Monday, March 28, 2022

710 Emerald Sound Blvd. in Oak Point Slideshow

710 Emerald Sound Blvd.
Oak Point 75068
Offered at $650,000
MLS# 14755249

This 2,971 sq.ft. home has 4 bedrooms, 2.1 baths, 2-car garage attached with separate detached 2-car garage/workshop, 2 living rooms, dining and breakfast rooms, game room, fireplace, screened patio, spacious barn-style shed on a full acre of land.

Roof replaced March 2022. Screened outdoor living was completed in 2021. Enjoy the firepit, yard to romp and space to park RVs.

Kitchen has double oven, island, planning desk, walk-in pantry, and window bench. Formal dining and parlor are great for entertaining or convert into a relaxed home office. Downstairs is complete with a powder room, utility room and large family room with a fireplace.

Upstairs, primary suite can easily handle a Texas King bed, has walk-in closet, garden tub, separate shower and double sinks. Three bedrooms share a Hollywood bath with two separate sinks and vanities. The large game room can convert to a 5th bedroom, media room or super-sized office. Solar panel lease must transfer.

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, Certified New Home Sales
214-862-7212 (call or text)

#DFWmark #REALTOR #OpenHouse #house #home #OakPoint #DentonCounty #Acre #land #LargeYard #RVSpace

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

PhotoJournalism 3 Million View Contest

3/13/22 Update: Congratulations to the winners. See y'all at 4 million!

2/12/22 UPDATE: I realized that I had the wrong email address, the correct email address is so I am extending the contest to 3/12/22. If you sent your information before, please send it again. Thanks!

If you like photography or photos, you can win a prize in honor of the PhotoJournalism blog getting more than 3 million views. I never expected to get 5,000 visitors, so this achievement is remarkable.

To celebrate this milestone, I'm offering a signed print of my work to three different blog visitors (one for each million views). I normally don't sign prints, so these are rare.

What's the prize?
I’ll print and mail a signed 11x14 photo print to three winners. Winners will select which print they want from any photos on my blog or Instagram feeds (personal or business) except my photo mosaics or images with © (copyright symbol) next to The Dallas Morning News.

In other words, y'all can pick any image I've posted with a © next to my name, DFWmark or The Beaumont Enterprise that isn’t a photo mosaic.

For example, this image isn't included, but this image is. They were both shot for DMN, but the first is as staff and the second is freelance. Simply look at the copyright symbol location and pick your favorite.

Older images may look out of focus on the blog, but it's an image compression problem from back when Blogger was new. They're as sharp and clear as any of the newer images.

Everyone who enters gets my monthly Information Of Value newsletter (you can download the book for free from my Google Drive). You can unsubscribe at any time.

What's the catch?
Winners will be selected in a randomized computer drawing after the contest period ends on 28 Feb. 2022. Winners’ names will be posted on the blog and those winners will be notified to select a preferred image.

Contest is limited to one entry per person/email address/phone. I need each entrant’s name, email address and phone number to verify. If the winner is under 18, the winner’s parents/guardian must approve their photo selection.

I'm only going to pay shipping inside the U.S. If the winner is outside the U.S., we can work out some arrangement to get the print to you. Otherwise, whomever wins gets a prize.

How to win?
Email your Name and phone number to Each complete entry (name and phone number via email) will be assigned a number. On March 1, I’ll load the number of complete entries into a randomizer and allow it to pick three numbers. The people assigned to those numbers will be notified to claim their prize. I’ll need physical mailing addresses at that point for the winners.

If I only get a comment, it's not a winner. I'll add the winners’ names and general location (city, state, country) to this post when there are confirmed winners.

Good luck to all. Please share a link to this information and invite your friends to enter!

Enough for now,

Quick Tips & Know Your Rights

This is an updated repost of the information presented on April 4, 2008 at the New York Press Association Annual Convention.
While there is no way to "pin" a post, I have set the date to keep this post on the front page for new visitors. Please scroll down to see newer content as it's added.

video, narration, beats by Mark M. Hancock / ©
photos by Mark M. Hancock / ©, The Beaumont Enterprise and/or The Dallas Morning News

If you find the "Quick Tips" version to be visual hot sauce, please watch "Savory Tips to Improve Photos." It's the same presentation with more time to savor each image.

Additional information is located on the All PJ-related posts section of this blog. Underlined topics are linked to previous posts with detailed information about the subject.

Read equipment manuals three times.
Have the right equipment for the job.
Know the difference between nouns and verbs.
Pre-consider potential visual problems and solutions.

Photo basics (see below for specifics) 
Fill the frame.
Have sharp focus.
Get the right exposure.
Time the images.

Fill the frame:
Get close.
Use long lens.
Crop in camera.
Get wide.
Back away when necessary.

Stabilize the camera.
Focus on lead eye.
Adjust plane of focus / angle.
Use depth of field.
Adjust focal length for available light.
When focusing manually, use one finger.
Zone focus.

Zone V.
Hand meter the area.
Use alternative meter techniques: Sunny 16, palm, grass.
Understand the dynamic range.

Have patience.
Look for repeated action patterns.
Anticipate the action.
Shoot at apex.
Shoot before collision - wind through reaction.
Get reflective shots (quiet moments)
Seek "timeless" images.
Time of day.

