Monday, December 27, 2010

2011 Creativity Resolution...

New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken, it seems. I, for one, am well accomplished at failing to fulfill my intentions as planned at the onset of each annual calendar flip. Mrs. Muse and I have already discussed this dangerous business for the imminent next year and among my desired outcomes (no longer committed resolutions – know thyself) are to watch [much] less TV (broken in the previous three years), walk [meaningfully] every day  (broken in the previous two years), and eat well (broken for the last twenty or so years). Less television could potentially equate to several additional hours per day for more meaningful pursuit. Thus my single, really meaningful desired objective for 2011 is to increase my artistic creativity. This is, after all, the stuff that truly feeds my soul. And makes me happy. Jefferson was really big on the pursuit of Happiness thing – and as he is my philosophical hero this would seem to make sense from multiple perspectives.

I read somewhere several times (probably in blogs about making resolutions), that making a public statement of one’s commitment increases the probability of success. Exactly how much isn’t clear, but given my record of past failures any increase in the odds can’t be a bad thing. So this shall then be my public commitment. But first the protective retreat and rationalization…

Photography and music are not my primary vocations. I am a fairly busy health professional working in the field of clinical research ethics and regulation. I travel for a week or more out of the month, and am thoroughly committed to the good things that we do for the right reasons (I work in a non-profit organization devoted to children’s health). This can be intense, rewarding, time consuming, frustrating, stimulating and challenging. That said, I believe that my creative passions contribute to my professional success, and my professional discipline contributes to my artistic success. The photography and music are also my creative refuge – a fortress to keep the stress at bay. And so I annually develop my professional objectives to keep my focus on what must be done in that most important of my worlds, and now also the creative objectives – to primarily keep me sane, gratified and invigorated – and secondarily to vitalize my professional contribution.

So the first commitment is to finish the 1,000 Doors Project – the recording of my music that was begun more than a year ago. We’re closing in on that one. The second is to turn that spare bedroom into a combined music room and homemade photography studio. Not the kind of studio that one brings clients in for family portrait sittings, but truly a place to “study” the art of photography – a small space to learn and practice. To visualize and invent. To improvise and experiment. I want to learn to create art, not to take pictures – to create the extraordinary from the ordinary. Or not.

I’ll share the successes and failures with you here – sonic and visual – and at the end of 2011 we’ll find out if I managed to succeed to some degree, or develop the art of procrastination to yet another barely achievable height. Stick around….

Sunday, December 19, 2010

50mm Photo Meme, Part II

This is a continuation of the previous thread, as promised. The final 3 days of photos shot using only a 50mm lens, on the 50th week of the year. I tool the liberty of adding an 8th, just because I like the way it turned out...

Thursday: Saint Francis

Friday: Acosta Bridge Ramp (3-exposure HDRI)

Saturday: Florida Rain

Bonus: Wire and Wood

A great week to all!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

50mm Photo Meme

This is the 50th week of the year, and the folks at one of the Nikon users websites have started a 50mm lens meme thread. I thought it would be fun to participate, as I have a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D lens. The idea is to shoot with only a 50mm lens, pick your best shot of the day for each day of the week, and post it to the thread. Through 4 days, I have seen some great shots using the "normal" lens (normal because 50mm closely mimics human sight), and been inspired creatively. Relative to most of the others mine are nothing special, but here are the first four -- I'll post the remaining three after the weeks ends...

Sunday: Live Oak Tree

Monday: Lights with Staircase

Tuesday: Gator

Wednesday: Face In The Wall

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Attack of the Robot Voiced Animations...

Today I discovered, the website that  brought us the animated explanation of quantitative easing that was bot funny and educational. Turns out you can build you own for free using an assortment of characters and editing options... very cool stuff! I produced this one with no learing at all in about 5 minutes... Look out. This is going to be fun...

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Joy of Fast Glass

I recently caved in a acquired a Sigma 85mm f/1.4 lens. After testing several copies of the Nikon D and G 85s, looking at other folk's images with this new Sigma offering, and comparing price / value -- I settled for value. I have not been disappointed.

The primary reasons for purchasing a "fast" lens are 1) the ability to isolate your primary subject with a wide aperture that creates a very shallow depth of field, and 2) shooting in low light with minimal or no flash. These features make it an excellent portrait lens. I don't shoot many portraits, but I do shoot many low-light situations (concerts), and love the isolation effect on the focal point. So... I took a day out of the office today and, among other things, took a quick hike through the Julington-Durbin Creek Preserve in the south Mandarin area of Jacksonville.

This turned out to a fun lens for shooting outdoors, even in imperfect early afternoon light. The trip gave me the opportunity to try out new techniques and alternate camera settings compared with my habitual static style. I shot these in digital RAW at 14-bit depth. The extra bits increases the range of color variants available (by tens of thousands).

It was great to get out a bit, on the day before the first hard freeze of the season here in Northeast Florida. We're expecting 12 hours of sub-freezing temperatures tonight (temperatures in the mid to low twenties fahrenheit -- hey, that's cold for Florida!), and our world be be much browner tomorrow.

Today also happens to be the 35th anniversary of the day that Mrs. Muse and I ties the knot... another bridge crossed....