Fireworks In Douglasville, Georgia – July 4th, 2008

Friday, July 4, 2008 by Richard Nichols

Every year Douglasville has an outstanding fireworks display to celebrate Independence Day. In 2007 the event was delayed until Labor Day due to the devastating drought in this region. This spring and summer we have had much more precipitation. We photgraphed the fireworks from the front west parkinglot at Arbor Place Mall looking towards Hunter Park.

This 16 minute video was created with our Panasonic HDC-SD1 AVCHD high definition video camera with Dolby 5.1 surround sound. The software used in converting the movie for the web is Moyea Flash Video MX Standard. The Moyea software created a Flash video (.FLV) file for the web which was 27 times smaller than the original .AVI file. In turn, the .AVI file was converted from the 1.6 gigabyte AVCHD format file created by the camera using Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate video editing software.

Friday, July 4, 2008

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Welcome to the Capabilities Page

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 by Richard Nichols

Thank you for visiting our website. We have been in the business of creating presentations, electronic publishing and business communications since 1987, first as "Photography for Business Communications," then as "Art on Film Corporation," and since 1992 as "Art on Disk Corporation." We have a photo illustration and graphics slant to what we do, but we are also Microsoft Certified Professionals and have earned the Microsoft Small Business Specialist credential which focuses on systems administration and security for small and medium sized business computer networks and information systems.

Our website is quite non-traditional as websites go. This site is made up of a variety of example articles and technology tests whose purpose is to share our information technology and web knowledge and resources with you. To some extent we also claim to be image-making artists. On this site we offer information, examples, tutorials and demonstrations to our customers, potential customers and visitors. We also include an ever-changning portfolio of our work. Welcome!

At Art On Disk, we spend much of our time troubleshooting computers, networks, websites and imagery.We are Information Technology troubleshooters and software/web developers for a wide variety of computer, network, e-mail, graphics and website issues and needs. We hope you will look through our website and discover for yourself some helpful, interesting and entertaining examples that we provide here. Below you will find a number of samples of our website development work done recently. Please feel free to visit the sites and see for yourself.  

First, here are some questions for you – What kinds of information technology and web problems do you need solutions for? :

1. Web Development and E-Commerce – Do you need a new website that you can update yourself Hire us to create a new WebSite for your business or organizationor that you need consistently updated by us? We will create and develop a brand new custom-made site for you– or help you select and adapt a site from a huge variety of website templates. To view several of our custom-made sites, click here.

2. Website Troubleshooting, Maintenance and Support – Do you have a website already but it isn’t what you need it to be? Did you have it created and then abandoned by your past webmaster? Old websites are called "cobwebs." We can "reverse engineer" your old site and fix it, move it to a better web host, take over maintenance of it or recreate it and hand it back to you.

3. Webhosting – Does your company need the whole works – your own domain address, your own independent e-mail addresses and websites? We will set these up for you and give you all the support you need to run your business. We also set up on-line forums, chat rooms and create Electronic Forms for surveys, event registration and E-commerce. 

4. Computer System Building and Troubleshooting – Do you have computer problems? If your computer crashes, runs slow, won’t print, can’t get on the Internet, won’t work with your iPod, digital camera, or you think you might have spyware and security issues, call us at 770-577-3201. We make business and house calls in the Douglasville and West Atlanta area to fix just these kinds of issues. We set up Microsoft Windows-based computers built from scratch, or help you purchase the right computer for your needs, then set it up at your site with the correct software and hardware for your specific requirements. We are Microsoft Certified Professionals, Microsoft Small Business Specialists, and we participate in the Microsoft Partners program.

5. Phone and Remote Access Support – When you have computer issues but you can get on the Internet, with your help and permission we can access your computer screen on our computer screen and fix your troubles while you watch and interact with us at your work station. There is no need for us to come there or for you to come here.

As you can see from the graphic, we bring your Windows desktop up onto our desktop and can operate your computer remotely to troubleshoot your problems. If necessary we can download and install software and updates to get your computer to behave itself.

6. Networking – Do you have network problems? Some computers can see the network but others can’t, or maybe you just need a whole network installed, wireless or wired? We install and configure internet connections, modems, routers, switches and make sure that operating systems, network cards and cables are working correctly. In addition we make sure your network is firewalled and that data is secured from outsiders.

