I know I said I would only shoot in monochrome for my 365 but the pastel colors of these pens are what make them my favorite, so I wanted to show that. As you all know, coloring has actually saved my sanity during the pandemic while we work and play from home. And these pastel pens are my favorites to color with.
Back in December 2019 I bought this Instax printer that pairs to my phone so I can print any image stored on it onto mini Instax film. At the time I thought it would be great fun at family and social gatherings, as well as with my students. Needless to say it hasn’t seen any use since March. Hopefully someday soon I’ll be able to put to use again, but for now it’s gathering dust.
With school starting up this week, my schedule has gotten busy again and I totally forgot about yesterday. I hope that doesn’t mean I have to start over!
Anyway, this picture represents the only place I have been since March aside from one doctor visit and the occasional grocery store. No, it’s not Domino’s or acupuncture, it’s the local post office where I rent a mailbox. I end up stopping in here about once a week for one reason or another. I’ve rented a mailbox here for over a decade but it has taken on more significance now as one of the only places I go to interact with other living, human people aside from Doug.
I just got through tutoring a student who, like me, is staying indoors as much as possible even though a lot of our area is opened up and has been for some time. She lives with extended family and they are high risk for the virus, so they are all staying home 24-7. She mentioned hearing from a friend who went to the beach over the weekend and feeling so envious of her, and it made me think of my own conflicted feelings when I hear or see others I know going out and doing things, some masked and distanced, some not. At times I wonder if Doug and I are being “fanatics,” or being too cautious,, but my instincts tell me we are doing the right thing and should continue to eschew any and all activities outside the home. But it is harder when you feel like you are in the minority and the rest of the world is going about their lives as if there’s no pandemic. In the beginning of this, there was about a month where the country was unified about flattening the curve, but in our current state America was only able to stay unified for about four weeks. It’s a shame, but at this point there’s no way to reconcile those who feel staying home and being cautious is proper and those who feel everyday activities are fairly safe and life should return to normal. I only know one other person, a nephew, who stays home and avoids social activities with the vigilance we do, so at times it feels kinda lonely. But we have been so good up to now, so if one of us slacked off and got sick it would have all been a waste of time – so we persevere.
For the purposes of my 365 project, I’ve decided to utilize my Canon SL1 as much as possible – something I think I’ve mentioned here already – due to the ease of carrying it around. To make things even easier, I keep my pancake lens attached to the SL1 at all times, so I can literally just pick it up and snap away. I’ve put it in a small case along with my little old 430-EX Speedlite and so far, that’s working out fairly well (keeping in mind that I’m only on Day Three). I rather like working within these limitations, as I think it will force me to be even more creative and push me outside my comfort zone, and man, if I was ever uncomfortable using the 40mm before, I sure won’t be after using it every day for a year (although I reserve the right to whip out the 7D when I deem it necessary – I never follow my own rules too closely).
This has also forced me to finally figure out a problem I’ve had with the SL1 since beginning to use it a few months ago. When pulling up my RAW files into PhotoNinja, they all look fine in the viewer, but when I pull a file into the editor to work with it, the color goes all wonky – everything is very pink, and the color corrector doesn’t work as it usually does to fix poor color balance. This never happens when working with files from my 7D, and I’ve been baffled as to what could be going on.
This happens to me frequently – I have a problem that I cannot articulate well enough to get proper answers. I’d tried all sorts of Google searches that pulled up nothing useful, so I knew it was once again a matter of me not having the proper terminology at my disposal to find a solution to my problem. This has happened to me often enough at this point to know that I just have to continue to struggle with the problem until I finally hit upon some word or phrase that starts me on the path to getting answers; this time, the phrase was “color profile.” I don’t even quite know how I hit on it, but hit on it I did, and tonight I went a-Googling and discovered that because my little Rebel is so new, Photo Ninja does not actually support it yet. In other words, it doesn’t have a color profile for RAW files taken with the SL1, so the color information just isn’t there. Hence, wonky color that is difficult to correct.
I tried opening the RAW files in Photoshop instead, but CS5 couldn’t even see them – again, not a problem with RAW files from my 7D (which makes sense, because that’s on old model camera). So after more searching, I discovered a new type of RAW file – the DNG. I found a free Adobe RAW converter that can take files and convert them into DNG ones, which can not only be seen in Photoshop, but can be better dealt with in Photo Ninja also (when I pulled a DNG file from the SL1 into the editor, the color was much more true to the file SOOC). So now I know, whenever I download files to my computer from my SL1, I must take the extra step of converting them to DNG – at least until Photo Ninja has an update that includes a profile for it, and who knows if that will ever happen.
