Charleston Help-Portrait 2011

Helped out with another successful Help-Portrait event this year. And for the third year in a row, it was a chilly and rainy day. It was a great event though despite the chill. Seeing the expressions on the faces of everybody when they see their photo is heartwarming and exceedingly gratifying.
This year the tent was slightly smaller and the lights a lot bigger, but at least the roof of the tent was all white. No need to deal with odd lighting like we did last year with the yellow and white striped tent.
Like last year, we didn’t do any printing on site and considering the smaller space we had this year, probably just as well. I didn’t get an exact count, but from a brief look at the log sheets it looked like we had at least 160 families go through. Most of them were pretty large groups too. Most of the families that came through my station had 4-7 people. I’d say we took photos of at least 500 people today. With that much volume, trying to print photos on-site is pretty challenging. Since we were shooting tethered we were still able to give everybody a look at their photo.
We had three photo stations set up with some pretty big soft boxes at two of the stations. Made things cozy, but the photos were well lit.
Portrait station lights.
Overall, things went pretty smoothly today. One of the photographers was having problems shooting tethered and eventually abandoned it. Not sure what the problem was, although it might have been cable related. Although the tethered shooting with my camera wasn’t working during testing, it worked just fine with Mike’s Nikon D40. I was worried for a little bit that it wasn’t going to work, but it turned out fine. As always, test everything before hand, and then test it again.
Having a bigger space would have been nice, but otherwise everything went pretty well. I was happy to work with a great group of people for yet another Help-Portrait event, and look forward to doing more in the future.
Johns Island group for Charleston Help-Portrait

Help-Portrait 2011

Coming up on December 10 the 2011 Help-Portrait event. This will be my third Help-Portrait I’m helping out with, and like last year the Charleston Help-Portrait event is piggy-backing on the Charleston Convoy of Hope outreach event. This year there are four Convoy of Hope sites, and I’ve heard there will be a Help-Portrait set up at each of them. I’m planning to be at the Johns Island location, at Haute Gap charter school. Hopefully the weather will be better than it was last year.
On December 9, Joe Nienstedt has once again organized a Help-Portrait event at MUSC Children’s Hospital which I’m hoping to be a part of again. That will depend on what time the presentations for BioE 850 are supposed to take place. Hopefully it won’t be the same time as Help-Portrait. Last year it was a lot of fun to do.
What is Help-Portrait? Watch the video. It explains the idea pretty well.

Cupcake Camp Charleston 2011

Yesterday’s Cupcake Camp Charleston was another great success judging by the number of people that came and the number of cupcake bakers. The number and variety of cupcakes seemed almost endless, with some very creative cupcakes.
Some creative cupcakes
Thanksgiving dinner cupcake
This year’s Cupcake Camp was also a fundraiser for Pattison’s Academy, a school for children with multiple disabilities.
I didn’t have too many cupcakes, but the ones I did have were all really good. Would have liked to try them all, but that probably wouldn’t have been too healthy for me.
There were clearly people who had been to last year’s Cupcake Camp. Not content with a mere paper plate, they were the ones that brought their own boxes and large containers to hold their cupcake haul.
You might think being a Cupcake Camp judge would be pretty awesome, but after looking at all the cupcakes they have to sample, I’m thinking maybe not so much (although I still probably wouldn’t say no).
Judges' table
Also present was Coastal Coffee Roasters, roasting up some beans and serving some freshly roasted and ground coffees for people to try out.
Coastal Coffee Roasters
Sampling coffee
Another good time was had at this year’s Cupcake Camp Charleston. Next up in April is Cupcake Camp Summerville, in case you haven’t had enough cupcakes yet. That will probably be enough time for people to recover from this year’s cupcake binge.
Check out the rest of my Cupcake Camp pictures over in the photo gallery.

Post Barcamp Charleston 3

Another successful Barcamp Charleston is over and done with.
Feeling somewhat emboldened after this year’s Dragon*Con I decided to wear my Star Trek robe to BarcampCHS this year. I figured it would be a fun thing to do, and if nothing else would probably make everybody’s Barcamp experience just a little more memorable. I think that mission was accomplished.
My friend and fellow photographer Joe Nienstedt took this photo of me in my robe yesterday. The toque (hat) I’m wearing is an awesome Barcamp hat that Vera knitted for the organizers.
Joe also did a great job of people wrangling and got a cool group photo after lunch yesterday.
BarCampCHS Group Photo
BFS made it out for its third Barcamp and survived another event
There were a pretty good number of sessions pitched, although not as many as last year. Voting was done using stickers although there was plenty of room for sessions.
Session voting
Everywhere I went, there were groups of people chatting, networking, sharing tidbits of information and getting to know other people they might not otherwise have met. It’s what Barcamp is all about.
Hanging out between sessions
I think this year’s Barcamp was a little bit smaller than the last couple, although I haven’t seen any attendance numbers yet. There were definitely fewer sessions this year, and a lot of techie/programming related topics this year. It was still a pretty good time. I offered up a couple of session this year, CT Scanners: How do they work and an Ask a Medical Physicist Q&A type session. They went well, but didn’t get as many people as I expected. The Google Q&A (which has a tendency to suck people away from all the other sessions) was at the same time as my CT talk and my Q&A session was in the last time slot of the day. Still had a few people come by for that and had a nice little discussion about the kinds of things that I do for my real job.
Heading up the stairs to the after party on the outside patio at Mellow Mushroom, I heard a bunch of people yelling and shouting. I was wondering what the heck everybody was yelling about, and as I got closer I realized they were shouting “ROBE GUY!” at me.
Epic. Yep, definitely made Barcamp more memorable for people. Unfortunately I had forgotten to put my robe back on before heading out to the party. Having my robe would have made for more epicness.
Thoughts for next year:
– try to get more of the creative community out. Even though they already have a lot of other outlets (like Pecha Kucha and other similar events) I think there can be a lot of potential for collaboration between the two
– Bacon camp and last year’s Homebrew 101 were pretty popular sessions in previous Barcamps. It might be cool to to have food related sessions.
– Maybe Google Q&A needs to be given its own dedicated time slot. The involvement by the local Google data center staff is great and BarcampCHS is very lucky to have their support. Even though they end up getting a lot of questions that can’t be answered (either because it’s not in their area or they’re just not allowed to say), it always seems to be a popular session and it gives people a chance to find out a little bit about the facility. It does tend to drain people away from other sessions though.
– although I was only watching the planning from the sidelines this time, it seemed a lot of effort was spent trying to get around the requirement of having lunch provided by the company that provides CofC’s food services. Maybe it would be better to do away with providing lunch and direct people over to some of the many nearby restaurants instead. It would also remove a large expense from the budget.
– Registration seemed to flow much better using the classroom rather than having it out in the lobby of Maybank.
– The first session of the day offered up to user groups as a meet-and-greet/meeting type thing was a good idea. I got to find out about Makelab Charleston and find out the kinds of things they have and are planning on.
Overall, BarcampCHS was still a great time and I’m looking forward to doing it again next year. Maybe this year’s robe wearing will start a trend and other people will do something costume-y next year. I certainly had a lot of fun with it.
Check out the rest of my photos in my gallery.