Fake It Until You Make It Is Terrible Advice For Artists

What does it even mean? Try hard until you succeed? No, that would be fine. Is it some perverse sexual wordplay? Well, art is art, but no.

So, pretend that you can do something until you do?

That’s great if you’re in an 80’s movie*, but really, if you are trying to make something….

Wait for it.

Please wait, or please do something

MAKE SOMETHING.

It won’t be good. It might be okay. Odds are it will totally suck. Privately, even you might realize it’s crap, or you might think it’s the best thing ever (and that’s great, but honestly this often happens because we are so happy we actually made something! But really we tend to give ourselves extra credit for understanding our artistic process and the subtext.)

So it’s made, but it’s bad. So what? And, so what now?

Simple: Don’t pretend it’s good and stop. Repeat the process. Make something else. Again and again. Again.

Hey wait, that time it was okay. Maybe it even shows a glimmer of something shinier than the sum of its parts. Maybe someone else gets a glimpse of your subtext this time, as you refine your ability to communicate it.

Because we get better with practice, but in the creative field, practice is actually fun. Oh, and hard work at times, but fun.

Faking it doesn’t make anything.

Make it until you don’t feel like you’re faking it. Or until enough others feel that way, depending on how deep you like to breed your artistic angst.

—–David

P.S. “In the creative field, practice is actually fun” does not only apply to textbook definitions of creative endeavors. You can draw on creativity, inspiration, delightful random chance, discovery, and whimsy in any situation with excellent results.

Part of that trick is sometimes using creativity more for creation and less for expression (And not with numbers. Don’t get creative with the numbers!). Technique and presentation can come from opposite corners.

I mean, I don’t know what Newton was doing under that apple tree, but an apple fell on his head and he decided to define gravity mathematically. You can’t tell me that’s not creative as hell. And pie. Who came up with apple pie?

And even longer ago:

Do or do not. There is no try.

Or so I have heard.

* I’m thinking Michael J. Fox in “The Secret of My Success” here, not Michael J. Fox in “Bright Lights, Big City,” one of which is funnier (not saying which) but both involve faking it and making it in business, though not in the creative field.

Fake It Until You Make It Is Terrible Advice For Artists was originally published on Creative Uploads

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March To The Beat Of Your Own Steel Drum

Taken during the downtown Phoenix Festival For The Arts.

The featured image is a portrait rather than a wide angle, and gives a great example how framing can create a different mood and feeling with the same subjects. Here he seems empty and alone, maybe even ignored. In the portrait there is height, perhaps something to climb or aspire to. But in both he seems to be soldiering on, pounded out his own beat regardless of audience.

Something we should aspire to.

Whether the viewer wants to add an empathetic emotional layer of foolishness, sadness, grit or something else is up to them.

In reality, the steel drummer could have set his drums up the other way, facing the rows of food and market tents set up on the street behind him, facing any potential audience, but he didn’t. And I could tell you about any audience, but I chose not to by shooting this picture instead.

Steel yourself for anything, and march to the beat of your own drum.

—–David

P.S. He was pretty good.

P.P.S. Taken with my Galaxy Note 4 that I don’t want to replace yet, with a little cropping and edit in Google Photos.

March To The Beat Of Your Own Steel Drum was originally published on Creative Uploads

Ennui Or Entropy

Sometimes you’re just not excited to do a post, or you pretend to yourself that you don’t have the energy, when really you have energy but you want to do something else with it; for example, sit on the couch and watch television and read your iPad.

Creative uploads camera filter frowny faceAnd sometimes your phone battery is just dead at the end of the day.

So don’t beat yourself up about it Just recharge. If it’s important you’ll get back to it and if you don’t, I guess it wasn’t that important to you.

So is it important? Do you feel lucky, punk?

—–David

P.S. Wow, that “Dirty Harry” was a great movie did you know Frank Sinatra was originally tapped to be the star? Maybe he just didn’t feel like doing it?

