Posts Tagged ‘videos’

Oceanside birds

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

With my pending move back to the West coast, I’m looking forward to being near beaches and awesome seabirds again. 🙂 Last time I was hanging out at the beach was in Ventura, almost exactly a year ago!

pelican trio flying by Oxnard from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

seagull flying over crashing tide slow-mo from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

seagull flying overhead past sun slow-mo from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

trying to scare seagulls from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

pelican and friend landing in ocean from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

pelican soaring off in distance from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

The digital world hates vertical media

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve recently re-learned what a nightmare it is to try to deal with vertical (portrait-oriented) media, whether pictures or videos. Why is it so hard to get them to work?

I mean, I know that all our screens are wide and so is much of how we view the world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t times that a vertical orientation isn’t useful (if not better altogether). It’s so frustrating that when I do have portrait images, they don’t always render properly and for vertical videos, it becomes difficult to edit them.

food from rollplay vietnamese restaurantFor example, the past couple of months I’ve dealt with an annoyance using WordPress. When I upload a picture that is vertical, the image doesn’t show up (this might be happening to you with the one first image). This seemed to have happened with the update that had occurred around that time. Suddenly, every vertical photo uploaded would come out blank in my blog posts. It took a lot of research and testing to figure out that if re-uploaded the image, it would then work.

More recently, I came across the added issue that if I uploaded the original file from my phone, it doesn’t have the correct orientation and instead shows horizontally, as seen below. So now I have to open the image in Paint*, save it, then it will recognize it as a vertical image (shown on the left, if you can see it). What a nightmare! Strangely enough, if you are on an iPhone, you’d see the below image the proper way, but on a laptop browser and on an Android device it’s horizontal. Yet even odder, on an iPad, it tries to show vertically, but the image is stretched out to fit horizontal dimensions.

sample of broken vertical image that does not rotate properly

So to ensure images show proper orientation across devices means I need to edit the photo before re-uploading to WP, using an image editing program like Paint or Photoshop*. It doesn’t seem to help if I rotate the image first, I usually still need to do the replace media option. And literally all I’m doing in Paint is saving it so that whatever EXIF metadata WP needs gets translated through properly and allows images to show up vertically, as they should. I guess however Apple encodes that data is incompatible with the way WordPress reads/handles the info. For now it’s working, but if things act up again I’ll look into plugins like the iOS images fixer or the Image Rotation Fixer, both of which look like promising solutions.

Additionally, I ran into issues when I was trying to edit a vertical video. Any program I opened it up in would put those awful black bars on the sides so that it ultimately took up the space of a horizontal video. I wanted a final output that would keep the vertical orientation, making it a skinny little thing. All the searching in the world only seemed to lead me to tutorials on how to change the black bars to some background, but none actually addressed my issue.

In iMovie on my mobile devices, it would crop my video to a square. I’d shrink it down so the whole thing showed, but those black bars would come to haunt me. I tried rotating it so it fit the horizontal perfectly, make my edits, save it, then try rotating it, but again: ugly black bars inserted. So ultimately I gave up on such an endeavor, but these experiences leave me wanting so much more when it comes to media editing and rendering.

You’d think in this day and age of technology that they would have figured this out by now. Why is it still such a troublesome issue?


*Thanks to a comment on this thread for helping me figure out that solution.

I’ve found the only way to consistently see images with proper orientation on all devices is to edit the photo before uploading to WP in an image editing program like Photoshop. – Cindy Otty

Getting around Hong Kong

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,

As we gear up for our annual trip this year (to Eastern Europe!), I started looking back on vacations we’ve done and I can hardly believe that Hong Kong was already a year and a half ago. We were there during Occupy Hong Kong and some streets were inaccessible to vehicles. Luckily, it’s very easy to get around on foot and by metro, albeit very crowded.

Lots of folks had tents set up on the streets and there were barricades all over the roads.

occupy Hong Kong from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Our car managed to get in to a section that was closed down, but then there was nowhere to go, so we turned around and got waved on by a guy managing traffic clogs due to Occupy HK.

driving out of occupy from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

This is a quick glimpse of some tents and folks walking around. It was strange to be in such a crowded part of the city with absolutely no car traffic.

walking occupy Hong Kong from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

The MTR was quite crowded, particularly during rush hour, but all in all it’s quite orderly.

hong kong mtr commuters from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

There’s even a special machine for anyone with visual impairments. It plays music to help you find it.

mtr direction station for blind people from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Spring sightings

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

I feel like spring wants to be here, but winter keeps shoving itself back in the picture here and there. Today was craaaazy windy out! I look forward to things getting warm for good before I head off to grad school, though I’ll miss things like these…

spring hail outside office window from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

double rainbow from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

loud rain on car from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

ladybug on 8th floor window from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Oh, deer!

