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Walks with Ippa, a photo project

So I was walking Ippa this week, listening to a podcast while looking at my email and thought: "this is some quality time. I should make better use of it." (see Wikipedia re: ADD). Jokes aside, the time I get to spend in the mornings or evenings walking Ippa, our two year old, nine-months -new-to-us pooch, has become some of the most valuable time I have. For starters, walking Ippa almost always pulls me away from something. Sleep. Work. School. (goofing off, shhh don't tell). And while I'm often not in the mood when we head out the door, by the time we are home I'm always reluctant to be done with our walk. Susan and I have been working on training Ippa. Walks are not something one can phone in; they require constant communication between Ippa and her walker: sit, wait, slow down, a body check, a pat on the head, good girl, lets go. Still, they take my mind off whatever it was I was fixated on before we left. I get to mentally roam a bit while she sniffs and heels.

Walks happen in the morning or evening. The photo books will tell you about the golden hour at dusk and being present for sunrise in the morning; they talk about solitary time, waiting for the perfect shot. The truth is not far off. Photography is a solo art. The light in the early morning and late evening really does amazing things.

For the past few days I've been carrying my camera while Ippa and I walk together. We explore alleys behind houses. The places where trash goes and weeds grow. Fences go un-mended and sheds unpainted. Alleys are like the exposed backend of a patient in an exam gown who is agnostic to the comings and goings behind them. I'm fascinated by both the quality of the light and the things Ippa and I encounter on our walks.

So, I've started a project: Walks with Ippa. Its like Travels with Charlie, only not at all. I'm taking my camera on our local adventures and challenging myself to find at least one interesting image a day. I'm trying to get better at seeing creatively, like neat light, or colors, or some interesting macro shot. The images are on Flickr here.

Finally, a note of thanks to Jessica Lucia who's flickr stream inspired me to start a photo project.

Willets Wedding pics

willets_splashSusan and I spent a beautiful weekend in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains celebrating the wedding of two close friends - Bram and Martha. The pics are on Flickr as always. While the highlight of the weekend was watching two friends say "I do", I also got a kick out of some photography fun. Jack Looney, the professional photographer at the wedding, was kind enough to offer some tips as well as the use of one of his lenses. I took a few shots with his Canon 50mm L f/1.2. Think of it as the jet boat of camera lenses. All of my shots suffer a bit from low light (some suffer a lot) but the ones taken with the f/1.2 are remarkably sharper. What a fun lens.

CNN (and me) on Twitter in healthcare

UPDATED to add some context

One of life's more altruistic points is that actions really do speak louder than words. Talk is cheap. And, as I wrote  recently, traditional marketing talk is especially cheap.

Savvy hospitals are already coming around to the idea that its about forming a relationship with their constituents. At the core of that relationship is a real give and take, earnest interaction. Last week the Henry Ford Health System made a splash by "live tweeting" a real surgery. A physician sat in front of a computer giving the play by play while a skilled team (led by a different physician) manipulated a Di Vinci robot inside of a patient's abdomen.

Being witness to a surgical event is nothing new. Cable TV stations picked up on what teaching hospitals have done since the inception of medicine. What is ground breaking about the live tweeting model is how it spread, maintaining its interactivity the whole time. Followers of the HFHS account saw the initial tweets. Many re-tweeted news of the event to their own followers. Soon there was an entire flash mob community following the removal of a tumor on the kidney of a patient in Michigan. Throughout the procedure that physician at the twitter console was fielding questions as they came pouring in (how did I know it was a Di Vinci robot? I asked).

CNN also took notice of the event. The real credit goes to the web team at HFHS. They engaged their leadership, sold them on the idea and pioneered what will undoubtedly become a trend.

That said, I'm proud to make my own contribution to the CNN report...Look for yours truly around 0:45 seconds - hey, its a cameo role...

I am really impressed with the web team and leadership at Henry Ford Health System for putting this together.

Link to the story here and the video here