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Matthew Stephenson
Works at RentItToday
Attended University of Kentucky
Lives in Fort Thomas, KY
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Matthew Stephenson

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American Woodcock - Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, OH

1st Time Bird For Me......
These Woodcocks were spotted by someone with a large spotting scope a fair distance away in extremely thiick brush. I got on my knees and found a small whole through it all in order to capture this shot.

What made the shot exciting (for me) is that when I first viewed the scene in the scop there was only one bird present...the one in the front. Since it was resting and had it's beak tucked away you couldnt really get the full effect of the bird.

As I was trying to find and focus on the bird through all the trees and brush through my camera the person viewing it through the spotting scope mentioned there was additional movement. Just as I got focus of the Woodcock the 2nd one came walking across the back of the scene which was great as was able to capture a shot of the beak. It was luck really as the 2nd bird just walked by that one time and the first one did move as long as I viewed the scene.

Google's Photo app made an Auto Awesome image of the event:
https://plus.google.com/photos/+MatthewStephenson/albums/6149719344161060545/6149812586016087090?pid=6149812586016087090&oid=117928469497963684829

About the American Woodcock:
Superbly camouflaged against the leaf litter, the brown-mottled American Woodcock walks slowly along the forest floor, probing the soil with its long bill in search of earthworms. Unlike its coastal relatives, this plump little shorebird lives in young forests and shrubby old fields across eastern North America. Its cryptic plumage and low-profile behavior make it hard to find... Read more from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's site:
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Woodcock/id

Woodcock photograph is from my 2015 Magee Marsh Bird Photography Album:
https://plus.google.com/photos/+MatthewStephenson/albums/6149719344161060545

#woodcock #mageemarsh #biggestweek #birdphotography #birdwatching #birds #birding
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Magee Marsh is a wonderful jumping off point to cross Lake Erie in the Spring bird migration. Nice picture.
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Matthew Stephenson

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Northern Parula (Setophaga americana) - Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, OH

Photographed this Northern Parula along the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area's Boardwalk during the Biggest Week of American Birding. Although there breeding range covers the area I live, this was another 1st time ever warbler species for me to observe.

About Northern Parulas
A small warbler of the upper canopy, the Northern Parula can be found in two rather distinct populations. The southern population nests primarily in hanging Spanish moss, while the northern population uses the similar-looking old man's beard lichen.... Learn More at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website:
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Parula/id

This male Northern Parula photo is from my 2015 Magee Marsh Bird Photography Album:
https://plus.google.com/photos/+MatthewStephenson/albums/6149719344161060545

©2015 Matthew Stephenson, All Rights Reserved
#birds #birdphotography #NorthernParula #warbler #warblers #birdsinfocus #birdsgallery #nature #wildlife #wildlifephotography #naturephotography #birds4all #birdwatching #birding #hqspbirds #biggestweek #birdphotographs
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Thanks +HQSP Birds​ and +Dilip Mundkur​
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Eastern Kingbird - Cold Spring, KY

Down the hatch... Several Eastern Kingbirds have been feasting on the insects that are attracted to the mulberries along with gulping down mulberries inbetween.

From Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
Eastern Kingbirds often perch on wires in open areas and either sally out for flying insects or flutter slowly over the tops of grasses. They spend winters in South American forests, where they eat mainly fruit....  Learn more:  http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Kingbird/id

Eastern Kingbird photo is from my Bird Photography Album: https://plus.google.com/photos/+MatthewStephenson/albums/5890736358902064481

#birds  #birdphotography  #EasternKingbird  #birdsinfocus #birdsgallery​​  #nature  #wildlife  #wildlifephotography #naturephotography  #birds4all  #birdwatching  #birding  #hqspbirds #mulberries  
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Thanks +Cora Lee​ and +dano fahmi​
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Orchard Oriole (1st Year male) - Cold Spring, KY

1st summer male Orchard Orioles often throw me off when im in the field and I initially catch a glimpse of one. I always think ... "what was that??".

I like how they have such a distinct color pattern (albeit one that often has me puzzled until I get a clear view).

