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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I Don’t Have Writer’s Block, You Have Writer’s Block

No really, I don’t get writer’s block. There’s always another idea.

Oh, you want a specific idea in a narrow set of parameters, like a blog post maybe, that provides some sort of example or instruction with a smidge of encouragement and a pinch of humor?

Sure. In the meantime, here’s an unrelated picture I took on a trip. Not a metaphor.

Brick wall building creative uploads

Nice, huh? Wait, seriously, you don’t think that’s a brick wall, do you? I mean there are windows and a door — clearly you could get through it unless the windows are closed and the place is locked.

Or you could break a window, pick the lock, and tear down that wall, Mr. Gorbachev.

I really don’t get writer’s block, and neither do you. So don’t embrace the delusion that you do. That freezes you in a giant bear hug that keeps you from moving any direction.

Some things I embrace instead:

  • Procrastination
  • Depression *
  • Television
  • Anything Amusing
  • Laundry
  • Long Naps

My point is if you need to “not do,” try that out for a little bit. You don’t have to put a timer on it, but be reasonable and then start doing again. I don’t think I get “writers block,” because I could write whatever it is I need to, if I just started doing it, at least a first draft.

Like today: I wasn’t writing a post because I didn’t start thinking about a post because I wanted to do something else. I had stepped outside the process flow.

And then I wrote a post, because I started writing the post.

Now the simple fact that the draft probably needed editing and cuts, like chopping off the first paragraph or so to get to the point quicker — even if I threw everything out and started over again — that’s not writer’s block, that’s editing, and editing is part of the process of writing.

Calling it “writer’s block” is making an excuse for not doing something because you feel like doing something else instead.

In the same way, writing is an excuse for not screwing around. (Or when you are really good, an excuse for not doing housework!)

What do you love more at this moment? Do that thing. Then switch. But switch soon-ish, especially if you have a deadline.

—–David

P.S. I call this methodology “proactive procrastination.” Yeah, I may put off a priority but if I get something else out of the way , it won’t interrupt me or be an excuse later.

* Depression can be a small dip or a giant cliff, either way it’s a speed bump even if it’s not “clinical” depression. It’s a lower energy that doesn’t feed you.

I enjoy it as a break because it’s never felt permanent for me, but — and I’m not a qualified source here — if it’s not “temporary” for you, seek help from someone who can guide you to a shovel or sherpa and climb out of it at least once in a while. Even night gives way to day with persistence (and yes, vice versa) and with regularity.

P.P.S. A slightly related musing from the archives, and this watch again post on procrastination.

I Don’t Have Writer’s Block, You Have Writer’s Block was originally published on Creative Uploads

Automatic Star Trek Post Made By A Robot!

Well, AI, but not enough people liked the Steven Spielberg – Stanley Kubrik movie

And not an android, because it doesn’t look like a human, though that would be a better title.

This video was created without editing from a pasted URL using Lumen5 AI-driven software, as reviewed the other day on this very blog. I also put up a carefully edited and fine-tuned video that began as AI and I talk about that here.

Since I talked about the rough edges of social media AI and the need for editing, I thought Star Trek might provide a perfect example of what comes straight from the mouth of machines.

Now take it away, Captain Kirk! If I may quote from “The Return of the Archons” when Kirk and Spock confront a computer projection named LANDRU that has been guiding yet stifling a civilization for 6,000 years:

KIRK: What have you done to do justice to the full potential of every individual of the Body?
LANDRU: Insufficient data.
KIRK: Without freedom of choice, there is no creativity. Without creativity, there is no life. The body dies. The fault is yours.
SPOCK: Are you aiding the body, or are you destroying it?
LANDRU: I am not programmed to answer that question.

And then Landru, the computer, shorts out. (Kirk used logic to destroy at least five computers over the course of the series. Imagine talking to Siri but your phone explodes when she doesn’t understand what you are talking about.)

