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Subject: Geek Of The Week #210 - Mark Hamburg (m_hamburg) rss

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Sean
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I don't want happiness by halves, nor is half of sorrow what I want. Yet there's a pillow I would share, where gently pressed against a cheek like a helpless star, a falling star, a ring glimmers on the finger of a hand.
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Congrats Mark, keep up the good work.
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GMOFreePortland.com
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Nice choice Gamephotos! Now I've got even more really great photos to check out and thumb. Congratulations Mark!

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Hilko Drude
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I like your two truths and a lie, as they bring back fond memories about borders and airports from my own history. All are realistic to me, but I would guess that number 2 is the lie.

Generally, you last few Geeks of the week have given me a lot of motivation to take better game photos in the future. Too bad that daylight is not really available for this hobby when you have a small kid... what do you do when you have to take photos at night?
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Photography keeps being in the limelight on BGG with this fantastic choice!
Congratulations Mark, I hope to see more of your photography in the near future.
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Robert Wesley
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GRATZ! and can we have SOME "counterart" displayed? With those whose hath any? surprise
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Carol Jones
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Congratulations Mark. Hope you enjoy your week, and your gaming night!

I have a couple of questions for you.

What are your favorite games to play with your daughters? Why? What are your daughters' favorite games?


You mention that you like to travel. We like to travel a lot too, and have taken our kids (now 15 and 11) many places in the USA. We are just starting to think about world travel with them. As a matter of fact, my daughter is in China right now, farther away than I have ever been.

What is the best trip you have taken without your kids? With your kids?


Carol J.
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Michael Hines
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Congratulations Mark! Great images.

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Dan
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Congrats Mark! Have always loved your photos!
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Bob
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CONGRATS MARK

Another super GoTW selection. thumbsup


Question:

What is your most and least favorite game mechanic and why?

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Tom Vasel
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The Beijing airport went nuts over SARS, so I'm betting that's a truth.

Great photos, by the way!

Which of your (or other) pictures make the best desktop backgrounds?
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Mark Hamburg
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Hi everyone; I had a great game day today- several rounds of Race for the Galaxy, plus a game of Power Grid, Blue Moon City (new for me), and Ticket To Ride: Nordic Countries. It was nice to have a chance to game again, but I've been anxious to visit here!

First, a big thanks to gamephotos for picking me as GOTW. I'm pleased when anyone likes my photos, but really appreciate recognition from other photographers. I'll take his questions first, since they were the first in:

Quote:
Why are you using the camera that you have and not a different make/model?

All of my good photos here were taken with a Canon EOS 350D (going by the stupid name of Digital Rebel XT in the US and Canada). I currently shoot with an EOS 500D (Rebel T1i here) but it's very new.

Some photographers are passionate about their brand of camera, I'm not- I think that's kind of silly, really- it's just a tool. A friend of mine has a Pentax SLR, I really like it. Nikon has great stuff, too. I now have several Canon lenses and a flash, so I won't be switching brands. Not that I'd want to, I really love all of the Canon products I've used- they make fantastic stuff. There are few tech products I've purchased that I just absolutely love, but my Canon cameras are in that category, they're amazing.

I do need a DSLR for the sort of photography I do. You can get good results with compacts, but I shoot a lot of low-light photos of my kids. For that, I need the bigger sensor that SLRs have, the fast lenses (in photography, this means ones that open wide), and the responsiveness of the SLR. If I just did shots of game components, I could get decent results with a compact, though you obviously can get sharper photos with an SLR and a macro lens.

Lenses are more important than the camera body in my mind- I prefer primes (fixed-focal length) because they are sharper and open wider, but I do own zooms for the convenience.

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What editing software do you use?

Photoshop Lightroom. Although you can edit with Lightroom, it's not a heavy editor, it's more cataloging and organizing software for professional photographers (which I'm not, but that doesn't stop me from buying the software). My "real" photography is of my kids, I shot everything in RAW because it lets you fix more later; if you badly screw up the exposure, you can often still get a usable RAW image- not so with JPEGs.

Aside that will mean something to photo geeks -if you have Lightroom yourself, start it and notice the first name in the credits. I'm not that Mark Hamburg.

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How much editing do you do to your images?

