Spring Break Memories

Did you get away this year for Spring Break? If so, let me start by saying, lucky you! We decided to wait until summertime for a big trip (what were we thinking?!). And the calendar may say Spring, but here in Rochester, NY a glance outside confirms we’re still in winter’s icy grips.

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Winter storm “Vulcan” just last week (when did the meteorologists start naming winter storms, anyway?!)

Fortunately, we were able to take a great beach vacation last summer and I’ve surrounded myself, in the office and at home, with pictures and projects from that trip to keep the memories alive.

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Check out the Sand Box, Glass Photo Block and a variation on the Photo Poster on our Tips & Project Center.

If you, too, are looking for ways to make your vacation last, here are some ideas to get you started.

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Vacation Photo Book: Alongside the photos from your trip, include other memorabilia. Simply scan some of the mementos at the KODAK Picture Kiosk and include with photos from your vacation to create a unique vacation Photo Book. Use ticket stubs, restaurant menus, drink coasters and more!

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For the Foodie:  Sampling the local cuisine can be a highlight of a great vacation. Remember your favorite meals when you create a collage to hang in your kitchen at home.

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Seashell Photo Holder: Don’t let all those seashells you collected during your beach vacation sit forgotten in storage—use them to display your favorite trip pictures.

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Map It: A map of your getaway spot makes an excellent background to showcase your vacation photos.

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Photo Jars: Collect seasonal items, along with a favorite vacation photo, and place them in a pretty glass container for a nice memento.

This is just a start.  Check out theseand other great vacation projects on our Tips & Projects Center.

Why I love film

Today’s blog post comes from Bellamy Hunt, AKA Japan Camera Hunter. Be sure to check out the end of the post for a Film Friday giveaway!

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Why do you love film? This is a question I get asked a lot. Maybe it is because of what I do, but people always seem to want to hear a different answer. But in reality, there is no special answer other than the one that I always have felt. Let me try and explain it to you.

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I can vividly remember my first forays into photography, when I was a very small boy and I had a Kodak Instamatic camera which my mother gave me. I didn’t really have the first idea of what I was doing, but I enjoyed doing it, taking pictures.

As I got older my enjoyment of photography grew. I studied the process at college, I worked professionally in a studio using film, I did events and tons of personal projects using film. Which is what we all did, as there was no other way.

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When digital came on to the scene I thought it was a godsend. I could spend more time taking pictures, and I could edit the ones I didn’t like. But all was not good in happy valley. Whilst I enjoyed the convenience and the speed of using a digital camera, I found the images lacking something…they were too clinical. I also found myself becoming lazy, slipping. I would spray and pray, and continuously chimp to check images. This was not what I had trained to do, I should have been trusting my skills.

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So, I made the decision to switch back to film. It wasn’t a hard decision. I was working for a camera supply company so I was no longer in need of pro digital cameras, as I could rent them if needed. I sold my digital cameras for a pittance compared to what I had paid for them less than 2 years previously. And for that pittance I was able to buy myself a film camera that I had dreamed of owning as a teenager.

For me, film gives me the opportunity to present the world as I see it, with all of the flaws and the mistakes. The world is not a perfect place and I don’t take perfect pictures. I don’t want my images to be razor sharp every single time. With digital I strived for consistency, with film I revel in the inconsistency. Film has also pushed me back into being creative again. I am more thoughtful and aware of how and why I shoot. I mentally prepare projects and compositions in my head, as I don’t want to waste film or opportunities.

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Added to that I am a borderline luddite, with a dash of chemistry geek and a full dose of tactile process nerd. So film photography for me is the logical conclusion of my personality. I love the idea of allowing just the right amount of light to react with chemicals on a strip of plastic to create an image that is indelible. A single frame, frozen in time that will probably be around long after I am gone. Tell that to my hard drives (two of which I have lost in the last two years alone), I still have the negatives from that Kodak Instamatic.

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I mentioned in previous articles too that shooting with film gives me time. Everything in the modern world is so frenetic, it seems to come at you from all directions, a bombardment of information. Running JCH takes up a huge amount of my time (not that I am complaining, I love it). But when I go out and shoot I can disconnect myself from everything for the briefest period and take the time to calm down and enjoy the little things. Watching people, human comedy and the barely contained chaos that is a big city. I have no rush to see my images, no sense of urgency for a result. I don’t need to feel validation by running home and uploading 150 images to Flickr or whatever. This gives me a sense of balance. Getting my negatives back and checking them is something I can do on a quiet evening with a nice cup of tea on standby.

