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Tuesday Tips: Storing is Not Preserving

In today’s world of bits and bytes, it is becoming increasingly easier to store and share our digital images. It’s so simple to dump several gigabytes of files to your hard drive and upload them to the web instantly- infinite duplication, minimal loss of quality! Gone are the days of tedious (but rewarding!) manual photo processing. Meanwhile, as printing and framing is becoming a lost art, its no wonder that the traditional album is MIA when Facebook is receiving 250 million photos in uploads- daily.

But will our digital files still be viewable 50 years from now? How about 150 years from now? As history would have it, technology will always find a way to replace yesterday’s format. JPEG has been around for sometime, but are you willing to bet it will be around even 50 years from now? Consider that I can still see what someone looks like one hunded years ago- thanks to a photograph.

So, without further ado, here is my Tuesday Tip! It is a simple one, but one that is easily forgotten in today’s digital world: Storing your digital files is not the same as preserving them. Print your pictures!

There are many, high quality print shops around that will print out your images on the cheap. No need to list any, Google will find a slew for you- heck even the big box stores these days are using great printers, yet their photo kiosks are always almost empty. Spending no more than $20 dollars every month or every other month on some 4×6’s will ensure you have memories for years to come!

P.S. Happy Valentines Day!

I’d like to hear your opinion! Do you agree or disagree with this? When was the last time YOU actually printed out some photos?

D300s || Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 G || 1 /125s @ f/1.8 ISO 200 (+3EV) || Capture NX2

Monday Musings: Being Connected

I came across a Kickstarter project by Lauren Fleishman called “Love Ever After”. Inspired by an old love letter by her grandfather to her grandmother during World War II, Lauren set off to interview and photograph other couples who have been married for at least 50 years. Her purpose: to share their story and “illuminate our universal experience of love”. What a wonderful project concept! If you are interested, think about supporting this great project!).

The few comments on her Kickstarter page from some of her interviews caught my attention. One in particular,

“You have to remember times were different. We met in 1939 amd we didn’t have money. So our group of friends always met at our friend Betty’s basement. There weren’t things like dates and going out to dinner. We didn’t know from those things because we didn’t have money. So we enjoyed each others’ company.”

With technology driving the modern landscape of social networking and real time information and status updates, I can’t help but wonder how much of our time do we spend actually interacting face to face with someone vs. interacting with them online. These days, when I’m at a bar or a party, or just simply walking down the street everyone has their faces buried in their phones. Updating their latest status, checking their Twitter feeds. Are we too connected? Can the digital universe change our perception of connecting?

When was the last time you really enjoyed someone’s company- devoid of any distractions like TVs or a computer, or your mobile phone? Take a few moments to disconnect from the digital world and re-connect with those you love. Make a phone call instead of texting or write a handwritten letter instead of email. Spending some genuine time with that special someone may help strengthen any sort of bonds you may have.

The image below was taken by Lauren Fleishman from her Kickstarter page with the following quote:

“April 14th will be our 68th wedding anniversary. That’s right, you heard it! Friends ask me how I managed to get someone like Jean. So I have one expression. I prayed well.”

Channel Your “Flow State”

According to recent research, it normally takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in any discipline. Wow. Not that I thought being an expert would be an quick trip, but reading about these type of metrics really puts things into perspective. I came across this information through an interesting article I read on some exciting findings and research being made on a mental state called the “flow state” (you can read the article here… The article is really about how to induce this “flow state” to put people on a fast track during training or learning a new skill.)

In the article, this state is described as “that feeling of effortless concentration that characterizes outstanding performance in all kinds of skills”. They give an example of how tennis phenom Roger Federer, is able to effortlessly perform a complex set of moves- all within a second without any consideration (after years of training of course!). But what was interesting to me is that over the 10,000 hours of practice, your brain creates a complex web of connections and circuits knitted together that allow you to effortlessly execute that skill, without having to consciously consider each action- it becomes second nature. Practice makes perfect right? Ya, ya- you knew that already…

So, how can you apply this to your photography? Most photographers will simply say- “get out and shoot” or “shoot everyday”. I think this is a given- but my take on this advice would include with the addition of “BUT- be aware of and make that effort to understand what you are doing.” Let me explain. The digital evolution has made it quite easy for this generation of photographers. The cameras out there today are taking the “process” away from the art. The cameras of today are so smart and so wonderfully engineered, that images straight out of the camera can rival professional work produced just 5 or 6 years ago. No more thinking, no more adjustments- pretty soon we may very well see the death of manual mode! When you have cameras like the Lytro- who needs to even focus your shot anymore? With 36MP cameras who needs to compose an image when you can just crop in post processing and still have a great quality shot?

My advice here is not just to go out and shoot. Learn the technicalities of photography- venture into manual mode and experiment! Try and understand the difference in shooting at 1/500th of a second @ f/8 versus 1/4000th of a second @ f/2.8. Don’t always rely on rapid firing 80 exposures, knowing “one of them will be a keeper”. Understand your results rather than relying on the tech to eventually get it right for you. Make an effort to learn while doing it, rather than just doing. Then when you get it right, keep doing it! This will encourage your grey matter to create all sort of connections, bringing you closer to being able to access these new circuits quicker, and faster- reducing the “think” time with each iteration. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, love what you are doing. Nothing encourages success more than motivation- if you don’t enjoy what you are doing, how can you expect to continue your efforts? Practice with passion and an active mind makes perfect!

Taking a more active stance on learning the process, and eventually the “art” of photography, will certainly put you on the fast track to photography as second nature and unleash your “flow” state.

20120208-140707.jpgAJ in his “flow” state, learning to skate for the first time || iPhone 4 || Snapseed

Tuesday Tip: Keeping Equipment Dry

You know those “Do Not Eat” silica gel packs that come in almost everything you buy? From inside shoe boxes to bags of beef jerky, silica gel packets are used a lot- and we normally toss them in the trash without a thought.  It turns out they are great at absorbing moisture!

Hang on to these next time you come across them and throw a few in your camera bag.  They will come in handy on those humid or wet days and it will help keep the moisture out of your gear and also help prevent mold from developing.

365 Day 23: Off We Go

This is the last post before I leave for Canada. I took this quick family shot before we left the house. Here we come Canadia!

D300s || Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 G || 1 /60s @ f/3.5 ISO 800 +2.7EV || Capture NX2 + Adobe Photoshop LR2


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