Taking Photos and Staying in the Moment

"Used Camera" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 35mm, f/3.2, 1/30 sec, ISO3200
“Used Camera” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

I was thinking about a topic I heard discussed on photography podcasts. It’s basically the question of during special life moments, such as your child’s dance recital or school play, if you should stay behind your camera taking photos, or if you should put down the camera and simply take in the experience with nothing in your way of your senses. It can be difficult because as photo enthusiasts – we love taking photos and want to get that perfect shot.

There are valid arguments to be made for both sides of the debate. On one hand, it’s nice to have photos/video to relive and share the moment, but on the other hand, you aren’t fully in the moment and experiencing life if you are looking through the viewfinder or at the rear screen of your camera. The question is, does the camera enhance your life, or does it get in the way of it?

My opinion is that I think that a happy medium can easily be achieved and you can have the best of both worlds! The keys that I have found work for me are:

  • Know your camera inside and out – You don’t want to waste time fumbling with settings. And set up your camera before the event starts. It’s no fun trying to tweak settings in the dark!
  • Think like an event photographer – Have a shot list in mind. Maybe not a written list, but think of the “must have shots” that you need to capture. Once you take care of those, then put down the camera and enjoy the moment. Keep in mind that for most events, the photos you take at the beginning of the performance will look the same as any other part, so no need to have the camera at your eye the whole time. Just be ready for the recognition and bowing at the end of performances. Again, take the photo, then put the camera down and join in the applause!
  • Automate it – If you want to take video, bring a tripod and set it up beforehand. Then just hit the record, turn off the LCD if possible, and forget about it.

Anyways, those are my tips that I’ve gathered from shooting both student events and corporate events. I hope this helps you “stay in the moment”!

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Today’s photos are of my beloved camera (yet again!). 😄 I have a couple trips coming up, and I am taking my Fujifilm X100T with me as my main camera (with my phone being a backup). There was a time in my life when I would spend a lot of time thinking about what camera gear to bring on vacations, but ever since I bought my X100T, it’s the only camera I want or need. Just the thought of lugging around a heavy DSLR and a few lenses makes me shudder… when I used to carry all the gear it was not fun and definitely made “staying in the moment” more difficult.

You know, a life with less can be a good thing, especially in photography!

"Fujifilm X100T" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 35mm, f/3.2, 1/40 sec, ISO3200
“Fujifilm X100T” Cedar Park, 2018

I hope you had a great day!

おやすみ

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Morning Momentum

"New Strings" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/80 sec, ISO6400
“New Strings” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

These past couple weeks have been extremely busy at work. It’s funny that sometimes I have so many projects lined up that it feels like it would be almost impossible to complete them all, and then I finish one of them and it seems to clear a roadblock and I am able to make a huge amount of progress on many of my other tasks. It’s kind of like a magical wave of momentum!

What I have noticed is that it happens quite often, so now I try to set myself up to kickstart that momentum in the morning. This is not really that mysterious or difficult to do. It’s often just the completion of a small morning task, or a productive meeting, or even a chat that can get the ball rolling.

What is great about this is that with each hurdle that is overcome, a bunch of stress is shed and that is a wonderful feeling of relief! I actually enjoy having that bit of pressure or stress when a project or task is looming because I am anticipating the amazing feeling of relief that comes with finishing the project.

Since projects come in never-ending cycles, it’s actually kind of cool to know that I have all these little wins to look forward to. In the past, I’ve been kind of depressed because it seemed like work never ends, but you know, I’d kind of feel at a loss if I had nothing to do. It’s so strange how people change…

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Today’s photo is of my new Aquila ukulele strings. I love them! They certainly aren’t anything fancy nor exotic, but they sound a lot crisper (more clarity as Koa told me) than the strings that my ukulele came from the factory with. I’m very pleased!

I hope you had a nice Monday!

おやすみ

Digital Decluttering – Bookmarks

"Blue Sky Coming" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/340 sec, ISO200
“Blue Sky Coming” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

For the past few years, I’ve been simplifying my life in many different areas, both large and small, for instance, my camera gear, decluttering my closet, book collection, and tidying up my home workspace. But another area that I enjoy simplifying is my digital life. There are many areas of our digital lives that have gotten so cluttered and complicated, and I’m going to write about the ones I’ve identified and worked on. For tonight I’ll start with bookmarks.

I’ve been online since the early 90s, and I’ve been saving, organizing, and filing away bookmarks ever since I started using NCSA Mosaic. That’s a couple decades worth of bookmarks! Of course, I don’t keep everything, but I’d say that my collection of bookmarks has hovered at around 3 year’s worth, growing and shrinking as I find time to delete obsolete ones.