7. Data Security and Backup Systems – Do you have an adequate backup system in case your Let us set up your Data Backup Systemcomputer crashes or a catastrophe occurs at your location? Backups need to be automatic and secure. We set up data backup systems that guard your information  in several ways– a duplicate of your information can be stored on separate hard drives inside your computer or network,  or encrypted and sent through the Internet to a remote server off-site. Data backups are tested and an e-mail sent daily to confirm successful operations. 

Click Here to view a sample tutuorial8. Training & On-line Tutorials – What’s up with Windows Vista and Windows 7? Confused? And what is the difference between Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Microsoft Office? If you need training in specific areas, we teach you the most efficient procedures for certain tasks without you or your staff taking entire courses. We "cut to the chase" by making concise step-by-step tutorials that show how to achieve various results with your software and equipment. We work as consultants to give you the information you need to get your job done. We often create Flash-based web tutorials complete with audio and video to explain processes and procedures.

9. Photo Illustration and Graphic Imagery – Do you need graphics and photo illustration help? We have been creating photography and graphics since 1975, so this kind of work is often second nature to us. We use Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Freehand, CorelDraw, Microsoft Publisher, Powerpoint and a number of other programs to create content.  

10. Corporate Identity and Branding – do you need logo help? We create logos and company identity products in many formats and install them into computer systems.  

11. Documentation -when you need to know how to accomplish a particular task in Windows or on a Macintosh computer we create well-illustrated on-line documentation for a variety of software issues which fully explain the procedures you need to get your work done. Here you see one of the many graphics we have e-mailed to a client to explain how to make Microsoft Office programs behave in a desired way.

12. Written Articles and Press Releases –  When you need feature articles written about people in your organization, upcoming events or technical processes we conduct interviews both in person and by phone for promotional purposes. We then publish web-based articles and press releases to "get the word out" to your appropriate audience. You may view three examples here: Kathryn Kolb, Fine Arts Nature Photographer . . . Photojournalist Greg Knobloch diligently chronicles the CDC . . . The Good Rap – Meet Joseph Andrews.

Please look through our site and call us at 404-1`0-5985. We will be glad to help you.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

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Photojournalist Greg Knobloch chronicles the CDC

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 by Richard Nichols

Riding on the edge between Photojournalism and Documentary Photography, professional photographer CDC Photographer Greg Knobloch - click to enlargeGreg Knobloch of Hiram Georgia pursues his art and craft every day, often under extreme pressure. After all, his work is seen and used by literally thousands and perhaps millions of people as he documents the daily struggles and successes of research scientists, politicians, doctors, adults and children– people from all walks of life. Greg is the only contract photographer for the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) here in Atlanta. Technically he works for Computer Sciences Corporation but in reality he spends his working hours serving the CDC. While his bio-medical coworker usually concentrates on Microbiology using photomicroscopy, Greg concentrates on recording the people and events surrounding world health-oriented scientific research.

People– it’s people doing  things that I shoot mostly. These research scientists, doctors and support personnel are a very dedicated group of altruistic people whose sense of mission is amazing," says Knobloch. "They could have chosen much more financially rewarding jobs in the private sector but they find their rewards in serving humanity and working with their collegues here at the CDC. It is my job to record and depict– in whatever way I can– the daily goings-on there.

Those "daily goings-on" are often in the forefront of national and international news as scientists work feverishly to prepare for the next big epidemic of diseases such as influenza. A Google search on Greg’s name will quickly bring up a wide variety of his work for important organizations such as the United States Department of Health & Human Services and the CDC NCEH National Center for Environmental Health

Secretary of Health & Human Services, Mike Leavitt - click to enlargeHere we see Greg’s photo of Secretary of Health & Human Services Mike Leavitt looking at the H5N1 virus on an Electron microscope. This is the notorious "bird flu" strain. Greg is called upon daily to photograph dignitaries, visiting scientists and doctors, and people from all over the world who take part in researching, fighting and preventing a variety of diseases. Sometimes he photographs new medical devices developed by CDC doctors and scientists in the course of their studies.

