on a diet and was learning meditation a way to hold off the hunger.  That man was not helping… AT ALL!

“Ommmmmm” he repeated in his head.



Dagnabit!  He was Custard. He was above all of this. He was a meditating, slim bird….

Custard opened the other eye and stared very hard at the fisherman.

Giving up he flew over to the fisherman and joined the others begging for scraps.

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Mantis Mania

There I was. Sitting on the floor of the front porch taking pictures of a praying mantis perched on the railing. I set my camera down momentarily to answer a phone call.

After a short telephone conversation I turned my attention back to my camera and there was the praying mantis standing on it. I’m not sure if he had climbed up on my camera to check out the big, black box that had been pointed at him making clicking sounds or if he was actually checking out the human behind the big, black box!

It struck me as pretty funny that he was standing on the very piece of equipment that I had been using to take his picture. Giggling, I turned on the camera setting on my phone and snapped a photo or two before he climbed down off my camera and flew away.

I love when God “winks” and surprises me as I am out taking photographs. This episode was not the first time that something ironic or just plain funny happened when I was engrossed in being “the serious nature photographer”. There’s no doubt in my mind that it will be the last time, either.

I hope that each of you reading this finds a “God Wink” in your day to make you smile.

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UK Rapper D-BO UK AKA Mark Andrew Dowling Launches New Book

A talented song writer, rapper and author Mark Andrew Dowling never forgot about his Stockport roots. He has had so many things happen to him over the past few years, but the determination to never give up is what makes Mark a rapper that you must follow and support.

Mark had a child that was taken away into the UKs care system, something that he covers in his rap songs on his You Tube channel. In-fact, Mark aka D-BO UK has been in and out of prison and has not been shy to rap about the experiences that he has been through. Once being arrested for a crime he didn’t commit! and many, unjust things happening to him makes this Stockport born artist someone to be reckoned with. He is all about reforming, coming off the streets and getting out of the life of crime that many ex inmates find themselves forced to be in.

He has mental health issues that many are shy to discuss with others. Mark is not! PTSD as a result of a stabbing, adult autism and many other issues have been thrown at Mark. Many men that find themselves in the UKs prison system have found themselves there as a result of system failures, men with mental health issues simply do not get the help they need.

He hasn’t taken out his violin this time. In-fact, currently based in a hostel, Mark is working from there selling his book! He is determined not to give up on life and to make the best out of a bad situation. He is also looking for charities to give back to the local community and has been doing a lot of outreach work to try to get help for men that he lives with in the hostel. It would be appreciated if anyone reading this would be able to get in touch with Marks Manager Clare, whom can be followed on Instagram @queenfreelance, if they would be willing to donate items of use to the men staying at his hostel, or any other hostel for that matter.

Many inmates that have been released to hostels have not had contact with their families for months, having been banged up in covid19 without prison visits. Many inmates lose their families due to poor life decisions and hope to reform slowly slips away into a vicious circle. D-BO UK wants to stop this from happening. With a bag of items allowed from jail release men released from jail end up in hostels in areas far away from their friends and families with restrictions and curfews. A new life as a reformed member of UK society, is much more difficult to reach in times like this. A small act of kindness can make a huge impact. A simple water bottle, or bag of crisps for these men is a kind gesture that gives hope in bleak times. Curfews in the hostels don’t give access to the kitchen after 9pm. Toilets and showers are shared, and many men don’t feel like shopping for toiletries in areas they barely know.

If you would like to show a sign of support and help Mark and men like D-BO UK gain back faith in society, then please direct message his manager to arrange to purchase a copy of the book which retails for just 12,99 GBP, inclusive of UK post and packaging. Payments are fully secured with PayPal. There is also a giveaway featured on his Instagram feed for the chance to win a copy of the book. He also has given back to the people that support his work and anyone that purchases a book from him, can picture themselves with it as they receive it- and be featured on his Instagram feed- with a tag linking back to their profile!

Source by Clare Louise Al-Aufi

Three Types of Graphic Design

1. Visual identity

The relationship of a business/organization to its audience is known as branding. Brand identity is the way an organization conveys its personality, essence and tone, plus its emotions, experiences and memories. Similarly, visual identity graphic design is the brand identity’s visual elements that function as the face of a brand – so it can convey such intangible qualities by means of images, colors and shapes.

