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7 Beginner Photography Tips

February 12, 2018 - By 
beginner photography

Many of us dream of picking up a camera and taking glorious snapshots of the world around us. Some of us may even have entire Pinterest boards of photos that inspire us.

There’s something so wonderful about the creativity and integrity of photography.

Austrian photographer Ernst Hass summed it up best when he said, “There is only you and the camera. The limitations of your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.”

Yet so many amateur photographers have a hard time beginning their journey. Here are a few beginner photography tips to help you become a better photographer and shake your nerves.

1. Perfect Doesn’t Exist With Beginner Photography

Right off the bat, here’s a beginner photography tip that even seasoned veterans could learn from. There’s no such thing as ‘perfect’.

No matter how much we plan, tinker, or try, there will always be something about the photos that you won’t like. You may even feel like you’re not a ‘real’ photographer, something many creative types experience.

If you have perfectionist tendencies, it’s time to shed them. Photography is about art and creativity, after all, there’s something manufactured in overly altered images.

Stay humble, but also be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you take a bad photo. Even the best photographers had to start somewhere.

2. Experiment Often

One of the most common complaints that beginner photography hobbyists have is that there’s a shortage of things to photograph. Yet it seems like they’re missing the forest for the trees, here.

The world is a wide, vast place. There’s always something brand new to experience. Don’t be afraid to grab your camera and explore.

Grabbing your camera, heading into nature or downtown, and snapping photos is invaluable. Even if a subject doesn’t seem interesting to you, there’s always a creative angle one can take.

Experiment with your equipment at every chance you get. Mess around with different types of effects software, camera lenses, and exposures.

The more you experience, the more you learn. And the more you learn, the stronger your skills as a photographer.

3. Capture Your Passions

Speaking of interesting subjects, don’t discount your own interests. The world’s most popular photographers, from Ansel Adams to Annie Leibovitz focus on subjects close to their hearts.

It doesn’t matter if it’s interesting enough for anyone else. What truly matters is that you’re passionate about the subjects you capture.

Think of the things you’re most passionate about in life. It may be sports, nature, pets, family…it can be anything. For example, click here for some creative examples of marketing photography.

People tend to put out a stronger body of work when they’re working on things that interest them.

So what motivates you as a photographer?

What are some things that you’d like to see and capture, and how can you incorporate those into your photography?

4. Equipment Doesn’t Make the Photographer

If you’re just getting into photography, it’s going to be tempting to head to your nearest store and buy the most expensive equipment you can find. And, truthfully, this is what a lot of companies are banking on.

But even if you’re a gearhead, it’s important to realize that a photographer’s skill isn’t equal to that of their equipment.

There are plenty of talented photographers that take photos with nothing more than their camera phone. Apple even created an entire marketing strategy around that very idea!

Don’t get sucked into the hype of buying the biggest and best stuff right out of the gate. Start small and modest, then work your way up to the more expensive gear.

5. Keep Your Camera With You at All Times

How many times have you gone about your day, only to be struck by a sudden notion of inspiration?

You quickly shuffle through your belongings only to realize that you don’t have your camera with you. Suddenly, that perfect moment is gone forever.

Life, like photography, is all about spontaneity.

That’s exactly why, when it comes to beginner photography, newbies should keep their cameras with them at all times. Even if there’s nothing to shoot, just having your camera with you can make you feel like a more ‘official’ photographer.

6. Appreciate Your Mistakes

Here’s the thing about beginner photography: it tends to entail mistakes. A lot of mistakes.

Now, there are plenty of perfectly talented photographers out there that will look at every photo they take and think that it isn’t good enough.

Play devil’s advocate for a moment and assume that’s true. That still doesn’t mean that the photo, botched as it may be, is useless. There are just as many things one can learn from mistakes than successes.

Next time you make a mistake, don’t get upset and hit the delete button immediately. Take the time to really evaluate the photo.

So it went wrong. That’s perfectly fine.

But what about it went wrong and how can you improve on those mistakes in the future?

A surprisingly large part of photography revolves around introspection.