Shoot horizontals and verticals.
Start with a clean background.
Have dark corners.
Place subject in background.
Use subject and foreground to cover unwanted elements.
Leave leading space.
Use Rule of Thirds/Fifths.
Build a strong skeletal structure.
Frame items within other items.
Avoid tangents.
Have clean edges.
Lead eyes with light and focus.
Layer the image.
Employ leading lines.
Employ repetition of pattern.
Block corners.
Juxtaposition (harmony / irony)

Where to crop:
Avoid cropping joints.
Contain subject within rectangle (Golden Ratio).
Avoid lights, reflections and voids.
Frame arcs and lines.

Before shooting:
Research stories - find those with emotional elements.
Verify location, access.
Double-check equipment.
Have business cards, pencil and notepad.
Refuse access contracts.

Upon arrival:
Arrive early. Stay late.
Shoot signs and rosters. Collect paperwork. Shoot name tags and numbers.
Shoot basic package: scene, normal, tight
Shoot story: lede, transitions, kicker, emotion.
Get cutline information (5W & H). Get sound if possible.

Selecting subjects:
Hunting techniques: shadows, oblique angle, concealment, pre-compose, pre-focus
Use attention span limitations.

Tell the story.
Get main subjects.
Get emotion.
Shoot 100-frame minimum.
Use each lens.
Shoot each angle (left, right, high, low).
Shoot reflection / refraction.
Shoot silhouette / isolation.
Shoot blur.

Before leaving:
Understand the story.
Be able to tell the story in one frame, three frames, five frames, 20 frames.
Have all cutline information.
Have 100+ images.
Count equipment.

Find new word.
Make unique (rare) images: access, subject, news value, combination.
Multi layers
Multi meaning

Artificial light:
Use flash whenever it's helpful (no light, too slow).
Use flash from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. outdoors (fill light).
Get flash off the camera.
Understand what causes red-eye.
Try to keep flash angles from 45 to 90 degrees.
Diffuse light.
Color balance artificial light.
Learn to light large areas.
Use multiple lights to add depth.
Be ready to manually calculate exposure (guide number).
Understand inverse square law of light.
Speed techniques (stop action).
Light painting with mixed light and flash (holiday lights, fireworks, lightning).
Increase depth of field with artificial light.

 video, narration, beats by Mark M. Hancock / ©
photos by Mark M. Hancock / ©, The Beaumont Enterprise and/or The Dallas Morning News

Do you know your rights as a photojournalist?

Please watch “Know Your Rights as a Citizen Photojournalist.”

Know your rights (most is covered on this link)
It's best to be courteous to defuse confrontations.
Don't be belligerent.
The First Amendment provides the right for anyone to make photos.
Anyone can shoot in public places, streets and sidewalks.
Anyone can shoot where access is granted.
Property owners have the right to deny access.
Understand trespass law by state.
Generally, PJs can shoot until asked to stop.
Exceptions include military facilities and some areas within nuclear plants.
Model releases aren't required for editorial use (but pubs may still require).
Celebrities, politicians and emergency workers limited their right to privacy (injected themselves into spotlight).
Felony criminals have no right to privacy until in prison.
The right to privacy is seriously limited in public places.
The exception to this is medical facilities (which include ambulances in some states).
Business security isn't sufficient to prohibit photography.
Trade secrets aren't in public view. Trade dress doesn't apply to photojournalism.
Police may limit access, but can't prohibit photography (prior restraint).
You aren't required to explain the purpose of your photography.
Coercion and harassment by private security is a criminal offense in all states.
Private parties have limited rights to detain and could face criminal and civil charges.
Without a court order, private parties can't confiscate film.
Ask what law was specifically violated.
Ask for this person's name, and who they represent.
Report rights violations to police. Call before the offender does.
Enough for now,

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Ready to Celebrate in 2022!

It's been a while since I broke out the big lights. Let's celebrate often in 2022! 

I've Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP

#DFWmark #REALTOR #RealEstate #celebrate #confetti #stars #happy #joy #gold #ChampagneFlute

Monday, June 07, 2021

DFWmark Information of Value book

Since you enjoy the Information of Value (IOV) sheets that I create and post monthly on the DFWmark blog, you’ve probably wanted them all in one place. I’ve Got Your Six!

Bookmark this addresslink.

I assembled and updated a book of all the IOVs that I’ve produced since March 2020. The book will be updated with each new IOV on my Google Drive. Because it’s a PDF file, it can be printed at home in full size without additional rasterization. Also, all the websites mentioned are hyperlinked in the PDF.

When you need access to information such as what to do after severe weather hits or where to take visitors for fun in DFW, it’s all in one place at no cost to you!

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build Certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #UsefulInfo #InformationOfValue #IOV #EmergencyInfo #safety #home #fun #Frisco

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Short Ribs and Peppers

Fayrouz made beautiful short ribs with mini peppers in a Dutch oven. This is before she added red wine and braised. 

#DFWmark #food #beef #ShortRibs #peppers #savory #dinner #DutchOven #Texas

Monday, February 08, 2021

Chichen Itza Temple of Kukulcan

Visitors climb the Temple of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza in Mexico around Jan. 1997.

(© Mark M. Hancock /

I finally fixed my film scanner!

#DFWmark #REALTOR #Mexico #ChichenItza #Kuklucan #temple #pyramid #Mayan #Aztec

Thursday, January 21, 2021

House Tour - Providence Village

Cloudy days are good for viewing cozy homes in Providence Village. Call, text or email when you're ready in northern DFW!