Visual identity graphic designers work together with brand stakeholders to design logos, color palettes, typography and image libraries that represent the personality of the brand. Aside from creating regular business cards and company stationary, designers usually come up with visual brand guidelines (style guides) that provide the best practices and examples of visual branding used across different media. These guidelines help ensure the consistency of the brand all through future applications.

2. Marketing and advertising

Graphic design to majority of people represents the designs made for marketing and advertising. Businesses rely on best marketing efforts to influence the decision-making process of their target audience. Effective marketing allows people to engage based on their needs, wants, awareness and satisfaction of a product, service or brand. Since visual content is more engaging to people, graphic design helps businesses/organizations communicate and promote themselves in a more effective way.

Marketing designers work together with business owners, managers, directors and marketing professionals to come up with assets for marketing strategies. Some work as freelancers while others work as part of an in-house team or creative group. Other designers specialize in a particular type of media like magazine ads and vehicle wraps or create a wide variety of collateral used for print and digital. They used to be focused on print but their role has developed to add more digital assets to be used particularly for content marketing.

3. User interface

User interface or UI is the way users interact with a device or an app. UI design is the process of designing interfaces to make them simple to use and give great user-friendly experience.

A UI comes with everything a user interacts with – like keyboard, mouse and screen. However, in terms of graphic design, UI design’s focus is on a user’s visual experience and the design of graphic elements, such as buttons, menus and micro-interactions, among others. It is the job of a UI designer to create a balance between aesthetics and technical functionality.

UI designers work on mobile apps, desktop apps, web pages and games. They work hand in hand with user experience (UX) designers, designers (who know how the app works), as well as UI developers – who write the code so it could work.

4. Publication

Publications that come in long-form pieces communicate with viewers by means of public distribution. They used to be in print medium like books, magazines, newspapers and catalogs, but there has been a significant increase in digital publishing in the last decades.

Graphic designers who specialize in publications coordinate with publishers and editors to make layouts that have carefully chosen typography and accompanying artwork, such as graphics, illustrations and photography. Publication designers may either work as a freelancer, creative agency member or part of a publishing company.

Source by Karina Popa

Best Video Settings for the Canon EOS 4000D Rebel T100 DSLR Camera to Shoot Movies

In order to make any changes to the Canon 4000D for video you need to be in video mode, which is the last icon on the mode dial. This enables you to see through the LCD viewing screen at the back and it’s the only way that you can shoot video. You can’t shoot video through the viewfinder.

The back screen gives you access to the menu tabs which are dedicated to video, and the first thing that you need to do is choose your video system. There are two video systems one is NTSC and the other is PAL. NTSC tends to be the system which is operated in the United States and PAL tends to be the system which is operated in Europe and in other parts of the world. There is not an enormous amount of difference between the two, however it does change the way that the camera operates very slightly when you start to look at frame rates. Under NTSC you get a frame rate option of 60 frames per second, or 30 frames per second, and when you’re in PAL you get the option of 50 frames a second, or 25 frames per second.

The second thing you need to think about for shooting videos with the Canon 4000D is file size and frame rate. These go together and are quite important because they will decide the quality of videos that you shoot. This camera is pretty good – it will shoot 1080p which is full HD and it will also shoot 720 which is standard HD. Both are perfectly suitable for social media platforms. To make these changes we go again into video menu two and the top option is movie recording size. In that option we get four choices. They depend on whether you’ve chosen NTSC or PAL. In NTSC, you will have the choice of 30 or 60 Frames per second. In PAL your choice will be 25 or 50 frames per second. I would choose 1920 by 1080 at 25 (or 30) or 1280 by 720 at 50 (or 60) frames per second.

The third thing you need to think about is exposure. When you’re shooting stills with a Canon EOS 4000D you’ve got lots of choices. They are all on the Mode Dial. They go from entirely manual, to semi-automatic and then to entirely preset automatic options, and in most cases the camera will be trying to get the best possible exposure for the pictures that you are taking – within the parameters of the preset modes that you have chosen. For movies you have two options. You can either shoot automatic or you can shoot manual. With automatic for video, the camera will try to get the best possible exposure for you. In many cases it works very well. If you go into manual you can change the parameters, just like if you are shooting stills. Go into the video menus. Video exposure is in video menu one the top. This offers two options – auto or manual. Go into manual then you can control the shutter speed, the aperture and ISO. You can see these settings at the bottom of the screen. To change the shutter speed rotate the Main dial on the top of the camera. You can move the aperture up and down by pressing the AV button on the back of the camera and rotating the Main dial. You can actually change both of these settings while you’re shooting the video or of course beforehand. However you can’t change the ISO when you are shooting video live you have to change the ISO by going to the quick control button and changing it in the options here just as if you are shooting stills