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But it is not just that. It is the look. Sure you can get filters and plugins now so that you can make your digital images look like a certain emulsion, but it is just not the same as the real thing. Because the real thing comes out that way, without having to change anything. And this is not about the megapixels or resolution or whatever. This is about the imperfect nature that is film. The slight uncertainty and the unique minute imperfections that make it such a pleasure to use.

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So why do I love film? Because film is like love itself. It is imperfect, irrational, sometimes frustrating and almost impossible to rationalize, but when it works it feels fantastic and keeps me coming back for more.

My favourite Kodak film? There is a constant, which has been a film I have come back to over and over again, that one is Tri-X. It is so perfectly balanced and easy to use, you just cannot fail with a roll of tri-x. I hope it lives forever.

JCH

http://www.japancamerahunter.com

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Film Friday Giveaway!

To make Film Friday even more fun, JCH has generously offered a selection of his film cases for a giveaway. These cases were designed by JCH after months of development and testing. They are made from a durable and tough plastic that will keep your film safe from the elements including light.

There will be two prize packages… each with

- One black and one white 135 film case

- One black and one white 120 film case

- A selection of Kodak film

To enter just leave a comment on this blog post explaining why you shoot film. We will randomly choose two winners by 2pm EST on Monday, March 17. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments form so we can contact you if you win. It won’t be seen by others. Good luck!

2014 Gallery Elite Awards

This weekend, the annual Academy Awards will be announced at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and the iconic Oscar statuettes will be handed out amidst much applause and tears.

For every Hollywood artist, an Oscar represents the pinnacle of achievement. For scientists, it’s the Nobel Prize and in literature, the Man Booker Prize. They appeal to a fundamental human insight: to be the very best in some aspect of our lives.  These awards inspire and encourage us to reflect on the things that have entertained us over the past year, to consider the effect these individuals have made on society and what we might aspire to become.

In 1985, Kodak introduced the Gallery Awards as a way to honor, promote and celebrate the importance and value of excellence in professional photography. Kodak, and now Kodak Alaris, has always represented quality imaging through its many products and services and will continue its work to elevate the importance of exceptional professional imaging within the industry.

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Across the United States, more than 300 Gallery Award submissions are entered and judged each year at annual Professional Photographers of America (PPA) district and state affiliate print competition conventions. Awards are judged on a regional and state basis with winners going on to compete at the national level for the Gallery Elite Award, Kodak Alaris’ highest honor which showcases the “Best of the Best“. The Elite Awards feature a Grand Prize winner as well as second, third and fourth place designations. The four winning photographs are displayed in the Kodak Alaris booth at Imaging USA, the National PPA convention.

Since its inception, hundreds of professional photographers have won the Gallery Award Trilon, a crystal trophy commemorating the award. But it’s about more than a trophy for many photographers. It’s the recognition of hard work, creative vision and the knowledge that others are as passionate about their craft as they are.

Professional wedding and portrait photographers are by profession and passion part artist, historian and archivist. They capture and preserve moments of visual history. Moments in people’s lives and in nature’s working that will never occur again in the same way. The professional photographer has the power to create not only a photo, but an everlasting feeling.

It is because of these individuals and the work they do that we once again salute and support outstanding professional photography and photographers. This year we celebrate the talent, creative vision and professionalism of four outstanding photographers

The winners of the 28th Annual KODAK Gallery Elite Award are:

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  • Grand Prize: Ben Shirk, Shirk Photography, Wilton, Iowa for “When the Music Ends”, printed by WHCC

2-KenMartin

  • 2nd Place: Ken Martin, Ken Martin Photography, De Pere, WI for “Nature’s Palette”, printed by Pechman Color

3-RobinSwanson

4-DavidHumphrey

We invite you to visit the KODAK Gallery Elite Award: Winners Showcase to learn more about these photographers and see their inspiring images. Over the next few weeks all of the state and regional Gallery Award winners from 2013 will also be featured on the Winners Showcase so check back again soon.

Chatting with Melissa Love for #KodakMoment

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Mother, graphic designer and photographer, Melissa Love was the very first person we featured in our #KodakMoment series in the UK, where we ask people to tell a story in three photographs. Melissa moved from Brighton to the beautiful fishing village of Fowey in Cornwall two years ago and finds that photography provides her with the perfect opportunity to be creative and relax. We caught up with her to ask her what makes her tick…

You can see Melissa’s three #KodakMoment photos below:

Probably the most photos I take are of my kids when they don’t know I’m there. I tuck myself out of the way. They don’t pose – they’re bored of me!

