It’s not laziness if you’re not inspired…

Geez… for a while there I really felt like I was on top of this blogging thing. Posting again. Trying to post regularly. Trying to post something good (trying….). But then I hit this wall. This wall named October.

No details, but my private life is a bit of a mess. Well… more than a mess. A complete cock-up is more like it. And while I had thought I might find solace in blogging I’ve actually found it really difficult of late to feel motivated. To feel communicative. I just want to keep everything inside. I’ve noticed how I’ve backed away from most everything I do on the web: CNET, Facebook, Gizmodo, Twitter, etc.

So I’ve decided that for right now I’m not going to continue to feel badly about not posting and instead simply accept I’m not ready at this juncture to post. I mean, why fight it? It only becomes a horrible cycle of not feeling compelled to communicate. Then feeling bad that I’m not keeping up my blog (even though I do have some photography related things to talk about), which makes me want to write even less instead of inspiring me.

I know… what a dork.

Fortunately I’m going to be out of town for a few days, visiting my parents, who will be vacationing in a small mountain town in North Carolina. Perhaps a few days away from here… from home… might help lift me from this funk.

But I make no promises.

No. That’s not true. I will make one: I’ll be back.

In the mean time…

The Thinker

The Thinker

Mike Sells

Mike Sells

Tiny Tex

Tiny Tex - a kitten we rescued, fostered and found a home for

"Anyone there?"

"Anyone there?"

Get yer race on

Get yer race on

Picnic

Picnic

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Things in life…

They say there are two things in life of which one may be certain: death and taxes. I’d like to add a third: not working on your blog.

Clearly I’m guilty of such.

As this is a blog dedicated to my adventures in photography one may be forgiven for thinking I had given up photography. And some would further suggest this isn’t such a bad idea! However, they would be wrong. Wrong about my having given up photography, but not about it being a good idea.

I have, actually, been snapping pictures and such ever since my last post regarding the birds in the snow. That was, I might add, a glorious day. One for the record books. And as is my wont I have been all over the place photography-wise. I’ve snapped more pics of the feral and homeless cats I feed and watch over. I’ve snapped some using the daughter and her friend as models. And, of course, there have been birds, flowers, landscapes, etc. I’ve pretty much covered all my usual bases.

Hell.. I even attended a Scott Kelby seminar in Indianapolis, Indiana with my camera store guru and new friend Alex. It was titled “Light It, Shoot It, Re-Touch It”. It was fun and cool and very exciting. Also a bit baffling as I don’t use Photoshop, which is the software he was using for the seminar. Even more bizarre was that I was the grand prize winner of an all-access pass to Photoshop World being held in Las Vegas this coming September. Absolutely wild it was. A room filled with over 500 professional photographers and I, the non-Photoshop using hobbiest, walk away with the grand prize.

Who would have thunk it?

Though all this background information does nothing to explain why I haven’t been posting. I wish I could offer a reasonable or useful explanation, but I have none. Unmotivated? Surely. Lazy? Without doubt. Lacking guidance? Of course.

But if pressed to offer a real reason… if pressed to truly weigh and consider why it is I haven’t been posting for a while I think I would point to two reasons:

1) The situation at home. Meaning, the continued lack of gainful employment coming my way (regardless of the number of resumes I’ve been sending out) and the low-level tension which exists between myself and my ex-wife-to-be. Mind you, we get along just fine. Our problem was never one of fighting or anything like that. The tension comes from simply having to continue living together while anxiously waiting for something good to happen to/for me in the job market so we can get the ball of divorce rolling, so to speak.

2) A lack of direction related to photography.

Point 1 is simply no within the purview of this blog so I shall not venture forth and illuminate you to the particulars in that matter, but I can speak here to point 2.

I enjoy snapping pictures. I really do. I do it almost daily. If not with my dSLR I’m certain to play shutterbug with my cell phone. Hey… a photograph is a photograph regardless of the device used to take it. And while I have no problem with being a basic and generic shutterbug I had hoped… maybe expected… that by now something in particular would have shown itself to be the sort of photography I wished to focus upon.

I don’t know why. I mean, I don’t know why I felt that need at all. Maybe it’s a normal and logical conclusion to which to arrive when one undertakes a new hobby. That at some point in the future the hobby will become more sharply focused. More specific. That it will cease to be something simple and become something more complex. Something which requires more time and dedication and in which one feels as if they are growing within the confines and context of said hobby.

But why does it have to be that way? I suppose it doesn’t. Regardless it is the way I feel and since it’s my hobby and my blog and my life, why shouldn’t I live it the way I feel regardless of how it appears to only add anxiety and complexity where none is necessary?

So where does this leave me exactly? Where am I and what are my plans? My intentions? My concerns and needs?

Fuck all if I know.