7. Learn as Much as You Can

It doesn’t matter if you’re enrolling in photography school or just want to take up photography as a hobby. There’s so much to learn about the art form, especially in today’s day and age where gear and software are more accessible than ever.

Take it upon yourself to learn anything and everything you can about photography. Become a student of the art form and study up on the past.

Your greater understanding of photography will not only help you improve your skills but give you a deeper appreciation of it to boot.

Beginner Photography is Easier Than Ever

Take these tips to heart and incorporate them into your day-to-day photography practice. You may be a beginner now, but with enough time and practice, you’re sure to become one of the greats.

Don’t forget to check out Pligg’s download section for great photo editing software, as well as books and articles to help you learn.


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5 Must-Have Apps for Mountain Bikers

January 8, 2018 - By 

Hitting the trails on two wheels is a great way to escape from the demands of life. But staying connected can also be a huge boost to your next mountain biking trip.

That’s because there are tons of apps available that you can download right to your smartphone to help enhance your ride. From GPS to trip recording, these apps can do it all.

Keep reading to learn a few of the best apps for mountain bikers that you should download before your next trip.

1. Bike Gear Calculator

If you’re a mountain biking-enthusiast with the gear to show for it, you likely enjoy choosing just the right bike, wheels, and chains for each trip.

But figuring out exactly which gear to choose can sometimes feel like guesswork. That’s what makes the Bike Gear Calculator one of the best apps for mountain bikers.

With this app, you can check your gear ratios and cadence, and even input the distance you plan to travel or how long you want to ride, to help figure out the optimal combination.

Even if you don’t switch which gear you use for different trips, this app can help you better estimate how long a trail will take you at different pedaling speeds, based on the gear you have.

This app can also be great for those considering upgrading their gear. Use it to find the best hybrid bikes and gear combos to maximize your rides.

2. Strava

If you have a fitness tracking device or know someone who does, you probably know how much fun it can be to compete with friends and compare workouts, runs, and eating habits.

Strava is the mountain biking equivalent to these devices.

Strava is one of the best apps for mountain biking because it not only tracks your rides, times, and other stats, it also helps you connect with other bikers. Compare your stats, swap trail ideas, and even compete with one another to make it to the top of the leaderboard.

3. Avana PDF Files

Finding the right trail is the key to a great ride. Avana PDF Files can help with that.

With this app, you can access, download, and then navigate GeoPDFs at home or on the trail. Use it to find your new favorite trail or just to keep track of where you are during your ride.

4. Weather Underground

While this may not seem like an app that’s specific to mountain biking, nothing ruins a ride faster than bad weather.

Use this app to check weather conditions before you ride, or to monitor them while out on the trail.

5. Shred! Downhill Mountain Biking

While this app may not help you while you’re on the trail, it’s great for killing time traveling or for those days when you can’t make it outside to ride.

The Shred! Downhill Mountain Biking app simulates a trail ride, letting you choose your bike and the course you want to ride. Jump over obstacles, shred dirt trails and city roads, and race downhill with this addicting game.

Best Apps for Mountain Bikers

From keeping you connected to helping you navigate the trails, to keeping you entertained between rides, these apps for mountain bikers are great for all experience levels.

If you’re looking for other apps to simplify your life and keep you connected, check out this article to learn a few of the best SMS apps for Android.


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Great Downloadable Instructions for Rolling Cigars

December 14, 2017 - By 

Smoking cigars is a great hobby and it’s easy to gain a passion for cigars. Don’t be surprised if you become interested in rolling cigars. This skill is often taught to cigar enthusiasts who own their own cigar store or make their own cigars.

But if you’re a passionate user and want to roll a cigar for yourself, here’s a step-by-step instruction guide on how to roll cigars like a pro.

Rolling cigars isn’t as easy as it looks. You have to remember tobacco leaf care and use a very skilled way to pack and roll the cigar papers.

But for now, learn the easy way. Here are downloadable instructions for rolling cigars.

Separate Leaves

Your tobacco leaves will be used for different purposes. Separate them from fillers, binders, and wrappers. Your best tobacco should be used for your wrappers.