People often wonder if Knobloch is at personal risk since he (like so many dedicated CDC employees) works with scientists in close physical proximity to some very potent diseases. The answer is "no." He stays outside the "high containment" areas and shoots his photographs at a safe distance through glass windows and walls that separate him from the activity inside the labs.

The number of requests for photographs coming from both inside and outside the CDC can be overwhelming with just two photographers available. According to Greg, they could easily use an additional photographer to handle the work load, so assignments are carefully scrutinized and prioritized.

One of the most interesting projects I’ve been involved with was the Pan Flu Epidemic Exercise," says Greg. "This was an exercise that concerned the CDC’s response to a serious Influenza Epidemic. It’s not really a question of ‘if’ an influenza epidemic will occur, but ‘when’ and the CDC works very hard with extensive planning to best be able to deal with such a serious outbreak. Much of what I covered occurred at the Emergency Operations Center which was visually very interesting. There  is a beehinve of activity.

In the course of Greg’s work, his photo duties provide opportunities to create a wide variety of visuals using whatever light is available on location. That is the photographer’s first duty, to observe the light available and make quick decisions as to what equipment is needed to compensate for any short-comings that the environment may pose. 

Sometimes he has the oppportunity to use flash equipment, but for CDC Research Scientist making presentation - click to enlargemany purposes he uses available light and a high ISO setting on either his 12 megapixel Nikon D2x or his Nikon D200 camera. 
Both feature Nikon’s advanced matrix metering (which emulates the Zone System) and an 18-200mm vibration-reduction (VR) lens. He says he can get good usable results up to ISO 1600 on either of these higher-end SLRs, depending upon how the picture will ultimately be used.  Using vibration reduction lenses allows him to take sharp pictures with very slow shutter speeds, as low as a 25th of a second hand-held.

In this presentation bar chart photo he has taken the opportunity to use only the light from the presentation projector to maximize the impact of the presenter’s subject matter. All of us discover sooner or later that flash photography doesn’t work in this situation. This image was used for a CDC print publication.

As we began this story, I mentioned that Greg is both a photojournalist and a documentary photographer. Both of these career definitions fall under the broader field of editorial photography. Editorial photography consists of photographs made to illustrate a story or idea within the context of a newspaper, magazine or other form of publishing. Photojournalism is a more specific subset of editorial photography:

According to the Wikipedia,

Photojournalism is a particular form of journalism (the collecting, editing, and presenting of news material for publication or broadcast) that creates images in order to tell a news story. It is now usually understood to refer only to still images, and in some cases to video used in broadcast journalism. Photojournalism is distinguished from other close branches of photography (such as documentary photograpy, street photography or celibrity photography) by the qualities of:

  • Timeliness – the images have meaning in the context of a published chronological record of events.

  • Objectivity – the situation implied by the images is a fair and accurate representation of the events they depict.

  • Narrative – the images combine with other news elements, to inform and give insight to the viewer or reader

Given this definition, much of what Knobloch does is photojournalistic. However, he states that his job involves "documenting" the daily proceedings of the CDC. The Wikipedia defines documentary photography in this way:

Documentary photography usually refers to a type of professional photojournalism, but it may also be an amateur or student pursuit. The photographer attempts to produce truthful, objective, and usually candid photography of a particular subject, most often pictures of people. The pictures usually depict a certain perspective of the photographer.

Doctor injecting an egg with an Influenza strain - click to enlargeThat last sentence is important because typically a photojournalist records and depicts reality just as a reporter would without manipulating the images other than exposure, contrast and minimal enhancements to make usable declarative images of facts and events. On the other hand, a documentarian takes a point of view, inserts an opinion, depicts a concept or perfects the visual image to make a statement, even if it is nothing more than using Photoshop on an image to brush the hair out of someone’s eyes.

Pure photojournalists are expected to leave things as they are originally recorded in presenting images as close to the unbiased truth as possible (although philosophers would argue that every point of view is biased). Atlanta - The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes - click to enlargeSome photojournalists refuse to crop their images for fear that their objectivity might be compromised. Documentarians are not bound by such rules and can present the subject matter in its best light. You might say that a documentarian depicts events to illustrate a point of view. Given this idea, a documentary photographer is permitted to elicit a visual expression without clear boundaries. This means that photo illustration and photo manipulation are certainly permitted and encouraged. Adobe Photoshop is in!

