Pointing (Cameras) At Things

That’s what photographers do, right? At a most basic level, in hopes of pointing out things.

Soccer field green grass creative uploads

Sure, there are all the technical skills that make your image better, or coherent. Plus a basic understanding of composition, somewhat steady hand, the literal ability to focus — if you aren’t doing avant garde shapes on purpose.

But we like to point at things we find interesting. If you taped a camera to a toddler’s hand, they would great at this.
So did we never grow out of “Mommy look at that! What are those? Pretty!”
Depends. Do you think about how to improve your skills even when you aren’t holding a camera? Do you look at other people’s stuff and wonder how it was done, or plot ways to imitate it with your own spin? Are you inspired by good work or only jealous (a little jealousy can be motivating)?

These are the steps it takes to rise from toddler to an adult with a childlike sense of wonder.

Totally worth the trip.

—–David.

P.S. Inspired by musing on my new 360 camera, which on the one hand shows the world the way I see it, with an infinite number of angles but a perspective limited by my current position in the universe. On the other hand, it’s hard for people to see exactly what YOU are trying to point at….

Dance studio 360 panorama creative uploads

https://kuula.co/share/7PrNG?fs=1&vr=0&thumbs=1&alpha=0.60&chromeless=0&logo=0&logosize=40 P.P.S. I have been getting frustrated with WordPress, especially the mobile apps, as I prep for posts but drafts or photos aren’t uploaded, and drafts don’t sync between different devices. Then the app doesn’t sync… Ridiculous and not at all inspiring. I have other stuff to do. Perhaps I will be able to tell you about it sometime…

Pointing (Cameras) At Things was originally published on Creative Uploads

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Music Video Or Ad? (Always Both, Right?)

Last week I posted directly on the Facebook page for this blog after I created a promotional video for an upcoming concert and the client had issues publicizing it with their own Facebook post.

https://www.facebook.com/478531892336962/posts/875709779285836/

SERVICE WITH A SMILE

I may get into how I captured and created the visuals later, but let’s get into the technical part of serving your client. Whether they be a paying customer or a friend, if you are helping someone out, I tend to consider that as doing somebody a favor.

That’s not from arrogance; I am trading my time for someone else to benefit from and that’s a favor. It doesn’t matter if I am also getting paid for it or not. There are literally 1 million other things I could, do including nothing, including things I choose or do not choose. In turn they are doing me a favor by participating in the partnership, whether they do that well or not!

With that attitude, if someone has a problem I may be irritated but I don’t get angry about it. If someone misinterprets something or doesn’t like what I have done, I may be disappointed but I also want to solve the problem, because I try to see us as a team.

Sometimes that’s difficult or nearly impossible, but I strive at least not to let that be my fault.

This case was none of those, although he asked for changes and additions I was hoping not to make. But by doing them I made it better.

LET’S GET TECHNICAL

And now we will get into the technical part and point of this post: Facebook is really annoying. If you don’t give them the video to host, unless it’s YouTube they like to show you a link. If you want to embed your Facebook post somewhere else, like I want to do now, you will generally get a link and not the visual you like, or if you do, not in a way that you can make look prettier.

Wait, what am I saying? That the big technology players don’t see each other as a collaborative team and try to solve the problem and make it easy for the end user that works with both of them? I was just talking about. customer service….

So funny.

Anyway, I’d shared the video via OneDrive this time, and I am assuming since he was on mobile, he grabbed the link and posted it to Facebook, and because I shared it with relaxed enough permissions it did technically work.

But it didn’t auto play, had a crap thumbnail, and it branded for the Microsoft product. Plus, he need to change the name of the file which was displayed instead of something more on brand, and without the extension. But it was already on his page and he was driving and couldn’t call me back, and people were going start liking it and then when we fixed it it was going to get zapped and all those likes would go away and they weren’t going to click like and share again.*

So my solution was to immediately copy the text of his post with links intact (and a couple of improvements like a direct link that you use to get tickets for the show.) And then I uploaded the video to Facebook and created a public post on my own page and made him share that as well. Then people could share his copy of the post of my copy of the post and it would all go through the same the locus point, so as it got more views and likes it would show up better in the Facebook feed and reach other people, and he would still get likes and shares for his page. And patrons for his concert.

I think that’s a win-win. The funny thing is that solution was actually my second attempt in five minutes. My first brilliant attempt was to share a post directly on his wall, the same way you go and wish somebody happy birthday so that the video or picture shows up in their feed.

