Sunday, September 23, 2012

The “Dollar” Store

   Every now and then I get asked the question “do you have change for $x.xx”. the past, transactions were made and wealth was measured in precious metals, human labor, land, livestock, grains, salt and cowry shells just to name a few but there was always the nagging problem of securing, storing and transporting these forms of wealth. For instance, if land, livestock, grains, salt and human labor is the measure of wealth in my society, I need to pay the huge cost of securing and transporting them but why do that if there is an easier method. In return for a small fee, an institution, government, individual or group of people can store and secure my assets. In addition, I can travel worry free. All I need is a document from the aforementioned entities declaring and confirming the assets I have stored with them and a promise that this document can be used with other institutions, governments, individuals or groups of people whom they have formed an agreement with and accept it as a valid medium of exchange from a well respected, stable and trustworthy entity.
  The US dollar is legal tender here in the United States but this wasn’t always the case as wealth was measured only in the land, precious metals, slaves, grains etc. It took a government promise to redeem a currency the Americans had no faith in in return for accepting the US dollar as a medium of exchange and store of wealth.
  Due to security concerns and the general acceptance of electronic forms of payment today, there is little reason to carry around cash except for use in minor transactions so to politely answer your question, no, I don’t have change for $x.xx because I use a debit card.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


   A friend of mine was distraught because she needed money to pay her college tuition and the dead line to pay the balance was in a few days. She asked for advice and I gave her some choices.
1. Obtain a loan from a family member
2. Get a college loan
3. Get a personal loan from a bank.
   She stated that she had tried the choices I offered but was unable to secure enough because the banks she approached were unwilling to finance the amount she needed and the amount was too great for family and friends to loan her. I proceeded to explain possible reasons banks were unwilling to loan her the amount she needed by using the following scenario:
If Jack wants to borrow money from Jill, Jack has to prove to Jill that he has the ability to pay her back; she needs some form of collateral because she incurs a huge risk if she gives him a loan without it. Furthermore, Jack is tying up assets Jill could use to invest in something that could possibly increase her income or net worth.
   Banks and credit card companies give or deny loans based on a lot of factors such as the individual or company's stability, credit history, age, source of income or future income, marital status(individual), current assets, debt, liability and so on. Banks or credit companies charge more interest on loans they deem risky and less on loans they deem safe. For example, when one goes to the bank to get a loan for a house or a car all the aforementioned factors are considered when deciding the amount of the loan and the interest charged; the bank or credit company is a business and has to make a profit to stay afloat. Getting a loan to purchase a home is considered a safer investment to the bank or credit company compared to getting one for a car. Education loans were once considered safe investments by banks when I went to college because they were guaranteed by the federal government should the student default on the loan.
   In American society today, people feel comfortable borrowing from a bank due to privacy concerns and, quite honestly, the fact that family and friends are not willing to take the risk of lending money they can't afford to lose especially when the individual who wants to borrow it is not stable, has a history of not paying back loans or has no income, or any assets to hold as collateral. Don't feel bad if you are denied credit or a loan. Work on increasing your credit worthiness by paying off debts, getting a stable source of income, showing stability and establishing trust.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


    During a conversation with a friend years ago, the topic of auto insurance came up. My friend felt that she should be reimbursed for the fee she paid to her auto insurance company since she did not file a claim while she was covered under the policy; she felt like she gave away her money to the insurance company for nothing and could not understand why she was required by the state to purchase auto insurance. What she and I failed to realize at the time is that purchasing an auto insurance policy is to our benefit and auto insurance companies like other insurance companies incur a risk by insuring policy holders.
     When a insurance company sells an insurance policy, it assumes liability for what the policy holder would otherwise have been held responsible for had the holder not purchased the policy. The insurance  company is selling a product and must therefore be compensated for it. For example, if my friend purchased just the minimum auto insurance policy required by the state of New Jersey(liability insurance) and not an additional comprehensive policy, she would not assume the cost of fixing someones property or pay the hospital bills of people injured in an accident in which she is at fault up to the maximum dollar amount purchased from the insurer but she would assume the cost of fixing her car if it was damaged by a fallen tree trunk, flood or fire.
   So think of the proverbial "penny wise pound foolish" when you are thinking of skimping on getting the insurance coverage needed to protect you from unexpected medical or liability costs.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Stocks and Bonds