I've Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build Certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #photo #tour #lease #tenant #ProvidenceVillage #BiggerBetterNewer #DentonCounty #DFW

Prosper Testimonial

I’m honored beyond words to have such amazing clients! I will Always Have Your Six!

Our experience with Mark has been outstanding to say the least. He is truly a wealth of knowledge, a trove of fun facts and the ultimate spokesperson for Texas! Mark walked into every house prepared to help us find the perfect the one and having the ability to share the vision we had. When we finally decided on our forever home, Mark was there every step of the way! He was there for every meeting no matter how big or small to ensure we had the support we needed as first time home buyers. Mark ensured we were prepared with any questions that may come up as well as additional insight that ultimately help us avoid many "pitfalls". We ended with our dream house and an the addition of a new member to our family, Mark. Our conversation always ended with Mark stating he "has your six", with conviction we can say we have yours.

Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Build Certified

#DFWmark #REALTOR #testimonial #review #NewBuild #FirstTimeBuyer #BiggerBetterNewer #Prosper #CollinCounty #DFW

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Look Who Visited

(Mark M. Hancock /
Some long-eared owls sit in a live oak tree in our yard in Frisco on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Halloween 2020 - Pandemic Edition

(Mark M. Hancock /

We had a socially distant Halloween outside our home in Frisco, Texas on Oct. 31, 2020. While the pandemic continues, so does life. Kids have had a hard year and need something that resembles normal.
We prepared individual treat bags days in advance. Set them out on a 6-foot-long table that block visitors from going up to our house. Everything was held outside, and I wore a surgical mask as part of my costume.
On a separate day, we prepared toys-only treat bags for kiddos that have nut allergies or aren’t allowed sugar. Kids who pointed at our teal pumpkin got to pick from the separate bowl that contains the toys-only treat bags.
Our neighbors were equally responsible with an elaborate candy delivery system and scary home decorations.
While it wasn’t the 350 visitors that we had last year, 150 treat bags were handed out, and we hope there were as many or more smiles.

Happy Pandemic Halloween!

#DFWmark #Halloween #pandemic #treats #candy #inflatables #decorations #lights #Frisco #CollinCounty

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Hurricane Laura Evacuation Center Locations


Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise
Port Arthur police S.W.A.T. teams prepare to secure
the city after Hurricane Rita hit on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2005.

To my friends in Southeast Texas:

According to the Texas Hurricane Center, there are two evacuation centers in DFW. In theory, they will refer you to a hotel where you will get county-provided shelter in single-family rooms to control the possible spread of COVID-19.
The centers have no listed phone numbers, but are located at:

15515 E. IH-20 in Mesquite (near Belt Line Rd)Ennis

Knights of Columbus Hall, 850 IH-45 in Ennis (near Creechville Rd).

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Hopkins Welcome Home!

Photos © Mark M. Hancock /
After selling their house on Friday, the Hopkins family went under contract on this beautiful new-built, upgraded HistoryMaker Homes property at ArrowBrooke in Aubrey on Saturday, April 25, 2020.

#MyClientsRock #NewBuilt #UnderContract #DFWmark #Realtor #Aubrey #DentonCounty #DFW #FineHomes #C21

Monday, August 17, 2020

Paint Your Cabinets

By Mark M. Hancock /
© Mark M. Hancock /

While busily social distancing, you probably noticed the kitchen cabinets. They’re dull. They’re dated. They aren’t having any fun.

It’s time for a party in the pantry!

Wood cabinets are easily painted and hold modern paint. 

Bright white and light gray are popular this year. Any light color is best for the peripheral cabinets to reflect more light and make a tight space appear roomier. Folks often use a darker color on the island. 

This Do It Yourself (DIY) project costs less than most kitchen projects. A relatively good job costs a little more than $100, or a pro can do it for $3,000 or more. If you choose to DIY, it’s important to follow all three steps: Prepare, Prime and Paint.


Remove all doors, drawers and hardware. Separate hardware into boxes or bags for safe keeping.

Clean, degrease and remove dust from surfaces. Grease bleeds through the paint. Dust under the paint looks like sand. Run a vacuum over any areas you sand.

If the cabinets were previously painted, consider stripping the old paint off first. 

Fill any gouges or holes - not hardware holes - with wood putty before painting.

Put sheet plastic over counter surfaces, tape plastic over appliances and tuck some small pieces over cabinet contents. Use high-quality masking tape to avoid stray paint along edges.

(Above) It's recommended - but not required with modern primers - to sand the surface varnish of stained wood surfaces - scratch it up some. If you must correct for a damaged area, sand it a little deeper. Use sandpaper with a 150 to 200 grit. Take the doors outside to sand them. If you choose to sand the cabinet frames, drape plastic sheets around the room openings to contain the dust. Wear a respirator mask and eye protection.

(Right) Remove all doors and drawers from cabinets. Some items can remain to the rear of shelves if you aren't painting the interior. Just cover them with sheet plastic.
(Left) Separate hardware into separate bins or sandwich bags. If hardware is specific to individual places, label the bags with the location on a piece of painters' tape. 

When removing doors and drawer fronts, place a piece of painters' tape near where the door was removed. Write an identifying number on the tape. Place a piece of painters' tape on the door or drawer front with the matching number and location. 