Q: What drives you to take photographs?
A: Once you start seeing something you get into the habit of good composition, and with my graphic design background you see everything with a good frame. I find it very relaxing.

Q: What cameras do you use? Film vs digital?
A: I use both film and digital. I have a digital SLR Canon 5D MK2, and sometimes my smartphone is easily enough for my needs – I have a lot of camera apps on my phone. I’m a big Instagrammer. I like the discipline of using film too, and I also have an old Polaroid camera.

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Melissa’s daughter Grace having fun with the sprinkles during a baking session

Q: What inspires you to get out there and shoot?
A: What doesn’t! I usually get inspired when I’m out somewhere with my kids, taking them to the beach. I also do a lot of street photography – any situation can inspire me. It can be mundane, or it could be a shot of dream weather. I have to consciously not take the camera with me sometimes.

Q: What are your favourite subjects to photograph?
A: Probably the most photos I take are of my kids when they don’t know I’m there. I tuck myself out of the way. They don’t pose – they’re bored of me! They’re used to it, as I’m not up in their faces. Grace is a complete show-off, and Lily doesn’t want to be left out.

Q: Which photographers do you admire and why?
A: Alain Laboile. He takes pictures of his kids – he lives on a muddy farm and his photos are stunning and very different. He has really inspired my work. My favourite photo of all time would be one of his.

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Grace larking about outdoors during stormy weather

Q: Do you like having your photo taken?
A: I’m trying not to mind it. There’s only one photo of me together with my children, and my new year’s resolution is to ask a photographer to take a photo of all of us together. I love looking back at old photos of my Mum and I want my children to know how I looked at various points in my life, too. You can’t wait forever – you just need to get on with it.

Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
A: I eat lunch at my desk – as I don’t have that much time due to working within school hours, I will be eating a bowl of noodles while working, while being on the phone to a client – sometimes they can hear me slurping.

Q: What would be the first thing you’d rescue in a house fire?
A: After my children, my Mac!

Q: Tell us a secret about yourself.
A: I can make balloon animals, including a sausage dog, a cat and a bird on a swing!

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Grace signalling to a family friend that changing nappies is a smelly business

To see more of Melissa Love’s photos visit: Website www.melissalove.co.uk Twitter @melissarachlove; Instagram @melissalove

Want to get involved with #KodakMoment? If you can tell a great story in three photos, get in touch with us on the UK Facebook page

Film Friday: Talking with Jonathan Canlas

Cruise through Jonathan Canlas’ instagram account, and its clear – his two greatest passions are his adorable family and film photography. Canlas, isn’t just an extremely talented photographer, but he’s also the founder of Film Is Not Dead. He calls Hawaii home but travels the globe conducting his wildly popular FIND Workshops. He’ll head to the UK in February and team with the UK Film Lab to put on one of his two-day workshops. These workshops, in Canlas’ words, are part of a “community, family, a belief, a journey, centered around FIND-ing your unique voice through film photography.” If you’re lucky enough to be in Brighton this February, get your spot http://filmisnotdead.com/#workshopsektar100     We asked Jonathan to share some of the top 5 questions he receives in each workshop. Perhaps some of you have had these questions.

KodakPortra400We’re also lucky enough to have some of Jonathan’s work as well. For more of his work, visit ALOHA.KodakPortra160VC

1. Will shooting film make me a better photographer?

The answer to this is yes and no.

I mean, putting film in your hands is not going to make you see the world differently or make you magically better at your craft.  Meaning if you don’t see light, understand composition, or have a strong voice, film is not going to just give that skill to you.  HOWEVER, when film is put in your hands it forces you to slow down and shoot very differently than if you were shooting digitally.  With a digital camera that has cards that have the capacity to hold thousands upon thousands of images it is easy to just click away, taking multiple captures of one thing.  With no real limitation with digital in how many photos you can take, the discipline to take one and move on is just not needed.  It is really easy to get loose about what you are shooting with that mentality.  However, on film, every time you click it costs money and a certain discipline is usually adapted when shooting film.  With more intention combined with a slower pace, it will literally make you analyze everything that is going in your frame. And this I think can make you a better photographer in the long run.  Where the opposite can make you a sloppy photographer.  It makes you a lot more intentional that is for sure.