I fix the white balance and crop, that's usually it. Sometimes I also adjust the exposure, sharpen, and a few other tweaks. I do minor things to every photo- what comes straight out of the camera rarely is what I want, but I don't edit much.
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How do you get such clean whites in your images?


I'm thinking you're probably thinking of the series of shots I did with the white background. To do those, I made a light tent with some PVC. I used four desk lamps with fluorescent daylight bulbs and aimed one at the white background to make sure it was bright. I don't have photos of my light tent, but it looked something like this: http://www.simplifiedbuilding.com/blog/2007/10/23/pvc-light-... . This lets you cast a ton of light on the subject without getting glare spots. Glare can really wreck photos; I rarely use flash in my photos (of games or otherwise) and when I do use flash, I bounce it.

I may have also played with the brightness in Photoshop Lightroom to slightly overexpose the background; it's been a while and I don't really remember everything I did, but the real key was casting light on the background.


Quote:
Do you prefer People Pictures or Component Images?

I don't prefer one or the other. They're really different, though! When I take pictures of people (playing games or not), I usually take "photojournalism" photos- i.e., they capture what's happening and are not posed- I try to record the moment without influencing it. In this sort of photography, quick reflexes, a responsive camera, and shooting a lot of bad images to get one or two good ones is the ticket to success. Shoot first, think about it later, if you will. You do have to think about lighting and composition, but you have to do it on the fly, and sometimes you have to live with less than the ideal.

Component photos are exactly the opposite- to do good ones, you really should think about everything and take the time to do it right. I still experiment when I do this, sometimes something looks better on the screen than it did in the viewfinder (and vice-versa), but it's much more studied photography. Although I'm pleased with my still life shots, I think I'm a better people photographer. Of course, having good subjects (my kids) doesn't hurt.

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Do you mind if people copy your style or create similar images for other games?

Not at all; I'm not sure I have a style per se, but if I do, I sure don't mind people copying. I think all artists learn from other artists, if someone things my stuff is good enough to imitate, I'm flattered!
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Mark Hamburg
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HilkMAN wrote:
what do you do when you have to take photos at night?


A lot my photos were at night with artificial light. I'd recommend using a tripod and a self-timer or remote without flash. Then use image editing software to fix the white balance or you'll wind up with a sickly yellowish tint.
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Mark Hamburg
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Fairer Sex wrote:
What are your favorite games to play with your daughters? Why? What are your daughters' favorite games?


W/ my older daughter, Diamant and Midnight Party, because they're really adult games that work for kids, too. With my younger daughter, almost any Haba game because the pieces are so cool.

My kids change favorite games frequently, but my older daughter's currently into Clue Jr. Younger daughter likes Sleeping Queens, but doesn't quite get it. I think both are pretty good, too.

Quote:
What is the best trip you have taken without your kids? With your kids?


Without my kids, studying in Avignon, France for three months in the early 90's. I didn't learn much French, but I learned a lot about the world and about myself. It really changed my life.

With my kids- boy, that one's harder! We went to Southern California for a week last year- Disneyland and San Diego. That was a lot of fun, but exhausting! I think I'll wait another year or two before we take something like that on, again. The kids have been begging to fly on a plane, though, so we'll see.
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Erik Gibbons
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Congrats Mark! Well deserved.

And I know one truth for sure, suspect the one as being the truth and the if the one I think is false is true I want to know why I didn't hear the story.
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m_hamburg wrote:
W/ my older daughter, Diamant and Midnight Party...

I thought your daughter's names were Diamant and Midnight Party there for a second... wowsurpriseblush
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Hammock Backpacker
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Congrats Mark and excellent choice Gamephotos. Enjoy your week.
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Mark Hamburg
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superbgg wrote:
m_hamburg wrote:
W/ my older daughter, Diamant and Midnight Party...

I thought your daughter's names were Diamant and Midnight Party there for a second... wowsurpriseblush


I probably could have worded that better... You know you've gone to far if you start naming your kids after board games!
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GMOFreePortland.com
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m_hamburg wrote:
superbgg wrote:
m_hamburg wrote:
W/ my older daughter, Diamant and Midnight Party...

I thought your daughter's names were Diamant and Midnight Party there for a second... wowsurpriseblush


I probably could have worded that better... You know you've gone to far if you start naming your kids after board games!