When painting the door, place the tape on the bottom side of an unpainted door. If one side is painted, place the ID tape near the drying door. Until the paint has hardened, tape can pull the paint off. 

Paint the backs of doors first. You can fix those mistakes and few folks will notice the mistakes on the door backs after you paint the fronts. 
(Right) Remove the drawer fronts from the drawers. Sand the surface varnish if desired. You don't want to paint anywhere near the working mechanical portions of the drawers. 

When preparing to prime and paint, you'll want to use inexpensive painters' pyramids like these. They provide the smallest touch to the underside. This approach allows the primer or paint to dry and harden without sticking to plastic or larger risers.
(Left) Mask every area abutting a painted area with high-quality painters' tape (masking tape). Even professional painters ensure they don't overpaint onto other surfaces. Clean lines are vital when the work is done. This is how they happen. 

Use a razor knife and scissors to cut the painters' tape precisely. It's impossible to accurately place a 20-foot long section of tape on the first try. Instead, tape the corner and unroll a little at a time as you work your way across an edge. If it gets off line, there's less to fix. Back up to where it was on line and start again from there. If you must, cut the tape and start again from where you cut the tape. 

Use painters' tape with thin plastic sheeting attached over built-in appliances to protect against drips. 

Use a sponge sander - with or without grooves - to scuff up varnished surfaces as needed. 
(Right) The shelves only need to be masked where the paint might slop over. 

If the interior of the shelves won't be painted, push the contents to the back and cover with plastic sheeting.

If the interior needs paint, remove everything. Then, start from the back and work forward to avoid painted elbows and forearms. 

Cover all fixed appliances with plastic sheeting. Move mobile appliances such as the refrigerator out of the way to avoid paint splashes.

Modern primers can bond to varnish. It’s still a good idea to lightly sand varnished surfaces to allow primer to get a better grip. However, if you pick between sanding or primer, choose the primer.

Use the best primer available. It covers many mistakes and sets up the paint for success. It should be about as thick as a runny milkshake. 

If you have sawhorses, save your back some pain by painting cabinet doors up high. It makes it easier to see what you're doing and avoids some strain on your knees and back. If you plan to keep the sawhorses clean, drape a plastic sheet over them.

When a brush or roller is not in use, set or wrap it with aluminum foil to keep the paint from setting and hardening on the surface. 

(Right) If you choose not to sand the cabinet frames, high-quality primer bonds to the stained varnish. There was no noticeable difference between the sanded doors and the unsanded frame.

As stated on the new home construction post, the goal is for it to look correct from 6 feet away under normal light

(Left) Place painters' tape on every surface that must stay unpainted. Time spent masking the area will be rewarded in the end results. Tape is inside the island box, around the base, under the granite counter, and around the disconnected drawer slide. 

One drawer slide was removed and the other was only disconnected and covered in tape. Since this is a non-visible area, it's best to leave the slide back connected and cover the front with tape to avoid problems remounting the drawer slides.

Have plastic sheeting on the ground as you move around with primer or paint.

A normal kitchen requires one or two gallons of paint. Buy the best quality acrylic latex-based paint. It’s durable and easy to clean. You’ll want semi-gloss or satin. 

Push paint to the corners and into shapes with a foam or bristle brush. A 1.5” touch-up pad brush works extremely well. Then roll over the large surfaces in a tight “W” pattern with a foam roller in a small tray. 

This is a great multi-day project while on a budget. Let the paint completely dry and harden to avoid redoing the entire project. Cut masking tape with a razor knife to ensure clean edges.

(Above) Try to select the perfect color the first time. Purchase a sample bottle and paint a poster board or block of wood to test the color. 

Even after you paint it, if it's the wrong color, it's best to catch it quickly while the paint is setting. Then, find the right color before you reattach the doors and drawers. 

(Left) For cabinets, use a foam paintbrush or a 1.5" cover-up brush - like this one - to get paint into the corners and shapes first. Then use a 4" foam roller for the larger surface areas. The brush handles are reusable. Pull off the heads inside a trash bag. An inexpensive and disposable paint tray makes cleanup easy. 
(Right) After painting the cabinet frames, use a razor knife along the edge of the painters' tape to ensure a clean edge. 

Latex paint pulls out of shape and leaves a ragged edge if it isn't cut free. If something goes wrong, strip paint back onto the wood, apply new tape and repaint. Clean lines can be salvaged. 

(Left) Paint is likely to drip inside the cabinet hardware holes. While nobody sees it, paint drippings interfere with the proper function of recessed hinges. This paint must be removed. 

If you have a rotary tool, grab a sanding head out of the kit, attach it to a cordless drill and grind the stray paint out of the hinge hole. 

You can use the same rotary sander on other mistakes, but it's likely to cause more problems than it is worth. Keep this option for problems that need major repairs. 
Expect to miss spots. Once it dries, look carefully at all the surfaces and especially at the corners. If there's some primer or wood showing, use a small foam brush to push paint into those places or cover the outside.

This pass can be done from a sample bottle or from a tiny touch up tray. Always keep a piece of plastic sheeting under any open paint to avoid problems. 

Have a container of treated disposable paint cleaner wipes and roll of paper towels nearby during the project. If a can of paint spills on an uncovered tile floor, fast action can save it. If the paint sets, it becomes a bigger problem. 

