My Holiday Motto

This year my holiday season motto will be Plan Ahead. Well, really, my holiday motto will be Peace, Joy and Goodwill towards Men, but my holiday preparedness motto will be Plan Ahead. We all know how crazy it can get during this time.

There’s so much to do in December—shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating… you know the drill. Last year, I tried a different motto: Simplify. I didn’t bake, culled my Santa collection, putting fewer on display, and cut back on the decorations. Turns out, I don’t like to simplify. I missed my Santas and wished I had put up the time-consuming decoration on the dining room light fixture.

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This year I’m hoping Plan Ahead will let me do all the things I want to do for the holidays without the stress and craziness of cramming it all into a few weeks. I have to admit that it goes against my nature to start Christmas too early. It kind of drives me crazy to see Christmas lights on the day after Halloween. And Thanksgiving always gets short-changed. But I figure that as long as I keep my early work under wraps until December, it’s acceptable. No one has to know that I’m doing my Christmas cards in early November since I won’t mail them out until December.

So this week I’m doing my Christmas cards. I’ve already selected the pictures of the boys I’ll use and have started looking through the card designs available. I’m going to use the My KODAK MOMENTS App on my smartphone to create my cards. The pictures I want to use are already in my photo stream and the convenience of using my smartphone can’t be beat. Standing in line at the grocery store, waiting for the kids to finish sports practice, a few zone out minutes with my smartphone at the end of the day—all perfect times to open up the App and check out the card designs. What will it be—trendy chalkboard, vintage appeal, whimsical polka dots or traditional cheer. There are literally hundreds to choose from!

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We make it quick and easy to make your holiday cards and other photo products. There are a variety of convenient options from which to choose. Walk into a store and use the KODAK Picture Kiosk or try the KODAK MOMENTS Apps on your smartphone or tablet wherever you are, to create photo gifts which you can pick up on your way home from work or have delivered right to your house.

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Another benefit of planning ahead—I can take advantage of the great discount being offered until November 15th: 33% off all premium photo products. While I’m getting the jump on my holiday cards, I should probably also get my act together and do the annual photo books and calendars (also on sale!) for the Grandmas too!

(And for those of you who choose to go with a different motto this holiday season, we also offer New Year’s cards!)

Veterans Day

Tuesday November 11th is Veterans Day, an official United States holiday that honors people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11 each year. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I.

Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.

As we approach Veteran’s Day please remember to thank those you know and meet in your travels who have served our country.

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Staying in the Moment By Michael Turek

The last time I was in a dark room was probably 2002, and the last time I shot film wasn’t too long after that. By the time I graduated from photo school I had switched to digital with a lot of conviction. I remember debating with some of my more reluctant classmates about it, and my argument was that I felt I could ultimately provide a better image with digital. It gave you more options, I said. Then around the middle of 2012 I started shooting film again, mostly out of boredom. After nearly a decade of digital, I found the experience of shooting on film to be a revelation.

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People ask me why I prefer to shoot film, expecting me to say something romantic about the way film looks, the texture of it. Instead, I completely stay out of that subjective and tired debate of whether it looks better than digital (off the record, I do prefer the way film looks). But what I discovered when I returned to film was that it had more to do with the absence of the LCD screen on the back of the camera than anything else.

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Putting any camera up to your face takes you out of the moment, but taking a picture and then looking at the screen on the back of the camera really takes you out of the moment. The disconnect is at its worst when making portraits of people. It’s uncomfortable enough to have your picture taken, but it’s even more uncomfortable to be snapped, and then seemingly judged by the photographer as he’s reviewing the image. The temptation to check the screen is way too strong.

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I’ve tried to turn it off. I’ve put gaffers tape over the screen. But these efforts are no better then a New Year’s resolution that I’ll never keep. Invariably, the subjects want to have a look for themselves and unless you’ve just shot a Pulitzer Prize winner, they’re probably going to feel less spectacular about themselves. Often subjects, assuming I’m shooting digital, will point to my camera and ask “can I see?” and I’ll respond, “No, but neither can I.” They then seem to be reinvigorated by the equality between us.

