Featured Farmer: Kay
at 4R Ranch
blogging since Jan. 2008
1. Tell a little about you and your operation.
My husband and I purchased our farm 1996 and then built a house and moved here 3 years later. We have since been able to purchase additional land and we now have about 500 acres. We run 180 head of beef cows and retain ownership of the calves when we send them to a feedlot in Nebraska. We have about 40 nanny goats that are uses for brush and weed control and we sell the kids in the fall. We also have 7 horses that we train and ride in a variety of activities from showing to endurance riding. Our 2 girls have been in 4-H showing horses and cattle. Both were on the State 4-H horse judging team. I also work part time as a small animal vet.
2. What made you want to start your blog?
I had a friend that sent me her blog link in a Christmas card several years ago. I really didn’t know anything about blogs at the time. When I looked at hers it was all about knitting and quilting. I thought our farm activities would be just as interesting if not more so. My husband said, “you can do that.” So my daughter set up the account and we were off. I also thought it would be an excellent way to keep in touch with family and friends and let them know what all we were up to. It has also come in handy as a farm diary of sorts, I can go back and see when we did things in the past.
3. What has been the biggest surprise since you started? or something you didn’t expect:
I don’t think I really expected to be doing it this long. February will start my 7th year. My family is amazed that I can come up with so many different posts.
4. What is your favorite post and why?
With 1200 posts I don’t think I can pick a favorite one. I guess I really like the ones that include my family for obvious reasons but I also like the ones pertaining to training my horses. I enjoy going back and seeing how much progress we have made.
5. What obstacles have you met and how did you overcome them?
A couple of years ago I ran out of space for pictures on my account. I then started an account with photobucket but it was too cumbersome to use easily. After much complaining and a little research I found out how to decrease the size of the photos and continue with my same picasa account.
Warning: If you are not using Blogger, do not read this post. It contains information you really don’t want to know.Trust me on this.
After Val asked me what to do about running out of storage on her blogger blog, I made some discoveries while looking into the issue.
File Size Matters
Blogger gives 1 gigabyte storage on their free blogs. Most people get into trouble using up the allotted space because of the large images they upload. Most bloggers don’t realize that an image size can be rather small and still look good on a computer screen. I show an example of this in an earlier post, Resize Your Photos. As a rule of thumb upload photos that are 150 to 300kb in size or 900×600 pixels. Which one you use depends on which photo editor you have.
Side benefits to resizing is faster uploading of the images for you and quicker site loading for your readers.
Picasa Web Albums offers 1 GB of free storage for photos and videos. However, files under certain size limits don’t count towards this free storage limit. This applies to uploads for other Google product that store photos and videos in Picasa Web Albums, including Blogger, Google+ and Google Maps.
Photos up to 800 x 800 pixels and videos up to 15 minutes won’t count towards your free storage.
What does this mean? That if you upload your images under the above mentioned size, you shouldn’t run out of storage! Isn’t that cool? But is it true? Let’s find out.
Find Your Number
Did you know you can check how much space you have used of the 1gb storage? Go to Picasa Web Albums and log in with your google password. At the bottom of the page you will see something similar to this…
This number is my storage amount for all my google images of which there are 1,397. That’s right. I have 1,397 images and have used 0%. This is impressive but there is something else…
Every time you add a photo to your blog it is assigned to an album with your blog’s name as the album title. Each album’s capacity is 1000 photos.
Once you go over that 1000 limit, Picasa Web should create a new album for your blog to store another 1000 pictures. Here’s a catch: adding that 1001st picture has to be done with your computer NOT your smart phone. (Are you pulling your hair out yet?)
What Have We Learned?
I have spent more time researching this than I care to admit. Once I learned one thing I would click to another page and find out more. Then I would search forums and blogs to know if there were ways around the limits. It is never ending really. So, I’ll break it down into two things to remember:
Reduce the size of your pictures to be uploaded to 800×800 pixels. This will not be counted in your storage limit.
When you come to the album’s 1000 photo limit, upload the next photo with your computer (not your smartphone or tablet just to be safe)
There is this from google support:
When you reach your storage limit, any new photos you upload to Picasa Web larger than the free size limit will be automatically resized to 800 pixels (on their longest edge).