This Orchard Oriole photo is from my Bird Photography Album: https://plus.google.com/photos/+MatthewStephenson/albums/5890736358902064481

©2015 Matthew Stephenson, All Rights Reserved

#birds #birdphotography #OrchardOriole #birdsinfocus #birdsgallery​​ #nature #wildlife #wildlifephotography #naturephotography #birds4all #birdwatching #birding #hqspbirds 
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Thanks +HQSP Birds and +Andy Brown it's always an honor to have one of my photographs shared on your page.
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Blackburnian Warbler (female) - Magee Marsh, OH

The female Blackburnian Warbler displays similar colors and patterns as the male, however they are not nearly as bright. They have a light brown color where the male displays black and they usually do not have a distinct center orange/yellow stripe on the top of their heads.

This female Blackburnian Warbler was photographed along the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area's Boardwalk.

One of the great things about seeing the spring warbler migration at Magee Marsh is the ability to observe so many different birds of the same species. As a result of seeing a variety of mature males, females, 1st summer males, etc one really gets to know a given warbler species. Given how difficult 'local / familiar' warblers can be to observe in the summer, I found this to be a really amazing part of the experience.

Link to photo of a Mature Male Blackburnian Warbler:
https://plus.google.com/+MatthewStephenson/posts/iF7oJSnpsYV

Link to photo of a 1st Summer Male Blackburnian Warbler:
https://plus.google.com/+MatthewStephenson/posts/dngJFiNE2ye

All Photographs are from my 2015 Magee Marsh Bird Photography Album:
https://plus.google.com/photos/+MatthewStephenson/albums/6149719344161060545

©2015 Matthew Stephenson, All Rights Reserved
#birds #birdphotography #blackburnianwarbler #femaleblackburnianwarbler #birdsinfocus #birdsgallery​​ #nature #wildlife #wildlifephotography #naturephotography #birds4all #birdwatching #birding #hqspbirds   #mageemarsh   #biggestweek  
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Agree +Helen Natsioks ... the females are quite beautiful even if the colors they display are muted compared to their male counterparts.
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Matthew Stephenson

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Algorithm designed to find beautiful photographs ... great read...

Thanks to +Yonatan Zunger for sharing and thanks to +Eric Enge for resharing.
Yonatan Zunger originally shared to Today I Learned::
 
One of the biggest challenges in information retrieval (the branch of computer science that includes search and content recommendation) is how to find good content which humans haven't already found. To date, the most reliable signals have been other human judgments: for example, PageRank is a measure of how "good" a site is based on links people have made to that site (with the challenge being how to separate "meaningful" and trustworthy links from the rest), and collaborative filtering is based on what other users have chosen (with the challenge being how to find users with similar enough taste to be relevant).

The challenge is that, when new material shows up on the scene, you don't yet have any human interactions -- and quite often, good material, things people would love, simply goes unnoticed and never builds up the interaction signals which help. To detect quality in these things requires understanding the content itself, and the aspects of it which matter to people.

There are several hard aspects to this. One is simply understanding the content at the right granularity: "the color of the top-left pixel" or "the frequency of the word 'whenever'" are too fine-grained to give us a hint about whether people will like something, so we need to be able to group the content into more meaningful structures. For images, that might be "an image of a face in 3/4-profile," a certain color balance or contrast, a perspective or a cropping, and advances in image recognition in the past few years have (finally) made it possible to reliably identify such features. For text, it's much harder: there isn't yet even a clear idea of what features both could be measured about text and determine people's tastes. (How do you measure "intellectually meaty" or "hinting at scandal?")

This paper has used the recent advances in image processing, together with recent advances in AI in general, to get a sense of which pictures people will like. It started by taking several thousand images, and having them rated by humans for quality; that was used as "ground truth." Then, those thousands of images are analyzed into meaningful features, and a neural network is trained to find patterns of image features which predict human taste.

This is what neural networks, and other kinds of "supervised" machine learning systems, do in general: they take as inputs a bunch of signals, and combine them using a large number of parameters -- the "weights" -- to produce predictions of some values that you want to measure. The weights are set by taking a large number of test examples ("golden data" or "ground truth") with known values of both the signals and the test values; weights are chosen ("trained") to maximize the quality of the system's predictions for this data. To make sure that the training doesn't just teach it to recognize those specific examples, the golden data is randomly split into two groups; one is used for training, and then it's tested against the other group to make sure that the predictions with the trained weights are good. If they are, then you have a model which can predict -- given any set of measured signals -- the truth values.