So, everything in moderation? I really appreciate the software, but it hasn’t taken over yet so I reserve any future opinions.  Lumen5 does suggest that it’s a starting point, but they offer an RSS feed feature that will pop up videos for every blog you feed it, a feature they call Instant Video. Somebody is going to shortcut that, and it’s going to be a waste of their viewer’s time.

As for Star Trek predicting the future and changing the world, the original article on cheatsheet.com is here, and it’s worth a visit for even cooler pictures. Why the AI left some of them out, I do not know.

Man, I should have said I do not have that Data.

Mr. Data!

—–David

P.S. The Star Trek episode quoted above is of course copyright Paramount, or CBS, or Viacom, well maybe all of them in some way, and they reserve all rights. We have the right… they have the right. (I digress.) Anyway, it illustrates my scholarly point and probably falls into fair use.

I hope the same applies to the cheatsheet.com post, though that may fall into parody and satire, since I’m really tweaking the nose of artificial intelligence here by going back to a touchstone series that provided discourse on society’s future fears before computers were much more than adding machines.

Automatic Star Trek Post Made By A Robot! was originally published on Creative Uploads

Everyone Needs A Repurpose In Life

Playing with a new video tool called Lumen5 today, that I think may just be out of beta.

They use AI to help you quickly create social videos out of existing articles, or from scratch if you so desire. At least that’s the promise. Premise?

In real life, of course, a proper polished product takes a little more time, but Lumen5 certainly automates the beginning of a a video and gives you a structure to edit against, and for many of us wanna be procrastinators, it’s exactly the kick in the pants we need to get started on SOMETHING that we SAY we WANT!

I’m not being cruel, statistically machine learning will kick out some fantastic stuff in moments. But if you have a little more skill, technically, literarily, photographic- and video-ily (I knew the grammar was going to fall apart), you want to demonstrate it, so you’ll want to add back in the human touch.

My straight-up first experience: I created an account and logged in, then fed it a URL for an old post with cameraphone tips that urged editing to make things better. (Wow, the metaphor here runs deep!)

Original Post Here: A Little Photo Editing Goes A Long Way

It pulled in the text of the post and all the photos for easy use in their editor. Unfortunately I’d only used two photos (who writes a tip post with only two examples?) so it kindly filled in the gaps with free stock photos from their library, using keywords from the post (lots of camera stuff; actually that was pretty handy.)

It also grabs portions of text from the post (rather than trying to print the whole thing on a hour long slide show.) Great move. It preferred headers and tops of paragraphs and was okay. I edited the text on the separate slides and could move slides and the text boxes around to tell the story better.

 

Music? Yes, there’s a free library or you can add your own. There’s also a Style section to change colors font and the like.

It’s easier to use on a desktop computer, but I did begin on my iPad and got a basic edit out of that.

I decided I wanted to use my own photos, so I moved to the desktop and dug up my folders of older cameraphone pictures, which you can choose one at a time with the Uploader or drag and drop. Worked very well.

It occurs to me only now that I should have tried to use video footage as well since it’s in the stock library (some items are a “premium”). Wonder how to trim that in the simplified interface, or if it needs to be cut before uploading. 50mb limit on uploads, in jpg, png, gif, mov or mp4.

 

 

 

  • It is amazing? Yes, with limitations
  • Can you set it and forget it, just giving it an RSS feed to automatically make videos from your blog while you sleep? Yes. They call that Instant Videos.
  • Should you? Well, if you want your site to be robotic and surface, then okay. If you are going to consider them as first drafts and spend time editing the details to make it personal, then absolutely.

I imagine if you spend some time with this tool, you’ll learn to format posts for even better initial results. But remember that your final audience is human and give it a human touch.

I do love technology. But the web was built by humans on technology, and if we completely surrender our management of it to robots, it’s just going to be AI creators feeding AI readers that post AI replies to very artificial intelligence accounts. What human wants to sift through that for the good stuff? Make it good stuff first, but certainly put your hands on a cool tool.*

On that note, you can post directly to Facebook from inside the program, also Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, or download your video to share with your own methods.

