Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fifty Word Bio

Recently I’ve been updating an old story I wrote for The Sentinel that will be reprinted in Idaho Magazine’s November issue. They’re running my photos, as well (see my favorite below).
But the hardest part of the entire thing is penning a 50-word “mini-bio” of myself that they will run on the Contributors Page. I didn’t realize how hard writing about myself could be.
But, after toiling for more than a few hours, I finally finished this little paragraph:

A recent college graduate, Jake Donahue is a journalist in every sense of the word. He’s covered student government scandals and opined the cons of handicapped parking; photographed everything from pelicans to panoramic; but above all else, loves newspaper design immensely. He’s a Little League coach, freelance designer and soon to be married.
And here is one of the photos I used in the original article, hopefully they pick this one, as well:


ACP Best Front Page Nominee

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this little ditty I discovered earlier this month: I’m a finalist for the Associated Collegiate Press’ Design of the Year competition, specifically the Front Page category.
Talk about an honor! Here is the page that won:

So, come Saturday, Oct. 31, at the 88th Annual ACP/CMA convention in Austin, Tex., I find out whether I won 1st through 6th place. The top winner receives Adobe software (I guess I can sell it, as I already have CS4). Needless to say, I’m beyond excited. This page already won 1st place in the Non-Daily Broadsheet Cover category for the Student Society of News Design’s University of Missouri design contest. I do have to mention that one of my favorite photographers made this page possible: Tim Sorenson, who shot the helicopter photo and ASNIC pic.

Here is my competition. They all look pretty damn good, and they’re from way bigger schools with proven track records in design success. Cross your fingers!

University of Illinois: The Daily Illini

Columbia College: The Columbia Chronicle

University of Indiana: Indiana Daily Student


North Carolina University: The Technician


University of Washington: The Daily


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tilt-Shift Photography

Thanks to for showing me a new photo-editing trick. Apparently you can you do this with a special camera, but I’ve now discovered the effect is greater if you edit the photo in Photoshop.

Here is insiredology’s description of the technique:

Tilt-shift photography involves using both tilt and shift camera movements to simulate the depth of field of a macro lens, making life-size objects appear as though they’re actually miniature in scale. The effect can be incredibly powerful, instantly turning a sprawling metropolis into a miniature village or toy town. Many people have been tricked by it over the years and you’ll have to inspect the stunning images below carefully to believe that they are, in fact, real.

While some photographers prefer to use expensive cameras and lenses to create their tilt-shift images, others choose to use postproduction techniques instead. By blurring the top and bottom of an image, as well as increasing its contrast and saturation, you can create a tilt-shift miniature fake that looks just as good (if not better) than the real thing.

Click here to view their page showcasing “40 Stunning Tilt-Shift Images of Urbanity.

Needless to say, I don’t exactly have many personally-shot photos of “sprawling metropolises.” Thus, I borrowed these original photos from Google images and Stock.Xchng. But, after following the editing techniques I learned from this tutorial, voila!



New York

Best Business Cards … EVER

I had seen this website a long time ago, but finally remembered to revisit it yesterday. I’m not sure how some of these people got them made, but I hope to make a new one worthy of this list.
Here is the list of all the cards posted by the Design Inspiration Lab at However, here are some of my favorites:

This is my card, as it stands now… Definitely not as creative as the ones above. Hopefully that will change soon:
Jake Biz Card 
I rushed to get this design printed as fast as I could before I left for the Poynter fellowship in Florida, as they advised bringing personal cards.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Jakewood Milestone!

Holy hell! I was dinking around in my Google Analytics account today and just noticed something I was wondering about: How many unique visitors have I had to my blog? Conisdering I don't advertise it at all (aside from a few Facebook notifications), the only traffic I get should be from people I inform. Sure, there were a bunch of Google referrals -- albeit the mighty iPhone -- but when it was all said and done, yesterday marked my 1,000th unique visitor!

Mother of God.

While there are blogs who probably generate that much traffic on a weekly (if not daily) basis, I was astounded. That seems like a big number concerning how I semmingly blab about nothing important; in my life, however, everything seems important.

Finally, stay tuned. I am in the process of moving this entire project over to Wordpress. It will become part of my personal website, a massive project I am undertaking involving my graphic design portfolio, writing portfolio, my online photo gallery and of course, my blog. It will be a one-stop-shop pertaining to everything Jake Donahue-related, much like a Costco (except you don't need a membership card at

Anyway, it's a long process, and since I'm working on other sites as I learn HTML and website design, don't expect anything soon. But there will be a big announcement when the move takes place (maybe then I will start advertising. How else could I get people to check my portfolios?)

Lastly, to those who continue reading this often, let me offer a mighty THANK YOU! While this whole thing started as an outlet for me to force myself into writing as much as possible, seeing comments and hearing that people are reading Jakewood make me want to continue as long as possible.

So Thanks, stay tuned, and let's shoot for 2,000!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Beer slushy

I put a beer in the freezer this afternoon to get it chilled. Two hours later, it was definitely chilled – it poured like a 7-11 slushee. After sitting in the glass a few seconds it grew … and grew … and grew!

More Photo Edits

Here are some more before and after edits of photos I had on my computer. I’m still in disbelief how easy it is to make a boring photo look great …








By request…

The Original Sausage photo.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Photo Madness

Well, now I know how people take good photos – Photoshop!
Oh, sure, I’ve always been a fan of the infamous photo-tweaking platform, and I knew photographers used the tool to edit their pictures to a certain extent. However, after some online research and tinkering of my own, I just discovered how make a bad photo look good.
I mean BAD photos look GOOD. Take this before/after for example, it only took five minutes to edit the hell out of:
I mean, seriously, holy hell! I feel lied to. I feel betrayed. I feel like every time I’ve seen a photo I admired it was a sham! I’ve spent so long trying to capture the exact image as it should be in my viewfinder when all I needed was Photoshop.
Yes, there is always some editing to be had – whether vibrancy, saturation or brightness/contrast. I just never assumed it would be to this extent!
Here are some more before/after pictures I edited tonight. I am in awe of how big a difference some retro tints and vignettes can make.