Filler tobacco is usually a combination of two different types of tobacco. But if you’re only using one type or you grow your own tobacco, then one type is fine to use as a filler.

If you’re looking for quality leaves, check a great source such as Eurobacco.

Moisten Leaves

You don’t want to smoke dry tobacco leaves and you don’t want your tobacco going stale. Before you start rolling the cigar papers, make sure the leaves are moist. Make the leaves wet by just adding a little bit of water.

A spray bottle works perfectly to moisten the leaves without leaving them too wet.

Leave the spray bottle out in case the leaves start to become dry.

Remove the Stems

Start to remove the stems.

But the whole stem, meaning the stem in the middle.

Start to separate the whole leaf from the end stem, and work your way up the middle vein. That’s one half of the leaf, now separate the second half of the leaf from the stem. You should have two leaf halves and the ripped stem.

When removing the stems from your binder and wrapper leaves, make sure the leaves are smooth. Make sure all of your leaves are moist.

Shred or Bundle Your Filler Leaves

Start to shred your filler leaves. You can either use your fingers and find a downloadable tutorial for shredding the leaves. Or, a grinder works great.

You can also use a small cylinder to bundle the leaves. Make sure your leaves remain moist.

Trim the Binder Leaf

Straighten out your binder leaf by trimming it. Lay the leaf out on a smooth workstation and trim off the edges. Use any sharp blade or find a downloadable tutorial on cutting leaves. If you want to be legitimate, use a chaveta.

Gather Your Glue

Use glue to hold the cigar together, but not the glue you use for art projects. Most cigars use either tragacanth or Guam gum.

If you would rather do the homemade approach, use either egg whites or a mixture of 1/4 teaspoon of flour and 2-3 teaspoons of water.

Fill the Binder Leaf

Start by filling the binder leaf with the filler tobacco. Roll the binder leaf into a cylinder shape. As you roll, add the glue to the edge of the binder leaf. When you’re done rolling, add the glue to the end of the wrap.

A great method when rolling is to roll at an angle. Start with a corner of the leaf and roll the paper to the opposite corner of the leaf. Think of candy cane stripes.

Mold the Cigar

Start to mold the cigar. Keep it in the mold and heat it at a low temperature. Press on the cigar to give it a better shape. Keep the cigar in the mold for an hour or two.

If you don’t hold a mold, you can skip this step. It isn’t necessary, will just perfect the shape of your cigar.

Prepare the Shell

Lay out the wrapper leaf. Make sure the vein is up. Smooth out the leaf. Moisten if necessary; if the leaf is too dry, it will crack. But if the leaf is too wet, it will tear.

And be careful. This will serve as the outer shell of your cigar.

Trim the Shell Edges

Like you did for the binder leaf, trim the edges of the wrapper leaf. However, the cut needs to be perfect.

When you trim the edges, make sure the top cut is especially perfect. Make sure there are no bumps or dips on the edges, the cuts need to be perfect. Use the same knife or chaveta you did for the binder leaf.

Roll the Wrapper Into the Body Mold

Place your molded cigar at one end of the wrapper leaf, but make sure there’s some space between the leaf and the mold.

Like the binder leaf, put some glue on the edge of the wrapper leaf. Start to roll the body mold on the wrapper leaf, making sure there the mold is rolled on the surface of the wrapper.

Don’t roll the cigar in the air. Make sure you’re rolling it on a smooth surface. Roll the cigar in the candy cane stripe way, starting at one edge and rolling at an angle to the opposite edge.

Before you finish rolling, put some glue on the final edge of the wrapper leaf.

Finish and Age Your Cigar

If there’s excess leaf sticking out on the ends of your cigar, that’s normal. You can cut the bottom leaf off, and most cigar makers roll up the leaf on the top. You can also add a small piece of leaf at the top if there’s not enough leaf left to roll.

Place your cigar in your humidor. If there’s a room in the house that’s a great temperature with good humidity levels, the room will work just as well. Wait a few months to smoke your cigar.