The problem we had, however, was that my post was only visible to “friends” of his page, even though I would’ve posted it publicly, because that’s what his default page settings were. So then he shares it and it’s public on his page, but fans and performers can’t share it again because the details and video won’t show up, just his header (since he didn’t have to write anything that was already right there below it in my post!

I asked him to try to change the settings on my post to public, because I know that I cannot. I never heard back if he was able to do that, which would solve the problem later, but again, he was driving, so I provided the other solution, and he shared that one. It stayed public all the way down the line.

So next time I have Facebook-targeted content, I will include a list of the steps up front that “our team” will take to share to our best effect, and a plan ahead of time. I will probably create that plan on my own, using my own account and my page, and a relative to test things on their account. Maybe a dog picture.

—–David

P.S. Funny enough, if I had known that the last edit I sent was actually going to be approved and final, I could have put it on YouTube which would have posted friendly to his page, shared easily, and put all direct video likes in the same place, slightly benefitting me in the end, and giving me a little promotion for being a producer in the first place. But once the clock was ticking, uploading again to YouTube and creating all of that data set would’ve taken more time than the two different versions that I did to solve it the way I did.

* Oh and yeah I’m trying to lay down with an ice pack because I was in a car accident recently and my back hurts if I spent too much time at the computer!

Music Video Or Ad? (Always Both, Right?) was originally published on Creative Uploads

A Hamster In The Hand

 

I’ve been taking school pictures this season and had the opportunity to include this adorable mascot the other day. Artie even got a badge made, though I imagine he’d chew it up given the chance.

It’s nice to know there are still classroom pets out there. I know there is a possibility of animal harm with this, but I like to think we have become more sensitive to animal care as a society, and trust that teachers have both the best interests of students and the class pet at heart. A lost class pet is a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, not to be invited into your life lightly.* You learn to like, adore and love something that carries responsibility with it, not an object but a living thing that doesn’t argue you with you like a friend or sibling.

That’s one of the great things about pets. If you don’t have a pet of your own, you can get a taste of it. There’s a shared responsibility, and honor even, in seeing to the animal’s well-being, whether it happens in class or on occasions where a family has to take care of Mr. Fluffy over a break or holiday, if not a rotating weekend schedule. Plus you get to learn how stinky things get without regular cleaning.

It gives you a chance to see that the world is bigger than your tiny sheltered corner. That animals are sometimes unpredictable in their responses even as they have predictable habits. As are humans.

For children there is the vital opportunity to develop compassion for a creature that might not need our help if it were in the wild, but deserves our mercy and respect when we cross paths with it.

And just maybe, that becomes a deeper thread and we learn to maintain compassion for larger creatures, fellow humans and nature itself, even when things seem ready to turn on us, because we are all partners in one large complicated ecosystem.

—–David

* Unless you’re in a sitcom.

P.S. Our family had gerbils when I was a kid. I still have fond memories of breakfast times when we made tiny little pancakes for them, and they would hold them in their little hands and eat.

A Hamster In The Hand was originally published on Creative Uploads

You’re Number One

Just know that sometimes, in a big or small way, you are number one.

image

Not always all the time, but we all get to take a turn.

—–David

P.S. And sometimes when we feel like number two, it’s just because we are moving up in the line.

P.P.S. Taken with my Note 8 using the Live Focus feature for a blurred background.

You’re Number One was originally published on Creative Uploads

How’s Your Perspective?

As a photographer and father, I strive to see the world from as many angles as I can.

For images, it’s to see or show something new, fresh or compelling.

As a parent, it may be to keep my kid safe or find our way to a new adventure.

In all cases, even bringing video and writing into it, it’s about not limiting myself or my audience to one perspective. Even if you can only see one side of things you should recognize that they are often three-dimensional and imagine what you might see if you were someplace different.

Creative uploads perspective parking lot

Lately to put this in practice with my daughter, when picking her up I don’t tell her where I parked, I simply text her a picture from what direction I think she will be coming from. I am forcing her to recall her surroundings and see them from a different perspective.

It is a conscious choice on my part, as well as being a fun game. And I do hope that it affects her thinking in other areas, sort of a behavioral psychology experiment. I know it affects mine in personal and group situations, and specifically increases my sympathy for others, if not my agreement with them.

I’m looking forward to the day when she approaches me from a different angle than I expect. And I’m hoping I can still see it from her point of view.