The completed project makes your kitchen brighter and appears roomier. Unfortunately, it doesn't help with social distancing from the refrigerator. 

I've Got Your Six!

While you're here...
You’ll want to see and compared the weekly Market Watch posts. They allow you to check the pulse of the DFW real estate market. With historically low rates, now is an ideal time for both buyers and sellers.

I tracked down each new home builder and their developments in the communities surrounding Frisco, Texas. Let me know what you want and where you want it, and I’m happy to help locate your ideal new home! My services are almost always at no cost to buyers. They’re factored into the selling price. Talk to me before you visit a new home builder. Don’t pay for services you don’t get! 

Meanwhile, I made a pre-listing video: "Let's Sell Your House!". It explains my proven marketing plan to sell your property as quickly as possible and execute a smooth transaction. If you haven’t seen me or heard my voice in a while, here’s your opportunity. 

 I also have two versions of what house sellers should expect. The bullet-point version is hyperlinked to the detailed version. The long version should answer almost any questions you’ll have.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Let's Sell Your House!

Video presentation by Mark M. Hancock /

When you're ready to sell your house in DFW - especially Frisco, Collin County or Denton County - I'm here to help! Please watch this pre-listing presentation. It tells you about my proven marketing strategy to sell your house as quickly as possible and execute a smooth transaction.

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock

#DFWmark #REALTOR #Frisco #DFW #HomeSales #seller #listing #SellMyHome #HouseForSale #video

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Double Closing Day

video, photos and listing by Mark M. Hancock / ©

Double Closing Day! I couldn't be happier for my Clients!

We got multiple offers over asking price and sold their home in Fort Worth. They did everything perfectly. Now they have a beautiful new-build home in Aubrey.

Although this journey is complete, I’ve Still Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock
REALTOR, GRI, MRP, Certified New Home Sales

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Pandemic Help

Mark M. Hancock / ©
I hope the information on my other blog helps you, your loved ones and associates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if you're surviving the pandemic with only inconveniences and Zoom meetings, you are very likely to know someone who can use the information listed below.
Since you may not know who needs help, please share this page on your social media to help your friends.

Jump to:
Suicide Prevention
Family Crisis Center / Domestic Abuse

Federal Stimulus Packages
• Federal Stimulus Checks
• Unemployment Benefits
• Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
• Food programs
• Utility, Prescription and Medical Help
• Veterans Administration

Small Business Administration Loans
• Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Loan Advance
• EIDL Emergency Grant

Pandemic Mortgage Relief Options
• Health and Welfare Assistance
• Mortgage and Rent Programs
• Protections for renters
• Where to get additional help

Pets (food and veterinary assistance)
401K Disbursements
IRS (tax relief)
Student loans
Report price gouging

DFW city and county websites 

Stay safe! Stay healthy!
I’ve Got Your Six!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Award-Winning Photos

photos, soundstripe, video by Mark M. Hancock / ©
photos by Mark M. Hancock / ©, The Beaumont Enterprise and/or The Dallas Morning News

This video features International, national, state and regional award-winning photos I created during my 25-year career as a professional photojournalist.

Enough for now,

Monday, January 13, 2020

Wheelchair Frustration

© Mark M. Hancock /

A basketball player expresses his frustration at missing a shot during a 3-on-3 tournament in Richardson in 1997.

1st Place, Feature / Single, NPPA Region 8 monthly clip contest

I've had this print hanging on my wall for years, but I never scanned it for some unknown reason. It was my first professional National Press Photographers Association monthly clip contest win. Unfortunately, I don't have the caption information anymore.

I scanned the image to include it in an upcoming "Award Winners" video slideshow of my work. I also plan to make various portfolio slideshows (PJ categories) since I pulled down my portfolio website when I became a Realtor.

My 2020 plan is to teach FREE photo classes to large groups of adults (I need a less-dangerous hobby). If you are in an organization in Collin County or southeast Denton County that would like to learn more about SLR photography or iPhonography, please call 214-862-7212, text or email. My information is also located on

Enough for now,

Monday, October 21, 2019

FREE DFWmark Halloween Cards

video and soundstripe by Mark M. Hancock / ©

These are limited-edition, laminated Halloween cards for 2019. They are build-it-yourself skeletons!

Want a card for FREE?
I'll give away these cards to the first 100 proper requests.
Please send your full name, phone number and postal mail address via email to

Must be 18 or older and live in the continental United States of America. One card limit per mailing address.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Open House on Mitchell in McKinney TODAY

Photos and Soundtrack by Mark M. Hancock /

Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Lease Townhouse - NEW TO MARKET
7201 Mitchell Dr. in McKinney

Includes refrigerator, washer, dryer.
Low maintenance, Frisco ISD, pool view, ideal location.

