About Preferred Aperture

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A blog is a means of putting your work and your thoughts out there for the world to see. It can be viewed as a diary made public. You make decisions about topics to discuss, criticize and analyze, what images convey something worth preserving, and hopefully other people find your point of view interesting. With luck, others will be willing to share their own experiences and views. Since I know a lot of my attitudes, neuroses and prejudices are deeply rooted in my own personal history, it seems reasonable to provide a little background. Just so you know where I’m coming from.

My education was at the Art Center College in Pasadena. It’s a small private school with a focus on developing talent through rigorous training taught by working professionals. That training left me with a collection of core beliefs that have proven their value over time. At the top of that list is the idea that the main difference between the artist and everybody else is discipline. Discipline means learning the tools and processes necessary to master your craft. That proficiency then becomes the instrument that allows the artist to share his vision with the world.

After college I worked as a designer at General Motors in Detroit, after that, there was a brief stint designing 18 wheelers at International Harvester in Ft Wayne Indiana.

From there it was off to Australia. I worked at both Ford and Holden for several years before going out on my own. I freelanced, doing illustrations and design for advertising agencies, then found my way into consulting and marketing.

I’ve also done time as a futures and options trader, and as a stockbroker. I eventually got interested in computer programming and that led to a job at Microsoft. More than a decade later I wound up as a Developer Support Engineer with an application I had written in C++ shipping with the operating system.

That’s a lot of different stuff. Career changes became a way of life. Those changes allowed me to discover things I was reasonably good at. All that was required was the ability to risk failure. There were some other ventures along the way, that didn’t work out. Note to self, when you do something that results in catastrophe, don’t keep on doing it.

My belief is that sharing both the good, the bad and the ugly is a great way to understand the points of view of people from diverse backgrounds. It helps us grow. Always a positive thing.

Preferred Aperture is about seeing the world with a sharply focused eye, and sharing a pragmatic and critical view of the human condition. My intention is to get off the beaten track, to try different topics and to risk failure. Always feel free to email or use comments for intelligent criticism. Critique is how we learn.

 

Note: This page is a work in Progress

The Backend

This blog is powered by WordPress.  What can I add to the million words written in praise of WordPress?  It’s the best, and it’s free.

Theme

I use Divi by Elegant Themes.  Works great out of the box.  Easy to customize and support is rarely needed.  On those rare occasions when you do need it, answers come quickly.

Plugins

The WordPress backend and theme you choose provides the framework for your website or blog.  Quite a lot of the work is done by plugins.  They are the strength of the WordPress architecture.  Plugins allow you to personalize your site with specialized features, without having to write huge amounts of custom code.  Many of PreferredAperture’s plugins are free, but in some cases I’ve bought code for specialized capability.

  • Share Buttons by Add To Any: Those icon buttons at the bottom of a post which allow the user to share a post with their favorite social media come from this plugin. The code has always worked flawlessly. The buttons are all vector graphics so they display correctly on any device, including phones. You can put the buttons almost anywhere, implement counters and use custom graphics if you want. Free. Works like a charm.
  • ShortCodes Ultimate:  This freebie is one of my favorites.  It provides a wealth of easy to insert bonus features.  Included are pullquotes, a couple of different ways to insert videos, audio files, tabs (used on this page), hidden spoilers and accordians, tooltips and customized boxes.  More than 50 very usable short codes that help to make your site look more professional.
  • Are You Human: The user friendly way to block spam in comments, or anyplace where a sign-in is useful.  Instead of the conventional CAPTCH, reading numbers or random letters from images, Are You Human gives the user a simple puzzle.  I rate this one 5 Stars for the user experience.  One of the better ideas out there.
  • JackBox:  The most awesome Lightbox out there.  It works perfectly with all mobile devices, including Retina displays.  Allows the sharing buttons, with deep linking.  It rates 5 Stars with me.  The author is prompt with updates, and support is excellent.  If you have a lot of visual material, music or video content, this is a great Plugin.  It’s a premium product, but the $18 cost is worth it several times over.
  • Category Order and Taxonomy Terms Order The Plugin allows categories and custom taxonomies to be ordered hierarchically. The order can be sorted several different ways using Drag and Drop.  Uses javascript. If child categories (terms) are defined, those can be sorted using the same interface. While it doesn’t seem like a big deal, if you write on more than a few topics, this is a very valuable plugin to have.  It’s all about organization. 
  • Collapsing Categories:   This Plugin / Widget runs the Category section of the sidebar.  It’s a wonderfully customizable widget.  You can configure the icons, sort orders, depth of the tree, chose to show counts or date, auto expand or select categories to exclude.
  • Enhanced Media Library:  A great thing to have when managing a large number of media files.  You can create all manner of taxonomies, manage categories and tags, and search or filter on all kinds of custom criteria.  This plugin makes organizing and managing all your graphics, images, music or whatever so much easier.
  • Smart Photo Gallery:  Displaying images in the best possible light is key if you do much photography, or have media galleries.  It’s simple to use and set up, and it’s very customizable.  One major positive is the way it looks on retina displays.  Believe me, finding a gallery plugin that works great on graphics workstations as well as phones is not that easy.  Smart Photo Gallery does an excellent job.
  • WP Revisions Control:  Allows you to delete unused post revisions.  You can set the number to save.  Revisions to stay dead in the database just slow your site down, and take up space.  This Plugin works flawlessly.  One of the nice site maintenance plugs that helps you to look like a pro.
  • Another Plugin

All photographs, images, graphics and text on this website are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced copied, altered or otherwise used without prior written consent of the author.

If you would like to use something for your private, non-commercial website or blog, just send me an email. Some images on this website are licensed under Creative Commons 3.0. When in doubt, just ask. All that is usually required is a link back to PreferredAperture.com or a similar credit.

When licensing for commercial websites, or for prints, large high resolution images processed and optimized for your intended purpose can be provided. Every case is treated as unique and every effort is made to provide you with the highest quality content at a reasonable cost.

© Robert Baucom and PreferredAperture.com 2012-2014