An organization such as the CDC and its huge matrix of related organizations certainly need newsworthy photojournalism, Doctor lectures about early days of Polio vaccine use - click to enlargebut they also need to illustrate and explain what is happening in the worlds of health and disease and this is what makes Knobloch’s career a photographer’s dream.

So how did Mr. Knobloch find his calling in photography? Born in Bay City, Michigan, he remembers being impressed at an early age by his father’s enthusiasm for taking color family photos. In the late ’70s, Greg graduated with a 4 year degree in business from Northwood University in Midland Michigan. Eventually he served an enlistment in the  armed forces in Korea where he began practicing the hobby of photography with a Nikon F2. 

 Close-up of a Dragonfly - click to enlargeUpon arriving in Atlanta he entered the Art Institute of Atlanta where he studied photography for 2 years. After graduating he became a photo instructor and taught part time in the evening for many years at AIA while assisting professional photographers around Atlanta and freelancing on a variety of projects. This led to a 15 year position doing tourism and travel photography for the state of Georgia.

About 7 years ago Knobloch submitted his resume on-line to and landed a position with a company that had a contract with the CDC, during a time when the federal government began outsourcing certain positions. Today he works for Computer Sciences Corporation who holds the current contract with the CDC.


A typical day for me might start with a photo session of a group of visiting doctors from Thailand, or perhaps a meeting of legislators. Then I might cover a conference or set up in the studio for a photo of a lady at a table eating cereal with folic acid additives. During the day I might be required to take a number of people and face shots for use in CDC publications. I almost always photograph people, lots of them– scientists in labs, high profile doctors studying a variety of topics such as hepatitis. I might take a portrait of a medical officer, be whisked away to make anothrer group photo. The people I work with every day are cooperative, appreciative and are just plain nice folks.

CDC Photographer Greg Knobloch in action - click to enlargeSome of Greg’s CDC photographs are available free of charge to the public as part of the Public Health Image Library (PHIL). This extensive image collection is copyright free for the most part. It is useful to scientific and legal communities, health care providers, teachers, trainers, photo librarians and researchers, biomedical and public relations personnel, students and consumers. Just follow the link to a great image resource.

Photographers are always in need of portable light sources. For flash equipment Knobloch frequently carries 3 Nikon speedlights with him. He finds their built-in wireless controls a necessity. He usually uses one light on camera for fill, trying not to use it as the main light if at all possible.

As I mentioned earlier, Greg is taken with his Nikon DSLRs (Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras). Once he figured out that he can use a high quality SLR with an ISO of 800 to 1600, a VR (vibration reduction) lens and slow shutter speeds in low light, he stopped taking along a tripod. He also uses constant aperture Nikkor F2.8 zoom lenses. He relishes the instant feedback that digital cameras provide to insure that he gets the shot every time. He hasn’t used a film camera in quite some time.

Greg’s personal work shows his passion for macro, pet and abstract photography. For him, its not just a career, its a lifestyle. He enjoys using Photoshop masks, layers and curves to bring out the subtle changes and nuances that make up fine art imagery. Here are a few of his personal favorites:

 Click on the images below to enlarge them

Abstract 1 - click to enlarge 

Sarah - click to enlarge


Damselfly - click to enlarge 

 Abstract 2 - click to enlarge

Paladin - click to enlarge 

Wasp - click to enlarge 

 Macro Insect - click to enlarge

 Black Cat - click to enlarge

Blue-Maroon Dragonfly - click to enlarge 

 White Marked Tussock Moth - click to enlarge

 Red Cat - click to enlarge

 Calico Kitty - click to enlarge

Knobloch takes his self-assignments seriously. One of the CDC influences apparent in Greg’s work is his fascination with macro photography. When time permits he explores the worlds inside worlds, especially insects. His equipment includes a lens-mounted wireless  Nikon R1D1 close-up speedlight system which can comes with 2 Nikon R-200 speedlight units, but can easily hold 3 or more flash heads with colored filters attached to enhance definition and add color to various parts of tiny subjects. As you can see from the center column of photos above, Greg has several cats which provide him an endless treasure trove of interesting imagemaking opportunities. Using his exacting flash system and proper exposure, he can bring out every detail in the cat’s fur without causing an over-powering glow in the animal’s eyes.