This will allow the tobacco leaves to blend, giving the cigar a great flavor.

Create the Best Cigars with These Downloadable Instructions

You don’t have to be a genius to roll a perfect cigar, but expertise does grow with practice. Cigar rolling takes a lot of effort and patience; as much as you would love to smoke that perfectly rolled cigar, you have to discipline yourself and wait.

But once you smoke the cigar you rolled (and maybe even grew the leaves yourself) you’ll feel so much pride.

For more downloadable instructions, check our database.


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5 Websites with Downloadable Coupons to Help You Save this Halloween

October 30, 2017 - By 

It’s the spookiest time of year again!

Between getting costumes ready and carving pumpkins, you’ve probably compiled quite the to-do list!

Of course, you can’t forget to buy candy for the trick-or-treaters. But if you wait until the day before Halloween, you can wind up paying up to 40% more!

If you’re looking for deals on candy, then downloadable coupons are your little helpers this Halloween!

We’ve compiled a list of the 5 best websites offering the best coupons on Halloween candy right now. Let’s take a look!

1. Passion for Savings

For years, people have bought their Halloween candy at drugstores. But did you know that you can save even more money on candy at your drugstore with downloadable coupons?

Right now, Passion for Savings has dozens of coupons on bags of Trolli, Hershey’s candies, and tons more!

They’re not only offering candy coupons at Walgreens and CVS. They’re also offering coupons for Walmart and Target, as well.

2. The Krazy Coupon Lady

Looking for candy coupons at grocery store chains, like Kroger, Publix, and Safeway?

The Krazy Coupon Lady has got you covered!

They have deals on Airheads and 11 oz. bags of SweeTARTS available as mobile and print downloadable coupons.

There’s even a 15% off coupon on Hershey’s Pumpkin Bowl available for purchase at Target!

3. Slickdeals

Do you get trick-or-treaters by the hundreds? Need to buy candy in serious bulk?

Right now, Slickdeals has some of the best online deals on bagged candy that you need to check out.

They’ve got a $12 coupon on a 305-piece bag of Brach’s assorted candies for Amazon! They have another Amazon coupon for a 200-piece assortment bag of Nestle candies for only $7!

Want to stop by Walmart with a printable coupon? Slickdeals has a $1 coupon for 2 packs of Milky Way mini bars!

4. A Frugal Chick

If giving out chocolate this year on Halloween is your excuse to eat some, then pay attention.

A Frugal Chick currently has new coupons on Hershey’s and MARS chocolates, exclusively for Halloween!

You can save $1.10-$1.60 on two snack size bags of Hershey’s chocolates. You can even get a free bag of Snickers when you buy two assortment bags of MARS.

Looking for a special treat to keep in your candy bowls this Halloween?

A Frugal Chick is also offering a $5.00 off coupon on two bags of M&M’s!

5. For the Mommas (FTM)

Worried you won’t have enough candy when the late-comers show up at your doorstep?

FTM has sweet deals on Target coupons for all types of Halloween candy. You can buy bags of Snickers, Twix, and more for as little as $.50!

How to Enjoy Trick-Or-Treating This Year

Saving money on Halloween candy will eliminate stress and help you to relax come October 31st.

Here are other ways you can make the most of your Halloween while passing out candy:

  • Play and go along with the kids’ costumes
  • Find a costume at Oya Costumes and dress up
  • Watch scary movies or Halloween specials in between trick-or-treats
  • Do art and crafts, or pumpkin carving
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to buy your Halloween candy!

Save a Spooky Amount with Downloadable Coupons

Trick-or-treating is a beloved activity that people of all ages enjoy. But trick-or-treating can add unwanted financial stress.

With downloadable coupons, you can save money without worrying about turning children away.

Make the most of your Halloween this year – and buy fast! These deals won’t last much longer.

Interested in more ways to celebrate the season? Check out Pligg for more ideas and activities!


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Gorgeous Greenery: 5 Unique Plants for Your Garden

July 11, 2017 - By 
unique plants

If you have a garden blooming in your backyard, why not consider growing a few unusual plants?