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Last year, Panda and I took advantage of National Park Week’s fee free days to get into Shenandoah National Park for free. We spent the whole day driving along Skyline Drive from south to north and enjoyed various views as well as some wildlife. We got a chance to get super close to some deer while up there!

deer running to woods from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

deer eating on hill from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

deer eating by road from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

deer walking up hill from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Striking sisters

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , ,

Missy and Smokey are certainly acting like sisters now, playing and fighting pretty much on a daily basis. At times I can’t tell if it’s fun or too aggressive, but I guess we’ll chalk it up to sibling rivalry. This is an improvement from the times that Smokey would hiss at her new sister!

cats playing through door crack from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

cats playing under door from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

cats fighting under door from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

cat rearing back to pounce from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Escape Monthly January: India Box review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As soon as Blizzard 2016 was finally cleared enough for the mailman to return, I got this package! I wonder if it had been waiting at the post office the whole time.

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city/region. Each box comes with a guide for that area. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral commission program.

escape monthly january india box products showing escape monthly january india box info card escape monthly january india box info card opened with fact sheet showing escape monthly january india box info card opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

How cool! I’m already making good use of the sheesham box and I love the Diwali lamps. It’s great that this box has no overlap with the other one from India.

Here’s what came in the box:

Rudy Maxa’s World: India DVD – What a cool way to learn about India beyond a guide book. I’m glad they chose to go this route since seeing and hearing what India is like will be much more telling than reading about it.

Shelly Mehandi henna kit – How fun is this?! Don’t we all want to try doing our own henna tattoos? I know I certainly have. This cute kit includes the powder, which you mix with water and then squeeze in the provided cone (like those pastry ones people use for frosting). Mine came with a stencil of a gecko/lizard type creature, which will be fun to trace onto myself. I’m totally inviting someone over to have a little henna party.

EBM Brands Click cumin biscuits – Whoa, this is so interesting. These dry, crispy cookies have bits of cumin that give it an earthy flavor. It’s sweet yet not all at once and a totally unique flavor. Quite cool! My brain is still not sure what to make of it.

United King Soan Papdi pastry – This came in a container that made me think of someone’s lunch box in Asia. I thought there’d be squares in the box, but then I opened it and it seemed to be one giant chunk. I wasn’t quite sure how to get a piece out, so I just started scooping! This pastry is sooo delicious and yes, very very flaky. Like falls apart as I try to scoop it up. That kind of melting in your mouth is pretty sweet.

Song of India English Lavender soap – Is there a difference between English lavender and other lavender? This one smells more soapy than the lavender ones I’m used to. It’s clear and reminds me of this glycerin soap I have. Happy to add it to my queue of soaps to use!

Diwali lamps – Ok, these just look like a party. All you’ve got to do is put in tea lights and enjoy! I love the colorfulness and atmosphere they provide. Now I just need to bulk purchase tea lights…

Organic India Tulsi tea – I enjoy a tulsi tea when I want something sweeter and caffeine-free. This came at just the right time, since I’ve been sick and I could use a boost. I’ve probably had three of the tea bags brewed multiple times already.

Acanela Shashi India spice blend – We’ve been working to cook more, so spices will be a great thing to have to add to dishes. Sometimes salt and pepper get boring and just aren’t what you want. I’m going to keep these fresh and sealed until we’re ready to figure out what dishes to use them on.

handmade sheesham box – This is the perfect box to store some of my jewelry bedside. I now keep my rings and small earrings in here for safekeeping next to the bed. It’s so simple and looks great anywhere.

They haven’t announced the next location yet, so we’ll see what it is when it arrives. Which products from this India Escape Monthly box do you like most? If you want to sign up, be sure to sign up for their newsletter to get a code for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription.

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Seasonal shift

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

With the days getting cooler and shorter, we’re on the brink of the holidays. Some things I enjoy most from this change are the festive lights that start popping up everywhere, the rain that will eventually turn to snow, and the potential deals to be had! Here are some videos showing a few of those experiences…

twinkling tree holiday lights from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

snowfall in reston town center from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

There’s something very exciting about the first snowfall of the season. It starts a new era.

target black friday time lapse from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Last year was the first time we did Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving night! And the first time I took advantage of Black Friday deals in years. Or maybe ever.

Wishing for that Hawaiian sun

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , ,

With the weather taking a turn for the cold lately, my energy level is so low and I feel like I can’t get through the day. It makes me miss the gorgeous days in Hawaii…

morning wind and waves time lapse from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

hawaii sunrise time lapse from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Cat vs pizza box

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , ,

We don’t get pizza much, but when we do it’s almost guaranteed that our food will be crushed by the cat. She also happens to enjoy destroying the box… #lifewithcats

cat crushing pizza box from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

cat ripping cardboard with teeth from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

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