Another way it will make you a better photographer is it will force you to learn your exposures.  Obviously, there is no chimping with film.  And to get the perfect negative that requires no time behind a computer requires the perfect exposure.  And if you stick with one ISO for even one full day, you’ll really get to learn really quickly the exposures in different lighting situations.

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2. What limitations does film have?

Some, but not many.  I still think digital is king in low light situations in terms of shooting in color.  Even if I can underexpose KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400 up to 3 stops, it has to be the right light and that light is not always available nor is your subject going to always just be hanging out in that light.  But on the b/w side of things, KODAK PROFESSIONAL TRI-X is incredible.  I’ve seen it pushed to 6400 iso and shot in the darkest of dank receptions and have amazing amazing results.  Other than the low light limitation in terms of color, its abilities outweigh the limitations.  The dynamic range is incredible along with color and most importantly, how images look straight out of camera when scanned by a good lab like the lab I use theFINDlab (http://thefindlab.com).

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3. How can I shoot film and not have it break the bank as digital costs me nothing?

I think the myth needs to be busted that shooting digitally does not “cost” you anything.  First, there is the initial cost of your DSLR, which as time has shown, is usually upgraded every year and some change.  Combine that with the depreciation of your “old” DSLR and you’ve got quite some costs accumulating.  Then there is the “cost” of the time of editing your images.  I don’t know many (any for that matter) that deliver clients images straight out of their camera.  Some time is needed to edit those images and as they say, time is money.  I honestly think that shooting film and shooting digitally the costs are the same.  Either I can shoot film and not have to sit behind a computer or I can “save money” and shoot digitally and then be stuck behind a computer.  Also, touching on the answer of question number 1, when you shoot film, you are not burning through thousands of exposures.  Less editing time and more keepers equals a lot of “money” saved.  Remember, time is money, no matter how you try to rationalize it.

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4. What is the best film stock to use in multiple lighting situations?

I have found KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400 to be the best film for this.  I can effectively have an ISO of 50-3200, without having to change how I develop the roll.  That means I can overexpose up to 3 stops (I’ve even done up to 4 before) and under-expose up to 3 stops all on the same roll without having to pull/push the roll.  The Vision 3 technology in the new PORTRA 400 is absolutely incredible.  Now mind you, you can’t just underexpose PORTRA 400 by 3 stops and think it will look amazing.  You have to find the right light to be able to do this.  Meaning, when you shoot underexposed like this, you need to make sure that whatever you are shooting is lit or has some kind of luminosity to it.  You can’t shoot into a cave with no light and expect it to look ok.  However, if you have some dimly LIT subjects, try underexposing PORTRA 400 and be amazed by the results.

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5. I know you say FILM IS NOT DEAD but is it close?

No, not at all.  A good friend of mine, Mark Sperry, said something in regards to this recently.  Basically it has never been better for film shooters than it is today.  Even with all of our limitations.  We are missing a TON of different film stocks, camera makers, and labs that used to be around say 10-15 years ago are long gone.  But the ones we do have right now are the best of the best.  We have only a handful of film stocks to choose from but the abilities of said film (the new Kodak Portra line) stocks are amazing.  We only have a couple companies still making film cameras, but we have a HUGE surplus of cameras that people are no longer using and can be snatched up for pennies on the dollar.  And the labs that are open and thriving today (theFINDlab) are labs that are mostly run by film shooters and know how to scan color neg film.  It is a great time to be a film shooter that is for sure.  Arguably the best time.

Film Friday Guest Post from Photographer Jan Scholz

I started photography after moving to Maastricht in the Netherlands, as a spare time activity, taking pictures around town with a digital SLR. Soon afterwards I turned towards portraits. From then on photography became almost an obsession, consuming most of my spare time.
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The main reason why photography is so fascinating to me, is that I can create my own world and use it as a stage for emotions, stories and scenes, that matter to me, that I find beautiful. I often do not have a defined concept for a shoot and just let myself be driven by what I find, the location, the light, the model.
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I switched to film after I already had a very good grasp on digital cameras and photoshop. The reasons are multifold, and include: I love the look of film right from the scanner. I always loved black and white photography, but when I was shooting digitally I was never happy with the conversion and the resulting tones, regardless of the tools used. My first scan of a simple black and white negative was already a revelation. Film is like a beautiful canvas the image is painted upon.