    There are two ways a business, town or even a country can raise capital without "pulling itself up by the bootstraps": issue stocks(ownership) or bonds(loans).
    An investor owns a part of the business when he purchases its stock. The advantage to the investor is that he shares in the company's profits but can potentially suffer huge losses if the company does not do well. The advantage to the company is that it does not have a loan(bond) it's obligated to pay back but it losses autonomy as it has acquired a shareholder who is part owner of the business.
    A business does not lose it's autonomy when it issues a bond to an investor but it's obligated to purchase the bond back from the investor at a set time with interest tacked onto it regardless of how well the business does; the company has basically acquired a debt. The investor's advantage is the guaranteed income he receives from the purchased bond but he does not share in the company's profits or losses.
    Bonds are generally low risk and is best for the investor who wants secure income and peace of mind. Stocks are generally higher risk and is best for younger investors who can stomach it and potentially make lots of money in the long run or suffer huge losses. A healthy mix of both is best for an investor.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Boosting your ISO without boosting it.

    An exposure trick I learned approximately 4 years ago when I shot with a Pentax K10D was to boost the ISO beyond the 1600 ISO limit of my DSLR in low light situations by setting the camera to underexpose the image by 1 or 2EV thereby doubling or quadrupling the shutter speed. I did this only when my aperture setting was set at its maximum of f2.8 but still could not muster the shutter speed needed to freeze the action or reduce the motion blur significantly due to the camera's 1600 ISO limit; it is the reason why I stated in this post that ISO is the least important, in my opinion, of the three components needed to get the "right" exposure. I would then overexpose the resulting images by 1 or 2 EV respectively during post work in Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop by utilizing the exposure tool in these applications: this gave the effect of shooting at 3200 or 6400 ISO respectively. The images did contain the sensor noise that normally comes with shooting at high ISOs in low light. This was fixed by utilizing noise reduction software like Noise Ninja which was very popular at the time.
    Obviously, shooting this way results in more post work and cleaning images with noise reduction software does have its drawbacks. The resulting images appeared "smudged" and not sharp with detail loss. Detail loss is somewhat minimized by shooting in camera RAW. I would sharpen the image by using a tool in Photoshop called the unsharp mask but one can only sharpen the detail captured :-(
    Believe it or not, this is one of the "tricks" employed by camera makers that boast of making cameras with the ability to shoot at 3200, 6400 or even, in my opinion, a ridiculous 12800 ISO. Your DSLR is like a computer with applications built in to perform certain tasks. In this case, there are applications built into the firmware of the camera to boost the ISO and then employ built in noise reduction software to produce "cleaner" images in low light shooting conditions. Take a look at the following image on my website; it was shot with my D7000 at 3200 ISO at f3.5. What do you think? I could have opened the aperture a bit more but I was having enough problems with focusing due to the narrow DOF at that aperture setting, and I wanted to minimize the loss of DOF as much as possible.
    Some cameras handle noise reduction better than others while some brands don't even bother with it and leave the image with all the details including sensor noise to the photographer to deal with. Full frame or 35mm cameras tend to handle low light shooting better due to the larger sensor installed in them. Getting the newer DSLRs in the market does help a lot especially for photographers like me who dislike post work and prefer to get the images right during the shoot and not in post.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Editorial vs Commercial images: a case of semantics.

