What if you Could go Back in Time…?

What if you could go back in time?

What if, one day, when you were a grown-up, you went back to your old home and climbed the ladder into your parents’ attic?

And, way in back, in a dim corner, barely illuminated by the flashlight in your hand, there was a box, a trunk, a large, dusty wooden trunk, with a lock that used a skeleton key?

So you contemplate whether or not to open it, to turn the key and open the lock, carefully, because you don’t know what might be in there, and the attic was a place that you seldom entered when you were a kid, not only because it was hard to get to, but because it was a cold and dark and drafty and scary place, and only the grown-ups were allowed in there.

Still, you want to know what is in the trunk.

Because you know it contains memories.

It is filled with the kind of memories that generations more than a hundred years ago could never have: photographs.

Not only photographs, but the negatives, too, a treasure-trove of memories.

But whose memories?

And when they join you in the present, are they the ghosts that you once thought haunted the attic?

Source: Ghosts – Darrell Noakes

Have you seen rephotography before? I’ve seen it done several times but have yet to try it myself.

Photography Replaces Writing

photograh

This was my Twitter post today. What do you think? Will written content lose it’s place to photography? I think it already has.

Most people want to get news and information in seconds. The image with a story, is the story. Writers post images to illustrate the story, or a point in the story, or just to add something visual. Photographers, capture the story in an image. Of course, the image can’t give all the information. However, people see the image and decide they know the entire story.

They might read photo’s caption, if there is one. They might read at the headline, once or twice. Headlines are easy to find in the content, easy to read too.

Headlines and subtitles can give some detail but they weren’t written to tell the whole story. These days the snippets of written content might be all anyone reads to form their opinion and decide what the writer/ journalist was communicating.

The Internet is changing how we read, how we gather information and how we evaluate what we find. Details get missed. Assumptions are made and stuck with religiously. Kind of like the Emperor’s Clothes. If everyone says so it must be true. We don’t have time to gather facts and come up with our own opinion. It’s easier to take up the popular opinion and defend it as truth because if it’s wrong… we might look stupid.

So much is changing. Writers need to become photographers or image makers if they want their content skimmed/ read at all.

Losing your Sense of Self?

bwpollThis is an old poll I created when I used to write for a network called BackWash. Still a good question to think about.

If you had to give up or lose one of your senses, including common sense and the possibility of a sixth sense or the other standard: hearing, smell, taste, sight or touch, which would you pick?

I think the idea of losing our senses haunts us all our lives. We see someone who can’t see or hear and we think about how it must be to live without that.

Then we get older and another fear is losing our mind, our ability to think and do things for ourselves.

Animals don’t have a sense of self, scientists say. It’s a test they try on animals – putting them in front of a mirror to see if they can understand they are looking at a reflection of themselves. I’ve seen cats go crazy, hissing and pouncing, trying to threaten (or feeling threatened) by what they see as a strange cat who hisses right back at them. Pretty scary if you don’t understand the concept of a reflection. But, they can do the same with the image of a cat on a box too.

I don’t know if not having the knowledge of reflections and photography or graphic arts should leave us to assume these animals don’t have that sense of self.

How could you prove an animal does have a sense of self? How do you know you have a sense of your own self? Do you even understand the idea of what having a sense of self is? Maybe that is the sense (not on my original list) which you might give up. How different would you be without it?

Find Your Passion By Answering These 50 Questions

50 questions to help you find your passion:

1. What is working well for you in your current life — what do you find fulfilling, meaningful, enjoyable, and important?

I still have my independence, a place to work which I have been re-creating to get rid of clutter. I find those to be enjoyable and important.

2. What isn’t working well for you in your current life — what drains you, makes you stressed and anxious, or wastes your time?

Conflict and stress over conflicts drains me.

3. If you were financially secure and didn’t need a paycheck, how would you spend your time?

I would still do much of what I do now. More travel and photographing old places. I’d have a space that was more my own, no other tenants for sure.

Read more

5 Unconventional Ways to Improve Your Writing

5 Unconventional Ways to Improve Your Photography.

Apply these same ideas as a writer:

  • Study something, other than writing. Pick a hobby, how about photography?
  • Delete old stories, ideas and such which you “might use some day”. Don’t get trapped by old ideas, old clutter.
  • Limit your gear, make do with what you have. Stop shopping for new software, new books and other tools, accessories. Get back to the basics and rely more on yourself than props.
  • Take a closer look at your subject. Even if you are writing fiction, find something new, look for a fresh angle. Get a new perspective by stepping back from your past research, experience or opinions.
  • Teach someone else about writing. You can also pull together the information and resources you have and teach someone else what you know about the topics you write about. Explaining it all to someone else helps you rediscover what you thought you knew.

Digital Camera: Zoom, Focus, Pixels and Batteries

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ3I take photos of buildings, abandoned sites and the odd wild flowers in the landscape. Sometimes I get talked into family photos too. I don’t mind family photos but they always require more uploading via email, Facebook and other places so family can share them. It’s odd how the personal stuff takes up more time than the photos I really love to take.

One thing you should do right away is get a decent camera bag. Take the time to find one which has a hard outer shell so your camera bag can take some abuse without harming the camera inside of it.

Zoom and Focus for Macro and Long Distance Photographs

One thing I look for in a camera is a lot of optical zoom. Most people don’t need a lot of zoom. Step closer rather than zoom in. However, I photograph abandoned places – often on the other side of a barrier, like a ‘No Trespassing” sign. So, I don’t have the option of getting closer myself. Instead I use the zoom to bring the picture to me. I love zoom!

Someone else might want a camera with a faster speed, for action photography. In my case, things are pretty much staying right where they are.

