Clutter is Cleared

It’s been a while, blog-wise.

Since my last post or two, I created this year’s Christmas card and helped a friend with color management issues (printer vs computer vs camera vs printing service). Printed two cool close-up winter snow scenes. Bought an iPhone-X, a TV, and a winter jacket. Tuned the car and perked up the front and back yards at our home. Helped my sister from afar, looking for her next home to live in.  Spent one 2-night trip clearing snow at the yurt, and one excellent weekend with friends in Vancouver, B.C. And, just now, cleared the decks for December’s fresh projects, the ‘decks’ having become cluttered with loose ends.

Now I’m ready for more. The obligatory preparations for winter are behind me. Time to produce creative output, yes. A vast gallery of images taken this year await processing and printing. To say nothing of archives of film going back decades. And, there are images out there to grab with a camera: Winter atmospherics in the Pacific Northwest are sometimes the best of the year.

Two eyes and a brain.  And energy.  Get crackin’, Sood.

OK.

 

Blurbing

For Christmas, from me it’s always with my custom-made cards, using my photographs. I’m starting again for this year.

But, this year I also took the plunge on a Blurb book of some shots from our Italy trip in September. I’ll give one to Michele and one to Jackie as Christmas presents. A little spendy for 84 photographs (84+ leaves, 160+ pages). But, I took delivery of them today. Very good, worth the expense.

I’m impressed: Layout, dimensions, look and feel are all just as I expected. The quality of the paper and image reproduction are better than I expected. A book like this gives cred and gravitas to my shots, almost enough to make even me believe maybe I’m sorta hot shit at photography.  (This is a plug for Blurb, not for me.)

Excellent! Creative! I’ll put more effort into my next book, and I’ll choose better, non-travelog photos. Yes.

Below:  Front cover is Church of San Giorgio Maggiore in the evening, Venice. Back cover is Boboli Gardens, Florence.

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Andrew Wyeth as Teacher

Good days since my last post, even though no images taken nor processed.

Saw the Andrew Wyeth exhibit at Seattle Art Museum. Excellent. For me, there were two real take-aways, and they’re related to each other:

The painter constructs his subject content, perspective, object relationships, colors, timing, etc. on a clean sheet of paper. From his mind. But, the photographer must maneuver his camera to get his desired perspective, object relationships, timing, etc. From existing reality. (That said, of course painting skills are much harder to acquire than photography skills, no question.)

From this, a conclusion: Since the painter focuses on only one or two aspects in his image (theme, object, movement, relationship, person, feeling, etc) and relegates the rest to mere supportive background information, I see this is a necessary thing for a photographer to do, too. Whether in-camera or in post. To create a strong composition, I should strip away all extraneous junk and hone in only on what it is about an image that is good. De-focus, eliminate, crop out, de-emphasize everything else. Like a painter can.

I’m going to do this. I guess I already do, but now I see it needs to be applied vigorously, it should not be just an instinctive thing that happens sometimes.  Henri Cartier-Bresson was great at this, so it is possible.

6 Months In

I’ve been retired for six months now. Accomplishments? Well, …

It’s time to stop this starting to retire business. Since age 30 I’ve had a great time while working, saving, and balancing daily enjoyment with strategic actions. Lots of compromises had my future “next life” in mind, my retirement. And, it worked, success, I made it! Had a great time getting here, too.

But the life plan that got me here shouldn’t be blindly followed from this point on. Just because that life plan got me to this transition point successfully doesn’t mean it’s the plan to take forward. So many of those compromises aren’t needed anymore. And that big goal is gone, behind me now. I need to re-balance everything. Daily enjoyment, projects, and yes some compromises still. But, everything needs to be put into a new balance now.

There’s still a future, but not one with a major, looming transition like retirement, where I’m not sure what’s on the other side. I’m on the other side now. And, it’s great. The time for planning is over, it’s time to execute.

For 35 years I sacrificed freedom for the security of my future, a future that was some vague thing down the road and around the corner. I knew only that it would be different than my working life. I see it now, my future. My future is a sequence of daily steps down the road I’m on right now! No more corners to turn. This is the road, right here. The future is today. Tomorrow is the same as next year. Next year is the same as tomorrow.

10 years from now – hmm. Health issues will insert themselves yes. But that’s financially planned for and I’m living a healthy life so I’ll just react to that when it happens. I’ll slow down when I need to, sure, and real estate will have to be sold, etc. Lots of etc’s. But, until it happens, that health transition does not require today the kind of anticipatory compromises I’ve been making these past 35 years.

So, the watch-words here are: Question, and replace, the compromise mentality of my past 35 years. The only money (and time and energy and personal capital) I waste today is the money I do not spend today! (Within budget, of course.) Saving extra money is now a completely immoral waste of resources. Ditto for preserving time, energy, etc. Spend it!

Spend money on what? On toys and tools (camera gear, car, real things that can be used.) On travel. Not mentioned: The house, the properties. Those are for folks with kids, who have the thought of building a legacy for passing down. I’m free of that.

Spend energy, time, personal capital – on what? On creating. On learning. On helping others.

Yes.

I’ve begun doing just that.  And, beginning is good.  But full-bore execution is better.  Rats for the compromises still needed, but my job now is to eliminate as many of them as possible.

Friendship

There is friendship between two people when, on each side:  There’s a willingness to put out effort, and there’s an expectation to get a benefit.  Both, without regard for convenience. And both understood without having to speak.

I’ve had three brushes with friendship this year.  Five, counting family.

What I didn’t mention:  Permanence.  Mutual acknowledgement.  Joy.