My Blog

Jumping Into the Deep End

Senior CitizenI’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”

If It Ain’t Broke, Maybe It Shouldn’t Be

photo of fireworks
Photo by Anna-Louise on Pexels.com

Happy, happy New Year.  I sincerely hope that wherever you are, you will have a safe, happy, glorious New Year.  I think we all deserve it.  My part of the world went into lockdown again a few weeks ago, and I’ve taken it perhaps more seriously this time, by not venturing out at all since its declaration, except to pick up something curbside that was ordered well before lockdown.

So that means a lot of time on my hands, right?  Would that it were so.  I’ve set myself a number of goals, and am moving forward on each one, perhaps more slowly than expected but moving.  One of those goals was to make some artistic direction decisions about my photography.  More on that in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, I’ve also immersed myself in ideas that might set me in a new direction.  This post is about one of those – rules in photography. Continue reading “If It Ain’t Broke, Maybe It Shouldn’t Be”

The Full Gamut of Emotion

shutterstock_121309360Mid-December.  Last blog of the year.  Early darkness and grey, usually rainy days.  Nothing to be glad about.  Except that this year is coming to a close and Covid-19 vaccines have just been approved for both Canada and the US.  This crap will soon be behind us.  The only reason to rejoice.  But you know what would be worse?  Not adhering to public health measures, getting sick and dying a few weeks before you are scheduled to get a vaccine.  That prospect should really make you determined to stick it out.  And it would really really make your family angry if it happened.  So don’t drop your guard now.  Just a few more months.  Hang in there.

And while you hang in, a little treatise on photography.  There are many confusing concepts in photography. When I find one, I research it, then share it with you, hopefully making your photography life easier in the process.  Today’s choice: colour, specifically colour profiles, colour gamut, the choices available and why one choice is better than another (or is it?). Read on to find out. Continue reading “The Full Gamut of Emotion”

AI AI, Oh

I suspect we will see a release shortly of Luminar AI, one of the most revolutionary photo editors to emerge in recent years.  There is a special event scheduled for December 10.  So I thought it appropriate to offer a commentary on the controversy surrounding AI in this week’s post.  Controversy, you say?  Read on. 

It seems that everyone is weighing in on the move toward more and more machine-powered editing choices, also known as artificial intelligence or AI-based editing.  What surprises me most is the number of commentaries where the writer admits to never having seen the capabilities being criticized, but the mere thought of machine-powered functionality must invariably mean both loss of control for the artist and cookie-cutter results. 

I am not in that category.  I have watched with glee and eager anticipation as companies such as Adobe and Skylum and ON1 embed more and more intelligence in their products.  I have concluded early that there is no loss of control at all:  nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading “AI AI, Oh”

What You See is Not What You Get

I seem to be on a weird and wacky schedule these days – I routinely forget what day of the week or what month it is.  But I am also getting busier, with online clubs and activities now going strong, in-person family visits a regular thing (which means driving) and solo outings wrapping up for the fall (somewhat desperately before the next lockdown comes).  I don’t really feel like I am in control, although in reality, control is exactly what I do have.

Seamless pattern with film and digital photographic or photo cameras on light backgroundBut I digress, so back to photography.  Have you ever stopped to consider the magical process that allows us to go from camera to screen to print?  With all of us staring at screens so much more these days, I started to wonder about the specifics.  I guess I have time on my hands and I am a nerd.  So here’s what I found out…

Continue reading “What You See is Not What You Get”

On the Road Again

shutterstock_93355207It’s been a trying year to say the least.  Lockdowns, restrictions, cancellations, disappointments, even changes to things as simple as ordering food.  I went to a local take-out place recently, only to be told that no more than 2 could be inside the take-out order area and that once my order was placed, I had to wait in a pre-marked parking area, in my car.  Businesses and people are adapting.  I have to admire how well we are adapting.  But it still sucks.  And on top of it all, my blog host, WordPress.com, decided to completely replace the blog editor I was familar with.  Hence no posts for the last two cycles.  An old dog can learn new tricks, but it sure takes a lot longer.  I decided recently that I needed a break from it all, and with restrictions in place, took a trip north to two parks. Continue reading “On the Road Again”

Crossroads

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.

Continue reading “Crossroads”

What Have We Become?

On August 12, 2020, I took a tentative step back to reality.  I made some appointments, looked up the transit schedule and ventured into the big city as a commuter for the first time since March.