I almost wonder if I’m holding back, intentionally or otherwise, simply because I feel as if the rest of my life is on hold. Waiting for a job. Waiting for a divorce. Waiting for finding a new place to live and starting over on my own. Perhaps these up-in-the-air issues are thwarting my attempts to move forward with photography? Or maybe it’s simpler than that. Maybe I’m just not certain where to go. What to do.

Hell… I still have a terrible record at figuring out which of my own pictures is better than the rest. I’m still regularly amazed at the reaction I will get to one photograph on flickr, while another, one I think is great, garners little to no attention. For example, I posted the following two pictures a few weeks ago:

The first picture, of my cat Pumpkin sunning himself at the front door, generated 43-views and 6-separate comments. The second picture, of a mallard at a local park, generated 26-views and 1-comment.

The picture of Pumpkin was just a whim. Just me enjoying snapping a photo of one of my cats doing what they do best: getting some sun. The one of the mallard was me doing what I love best: snapping pics of nature. Especially of animals and birds in particular. I worked hard that particular afternoon to grab a handful of good shots of the male and female mallards enjoying the early spring/late winter day at the pond. And I worked hard to narrow down the field of photos until I had what I thought were the best of the best. And this one… this one in particular really stood out for me.

Tack-sharp. Gorgeous colours. A perfect profile.

In my mind the mallard was a winner. Hands down. Should have been favourited and commented upon and loved by all. Instead it was the everyday shot of a cat in the sun which generated the far greater response. What the hell is wrong with me that I don’t see this? Am I too close to my own work to recognize what’s better? I’m I prejudiced to think less of the casual snap of the cat because I didn’t ‘work’ for it? Am I simply incapable of recognizing something basic and fundamental about the images that would have told me the picture of Pumpkin would be the more popular?

For someone who sometimes entertains the notion of trying to sell one’s work it’s very disconcerting to find oneself incapable of recognizing what may be the better work (at least when based upon viewers preferences).

So… where does this leave me at this time? Am I going to continue with this blog? I’d like to think so. I confess to having an idea for another blog, one which I believe is much closer to my heart, but I am concerned that if I cannot remain dedicated to this one why would I be dedicated to another even if it is something more important to me (the subject, not blogging itself)? It’s a dilemma and is, in part, the reason I have yet to commit to starting it.

As if life isn’t messy enough without me trying to make it more so. What a putz.

The cow sez “Moooooooooo”

Yeah. I know. You don’t have to tell me.

I suck.

It’s a fair cop.

I could come up with some extra-special reason. Some uber excuse. Something plausible, believable and sympathy-inducing. But that would be too much fucking work. Truth be told: I’ve been a lazy shit about writing for a while.

Sure… some of it is seriously related to having come to a conclusion that this little blog was a bit aimless. Yeah, it deals with photography and my foray into it. Well…. if one can call 2.5 years a “foray”. Regardless, I’ve been wondering where I want to go with this blog and what I want it to say. And to be frank it’s a bit difficult.

I’ve been told I’m a pretty good story teller, but this blog isn’t about telling stories. Actually, if you really want excellent stories that more-often-than-not have a photography bent, you should be reading this guy’s stuff. He writes the way I wish I could write. Casual. Funny. Smart. Interesting.

To be fair, I think I used to write more like he does now. He has been busy improving (no doubt frequent posting and re-working his thoughts before posting helps) while I’ve been busy languishing. But that’s only my fault. And while I do not promise that this particular blog ‘o mine will continue on, I’m rededicating myself to writing and this is one of a few places where I’d like to get back into the swing of things.

That said….

Check these out!

Not long after I joined Flickr I noticed an advertisement for a company named Moo.com, who offered printing services primarily aimed at business cards and the like. I never thought much about it seeing how I had no need or use for business cards and eventually they disappeared from Flickr.

However, at some point the bloke who’s website I referenced earlier made a purchase of cards from Moo.com. I asked what he thought of them and the long and short was that he was impressed. And so it was I made a mental note to keep Moo.com in the back of my head. You know….. just in case.

Over the past two years I have, on a few occasions, encountered folks who noted I was photographing them or something they too had been looking at (but not photographing) and they would ask about getting a copy of the picture or pictures. This usually involved someone scribbling a phone number or e-mail address on a readily losable piece of paper. Of all those instances not a single person ever managed to contact me. I think it’s mostly a matter of their forgetting or losing the note. But no more.

I recently came across a coupon for use on Moo.com and elected to purchase for myself some of their mini cards (about half the height of a traditional business card). On one side is one of my pictures and the reverse has my name, phone number and e-mail address. The nice thing was that I didn’t have to select just one image for the card’s front. One can use up to 50 different images for the front, but only one for the back if you elect that design criteria.

I ordered 200-cards, which is way more than I need, but I figured the price isn’t going to get any cheaper with time and I may as well stock up now. I feel it was a reasonable and prudent investment of less than USD40 and I cannot wait for the first opportunity I have to dispense one. I imagine it will feel really awesome.