I’m sure there will be many changes in photography over the next 50 years at an ever-increasing pace.  Sensors for digital cameras are bound to change quite a bit.  Currently, it appears that if current ISO ranges are to be maintained, pixels on digital sensors can’t be made smaller for increased resolution without generating increased noise. I would expect to see new and improved sensor technologies evolve.  Nikon seems likely to introduce full frame sensors soon. If I were able to do things better in my job, one thing that comes to mind is archiving and organizing the photography.  I’m hard-pressed just to keep up with day-to-day assignments and back-up the images.  Being able to catalog all of the image files so that they could be readily retrieved according to category and subject is a luxury I wish I had.

Greg takes time from his busy schedule to keep up with technology. He recommends the following resource links for those who aspire to better themselves in this fascinating art and craft:

National Association of Photoshop Professionals

The NAPP has terrific resources. Membership includes very informative semi-monthly magazines, a website with great training articles and more; numerous training videos, seminars and other publications are available. This association is affiliated with

an excellent source for information and tips

great for seeing what is new and has excellent reviews

very good for reviews and technical articles

very good reviews, lens & camera evaluations and technical articles

Shutterbug Magazine

has helpful reviews and articles on their website. You can also subscribe to the printed edition.

great images, excellent technical articles and reviews

I would like to thank Mr. Knobloch, the CDC and the Public Health Image Library for their cooperation and resources in making this article possible. All healthcare images shown here are in the public domain.

All images in the personal work section of this article are copyrighted by Greg Knobloch with all rights reserved. If you have questions or comments please leave them below. Thank you!

Richard Nichols,  ? July, 2007 by Art on Disk Corporation

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

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The Good Rap – Meet Joseph Andrews

Tuesday, July 3, 2007 by Richard Nichols

Click on the thumbnail image at right to view and download this article as a graphic. This article by Richard Nichols of is about Master Rapper N-Sight. It appeared in the July 2007 issue of Chapel Hill News&Views, a West Atlanta, Douglas County and West Georgia publication with a circulation of over 40,000 issues per month.

People caught in the act of doing good and interesting things.

There has been much turmoil in the news media these days concerning Rap and Hip Hop music and its influence upon young adults. The gangsta rap music genre has been widely criticized for its unwholesome effects on the psyches of people of all races and beliefs. Whatever you think about these forms of entertainment, it’s good to know that there are constructive options and talented role models at work in Douglas County trying to move the world towards a better place.

During a recent appointment at Douglasville’s Nanston Dental Group, I had the pleasant good fortune of meeting a dental assistant named Joseph Andrews. Part of Joseph’s day job is to put dental patients at ease as they begin their treatments. Once I climbed into the dentist’s chair, he struck up a conversation, asking about my weekend and my family. As our conversation evolved, we found ourselves discussing his current projects and the fact that he was new in town, having moved recently from Houston, Texas to Mableton.

He mentioned that his free time is taken by writing music and lyrics and seeking out venues to publicly perform his songs about healthcare, medical issues and spiritual and religious callings. Joseph is a man with a solid mission and a message whose timing couldn’t be better. He calls himself "N-Sight," an "Awareness Rapper" and also a "Gospel Rapper." He brings a message of healing wherever he goes.

"We need to have positive rappers and hip-hoppers who don’t curse."


He provided me with two CD samples of his work, one entitled "The Awareness CD" and the other "The Krunk CD." Much to my surprise (since I am not a rabid fan of Rap music), Joseph?s songs and messages are quite interesting, finely crafted and unique. Above all they are uplifting and listenable. On "The Awareness CD" his intricate cadenced rhymes and smooth aggressive voice educate the listener about Autism, Lung Cancer, Breast Cancer, HIV, and Multiple Sclerosis. He also covers Downs Syndrome, S. I. D. S., Diabetes, and Leukemia.