The fourth thing to think about is sound now the Canon 4000D doesn’t have an external microphone socket it just has an internal microphone. So recording sound can be a bit limited with this camera but if you go into the menus and into video menu 2, then the second one down is sound recording. You can set that to one of three options – you can either have auto, manual or disable. I would choose between auto or manual.

When you are shooting videos you are recording through the back screen and that means that the autofocus system is going to be a bit slower than when you are shooting stills. You have got a couple of good options for autofocus when you are shooting video. In video menu one and go down to AF method and then you will see that you have flexizone, which is the single focus shot. When you press the shutter button the camera focuses and it doesn’t change focus until you press the shutter button again. The advantage of that is you can actually focus while you record at the same time and that can be very useful. The second option is called live mode and that’s quite useful because it has facial recognition which can make it easier to focus. The third option is quick mode and that tries to be faster by bouncing the mirror inside the camera and using the viewfinder system to focus. But, obviously, you can’t operate quick mode while you are shooting video.

Source by Jeremy Bayston

Don’t Be Afraid to Show Your Personality on Facebook

Social Media has allowed us entrepreneurs to start businesses with little cost and spread our message to thousands more people than we could have otherwise. But, in the process, you have to be careful not to only post about your business. When you do that, you may come off as just a pushy salesman, and your followers can soon get bored and abandon you.

But the beauty of social media, especially Facebook, is that you can also show your followers who you are “off the job”. You can pique their interest with personal “lifestyle” photos and posts.

Sharing parts of your life is a good way to help develop a “know, like, and trust” relationship with your audience. Posts that include things like photos and funny stories will make you appear more approachable, and your followers be more likely to be interested in your products.

So, here are just a few fun ways to lighten up the mood on Facebook and increase engagement with your followers:

1-Share Your Humor

Did your preschooler tell a funny story at breakfast? Feel free to share it. Did you have a funny conversation with your “beastie”, teenager, or grandparent? Share it. Everybody needs a little pick-me-up during the day, and laughing of course, releases stress.


2-What are Your Weekend Plans?

Do you have a favorite hangout on Friday nights? Do your Saturdays find you on the soccer field? Will you be supporting your favorite local charity by attending their running race or annual gala? I guarantee you’ll get some other soccer moms commiserating with you, and in the process you may bring awareness to a local charity.


3-Love to Travel? Share Your Favorite Tips and Locations

Whether you travel for business or strictly for pleasure, sharing notes of your favorite locations can help others who may be planning a business conference or personal trip. These types of posts are also great for starting conversations about vision boards and bucket lists. Even if your customers don’t travel, they can still live vicariously through you!


4-Share Your Lunchtime View

Almost everyone enjoys leaving the office for lunch, so why not settle in at a park, by the water, or on the beach and share your view on Facebook. Even if you’re stuck inside during bad weather, your view can stir up interesting conversations.


5-Show Them Your Favorite Hobbies

How do you relax after a long day’s work? What pulls at your heart strings and motivates you to push through your work load so you can enjoy your free time? Hobbies are a wonderful way to engage people in your posts. Show pictures of your workspace, your finished project, or simply share how you discovered this hobby.

These are just a few ideas of what to share online that shows you’re a real person with a real life outside of work. But, because you are so uniquely different from every other person in the world, the list of what to share is unlimited. So, showcase what makes you YOU; show your talents outside of your work. Sharing these glimpses into your personality and your life will attract your audience that wants to engage with you.

Source by Jeannette Koczela

My Friend Diane

The bike was used and free to all.
Its owner, Diane, was a friend of mine.
We were strangers before the storm,
But after we shared a glass of cheap wine.

What we had in common was huge.
Loss of items from many years gone by.
Our homes, our clothes but most of all,
The loss of old photos would make us cry.

I often wonder about that old bike.
Its owner, Diane, was a friend of mine.
We were strangers before the storm.
But after we shared a glass of cheap wine.

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