—–David.

P.S. Sometimes I give her clues when there are multiple options (her school has three typical pick up locations), like the size of the parking lot, or the compass directions which she hasn’t bothered to memorize yet.

How do you force your child or yourself* to look at familiar things in a different way?

(* Or your child within!)

P.P.S. The featured photo is from a day I was driving and my daughter said how much she liked the rain so I opened the moonroof for her … Ha! Looking at things from a different angle indeed!

How’s Your Perspective? was originally published on Creative Uploads

Sharpen Your Skills

Sharpen your skills. This is usually meant in a very specific way, whether you are studying something technical and precise, or aimed at a specific field or job.

But as a Renaissance-minded creative, or jack of all trades, or generalist, as you might call me, I see that it can apply to anything, which can make it hard to decide which skills need to be sharp.

Creative uploads pencil sharpener sharpen your skills

You can sharpen all of them. not all at once. But if you choose tasks and interests that you like, try to pick one where related skills overlap. This lets you sharpen the same skills but with more bang for your buck. Plus, that efficiency will help when you need to work on a skill that is more specific to a required task. Especially mentally, having covered several areas already reduces the stress of having to focus on one thing and make other things wait.

If you’re trying to build your muscles or exercise more, you should have a regular exercise program, but you could substitute helping people move furniture or rearranging and reorganizing your house and garage. Any excuse for lifting things is using your muscles right? *

Just make a habit of it. Being aware of what you’re doing and how it can affect your other desired skill sets.

I can type, I play piano and guitar, and I’m good at massages. All of these things use my fingers and hand muscles, and I try to improve my dexterity by changing angles, styles, or even switching to my weaker hand when doing simple tasks, which has improved my left hand bassline playing on the piano, for example.

When I quit my cubicle-based job to be a stay-at-home father for my daughter years ago, I joked that I was leaving a tiny workspace with randomized duties and a diminutive boss who would yell to get his own way, always decided he was right, and didn’t listen or care what I was saying, to take exactly the same job but with no commute.

I have used my corporate skills throughout her childhood, from organization through quality control, presentations and conflict resolution.

If you’ve been a stay-at-home parent and are reentering the business world, or joining it for the first time, realize that you can use those lessons that you learned at home with no commute everywhere else.

We are all children at heart, and the ones with less heart show their childishness even more.

The only thing missing (unfortunately) is the opportunity to call a timeout. But you can chuckle inside at the silliness of it all anywhere you go, and your sharpened skills can cut through anything.

—–David.

P.S. I miss regular pencils and that cool wall sharpener. I miss the smell from sharpening, the texture and feel of the pencil, the shading you get from holding it at an angle, and having an eraser that takes away your mistakes. I do like the convenience of mechanical pencils, until they run out of lead and you realize that you can’t just get up from your desk, walk to the wall and grind them for a few seconds so that they work right again, especially when you’re out of lead refills.

* Full disclosure: Currently recuperating from a car accident, I am taking any excuse for not lifting things. But it will come back to haunt me, as I have gained 5 pounds already.

Sharpen Your Skills was originally published on Creative Uploads

Hello! Been Very Busy

Being busy is great.

Being very busy is kind of annoying, because while you might be enjoying what you’re doing, you also would like a little time to do other things on your to do list, or your screw around list.

Oh well. This guy gets it.

Creative uploads psycho pigeon

Technically though, there is no such thing as being “too busy.” If you think you’re too busy, you are simply very busy and tired of it.

And yeah, I felt too busy much of the summer. Mostly it was video projects, editing , and doing work around the house . Really it was more of a mental busy-ness, trying to track and organize and schedule everything to avoid stress.

Once you get up in your head like that, but don’t have enough available time to cross any one thing off of your list because you have to bounce between each one, that’s when you feel too busy.

So I stole a little time from my schedule to turn my tasks into projects, meaning that I broke up my list into smaller pieces that I could cross off, either mentally or physically, without having to focus on a single thing and then be totally behind schedule on something that became more critical. That way I could see daily or weekly progress and also the light at the end of the tunnel.

Also, as a serial procrastinator who learned to be more productive by realizing that if you like to put things off —

Tip: You can put off less important things with almost the same satisfaction as the critical ones, which makes people around you much happier with the results

— I discovered that if you have too many things to do and not enough available time, given deadlines, then you don’t feel like you’re putting other things off (joyful procrastination). Instead you feel that you can’t get to them and the most important ones just sit in your head (stressful consternation.)