This 2,018 sq. ft. premium-location townhouse in McKinney has 3 bedrooms, 2 and a half baths, a pocket office and a flex/game room with upgrades throughout.
HOA grounds maintenance makes this stunning property ideal for travelers. Premium end unit was built in 2017 and inside the Frisco school district. It overlooks the community center, fountains and pool. Kitchen is a chef’s dream with stainless steel appliances that include a refrigerator and gas cook top. Wood floors are in living room, kitchen and pocket office. A half bath and garage finish the ground floor. Two secondary bedrooms are split from the master suite. Washer and dryer are included in a utility closet off the flex-game room. Master suite has a huge walk-in closet, dual sinks, beautiful shower and separate vanities. Pets considered case by case.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Hurricane Season Starts Tomorrow

Hurricane season starts tomorrow. If you know anyone in hurricane zones please check on them and ensure they have evacuation plans. I covered several hurricanes as a photojournalist. Although my advice in this post is mainly for other photojournalists, there's some good general information mixed in with the other info.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

iPhonography 101 - Storage

Previously, this iPhonography series discussed the camera and editing images for color balance and tone.
Today, we'll look at how to store the images in the iPhone for quick retrieval through albums and archival safety through downloads and file name conventions. 

If there is still storage space on your iPhone, don’t waste your time looking through the images to delete a few – just save them all. They often have little details you will need later. They may let you know the who, what, when, where, why and how of a better image that doesn’t contain the same information.
I’ve written a post titled, “Take pictures of signs and rosters.” The point is to get additional background information to go with the photos of value. Don’t delete these until they are saved on a computer or in the cloud. One day, they may be vital to complete your family story.
In general, I NEVER delete ANY images other than completely useless shots.

What is completely useless?
A random palm of the hand or inside of a pocket happens from not turning the camera app off after a photo. Some images are completely black or completely white. Some are nothing but blur or grossly out of focus.
If it has ANY use, it isn’t useless.

Library sorting
When it’s time to make images, make images. Don’t sort the images while you are prepared to make images. Check occasionally to ensure the images you need were captured. Then, make some more!
As images are made, they’re stored in the iPhone’s library. These can be sorted later when you have time and nothing interesting to shoot. If you’re waiting for an oil change or traveling by air, it’s a perfect time to sort images.
From the Camera App of the iPhone, hit the library box (lower left corner). The last image will appear.
If it appears with black borders, tap once to show options. If it appears with white borders and options, tap once to show black borders.
It’s easiest to sort in assess image quality with black borders, but images can only be favorited and sorted with a white border. Each person must find their own level of comfort switching back and forth between the two modes.

Sorting through photos
Open the photo Library. You can start immediately editing by swiping left and right through the photos. Or, you can jump to different parts of your Library by selecting “All Photos” and swiping up and down until you find the area where you want to focus. Tap on a photo icon and start swiping left and right through those images.
When there is time to sort images, you need a plan. Be efficient and don’t waste your own time. Choose your Favorites, add those to folders and stay organized.

Favorite and edit down
The first edit adds selected images to the Favorites album.
With a photo in full screen, hit the heart button at the bottom of the screen for any images you like. This will immediately add them in your “Favorites” folder.
After you’ve made a pass through the entire library, go to the Favorites folder. Next, compare similar images and select the better of similar images. Un-heart the lesser of the two. If you change your mind, you can return and re-heart until you leave the album or put the iPhone in sleep mode.
It’s OK to keep two similar shots as long as you unselected four others. You can compare those later.

Create albums
Once you’ve selected the best images in your iPhone’s library, you need to add them to specific albums for easy access. You can make albums for different categories: cities, subjects, dates, etc.
The image is still located in the same place in your main library. The Albums streamline your search later. If you have business photos or photos of your dog that you like to show, the best images are only a few clicks away.
Open the Library box, tap the screen to switch to the white selection border on the screen. Click “All Photos” in the top right. Click “Albums” on the bottom of the screen.
At the top of the Albums page is a + icon. Tap the + to create a new album. From the pop-up options, select “New Album.” Name the new album in the pop-up window and hit Save. Continue to create albums for major categories.

Don’t DELETE from Albums
CAUTION: If you “Delete” an image from an Album, it DELETES it from your Library. If you no longer want a photo in an album but want to keep the image, hit the Trash icon, and choose “Remove from Album” instead of “Delete.” Then, the image remains in your Library rather than moving to the trash.

Social Media albums
If you manage your own social media, you may want to create some specific workflow albums. These include:
·         To edit (see the iPhone editing post
·         Ready to post (these have been toned and color corrected enough to post)
·         Future posts (these are either scheduled through services or held until a specific time)
·         Holidays or specific days (can be long- or short-term storage for future holidays or events)
As you complete the tasks or posts, you can remove photos from the albums to stay organized.

Add to Albums
Rather than using the word “Copy” or “Move,” I’ve used the word “Add.” This is because the photos aren’t copied (duplicated) or moved (physically relocated) to any albums. There is still only one photo. It’s located in the Library. However, a link and icon (alias or shortcut) of that photo are added in as many albums as you choose.

Select from Favorites
Once all appropriate albums are created, click on the Favorites album. The images you chose before (by hitting the heart icon) should be in this album now.
Tap the “Select” option in the top-right of the screen. Next, tap on any photos you want to add to one particular album. A blue circle with a white check mark will appear on the photo icon. Continue to select all photos that will move to the same album.
Tap on the photo again to unselect it.
Once all images are selected, tap “Add To” at the bottom-center of the screen. The “My Albums” page will appear. You’ll also see the number of images you’re about to move near the top of the screen. Locate the specific album where you want to add these photos. Tap once on the icon for that album. You’ll see an animation of the photos being added to the specific album.

Remove from Favorites
Once an image has been added to another album from the Favorites album, it should be removed from the Favorites album to stay organized. The heart icon can be removed from the photo in any album (Camera Roll, Favorites, or a specific album), and the photo will be removed from the Favorites folder.