P.P.S. You can kick back sometimes. But not always, if you ever want to get things done. Still, timing is everything. So prepare for what you want to do (as discussed elsewhere in his blog) and then be ready to jump. 

Ennui Or Entropy was originally published on Creative Uploads

Not Popcorn, Prickly Villains

So someone told us that the strange white spots appearing on our prickly pear cactus was an infection but not the kind we thought.
In fact it’s an infestation of cochineal bugs (Dactylopius sp.). These are tiny insects feeding on our cactus, hiding under fluffy white weblike wax, which helps protect them from predators and the elements.

Creative uploads cactus infestation

These insects are crushed for a natural dye in some localities.

Or they kill your cactus. There’s a chemical spray that doesn’t always work. So I followed this person’s alternate instructions: Power wash off the webbing and spray the cactus pads with watery dish soap (unscented Dawn is recommended; not the lemon variety which is bad for the cactus.) The idea is that the bugs didn’t like to eat soapy cactus, or less likely, it poisons them when they try.

It was kind of interesting; I used a jet setting on my garden hose instead of a power washer. (I imagine a truly high setting might cut into the cactus pads). When I hit the white clumps just right they would not only wash off but also occasionally flash with a reddish purple burst of color as it presumably crushed the bugs inside.

Given that I didn’t know how to kill the bugs that would otherwise wash to the ground under the very cactus they liked to eat and might just climb back up, I was all for reducing the population.

A few days later it’s looking pretty good, time will tell. I expect there will be some stragglers. Hoping for some good luck.

—– David

P.S. Some message boards suggested using a toothbrush and soap on the individual pads, so if you have a smaller cactus collection and can actually get to all the pads, you can try that. I didn’t have that luxury of scale.

P.P.S. So I always talk about editing things, and my Google searches are no exception. I found this information throwing all the keywords I thought might be relevant, then edited them down and added others based on the results I was seeing.

Not Popcorn, Prickly Villains was originally published on Creative Uploads

I Can Haz Prisma Update? 

Creative uploads prisma cat photography cameraphone filter

Prisma on Android is up to date like its IOS sibling with a feature I CAN put my finger on. You can drag and drop your chosen styles into whatever order you want.

Just press, hold and drag to rearrange your favorites. This is in addition to the Store icon you see on the lower left, which lets you manage styles, add some new ones and “remove” ones you don’t want (essentially hiding them.) That’s been there for a while.

Still all free (though I have my suspicions there will be premium ones someday), the real app links are at http://prisma-ai.com (many spoof versions out there.)

Quibbles:

  •  Hey, I don’t miss the auto crop to square, but I would like to be able to crop in the app someday. 
  • In an earlier post about Prisma I mentioned (and then emailed Prisma support about) possible privacy issues in their social site, which forces you to enable location settings to post, so they can localize the feed. But they never got back to me about my questions of whether it then embedded the location info in the pictures themselves. Concern and caution but not yet a deal-breaker for me in the app, just still don’t use the social site.

But look, catz!

—–David

P.S. This is my accountant’s cat. It’s sweet but I’m allergic, so in lieu if petting it I told it I would make it internet famous. Well, we meowed at each other, I don’t speak fluent cat….

Creative uploads prisma cat photography cameraphone filter

I really do enjoy these silly styles. This one’s “Vivid,”one of the new ones, “Udnie” is the featured image, always one of my favorites. The one atop this page literally tells you what it is.

I Can Haz Prisma Update?  was originally published on Creative Uploads

Is A Picture Worth A Thousand Hours?

Creative uploads photo talent practice

Sometimes you just take a picture. It’s a snap. It takes a second and maybe you doubt even give out a lot of thought when you do it.

But does it reflect things you’ve learned and forgotten from the thousands of pictures you’ve taken before, whether loved or ignored? Is it an innate skill grown from casual talent?

Yes.

Can you be good without being born with “talent”?

Yes.

Because people that are good at something may have had so-called talent, but really that means they had a drive and curiosity and interest that led them to dedicate time toward playing with and learning and understanding  what they wanted to do.

So take a picture, it will last longer than you think. Even if you never look at it again.