   Editorial type images are used in numerous ways; they can be used to illustrate news worthy material, story books, text books or news letters. Commercial type images are usually used to advertise or promote products, ideas, or services.
   The problem is that there is no clear definition of what a commercial or editorial image is. This confuses many photographers especially those new to the business. In a discussion about the subject in an online forum, a colleague stated it's merely semantics; I couldn't agree more because an image can be used in an editorial and commercial fashion. The following image is more editorial in nature; it's a portrait of a man posing for me on a famous landmark known as the Brooklyn Bridge but it may be used to promote the bridge itself.
The next image is one that can easily be used in an editorial as well as commercial application. For instance, the company or person who made the cake can use the image to sell or promote his/her cake business or the image can be used to illustrate a topic on wedding cakes in a wedding magazine.
So as one can see, editorial vs commercial use of images is merely a case of semantics.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Liberty State Park Journal

I left work on a "short day" with the intention of going to New York to document a famous NYC landmark: that changed as I rode the PATH heading towards WTC. I thought it would be best to dedicate a day to documenting the intended landmark. In addition, I was a bit tired so I decided to get off at Exchange Place in Jersey City to relax at Liberty State Park. Always the amateur photographer, I could not help but capture some images while experimenting with exposure, perspective and composition. Here are three of my favorite images captured during my brief visit.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Exposure in Photography

    What photographers do is capture light; understanding light and capturing it is key to creating amazing images.

    To capture light you need a medium in which the light captured is exposed unto; it was film during the SLR days. With the advent of DSLRs, light is exposed unto digital sensors called CCD or CMOS depending on the technology your digital camera is using.

    Three things are used in combination to get exposure: film speed(ISO), aperture, and shutter speed. In my own opinion, the most important of the three are aperture and shutter speed. Learning to capture images in full manual will help you understand why. Knowledge of how ISO works in conjunction with aperture and shutter speed will aid you with studio lighting work or situations in which you are adding to ambient light.

    Shutter speed and aperture directly control how much light is let unto the sensor or film. Aperture is measured in units called f numbers and affects the lens opening and the amount of light let in; it directly affects depth of field. Shutter speed controls the amount of time light is allowed to be exposed unto the film or sensor. Film speed(ISO) is the sensitivity of the sensor or film to the light exposed onto it. The higher the ISO the higher the film/sensor sensitivity. High ISO is usually used in low available light situations or situations in which higher shutter speeds is needed.

    Finally, a good light meter is needed to determine the correct combination of aperture, shutter speed and ISO setting needed to get accurate exposure.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The high cost of free.

     Nothing is free. Everything comes at a cost. The minute we hear free, our first instinct is to jump and grab what ever it is. There is nothing wrong with this but keep in mind someone IS paying the price of free. For example, the free goods you purchased may have been subsidized; small businesses may have been bullied by larger business entities into reducing prices to the point they are no longer profitable and run out of business resulting in a loss of jobs and a further blow to our economy. Large retail companies that offer free or low prices claim to hire lots of employees, but, while this may be true, most of these jobs are low paying with little or no benefits. The employees of these companies can't even afford the basic health insurance offered to them by their employers because it's either insurance or food on the table. Furthermore, local communities suffer because these employees have little or no money to support and patronize local businesses. The money made by these large organizations is not pumped back into the local economy but invested elsewhere in their best interest; you and I rarely benefit.
     We all want free health care right? It's not a bad idea, in fact, it's a great idea but we must understand that it comes at a price we will pay directly or indirectly and it may even cost more. Who will pay for the insurance? We can look to our neighbor Canada or across the pond to the UK for answers. They offer “free” health care but the taxes are so high one begins to wonder whether it's worth living there. The benefits and services offered by these free health care programs may not be first rate depending on the area you live in and the citizens usually have to pay more to receive better benefits. We can look further east to our friends in Asia. Health care and education is virtually free because it is funded by the oil wealth of these nations. At least, the wealthy few in these countries are smart enough to subsidize the cost of education and health care unlike some nations not worth mentioning because they have the oil wealth but corruption and greed has blinded the wealthy few from seeing the long term disastrous effects of their actions.
     Local supermarkets chains have no choice but to lower the price of their goods now because people just can't afford the prices anymore due to extremely high unemployment rates which further diminishes the quality of goods sold and decreases the number of the employed. The goods in these supermarkets would rot in the store if they did not lower prices and run the risk of running out of business if they did not reduce their workforce. Theft will definitely increase as people get desperate.
    We need to break out of this habit of free and PAY the cost. It cost money to run a business: employees, cost of goods etc. Patronize local businesses that offer quality products or services and invest back into community: this will help boost the local economy and will create a tremendous ripple effect which will be felt by other communities. The root of a tree is it's strength; The tree is weak if the roots are weak and strong when roots are strong. The foundation of a strong economy starts at the local level. It's great to get deals or freebies but get use to paying the true cost because it helps us all in the long run. You may think you are not affected but indirectly you are.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What is the best dslr camera?