But apparently the people who say the only way through is through have a point.

And the videos turned out great.

So I guess that’s my silly rant on how to make your busyness work with whatever business you have to deal with .

—–David.

P.S. And remember it’s okay to be a little selfish sometimes, whether doing things for others is how you experience it, or if you want to stay up late and watch your own TV show and everybody’s going to bed.

Or go grab some fast food.

Hello! Been Very Busy was originally published on Creative Uploads

Fly Boy Picture

Another portrait. Word is getting around!

20180715_152148-014497670277417827859-e1531695615385

 

Again taken with my Samsung Note 8, this time edited a little with Snapseed.

20180715_1521283878282504623622331-e1531695174161

He was on the window for a good half an hour so we thought perhaps he was dead, but as soon as I came in for an extreme close-up he took off.

And yes, I take pictures of humans too.

—–David

P.S. Remember you can tap on your desired focus point so the camera doesn’t pick the wrong place to be in focus, a critical step when shooting through glass. Especially with a tiny dark subject. I mean swarthy….

P.P.S. Praying mantis from the front yard just last week

Fly Boy Picture was originally published on Creative Uploads

Can Do Candid Mantis

I’m available for portraits and headshots. Just had a short session with this guy in the front yard with my Note 8.

My best Tip for shooting suddenly moving targets is to grab a shot as soon as you can frame it, even if it’s not the best angle or composition. Because of the subject moves before you get in position, you have lost the shot completely.

The sooner you snap, the sooner you have a safety shot that you can crop the crap out of. Then keep shooting!

—–David

P. S. I shot this with the stock photo app on my new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 using the 2X optical zoom, no digital zoom! And I probably benefited from the phones built-in stabilization, which is optical not digital in this case. Although I still ended up being just a few inches away from the fella, I moved slowly and pretended that I wasn’t paying attention to him so he would feel safe staying put.

Digital zoom is fine, but I never use it when I am shooting, because I can crop later with the same results or better, because photo editors do better interpolation when sizing up, because they take the time to process a smarter algorithm instead of the phone having to do it live in a split-second .

Can Do Candid Mantis was originally published on Creative Uploads

My New Phone Is Not Magical

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fabulous phone. I had to replace my much-loved Galaxy Note 4 because it was shutting off unexpectedly, even when the battery still had a charge, even when it was plugged in overnight. A factory reset was no help.

So for reasons, I got a Samsung Galaxy Note 8. And it’s bigger yet slimmer, faster, and much more expensive.

My wife inconceivably actually wanted me to get a new phone .

The camera is great, though not a DSLR. It has a stylus which I’ve gotten accustomed to in my last few phones, for those times when you just want to be able to write a note, or draw, or tap on the screen with more precision. There are some cool tricks, but for me, it lets the phone input be more organic. I love it.*

And there are features missing. To make it waterproof it’s now sealed, so I can’t replace the battery when it goes bad. My last phone had infrared in a way I could use as a remote control. I didn’t use it but it was there.

This phone has infrared on the front facing camera so I can use dumb live stickers. Well, the face recognition and iris scanning is cool….

And the camera is fine improvement with two rear lenses and image stabilization, even a 2X optical zoom. But features I like were easier to get to on the old phone, as they were less buried.

So I have mixed feelings. And I plan to have this phone for a long time and I will love it to death, but like always when I replace it: I miss my old phone.

Animated messages are neat but you have to limit how many lines you draw.

But it’s not magical. It’s a great tool, but that’s what I expected. And my potential disappointment in “dazzle points” is well-tempered by the fact that instead I can focus and use the features that help me communicate and schedule and live better, without being a gushing fanboy who needs to play with all of the shiny new toy apps instead of using the phone for what I bought it for.

—–David

P.S. And I know that the Note 9 is weeks away from being released, but I don’t know that it is going to be a magical improvement, and it will certainly cost more than what I paid to upgrade now on a discount, and saving money is a feature I will always appreciate.

* My favorite thing about the stylus is that you can pull it out of the phone and just write immediately on the screen even with the phone locked (screen off memo), which is amazing in the middle of the night when you have a song idea or annoying thought in your head that you want to leave for a reminder in the morning, because you can make a note just like you have done for years without even turning on a light.

Okay, that’s a little magical, even though my last phone did it.

My New Phone Is Not Magical was originally published on Creative Uploads