—–David

P.S. So for everybody that takes selfies and that’s it, you will get really good at selfies, perhaps accidentally. Unfortunately, it’s hard to make a career out of them because although they are portraits, the self-portrait market doesn’t pay a lot.

Unless you have a sponsor.

Is A Picture Worth A Thousand Hours? was originally published on Creative Uploads

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Three, Sync Experiments

I’ve been writing about how I use a free one terabyte limited account on Flickr.com as a handy offsite backup for every digital photo I have taken or scanned in the past twenty years, using a free tool called FlickrSync which I got free from https://flickrsync.codeplex.com/

It’s old but it works. (Check below for links to the previous articles)

My old Flickr.com account is public but disused, but since it’s free I set up a second one a few years ago to backup my digital photos in the cloud as yet another copy just in case.

If you haven’t been reading along: Flickr offers free accounts with ONE TERABYTE of photo storage. So you can share them online. But that’s not required: You can leave some or all of the folders or individual photos private.

Here’s some things about that process I have discovered or had to test out so I could feel comfortable with its behavior.

TIP: YOU CAN EDIT THE FOLDER NAME IN the upload tool BEFORE you upload instead of after. Then you don’t have to go online to annotate right away, and presumably the tool will remember this setting for future additions to the same folder. (Strangely I do this the other way round because that’s how I started, but also because it forces me to review the upload (for accuracy etc.) and organize it immediately while it’s still fresh.)

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage

Yes, you can rename folders inside Flickr after you upload and it seems to track that it was started with a differently named folder. This is useful in a case like this: I only wanted to upload a subfolder of say “2016_12 EVENT” called “EDITED”, and it displays as a folder tree in the app, but it uploaded as “EDITED” which I expected. The sync tool (and Flickr, really) doesn’t care about any folder hierarchy, just the folder it’s doing. So then I added the date and event value in Flickr for easier recognition and sorting. It did not pop back up in FlickrSync after this since the photos didn’t change.

CAVEAT: Now that I have renamed the folder, the sync tool wants to see it as a NEW folder and add the photos in it as new uploads. Because you can put copies of photos or files with the same name in Flickr, it’s clearly looking at the folder name first then the files in each folder.

Anyway, to complicate things I recently moved to a Network Attached Storage device (think a monitor-less computer that is generally giant hard drive storage with some service apps) which I have mapped to a different drive letter on my computer. It recognized the photos and folders when I started syncing from it, though I tried to do a clean changeover, that is I didn’t combine selections from both drives.

Future uploads, previously from assorted computers, can now be done from the same universal storage location thanks to my giant storage NAS. But really that’s not a backup. It’s a convenient media dump. If it crashed I would lose so many things, if there weren’t copies strewn around. Make copies!

So if I synced a folder in the same location on the folder tree and named the same on my local computer, and then select it with the sync tool from the mapped NAS drive, it is under a couple extra folder names . For example, if
DriveLetterA:\1pix\2016\2016-06\ is originally mapped to
DriveLetterB:\1photos\mine\2016\2016-06
but the sync tool still recognizes there is nothing to do.

What if there is a folder with the same name in a different place?
DriveLetterA:\1photos\mine\2015\flashy
DriveLetterB:\1photos\mine\2016\flashy

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage

Well, if the photos are named the same in this same-named folder, the app says “Nothing to do.” If you have changed the name of the photos, OR if the folder is a duplicate name but the photos are not (say in a different number range) it will want to sync it.

If the photo SHARES a name but it in fact a different photo (probably based on size) IT WILL STILL WANT TO SYNC IT! Which is great news if your photo ID number loops around or you like to reset it on shoots.

(I tested this by copying a photo over and renaming it with one of the existing photo names in a name-duplicate folder — mind you this a fresh folder that hasn’t been uploaded. You want to find out if you rename a copied over photo to the same name as one you have already uploaded in the same folder, well, you go figure that out. Clearly you are curious. Give in!)