There isn't such a thing; cameras come in all shapes and sizes and serve different purposes. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. The question one should ask oneself is what he/she hopes to accomplish in photography and which camera best suits that purpose.
Don't get caught in the Nikon vs Canon “wars” as both are great cameras in their own right as well as other players in the market. The main advantage to owning a Nikon or Canon is their huge market share and support base. For example, I use to shoot with a Pentax but got frustrated with the support base and decided to bail out before locking myself up in a brand with little or no support and market share; I had to buy every single piece of equipment I needed because most stores did not rent them and none of my peers used the brand. I decided on Nikon after careful evaluation of what I needed. I loved the matrix metering, creative lighting system, fast focus and ergonomics of the brand. I currently capture images for fun with a Nikon D70 and can document almost anything with it including major events such as weddings but why make it harder on myself. This is where purpose plays a huge role. In major events, I require cameras with fast focus, great metering capabilities, less sensor noise, and a big LCD screen on the back so I can view images on the fly.
So if in the market for a DSLR, ask yourself what you hope accomplish with it. Chances are the camera will sit on the shelf most of the time collecting dust or used to capture intimate moments at family gatherings or document personal trips so why drop thousands of dollars on a camera for that. A point and click or the latest smart phones will do a great job of that and then some. I worry more about lighting than the camera because even the "best" cameras will take poor quality images in "bad" lighting. A good image could have been a great one had the lighting been just right for the scene. Here are some images captured with my D70 and kit lens.

Early Blossom

Cloth Sample 1

Cloth Sample 2

Cloth Sample 3

Thursday, June 21, 2012

All about credit

    Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see stores issuing cards with the Visa, Mastercard and American Express logo. In fact, most stores "sell" these cards with as much vigor as their merchandise if not more.
    During my college days, stores issued store cards only and were useless to the customer outside the store; customers had to juggle multiple store cards to use in their favorite stores. Banks were the only institutions that issued credit cards that could be used anywhere electronic fund transfers were accepted. This has changed as many stores/retailers have entered the market once dominated by these financial institutions. The reason behind it is simple; eliminate the problem of issuing cards which are basically useless to the customer outside the store while increasing and maintaining brand loyalty. In addition, stores increase profits by avoiding the fees they have to pay to use the electronic funds transfer services of Visa, Mastercard and American Express. These electronic fund transfer companies also benefit by increasing their market share and profits as well.
     Credit in itself is not a bad thing and is great when used responsibly. A few days ago, I was a bit shocked to see a customer using a Tesco credit card to make a purchase at a local retailer. Tesco is the leading retailer in the UK and I shopped there while visiting the country a few years ago; they did not issue credit cards then.
     Store cards have come a long way as retailers realize the potential of increasing brand loyalty and profits by issuing their own store credit cards so don't be surprised when asked to open an account by a salesman while shopping at a retailer near you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fool me once..

Originally written by Adetokunbo Olaoluwa Adesanya January 11, 2011 on Facebook about past experiences

woman walking past asks: Can I use your cell phone?
Cell in my pocket: Sorry, I don't have any?

Thinking to myself: *I don't know you from Adam. Why would I give you my cell phone?*

As I turn the corner, the same question is posed to another passerby. Don't know or care what happened after that but "Axel, we ain't falling for the banana in the tail pipe.."

..She was hot tho

Monday, June 18, 2012


I deleted a lot of my former blogs over time in the past for personal reasons and would later regret doing so. Eventually, as my faith in Him grew stronger, I learned not to and accept it because He truly is the master and sustainer of the worlds and He knows what's best for us all. Even what we consider "bad" are actually blessings in disguise; it is to test our faith. I didn't know this then but I know now and have for a while. I am testimony to that and continue to praise and glorify Him everyday through the good times and the bad. Life is not easy and was never meant to be. We are here for a time and purpose and will continue to experience joy, pain, happiness, bitter, sweet and sorrow till the day we pay the debt none of us can escape. We should never lose sight of why we are here: to praise and glorify Him at all times.