Monday, September 21, 2009

A Sausage by Any Other Name…

…would still not look as good as this bad boy! Unless it had onions and sauerkraut, of course.

sausage!!!!Blackberry Storm + Photoshop CS4 = Awesome

Spot The Pelican


Wow, it’s been a whole week since I’ve posted anything. That’s the longest layover in a while.

Anyway, remember that pelican from Florida? The pelican I dedicated my Poynter project to? Well, I finally got the project online at it's very own hosted domain name: (.info was only $1 … opposed to $10 for .com).

So, without further ado, just click on the image above to view the Flash website I built. And be sure to click on the VIDEO tab once at the site to view my blood, sweat and tears from Florida (since I finished the video early, I then spent two days learning Flash CS4 to build a site to host it).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cannon Beach

I had the privilege of showing the Portland area to a fellow Poynter alum this weekend, and although I still consider myself a tourist in this city, I’m pretty sure yesterday was the perfect cap off to popping someone’s Oregon cherry.
After sleeping in, watching NFL all morning and early afternoon, we bounced over to Cannon Beach to see Haystack Rock and clam chowder at Mo’s.
The sun was far from shining, but since nobody was on the beach I finally was able to get the panoramic of Haystack I’ve wanted to for quite some time. It’s nothing special (if anything, I oversaturated another photo!), but I tried a technique I’ve heard of before: The name avoids me at this time, but I took three series of photos at separate settings and merged them into one photo.
And, voila:
Copy of Haystack 
Click on the photo to view it larger

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fist pumps of fury

I was watching a Gillette commercial this morning when something hit me like a bat out of hell: the amount of athletes who “fist pump” after winning. I mean, just look at my little cornucopia above.
Looking back, however, I noticed that I have fallen victim as well. Whenever striking a batter out during my slow-pitch softball days, I, too, could be seen fisting the sky victoriously. Even following the most pedestrian of accomplishments (i.e. striking out a girl, catching a  routine fly ball to end the game, beating a video game, running a stop light near a cop and escaping or winning an argument against Holly) I often punch the clouds.
The origins of fist pumping date all the way back to the ‘50s: According to, “Fist pumps were used in the 1950s and 1960s by kids wanting to get passing truck drivers to blow their air horns. The air horns were typically on the roof of the truck and a horizontal chain near the ceiling was pulled by the driver to sound the air horn. The kids used that gesture to get the truck driver to blow the horn and when successful would exclaim ‘YES!’
What’s more, fist pumping is also known as “Rock Concert Movement #2” at any Blue Man Group concert.
But there is no doubt that it’s the athletes for which this grandstand is famous. Perhaps my affinity toward this audacious act beckons from those same athletic celebrities, and I feel honored to fall into this category with such athletes:

Kobe Bryant
Derek Jeter
Maria (I’m a hottie) Sharapova
Tiger Woods
Rafael Nadal
But every once in a while there are extremely special fist pumps. A little Google Images research and I uncovered some of the best fist pumps of recent memory:
The “Triple Pump”
The “Little Leaguer”
The “Sarah Palin”
And lastly, perhaps the greatest fist pump of all-time:
The Jordan

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Evolution of Jakewood (Part 3/3)

Since Holly got me that new Canon (see above) last October as an early birthday gift before my Kansas City trip, I’ve taken it everywhere. One of my first posts of 2009 was a recap of the favorite photos I shot in 2008: That Canon shot three of the five I chose, and it’s sure to be accountable for almost every one my “Best of 2009” (of course, that Canon Mach 3 in Florida was pretty sweet though).
I’ve never considered myself a photographer. Let me rephrase that, after high school I haven’t considered myself a photographer. I shot many events and sports for my high school newspaper and yearbook (even winning some major awards along the way), but I was a big fish in a little pond. Since, I’ve settled with being a writer and designer.
But slowly I’ve gained a new obsession with looking through the lens. Maybe the friendly competition we had back at NIC as everyone tried their own photo techniques helped percolate my interest again. They always had way nicer cameras (but they planned on being professional photographers, so they should have nice cameras). Tim Sorenson and James Hannibal are my two favorite and I constantly strive to shoot something that makes them say, “Damn, Jake!”
Needless to say, I never really compared myself to them. And that was fine; while they took award-winning photos, I used those pictures to design award-winning pages. We needed each other.
But now I’m just shooting to shoot. And while I slowly teach myself how to maximize the full power of Photoshop CS4, I’m getting even more excited. Maybe I should have started a separate blog where I only post photos (actually I tried that: But the designing part of my brain still loves to mix photos with text.
Throw in a few videos thanks to my Blackberry Storm (see mouse), YouTube (see Ari Gold and the Most Interesting Man in the World), not to mention my Poynter summer project (meet my pelican friend, Spot).
I may not write as much as thought I could muster, but I’m a multi-media maestro these days. Could it be for the best? Who knows. It’s my blog, after all, and I’m the only critic I listen to when it comes to this thing.
But to the countless people who actually do read this thing, I just want to say Thank You. Just when I think I'm essentially talking to myself, someone I haven’t seen in a long time comes up and says, “Hey man, I love your blog.”
And then I get excited again. I guess whatever I’m doing works so far.