The Hard Work Project?

Phones pressed to their faces; laptops swinging at their sides; bags and jackets emblazoned with company logos; San Francisco’s population appears to entirely consist of young tech workers. Tech work is hard, but I often wonder how many have ever had the experience of doing the hard physical work I experienced in my youth. In my 20s, I developed a hernia from heavy lifting. In my 30s, I shoveled so much snow, I had to see a doctor for extreme upper body pain. I had a 9 to 5 desk job, but I always seemed to engage in some type of manual labor.

As a teenager, I mowed lawns; cut weeds; carried rocks, dug ditches, unloaded trucks; and even worked on a farm. With all this going on, my parents didn’t slack up on domestic chores. By the time my brothers and I graduated from high school, we could out-cook, out-sew, and out-clean Martha Stewart! Here’s a picture of my brother doing his chores. And it has served him well. Today, Steve is a master dishwasher. 🙂

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Considering that San Francisco’s young tech workers will contribute to the development of even more robots that will replace even more workers that do manual labor, I thought I could expand on the subject through the many photographs I’ve already taken. It’s a possible project. 📸

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If I Do Color, I’m Doing Snapseed

Only two of the 88 frames I took at the Berkeley Marina were presentable. That’s much better than the “Zero” out of 150 taken weeks prior. But that’s not what drove me crazy. I wasted time attempting to edit these two on the computer…I remember why I became a minimalist photographer. I wasn’t going to accept the super sharp, plastic rendering.
 
As I was about to throw the whole project away, I decided to play with Snapseed, the Google photo app on my phone. One click and it was over! It gave me the grainy look of Kodak Portra 400, my preferred color film. No more color editing on the laptop. Snapseed on an iPhone or iPad or forget it.

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What’s In My Bag? What’s in My Pocket?

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“What’s In My Bag” is a popular subject on some photography websites. There are even video versions on YouTube. Whether you are a professional, enthusiast, or beginner, it’s instructive to see what other photographers regard as essential equipment.

Here are the essentials I keep in my backpack, fanny pack, and pockets…24/7.  🙂

Lomo LC-A+

Lomo Sprocket Rocket

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

-FujiFilm EF-X20 flash

-spare batteries for all

-Ilford Delta 3200 black and white film
-Kodak T-MAX P3200 black and white film
-Kodak Tri-X black and white film
-Kodak Portra 400 Color Negative Film

 

 

A Point-and-Shoot Wedding

I couldn’t help myself. I tried to be a “guest.” As a former wedding photographer, I had the very best intentions of “laying low.” Hell,  I even bought my granddaughter’s point-and-shoot camera, still sporting the “My Little Pony” decals, to make sure that I didn’t get caught up in the moment.

But the minute I stepped through the church doors, my eyes immediately scanned the light and space. My mind started composing in 28 mm…50 mm. Flashbacks of my glory days only emboldened me.  I gave up trying to suppress what gave me joy!

As this was an evening wedding and the light was deteriorating, I made some adjustments and still obtained a respectable number of images considering I only had a “point-and-shoot.” Consumer-oriented point-and-shoot cameras are small, lightweight, and easy to maneuver but aren’t the most responsive cameras for a wedding. But that didn’t matter, my pictures went over well not because of the camera or photographer, but because they captured important moments.  It’s Not Complicated.

Thanks to Andrea, the hired pro, for allowing me to share the space.  🙂

 

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“Keeping Up with the Kardashians” on Your Mobile Device?

There is no rule that we must use tablets, smartphones, and laptops 24/7, everywhere. Citing safety concerns, some municipalities have enacted ‘distracted walking’ laws to prevent people from walking into cars while checking Facebook or texting. Our time and higher brain function were already under attack before these technologies dominated our lifestyles but today, the assault is relentless. Entertainment options are a minefield on your mobile device. Putting limits on when and where to use our devices is important but controlling further distractions through quality entertainment selections will also reclaim our time and attention span. If we practice the restraint I’m advocating, we will reap the additional benefit of becoming more enlightened consumers of the arts.

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BOOKS
15 years ago, I couldn’t get enough of Anne Rice’s vampire novels and no 14-hour drive to Florida was going to interrupt my reading schedule, so using the audiobook versions, I completed two books while driving. 🙂 Today, audiobooks remain an expensive, but an effective option when reading becomes inconvenient. And since I don’t have Donald Trump type money, I make wiser book selections.

PODCASTS
As a former radio talk show junkie, of course, I became a podcast junkie but I refuse to play them in Apple’s confusing podcast app. I use Pocket Casts. Pocket Casts can even sync between your iPad and iPhone so there will be no interruptions in listening. I started out listening to 50 podcasts but today, I have narrowed that list to 15 that really add value to my life.

MUSIC
Apple’s native music app is also a confused piece of junk. Although I don’t listen to a lot of music, there are better apps out there, like EQLRZR PRO and online alternatives such as Spotify and Pandora. EQLRZR PRO handles both music and podcasts but I haven’t had a lot of success using it in this way. My wish is that someday, Pocket Casts will handle video and audiobooks as well.

LONG ONLINE ARTICLES
Not only do I use Voice Dream to review my blog posts. I use it to listen to long online articles. Just copy and paste into Voice Dream. Big time saver.

MOVIES and TELEVISION
Back in the early days of television, you could watch “The Beverly Hillbillies,” or “The Ed Sullivan Show” without feeling that you were rotting your brain. There were 3 networks, a few hundred radio stations, and where I lived, it took 5 years for a big budget movie to even get to our local theater. Today, I’ve lost count keeping up with television and movies. Few deserve your time and attention. Apple’s native TV viewer does work and I find it easy to rent or buy only QUALITY television and movies. QUALITY is whatever works for you. I have the Netflix, HBO, and CBS apps on my mobile devices, but they remain in storage. I try to record programs for later viewing on the television.

GAMING
Tell the truth, for some of us, this is the “elephant in the room.” A friend fixed this for me when looking at the amount of combat and flight simulators I had on my iPad. “Tolbert, the reason you are not writing and creating business opportunities, that you are clearly capable of, is that you are unfocused with too many $#%#&*@#!% games on that thing.” I couldn’t argue with the logic even though I hardly had the time to play with any of them. Their mere presence was a distraction. By the end of that day, I deleted all except the one that actually helps you learn about flying a plane!

BOTTOM LINE-BE RUTHLESS
When it comes to your mobile device and entertainment, ruthlessly limit or cut unnecessary activities and apps which distract from your projects, visions, goals or desired lifestyle. Forsaking “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” has enabled me to restructure this blog and now produce what is now the 60th blog post! 🙂 It’s Not That Complicated!

iPhone Photography: Blending in

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As I recently took delivery of a new iPhone SE, Apple’s smallest (and least expensive) smartphone, I recalled photographer Eric Kim’s article on this model’s significance to photography.  Kim noted that the phone’s compactness and ability to efficiently process and publish images may be all that most people really need to photograph. As one who has spent a small fortune on almost every type of camera and now practicing photographic minimalism, I revisited that idea starting with the last photo I posted.

The biggest advantage of using a small phone, especially for a street photography, if you can get used to the ergonomics, is public acceptance.  You will not be scornfully looked upon; commented negatively about, or even physically assaulted as if you are a pedophile or terrorist. You blend into the rest of the Instagram/selfie-taking public. 🙂