But just this past week or so I’ve been going through them and ruthlessly decluttering. First, if I look at a link and don’t know what it is by name alone, I’ll delete it. It’s obviously not important enough to keep if I don’t even know what its name is referring to. I won’t even check to see if the link is active.

For the second pass, I spend a few moments thinking about if I’ve clicked on the link within the past few months. If not, I delete. This clears out a ton of links to old hobbies that I am no longer interested in, DIY repair links to things that I’ve already fixed, shopping research for things I’ve already bought, etc.

After that, my bookmarks collection is really streamlined!

But what is the benefit of having a stripped-down collection of bookmarks since keeping them doesn’t cost anything? Well, I believe that even if a bookmark is in a hidden away in a folder, it still occupies a bit of space in my brain. But by consciously deleting the link, it frees up that space and gives a bit of closure – I know that the bookmarks folders don’t have anything obsolete or useless in them. No loose ends!

I also think that when I know I’ve streamlined the bookmarks, I’ve simplified my life and jettisoned those things that aren’t essential to me. It’s sort of a digital representation of letting go of real things that are not useful to me any longer. When I look at the folders that are lined across my bookmarks toolbar, I can see right away what’s important to me, and it kind of keeps my priorities in line. For instance, my folders are Blogging, Music, 日本語, Work, Art, Fun, Photo, Kids, Wellness, and Finances. And some subfolders are Travel, Reading, and Motorbike.

And a little technical bonus: because Chrome bookmarks sync across my entire account, when I clean up on one browser, the rest of my devices get cleaned up too. It’s like magic. Cloud magic! 😄

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Today’s photo is of the clouds breaking up to reveal clear evening skies.

I hope you had a nice hump-day!

おやすみ!

Sarah Knight – The Magic of Not Giving a F***

I enjoyed this TED Talk, especially the how Sarah Knight explains why you shouldn’t feel guilty about saying “no”. Good stuff!

Simplifying Multiple Items

"Sunset" Leander, 2018
Photo info: SONY NEX-6, 16mm, f/18, 1/60 sec, ISO100
“Sunset” Leander, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today’s photo was taken by my son. As you can see, we were driving along during a beautiful Texas sunset and I had him use the camera I keep in the glove compartment to capture the image.

We’ve long since moved on from using the Sony NEX-6 camera for everyday use (I use my Fujifilm X100T and Mariko uses her Olympus E-PL9), but it is such a nice camera that I didn’t sell it. So, I put it in the car where it serves as a backup camera. It’s actually a perfect car camera because it can be operated quickly with just one hand. Flip the power button on and it’s ready to shoot at its widest angle. Plus the grip is beefy and easy to hold. And it has come in handy many times!

It got me thinking about how I am trying to simplify and get rid of items that we have multiples of, but it doesn’t mean being totally minimalistic or getting rid of all but one item. There’s a balance for everything. For instance, we have accumulated laptops over the years, many of them are still perfectly functional. But I really only need one, so I donated/recycled the rest of them.

On the other hand, I have multiple Kindle devices and although I only need one, the others are very convenient to have. For instance, I keep one by the bedside, one in my messenger bag, one in the car, etc. I use all of them.

So, the usefulness of the item, and more specifically if it is being used or not, is the determining factor of what to keep and what to get rid of. And it’s not difficult to figure out what is being used and what is not.

One example is my fountain pen collection. I did a quick inventory (looking at my Amazon.com and Ebay.com purchase histories), and it turns out I have 12 fountain pens! But I use seven of them (two at work, and five at home). I guess I’ll remove the ink from the five I forgot about and put them in the Goodwill box. Those five unused pens were out of sight, but I honestly believe they weren’t completely out of mind. After they go to Goodwill, they truly will be! The knowledge that my collection has been narrowed down to what is essential is what will be freeing to my mind.

I hope you had a nice day!

またね

A Soft Murmur

Do you listen to ambient sounds when you work? My favorite is A Soft Murmur. The website audio is nice, and I also bought the app, so sometimes waves and wind emanate from my phone. 😄 It’s great for reading too!

Mix ambient sounds together to wash away distraction and help you focus or relax

Source: A Soft Murmur

One or the Other

"Stuff" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4.5, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Stuff” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Minimalists say to only keep things that are useful or bring joy. I guess the small shelf I have on my home office desk is 90% there. You can’t see them in the photo, but the only things I have which don’t fit those criteria are some old audio CDs that I don’t listen to. They were gifts which I could probably toss now that the music has been ripped and added to my digital collection. The other thing that is useful, but doesn’t get used, is a Sansa MP3 player. I should probably donate that one, right?

But other than those two things, I think I am doing good with the decluttering in that small section of the house. 😄

I hope you had a nice Tuesday!

またね~