A rhyme originally written by Adetokunbo Olaoluwa Adesanya a few years ago on a former Facebook account. Here goes:

People wan test
In peace, I leave em rest once standing
moving till I reach the best and put em to the test
with ten fingers up and palms facing you
I'm putting you to shame and displacing you
and like a phantom, you roll through the night
While I'm basking in the sun of The Everlasting Light

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Faulty ATM

originally written by Adetokunbo Olaoluwa Adesanya on May 11, 2012 on Facebook.

Walk into the bank
Had to be approx 15 - 20 people in line ahead of me
2 atms
Only 1 being utilized
Casually walk up the presumed faulty ATM
use it
as am causally walking out
A lady about 5th to the end of the line asks: well is it working?
Me: Well I just..
Lady: Well you just jump in front of the line and..
Me: well, y'all just standing there so I..

Have gr8 weekend!

US Business Entities

Sole Proprietor - An individual in the US is considered a business entity and can run a business without a formal documents. The sole proprietor is still responsible for filing personal taxes. The sole proprietor may get a tax id and register a dba(doing business as): must be registered in each county of the state it wishes to operate in. One must register the dba at the local county clerk.
  • Advantage - easy to form and setup, simple tax structure, little or no formal documents
  • disadvantage - personally held liable for all debts and obligations, must raise own capital.

Partnership - Like a sole proprietor but involves a minimum of two people. though not required, legals documents should be drafted for the protection of each partner should conflicts arise.

  • Advantage - easy to form and setup, simple tax structure, little or no formal documents required although highly recommended. Partners can combine resources.
  • disadvantage - personally held liable for all debts and obligations, must raise own capital.

Limited Liability Company - Provides member(s) with the legal protection benefits of a corporation while maintaining the simple tax structure of a sole proprietorship or partnership. A member of an LLC can't be held personally liable for the debts or obligations of the company. An LLC must be registered in every state in the union it wishes to operate in.

  • Advantage - Simple tax structure of a proprietorship or partnership but gives members the legal protection afforded to shareholders of a corporation.
  • Easier to raise capital
  • Disadvantage - Must be legally recognized in each state it wishes to operated in. Formal documents are required at the state level.

Corporation - is recognized at the federal level and therefore can operate in any state in the union once formed. Owners are known as shareholders and are taxed personally on income derived from the company in addition to the tax the corporation is held responsible for.
  • Advantage - Shareholders are not personally held liable for any legal obligation or debt.
  • Easiest to raise capital
  • Disadvantage - Complex tax structure and legal documentation. Shareholders are taxed in addition to the corporation.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Originally written by Adetokunbo Olaoluwa Adesanya on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 3:26pm on Facebook in reference to Facebook.

For the first time in history, one's life can be documented for future generations. Our great great great grand children no longer have to go through great lengths or spend huge amounts of resources just to tracks their family history. This is just one of the great potential benefits of social media networks like FBook. Obviously, nothing is perfect and there is definitely a downside but I think it's a gr8 idea and, like it or not, it's done thru other means you may or may not know of i.e. credit/debit card transactions, medical records, social security, grocery store cards, school records, casual convos etc.

Facing reality

originally written by Adetokunbo Olaoluwa Adesanya on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 9:18am on Facebook.

I liken the US economy or any economy for that matter to an individual: well it's a bit more complicated than that but I am using an individual just for the sake of keeping my explanation simple and I'm no expert in economics.

You have an individual.
Initially this individual is in good standing: income greater than expenses or debt
but now the individual gets sucked into the "American Dream(s)"
Now the Individual becomes an Indentured servant putting it nicely: more like slave.
An indentured servant has better prospects of becoming free.

going further

Living the American dream this individual borrows against his income in amounts larger than his income, and, to top it off, the loan(s) come with interest attached.