In this case, the signals are these features of the image, measured by a second machine learning system; the quantity being predicted is whether people will like it. Because these are all "content-based signals" -- that is, they're based on the contents of the image, and not on people's responses to it -- the resulting model can be applied to any image. 

The team then applied this model to a set of 9 million images from Flickr with fewer than five "favorites." They tested the quality of its picks by having human raters compare that result set with the set of popular images on Flickr; the result was excellent, with its "hidden gems" scoring statistically the same as the most popular images on the site.

I would expect a lot more work on related techniques over the next few years, and for this to have a significant impact on the way that content recommendation is done. The main upshot will be that more little-known works get the spotlight they deserve -- something critical, as more and more people are creating things of value that they want the world to see. 

h/t +Wayne Radinsky and +Daniel Estrada
Beautiful images are not always popular ones, which is where the CrowdBeauty algorithm can help, say computer scientists.
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The world's last remaining Yangtze giant softshell turtle has been artificially inseminated in the hope she can produce offspring before she dies. Scientists said the fate of the world's most endangered turtle species now laid on a single 100 year-old female held in captivity at a zoo in China. -…
The world's last remaining Yangtze giant softshell turtle has been artificially inseminated in the hope she can produce offspring before she dies
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Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) - Cold Spring, KY

The smallest of North America’s orioles, it gleans insects from foliage and builds hanging, pouchlike nests during its brief breeding season, and then heads back to Central America for the rest of the year. Orchard Orioles also feed on fruit and nectar in orchards, gardens, and elsewhere.... Read More at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Site:
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Orchard_Oriole/id

Orchard Oriole photo is from my Bird Photograph Album:
https://plus.google.com/photos/+MatthewStephenson/albums/5890736358902064481

©2015 Matthew Stephenson, All Rights Reserved

#birds #birdphotography #OrchardOriole #birdsinfocus #birdsgallery​​ #nature #wildlife #wildlifephotography #naturephotography #birds4all #birdwatching #birding #hqspbirds #birdphotographs #naturephotos
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Thank you +HQSP Birds and thanks for sharing my photograph +Andy Brown 
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Baltimore Oriole - Cold Spring, KY

This Baltimore Oriole photo is from my Bird Photography Album: https://plus.google.com/photos/+MatthewStephenson/albums/5890736358902064481

©2015 Matthew Stephenson, All Rights Reserved

#birds #birdphotography #baltimoreoriole #birdsinfocus #birdsgallery​​ #nature #wildlife #wildlifephotography #naturephotography #birds4all #birdwatching #birding #hqspbirds
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Perfect capture. !!

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Orchard Oriole - Cold Spring, KY

Orchard Oriole eating mulberries.

From my Bird Photography Album: https://plus.google.com/photos/+MatthewStephenson/albums/5890736358902064481

©2015 Matthew Stephenson, All Rights Reserved

#birds #birdphotography #OrchardOriole #birdsinfocus #birdsgallery​​ #nature #wildlife #wildlifephotography #naturephotography #birds4all #birdwatching #birding #hqspbirds
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very nice I like it. thank you/ do another one.
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Cape May Warbler (Setophaga tigrina) - Magee Marsh Wildlife Area

Cape May Warblers were everywhere throughout the middle of the 3rd week in May 2015 along the Boardwalk at Magee Marsh.

Like many of the warblers I saw during my time at the "Biggest Week in America Birding' this was a first time I'd ever seen Cape May Warblers.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology...
The Cape May Warbler breeds across the boreal forest of Canada and the northern United States, where the fortunes of its populations are largely tied to the availability of spruce budworms, its preferred food. Striking in appearance but poorly understood, the species spends its winters in the West Indies, collecting nectar with its unique curled, semitubular tongue... Learn More: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Cape_May_Warbler/id

From my Magee Marsh Bird Photography Album: https://plus.google.com/photos/+MatthewStephenson/albums/6149719344161060545

©2015 Matthew Stephenson, All Rights Reserved
#birds #birdphotography #capemaywarbler #birdsinfocus #birdsgallery #nature #wildlife #wildlifephotography #naturephotography #birds4all #birdwatching #birding #hqspbirds #biggestweek
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Cute!
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Blackburnian Warbler (1st Year Male) - Magee Marsh, OH

Although the colors of this 1st year male are muted compared to a fully mature male he's still noticeably more colorful than a female and well on his way to displaying full color.