—– David

P.S. Check out my other blogs in this series here:

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part One, Get Started
Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Two, Select and Organize
Flickr Backup Part Three. Sync Experiments (this one)

P.P.S. Click here to get Lastpass for free (or the paid version, I don’t care) and start thinking about more secure passwords without losing the convenience of knowing what they are! Or check out a podcast like TekThing and see what other ones they have experimented with.

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Three, Sync Experiments was originally published on Creative Uploads

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Two, Select and Organize

On the last episode of Creative Uploads

To backup my photos online in an efficient way I use an app called FlickrSync which I got free from https://flickrsync.codeplex.com/

Flickr offers free accounts with ONE TERABYTE of photo storage. And this then makes it easy to share your photos online.

As I said, I set the upload tool defaults to set all uploaded albums and photos to private. After they are up there, I could change settings for them by folder or by photo, but I don’t feel the need to advertise the address so I haven’t yet. Someday I will leverage the rating system so find forgotten gems I forgot to share or need to use in something.

creative uploads minimize maximize flickr photo backup online storage

In the upper right on windows (left on Mac) of any window are icons to minimize, maximize and close that window

The program likes to run full screen: I toggle the size to a window using the controls in the upper left. The icons on the right are the folders available, and if you double-click them it opens that very folder ON FLICKR! So you can see what’s up there already.

Once you have selected your folders, you click the Sync menu item, then “View and Sync All” and it opens up a preview window with the files it wants to upload. In my case I usually see NEW or REPLACE (sometimes I edit inline — this can be just because I changed the rotation on a photo locally.) under the thumbnails.

Confirm the choices by clicking sync and it will do it, or Cancel to edit them.

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage

It will sync and while it takes a while, there is a progress bar on the bottom and thumbnails get checked off as you go. You don’t have to babysit it. it will get back to you when done with messages that it is successful or not. If not, you can run the sync again — all your selections are still selected, this is very handy if you just had a network issue.

I’ll leave it to you to figure out how to manage the files once on Flickr, I sort by date so I lead with the year and month and maybe location as I take them. In Flickr I then create COLLECTIONS by year and add the relevant ALBUMS (created by the sync) to them. (There are Galleries as well but they only hold about 50 photos.)

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage

Collections do not have this limit. You can also customize a Mosaic icon for collections with 12 images, making it pretty easy to find things visually. Oh, that’s the year we went there; saw that….

I do have Flickr installed on my Android phone and iPad, so those photos are also uploaded automatically, even before I copy them to my computer (for editing easier browsing and to keep them all together (before copying to my main local storage for convenient access and viewing). If you do that you can probably skip syncing that folder in the steps above, but I like to manage that part on Flickr.

Apparently I have 116,044 photos online now, using 52.5% of my free terabyte of storage. Now that Verizon is buying Yahoo, I don’t know if that will change, but since they are all about getting you to use data (to upload and download and share) I am not worried. In any case, it’s free for now and my photos are safer because I have a backup. Will worry about changes when they happen.

Their home page is here: Flickr.com. One terabyte, safe in the cloud and password-protected.* Free.

This exploration will be continued in my next post, where we test the system and experiment to make sure it uploads what we expect and lesaves no photograph behind. Please bookmark, subscribe or follow me to tag along! Thanks!

—– David

P.S. Check out my other blogs on this here: (full links to come after the posts do)

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part One, Get Started
Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Two, Select and Organize
 (this one)
Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Three, Sync Experiments (coming soon!)

* Yes, Yahoo had a massive data breach a few years ago they didn’t reveal for a while. So have some other sites that still haven’t , you can be sure. We don’t actually know if the hackers shared the data, just that it wasn’t secure. Best practice for us means use a strong password and change it often.

Keep ahead of that by using a password manager. I finally got comfortable with Lastpass which is free (not a trial) and can be had by clicking here. A few handy but not critical premium features can be had for a buck a month. I’m cheap and even I pay for them (like, you can share a folder of selected logins to other users –even free accounts.) My post on Lastpass is here if you want a simple overview.

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Two, Select and Organize was originally published on Creative Uploads