You could always refer to them as 1st and 2nd editions!

laugh
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Chris Darden
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Congratulations!

(even though you're a Cubs fan...)
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T. Nomad
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Congrats, Mark!

As usual, Proust/Pivot gets thing started:

1. What is your favourite word?
2. What is your least favourite word?
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? (or, what's your favourite drug?)
4. Whom would you put on a new currency bill?
5. What sound or noise do you love?
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
7. What is your favourite curse word?
8. What profession would you not like to do?
9. If reincarnation exists, in the form of which plant, tree, or animal would you like to return?
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

to which I will add:

11. You seem to embrace travel. You've mentioned Avignon, so I'll start with the obvious: what was the best French meal you've eaten?
12. Best meal anywhere?
13. Best evening spent away from home?
14. Best sunrise on the road?
15. Based on my favourite picture of yours, your dad is Canadian, and your daughter of mixed heritage. Yet you live in Chicago. Story?
16. I'm a Canadian married to a woman from east asia. People always ask us if we've had any cross-cultural issues in our relationship. Language confusion aside, we haven't. Have you?
17. Best thing about having daughters? Toughest thing about having daughters?

Thanks for adding dough way mawser to my vocabulary.

Have a fun week!
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Mark Hamburg
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Ashitaka wrote:
What is your most and least favorite game mechanic and why?


Favorite: Stock Holding. I really like the stock market in 1830 and the other 18xx games I've played. It's just brutal (and funny if you're the one dumping the wreck of a company on someone). Other games I love with the stock holding mechanic are Union Pacific, Loco, Stephenson's Rocket and Acquire.

Least Favorite: Acting. I'm an introvert and just terrible at it; you do not want me on your team in Charades.
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Mark Hamburg
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TomVasel wrote:
Which of your (or other) pictures make the best desktop backgrounds?


Great question- I had to think a bit about it!

I'm kind of a minimalist when it comes to desktop backgrounds- I prefer pictures that aren't busy and on the darker side, as the icons show up better. Here are a few images from others that I might use (not all are high enough resolution here, though):





 





I'd use a mirror image of this one (since my icons are on the left):



Of my images, I might use these, mainly because they're the way I want the screen to look and aren't too busy:





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Ronster Zero
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Congrats on GotW. It's good to see another photographer make it.

I can understand with the kids and house interfering with serious game playing time. My kids a finally old enough to play, but have other interest now, go figure.

Anyway, I've always enjoyed your photos and hope you get back to posting many more.
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JM G
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Fantastic list!
To my shame I did not knew Mark's amazing work blush... and most important, his charming personality.

I have spent a nice time reading about you and your taste.
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Mark Hamburg
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Quote:
1. What is your favourite word?

Schadenfreude (trans. - delight in the misfortune of others). I don't like this word because I advocate the feeling; I just think it's great linguistically. It describes a horrible feeling, but also an all-too-human one.

I need some help from a German speaker, though, as I'm not sure how malicious the word is. I know it's the proper word to describe the feeling that one has when one's too-perfect classmate or sibling gets their comeuppance even though they did nothing to deserve it other than being too perfect. In this case, the word is pretty obviously describing a malicious and petty feeling.

But I'm not sure if it's also proper to use the word to describe the joy I feel when I see the police writing a ticket to the guy who was cut me off and was weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds. I don't suppose that's exactly an admirable feeling, but it's not really a malicious one, either.

Quote:
2. What is your least favourite word?

Optics when used as a synonym for "how it looks," like in this sentence: "I don't like the optics of having the CEO get a huge bonus when half the staff was laid off." I'm not sure where this usage of the word originated, but it seems like I hear it from political types or public relations people. I think it's a silly use of an otherwise good word. It doesn't seem to be that common yet, I hope it stays that way.

Quote:
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? (or, what's your favourite drug?)

Making something cool. It could be a work project that turns out well, getting the "money shot" with my camera, growing sunflowers, or stringing network stuff together so I can watch my home movies on my TV and hear music streaming from my computer to the livingroom stereo. It could also be controlling a profitable railroad in 18Scan or building an empire in Twilight Imperium 3.

Quote:
4. Whom would you put on a new currency bill?

