I’ve decided in 2021 to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. Why? The residue of 2020 and its horrible effect on my well-being, plus the fact that in 2021, I will officially become a senior citizen. Both have been and are scary. But in some way, both have inspired me to fight back. Getting older reveals obvious changes in body and mind, and I want to control both of those if I can. My biggest fear, revealed only to all of you, is that I might start to lose my rationale self, lose my curiosity about the world and start to forget people, places and events. There is a history of that in my family. I can’t have that happen. What better way to address that than to try new things, learning as I go, keeping the mind fresh and tuned. So what’s the plan? Continue reading “Jumping Into the Deep End”
Well ain’t this grand. I logged into my WordPress account today to begin to write my next post and found a completely new editor. I was warned that it was coming, but I ignored it. Far from being “easy” and “versatile” and “quick”, it requires that I select “blocks” of content types, arrange them on a page, fill in the content of each block and test the layout for views on computers, tablets and phones. I’ve never been good with puzzle pieces, and I won’t use more than half of the block types available, so the change was a less than stellar one for me.
I didn’t intend this to be the topic of my post, but somehow it is fitting. Being forced to change my paradigm is a good thing right now. Everybody needs a restart or a refresh from time to time. But my first reaction was admittedly “WTF”. I’ve had more of those moments this week too.
Ok, so the initial shock has worn off and I’m now getting used to selecting and dropping in content blocks. Even images drop in seamlessly. But I have to change the way I think about my post. I typically write the text, then drop in content. Not any more. Content placement first, then writing the text. Getting there. But on to something more important.
I’ve set myself a goal for the next year to become more proficient at Photoshop. I use a variety of editing tools now, most of which are slider-based. You move a slider and watch what happens on the screen. The sliders in most applications are laid out in a nice orderly fashion, and you can literally move from top to bottom and achieve a well-edited well-presented image.
Photoshop is not remotely like that. It’s like making pizza with every ingredient possible available to you in small containers on the kitchen counter. There is some semblance of order (Camera Raw, basic exposure adjustments, image cleanup) but once past this, the choices become ridiculously complex, with the opportunity to create whole new “flavours” of pizza by taking previously used flavours and combining them in whole new ways. No cookbooks, just imagination and an ability to reason how things might go together.
Add to that the challenge of learning something new as an older adult. We don’t absorb information the same way as we did as a child. We don’t necessarily retain it even when learned. Memory declines in uneven ways too – with muscle memory and the memory of physically doing things changing at rates different from the memory of reciting things or recollection. So I’m not only setting a goal but trying to find the best method to accomplish it. Continue reading “Getting Inside My Head – Learning New Things When Older”
I went on a photography retreat a week ago, in a location I had never been to before, with amazing natural features and unique architectural/cultural features as well. It should have been heaven for me. In many ways it was, with the most mind blowing feature being the ability to see the night sky without interference from city light pollution.
But I discovered that when some things are not what you expect, or not particularly pleasant, they can affect your entire outlook on an otherwise “stellar” experience. I didn’t appreciate just how much emotion factors into my photography. Continue reading “Photography is a State of Mind”
No matter what editing software you use today, it will likely include layers, masking and blend modes (also known as blending modes). Everybody’s doing it now – Photoshop and Lightroom, of course, but also ON1, Luminar, Topaz, etc.
And the more software that includes blend modes, the more frustrated I get at their lack of ability to explain in plain English exactly what they are. I’ve read countless blogs, gone to workshops partly to understand them, watched countless YouTube videos looking to make sense of them, and more often than not, the recommendation of the instructor is simply to try them and see what happens. My brain needs more. I want to be able to explain them. This post will try to do that.
Before you run screaming from the room, I’m not going to give you the item by item breakdown of all of the blend modes available in any software. My intent is to help you understand what a blend mode does generally and how to make a choice among the ones you have available in your software. Continue reading “Blend Modes – Learning to Love Them”
I read a lot of blogs, follow a lot of YouTube channels and subscribe to many “handy tips” postings that come into my mailbox daily. One such recent posting was from Tim Grey, a respected Photoshop expert and professional photographer.
Viewers had posted questions about the long standing belief that as you use lenses of longer and longer focal length, and compare the same scene shot through these different lenses, the apparent separation between foreground and background diminishes with focal length. In fact, this has been a long accepted “generality”, passed on from photographer to photographer, that scene “compression” occurs with telephoto lenses. But as with many things, the details get somewhat “blurry” (pardon the pun) and the specifics of the effect are often not explained. Continue reading “Scene Compression Uncompressed”
There’s a reason this post is late. I usually try to post twice a month – 1st and 15th. Fully intended to do that this time. Then plans changed…
I’m told I should be applauded for trying new things. I guess that’s a consolation. But trying new things also means being ready for things to go wrong. I wasn’t quite ready.
Here’s what happened… Continue reading “Live and Learn”
I had the pleasure of giving another talk at my local camera club last week. The subject was black and white photography. Continue reading “When to Use Black and White”
One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn as a photographer is not to limit myself to the immediate reaction I have when looking at a scene or subject. There is potential in every situation, even those that to the human eye and the camera initially look like disasters.
A friend of mine invited me to join her to try to shoot car light trails from a highway overpass at dusk, achieving both the capture of the sunset and the movement of the cars through light trails. Here’s what happened. Continue reading “Believe”
I’ve been out of touch for a month. Sorry about that. I seem to be busier now than when I had a full-time career. Recently, I had the pleasure of heading out with my photography club to its annual “retreat”. A chance to immerse myself in all things photographic for a full weekend. We chose a destination that we could drive to in an afternoon, but also one that would require disconnecting from all the demands back home. It was wonderful. Continue reading “In Full Retreat”