Roses and butterfly plants are so common nowadays. With the evolution of plant life, there are a few new ones that you should be aware of. Something else you need to be aware of is the potential for bugs to invade your garden.

However, don’t let them stop you from finding awesome new plants.

Our list of 5 unique plants that you need to plant in your garden will impress all of your neighbors.

1. Succulents

Have you seen these plants on the Internet yet?

It seems like succulents have taken over the country!

What makes succulents so easy to take care of is the fact that they require very little work. You don’t need to constantly water them. This is because they are similar to cacti, and store water in their leaves.

Succulents also don’t like a lot of sun. So, installing a cool retractable awning will help protect them. These plants can also come in a variety of colors and shapes. When placed together in your garden, succulents will transform your space into a beautiful habitat.

2. Paintbrush Lily

Another gorgeous and unique plant is the paintbrush lily.

The leaves on this plant are bursting with vibrant red color. Paintbrush lily leaves will also grow in size to become very noticeable once they fully bloom in the warm summer climate.

The cacti family includes a variety of plant types. Succulents and marijuana plants, for example, that are made from marijuana seeds UK  both contain resins that keep them from drying out.

The waxy coating on their leaves is important in the growing process of both plant types. Choosing this option as one of your unique plants in your garden will entice visitors.

3. Devil’s Tongue

What a name for a plant!

This plant enjoys the subtropical weather. It is great for gardening beginners, because it’s so easy to grow. At the base of this plant is a calla lily flower. Surrounding the center flower are fleshy spadix leaves. One leaf can grow to be up to 4 feet tall!

The tubers on the devil’s tongue plant are also said to be edible since the Japanese use it as a starch. This gives it an added bonus!

4. Hoya

The hoya plant is also called the “wax plant” because it has waxy leaves.

Hoyas like bright lights and a lot of humidity. The hoyas are known for their long vines that stretch out and resemble ropes. Once they bloom, they create beautiful axillary umbellate clusters of star-shaped petals. These petals come in colors that range from white to purple.

5. Sensitive Unique Plants

Watch out for these plants, as they may move right in front of you!

The sensitive plant is known for making seismonastic movements (more commonly referred to as the response of a plant.) They use this sense to trigger a defense mechanism that the leaves perform to shy away herbivores.

Whenever these plants feel threatened, they simply droop their leaves and close up. The name sensitive plant truly describes how this plant has a mind of its own.

In Conclusion

If you want to spice up your garden, consider planting one of these five unique plants. Having a lush green garden will be easy to create once you add some colorful plants, such as the hoya or paintbrush lily.


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5 Pro Tips to Keep Your Bike Working

July 5, 2017 - By 
bike maintenance

Regular bike maintenance is critical to enjoying hassle-free rides and prolonging the life of the bike. Who wants to go out and buy a new bike every few years? Not many!

When a bike’s squeaks, rattles, clicks, and clangs are ignored, performance suffers and it can become a safety hazard.

You don’t always have to take your bike down to the local bike shop, however, when some work needs to be done. Many maintenance techniques can be done right in your garage with an iced tea in hand.

Here are 5 at-home pro tips to help keep your bike in perfect working order for years to come.

1. Keep an Eye on Those Brake Pads

With regular use, brake pads begin to glaze due to the friction and heat between the pads and rims. Failing brake pads can turn an enjoyable ride into a scary one!

Just like in a car, glazed brake pads fail to stop a bike’s momentum at critical times. Simply put, they are not safe.

A cyclist’s first reaction is to buy new brake pads. This isn’t always needed.

Before spending unnecessary money, use some sandpaper and gently scrub the surface of each smoothed-out pad. Most of the time you’ll end up with like-new pads using this inexpensive, easy procedure.

2. Simple Frame Protection

Keeping the bike frame in good shape is key to a bike’s longevity.

Oftentimes the brake and gear cables that run along the frame begin to rub against it, causing damage. When this happens, find the points of contact and put small pieces of electrical tape between the frame and cables.

This helps protect the frame from long-term damage.