Download often
Download images from your phone to your computer frequently to avoid accidentally deleting images. They’re also far easier to organize on your computer.
Consider setting up an automatic cloud storage system. Ensure the images are safely stored in at least one secure location (two is better) BEFORE deleting an image from your phone.

Make duplicates
Don’t make any changes to originals that can’t be undone. Once on the computer, you’ll need to copy images to make any changes to the copied version and leave the original as it was.
To easily sort through images that you have worked on, keep those separate from the original files by placing them in a different folder.

File name conventions
For color-corrected and other important photos, give them specific names. Start the name with the date the image was CREATED. Because computers sort differently than we write, here is the pattern to use: For May 20, 2019 the file name should start 190520 (19=year, 05=month, 20=day).
Then, possibly add a short term for a group of images. “NOLA” for images made in New Orleans, Louisiana. Finally, something specific about the image such as “bridge sunset.”
The finished file name would be “190520 NOLA bridge sunset”

What stays on the phone?
The biggest advantage of keeping any photo on a phone is access. Those images are in the device’s memory. They can be referenced quickly at any time without need of a Wi-Fi or cellular signal.
Your permanent images should be set aside and easy to access in specific albums. If the image isn’t important enough to set aside, post it online and store it on your computer.
You should have your folders set up by now. You’ll know which images you want to have handy forever. Many of your favorite images are probably also on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). So, you don’t always need to carry the full-size versions with you.

Delete after saving
When the photos on your phone are safely saved elsewhere (preferably with a second external-drive backup), it’s time to delete the non-essential images from your phone. It’s easier to manage a few images rather than an entire life history.
Once you confirm that the images are safely on your external hard drive(s), select those images in your iPhone folder and hit delete. Now, there’s more space for new images.

Monday, May 20, 2019

iPhonography 101 – Editing

Last time, we talked about the basic functions and some tricks of the iPhone camera to maximize the quality of the images you make. Today, we’ll focus on improving images through in-app editing software after images are made.
Unlike Photoshop edits, iPhones give photographers a Plan B and Plan C for mistakes.

Plan B: When you complete your first set of edits and/or crops, the iPhone will create and save a new image with a different name. Your original photo will no longer appear in your phone’s library, but it is still there. When you download your images, you’ll see the original plus another file that contains the edits.
However, if you DELETE the corrected photo from your phone, the original (unfiltered) image will also be deleted. I’ll explain later, but NEVER delete an image from your phone unless it is backed up elsewhere, or it’s completely useless (a photo of the inside of your pocket).

Plan C: If you completely mess up a photo with too many filters, it isn’t a problem. Close the edit. Reopen the same photo and press the “Revert” option on the bottom-right of the screen. You’ll get a pop-up screen that states “Revert to original will remove all edits made to this photo. This action cannot be undone.”
Then, choose “Revert to Original.” You’re back to where you started, and the image is uninjured.

Professional photographers learn to “crop in camera.” We include only items we want to see in the frame and/or use the edge of the frame to remove items we don’t want to see.
However, sometimes we don’t have the option to do much more than point-and-shoot before the moment is gone. In those instances, we can use a digital crop to make the image look better (banish the portable toilet beside your friend).
A strong caution about software crops: You will lose detail, and the image will suffer substantially if you digitally crop it. Your goal should be to use every pixel of the frame. If you must crop down, do so sparingly. iPhones are good at hiding their flaws – until you crop. Then, every flaw, interpolation and “invented” or “rounded” pixel becomes obvious.

With the selected photo open, select Edit in the top-right corner of the screen. Near the bottom-left of the screen the crop box will appear beside the word “Cancel” (it looks like a square with curved arrows). Tap the crop box.
This creates a bounding box around thee image. You will also notice a portion of a circle under the bottom of the bounding box with compass degrees for fine-scale rotations. At the bottom-left of the active area is a box with a curved arrow to control orientation. At the bottom right of the active area is a box with additional shaded boxes to represent crop formats.

When an image is first open in the crop area, the iPhone will try to help the photographer by applying an autorotation and crop. It selects a horizontal or vertical line as a “key,” then it rotates & crops the rest of the image to match the key line.
Depending on your shooting style, this is useful. If you’re very deliberate, you’ll need to undo this by either tapping “Reset” (back to zero degrees) or swiping left or right on the rotation wheel under the photo until it is to your desired position.

This is the most basic edit. iPhones are good at detecting horizontal camera orientation (if the camera is horizontal and perpendicular to the ground). However, if the camera is used to photograph something flat on a table (parallel to the ground), it will default to vertical orientation.
If the captured image isn’t in the desired orientation, it’s simple to fix.
With the photo open, select Edit in the top-right corner of the screen. Near the bottom-left of the screen the crop box will appear. Tap the crop box.
If the image autorotates, see if it’s OK or Reset the image to zero degrees.
The orientation box will appear in the bottom-left corner of the active area. This allows the photographer to rotate the image in 90-degree rotations. If the image is upside down, press the box twice (a 180-degree total).
If direction isn’t vital (food photos), it’s often best to rotate the image until the dominant light source appears to come from the top of the frame.
If this is the only change, hit Done.

