Checking out dud links

I’m extremely lucky that I’ve the week off between Christmas and New Years. Often this time is filled meeting up with friends that might be in town for the holiday, taking down decorations, catching movies at the theater, or simply doing things I want to do.

In this case, I finally caught up with “favorite” photo albums to span the last few years. It’s an annual event I let slip back in 2007 and I’m not sure why, as it’s a fantastic way to give some shape to the flipping of the calendar.

So I hunkered down after Christmas and sorted. And sorted.

It’s an arduous process and I seem to leave more snapshots on the cutting room floor than I’d like, but that’s part of the curating process. I call these albums “favorite” photos instead of “best” because they might not be the most excellent photos in the world. But they might represent a moment that was meaningful.

And 2010? Well it was the hardest to whittle down. The year started with a trip to SXSW and I met so many great folks for the first time. (And I’ve never posted all the photos from that event because there are So. Many.)

I went to Brooklyn. Played ambassador to the midwest for visitors from California. Did a handful of roadtrips to St. Louis, and Pennsylvania and West Virginia. I went to Southeast Asia—for three weeks. I came back from there and went right back out to spend a big hunk of time on the left coast.

And in between all of this travel? I enjoyed my time at home in Ohio. Met new friends. Made new traditions. Enjoyed some old ones.

I like to think 2010 was great, and I’m hoping 2011 continues on that trajectory.

So enough words, here’s links to the favorites: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010.

My photo processing technique


Folks write in and ask what process I use on images and I'm not ashamed to say I start with an action set called Vintage Film for Photoshop. It's free. Though, I should mention the cost of Photoshop isn't included. The good news is that most of the techniques used in the automated set can be achieved with free or inexpensive photo editing programs and websites.

Once I run the default set I go through and fiddle—usually lowering the opacity of these layers made by the Vintage Film Action Set:

  • Sepia 
  • Cross Process
  • Vignette
  • Center Fill Light
  • Magenta Cast

The amount varies but I usually keep things around 20% opacity.

Why do I do this? Well, in January I set out to make the entire year of 2010 appear as a cohesive set when viewed together. I honestly don't know why but I always think things will make more sense once you get everything together and take a step back.

Oh, and it's fun.

PhotosView the latest photos in the Album


so many days, I lost count

So those 60+ days that just rolled by? Well, I was taking photos all along the way. Don’t worry, I’m fine, really. Just remiss and have lots of stories and news to share.

At one point I thought I’d never get my act together and post them. So I spent this week sorting and selecting and did a push on Sunday, filling in all the visual blanks.

There were a lot of moments that deserve their own journal entry – but for now? This’ll have to do:

PhotosScroll through all the snapshots at the “album,” ten days at a time.

Current music: Oingo Boingo “Just Another Day”

over there

shirt, book, swatches, bronco, patio, daffodil, elementary

Packing a lot into the days of late, enjoying the temperature and light, work is keeping me out of trouble, spending lots of time in the evenings and weekends welcoming spring around the house… all good stuff.

What I haven’t been doing is diligently updating the ol’ journal here. In my quest to find the best way to tag, sort, and search information, I’m spinning my wheels thinking about options. So for now, I’m still throwing bigger photos up over there on the album.

the way I saw it, or, how I gave up on reality

The normal crop didn’t work on this image

How many times do I pass a scene thinking, man, I wish there wasn’t so much visual noise around that thing. (Usually the thing in question is a tree.)

This mindset is exactly why I love the work of Marijke van Warmerdam and South Korean photographer Myoung Ho Lee. His series Forest for the Trees puts a brilliant spin on the notion of isolating a subject from its environment. (Hat tip to swissmiss for pointing out his work.)

In lieu of constructing large backdrops, I’ve been allowing myself to enjoy technologies available and help turn photos into what I envisioned all along.

For a while I thought this manipulation to be false. Like auto-tune abuse in pop music, it was a lazy way to cover imperfection.

But I’m letting that go, and I’m not stopping with trees. If I can subtlety correct my pear shape or lessen dark under-eye circles, so be it. I’ll try not to get too uncanny with Madonnafication.

So when I passed by this scene near our house, I didn’t see the tree in the soccer field surrounded by powerlines and cell phone towers, I saw something clean, simple and lovely.

PhotosThe full view with before and after

the leaf collectors

with camera reflected

Getting ready to leave yesterday morning, we heard some rumbling out front.

The township had sent around the leaf collecting crew. Luckily Dan had caught this detail online and made appropriate arrangements with the leaves.

Something small to mention is the reflection of camera in this photo. Again, it’s the point and shoot.

As far as I can tell, my Canon 20D is near dead. I’ve determined that it has something to do with the card slot. (The shutter fires repeatedly when a memory card is simply inserted into the body). So while this is sad, I am very satisfied with the performance of the camera. I’ve had it since February of 2005 and taken over 13,000 photos. Many of those were bad, some I’ve liked.

Now I’m going to research the slew of new cameras on the market and work with what I’ve got for the time being.

Current music: The Welcome Wagon “Half a Person” [ mp3 ]

MIA July

17 images that got left behind

Things pile up.

A recurring theme ’round these parts.

Excuses are easy to come by:

– It’s summer. (though is there ever really a slow season?)
– Wear many hats. (have many projects)
– Attempt to find balance. (throttle computer usage)
– Bought a house.
– Stale format. (desire for new image size or aspect ratio? 5 year itch?)

Speaking of formating photos, have you see Boston Globe’s The Big Picture? Be sure to click on headlines to see a smattering of curated images on a particular topic in the news. Fantastic BIG, beautiful photos.

Andy Baio of Waxy.org got with Alan Taylor, the creator of The Big Picture and posted this interview.

All that said and done, it doesn’t make me feel any better about the 17 tiny photos that somehow never made it onto this here journal. But I gathered them together this afternoon before too many days slipped away and I forgot what it was I was doing.

Photos17 MIA images, July 2008

The Original Glow Machine

Apologies for the large file size above

I went bowling a while back.

My most recent memory of the game is on the Wii, and going through those virtual motions gave my shoulder some ache. In real life, the sensation is much, much worse.

As for score, a 5 year old beat me – and we had the bumpers in the gutters.

I’d still do it again for the cheap beer and classic typography. The whole joint was a time capsule and I wish I had my “big” camera to capture some of the awesomeness.

PhotosI did however, have a point-and-shoot at my disposal

Current music: Matmos “Polychords”