Albert Einstein; I don't know why, exactly, it just seems like he deserves the recognition. I guess the Euro bills don't have people on them- I understand why that decision was made, but I think that's too bad. I liked the artists, scientists, etc. who used to be on French, German, and Italian bank notes. I think the political leaders on US notes are kind of boring by comparison.

Quote:
5. What sound or noise do you love?

My neighbor practicing the piano while I work in the yard. He's a concert pianist; it's pretty cool to get free live entertainment while I garden.

Quote:
6. What sound or noise do you hate?

At the moment, my neighbor's dogs at 2:00 AM (a different neighbor than the one above). My kids waking me up at the same hour to tell me they have to go to the bathroom instead of just doing it would also be in that category.

Quote:
7. What is your favourite curse word?

I've been trying to avoid these since I became a parent; I'm not sure I have a favorite.

Quote:
8. What profession would you not like to do?

I wouldn't want to be a cop or a soldier; both have to do things that I couldn't do and see things that I really don't want to see. I see both professions as necessary evils, a price we have to pay for civil society. If you are either one (or both, in the case of a reservist) my hat's off to you and you have my thanks.

Quote:
9. If reincarnation exists, in the form of which plant, tree, or animal would you like to return?

Humans are animals, right? So I'd want to be an upper-middle class person in the a stable, developed country, so that I have the luxury of enjoying life rather than spending all my energy on survival. The animal world is just brutal, no way would I want to come back there. Sadly, much of the human world is, too. If you're reading this, you have access to a computer and are literate. You probably have your basic needs met. So many people don't.

I can't imagine much satisfaction in being a plant.

Quote:
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

I don't exactly imagine heaven as a place in the clouds where St. Peter mans the security desk, but for the sake of discussion, I'll go with that. I'd hope to hear that I did good, given my imperfect nature and limited understanding.

Quote:
11. You seem to embrace travel. You've mentioned Avignon, so I'll start with the obvious: what was the best French meal you've eaten?

Well, it wasn't in France - I was a student there and didn't eat very well. The family I lived with had good food, but not like in a fine restaurant. I did have a great French meal at a place near Chicago, but I've long since forgotten the details of the restaurant.

Quote:
12. Best meal anywhere?

King salmon I've grilled myself at the beach. I'm not saying I'm a culinary genius, setting and the satisfaction I get from doing it myself are big contributors here. I wouldn't trade these meals for anything.

Quote:
13. Best evening spent away from home?

Just about any evening at the ballpark would qualify, there's nothing quite like having a hot dog and a beer, sitting outside on a summer evening, and enjoying a game while the sun goes down. I really don't care who is playing. The most memorable day at the ballpark for me was seeing Tony Gwynn's 3,000th hit in Montreal, but baseball shouldn't be played inside on artificial turf as it was there. No Cubs games qualify- I've never been to a night game at Wrigley Field, which is as it should be.

Quote:
14. Best sunrise on the road?

The Grand Canyon. I spent the night in Flagstaff and had a 1:00 flight out of Phoenix, but I got up very early and drove up to the Grand Canyon. Got there just as the sun was rising, looked around for a little while, had breakfast at the lodge and then drove to Phoenix to catch my flight.

Quote:
15. Based on my favourite picture of yours, your dad is Canadian, and your daughter of mixed heritage. Yet you live in Chicago. Story?

Good guesses, but they're all wrong! Three different stories; my dad just bought the sweatshirt in Canada and happened to wear it that day. I did live in Chicago for two years, but am on the west coast now. That doesn't keep me from rooting for the Cubs, though, especially on the rare occasions when I get to see them in person! My kids are actually both 100% Chinese (and were adopted).

Quote:
16. I'm a Canadian married to a woman from east asia. People always ask us if we've had any cross-cultural issues in our relationship. Language confusion aside, we haven't. Have you?

See above, but no! (My wife is white, like me.)

Quote:
17. Best thing about having daughters? Toughest thing about having daughters?

I'll take this as the best thing about daughters specifically vs. just having kids. Girls are great because they can do girly things and they can do stuff that used to be considered boy stuff and no one thinks anything of it. I tell them they can be anything they want and it's probably true for them, it wasn't that way for my mom.

The toughest thing will be when they're older; I'll be a bit more concerned for their safety than I would be with boys.
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