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I find that if I’m shooting with digital, I’ll be tempted to over-perfect any one shot. The instant feedback from the LCD allows me to make tiny adjustments, which many times are not imperative. Most of my best work is reactive, and when I start spending too much time on one shot I’ve only succeeded in making myself less open, less creative. Whereas with film, I may take two or three pictures of a scene, then say to myself, “OK, this is getting expensive, time to move on,” and then I change positions drastically, or take the subject to an entirely new location. As a result, by the end of the shoot, I’ve come away with true variations rather then just 75 versions of the same image. As it turned out, I was wrong about what I thought ten years ago; it’s actually the process unique to shooting film that seems to help me make a more creative image. Shooting film is a constricting parameter, and it’s well known that sometimes it’s easier to work when confined.

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Of course I still shoot digital for certain jobs, and for some applications, it’s the way to go. I can’t find an underwater housing for my Pentax 67 and I get seriously wet on a lot of my shoots. I can imagine digital is great for shooting tabletop still life with the client in the studio. For me, however, most of my best work comes on location assignments after I’ve had a day or two to get into “the zone.” Without trying to sound all metaphysical about it, shooting film seems to lessen the time it takes to get into the zone. I know I’m there when I’ve stopped thinking about the equipment, even stopped thinking about the composition. I only know I’ve been in the zone after the fact. You can’t be in the zone and recognize it at the same time; if you do, you pull yourself out of it. Digital, which makes so much possible, ironically causes me to be occupied by distracting technical options. Too many options are bad.

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It’s counter-intuitive but film makes me care less about getting the right exposure. (It must be said; the dynamic range of film is an amazing and forgiving thing.) Perhaps it’s because I’m preemptively measuring the light more often. Constantly taking meter readings, I have greater faith that my next shot will be properly exposed. In any case, I feel more present and more in tune with my surroundings, and I don’t have to spend much thought on operating the camera. I make do with what’s loaded in the camera, knowing that I can push process the next roll if I have to, and that’s that. Yes, it’s more challenging to shoot film but it’s less distracting then digital. Ironically I find shooting film to be more peaceful, almost meditative, and all I have to think about is where to put the viewfinder’s rectangle.

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Michael Turek is a New York-and London-based photographer.

He first fell in love with photography on family trips to England and his high-school photo teacher urged him to pursue the medium. Four years later, he graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a photography degree and moved to Manhattan to assist prominent names. He soon began accepting his own commissions from publications on both sides of the Atlantic.

For Turek, photography is a way of experiencing life; it’s suggestive of a memory, but the immediacy forces him to move past the pictures he has taken to the images he hasn’t yet made. He is the recipient of accolades from American Photography, Communications Arts, and PDN; and he maintains The Turek Atlas, an online travel guide featuring his images.

Michael shoots with a variety of cameras but he is particularly fond of his Pentax 6×7 and KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400 and 160 films.

Halloween Photo Fun

Let me just start by saying I have the best kids. I know you all probably have kids and think they’re great too—and they probably are. But my kids are awesome! What’s making me gush so much about the tween and teen males at our house? They have made Halloween soooo easy for me this year! The teen wonder has decided that he’s finally done trick-or-treating and the tweenager picked out a scary mask for $5.99 that he’s wearing with last year’s scary cloak thingy. And why do I find this so exciting? Because now I can spend that costume-searching, -arguing, and -making time doing something I find much more fun—Halloween crafting and decorating!

If you’re like me and find the change to cooler weather just perfect for crafting, here are some ideas from the KODAK MOMENTS Experience Team to get you all ghouled up for Halloween.

We make it quick and easy to get your photos with a variety of convenient options. Walk into a store and use the KODAK Picture Kiosk or try the KODAK MOMENTS Apps on your smartphone or tablet wherever you are, to order prints or make a photo book which you can pick up on your way home from work or have delivered right to your house. Then you’re all ready to begin crafting new creations for a spooky Halloween!

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Having a Halloween party? The KODAK Picture Kiosk and KODAK MOMENTS Apps have a variety of Halloween card templates from which to choose.

How about some spooky home décor to greet your guests?

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Halloween Photo Lanterns

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Skeleton photo display

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Spider garland

Don’t forget the party treats!