Link to a fully colored, mature male Blackburnian Warbler I photographed a couple days before: https://plus.google.com/+MatthewStephenson/posts/iF7oJSnpsYV

In addition to being more brightly colored, one way that helps distinguish an immature male from a female is the presence of a distinct orange/yellow center head strip. As you can see this bird displays a bold center orange stripe.

©2015 Matthew Stephenson, All Rights Reserved
#birds #birdphotography #blackburnianwarbler #birdsinfocus #birdsgallery #nature #wildlife #wildlifephotography #naturephotography #birds4all #birdwatching #birding #hqspbirds #blackburnianwarbler
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Thanks +Natalie K., that was one of the reasons I liked this photo (besides being a good example of a first year male blackburnian warbler)...i often find it difficult to get a sharp / good looking image of a bird straight on. I really liked the detail on to the right of the beak in the face around the eye.
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  • RentItToday
    Owner, COO, 2006 - present
    At Rent It Today, I work with a great team dedicated to making renting simple for consumers while helping rental companies brand, promote, and market their inventory & services. Search and find rentals, advertise anything for rent, and/or market your rental company at www.RentItToday.com (google.com/+RentItToday)
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Fort Thomas, KY
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Cincinnati, OH - Northern Kentucky - Cold Spring, KY - Dayton, Ohio - Lexington, Kentucky - San Antonio, Texas - Montgomery, Alabama - Beavercreek, OH
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Rent It Today 5809 Alexandria Pike Cold Spring Ky, 41076
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RentItToday cofounder, Rental Industry Blogger, Inbound Marketing Fan, and Entrepreneur
Introduction
Matthew Stephenson is an Internet Marketer, Entrepreneur, military brat, former foster parent, adoptive father and founding partner & COO of Rent It Today, www.RentItToday.com.
--

About Me...
At work I focus on SEO, Inbound Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Website Development for both Rent It Today and our rental company partners. I have a wide range of hobbies & interests that I enjoy researching, discussing, sharing and learning about.

I became passionate about promoting rental news when my friend and business partner Jason Glass came to me with the idea to make renting simple. So we started the website and company RentItToday.com. 

About My Company:
+RentItToday provides dynamic and affordable internet advertising and inbound marketing solutions to rental companies and industry related service providers throughout North America. 

From Construction Equipment Rentals and Medical Supplies to travel, party, and event planning...Rent It Today makes it easy for people to find and rent anything, anywhere

Learn more about how my team and I are evolving the rental world.

Stuff I Dig...
love renting, traveling, following University of Kentucky Basketball, tech stuff, social media marketing, nature, wildlife, bird watching, astronomy, stargazing, scuba diving, playing video games, jam bands/live music, reef tanks, African Cichlids from Lake Malawi, trout fishing, aquarium keeping, Portuguese Water Dogs, and spending time with my family and friends.

MacTavish Is Here...
I am also proud of my Scottish Heritage and a member of Clan MacTavish an ancient Scottish Highlands Clan.
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  • University of Kentucky
  • Winston Churchill High School
  • Beavercreek High School
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Rudler & Associates are true experts when it comes to personal and corporate tax and accounting services. I have employed Mike Lenihan, managing shareholder at Rudler, and his team at to do my personal taxes since 2003. This past year my partner and I have entrusted Mike's firm with our business accounting and tax preparation. Mike and his team are not only expert accountants but I view them as business mentors. They have always shown a great interest in the overall success of my company and watched it grow from a bootstrap startup company to an emerging young successful business. They have always gone above and beyond in order to help. As the owner of a startup company, I am always in the position of "wearing too many hats". Having all of my accounting and tax work in Mike Lenihan's hands allows me to not only mark that off of my list of things to worry about but do so knowing that they are being taken care of in the absolute best possible way. I cannot put enough emphasis on the value Mike and his team brings to the table. I highly recommend Mike Lenihan and Rudler & Associates, Inc, CPA's for both personal and business accounting services.
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