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Another reason are the beauty of old film cameras. They are a joy to use, their simplicity, their vintage feel, the big, bright view finders to look through, the sound of the shutters, the feel of the mechanics when forwarding the film. All these factors are not measurable in megapixels, dynamic range or frames per second, but they inspire me and contribute to the joy I have when photographing. Maybe I am stretching it a bit, but I think they also have a positive impact on most people I photograph. Especially using a large format camera tends to fascinate people, they feel like being part of something special.

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The limitations of each camera, each format is forcing me to approach photography in a different way. I take different pictures with a fast and mobile 35mm SLR than with a slow and stationary Large Format Camera. Going out with such a tripod based camera and knowing that I have just 10 or maybe 20 pictures to take, will make me photograph completely differently than with a 8GB card in the DSLR. It turned the way I photograph upside down. I look a lot more carefully, re-consider every composition and pose again and again before clicking (or not clicking) the shutter. This taught me a lot and I believe I learned most I know about photography and composition after switching to film.

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For most formats and applications, it’s probably true that digital has outrun film in terms of resolution, but in terms of “look” and tonality I am yet to be convinced. It’s a very personal opinion and decision. There are good reasons for digital and film, and everybody has the liberty to use whatever one likes and finds convincing. You can throw a lot of reasons pro-digital at me, it will not change how I feel about using film, for a multitude of reasons.

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My choice of film has been a little journey. I started out by buying and trying all sorts of films and after some time settled for a small selection suited for the situations I mainly photograph in. I believe my “signature film” is KODAK PROFESSIONAL Tri-X Film, developed in HC110. It offers smooth tones, with the right amount of “punch” in the contrast.
- Jan Scholz

Guest Post for Film Friday: Photographer Tanja Lippert

My name is Tanja Lippert and I am a 100% film photographer specializing in weddings, fashion, commercial, music & fine art photography. I’m also one of the hosts of a very special show on the Framed Network called FILM!

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I live in sunny California, but travel worldwide for photography assignments. I am very passionate and committed to my craft. I love adventure, creativity, traveling, spontaneity, teaching and inspiring others. I am a dreamer and a hopeless romantic at heart. I thank God that he has blessed me with creative gifts and abundant love. On top of all that, I am pretty much a big dork!! I often get asked, “Why do you still shoot with film?” The answer is pretty simple. I am a huge fan of the quality, richness & “magical” look that film has to offer. My favorite films to shoot include Kodak BWCN 400, PORTRA 160 and PORTRA 800.  I love the creaminess of the BWCN 400 and the fact that it is process C41 makes it easy for labs to scan this film and it is really beautiful!  The PORTRA 160 is my favorite portrait film to shoot, the skin tones are beautiful and it has a creaminess to it that I love.  The PORTRA 800 is wonderful film to shoot in both low light and sunlight, it has a beautiful saturation to it, while still keeping skin tones looking natural and amazing!  Shooting film “connects” me to my subject and surroundings and makes me more acute to what is happening in front of my camera. There is no reason for me to be distracted by viewing the images in the back of my camera all day, so instead, I am focused on looking through the viewfinder; waiting for just the right moments to capture.

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So many of those moments came during the filming of this season’s FILM Show. We spent eight days in the desert of Las Vegas shooting everything from muscle guys and muscle cars to beautiful models and beautiful scenery to a real wedding to getting shoot whatever makes our hearts happy.  I chose to shoot one of the Assistant Producers in a series of “beauty” pictures because one of my favorite things to shoot are women.  I love to make them feel special and beautiful in their own skin.

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When I started shooting fashion work back in 2001, digital was not even an option. I learned photography on film and have NEVER switched. Despite the pressure of the photographic industries and all my fellow photographers, I have held steadfast and true to my love of film and have NO plans on ever switching. By using one of the best film labs in the world to scan my film into high-resolution digital files- I get the best of both worlds, film & digital. I get the look and beauty of FILM CAPTURE along with the convenience of digital (like utilizing Photo Shop when needed and being able to show my work on the internet and share digital files with my clients). Yes, it is true that film is more expensive to shoot and requires me to be an EXPERT at my craft. That is exactly why I will continue to shoot with it. For me, photography is still an art. It’s MY art. It’s my blood, my sweat and my tears. It’s also my joy and my love. I would NEVER dream of sacrificing the quality and look of the images I produce for anything. I know that every photographer has his or her opinion about which is superior, film or digital. For me, film is what makes my heart happy and emotionally ties me to my images.

http://www.tanjalippertphotography.com

http://instagram.com/tanjalippert

https://twitter.com/TanjaLippert