To cover existing nicks and dings, use an appropriate shade of nail polish (find that 50-shades-of-everything basket in the house) — but do so sparingly.

3. Keep Lubrication Levels in Check

More isn’t always better, especially when it comes to lubricating a bike chain.

If too much oil is applied to the chain, it can begin to accumulate dirt, dust, and debris. It can also cause excessive chain slipping and shorten the life of the bike’s drive train.

When too much oil has been applied, you’ll see areas of it beading up and gathering on components. Take a clean cloth and run it over the chain to rid it of the excess lubrication.

4. Properly Fit the Front Wheel

Tire punctures are frustrating, but they happen to the best of us.

Many times, after replacing the front tire, a rider will put the wheel back on the wrong way. This is common after experiencing the frustration of lost ride time.

We’re always in such a hurry, aren’t we?

The problem with attaching it backward is that the tire is now essentially rolling the wrong way. This results in less overall grip and performance.

How can you tell if the front wheel is fitted properly?

Simply match the quick release side with the quick release of the rear wheel.

Then be on your way to a high-performance ride.

5. Maintain the Seat Post

A seat post left in the same position for long periods of time can get permanently stuck in position. This turns the bike into a one-user-only proposition.

To avoid this, every month or so take a few minutes to remove and re-insert the seat post into the slot.

If you have a metal post and frame, use a bit of grease to keep it lubricated. If the bike has a carbon post and frame, dab on some friction paste.

Conclusion

These 5 tips will get you well on your way to keeping up with regular bike maintenance.

If your bike needs more work, a bike repair manual can save you loads of money. Plus, websites like the Inflation Zone can give you the lowdown on the best bikes out there, if you’re in the market for a new one.

Happy riding!


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5 Game Day Party Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

June 13, 2017 - By 

It’s game day and you’re hosting. Even though it’s a simple gathering, you’re feeling a bit lost on what to do, what to buy, and how to make your turn to host the best.

We put together a list of five game day party hacks to make your turn to host easier and infinitely more fun. Check these hacks out!

Five Game Day Party Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

You want to spend game day relaxing and enjoying some good Celtic banter and football-appropriate snacks. These hacks will get you from prepping the party to enjoying the party quickly.

5. Get ready the night before.

Prepping makes everything run smoothly in many aspects of life. Spend an hour or two the night before the big game cleaning.

You don’t have to go nuts, but it’s helpful to get the following out of the way ahead of time:

  • Wiping down surfaces.
  • Vacuuming and sweeping.
  • Cleaning your couch and sitting surfaces.

You’ll find that preparing everything the following day before your pals arrive will go much faster without the need to hastily clean.

4. Go with disposable serving items.

If you’re hosting a medium to large party, are you really going to want to do all those dishes at the end?

Opt for disposable versions of the following items:

  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Knives, forks, and spoons
  • Cups
  • Paper towels

If you’re not a fan of wasting things and harming the environment, set up recycling bins that are clearly recognizable around the dining area. There are also eco-friendly disposable items you can purchase as well.

Be sure to stock up on toilet paper as well.

3. Get creative with team colors.

Let’s be honest– popping over to the party store for flimsy team-themed party decor and disposables is very costly.

You can easily work team colors into your party supplies without purchasing team-specific items. This is a great way to save money while still making your game day party more festive.

Everything from your paper products to tablecloths can be found in your team’s colors for cheaper. You can easily make some felt flags with a pair of scissors, glue, felt, yarn, and a bit of creativity.

2. Post your Wi-Fi password.

If you’re hosting a big party and expect some guests who aren’t frequently over, it would be wise to post your wi-fi password inside your home where guests can easily see it. Save yourself the trouble of repeating the same password to fifty different people by getting fun and creative with an eye-catching sign.

1. Keep the kids busy.

If you have children or have invited guests that will probably bring them over, do them (and you) a favor by keeping them occupied.

Pick up some cheap foam balls, set up a game outside, pop on the sprinkler– do everything within your means to keep the kids from being bored out of their minds while your guests enjoy the game.

How was our list of game day party hacks? Tell us which ones you loved in the comments below!


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