So if you are over the 1gb limit and can’t upload any more photos to blogger, try reducing the size to less than 800 pixels before uploading. From what the support states, you should be able to.
If you’ve done all that I have prescribed above and continue to get the “Photo Limit Reached” box, you will have to use a photo link from a new Picasa Web album or Photobucket. I described this in my previous post.
For those who didn’t heed my warning: In the next post, I’ll cover wordpress.com’s storage limit.
Tell me: Has this helped or confused you Blogger bloggers?
In the last post, I had a tutorial on home page blog design, specifically the first page of your home page. I went over how important this page is since it is an introduction to your whole blog. With this video I want to give examples of what I think is a good blog design, what you should avoid, and what one of the most popular (23.3 mil page views/month) blog’s home page includes.
5 Steps to Taking Better Video: For your viewing pleasure
Video is my favorite media to put on my websites. I would rather create a video than write a post any day. After taking videos for years, I thought I would share some tips that can help you take better shots with any camera. Even if you don’t have a dedicated video camera, your point-n-shoot likely has a video setting available. Go ahead and try it out. It will add a whole new dimension to your blog or website. It is easier than you think.
Shaky video is annoying to watch. The camera needs to be steady to take good shots. Using a tripod is the best way to go. If you are planning your video ahead, take the time to use a tripod. But If you are like me and on the spur of the moment say “Hey, that would be a good idea for a video”, you won’t have the forethought of lugging a tripod around with you. As most of your videos will be outside you can still create a steady picture with a little effort. Use two hands on the camera at all times. I have made the mistake before of using one hand like a gun slinger on the draw then trying to zoom. It looked like we had an earthquake during the take. You can really tell which videos are taken while using two hands to stabilize the camera. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. This gives you a wider base and prevents swaying. If you walk while recording, take fluid steps. Intentionally put your foot down softly. This is when you notice the jarring in the take.
2. Mic placement:
Bad audio is worse than a shaky picture. If you can’t understand the message, the video is useless. Viewers don’t want to strain to hear what is being said. Since most of your videos will be on your farm, thus outside, wind will be your strongest nemesis for good audio. Wind whipping across your mic, no matter if it is on the camera or lapel, will steal your sound. The best remedy I have found is to keep the wind to the back of the mic blocking it. Just keep in mind where the mic is. Turn the tractor off. (or whatever is running in the background) You don’t want to have to shout over anything that runs on diesel. Take some practice shots on how far away the person speaking can stand from the mic. On my camera I was surprised that the person talking can be up to 20 feet away and still have good sound. This depends on any background noise.
3. Light Placement:
I have seen so many videos where the background is too light and the subject too dark. The easiest way to solve this problem is to put the sun to the cameras back or side. What’s going on is the camera is trying to adjust the exposure to compensate for the bright background. Therefore making the subject dark. Three more ways to solve this is 1. fill the screen with the subject, minimizing the amount of bright background. The camera will then expose for the light on the subject. 2. Add a fill light on the subject, such as a work light, trouble light, or even a lantern type flash light. This might not be practical in every situation but something to keep in mind. 3. Put less of the sky in the frame by bringing the horizon to the top third of the screen. Remember, just because you are outside doesn’t mean you have enough or the right light.
4. Leave head room:
I am sure there is some technical name for this but I don’t know it. When you record leave some video in the intro and the end to give some lead time. If you don’t the beginning or the end will be snipped/cut off during transitions from clip to clip or with the credits. 5 seconds should give you plenty of time to work with.
Remember you get do-overs. Try to plan out what the person it going to say. Practice. Shoot. Review. Retake. I sometimes do a retake knowing that I’ll just pick the best one. Or you can choose parts to put together in the final video. You can cut any slip-ups in editing. But I wouldn’t worry too much about a little stumbling here or there. The most important thing is getting your video posted. Not how many times you stuttered.
Try these tips and tell me how they work for you and leave a link to your video.
We are taking this site in a different direction. I have other websites that I am working on.
Together we will discover
1. how to reach an audience
2. make strong connections
3. get your message out
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