"Knowledge is Power, so teach them young as you can"


Apparently one of Joseph’s many gifts is his ability to analyze complex and difficult information, then combine it with memorable rhythms and informative verse. In Leukemia Rap, he expertly pleads with people to become bone marrow donors:

. . . To help the fight You must give up some time, and go find a site Where you can donate to, To see if someone else can benefit from you. For you can be a blessing to a patient in need So they’ll no longer be a victim, but a victim that’s freed.

As a healthcare provider, Joseph has felt the need to tell people of all colors and creeds about caring for their own health and for their loved ones. He teaches in his songs about several common diseases and syndromes emphasizing types, symptoms and remedies. He urges the listener to not procrastinate, but to take action and responsibility for oneself by having a doctor or knowledgeable licensed caregiver check it out. Joseph performs live for many different kinds of events with a variety of positive messages. His Raps which he calls "Teachings" often cover subjects like domestic violence, peer pressure, don’t-do-drugs, and issues that require greater public awareness.

"My audience is made up of those that are in need." — Joseph Andrews


As a religious and spiritual person, Joseph also plays for Christian-based youth and musical events. His "Crunk CD" showcases his commitment to being a messenger for Christ. His 13 year old daughter Monique a.k.a. "Anointed One" performs beautifully on both CDs, on songs like "Breast Cancer," "Shake Them Devils Off," and "All Things Through Christ." Joseph is available to perform at area events, both secular and sacred. Contact him at (832) 253-2627.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

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Summer’s Comin’

Saturday, April 7, 2007 by Richard Nichols

Summer's Comin'

Looking forward to the summer . . . Metro Atlanta has been kinda’ chilly lately. We love the beach and the ocean and wish we could live near there.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

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At the Carwash . . .

Thursday, April 5, 2007 by Richard Nichols

These images were made from a photo of vacuum hoses at the local carwash down the street from our home. The original image was made with my new Canon PowerShot SD1000 camera.

The abstract image above has been run through Alien Skin’s Xenofex’ Classic Mosaic filter.

This second image was enhanced with Flaming Pear’s "boss emboss" filter and then reprocessed with a plugin called Mezzoforce Ice.

This third image is a close up taken from the second image.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

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Digital Note-takers – Tiny cameras make wonderful images!

Monday, April 2, 2007 by Richard Nichols

Norma and I have recently acquired new Canon PowerShot SD1000 7.1 megapixel point-and-shoot cameras which are about the size of a business card. These miniature technological miracles measure 3.375 x 2.125 inches. Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital Camera The tiny cameras hit the market in Atlanta (and perhaps in many other cities) in early March, 2007. They are similar to earlier Canon SD500 and SD 700 models but feature several improvements. A more complete professional review of this camera can be found by clicking here, although I don’t think the author used the camera long enough to become accustomed to the size and camera controls.

Its features include extremely low light sensory capabilities (up to ASA 1600) and its slick shape. It is squared off like a pack of cards with no contours or lumps when the camera is turned off just a small rectangular flat box that fits in a shirt or blouse pocket. I don’t believe that it has image stabilization electronics like the SD 700.  For this reason we have purchased monopods which seem to solve most of the camera shake issues that often plague high-pixel-count digital camera users.

Being able to control image-making in very low light situations is one of the greatest feelings .  .  . fireworks, moon shots, images on the beach at night, night portraits– it’s all good. Insofar as memory goes, one 2 gigabyte flash media card will hold about 800 images at the highest quality setting, or up to 20 minutes of 640×480 video. So far this camera seems to make fairly sharp photos with strong color and good contrast as long as the 3x optical zoom range isn’t exceeded. Digital zoom photos (from 3x up to 12x) degrade in quality (become pixelized and bear artifacts) rapidly, but can make useful photos at magnifications up to 12x. There is no camera raw setting.

After working with photography for many years, I have grown weary of hauling so much equipment around and in my experience, it seems that cops will often stop photographers but not snap shooters. This camera allows me to take it everywhere strapped to my belt next to my cell phone. At any moment I can take visual notes, document computer troubles, create raw material for Photoshop-based photo illustration purposes and make small good quality videos (with sound) of important events.

This camera is a continuing visual education machine– it gives both Norma and me the never-ending opportunity to stay in "photo composition practice." The camera turns on in less than a second, focued and ready to record. Its user-friendly feature set and excellent interface provide us with practice machines that produce amazing output quality.