So who knew – a whole new snafu to grapple with when buying a camera that’s new to the market. I tell ya, it’s always something with this digital camera stuff. Anyway, here’s Day Three’s photo. Allow me to explain:
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I went up to the school Saturday to clear out my old office so when the new counselor shows up, it does not appear to be occupied by someone else. While I was there, I checked out the progress on my new classroom for the first time, and I must admit I got a bit excited. Because our school is small and the student body has outgrown it, a room had to be created for the learning program I am going to help facilitate as the classroom teacher this year. A large meeting area was cut in half and this wall was put up to create our space, and well, here I am celebrating it.
I used my SL1’s ten-second timer to get the shot, and as a bonus I unknowingly color-coordinated my outfit to the unpainted walls, which gave the shot a much more professional look than I expected. The floor was very sawdust-y and slippery so I did not attempt a jump shot – plus I’ve not tested out the SL1 for jumps all that much and wasn’t sure how to pull one off; I had a lot to do that day so I didn’t have the time or inclination to get all sweaty taking 50 jump shots while trying to figure the settings out. I’ve already figured out enough for one day anyway!
I’ve decided to embark on a 365 project, which is basically taking one photo every day and sharing it somewhere (Flickr for me, of course, and on the blog). I’ve always wondered why in the world anyone would do this, but I’ve been so bored lately photographically that I need something to push me beyond what’s become my same-old-same-old. I have always uploaded a picture a day to Flickr, so in that regard it might not seem like such a big deal to take on a 365 project, but keep in mind just because I upload a picture on Flickr doesn’t mean I took it that day; some photos I upload were taken months ago or even years. The trick to the 365 is that the photo you share has to be taken on that day.
I hate deadlines, so even though there are loads of groups with this restriction on Flickr (like the Face-Down Tuesday group, which will only accept face-downs if they are taken on that Tuesday) I’ve never participated in them. But right now I see the appeal of being forced to take a photo every day – it’ll get me past my comfort zone and help me to look at the world with fresh eyes. I’ve gotten too accustomed to my routines and procedures, and I need a kick-start. This should generate new ideas for me if nothing else.
I also watched one video from the composting class I bought a few weeks ago, and it talked about brainstorming for shoots. Hearing what the presenter had to say about the ways in which he generates concept ideas reminded me that creating photographic art can work in many ways, and that it’s not that different from trying to ignite sparks within any other art form. I forget that sometimes, and don’t think to engage in creativity exercises or games to come up with fresh ideas (one suggestion in the video was to get two hats, put little strips of paper in one hat full of nouns, then scenarios in the other hat – draw one strip from each hat and then you have to create a photo out of the pairing. His pairing was “red bull” and “stuck in a thunderstorm”). But it makes sense that after several years of taking photos one way, I’ve gotten into a rut and need to play some games with myself to keep things interesting. I intend to engage in some of these, and the 365, to me, is yet another game that can help me stay inspired.
To do this I intend to utilize my Canon SL1 mainly, as it is easy to carry around; I keep my 40mm pancake lens on it for quick access and shooting, and I’m going to keep my smaller Speedlite in the case also. I may pick up a mini tripod, too, for self-portraits on the fly. We’ll see how far I get with this; I fully do not expect to get through the whole year. If it helps take me in some new directions, though, I won’t mind if I fail at the overall length of time I manage to pull it off.
Anyway, here’s Day One’s photo ( day one technically was yesterday, BTW):
This is a purse I bought at, of course, Free People while at the Galleria with my best shopping buddy Thursday. Now, I just bought a nice Coach bag two weeks ago, so I did not need a new purse. But on our way out of the store (I’d already been to the counter and made a purchase), we spied this bag hanging on a wall, and it looked nice enough for us to check out (it’s called the “Slouchy Vegan Tote,” and you can get it here). The first thing we noticed was that the purse is totally reversible, which is really cool. Then Candace peeked inside, and excitedly pointed out that it had a second purse tucked inside it. The second one wasn’t a purse exactly; it had no handles and looked more like an iPad case, but it was a little bigger than that. Then, we noticed it had a third purse; a little makeup bag that attached to the outer straps. Well hell, if you include the reversibility factor, that’s four purses for the price of one! And, the price was nice, because it’s not leather, but a totally vegan faux-leather that’s buttery soft and looks awesome. I did not need this purse at all, but it was too cool to pass up. So there you go.
When deciding around 11 PM to do a 365 project, I thought immediately of making my first shot be one of this purse, because it reminded me of a matryoshka doll with these three different sizes tucked one into another. So, I tried to get that stacked effect in the shot; then, I used my new Nik Collection filters to give it a double-exposure effect. I had to work quickly to get the shot in under the wire; I got it uploaded at about 11:45 PM so I was able to consider July 31st my Day One. Yay for meeting deadlines. We’ll see what tomorrow brings with this!