Fine-scale rotation
As mentioned above, this is used to make subtle image alignments. The image can be rotated slightly or severely by swiping left or right over the semi-circular dial at the bottom of the bounding box.
As a genera rule, it’s wise to choose one line as a “key” within the frame and orient the remainder of the image off the key line. Often this is the horizon or a vertical line of a wall or beam.
Sometimes, photographers create visual tension by choosing a harsh, perpendicular rotation.
If this is the only change, hit Done.

When dealing with mobile social media, you can either choose the crop or settle for whatever the media platform does to your image. I prefer to make proactive choices whenever possible.
Click on the size button, the available options are Original, Square or the ratios 2:3, 3:5, 3:4, 4:5, 5:7, 9:16.
Most social media platforms will use a 4:5 crop on your image. By choosing this option first before sending to social media, the photographer chooses what is cut or remains in the image area.
Instagram prefers square images. However, it will generally accept 4:5 single-image posts. Multi-image posts will all be cropped to square (or the special template used).
Again, the photographer wants to be in control of the crop. If a photographer only shoots with Instagram in mind, s/he may as well shoot in square format to have better edge control. If the image will be on several social media platforms, it’s best to make images with the full frame, then crop to 4:5 for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Once those are posted, crop square for Instagram. At this point, there is the square version of the image, plus the original. You can download both to your computer or you can “Revert” to eliminate the square version.
9:16 is a widescreen cinematic crop. Use this crop to make custom YouTube covers for your videos from the field. It can be replaced later if needed.

Non-standard crops
The bounding box around the image can be moved to make non-standard crops. This is useful to deliberately crop something out of the frame or crop to change frame orientation. If the image will be emailed or used in a non-standardized location, this is the preferred crop.
However, for standardized media platforms, an additional crop size requirement may be applied. Once the original crop is made, a standard size can be applied to the remainder of the image. This may require additional crops until only the desired portion of the image remains.

Edit Suggestions
Over time, Apple’s basic iPhone image software has become extremely good. The automatic mode is good enough for most people. However, it is designed to present “vanilla” images, they’re good but not amazing without something else.
Luckily, there’s a full editing suite available in the photo library.
With any library photo active on the screen, choose Edit at the bottom of the screen. The bottom of the screen will now show “Cancel,” a crop symbol, a triple ball for filters (see above), a “radio dial” for settings and “Done.”
Select the radio dial.
You will see a stack of options. They are Light, Color and B&W (black & white).

Light Edits
Choose the toggle button on the far right of the screen in the Light section. You will see the following seven options: Brilliance, Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, Brightness, Contrast and Black point.
Each of these can be individually adjusted for up 2.3 positive stops (lighter) in 1/5th stop increments, and 2.3 negative stops (darker) in 1/5th stop increments. Please adjust as necessary.
In photography, a “stop” is one level of light. In most photos, there is a “dynamic range” of 5 stops where 1 = black with detail and 5 = white with detail.
For my particular shooting style, my Go-To settings are typically: negative 2/5th highlights, positive 1/5th black point, and a touch of Brilliance if needed to open the mid-tones.

Color Edits
Choose the toggle button on the far right of the screen in the Color section. You will see a sliding bar of color options. This sliding bar makes changes to several background options simultaneously to speed editing. However, it becomes a hammer when a tweezer might be more appropriate.
If I’m in a hurry and the image is close to correct, I will often start with two frames worth of positive color shift to make the colors pop. This is often too much, so I back down a little if the colors start to overpower the scene.
When a more subtle approach is needed, press the three lines on the left side of the screen above the sliding scale. You will see the following three options: Saturation, Contrast and Cast.
Saturation is the intensity of the colors.
Contrast is the difference between light and dark.
Cast is the color balance from cold (shades of cyan and blue) to warm (shades of red and yellow).
Most often, the sliding scale will handle the Saturation and Contrast. However, you may need to manually adjust the Cast depending on where and/or when the image was made.
If the image was made in a completely shaded outdoor area, it is probably a cool scene that needs to be warmed some.
If the image was taken in tungsten, halogen or sunset light, it could be very warm (red to orange). So, you might need to add some negative cast to remove some of the orange tint. But the iPhone software probably tried to make the light “normal” colored by adding blue/cyan. So, it may be best to add warm light back into the scene to make it look like it did during the actual sunset.
The opposite holds true when shooting blue flowers or sky. The software may try to remove the cyan/blue shades. It’s best to slide the Cast settings to the negative side to make the cast cooler (blue/cyan).
The iPhone color and light balance options are limited, but better than depending on the camera software alone. If you want to learn more about color balance, temperatures and more, please see my blog post “BalanceThe Light.”

B&W Edits
B&W = Black & White (grayscale)
When you first tap the button, the image remains in color, but you’ll see a gray sliding scale at the bottom of the screen.
Slide through the entire scale. It will go through a series of grayscale version equating to Red, Green and Blue filters.
You can make additional changes by tapping on the three lines on the bottom-right of the viewing area. Under B&W, you’ll now see Intensity, Neutrals, Tone and Grain
Intensity adjusts color filtration separate from the other options to shift light emphasis to specific areas of the image.
Neutrals adjust the middle gray tones toward the lighter and darker ends of the spectrum.
Tone adjusts the contrast or “flatness” of the image.
Grain adjusts the amount of artificial film grain introduced into the image. Don’t use it.

Enough for now,

Please see Part 3: Storage