Other photos I like to take are called macro. This means I get as close up as I can and fill my viewable screen with the entire image I am looking at. Macro photography gives you a new look at very small things. I use it for taking photos of wild flowers and insects usually. I push the camera lens as close to the subject as I can. I have to be careful not to get so close I touch it with the camera.

The camera I have right now isn’t the best one for giving a sharp focus when I use the full 10X optical zoom. I’ve also noticed it loses focus, or is hard to focus, when I am up close for macro photos. In the case of taking a macro photo I need to pull back in order to get a sharp, clear focus. When using the zoom I’ve learned to pull back then too in order not to lose the sharpness which I need to bring all the finer details into the long range photograph.

I have learned that the focus range needs to start with a small number, the smaller the better, in order for the camera to be able to get a clear focus when the subject is near your camera. I also know that the only zoom that keeps a sharp focus is the optical zoom. If you break into the range of digital zoom you lose your sharp focus and the photo framing can get out of whack too.

So camera focus depends on a few extra things but the focus range is an important feature to watch for when you look at getting a new camera.

FujiFilm FinePix SL300

Resolution: It’s in the Pixels

The resolution is the amount, or density, of pixels in the image. Pixels are tiny dots of colour which build up the photo as a whole. A high amount of megapixels lets you use the photos you take for larger sizes in processed images. But, for most people 3 MP (MegaPixels) will be all you need.

Images which are used online, for websites require less pixels than an image which you want to print as a photograph. Keep that in mind when looking for a new camera. Unless you are selling your photos professionally or printing them up for poster sized images, you don’t need high resolution images.

Battery Life for your Digital Camera

Digital camera batteries are either lithium or AA batteries. Use rechargeable batteries to save money and having more stuff to throw away. Lithium batteries last longer and are lighter but, they are hard to replace once they finally stop working. I’ve had a camera more than 3 years and have not needed to replace the lithium battery it came with. So replacing the battery is not something to worry about very much. Just take care of whatever batteries you use.

Things that ask more from your battery:

  • LCD screen
  • flash
  • zoom

Tips for saving and conserving battery power.

  • Don’t leave your camera on when you aren’t using it. Why rely on power saving when you could just turn it off.
  • Don’t leave your camera on long after your photos are uploaded. When it’s done, it’s done.
  • Don’t leave your camera battery out in sunlight. It likes cool, dark places.
  • Don’t use the flash when you can do without it. Low light can be good for photos.
  • Don’t use the zoom when you can move your camera (or yourself) closer instead.
  • Don’t spend time viewing the photos you have already taken. Upload them and then take your time reviewing them.

Wrist Straps and Camera Bags

A camera may come with a strap and a camera bag. The best thing about the camera bag that comes with your camera is that it fits your camera size. It may not be the best choice for keeping and carrying around your camera. Also, I very much prefer using a wrist strap versus a longer strap that goes over your shoulders (around your neck). A long strap leaves your camera dangling in front of you.

I like the wrist strap so I can keep the camera in my hand while knowing I have the strap around my wrist so I can’t drop the camera on the ground. My wrist strap has saved my camera from dropping twice so far. I’m careful but I still tend to be walking over uneven ground, watching for animals flying above me and hiding below my feet. I’ve had something startle me or I’ve just plain lost my footing and stumbled, countless times. I’m glad my camera strap was looped over my wrist then and not banging into my chest.

In the case of the camera bag, I took time to find one which was firm on the outside. I knew my camera was going to be bumped around in my backpack, my purse and so on. So a firm case was essential to protect it. I didn’t keep the case the camera came with for very long. It was soft and easily squished.

Pencil Versus Camera

pencil vs camera From my painstaking research (mostly just luck) I found the name for the style of drawing called Pencil versus Camera. Ben Heine (also on Tumblr, 500PX and Flickr) is given credit for the original idea and the style of illustration which uses drawing with photography to create an image where both versions work together. You need to see it, my description just isn’t that good.

Pencil Versus Camera group on Flickr  – A group for others who want to try the pencil versus camera style.

What Can you do with an Old Film Camera?

oldcameraI still have my 35mm (analogue) camera from college. I began using it about 20 years ago. It was a big purchase at the time, my Mother helped me pay for it when I was starting college and needed the camera for the Photography part of Corporate Communications at Centennial College (Warden Woods campus, which is now gone).

I can remember the teacher in the class talking about the future of film and photography. Computers were still pretty new then. Most offices had them for word processing but they were many years from being used in every home. The Internet existed, but almost no one knew anything about it. I can remember thinking how great it would be to have a camera which did not need film to be developed. The camera itself had been expensive but it was the cost of developing film and buying more film which was really making it hard to keep from falling behind in the class work.

Even though I have not used that old film camera for many years, I can’t quite let it go. I still have it in the case with the Canadian flag decorated camera strap. I could re-use the old strap for my new bigger digital camera but that just seems so wrong. Like deconstructing an old friend. I did let go of my old photography text book a few years ago. But that is as far as I have gotten to leaving behind the age of film.

What can you do with an old film camera, assuming you get the point where you can let it go?

There are a few people who still use the old film cameras? You could look for them (groups of them) and see if your camera is collectible or worth saving for posterity.

You may find a charity which will take them and be able to find people who will still use them. Or, an artist who wants to work with retro or vintage cameras.

Look for ways to repurpose them. Can parts be salvaged for other projects or for use with your new digital cameras?  A repurposed camera could be an interesting steampunk project.

Curating Cuteness: Building an Affordable Camera Collection for the Analog Enthusiast

Toronto Star: A Nerd’s World reclaims beguiling visions of our lives from old cameras

Atomic Vision: The Pleasure of Collecting Old Cameras

Camera Mods –  Take a vintage film camera that no longer works and convert it to digital.