This individual's future income, current assets and time  is now extremely crucial to his financial stability. Hopefully this individual is disciplined and will make good use of his assets

but what happens after the debts keep piling up due to:
1. Loss of income or
2. Individual keeps deceiving himself trying to keep up with the Joneses thereby incurring more debts by borrowing from family, friends, credit cards etc.

Then the bank managers, mortgage lenders, car lien holders, Jack, John, Jane and a host of others come banging on his door for their money because they are stuck in similar situations.

What do you get?

Well I think we are getting what I would like to call an appetizer and the main course will come? Not sure if we should get dessert.

On a positive note, hopefully we can become the cook, become a little communal, forget about loans and save a little change so that we can, hopefully, rebuild out lives and financial stability.

My own thoughts or two cents on Naija's subsidy removal

originally written by Adetokunbo Olaoluwa Adesanya on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 11:26am on Facebook

1. It was done drastically.. should have been a gradual process with public knowledge of the plan
2. What does the government intend to do with the funds formerly used to subsidize oil production.. The Nigerian government is not known for good management and accountability; it's best known for corruption and mismanagement.
2. Does the government truly care about Nigeria and Nigerians?
3. Will the funds be used to reduce national debt and poverty while improving the local economy.
4. Will there be true financial accountability not only from the funds used for the subsidy but for the national treasury as well.
5. Does the government plan to rebuild the key elements of a strong economy i.e. infrastructure, agriculture education etc

The Nigerians fuel subsidy removal is not necessarily a bad thing but the way it was done shows the intelligence or indifference of the powers that be. The removal has far reaching consequences even beyond the local economy but on an international level as well. For example, we are basically subsidizing the cost of energy for other countries at our own expense. In addition, we borrow money to subsidize the cost of fuel: This increases our national debt and further reduces the purchasing power of the Naira. Nothing lasts forever and neither does Nigerian oil. It's funny how we purchase the refined products at an higher price when we can build and maintain our own refineries and build a culture of maintenance. It will be great to explore alternatives like solar, wind power and rebuild our local agriculture and stop the importation of goods. This way the local economy is strengthened and we can export not only oil but other goods that can be used to rebuild our economy and hopefully bring the masses out of perpetual poverty, rebuild the "middle class" and redistribute wealth. We can go on an on about the subsidy removal but I don't think that is Nigeria's biggest problem. It's runs much deeper than that.. anyways I reiterate that this is just my own thoughts on the subsidy removal. Oh, we subsidize the cost of oil here in the US too.. I believe Americans should actually be paying a lot more for the cost of fuel. The avg $3.00 per gallon we pay at the pump is chicken change to what we really should be paying but we as Americans "can't go for that" Our economy will be crippled, brought to it's knees and will come to a stand still.. I guess that's why we have reserves and refuse to use it.

1. I did not proof read this.. straight of the dome and I have to get back to work
2. I'm not an expert on the subject

Increase your income by reducing your expenses

Originally witten by Adetokunbo Olaoluwa Adesanya on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 9:11pm on Facebook.

Ok, so you need more money.

You can get more contracts, ask for a raise or whatever you need to get additional income.

Or, like most people, you realize that an increase in income is much harder in our current economic situation.

Well right not try the other way.. like decrease your expenses :)

current wage = $100/year
current expenses = $40/year
Net income = $60/year

Say you want to increase your annual net income by $15/year; you ask your boss and he says No.
So you go home and start to think of the useless expenses you have and proceed to cut them off till you get that additional $15/year

resulting in

current wage = $100/year - still
New current expenses = $25/year after cutting off useless expenses totaling $15/year
New net income = $75/year

you have now have your $15 per year raise.

I hope this helps :-)

Draw vs Commission

For those that keep asking. In Draw vs commission, an employee is advanced a payment for his work every pay period. His income is derived from a percentage of the costs of goods sold. The employee at a minimum has to sell enough to cover his draw(loan) any amount over his draw is his commission. If the employee does not sell enough to cover his draw, he goes into deficit. You don't want that.

Mr. Oluwasusi, A portrait.

I had the honor of documenting the 60th birthday celebration of Mr. Oluwasusi this past Saturday. It was a joyous occasion and celebration o...