It’s available at lumen5.com and yes, they offer a free version with some limitations.

—–David

P.S. The video blog post I made the other day is in this post here. And on Facebook here. It’s about using your cameraphone better and editing the images for best results.

I’ll post another test shortly and update this link when I do.

* THAT does NOT sound right.

Everyone Needs A Repurpose In Life was originally published on Creative Uploads

Wait, Video With Words On It? Cameraphone Tips Revisited

Here is a video version of an early post on cameraphone tips and editing, updated with a fresh look and more pictures than ever! Welcome to the video era, again! (Been happening since movies were invented, then TV, then TV again, then 3D and VCRs and DVDs and HD and Streaming and — it’s not a new thing. It just gets polished up and shiny again.)

20140702_164831

The video includes photos by me, not a stock library. Keeping with the cameraphone theme of the piece, they were taken in 2014 or so with my old Galaxy S3 (except the last tag slide) to show how chasing the latest greatest camera isn’t even that important for quality. Technique, patience, composition, and EDITING are, though.

But this is supposed to be a video post. So here it is on Facebook *  www.facebook.com/CreativeUploads/videos/763280090528806/

And if you don’t like that, here’s a YouTube version:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IykcktjPq_U?rel=0

—–David

P.S. We’ll talk another time about how more pixels aren’t the magic bean. Boy, I do love a new camera though.

* Wanted to test the possibility of using Facebook as a video host, in case I wanted to post in Facebook first. I have my doubts before the experiment even begins. We shall see.

Wait, Video With Words On It? Cameraphone Tips Revisited was originally published on Creative Uploads

Morning People Are Cheaters

Yeah, I said it. Oh, must not be a morning person… well, duh!

Maybe I’m a morning person on the wrong side of the planet? How about that?

Maybe I’m a night person who just realized that morning people slept in from yesterday afternoon. It would certainly explain why they are so peppy and excited to start the day. They’re several hours behind everyone already, why wouldn’t they enjoy that, as they pull one over on the rest of us?

Maybe these dawn-conscious non-zombies aren’t morning people at all, but rather coffee-buzzed caffeine-dependent addicts looking for their next hit, eager and ingratiating only because their barista “dealers” demand obedience and graciousness?

Or robots. Yeah, is robots is a possibility.

I think it’s one or all of these, but I am still investigating. Good night for now. *

—-David

P.S. This picture was taken exactly as I found it, it’s gotta mean something.

P.S.S. And I’m just having a little fun. I do not consider myself a morning person, not because I am a cranky monster at dawn, but because I am clearly, biologically, a “night loving person.” I often stay awake long past midnight without getting particularly tired, regardless of when I got up that day, and I love to sleep in when my schedule permits.

Although for the last few months (and going back to when I was a paperboy) I was quite capable of getting up ridiculously early, like 5 o’clock in the morning, and functioning quite well without ever drinking coffee. It’s just not my preferred method of operation, and it’s often a grind after four days in a row since I don’t usually go to sleep early to make up for it! But it requires a task to call me out of bed, whether I love the task or not.

* As I write this everybody else in the house is going to bed and I will still be up for several hours, because I just don’t tend to fall sleep easily. I used to think that made me an insomniac, but I can sleep once I get there. Here’s one tip: I stopped beating myself up for laying in bed awake, and just enjoy the random pre-dream state. When that doesn’t work, I get up and briefly do something interesting and creative that takes little energy and try again later. I know for those of you whose tight schedules don’t permit, that’s unfair advice, but at least don’t beat yourself up for not falling asleep Enjoy your unique ability to experience a different state of consciousness, kind of like the preshow of dreaming.

Morning People Are Cheaters was originally published on Creative Uploads

Mighty Words Don’t Rhyme With Swords?