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After the party, put together a photo book to remember all the fun. You can make one at a KODAK Picture Kiosk and walk out of the store with a photo book in hand just a short while later. Or use the KODAK MOMENTS Apps to create the book right from your smart phone or tablet. With this option you can pick your book up from the store or have it shipped to your home.

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Halloween Photo Book

This is just a start—check out these and other great Halloween Projects & Ideas on our Tips & Projects Center.

Hands-Only CPR Training at Kodak Alaris

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A couple weeks ago, as part of our Corporate Wellness Initiative, we partnered with the American Heart Association and Monroe Ambulance to provide “Hands Only CPR” training. It’s one of the ways we are looking to build a healthy workplace.

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Most people who experience cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public location die because they don’t receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene. As a bystander, don’t be afraid. Your actions can only help. Hands only CPR is an alternative to providing Compressions and Breaths and can keep someone alive until emergency responders arrive. Experts hope bystanders will now be more willing to jump in and help if they see someone suddenly collapse. Hands-only CPR is simpler and easier to remember and removes a big barrier for people skittish about the mouth-to-mouth breathing.

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So many good questions were brought up and so many employees have shown an interest in AED locations in our building.   It is a real comfort to know that we have 140 more skilled responders to a Cardiac emergency today than we did previous to this session.

We are also beginning to work on our 2015 Heart Walk Campaign, so having discussions about healthy eating, exercise, stress reduction may be future topics.

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Please visit the Hands Only CPR site online to learn more.

Fall Photo Fun

Well, we are knee-deep in the full glory of Fall. I swear it happened overnight—one day it was 75 & sunny and then I woke up the next morning and it was 45 degrees and the leaves were changing colors! Have mixed feelings about Fall—it opens the door for Ol’ Man Winter, of whom I’m not a fan, but it also means pumpkin spice lattes, scarves, cozy fires and chili for dinner. And it gives me an opportunity to work on some indoor projects—Fall means my crafting gene kicks into full gear! So, if you’re like me, ready to engage in some indoor projects that you wouldn’t sacrifice a sunny summer day for..below are some ideas for Fall photo projects.

We make it quick and easy to get your photos with a variety of convenient options. Walk into a store and use the KODAK Picture Kiosk or try the KODAK MOMENTS Apps on your smartphone or tablet wherever you are, to order prints or make a photo book which you can pick up on your way home from work or have delivered right to your house. Then you’re all ready to begin crafting new creations and planning Fall get togethers!

How about an apple or pumpkin picking party to gather old friends or welcome new friends as the school year kicks off? Send out invites and later create collages and photo books to remember the fun.

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Don’t forget the treats for the party! Say a yummy thank you to guests who join you for an autumn party with these personalized candied apples.

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Greet your visitors with a Fall photo wreath for the front door.

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Hit the pumpkin patch and show off your Fall photos with this pumpkin photo display.

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This is just a start—check out these and other great Fall projects and ideas on our Tips & Projects Center.

Save Your Photos Day

September 27 was Save Your Photos Day, an international event created to educate the public about the importance of safeguarding and archiving photos. Every year there are over 550 natural disasters around the world and photos are among the most valuable possessions lost. There were over 60 events planned across the US for attendees to scan photos for safe keeping.

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One of the largest events was held in Joplin, Missouri. Devastated by a tornado in 2011, the Joplin community came together to prevent the kind of loss of photos and documents that people experienced a few years ago from happening again. About 500 attendees scanned more than 35,000 photos at the Joplin event alone. A team of volunteers helped participants use the KODAK Picture Saver Scanning System PS50, which was donated by Kodak Alaris and E-Z Photo Scan, including a computer, flatbed scanner, software and accessories.

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In Rochester, NY at the Public Library, volunteers used the Kodak Picture Saver Scanning System PS50 to input more than 10,000 photos over a five-hour span, said Nancy Sherman, business development manager with Kodak Alaris.

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You don’t have to wait for a special day to save your photos however. You can find Kodak Picture Kiosks equipped with Rapid Print Scanners that you can use to scan you photos in at any time of the year. Find a kiosk near you with a scanner use this locator tool.