Anyone interested in digital photography will find this camera an interesting and intriguing bit of image creation technology.

Monday, April 2, 2007

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Pet Food Recall – Raspberry Gets the News . . .

Friday, March 23, 2007 by Richard Nichols


Our Tuxedo Kitty Raspberry is shown looking at a digital photo of our grey cat Picasso who appears superimposed on my laptop screen. This illusion was created using Photoshop’s Transform/Warp and Transform/Distort commands.

In Photoshop, a screengrab of an actual news article is situated on the background layer. A photo of Picasso against some blinds is sitting in front of the article about the recent recall of millions of cans and bags of potentially tainted cat and dog food. Picasso’s eyes lit up that strange green color when I took a flash picture of her. 

We hope none of your pets have been affected by this. Our felines eat a kitty snack of Special Kitty canned catfood every day but none of the recalled food has appeared on our shelves. This recent development is worrisome however. 

Friday, March 23, 2007

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Let’s Pretend . . .

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 by Richard Nichols

image copyright 2007 by Richard Nichols,

Image made at the Atlanta Journal Constitution 2007 Auto Show.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

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Re-Entering the Sky’s Atmosphere

Monday, March 5, 2007 by Richard Nichols

Re-Entering the Sky's Atmosphere

This simple image or one similar may become part of an e-commerce website project we are working on to promote a brand of special lotions used by cancer patients. The image was created in Photoshop with a simple blue rectangular field processed through a cloud filter.

The central circular selection was converted with a free plug-in called Mezzoforce Ice. AlienSkin EyeCandy’s BackLight and Perspective Shadow filters were applied to the resulting image. I used Mezzoforce Ice last year on a photo illustration called Chilly Peppers which also appears on this site and in the Art on Disk photo gallery.

It’s always fun to make something out of nothing. This image goes one step further in that it indicates the idea of "layers of protection." Patients who have undergone cancer treatments are very sensitive to the sun, and the products we are hired to promote protect sensitive skin from harmful light rays during the treatment period without interfering with medical procedures. The intent is to show the coating concept in a sensitive, soothingly pleasant manner.

Monday, March 5, 2007

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Our September 11th tribute – Proud to be an American

Sunday, September 10, 2006 by Richard Nichols

Proud to be an American movie plays here

Clicking on the image above will open a new page to show the embedded 1 minute video. Because this is a large Flash file that progressively downloads, it often takes a minute to complete its download before a computer browser will deliver a steady picture and song. We call this a “web development experiment.” Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday, September 10, 2006

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Shiny New Logos for AFREMSO —

Thursday, August 31, 2006 by Richard Nichols

AFREMSO logo rough draft

Recently we began work on a major fund-raising web project involving e-Commerce and CMS (content management systems) for American Fire & Rescue and EMS Organization, Inc, a new nationally-focused non-profit organization. Their mission is to procure funds to bolster the nation’s infrastructure by providing equipment, supplies and training for initial responders to emergency situations throughout the United States.

The logo rough draft on the right was provided to us by Mr. Guy Scull, president and evangelizer for the charitable foundation. It was designed by Lieutenant Matt Holston, the Hazardous Materials Coordinator for the Alpharetta Fire and Emergency Services (AFES) headquartered in Alpharetta, GA. Matt has chosen a traditional fire service symbol, the Maltese Cross which is a "red badge of courage, honor and dedication." He has superiposed it upon the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Star of Life for his composition.

As designers and artwork producers, our job is to interpret and computerize designs like this to create a long lasting identifier that can be re-purposed in many ways. The finished logo works well rendered in black and white as well as color. It can be scaled from small to large while maintaining visual clarity. Though the individual symbols are traditional and well known, we have tried to make this particular arrangement distinctive.


AFREMSO Logo blue&orange

We wanted this logo to emulate a "shiny red fire engine" but also tried to contrast hard edge strength with a softer "cushion" feeling. EMS technicians often stand right beside and reassure the Fire Services personnel in the initial responder support system. They are there just as much to serve and administer aid to the firemen as they are to serve the original victims of a catastrophe.

By adding depth through embossing and lighting we turned this logo into a medallion. The computer graphics software programs used were Macromedia Freehand, Adobe Illustrator CS2, Photoshop CS2 and Irfanview.