I have always been a pretty good speller, and I have a love for words. No surprise for someone with a blog.

I am also fascinated with how we each come to understand our chosen language and recreate it in our own image. That’s the source for Spanglish, for example, a mix of English and Spanish, which is delightful and practical. It stems from a desire to communicate, and that’s a pure motive, so I appreciate it. (I mean it’s one thing to learn to speak two languages but, hey, to speak two languages at once with no training? ¡Wow!)

We also sometimes get stuck in a repeating grammar error (either for fun or from stubborn ignorance), or digging in as a form of pride and self-protection. Some examples:

  • Ax (not ask)
  • Pasghetti (spaghetti)
  • Literally not using figuratively when it’s literally the right word

I have both stepped into mispronunciations and been the correcting grammar nerd (I really dislike “ax.”) But in the end, that’s just me having fun with language. And like language, my understanding is flexible and can grow.

I learned the word “infrared” reading a book at a young age, knew it described a wavelength of light invisible to the naked eye without a filter, but thought, for years, it would rhyme with “repaired,” until a James Bond book spelled it “infra-red” and my eyes were opened to a deeper understanding of the red wavelength.

Not so lucky with the pronunciation distinction between “virile” and “viral,” which I discovered while reading out loud in high school to the delight of some classmates. Vee-rel is strong, for the record, not infectious. Still think the other pronunciation sounds like it’s stronger.

And “Entrance,” the noun which for everybody else on the planet means “come in here” (me too) is inspirational to me, because every time I see it, in my head I also hear the verb “Entrance!”

That’s a verbal joke, not a written one, let’s try again.

I hear the word with this definition: captivate, hypnotize

It’s a literal call to action, and it’s everywhere! Fantastic!

This may explain why I talk to complete strangers in lines and restaurants….

—–David

P.S. Synonyms: bewitch, fascinate, enthrall, mesmerize, enrapture, enchant, rejoice, ravish, please, delight, charm, gladden, spellbind, attract, transport, anesthetize, put in a trance

Get out there and Entrance! I mean, get in there!

Mighty Words Don’t Rhyme With Swords? was originally published on Creative Uploads

So Many Apps: Microsoft Hyperlapse

Part one of who knows how many:

I thought I would test one of the many camera apps on my phone that I have most forgotten about, waiting for another soccer game to start (which I was filming for a Florida company with a pretty cool setup I may discuss later.)

This was done on my Android-based Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in Microsoft’s Hyperlapse app, which I rather like because it lets you film something and then choose the speed of playback afterward, 1x to 32x. It defaults to 4x. You can choose front or rear selfie camera, turn on your flashlight, and there is an option to import a video.

Microsoft Hyperlapse initial screen controls

It opened in a forced wide format (turn your phone sideways!), unlike Instagram’s app with the same name, which appeared to be in square format with vertical controls. (Strangely Instagram’s then saved a tall video on my device, which led me to try turning it sideways, which lets you film wide. The interface occasionally showed a black area under the record control regardless of which direction I had turned it leading me to frame it incorrectly. In the end it correctly saved a wide or tall video based on the orientation of the device, either wide or tall. )

What I don’t like on both is you apparently have to complete one video at a time, because I did not see a selection for the three videos I was shooting to test and the phone crashed – probably not the app’s fault – and then I found these in my Google Photos later so they weren’t deleted but they were not easily available in the app for further editing.

When you process your video you see icons to share it (on my Note you can pretty much pick any app), create another version at a new speed, or start a new video. You can also press the (grayed out) play button which shows the processed video on your default video app, leaving Hyperlapse open. This means you can preview your work before deciding that you want to share or edit the speed by returning to the app.

