week 17 | 366.2016

I am over here wading through immense amounts of information related to both artificial light and Photoshop. I don’t understand flash, either conceptually or functionally. I am gathering information about flash and studio lighting from several sources, and then trying to figure out what to buy that would work for product photography, real estate photography, and some portraits (maybe only of my own kids, but who knows at this point?). I am hoping a year from now I look back on this time from a place of photographic competence. It is similar to my feelings regarding Photoshop, or deleting photos and cleaning up my Lightroom catalog. I am pretty sure every year, at least, I post about how I am really going to start culling, for real, really, I will. And I never do. And the number of attempts at learning PS… yikes. Many. So I know my declarations and intentions are kind of worthless. I have figured out that the key to learning PS and getting it to stick is to incorporate it into my workflow more often. I take a class, then after the class I don’t use it or apply what I have learned to my own photos, and then I lose the tenuous grasp I had on the information in the first place. Pretty much the same with flash- I think I will understand it once I do it. Culling- no clue how to get that problem under control. For now I guess my solution is buying a very large external hard drive. And working towards taking fewer photos in the first place.

This week in photos- probably a little dicey. Today was a long day of medical procedure unpleasantness, and it is a miracle I took any photos at all. It has been stormy and rainy all week. And last week I inspired myself with my blog post about spending more time on studying and less time on taking new photos and editing those photos. As a result, I have tried to just shoot once and be done for the day, and to spend more time on reading and photography videos and less on editing. Here they are…

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week 16 | 366.2016

Here is my very random post of my thoughts for this week.

I am starting to think that my 366 is not a good use of my time. I take a ton of photos every day, especially when it is SPRING and there are all the green and growing things outside in beautiful light. Then I come inside and play around, editing them. I love that part too. The problem- I don’t have any time to study and learn new things so I can improve upon my photos and my post-processing. So I never improve, basically. I am not going to quit my 366 or anything, but I have considered pretending that I am shooting film and I can only shoot a single frame for the day. Or even ACTUALLY shooting film with my F100 and then only posting my (probably terrible) results monthly.

Photographers basically take photos that may impress other photographers, but that are often totally lost on the general population.

When photographers say that they are “natural light only”, it really means that incorporating artificial light is too hard and they don’t want to learn it. There are situations where objectively, the addition of artificial light improves the photo. Or is necessary to execute the photo. I am painfully aware of this because I am at a point where I have to start using artificial light. And I don’t even know where to start.

You know how when you are supposed to improve your photography, people will say, “just get out there and shoot!”, or whatever it is they say about your first 10,000 frames? That doesn’t work when before you can even go out and shoot the new types of subjects, you have research and purchase tons of new equipment. And watch a billion hours of video to figure out what in the world you are even doing. And by the way, I am at probably well over 200,000 frames and the road before me still seems quite long.

I had to order a new tripod and it really sucked. I mean, wow. It was awful. My old tripod was rated to handle 8lbs. Lots of sagging lens issues, which is no surprise. So I read everything on the internet ever published about tripods. There is a classic Thom Hogan piece people often refer to about buying a tripod, and I did buy into that, sort of. Just for the record, after reading everything and obsessing about it, I bought these tripod legs and this ball head. Maybe if you need a new tripod, you should just trust me and my OCD. I know that some people believe the only answer is to buy a tripod from Really Right Stuff, but I just can’t spend that kind of money on something so incredibly not fun.

That is probably enough for this week, as I should be doing other things I suppose. Off to read about strobes and seamless paper and posing and wide angle zoom lenses and who knows what else. And in case it wasn’t clear from my sort of snarky thoughts this week, I REALLY REALLY love photography. I am so excited, as new things are happening every day. I am incredibly thankful and ready to keep working hard.

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week 15 | 366.2016

In the last week or so, things have been moving along as far as plans to create paid photography opportunities. I have taken some big steps to keep moving in that direction. I have also realized that I have so much to do to make a lot of my dreams and plans become reality. I want to keep an open mind over the next year or so, and try some things out while I am in the “portfolio building” stage. The problem is that every new thing I want to try comes with needs for new knowledge and new equipment. I have such a hard time with making decisions, and I spend too much time researching options. My anxiety manifests itself in many interesting ways, but this might be one of the most prominent symptoms. It extends to things beyond photography, and includes things like skin care, shoes, and a kitchen table. When I can’t make a decision, I just don’t buy anything. I really envy people who just randomly choose something, because I am sure in most cases it works out to be just fine and they have more time to pursue other activities and interests.

As an aside, I think we are about to solve our three year kitchen table dilemma (it is broken, and we only have four chairs, so someone sits on a torn up folding chair). This may happen as soon as next week. I will do a blog post, as it should be an interesting IKEA hack kind of project. Sadly, I also really need pants and shorts that fit me, and new shoes, in addition to a new tripod and a wide angle lens. I suspect I will remain frozen and unable to solve much of that for the time being.

That brings me to some other realizations I have had recently, one of which is that having three kids means I do not have very much time. And my concentration pretty much sucks. Pretty much. So I think I need to work on retraining my attention span, which may (does) mean that I need to spend less time on social media. Because of my current goals related to photography, social media needs to continue to play a significant role in my life. I think I just need to keep it limited and directed to only what is useful, worthwhile, and necessary. I need to read some books and study some information and get my ability to focus back. I haven’t read a book in months.

My other profound realization is that it may be time for making extreme self-care a HUGE priority. To start doing some of the things I want to do successfully, I need a lot more energy. And a lot of my health related behaviors are big drains on my limited energy stores. I am 40. I have a bunch of weird health issues, including dietary and auto-immune issues, and a boatload of anxiety and insomnia on top of all of that. And a two year old who just quit napping. Some of that is totally out of my control, but a lot of it I can improve. I have started to make some small changes that are positive, and with that momentum I am hopeful I can keep adding more positive changes into my daily routine.

The last exciting thing I will share is that I am going to Click Away 2016 in Seattle this October. This is a HUGE thing, because it means leaving my babies for the first time ever. I haven’t traveled by plane in over eight years. I am so excited, because it will mean that I get to meet lots of photography friends that I have built relationships with through online classes and groups. I am so appreciative that my husband pushed me towards taking advantage of this opportunity, and for all of the support that he has provided me in relationship to my photography hobby and future goals. He is honestly the best.

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Planting dahlias

It has been a while since I have done a blog post like this, but I took this series of photos tonight and I wanted to keep them all together without smashing (stomping?) them into a collage. Finally, it is seeming like it is going to stay warm enough that we can plant things confidently, so that has been how we have been spending our free time.

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