Fire, Rescue and EMS iconography is quite interesting. For centuries, the fireman’s hook and axe have helped him enter buildings, rescue occupants and gain control over fire by depriving it of fuel while trying to hold the fire at a distance. The fireman’s horn was used in early days to sound an alarm, but today is used for ceremonial displays. Some horns had wide mouthpieces and may have served as megaphones. 

AFREMSO Fire Logo detail AFREMSO EMS Logo detail

The fire helmet is a complex and expensive piece of equipment, with ridges for strength and a brim that is usually enlongated and tapered at the back.  Perhaps this keeps debris away from the fireman’s head and allows water to flow backwards and away, keeping the fireman’s back dry and better protected from heat.  Many of today’s fire helmets have large heat-resistant visors and a variety of fittings with built-in illumination and communications systems. 

The EMS Star of Life is the symbol of Emergency Medical Technicians and Care Units. It has six prongs that symbolize the six steps of a rescue mission: Detection, Reporting, Response, On Scene Care, Care in Transit, and Transfer to Definitive Care. While the fire service protects property and people, the EMS mission is directed towards first aid, health and life care. Follow the link above to learn the story of the star. 

One last thing before we go . . .

The number 343 on the fireman’s helmet stands for the 343 brave firefighters and EMS personnel who lost their lives at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. 

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The End – Our first e-Commerce Web Project

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 by Richard Nichols

Back during the Easter Season this year we were approached about creating a rental product/service catalog and e-commerce web site for a new unique service company,, guided by Marina Miller here in Atlanta. This project required the creation of a searchable database of products, an electronic forms system, a shopping cart, the usual "about us" and "FAQs" modules and many "behind the scenes" pages, documents and web tricks. A sales-oriented website can involve hundreds and even thousands of considerations. This article is a detailed case study designed to let you peer inside one of our more complex projects.

If you haven’t already tried it or want to see it again, click once or twice on the play button in the drapery video above to see the drapery set itself up from scratch. Those clip-joint drapes are actually 12 feet tall. The Macromedia Flash video you see is made up of four kinds of photographic efforts: The flame retardant drapes were shot on location with an 8 mega-pixel Minolta DimageA2 camera. I used four Dynalite 1000x professional photographic strobe units with white umbrellas to evenly light the large area of at least 144 square feet.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The End

Study in Green

Thursday, August 24, 2006 by Norma Nichols

Study in Green

Richard and I had a disagreement over the posting of this image. Richard insisted that cat images are not in keeping with our company image of serving corporate clients and being business-like. My attitude is that many of our corporate friends have cats and enjoy fresh feline fotos. They probably take care of their pets before and after work and worry about them during the day.

Besides, this kitty is staring at you just like your boss would as he or she gives you your annual review. You can pretend that the arms are the support structure that your organization gives your boss. The “Study in Green” part is symbolic of the salary discussion you are about to engage in. Now, what were you about to say?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The End


Thursday, August 24, 2006 by Richard Nichols

AtmoSpheres Design Panel

This is a daydream mood panel that could be used as a background for a PowerPoint title slide.Microsoft’s trainers and other presenters tend to call stacks of PowerPoint slides "decks" these days,as if the speaker support portion of a presentation were a deck of cards. My guess is that unless an image is projected on the wall, it doesn’t qualify to be a slide any more.

The image above is a cloud photo that I ran through a couple of Photoshop Actions to flatten and re-color various parts and selectively emboss other areas. It is peppered with stars turned slightly counterclockwise (-12.5 degrees) with bubbles that vary in transparency.

Do you ever wonder what’s up with naming things such as software as if it is spelled SoftWare? When did it become correct to name products like PowerPoint, QuickBooks, FrontPage, SharePoint or WillMaker?

That peculiar distortion of the English language is called "camel case." I chose the name "AtmoSpheres" because it illustrates the CamelCaseConcept. According to the Wikipedia,

CamelCase is the practice of writing compound words or phrases where the words are joined without spaces, and each word is capitalized within the compound.

For an interesting history of CamelCase, visit the link. It appears that MisterRogers is one of the EarlyAdopters from ModernTimes, dating back to 1962.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The End