But the caution is to save the video in the app through the share button otherwise you may lose it. Preview your work, but don’t forget to share and save it before exiting the app or choosing a new playback speed. I can see reasons that they did that: they don’t have to develop an integrated media player, and they don’t force you to save a file for every test version at different speeds. Now saying that, I couldn’t easily find my first experiments on my phone, but Google Photos found and uploaded something to the Internet so it may not be totally gone…. (UPDATE: on my Android device they were stored in a “Movies” folder on the device, not the “Hyperlapse” album I created and saved others to.)

Instagram’s app lets you choose 1x to 80x and lets you save to the camera roll or direct to Facebook or Instagram.

Hyperlapse strips the audio but of course you can bring it into another editor and add in what you want, though that does fight the immediacy of creating something and posting it quickly.

—–David

P.S. I have so many apps on my devices (yes, hundreds) because I think they are going to help me be creative or productive or entertained, and it’s probably a bad habit. But at least most of them were free. If only I had more free time.

p

So Many Apps: Microsoft Hyperlapse was originally published on Creative Uploads

About That Caution: Just Drive!

One more thing on that last post about caution and special events, this was on my Tumblr the other day.

Keep left! Or don’t, I mean, just barrel straight through if that’s what you want….

http://megawatson.tumblr.com/post/171568663575/keep-left-or-dont-i-mean-just-barrel-straight

https://assets.tumblr.com/post.js

Now there’s some useful advice for creativity and production!

I either think too much while I am driving, or drive too much and don’t have time to think.

—–David

P.S. I do not think there is such a thing as “thinking too much”, but “overthinking” is a road hazard when you are trying to get someplace.

P.P.S. I love this Paul Simon song so much: Think Too Much (a)  “The fact is, you don’t think as much as you should.”

 

About That Caution: Just Drive! was originally published on Creative Uploads

Why Is Special Event A Caution Sign?

I didn’t mean for a metaphor to hit me over the head while I was just driving down the street, but seriously. Stop Special Event Ahead Caution! Creaive Uploads

 

As creative types, we will often take any excuse to detour around things, just dropping our good habits for a few minutes or hours or days. The delighted and self-destructive among us love when special events intrude on our schedule and we can throw everything out the window. We also hate that, because it means that we ‘ll need to make a new schedule at some point, and right now maybe stop thinking about our vague current idea or whatever we had planned.

That sure sounds like it calls for caution. I mean you’re on this road to get somewhere, right? And you’re being forced to change your route or get stuck in “traffic” that will slow you down.

But special events are special – it’s literally in the name. And if you want to be artistic or just enjoy yourself, special events are often an event worth the experience. Even if they totally suck by the end of it, you have a story — at least in your head or for the next party, or maybe even for a song or a film or a collection of pages.

So no, I don’t know that special events need caution. Feed your stuff, by feeding yourself.

And certainly understand the limitations and obstacles that they may present. But as someone who doesn’t mind being social yet still will try to avoid an event because it doesn’t seem “important enough,” or sometimes feels like it’s an excuse to not do the work you promised yourself you were going to do that day, or it costs money and you think you can save yourself into prosperity… Well honestly, those are all pretty good reasons/excuses.

But not all the time. Too many excuses gets you too good at excuses.

Too many special events makes them less special.

Strike a balance, and use caution, but don’t just stop.

—–David

P.S. I still remember seeing author Fran Leibovitz on David Letterman talking about how she was at a party that she don’t want to be at because she would literally take any excuse to avoid writing. I thought it was hilarious and honest and I took it as advice. And it is some of the worst advice for a writer I have ever heard. (Not that she intended it to be advice.)

Things I ignored:

  • She’d actually already written something and been published before that, so perhaps she was entitled to relax on occasion.
  • She ended up with a story that she could tell on a TV show, so she wasn’t entirely wasting her time.
  • I have no idea what she wrote and was plugging, and
  • I do not own any of her books

But I love her. https://www.facebook.com/franlebowitz/

https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Fran_Lebowitz

Why Is Special Event A Caution Sign? was originally published on Creative Uploads