Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Answering some questions

 I'd been pointed to the Sara Harley's blog a while ago. She is several steps ahead of me, photographically speaking, and I've found it interesting to follow along. In her most recent blog she answered some reader questions, and I commented, and she asked how I'd respond to those same questions. Fair enough. Here goes.

Question 1: Silence, music, podcast, or something else when you create / work?

Mostly, I'm a silence kind of guy, especially if it's something I need to concentrate on. About the only exception is if I'm doing a block of photo editing where the photos are all similar, or are in groups of similarity, like event photos. They will be seen on social media and are not expected to be fine art. I'll do lens corrections (unless it's really dark or high ISO), and the Lightroom auto button. That gets me most of the way there, then each photo will get cropped, and settings tweaked. Any big problems will get fixed, but like I said, it's not fine art where every pixel has to be perfect. For this, some classic rock that I'm familiar with will give me the drive. One of my favourite tracks for this is Sina's cover version of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly. It's long, so fewer repeats, and has an amazing groove.  Or CCR's cover of Heard it Through the Grapevine. I've never got the podcasting love. 

Question 2: What's your favorite part of the process as you create / write?

For writing, the favourite part is asking my characters to explore a particular scene I've had some ideas about. Or maybe they had the ideas and kicked them up to me. I love noodling it around, trying different versions, and writing it out in my head. Figuring out where the scene goes, and how it ties in with other scenes is an intellectual challenge. Getting the exact sequence of words is fun. I really like the rush that comes when a big block of text actually gets written.

Photographically, I love getting out with my camera. Sometimes I'll take one specific lens and I'll typically only 'see' shots I can get with that lens. I've usually got a pretty good idea of what I'm looking for. Other times I might have a couple lenses, and I'll be looking for interesting compositions. I'll swap lenses as necessary. 

Event shooting is fun, and I miss it. Figuring out where to be for a race is straightforward, but the timing has to be razor sharp. Doing the community events is fun, especially trying to anticipate where the action will be and getting out in front of it. I've often had one eye looking through the viewfinder to shoot, while using the other eye to look for the next shot. 

The actual editing in Lightroom is ok. Some people can play forever, going down an endless rabbit hole of edits. I'm more get it done because most are what I think of as social media quality. Some are much nicer photos, and if I was going to print them, or someone wanted to buy it to print, I'd make another pass through the editing and look really carefully.

Question 3: Where do you do your craft, and what's that space like?

The writing happens on a laptop wherever I happen to be sitting in the house or out on the patio. The photo editing computer (a big iMac a few years old now) is in a room with a north facing window. Reflections are sometimes a problem. It sits on an IKEA desk that is usually quite messy.

Question 4: How do you choose who to follow? (Blogs, Instagram, Facebook, etc.)

I'm trying to cut back on Facebook time. I follow a particular photo group, and if I can see that some specific people have posted, I'll look at them. I try not to scroll down through the feed, since there's too many sponsored posts and that annoys me. I have to personally know someone now before friending them.

Instagram is the main social media if I've met up with another photographer. It's safe to exchange Instagram accounts, and this gives you a sense of what they're like as a photographer. This is how I keep track of a few people I've met in New Zealand. I'll follow someone if their photos are interesting. My problem is that it's a crappy way to display photos, and most of the people don't seem to be interested in looking at good photos. A cute photo will get more likes than a quality portrait. Colour more than black and white. I talked to one well known photographer about this, and he said he knew perfectly well how to take photos that would get lots of Instagram likes, and it bored him to tears. I follow some performers and would love to collaborate on a project with them. Once COVID is a memory I'll do up some proposals.

For blogs I'll put almost anyone on a blog evaluation list, and I'll check in on it pretty regularly. Someone that posts at least somewhat regularly, and is interesting will make it to my blog roll. Periodically I'll prune the bottom of the blog roll. I figure if someone hasn't blogged in a long time, they've moved on to other things. I'd like to follow more blogs, but it's getting harder to find good non-commercial blogs that interest me. 

Question 5: Why do you write and post on your blog?   

And that is the $64 million dollar question! This started as a fitness/triathlon blog, with occasional rants and commentary, and over the last several years it became more of a photography blog. Sort of. I don't follow the blogging 'rules'. It used to be that every morning there would be at least several blogs to read, sometimes a dozen. There were lots of comments. Some of the comment threads went from one blogger to another's blog, and maybe to another. Now, blogging seems to be dying. 

I won't say I've got writer's block when it comes to blogging, but I'm finding it harder to find the text for a blog. There's lots of photos, especially if you're a fan of driftwood or flowers, but I think there needs to be more than just a bunch of photos for a blog. The work contract has sucked up a lot of energy over the last year, but I'm on the home stretch. I can feel the battery recharging, and maybe once I get started on my projects I'll feel more creative energy for the blog.

Mostly I write for me. I like writing. Blogging is an easy way to display photos and chat about what I'm up to. Sometimes writing a blog is how I find out what I think of a particular issue. My readership is small, but loyal, and the comments are fun. I'll be doing it for a while yet, I think.

Linda strolling another New Zealand beach. I did lots of thinking on the beach, and can't wait to go back.

Of the Day


Artsy x2 because serendipity.


  1. Interesting to read your thoughts and answers! I especially enjoy your last image...the patterns and seaweed in the sand.

  2. Really enjoyed reading your answers to Sara's questions, and think it's very cool you two have connected on line. Sara's the "real deal" and I love her work.


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