It wasn’t an easy decision.  Luckily, the need to see one of my medical doctors meant I could not postpone it any longer.  Luckily?  Since when is seeing a doctor lucky?

shutterstock_93355207Back in May, I wrote about quarantine fatigue and the trials we were all experiencing with lockdown.  I’m now admitting that the difficulties for me were more than I was willing to acknowledge before today.  Through May, June and July, my personal anxiety levels climbed dramatically, to the point of frequent panic attacks.  More than once, I had to stop an activity and find something calming to look at.  Sometimes that took an hour.  On many nights, I woke up in the middle of the night, convinced I could not breathe, convinced that lying down meant I wouldn’t wake up in the morning.  So I stayed up all night.

All of this was complicated by the terminal illness of a pet who ultimately lost her battle with cancer in early July.  And there was other horrible news as well about a family member of a friend, who is also now battling cancer.

My blood pressure skyrocketed, my interest in life in general plummeted.  I didn’t talk to anyone verbally for weeks, except for the grocery store clerks.  Family did check in regularly but I didn’t show much of anything on the surface.  I was really good at hiding what I was going through.  “How are you?” was met with “Fine, under the circumstances” and a verbal laugh or electronic emoji.  Nobody knew what those circumstances were.

The few commitments I did have were not handled well.  I would be more abrupt than usual and far less patient.  I would want to just get on with it.  I’m a pretty low key person, so going off the deep end was still a pretty subtle event.  But I knew I was there.

shutterstock_71443765Then I started hearing that other people were experiencing similar issues.  Mild depression, inability to sit still, inability to focus, no enjoyment in things previously enjoyed.  It wasn’t just me.  I looked into it further.  It was a real thing.  That broke the gates open.

Suffice it to say, I got some help.  The details are not important, only that I did get help.  Some jurisdictions are funding access to professional help for free and are encouraging people to call.  I did.  It has made a world of difference.

By the way, I read today that one calming influence for many people has been watching reruns of classic shows on TV.  Playback counts of shows from the 50’s-70’s have skyrocketed.  In my case, watching reruns of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson has helped give me my sanity back.  I like to laugh again.

So the trip into the city this week was an interesting one.  Had to make sure I packed extra masks and sanitizer.  Commuter parking lots normally packed to the brim were almost empty.  I got a nice parking spot in the shade right near the entrance.  I was immediately aware of anyone and everyone around me, which was thankfully not many.  The ride into the city was uneventful, and I waited for everyone else to leave before I left the train.

Navigating the streets was more challenging, although almost everyone was as cautious as me.  A few, dare I say it, young people and mostly young males, skipped the requirement for masks and paid no attention to who was around them.  I don’t understand why they didn’t care, except to say I was young and foolish once too.

I visited a family member who lives in the city and it felt so good talking to them in person.  It was hard to leave.

shutterstock_161830289On to my other appointments.  All required screening before entering and more hand sanitizer.  All required masks.  Even my doctor came fully outfitted and unrecognizable, except for her characteristic multi-coloured shoes.  We laughed about that and had a relaxed, much more fun visit than usual.  I guess we both needed it.

Coming home was more crowded, but everyone behaving.  I’ve decided to get tested just to make sure I’m ok.  Luckily (that word again), I live in a country where we get that for free.  Health is a human right, people.  We also have an app to alert us if we have had contact with anyone who tests positive.  Some have complained about privacy, but for the peace of mind it brings, the government can know from me whatever it wants.

shutterstock_121309360I’m so glad I am where I am now, so glad that life is opening up again, so glad that we did the right things in our province and country to allow that to happen.  While I still worry about the Fall, about kids in school, about the flu season, about being indoors all winter, I can now do it with the appropriate level of worry.

If you are struggling, talk to someone, call your local health agency, call your doctor.  Talk to family.  There’s no better feeling than finding out it’s ok, and it’s going to be ok.

Competition is Bad?

There was an article this week from a Japanese market analyst who argued that competition in the camera industry is leading to the decline of the camera industry.  He cited the announcement of Olympus recently who have shut down/sold off their consumer camera business.

I have only one reaction to the story.  Duh! Continue reading “Competition is Bad?”

Jumping into the Deep End

I can’t resist commenting on the release this week of Canon’s new mirrorless flagship cameras, the EOS R5 and EOS R6.  There are lots of technical commentaries out there; instead, I want to document how I felt listening to the details of the release. Continue reading “Jumping into the Deep End”